Get all Warm + Fuzzy: 3 Tips for a Stellar Brand Experience

You know that warm + fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve just popped into the Coach Outlet to grab a quick gift for your bestie {and happen to pick up a new wallet for yourself} and the girl that is ringing up your purchase is meticulously wrapping your gift {and your gift to yourself} in tissue paper with a little sticker and gingerly putting it in the bag?

That’s when you know you have had an experience.

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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.

Tattoos & Branding

Do you have ink?

Are you branded?

If you have ink you are technically branded. Hmmmm… if you have branded yourself, is your business branded too? Actually let’s hold that thought for a minute… I am the oldest out of 3 siblings and the only girl. I thought my dad was going to have a heart attack when he saw my first tattoo (which I got in my early 20s with my best friend). He never expected it from me… my brothers, yes, but not me. I am his baby girl. And yes, it is located in the small of my lower back. And, NO, its not a “tramp stamp” as they are referred to, but just a simple sun about size of a half dollar. Hey, I love sunshine and the warmth it represents. My best friend got one about the same size in the same spot. Awwweee, how cute are we? LOL!

So years go by now we are in our mid-30s and what do we do, we brand ourselves again. This time I got my sons' names scribed in an infinity symbol around my wrist connected by a heart, and my BFF (who, BTW, thinks she is a Rock Star) got a star on her wrist. AGAIN, Awwweee, how cute are we? (although this time we didn’t go together).

There is a lot of stigma associated with tattoos. WHY? It’s your body. If you want to brand yourself with something your passionate about, BY ALL MEANS GO FOR IT! I think tattoos tell a story about a person. What they like, what their interests are, who they love, what they love…. Even farmers tattoo (brand) their livestock. So it can’t be all that bad… right? (OK! OK! that was quite a stretch) But really, tattoos or branding illustrate your story. As a person, you are sharing what you are passionate about. Shouldn’t you do the same for your business?

Branding your business is a lot like tattooing (branding) your body. It shows your uniqueness and what separates you from the pack. It helps tell your story. It defines your personality. I mean really the list could go on and on. So don’t you want to tell the story of your business and show its uniqueness and what separates it from the pack? I know we do that B&A AND help other entrepreneurs and small businesses do the same. Hell, even Ronii and I show the world our uniqueness and personality and our story through our ink! And before it is all said and done, I am sure we will add a few more branding marks to our bodies.

Fooo... Oh, look a squirrel!

Do you ever suffer from what I like to call Squirrel Syndrome? No? You don't loose focus? You already have, haven't you?

If you're like me there is so much jammed packed into my schedule that I get overwhelmed, which in turn distracks my attention constantly. And its easy to get distracts by, say... 

OHHH... SPARKLY!

Sorry. Focus, Ronii. You are writing a blog post. Squirrel.

As I write this post, the TV is on and I'm trying to 'multi-task' and out of the corner of my eye the cat is taking a bath on the couch. Distracting, no?!?!

I think you would agree that we are a distracted society. And I think that marketing, in part, has made us this way. Everywhere we turn there is a marketing message trying to vie for my attention, time and money. I'm trying to vie for your attention right now with this blog post.

It's TOO much! I can't handle!

So, how can businesses like us 'cut through the clutter'? (I know that is totally cliched but cliches exist for a reason... becuase they are true.) We make people feel something through our story.

We all have a story. I do. You do. They do. We all have a story we want to share and hope it resonates with our potential clients. But the key is to be concise with that story and envoke a feeling so we don't get distracted by squirrels or, in my case, shiny objects.

When tellig your story, remember how you felt going through it. Use adjectives that will make your listener or reader feel those same feelings. I preach it all the time: people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Most consumers purchase on feelings, not practicality. So make them feel something because most likely they have been in, or are in, the same spot and feel the same way. And because you have been through it you know exactly what will fix it and you are willing to fix it for them... for $19.95.

Now, time to get distracted by some sparkly champagne. Happy focusing!

~Ronii