Overwhelmed Much? 3 Strategies That Help Simplify

I was going through some of our blog posts recently looking for a post to maybe repurpose for a client that needs more content and wanted something different from their normal topic. I came across a post I did about a year ago about how running a business is hard. It was a pretty good post if I do say so myself. It struck me at how we (B&A) are in a different place in the business but at the same time in the same place. Because running a business is hard. Still.

One of the key things that post talked about was being transparent with the business and letting people see behind the scenes, good and bad. So much good has happened over the year and we have amazing clients that we are doing amazing work for and that’s all fabulous. But with all that good comes being overwhelmed sometimes. It made me think about how overwhelmed I can get and my reaction to overwhelm is to be tired. All. The. Time. Tired enough that a few weeks ago I blew off work in the middle of the day (I apparently called in sick) and took a nap. And then felt guilty about it. And then I was overwhelmed by the guilt, hence more tired and then overwhelmed even more. And it all turned into a vicious cycle. Now, what kinda crap is that?

There are so many things in my business that contribute to this overwhelm. Too many emails, perceived client demands (that I probably make up in my head), to-do lists, social media, social engagements, setting goals, meeting said goals, success, failure, meetings, strategies, business models… Should I keep going? Did I mention too many emails? This is the vein of my existence yet the goal of my ego.

Enough Already!

I’m over it. The being overwhelmed. I’m guessing you are too. Let’s all make a pack together. We are going to implement these 3 simple steps in reducing our overwhelmed brains that will also help reduce all this crappy stress.

  1. Unsubscribe from Emails: All those emails that you get that you save for later, skip over or delete altogether. Get rid of them altogether so they don’t even hit your box. I sign up for these guys all the time with all the good intention of reading them and then I just don’t for whatever reason. I’m really bad about saving them because I’m going to read them later when I have time. Reality check: I never have time. I’m not saying get rid of all of them. There are a few that I religiously read every time they hit my box. Here are a few that I read and highly recommend: The Middle Finger Project (warning if you like sugar coating don’t bother), Melissa Cassera (I totally have a girl crush on her) and Tara Gentile (she just knows her shit and like Star Trek). I do watch Marie Forleo and Carrie Green’s videos because that’s easy for me to listen to in the car. We sometimes send out emails and you should keep on that list really ;). Sorry I had too, it’s in my contract.
  2. Hire an Assistant: Or a cleaning lady, or a copywriter. Whoever it is you need help from. You guys all know Jenn around here. She writes for this blog and helps me exponentially. She runs all of our social media (among a lot of other things) and that was the best decision I ever made. Because now it actually gets done. Period. Best. Decision. Yeah, your going to have to pay for it and sometimes money is tight. I totally get it. I’m in the spot a lot. But trust me when I say you need help. You need someone that is going to do that crap you don’t want too or don’t have the skills to do. I totally have the skills to run our social media, I just don’t want too. So, I either pay someone to do it for me or it just doesn’t get done. I’d rather it get done. If you need help with something, get it. You don’t have to go with the most expensive option just something.
  3. Take the Nap: And don’t feel guilty about it. That’s just down right ridiculous. I tell people all the time there is no such thing as a marketing emergency. No one is dying because your sales copy isn’t whipped out in 10 minutes. I have learned that I’m a late afternoon and early evening worker. I get more creative work done between the hours of 4pm and 7pm than I do all day. Those are my writing and graphics hours. So if I try to do it in the middle of the afternoon and I’m overwhelmed or tired I’m just going to have to re-do it again because it’ll be crap. I might as well take a nap and do it right when I’m more refreshed and in my zone. That’s just me. I find everyone is different and your best times might be early in the morning (I still do have a conspiracy theory about morning people but I digress). Find your zone and then just take a nap already if you want.

What do you think? Will these tips help with our overwhelm? What are some of your strategies to not feel so overwhelmed all the time? Obviously, email overload is the big one for me but what is your hot button? Leave me a comment and let’s work on reducing our overwhelm together.

Things Go Wrong… 5 Tips to Still Rock It Out

OMG! NOT AGAIN!

How can this be happening… AGAIN?

Are you kidding me?

WTF?

I know I am not the only one who has ever said these… repeatedly… sometimes it seems like I say them every day. Please tell me I am not the only one. You have had these moments… right? Shew! I feel so much better now. Actually, I am gonna let you in on a little secret about me… when I have THESE days I feel so much better after a long cry. (OOOHHH it’s not taboo to talk about crying now I hope).

Anyway… recently I had a fuckin meltdown because NOTHING was going right in my personal or professional life. I was feeling inadequate all the way around. NOT GOOD! I do believe that if you are trying to run a household, juggle two jobs AND two kids, something is bound to go wrong at least once a day. Well, mine hit several at a time and all within 24 hours.

End of the school year. ‘Won’t work worth a damn’ internet service. Can’t watch videos for B&A Book Club because of said crappy internet. Causing your boss more work. Starting a part time job. Not getting client work done faster. House looking like a tornado came through weeks ago and still is trashed. Ok I think you get the picture… or do you need more? No, I am done… for now ;).

If you feel me Tweet: Got #99Problems but does anyone really care?

Ok let me get to the fuckin’ point… we all have these days. Sometimes they are completely out of our control and there is NOTHING you can do about it at the time. But, what you do is what will define you. You can either go sulk in the corner and complain about it on Facebook, Twitter and to your friends for days on end or you can just roll with it (Tip #1). I tend to just let it all pile up and then have a meltdown (don’t ever knock the healing power of a good cry). I swear I feel 90% better after a good long cry (Tip #2) and then all you have left to do is just roll with what has been dealt to you at that particular time. You pick yourself back up, blow a kiss at your reflection in the mirror and go get shit done!

Business won’t get done while you bitch and whine and complain about it. Put your big girl panties on and OWN IT (Tip #3)! If you caused more work for said boss (ahem… Sorry Ronii!), just apologize and move on to the next item on your to-do-list and ROCK IT. Client work doesn’t wait for you to keep beating yourself up. And, yes, electronics suck and don’t always work when you are expecting them to so you take a break. Go sit out on the deck with a glass of wine to calm the stress that is building up and adding to your breaking point (Tip #4). Go talk to your best friend (you know she always makes you feel better because of her quirky attitude and AWESOME personality…ahem…again Ronii that’s you – five). Just walk away from the problem for a few and come back renewed and ready to take on the world!

Don’t ever let your feelings of inadequacy or technology crappin’ out be what defines you. MAKE the actions on how you deal with these little hiccups in life and business be what defines you! So are you going to continue to beat yourself up…OR… roll with the punches? Tell me your ‘shit hits the fan’ story. I bet we can relate and pull together, together (wait, that looks weird but oh well I’m rolling with it).

It’s My Birthday! 29 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me (+ 8 more)

Well, actually tomorrow is my birthday. So in celebration of my 29th birthday I’m listing the 29 things (in particular order) you probably didn’t know about me. Plus 8 more… because I'm actually 37 this year. I’m departing from our traditional ‘let’s learn about marketing and business’ post and giving you a sneak peek into the crazy mind of a creative entrepreneur/human. I get tired of the ‘let’s learn something’ format and like to hear about humans and can only assume that you like sometimes too, hence my shameless self promotion on my birthday because let’s face it, it’s really all about me up in here.

  1. I hate the idea of a bucket list. Why can't we all just live our lives and do things we want to do.
  2. I want to learn how to surf.
  3. Speaking of learning stuff, I want to learn to sail too.
  4. I have this paralyzing fear of failure. And I'm a perfectionist, which is a deadly combination for a business owner. Hence no products yet like I promised. I’m trying to break through my upper level limit. 
  5. In the holy trinity of people in business models (the finder, minder and grinder), I'm a minder and love to strategize and think, which generally leads to over thinking. And I don't really link/want to implement or sell. 
  6. I'm a terrible "networker." It's really hard for me to meet new people.
  7. Most people probably know this, but I'm terrible with names. I recognize you and can probably tell you your birthday but I can't remember your name to save my life.
  8. I hate the concept of hustle. It bothers me that it's meaning is deceiving yet in business every guru talks about how you have to hustle as in work your ass off for 90+ hours a week. I'm tired. And I'm tired of working my ass off 90+ hours a week, hence starting my own business.
  9. My favorite restaurant is Rue de Jean. It's so indulgent.
  10. I love to go to the movies and have a huge tub of popcorn with lots of butter and a diet soda. Ironic, I know.
  11. Even though I'm a huge WVU fan, I did not go there or graduate from there. But it's the representation of the state.
  12. I'm a couch potato. And I love watching TV. It's relaxing to me.
  13. When it comes to TV though, I can’t commitment. Which is why I don’t watch shows like The Voice or American Idol. That’s just too much commitment for one week let alone a whole season.
  14. I'm extremely loyal. If I form a bond with you, you better be prepared for "till death due us part" because you will have me forever whether you like it or not. But I will always be there for you and will do anything within my power to help you.
  15. But once I'm done with you, I'm done. No confrontation, no explanation, no apology. Just done. A trait I get from my dad.
  16. I hate confrontation.
  17. I don't drink nearly as much as our readers probably think I do. One or 2 a week, maybe.
  18. My family is like the Cleavers. I'd rather hang with them than anyone else. And when friends talk about their dysfunctional/fighting family, I just can't relate because mine is awesome.
  19. I'm a thinker and analyze everything and everyone. I want to understand what drives peoples’ behaviors and decisions. I love psychology. A trait I get from my mom.
  20. My family in WV calls me Ronii Anne. But my middle name is Leeanne, which is my mom and my godmother's name together.
  21. My mom told my brother and me once that, "Brett was the smart one and Ronii was the pretty one." I’m still in therapy over that (not really).
  22. I'm the fuck up of the family. And I'm totally not (completely) a fuck up. I have a Master’s Degree for goodness sake. Just goes to show you how sane my family is.
  23. I love to eat! I love food and I love lots of it. I’m not one of those girls that picks at her food when you go out. I’m the kind of girl that licks the plate after I eat everything on it. The only thing that saves me from being 400 pounds is that I love to work out too and workout almost every day.
  24. While speaking of things I love. I LOVE to sleep. And its no secret that I’m a night owl and I think that early morning people have a conspiracy against us. I’m not one of those over zealous people that say, “I only need 4 hours a sleep a night.” Bullshit. That’s your exhaustion trying to convince you that you get enough. If I had my way I would get between 9 and 10 every night and sleep in until 10 every day.
  25. I’m a really slow reader because I read every word on the page but my comprehension is amazing.
  26. I counted and I have 5 books started and not finished yet. That’s just what I do.
  27. I love the Twilight Saga and I’m Team Edward. And one time on the way back to Charleston from Raleigh, I missed my exit and ended up in Wilmington, NC because I was so engrossed into listing to the book.
  28. I really might be the crazy cat lady. While I only have 1 cat, I’m freakin’ obsessed with her and she’s kinda mean. She probably reflects my personality perfectly.
  29. My favorite color is red.
  30. I have never broken a bone. Or at least that I went to the doctor and they told me it was broken. 
  31. I’ve never had a cavity and love to go the dentist. My dentist in SC is the son of my childhood dentist in WV (who my parents still go too).
  32. You would think that because I love to eat I would love to cook as well. Nope. Not the case. I only cook out of necessity.
  33. Confession: I really don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.
  34. I have been an extra in a couple of TV shows.
  35. I minored in French in college and really can’t speak a lick of it anymore. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
  36. I have a part time job at Curves and coach women on health, wellness and fitness. I’m a multi-passionate person.
  37. The lead singer to Tonic hit on my one time after a concert at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. That was pretty cool.

Here's my birthday wish: vanilla cake with buttercream frosting and a drizzle of chocolate ganache with a glass ob bubbly (of course). If you could deliver that to... Kidding. My birthday wish? Leave us comment with something we don't know about you. What is that awkward thing that I'm totally going to make fun of you for? Because I probably do that same awkward thing too and probably do a lot of people. I can't wait to hear all about you too. Don't let me be the only one here sharing. That would be awkward.

BE CONFIDENT! Don’t just think you are confident.

Be Confident in your Communication and Stand Out from the Crowd.png

Are you confident? Or do you think you are confident?

Believe it or not there is a difference. And I am just figuring this shit out… in my 30’s of all ages. I guess it is better late than never, right? (I don’t sound very confident there do I? See I am still working on this confidence thing.)

In today’s world, T.V., magazines and every other social stimulus out there are telling us how we should look and feel. It really breaks down your confidence doesn’t it? It does mine. Women especially have a much harder time with this. We are constantly thinking we aren’t pretty enough or we aren’t thin enough or our hair isn’t the right color or… seriously the list goes on and on and on… Even men are starting to exude less confidence.

WAKE UP PEOPLE AND STOP LISTENING TO THE SUPERFICIAL WORLD OF SOCIETY!!!

Sorry, I get a little out of control sometimes! I hate feeling inadequate, like I don’t measure up to what society thinks I should be. And THANK GOD I don’t have little girls. I wouldn’t know how to curb this nonsense to make them feel confident, when I can’t feel confident myself. Now I will say that the older I have gotten, the more confident I have become. I was always quiet and just went through the motions of everyday life, not standing out, or wanting to be recognized… but DAMNIT I want to be noticed and recognized now.

This is where the difference comes into to play. Don’t think you are confident! ACT CONFIDENT!!

  • Walk with your head up and shoulder’s squared! Good posture and looking ahead reeeeeaks CONFIDENCE!
  • Don’t second guess your decisions people! Stand firm on what you price your products or services. Talk like you mean it when telling people your decisions; don’t make it sound like a question.
  • Make eye contact and smile! You would be amazed at the respect you earn from just this alone. You will exude the confidence you need to close that deal or get that client.

So what is my point if you haven’t figured it out by now? If you act confident, whether you truly feel it or not, you will be confident. Eventually it will rub off… even on yourself, and you will start believing in yourself and your confidence. Being confident is a must when running a business. You have to look and act like you know what you are doing in order to grab those clients. Confidence plays a big part in closing that deal. Customers, clients and peers will respect you more if you have that confidence to say “Yes, I am a marketing expert. Yes, I can help you. This is what I can do for you. Yes I am worth $125 per hour.” You catching my drift!  So go on out there with your head held high and a smile on your face and…

BE CONFIDENT! Don’t just think you are confident.

Jenn.png
 

It Is What It Is… Or is It?

It is what it is… if there is one saying that I ABSOLUTELY hate in the world today is this one… It is what it is! NO IT BLOODY HELL IS NOT! Sorry! I get a little angry when I hear that saying. Even when I say it, I get all fired up and start cussing and shit! Ooops… I did it again. Isn’t that a Brittney Spears song from when she was cool? But I digress.

Is it really what it is? I don’t think so. I think that's a cop out for people that are afraid of change or don’t know how to fix whatever it is in their life that needs fixin’ (that’s my southern girl coming out).

Whether you are in a job that you can’t stand, a relationship that is no longer working or your four year old cries all the time when he doesn’t get his way (YES that is my child. My god that child seems to cry all the damn time. He has cried from the time he entered this world). Yes, I spoil the crap out of him because he is my baby but does he have to cry all the time when he doesn’t get his way. It is what it is… right? Ugh. Sorry got off on a tangent there. Where was I… oh yeah, whatever that little thing is that is bothering you…FIX IT! It is not what it is! People change, jobs change, environments change… it is ok if you change too. Don’t let it be… it is what it is. If you can fix it, fix it!

Now how does this apply to your marketing you ask? Do you ever say 'it is what it is' about your marketing campaign? (Don’t you hate it when someone answers a question with a question?) Don’t let your marketing be… well… it is what it is. If it isn’t working, change it. It’s your business, right? Now remember don’t change your brand message or story, people identify you by that. Keep your brand your anchor (don’t know what we mean, check out this article Ronii did for SheOwnsIt.com). But change up the rest of your marketing if it has gotten to the 'it is what it is' point. Add a freebie for your new customers, like we did with our new ebook. (You can sign up and get it right over there <-. I know. Don’t judge me).

Change your marketing around. Don’t use the same ones all the time, particularly if it doesn’t work. I give you permission to break up with that old, out-dated marketing that doesn’t work anyway. That feels good doesn’t it? Like a weight has been lifted. You know you could reach new customers by trying different marketing, right? So go out there and don’t let your marketing or your life be… IT IS WHAT IT IS! It doesn’t have to be.

Is your marketing 'it is what it is'? What are you going to do to change it? Let us know in the comments below.

xoxo,

Decisions

"Life is the sum of all your choices." – Albert Camus

I don’t think this could have been said better. And it’s eerily true. Every decision you have ever made in your life has landed you in the exact spot you are in now. Any situation, outfit, environment, or mindset that you are currently in is because of the choices you made, either today, yesterday, or any day pretty much between when you were 16 and the present. Everything you say and do is the result of a decision. Making decisions is about realizing goals and utilizing the most beneficial path to achieve them – whether it’s the fastest path, the cheapest path, or the path filled with champagne and expletives. 

Decisions can be a fun thing, even if they are risky or tasking or dangerous. Because making a decision means you are essentially at a fork in the road. You could…continue to do things the same, or you could choose to do it a different way. Or two different ways. Or three. Regardless – the fact that you are faced with a decision, whether you brought it on yourself or you were forced to do so – means you have the opportunity to change things or do them differently. So many people are scared of making decisions. But decisions are your chance to turn a challenge into an opportunity. And they are necessary in business and in life.

A lot goes into decisions. Listing the options, weighing the outcomes, entertaining your intuition, and of course, making a choice. Despite all of this heavy work, my best advice would be to implement your decision with joy and conviction. Whatever you’ve decided to do; do it 100%. Don’t be a sissy. 

We covered a ton of stuff during our last Champagne Thursday celebration. Lots of topics, both fun and serious, resulted in us having to make decisions about the business. Decisions about business development, about what to give away to our stellar clients and followers, what our next white paper would be on, and also that extra dry champagne was, in fact, our champagne of choice. And we are thrilled to see where the decisions take us. Even small decisions can have a huge impact on your business, and we are proof of that. B&A is the result of hundreds, maybe thousands of decisions made by all of us at one point or another (admittedly, some of these were made under the influence). We are pleased with our progress and plagued with new sets of decisions every day. We talk about them. We drink over them. We weigh the potential outcomes. And then we decide what the best course of action is, for us and our clients, and do it 100%. 

Don’t be a sissy. Face your decisions head on and take your business by the horns. You won’t be disappointed. 

What if...

I have a confession. Apparently I have a lot of these. But this one I'm really nervous about. You probably already know this but I'm the new President of the Charleston American Marketing Association. Well, actually I start July 1st. But its here. And I'm FREAKED out!

What if I'm terrible at it? What if people don't like what I do? What if no one shows up for meetings? What if it all falls apart? What if... What if... What if...

I know I'm being irrational about the whole thing but welcome to the chaos that floats around in my head. I have said for year that I'm like a great Monet painting. From afar its beautiful and makes sense but when you get up close its just a chaotic mess. That's me, really. I mean, I know I'm not going to blow the whole thing up. Well, I might... With fun.

I joke. But that's not really a joke. I've decided that what I want in life is to have fun and work with people I like. I have implemented this philosophy at B&A with Champagne Thursdays (insert shameless plug here: go sign up for our Champagne Thursday Inspirations and you just might get something fun. It's over there <---. Go do it now. I'll wait. You can always come back and finish this in a sec. But I digress.) We have fun on Champagne Thursdays AND get a lot done. I'm taking this leadership style and translating it into this new leadership role at CAMA. I mean what good is doing great work if you can't have fun doing it?

I know what you are thinking, "Ronii, you're crazy and freakin' out for nothing." I really appreciate your confidence in me. And you are getting a rare glimpse into my not so put together head (that's scary, huh?). But we all have one somewhere inside us. Help me out here. What do you freak out about? Make me feel better that I'm not the only one out here that freaks out about things.

Selling Life Balance

“MOM, I’M HUNGRY!” “MOM, I’M THIRSTY!” “MOM, I WANT THE COMPUTER”. Every time I am trying to get some work done, this is what I hear. Trying to balance working from home and raising 2 boys at the same time is close to impossible. You have the whole world trying to sell life balance, but what the hell is life balance anyway? How do you achieve it? When you find out… please let me know!

Having children and working full-time (or 3 jobs like me) and running a household, can put some strain on your life. You have a husband or a wife, a boss, and kids wanting your time and energy. By 6pm you're ready to crash, but you still have dinner dishes to do, a baseball game to go to, and a blog post to write (Ronii is a slave driver about this. Love you!). Not to mention, kids have school the next day and laundry still needs to be done, but you have to prepare for a conference call with a client about brochures, a website or a document you are working on. You are basically working to find some sort of balance with work, while trying to balance life.

Where is the balance? If you own your own company you work round the clock to make it successful. Is that balance? No! It’s called burning yourself out. Having 2 active little boys that play sports and have to run here and there for school and sports and friends’ houses… well, that can burn a mother out. Now put having all those things with your children to contend with and a job, or 2, or 3, that has you sitting at the computer all day or standing on your feet behind a cash register for hours… OH, and don’t forget the house that needs cleaned and meals to be made and laundry to be done… WHERE IS THE BALANCE?

I manage what I can. Only you can find your life balance. Bosses, friends, husbands, children… they all try to sell you on life balance, but I believe that is just for their own agenda. Only you can sell yourself life balance. So go out there and sell it to yourself.

~Jenn

Be Awesome

Not boring. Don’t be boring. Boring is….easy. It’s lame! The worst part is, anyone can be boring. The whole world is boring! Especially the business world and the people in it. Boring status updates. Boring newsletters. Boring advertisements. Boring clothes, uggh!

Wake the hell up! This is LIFE people. The opportunity for approximately 100 years of pure awesomeness, or what COULD be pure awesomeness if you let it. For most of us there is that 20-something confusion before the suit and tie, the 30-something doubt if you’re on the right path, or that 40-something regret that you haven’t (yet) fulfilled your life dream. You’ve got air in your lungs and a beat in your chest. Do something about it. Be awesome!!

An excerpt: “Two roads diverged in the woods… and I took the road less traveled. And it HURT man! ROCKS! THORNS! And GLASS! That shit broke! NOT COOL ROBERT FROST.” – Kid President

So, what if there really were two paths at your 20-something confusion before the suit and tie?  Forget traveled or less traveled. Did you choose the path that leads to awesome? Are you on it now? Are you getting out of bed in the morning wearing awesome pajama pants? There’s a quote that reads, “Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says ‘Oh shit! She’s up!’” Now, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, nor does it apply only to women. This simply suggests that you’re a BAMF and you’re about to go about your day bring a totally awesome BAMF.  Positivity and creativity go hand in hand, and both are incredibly empowering.  What will you create, share, or discover that will make this world more awesome?

I don’t know everything. I’m at my 20-something confusion but I don’t ever see myself wearing a suit and tie (figuratively). But I’m navigating through life, work, and my late-twenties by making a conscious effort to be awesome each and every day. Call it a new leaf. Call it whatever you have to until you realize that you deserve to feel awesome at all times, and others deserve someone awesome to inspire and motivate them. Go on with your bad self!

Be Part of the Solution

Everyday my commute to work promises me the perpetual pleasure of having to turn left into rush hour traffic that backs up at a light about a half-mile down. It’s pretty shitty. Last week I waited at the end of my road, with my blinker on, for 7 minutes. S-E-V-E-N. My being on time lies in the hands of strangers letting you into a long line of waiting traffic, that is, IF the oncoming traffic is clear (which is seldom the case). But, ultimately, someone lets you pull out into the line. And because that usually happens (when usually is not the case, the resulting scenario generally entails some kind of death-defying Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift maneuver, which I have pretty much perfected), I tend to let people into traffic ahead of me. I know, I know, how kind, you’re thinking. This is still all very new for me, being from the motherland of ignorant and impatient drivers, so don’t go thinking I’ll let you try to cut me off and NOT run you off the road. Deep down, I’m still a New Yorker. 

ANYWAY – I’ve started my own version of passing on the kindness or paying it forward or however you want to refer to it, via my commute to work. I don’t volunteer anywhere or make charitable donations (unless Goodwill counts? But we all know that’s just us getting our crap out of the house, let’s be real), but lately I’ve started to recycle and compost and have had a few opportunities to help others out with things like setting up events and needing rides and borrowing things, and something about it is making me feel really positive, despite my occasional road rage. 

So even though I’ve spent fifteen minutes waiting to get that half-mile to the light, I always make it a point to let at least one person out in front of me, because chances are they’ve been waiting as long as I have. I guess there are people that always have practiced this but it’s sort of new for me and it makes me feel good – 99% of the time the people make a big effort to wave or thank you somehow and most of the time you travel with that person for a good portion of the remainder of your commute. 

I’d like to think I started a chain reaction the other day. The person that I let out had let someone else out, and then a few roads down, the person that they let out had let someone else out. And I wondered if I had never let that guy out to begin with, would it have never happened? Did everyone pick up the positive vibes together on the way to work? Was I the last straw of that guy’s patience before he pulled a Tokyo Drift, but came to the rescue and let him out and saved his day? Perhaps I’m getting a little carried away about it, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can prevent Tokyo Drift type situations and not even know it. 

While my example is via my commute to work, this can happen anywhere. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change. You can make it a normal part of your everyday grind, or you can do it once a week (whatever “it” is for you). If everyone woke up and decided, “Today I’m going to be as fucking awesome as possible,” do you think we would notice a shift in the midst? Tomorrow, wake up and be as ridiculously awesome as possible. And pass it on. Try it again the next day too. And stay tuned for the follow-up blog post on why being awesome is so awesome (seriously). 

~Coco

Baby's Got Sauce!

If you’ve got it, flaunt it! I’ve got it. I know Ronii has it. And other cool people, too. My mom has it, and one of my really good friends. But, just like Oreos and wine and quad espressos, too much of it is a bad thing.

Confidence. It sells. Confidence radiates how sexy, smart, and poised you are, and can therefore supersede even the most cunning sales pitch. Granted, what you’re saying to a potential client is likely important, the cold truth is, what they’re seeing can subconsciously make up their minds before you even open your mouth. Facial expressions, smiling, hand gestures, the tone of your voice, and general body language will give you away the moment you walk through a door.

Use this to your advantage!

Back in my college days (feels like forever ago to me), I can remember a specific conversation I had with one of my professors. We had to do one of those exercises where you make a presentation to the class, and afterward, you would get critiqued by the teacher. I remember telling him that I would always be nervous speaking in front of people, no matter how confident I was in my subject matter. I admitted that I could feel my voice wavering as I spoke, and even as I was getting comfortable giving presentations, my heart would pound incessantly.  His response resonated with me forever.

He said that, in fact, it was one of the best presentations he had seen that semester, and shared with me this advice: Nobody in the audience can feel my heartbeat, and nobody could hear my voice wavering…as far as the audience was concerned, because of the way that I carried myself and the confidence I had in my research and myself, I was indeed the master of the Hawaiian Punch marketing plan (there was a reason I chose this subject…although it escapes me at the moment).

So instead of focusing on selling an idea, product, or service, try shifting your focus on the “vibe” you exude and the personality you bring to your business. Chances are, this client has seen or heard of whatever it is you are proposing. But what they haven’t seen before is your sauce. Your tenacity, your conviction. A certainty in your abilities and your strengths that only you know and only you can convey. How you put the heart…and backbone…into your business.

Good luck! 

Big Year Ahead

As a new intern here at Bartles & Associates and a senior beginning my very last semester of my undergraduate career, I have found my mind constantly racing. The typical questions continue to surface. What do I want to do once I graduate? Where do I want to be? Should I just hop on a plane and see where traveling takes me? Sitting in my very first class of the semester, my professor looked at us and delivered a wakeup call sounding louder than a bull horn. It’s time to actively start chasing after my goals full speed. 

It is inherently important to remain motivated in the plans you have laid in front of yourself. Ronii recently laid a solid foundation for planning strategies in the “2012 Marketing Planning” blog post so I will focus on the motivation behind its importance. Someone told me once, “if you do not have any idea where you want to be, you will not be anywhere for long. Self motivation is key.” Every individual will hold different tactics in regards to pushing themselves through demanding situations, but a similarity that is universal in getting the job done centers around self-actualization. Where am I at? Where do I want to be? How am I going to get there?

This may be presented as a daunting task when the ever present overwhelming feeling surfaces. Take heart, because if you have created a plan chasing after a goal then you are already a step ahead of the game. It is a new year after all, so tap into your inner motivational pushers and grab success by the horns. With that being said, I am excited about the experiences I will receive at B&A and how they will fit into my future goals. I will leave you with a short quote by Johann Gottfried Von Herder for thought.

“Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant. There is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks.”

~Laura

From the upstate of South Carolina, Laura is currently a senior at the College of Charleston working on finishing up her degree in business and arts management. Being a visual artist at heart, hers goals are to contribute her creativity in the field of advertising. While she isn’t buried in the books or behind her sketchpad, Laura enjoys all things athletic, a nice glass of wine, the joys of the food and beverage industry, and the great sport of people watching. 

Hello World ... I'm NOT Perfect!

Strange thing happened this week. We got fired. Yep. It happened. I can come up with all kinds of excuses as to why it wasn't our fault - the client was unhappy with the copy and we didn't write it, the client wanted to work with someone local and we are far away, the client wanted to work with a consultant that specialized in their industry and we are a general marketing firm, the client is bat shit crazy, etc., etc,. etc. You get the point. But it doesn't matter, the fact of the matter is we were FIRED. That wasn't the really strange thing that happened though.

I don't know if you noticed or not from my post last week but I've been feeling sorry for myself here lately. Moi!?!? Yes, me (so, sue me for not always being happy and being a little selfish). And just when I think my world couldn't get any worse, I get the call. YOUR FIRED! Total Donald Trump style too (not really but that doesn't make for an interesting enough story). Are you freakin' kidding me? I don't get fired, I'm Ronii Bartles and nothing I do is ever wrong and I'm PERFECT, which negates me from ever being fired because everyone LOVES me. Apparently, that's not so. Not everyone loves me. Now, I'm devasted.

So here we are (I'm going to say we because I do have a business partner, an associate and an intern to think about) and we are all pissed off and upset. Why? Because its been a shitty week, that's why. And then the strange thing happens. A client Skypes me saying, "are you busy?" Me: "No, what' up?" The client admits to me that they are completely overwhelmed and sad because they can't get caught up and don't know what to do with their business and are just so busy but not making any money so what's the point? I sat down and I took the time to talk with them and admit that as put together as I may seem to everyone on the outside - I'm NOT perfect! I know how they feel more than they even know. I get overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, happy, excited and back to depressed again and that's all in one day. Yeah, everyone on the outside might think that I'm well put together and can handle anything with grace. Well, honestly, Allen has to put up with the crazy me coming home crying because things didn't go according to my "master plan" (picture me using my jazz hands here) and now I'm overwhelmed and stressed and he just has to deal with me upset and crying while I'm making dinner. Boy does Allen have some stories about me not being perfect, but we are going to leave him out of this right now because who are we kidding, I'm perfect!

No one really sees that side but its there because I'm human too. I was really glad I opened up to them about the fact that I'm not as put together as everyone might think and I think they respect me even more for my honesty and openness. That's the thing, this whole business and life thing is about being genuine and honest. Yeah, I'm not perfect (I like bad pop music and Bud Select 55) and, yeah, I got fired this week. But that's ok - it just opens up room in my life for something better to come along.

I want to know, are you perfect? If so, what's the secret and how much will it cost me to find out? If not though, what's your dirty little secret that the world should know. Mine? I'm not perfect. And you know what? Its ok!

~Ronii

The Secret

Surely you’ve heard of it. The film was released in 2006, followed by the book shortly after. After being featured on Oprah, the book nestled into a 146-week long stint on the New York Times Best Seller list. That’s pretty impressive for a self-help book.


If you haven’t heard of it, they offer the film on Netflix. It’s…well, debatable. In a nutshell, author Rhonda Byrne attributes the occurrences of your life, goals, and general direction to the law of attraction. The law of attraction is said to work by attracting into a person’s life experiences, situations, events, and people that ‘match’ the frequency of the person’s thoughts and feelings. Therefore, positive thinking and feeling positive can create life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, and happiness. (Wikipedia, 2011)


Ronii and I got into a pretty serious conversation about this one day while we were “working.” We teetered back and forth on the subject, but ultimately came to agreement on one thing: While we both agree that positivity breeds positivity, to claim that simply thinking positively will bring butterflies and rainbows into your life is a bit far-fetched.


Or is it?


Ronii says that bad things happen in 3’s. I say they happen when they want, and the general pattern (for me anyways) is that they kind of come crashing down all at once and squash any last inkling of “positivity” you may have for like two weeks. (She also calls me cynical-I don’t know where she gets this stuff!) 


But it never lasts; the bad stuff. Life is so multi-dimensional that even if things are miserable in many aspects of life (like work, family, relationships, or money) you still have it pretty good. You have air in your lungs, food readily available, clean drinking water, and clothing. If you live here in SC, you are drenched in sunshine most of the year with beautiful sunsets and the Atlantic nearby. This is me thinking positively. Granted, your situation may be pretty bad if all you have to be positive about it air, water, and clothes-but when I get all strung out and have convinced myself the world is against me and everything I want to do and be, the only way it’s going to get better is to, well, be positive. I still think it’s a hefty cliché but I’m going to try it out. 


What do you think? Will thinking positively change my life for the better? Do you subscribe to the theory of The Secret? 


~Coco

Having All Your Elephants In A Row

I'm a planner. I like to plan my day, dinner, weekend activities, fun vacations, career goals - you know ... where my life is going. I like knowing what I need to do and when, and what is going on - having all my elephants in a row. And I get very fraustrated when my plan gets thrown off balance. This week has tested my patience because it seems like nothing has gone as I planned. It was so bad that Thursday afternoon I was SO aggrevated I had to go get chocolate chip cookies to calm myself down.


I'm generally a happy person and it takes a lot to get me frustrated but this week has resulted in 2 proposals, unhappy clients, earthquakes, hurricanes, website development and copy. OH, BTW, guess who's getting a new website? WE ARE!! But I digress - I had my week all planned out for what I needed to get done and my task list but that just wasn't in the cards for me. By the time I closed my computer Thursday night at around 10:30pm I had already clocked 40 hours for the week and I wasn't even close to done yet. Luckily for me I have an awesome team that hunkers down with me and just gets things done (THANKS COCO!).


The lesson that I need to learn this week is that as great as it is to plan, you have to be flexible. There is this delicate balance between planning too much and being flexible. The more rigid you are in your plan the more aggrevated you will be when it doesn't go the way you want it too. This is the hard part for me because when I get fraustrated, I get overwhelmed and when I get overwhelmed I get stalled and then nothing gets done. I'm always striving to personally develop and this is an area that I'm working on ... EVERYDAY.


I need you advice. I want to know - how do you handle the stress of things not going as you planned?

Diary Of A Three-Year-Old Business Owner

Sing along with me - happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy biiiirthdaaaaay dear Bartleby, happy birthday to you!


It's hard to believe that we are 3 already! Where does the time go? How did we get here? The past 3 years have been choke full of hard work, a few recognitions thrown in the mix and meeting so many fabulous people. Some of my best friends now have resulted in relationships that started through my business. I have had the opportunity to grow the business and start to make it something bigger than me, which has been my intention all along. As much as I like everything to be about me, it isn't and I have enjoyed consulting with other business owners to help them realize their goals and dreams too. It hasn't been an easy road but everyday comes and goes whether we like it or not. So in celebration of this birthday that leads us out of our terrible 2s and into our third year these are the 3 biggest lessons I have learned as a business owner. 



  1. Keep Moving Forward - We don't really have any choice do we? Every day comes and every day goes no matter what unless you are Bill Murray in Groundhog Day (have you heard my story about seeing Bill Murray at a mexican restaurant in West Ashley? That's for another day). Everyone has good days and bad days and we all have set backs but you just keep moving forward or you remain stagnate and then nothing gets done and those "big ideas" never come true.

  2. Set Boundaries - With EVERYONE! From your co-workers to your partner, your vendors to your clients, your spouse to your children, your mom to your neighbors. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE! If you give people the slightest of an opening they will walk all over you. They don't mean too but they will; it's only human nature. This is the hardest lesson to learn for me because I'm a pleaser and I want to make everyone happy even if it is to my own detriment. I never say "no" or "that's enough" and as such I take on too much and have a hard time delegating. I'm working on it.

  3. And ALWAYS Be Brave - It's hard to be a business owner. I'm not going to sugar coat it and say "I love it everyday." I don't. Its hard work. I have never worked this hard in my life. Every single thing I do now relates to this company. Everyone thinks you're rolling in the dough but you haven't seen a pay check in 3 years and your always on the verge of having your lights turned off or your phone disconnected. You have to be brave and take big risks to get big rewards. Its hard to put on a happy face all the time when you feel like the whole world is out to get you (this is the one I'm best at) but you fake it until you make it as the cliche goes.


I'm still working to master all of these lessons but I accept that I still have work to do. Acceptance that you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right? I'm positive that I have so many more lessons to learn and I'm thankful that I have made it this far and hope that I have more time to learn all those hard business lessons that you only get by trying.

Punctuation Junkies

Let me set the scene for you. It starts with a conversation over dinner about writing web copy, marketing tactics and being genuine in your business. The cast of characters include an exclamation whore, a dash diva, a semicolon Seductress, a question mark joker and a comma cohort. Each are fighting a battle for more attention, more respect and more glory. Ok, glory might be over selling it a bit but they are all characters in this mixed up tale called ... writing. Each of these characters are cast in their roles in my world, which could be described as either fiction or non-fiction any given day. You pick.



  • Exclamation Whore - We have a client that every time we send him copy he sends it back with his edits and almost every sentence ends in an exclamation point. You know who you are. I LOVE his enthusiasm though. Maybe this is why we get along so well. (BTW, thanks for giving me the inspiration for this post!)

  • Dash Diva - Our marketing assistant, Coco, is a self proclaimed Dash Diva. She says that she writes the way she thinks and she sees dashes in her mind. She might be brilliant or neurotic. We haven't really decided yet.

  • Question Mark Joker - This one is my Mom. When she texts or Facebook stalks me she puts a question mark at the end of every sentence and you never know if she is making a statement or asking you a question, i.e. "You look pretty today?" Is she saying you look pretty today or is she asking if I think I look pretty today? I don't know! (That one was for you exclamation whore)

  • Semicolon Seductress - When you are Polish and your first language is not english, you pick up odd punctuation to attach to; like semicolons. I'm assuming you can guess who belongs to this punctuation. She's another B&A fixture that says she identifies with the semicolon because its not a comma and not a colon and just "in between."

  • Comma Cohort - That's me. I admit, I LOVE to splice a comma. Who doesn't? I was taught that you put a comma in a sentence where you take a breath and, well, I take lots of breaths. Isn't that what the motivational people tell you all the time - BREATH. See, even I can learn from the Dash Diva.


All of the characters intertwine in my marketing and branding world making every day interesting. I'm sure this is only part of my band of misfits and luckily I have other characters that balance out these guys to produce good work. I love them ALL for their idiosyncrasies! You ask, why can't you guys be equal opportunity punctuationist? Well, because we have favorites. Come on, admit it! We all have favorites - favorite color, favorite American Idol, favorite food, favorite child ... favorite punctuation. And we're all junkies when it comes to our favorites. What is your punctuation of choice?


Fine Print: No punctuation was harmed in the writing of this post.

Patience is a Virtue

This week we have the first blog post from our AWESOME marketing starlet and groupie Corinne, aka Coco (and because I was a slacker and didn't write one this week). I love this post because there are days that I myself have to practice some patience and I found her post to be very helpful. I hope you enjoy it and please leave a comment on you patience issues as well.


There are countless stories I could use to kick off this blog entry about patience. Like the woman who cut me in line at the grocery store the other day, slowly and casually, like I wouldn’t notice. Or the person in line ahead of me at the bank, who stood there talking on her phone the entire time, and upon reaching the teller window, emptied the contents of her purse onto the counter in search of her bank card and ID; items she could have been searching for during her wait in line, saving all of us time. This isn’t just about patience in terms of time, like waiting in lines or for a package to arrive or to hear back from an interview; But patience with people and in life- that conceptual patience that I self-admittedly lack and in turn am usually high-strung, anxious, and frustrated.


I know myself well enough to identify that one of my weaknesses - a challenge I have taken great strides in overcoming - is a lack of patience. I did some thinking and began to wonder if this might hinder my chances of becoming the successful businesswoman I’ve always wanted to be. The answer? Of course. Duh! I wish I had realized this a long time ago. This simple trait conveys professionalism, composure, and maturity. In fact, patience as a business and personal strategy can really pay off. Think about it. Instead of getting all worked up about something or someone (and potentially saying or doing something damaging) just take the situation for what it is, take a deep breath, and make the best of it. Be positive. People will perceive you as sturdy, reliable, and understanding. And while some situations may require a bit of haste, it is with good judgment that you can identify these situations and approach them accordingly. 


I recently came across an article about patience. It’s a bullet point plan to maintain patience when you begin to get discouraged. Here are some key points that really resonated with me and hopefully will for you too:


1. Do something else. Get your mind off of whatever it is that’s weighing on you and return to it later.


2. Be still. Sometimes impatience is something else working on you. Maybe it’s that third cup of coffee that’s causing you anxiety. Take a deep breath.


3. Quit. I love this one, especially because it’s true. Quitting for the day can really give some perspective that things really aren’t all that bad. You could have amplified the situation 100x over in your mind.


4. Work on the parts of the job you can do. So you’re working on a group project, and you can’t do your contribution until someone else in the group does theirs (this was a huge trial for me in college). Try to seek research or gaps to help contribute in other ways, and it will ease your mind and your nerves.


It is important to acknowledge that impatience is often perceived as negativity, and the people who are close to me in my life (like my fiancée) make no attempts to sugarcoat this for me. So, whether it’s remembering some key points, or having someone blatantly tell you that you’re always so impatient and negative; my message is to take a step outside of yourself, take a minute, and breathe.


So, does patience-or rather, impatience- hold you back from something in your life? When has patience paid off for you? 

Its Complicated

With Facebook changing their layout AGAIN, I have noticed a lot of people updating their personal information and it seems to me a majority of my Facebook friends have a "its complicated" relationship status. Do you see them? Are you one of them? Do you wish you were one of them? It got me thinking, aren't all relationships complicated? Particularly business relationships.


Hopefully by now you have seen the announcement that I am expanding B&A and have added a new business partner and team members and I'm so excited for all the new opportunities that are coming our way. But even good relationships are complicated. Trying to get everyone coordinated and tasks delegated and decisions made, there are a lot of factors involved to consider. Its a complicated web. The relationships I have with my clients are the same. I'm asked a lot what I do for my clients and I start running down a list of things that go on in my daily life at client's and people always say, "wow, that's a lot. How do you keep it all straight?" My answer, "Its complicated."


There are days that I just wish relationships were simple and there were no complications, were I could get up, go to the gym, go to work and do the 2 or 3 tasks that job requires, go home, eat dinner, watch tv and go to bed and do it all over again the next day. But wouldn't that make for a boring life? I think I like that my relationships with my friends, family and co-workers are complicated. Every single last one of them. Otherwise I would get bored. Don't get me wrong, sometimes boring is blissful, but in the overall picture I think I prefer to have complicated. Its gives us character (apparently I have enough character to fill a whole room). So the next time you are stressed out and overwhelmed, remember all relationships are complicated and if they weren't you probably would be out of a job.

Who Determined The World Had to be Made Up of Morning People?

This is a question I ask myself every time an 8:00 a.m. meeting is scheduled. Your probably thinking, "wow, Ronii you are really stretching for a topic this week." But I think this is a topic that many people struggle with.


I sit on the Board of Directors for a non-profit and their board meetings are on a Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. I do realize that people do have jobs that they need to be at by 9:00 a.m. but for a night person like me it is brutal. But I do ask the question, doesn't it seem to you that the world is made up of morning people? Who determined that 9:00 a.m. is the start of the work day?


I think that everyone is different in the time of day that they work and function the best. Mine is between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (preferably with a glass of wine). That is my most creative time and those are the times that I work on marketing plans and campaigns. I do my best bookkeeping work at 10:30 a.m. and nothing works right for me before 9:00 a.m. generally. But the more people I talk with the more I'm convinced that the world is full of night people that are conforming to the norms of society that say you have to be a morning person. If this is the case and there are more night people out there, then why do we all feel the need to start our days at 9:00 a.m. or before? I guess the the few morning people that are out there just got up before us.


Regardless, if you are a morning person or a night person embrace your true nature and work with it. Figure out what you do best and at the best time for you and you will be happy with the results. Don't be shy to express your true nature as a morning or night person because you will do your best work and that will make all the difference. I'm curious to see who out there are morning people and who are night people and which group outweighs the other. Let me know which category you fall in. My vote is for night.