Archive for October, 2010

October 26, 2010

Do what you’re most afraid of until you’re not afraid anymore.

by Kate W. Hall

Last Saturday, I jumped off a building. I recently made light of it in a blog post on Richmondmom.com, but the truth is, it was pretty darn scary.

I had never rappeled from anything before, let alone a 400-ft. building in downtown Richmond (the SunTrust building). But when I saw some of my friends from Twitter doing this challenge for Over the Edge for Special Olympics VA last year I knew I couldn’t let the chance go by without trying it this year.

With thanks to HCA for helping me make the $1,000 in donations needed in order to jump, I saddled up into a bunch of gear and took a looooong elevator ride to a  bunch of stairs to the most amazing view in Richmond, before “sitting into nothing” and rappeling down 400 feet to the ground.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Now, I’m not afraid anymore.

I find that it’s the same in business. When I started, I was a bit afraid of cold calling businesses introducing my site: would they have heard of Richmondmom.com? No. Would they be interested in partnering withRichmondmom.com? Sure, why not! Would I call them today? Nah, how about tomorrow. . it’s too easy to stay busy with other work than grow the business.

But the truth is that I didn’t have much business, and I had three kids to feed and Christmas was coming. So cold-call I did. Determination was all I had. And sales came through. I had a ton of work to do, and was thrilled to have paying customers to do it for.

Do what we’re most afraid of, and we won’t be afraid any more.

 

 

October 15, 2010

How Richmondmom.com became a print magazine: Never say Never

by Kate W. Hall

Richmondmom.com Magazine launched this Wednesday, October 13, 2010 inside of Richmond Grid Magazine, an arts/culture/business magazine with a distribution of 60K quarterly.

Just three short months ago the publishers, Palari Publishing, who helped me create and print Richmond Rocks, approached me about partnering with them on their magazine.

I thought we were going to discuss the reprint of Richmond Rocks since we were getting close to the end of our 2,000-copy original print run, so when Ted Randler pulled out his iPad with a mock-up of Richmondmom.com Magazine I held my breath for a moment. It was surreal, almost as much so as when, three months later, I saw the actual print magazine with my photo on the cover at the launch party!

When previously asked if I’d do a magazine I’d always answered that I’d “never want to go print.” Being a web girl and having developed Richmondmom.com from the ground-up (and I mean the ground; the original site was rough at best) to be an online resource I was sure that print was a dinosaur soon to be fossilized. But I have to admit that when I saw that mock-up and thought of the possibilities for the site and my clients, it was too incredible of an opportunity to pass up.

Working with my clients–many of whom were thrilled at the opportunity to have a print magazine to solidify and advertise their brand to the mom market that Richmondmom.com attracts–was a pleasure and reinforced the fact that print is still very much alive. Not only are Dave Smitherman and Ted Randler as well as writer Paul Spicer super-creative, the Grid Team are all incredibly personable and talented.

They also have their finger on the pulse of the Richmond social media community, and have worked to create Richmond Grid as a social media-centric publication with shout-outs to the RVA Twitter crowd and a website to keep the information flowing in-between quarterly print publications.

We work together to create content that is unique, relevant, and interesting for Richmond VA readers–not information that is easily discovered elsewhere. It’s also packaged in a quick-flowing style that makes the reader want to devour the pages.

So far on my entrepreneurial journey, the opportunity to become a print magazine has been the best surprise gift, a nicely-wrapped and decorated box that I’ll cherish and reopen with each quarterly issue.

Oh, and I’ll try to remind myself to never say “never” again :-)

October 7, 2010

Love to meet a new mompreneur

by Kate W. Hall

One of the coolest things about owning my own business is getting to meet and talk with fellow mompreneurs (and all entrepreneurs in general of course!)

I never fancied myself a mentor for anyone, but now that I’m in the position of having a growing business I’m happy to pay it forward to others as great advice and support have been given to me.  One recent mompreneur I’ve been working with is Melissa Canavos of Safe Harbor Title. She is excited, thrilled, and scared to DEATH of this new venture, but she’s smart, capable, and has a fantastic rapport with her customers, so she’s got a great shot.

If I had one piece of advice, it is to plan your work like a project:

1) Set goals, make a plan to achieve them, and measure yourself at whatever pace seems right to you: daily/weekly/monthly (on the hour is overkill, but so many of us want to do that!)

2) Set a schedule for yourself, especially if you’re working from home. I’m personally terrible at this and find myself working until 2am quite often to spend time with my family, but I’m working on it :-)

3) Focus on sales, then when you get the sale, build the relationship and wow your customer. I wrote an earlier post on incredible customer service and I work towards this every day.

4) Surround yourself with positive people and don’t listen to dream killers. There’s always someone telling you why you can’t do something. Don’t listen. Note: there are exceptions to this rule, such as when you’re making a major financial commitment or when the majority of your support system tells you not to do something. Then, you may want to listen.

5) Use social media and be engaged in it. For most businesses, this is an inexpensive (I won’t say free, because our time is never free) way to network, brand, and learn from others in your business community.

October 2, 2010

Don’t listen to dream-killers

by Kate W. Hall

When I first set out to launch Richmondmom.com, a very dear friend of mine said something to me that stopped me in my tracks. Surely it was meant in kindness not wanting me to put my heart into this new venture without knowing all the facts. “I think that’s been done before,” she said. “And it’s going to be a LOT of hard work for a long time, with very little pay.”

At first I was hurt. The hurt turned to indignation, which fueled my passion even more.

This thought alone kept me going: No one will do it like I will.

That thought alone has kept me going many days.

9 out of 10 businesses fail, and many of them fail within the first two years. Maybe I’ll be one of them. But this fact alone can’t prevent anyone from setting out to do what they are truly passionate about.

When I set out to publish a children’s book a few months later, I was met with similar doubt. Most folks that I encountered said, “Wow! That’s great. But it’ll surely take you over a year to get it done.”

I didn’t have a year. I had three children to help feed, we were in the process of moving, and all the puzzle pieces had to come together before the holiday season, so I set a goal of having the book in-hand by December 1, 2010. Richmond Rocks arrived in a palette chock full of boxes November 20, 2009. We were on our way.

How do we do it? Simple: set a goal, make a plan, work the plan. Project management taught me that setting specific goals, then creating a plan to achieve them was the best way to ensure success.  A laser-like focus is another ingredient that helps streamline it all.

And one thing’s for sure: no one was going to kill the dream. Nor should anyone do the same to yours.

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