Educate, Communicate, Collaborate: Top Takeaways from AMA-STL

What’s new in marketing? Attend a local AMA chapter or conference to find out in a knowledge-packed half-day event! I had the pleasure of being invited to attend the 56th Annual St. Louis American Marketing Association Student Conference. Even with ‘student’ in the title, each generation was represented, bringing with them insight, experience, and a willingness to learn and apply the latest marketing strategies for business success. As has been the norm, content is still a high necessity, but the manner in which it is created and distributed has evolved. Below are the highlights from the presenters from this high-intensity conference.

Matt D’Rion, Worry Free Marketing: How to Achieve Positive Impact with an Effective Website. 5 needed elements include:

  • SEO—search engine optimization, defined as any action taken to attract leads to your website. A missing element for many business owners is the SEO title; the more descriptive this title, the easier it will be for Google to rank, read, and direct your readers.
  • Website Copy—a critical aspect of the user experience (UX). Give your reader something to do. Make the click tabs easy to find and easy to follow. Take your readers on a journey that builds a relationship, serves their needs, and solves their problems.
  • User Experience—you have a few seconds to give your visitor what they need. If they don’t find it FAST, they are gone. Use this opportunity to generate an opportunity to connect, donate, or participate.
  • Lead Generation->Sales Funnel—keep your visitors on the site with calls to action and informative content. Make it simple to move through the sales funnel while building a relationship of trust.

Andrea Olson, Prag’madik: Building a Differentiated Global Brand

Andrea shares her branding expertise with this handy summary of 10 Commandments of Global Branding. While her focus is global, these points are equally significant regardless of whether your audience is local or international:

  • Understand similarities and differences across cultural landscapes
  • Don’t take shortcuts
  • Establish marketing infrastructure locally
  • Embrace integrated marketing communications (technology)
  • Cultivate local partnerships
  • Balance standardization and adaptation
  • Establish operable guidelines (customization)
  • Establish success metrics
  • Leverage core brand elements
  • Adapt and refine continually

Johanna Dettman and Kaysha Hanock, tSunela: How a Digital Marketing Partnership Can Impact Client Retention and Referral Patterns

The team at tSunela discussed blending traditional marketing methods with the social/digital marketing strategies that’s dominating today’s business strategy:

  • Digital marketing is easier to track; traditional marketing is not.
  • Combining both marketing styles allows a business to stay relevant, saves time & money, provides more flexibility, offers an objective perspective, and measures ROI (return on investment).

Their advice when partnering:

  • Don’t hide collaboration from the partnership—let everyone know upfront who is involved with your marketing initiatives.
  • Share research, data, plans, with other team members
  • Provide timelines for project completion
  • Review strategies to ensure consistent communication
  • Define roles of all involved
  • Do not take or accept guarantees: the environment is changing too fast to promise results.
  • Involve traditional and digital marketers in pitch sessions
  • Refer clients to one another as often as possible
  • Keep the focus on the client!

Keynote Speakers Eric Stisser, Sr. VO of Corporate Sales for St. Louis Blues and Jackie Miller, Dir. Of Corporate Sponsorship & Activation for St. Louis Blues.

This team discussed the marketing efforts of the St. Louis Blues Winter Classic. Both speakers mentioned that a lot of time and dedication went into producing a successful event, but the vital factors that emerged were:

  • Be polite, persistent, engaged.
  • Communicate!
  • Look up, not down—look people in the eye and get involved. Talk. Communicate. Leave your cell phone at home and give listeners your full attention.
  • Most of all: remember it’s always a team environment.

The current marketing trends may seem overwhelming but what is emerging is collaboration and cooperation across all spectrums, including marketing styles, generational expertise, and a wiser consumer. What can you bring to your business as a student, business owner or entrepreneur?

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler

Tweet Chats: A Great Resource for Continuing Education and Relationship Building

My first introduction to tweet chats occurred out of desperation. I wanted to attend a blogging conference and couldn’t arrange the time, travel, and expense around my business life and caregiving life. I was rather discouraged that I couldn’t attend and jumped online to research alternatives.

While visiting the blog conference’s twitter page, I noticed a tweet that invited followers to a tweet chat. After a quick search to discover what a ‘tweet chat’ was, I decided to give it a try.

A tweet chat is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. To filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation a hashtag is used. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest or host is available to engage in the conversation.

*Hint for newcomers: high tweet volume is expected. My advice: read fast!*

Even though my meager attempts to reply to an interesting thread were way behind the initial post, I learned A LOT, gained several new followers and have found many more Twitter Chats to enjoy. They have become a weekly source of continuing education, relationship building, online networking, also leading to increased reach and exposure. Another benefit is a crash-course lesson in Twitter. I have almost mastered Tweet Chat (a platform that streams chat feeds in a neat and orderly manner) and recommend you use this or a similar tool to simplify the experience.

Here are my favorite chats to date (February 2017):

#blogchat Sunday 9pmET/6pmPT: founder and moderator Mack Collier introduced this chat to discuss blog-related themes from idea generating, blogging platforms, tools, trends, best practices and much, much more.

#blogelevated Monday 10pmET/7pmPT: Blog Elevated is a chat, conference and Facebook community dedicated to bloggers and influencers.

#blogher17 Tuesday 1pmET/10amPT: is a chat dedicated to women bloggers and the annual BlogHer conference. Their mission is to create opportunities and build exposure. The topics cover issues related to these goals.

#contentchat Monday 3pmET/12pmPT: Erika Heald moderates this chat which brings together content creators and content marketers to share their challenges and best practices.

#cmworld Tuesday at 12pmET/9amPT: sponsored by the Content Marketing Institute, participants discuss the latest trends in content marketing and receive advice from experts.

#smallbizchat Wednesday at 8pmET/5pmPT: Launched by Melissa Emerson, this chat is a peer-to-peer mentoring program to help entrepreneurs get answers to their small business questions.

Watch your Twitter notifications for all the people who commented, retweeted or followed you following the tweet chat. It’s a good place to return after you’ve caught your breath, your heart rate has returned to normal, and you can respond in a calm manner. Here’s a tip: a lot of chat participants will continue to respond over the next 24 hours. You won’t be the only one needing to breathe and catch up!

Each of these chats are focused on my professional interests, but there are hundreds of chats covering an almost endless supply of topics. To view what’s available, Twitter Chat Schedule is an easy way to search.

Just beware: tweet chats are addicting! Do you have a favorite chat? Share it below!

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler

Business Mistakes Learned the Hard Way: 5 Entrepreneurs Share their Story

Where are you in your entrepreneurial pursuits? Idea stage? Development stage? Growth Stage? Whatever stage that may be, there is excitement and uncertainty. Many of us know to seek out mentors, business coaches, and peers about their experiences and insights. For good reason too: learn from them. Listen to their advice. Take their words of wisdom and apply it to your own situation. Yet, regardless of where we are in the process, we will encounter obstacles and problems. We KNOW we will make mistakes; we KNOW there will be failure, but we fight to minimize the depth of failure. However, there are situations that pop up without warning or they creep up on us to create havoc. These 5 entrepreneurs share their story and lessons learned:

Jennifer Tamborski

Jennifer Tamborski, Virtual Admin Experts: “Hiring people and being a leader is entirely different from the corporate world. I hired employees and set them loose, assuming they knew what I knew. When they came back to me confused and lost, I realized I didn’t have the processes necessary for my employees to effectively perform their job. It’s a process I had to learn as I taught them.”

Lesson learned: a clear, concise, communication and documentation plan must be established. Follow-up with employees is just as important as follow-up with clients.

**

Chris MacLellan

Chris MacLellan, Whole Care Network: “My theological background inspired me to trust without hesitation. That approach to life did not transfer well to business. I didn’t discover this until I handed over the IP (intellectual property) to a business connection in which the gesture was not reciprocated. As a result, I lost lots of money and my humility. It took a great deal of time to restructure my business, much of which conflicted with my trusting nature.”

Lesson learned: Life skills do not always transfer well to business skills.

**

Mary Scott

Mary Scott, Make Believe TV: “Create a clear, contractual arrangement for each project which includes payment agreements and pricing for situations that influence the service offered. All decisions must be clear and understood before the project (or any part of the business arrangement) begins. If it isn’t clear, it will cost a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Lesson learned: Do not rush into a project without the proper documentation.

**

Angie Monko

Angie Monko, Harmony Harbor Coaching: “I jumped into business without a clear plan, quickly becoming distracted by multiple business objectives. I didn’t recognize the situation until ~18 months later when cash flow and momentum declined. It took another 18 months to create a business plan and to begin recovery.”

Lesson learned: Create a business plan, follow it, and revise as your business shifts and grows.

**

Paul Heirendt, True Bearing Advisors: During my corporate days, I had ‘two young guys’ working with me. They frequently joked, ‘You’re not the boss of me’, which resulted in them learning very little and becoming a liability rather than an asset. I eventually left the corporate world and took one of these young guys with me. As his urging, we moved into his uncle’s free office space in downtown St. Louis. The caveat: the uncle’s son must become the CEO of my company. With no written partnership and nearly 100% of the company in my name, I dealt with legal issues, lost opportunities, lost revenue, and lots of bad blood.”

Lesson learned: It’s better off not partnering unless each member can prove their value AND share the same business goals.

**

These entrepreneurs faced some crushing blows to their business growth but regrouped, adjusted and recovered. Communication and documentation were the top business issues. How can you apply their lessons? Share your ideas or stories below.

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler

Entrepreneurs: Are you a Pantster or a Plotter with Your Business Style?

Calendar-Pen

“Vision leads to proper planning and proper planning leads to successful completion.” 
― Farshad Asl, The “No Excuses” Mindset: A Life of Purpose, Passion, and Clarity

 

In the fiction-writing world, two terms define what sort of writer we are:

Pantster: we write by the seat of our pants

or

Plotter: we plot everything out before writing a single word into our first draft.

As an entrepreneur, which are you?

While one form of getting things done isn’t better than the other (as long as it gets done!), plotting requires a bit more planning. If you are a plotter, as I am, here is the process as it has developed for me:

Urgency—don’t make 1 year business goals to yourself or your business—make it 1 month. Break each goal into visible segments that highly depend on one another. Just as you wouldn’t miss a deadline to a client, made a high-demand deadline for yourself.

Accountability—who in your support team will keep you on target, but also stays on target? Choose someone who sets a good example rather than living by the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mantra. Bad habits are contagious.

Hustle—this is the personal kick we give ourselves to get things done. This is the attitude we take when we’re rather watch tv, drink another cup of coffee, or go shopping with a pantster. We sacrifice to make our vision a reality. This is what brings us deep satisfaction when things happen. We must hustle through the obstacles, landmines and vultures that attempt to trip us up.

An editorial calendar for yourself—what do you want to accomplish this month? How can you break it down weekly? Daily? When I was in college, I created an elaborate schedule that include classes, homework, meals, exercise time, friend time, and spare time. As with all these things, they start out well, but they fizzled because of family, friends, and situations (in reality, excuses, avoidance, and delay). To make your personal calendar work for you is to train yourself so those external influences won’t derail or distract you. Implement your virtual assistant, accountability partner, favorite scheduling tool or app. USE THEM—CONSTANTLY!

Establish a consequence chart—what happens if you miss a goal? Make it visible, make it painful. If a weekend vacation is your motivator, then that’s your lost opportunity. If attending an industry conference is your motivator, then HUSTLE so you can attend! If contributing to your child’s college fund or your retirement fund is your motivator—if you don’t reach your business goals, you don’t have the revenue to contribute. OUCH!! If that’s not motivating enough, get out of business.

Create a daily schedule—just as when you worked your 9 to 5 job, you had a set schedule. Make one for your business. As business owners, we have the freedom and flexibility to establish our schedule based on our early-bird vs night-owl preferences, our family, and our self-care. Create a schedule that works for YOU—not someone else, but keep your clients at the forefront. If needed, find an off-site location that gives you the space and uninterrupted time you need to reach your business goals. It’s tough, but it’s necessary for you and your business success.

The busier we get and the more responsibilities we take on (family, business, self), it becomes a little more necessary to plot our course. Looking through your own habits, preferences, and lifestyle, how do you describe your entrepreneurial style?

Kristen Edens

A grandparent in business

Becoming an Entrepreneur: What Must You Let Go?

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Is entrepreneurship something that grows on us? I had always wanted to be a writer, but was guided elsewhere by caring parents. Others had dreams of being an astronaut, a fire fighter, the president, or other well-known careers. Somewhere along the way, our visions changed and led us to considering building our own business. Then one day, we step out and do it—most of the time without financial resources or the support of friends or family. Yet we do it anyway. Even though there are big risks associated with taking that step into the unknown, there are situations or things we must give up for our business to succeed. I interviewed several business owners to find out what they had to sacrifice and the results from their decision.

Mark Allen, WRS Solutions, LLC

“My toughest decision was to close a business. I had to make a decision that was right for me as well as my employees. The answers don’t come easy, but action is still required. The positive gained was the lessons learned. I grew from the experience.”

Bill Prenatt, Experts 4 Entrepreneurs

“Letting go of control was my toughest decision. I’m 72, and couldn’t continue with the pace and demands of business. I mentioned my intention to step down at a recent board meeting and many associates stepped into various positions so I could still be involved. It was difficult to do it, but I learned that letting go opens other opportunities. Similarly, the partners weren’t aware of how much I contributed until they got involved.”

Angie Monko, Harmony Harbor Coaching

“I put in long hours and wear a lot of hats in my business. I don’t get to clock out at 5pm on Friday, and I don’t have a guaranteed paycheck to rely on. Joining a networking organization helped balance business and taught me more of what I needed to know. The ultimate lessons I learned is about giving to others, fulfilling their needs and helping them grow.”

Don Guenther, Hockey Valet

“The biggest sacrifice is time and sleep. Many entrepreneurs have a day job, so they give up sleep to research, develop business plans and to build. It takes away from family time. The positive results is the satisfaction that I’ve solved a problem in the world and put a smile on someone’s face.”

Kimberly Moos, Cotton Cuts

“I had to give up on my vision of being the ideal wife and mother—the sports mom, the Pinterest mom, and doing all those great mom and wife things. Instead, I learned how to spend quality time with them and my business without feeling conflicted or stressed.”

Kristen Edens, Kris the Scribbler

“My tough decision was to no longer live with my partner. I was too readily available to their needs—major or minor—and needed to make a change for us all. Read more at Making the Hard Decisions to Preserve Your Quality of Life.

Even though we encounter obstacles and difficult choices, the results from our actions make us all stronger—personally and professionally.

What tough decisions are you contemplating?

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler
A grandparent in business

Why Do We Become Entrepreneurs?

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Sooner or later, you realize that real fulfillment comes only from helping others.  All the rest is just temporary.  – Elie Tahari

Why do you go into business for yourself? When asked, most business owners will tell you:

  • Independence
  • Close to family/care for family
  • Tired of the corporate scene
  • Discovered a needed niche

However, once we get our businesses going and growing, there are undiscovered benefits that emerge. My daughter calls these ‘feel goods’ and as entrepreneurs, we experience plenty. Here are a few from local and not-so-local entrepreneurs:

Robert Arnone, Arnone Chiropractic Clinic

“I enjoy helping people get their lives and health back. It’s very satisfying when my clients tell me they had no success with other doctors or treatments, but my work helped them acquire long sought-after results.”

Stan Jechura, All Safe Inspections

“I enjoy the sense of accomplishment from building a business from the ground up and the knowledge I’ve gained as a business owner. It’s very satisfying when a client thanks me for easing their mind about a house purchase or sale and that my inspections solved a house problem.”

Mark Allen, WRS Solutions, LLC

“My feel good comes from the thrill of creative opportunity. I enjoy problem solving for my clients and helping them discover how they can make a change, which has often led to their own entrepreneurial pursuits.”

Bill Prenatt, Experts 4 Entrepreneurs

“I enjoy seeing the instant results of my accomplishments. Working for myself and having more direct contact with clients makes those results more visible and more satisfying.”

Kristen Edens, Kris the Scribbler

“I feel good when I solve a client’s content problems and save them the time and headache of something they need but don’t have the time for. When they return to me and say ‘that’s perfect for my business,’ or ‘it would have taken me hours to write that’, I know that I have made their life easier. That’s my feel good.”

We become entrepreneurs for many reasons but when we accomplish something that helps our client or solves their problems, that’s the best acknowledgement that we have as business owners.

What are your ‘feel goods’?

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler
A grandparent in business

 

Family First, But…It’s a Fine Line with Work-Life Balance

equilibrist-1831016_1280That’s the problem with putting others first; you’ve taught them you come second–Unknown

Earlier this week, I was on the phone with a client discussing the details about a current project. Near the end of the conversation, she asked when I thought I could get the drafts to her.

My reply, “I’m driving to Ohio tomorrow to accompany my mother to her eye surgery. She’ll need some assistance over the next several days, but I should be able to get you a draft by the end of the week.”

“Oh dear. Thanks for sharing your schedule with me. If you need a few extra days just let me know; family comes first,” she said.

Her concern and offer flattered me. That’s the sort of flexibility, understanding, and appreciation I sought when I went into business for myself. However, health and emergencies are one consideration, but it’s sometimes a fine line between true family first needs and when family wants to come first.

Here are a few of my real-life examples:

  • My mother calls to give me every detail about the Brangelina Divorce—in the middle of a work day.
  • My daughter calls me at 9:34am Monday morning to work on a 24,000 piece puzzle with her.
  • My aunt is going out of town and wants me to house- and cat-sit the entire week. She wants me there all day and night, but my schedule does not permit it.
  • My partner needs assistance with activities of daily living. There are tools that can help him accomplish his needs, but he doesn’t like the being old image it conveys.

The work-arounds have been to remind my significant others that I have specific work hours and their particular request must be postponed until I’m on break or done with my activities. This also requires reminding them (mostly my daughter) when my availability hours are, with certain exceptions ex: emergency daycare if the school is under a lice scare.

Examples of when family does and SHOULD come first, and the work-arounds for business:

  • My daughter, granddaughter and I ended up with the 72-hour bug December 26, 2014. Although it was a holiday, entrepreneurs and business owners have the flexibility to step aside for these cases. The problem: we don’t LIKE to. We want to maintain a connection with our business and our clients. See Entrepreneurs NEVER Get Sick!
  • My granddaughter ended up being admitted to the children’s hospital with a severe infection a few weeks ago. I was there to support my daughter and my granddaughter, and the availability of owning my business made me more readily available and flexible for this emergency.
  • My dad suffered a fall that left him with severe brain damage December 8, 2009. Until his death in 2015, my mother spent all her days in the ICU with him, uncertain he would live or die. She fell into depression, but I was able to visit her monthly to provide comfort, reassurance, and to handle the onslaught of bills, doctor appointments, and pesky neighbors and relatives. I discovered that this was ideal work time for me because focusing on a project deadline helped me to cope with everything going on around me.

Yet as business owners, we struggle to find a balance. When we’re sick, we have difficulties giving in to the requirement to put everything on hold until we get better. Family has their own needs that push us one way or the other. Teaching them and ourselves where our boundaries are helps to define when family does come first verses when family wants to come first. Your definition will be different from mine, but we need to remind them and ourselves that we come first too.

That’s where true balance begins.

PS: I turned in the client’s project the day after mom’s surgery.

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler
A grandparent in business

Making the hard decisions to Preserve Your Quality of Life

headache-1472830_1280Take a look at your priorities and your values. Spend major time with major influences and minor time with minor influences. — Jim Rohn

Part of the entrepreneurial dream is to work from home. For the home office to be successful, however, requires family training and a rigid schedule for the business owner. It’s easier said than done and I admire those who can effectively communicate this to their family.

I haven’t been as successful—until recently. When my daughter and granddaughter moved in, there was the initial joy of having them at home. After a few weeks, the excitement waned. Instead of answering business calls, I received Honey-Do calls from Mom, my daughter, and my partner. Because of my at-home proximity, any one of them felt they could enter my work zone at any time.

I tried to balance everyone but discovered I was becoming an activity director, problem-solver, and childcare supplier. When my partner suffered an at-work injury that almost cost him his life, I slipped into the role as caregiver. While I was unknowingly enabling their behaviors, my business was degenerating to hobby-only status.

Something needed to change, but what?

For 2 years, I explored options: I worked several days a week at a friend’s house until her grandson moved in. I spent time at coffee shops or libraries, but internet service wasn’t reliable and the hive of activity was too distracting. I explored co-working spaces in the region—and enjoyed the energizing environment—but it conflicted with my need for quiet and solitude. On the home front, I realized I was one of those people who would go crazy having their spouse home all the time after retiring.

According to Jim Rohn’s article, How to Deal with the Negative Influences in Your Life, “Your associations should move you forward, not impede your progress.”

It was hard to admit my family was impeding my progress, but I needed to disassociate from them. As mentioned in the article:

This is not an easy decision, nor something you should take lightly, but in some cases it might be essential. You might just have to make the hard choice not to let certain negative influences affect you anymore. It could be a choice that preserves the quality of your life.

I needed to preserve the quality of my life.tree-779827_1920

The night I made the announcement was very difficult. Several emotions rushed around the table, with each person denying they were a part of the problem.

The results:

My business is back to being a business. I have a dedicated schedule and turn off my personal cell phone and alerts while at work. I check in with family in the morning and evening, and text messages midday.

My partner: he’s modifying his day and habits according to his health. He’s purchased tools to help with activities of daily living.

My daughter: she’s a bit tougher to convince, but she no longer prefaces every call, text message or email in tears or on a rant.

My granddaughter continues to be a delight and a great source of inspiration and energy.

Mom: as with my other family members, she’s the inspiration behind the Grandparents in Business blog and unknowingly provides several quotes and stories.

For me: I’ve recognized I work best in an extreme quiet zone with zero distraction, which meant moving into my own studio apartment. With coaching from Angie Monko of Harmony Harbor Coaching, I’ve identified my true self and have learned to set boundaries and stick with them.

These were difficult, necessary decisions, but no one has suffered and we are all improving. They were lessons we all needed.

What hard decisions did you have to make? Or, are you on the verge of making a life-advancing decision? Share below and with others who need to preserve their quality of life.

Kristen Edens
A grandparent in business

Don’t Wait until You’re Sick to Take Time Off

Think of it as a vacation—Judy King, my mother

resized-catYep. That’s me on November 20, 2016, snuggled by my kitty who rarely left my side during the affliction.

My weekend started out ideal: time off with my partner, enjoying the outdoors together, having a bonfire, a peaceful dinner together, a movie…

Sometime during our Saturday woodfest (clearing out the fallen trees and brush from our property), I started to feel a little off. I brushed off the ill-feeling as imaginary or possibly driving myself a little too hard but still hydrated myself and limited food intake on the precautionary side.

It didn’t work. By Sunday morning, I had a bad case of the Creeping Crud. When my mother called in, she responded with one of her favorite lines, “I know you hate being sick, Krissy, but think of it as a vacation.”

My typical reply, “This is NOT how I would spend a vacation!”

Earlier this year, I wrote, Entrepreneurs NEVER Get Sick! The message at that time was how to take care of yourself and business when you do get sick. The message today is to take time for self-care to limit sick days. Yes, there will be days we’ll get sick, but the more you take care of yourself now, the shorter the duration and severity your sick days will be in the long run.

Just as with starting a business, many people believe that self-care and good health must start at an early age. The lesson I have learned as an exercise physiologist working with cardiovascular patients and as a business owner are similar:

The time to start is NOW!resized-climb

Being a business owner makes it extra critical to begin healthy habits as you pursue your entrepreneurial journey. Here’s why:

  • You’ll have the physical, mental, and emotional well-being to make it through the highs and lows of running a business.
  • You’ll have more energy to keep up with the demands of business ownership.
  • A nutritious diet will fuel your body better than a not-so-healthy diet. (I’m not one to go to dietary extremes: I really love chocolate!)
  • Varying your exercise routine is as important to creativity and free-time as is not getting caught in a rut in your business: run a treadmill indoors during uncooperative weather; head outside as often as possible. Same with bicycles and stepping machines (find a school stadium and climb those stairs!)
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch! Ideal for mental focus and clarity. This is the most overlooked, and easiest form of exercise and very few people stretch other than that first morning stretch as we get out of bed. Take 10 to 15 minutes a day to stretch your major muscle groups. Combine your stretching with meditation and get a 2-for-1 bonus. Remember to stretch your shoulders, neck and back as well; most of us spend a lot of time at our computers—this will help minimize strain in those areas. Who cares if you can’t touch your toes—you’re still getting the same stretch as those that can.
  • A daily exercise break offers an opportunity to step away from the office and clear the mind. You’ll find ideas and solutions pop into your head faster than stewing over a computer screen.

While a blog or e-newsletter takes a while to gain traction with your readers, your body and mind will benefit from exercise every day. A daily exercise routine is the perfect way to keep from going viral!

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler

Grandma(pa) to the Rescue: How to Conduct Business from the Emergency Room

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What’s taking them so long?
-Ziva E-M, my granddaughter

 

 

 

If you get hurt, I’m not spending the night in the ER!
–Daily family motivational speech by Judy King, my mother

For a moment in time, life, the universe, and business are cruising along. Business is gaining traction. Projects are rolling in. Family is stable. Things are as they should be—or as we envision them to be.

Then the storm hits:

  • The car needs a major fix.
  • The computer chooses to malfunction during a critical project.
  • A family member has a health emergency

The week began with my granddaughter not her normal self. The energetic, smiling Ziva had become restless, tired, and easily moved to tears. By the time she was naming body aches and having potty accidents, we knew something was wrong.

I was on my way home from the Startup Connection in St. Louis when my daughter called.

“What should I do Mom?” (Side note: Urgent Care closed 10 minutes ago).

“Take her to the ER.”

Can you guess the next question?

“Will you come with me?”

Minutes later, we checked into the ER. After 5 hours of waiting, answering medical questions, and soothing an ailing 4 year old with a 103˚ fever and a severe UTI, it was decided that she should be admitted to the children’s hospital—at 3am.

Despite the timing for these incidents, which is never convenient, positive bonuses resulted from the experience:

Family bonus:

  • My daughter sought my comfort and counsel during the experience.
  • She sincerely thanked me for my WISDOM (yes, wisdom!) and willingness to accompany her.
  • We shared memories and stories during the agonizing wait for answers.
  • She confessed additional sins from her past which at the time would have been grounds for solitary confinement, but now were the source of shock and laughter.

Getting Ziva to cooperate with hospital staff was another challenge (as was soothing my daughter), however a little crazy grandparent innovation solved the problem.

 Entertaining the grandchild bonus:

  • Refusal to wear the hospital gown was greeted with laughter and acceptance when I pretended to dance with a gown-ghost.
  • Three bites of her coveted grape pop sickle motivated Ziva to eat her sandwich.
  • Challenging her to video call (with my cell phone) with her non-dominant hand helped keep her IV-locked dominant arm straight.
  • On day 2, I brought a few items from home: yarn, buttons, crochet blocks, quilt scraps, and coloring tools. We experimented with ways to use the tools with one hand, and explored adding toes to the exercises. We worked in educational moments with counting, sorting, and shape recognition.

Business bonus:

  • Ziva helped sort business cards by letter recognition or area code.
  • I gained three blog ideas from the experience.
  • The long hours in a hospital room were the perfect opportunity for follow-ups, business correspondences, and business development.

Add a little self-care: sleep, bathing, and food (in no particular order) and the situation was manageable.

With a little ingenuity and willingness to adapt, progress was made. The lesson learned: whatever storm comes your way, your routine will cruise again.

How do you cope during the disruptions? Share below and share with others in the know!

Kristen Edens
A grandparent in business