It’s Not The Leap of Faith That Scared Me. It’s The Landing.

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We’ve all shared that feeling of being at your lowest of lows. When you can’t seem to do anything right, nothing fits, you’re in a bad mood, you’re secluded and isolated and the deafening combination of noise and silence is all that surrounds you.

Which makes the highest of highs even sweeter.

I’m talking you don’t know what to do next because you are so overwhelmed with joy. you get a phone call, a text, an email…and you just sit back to stare out the window, hands clasped and repeat ‘Thank you, GOD, for this!’

 

So I also know the last thing you want to do when you’re in a low is hear about someone else’s high point. If you want to bookmark this and come back later, no offense taken. But I am such a believer in finding the positive out of the sh**iest day (YOU.ARE.ALIVE! YOU ARE BREATHING!) that I hope you will stick with me and know that my DM’s are always open for you to slide in and talk to me.

 

I look back at the girl I was as a young adult/teen and it amazes me how ‘fearless’ I was. I tried out for everything I could, I interviewed for every job, I applied for every scholarship…you name it I was probably there.

It was never taking that leap of faith into the unkown that scared me.

It was trying to figure out how or where I would land. 

 

I wasn’t worried about having to dance or sing or speak in front of others. No, not at all. In fact I was known for usually impromptu-ing the entire thing.

It was when the results came in that I felt the sense of embarrassment or excitement that usually comes from a performance or interaction.

 

Let’s take dance for instance since I am currently figuring out yet another foot injury. (I promise I am a 25-year-old with 80-year-old bones.) 

I learned the technique, the movement and how to land. I memorized the entire routine and big picture in my mind and all it took was a few bad falls to land sideways and roll my ankle HARD to make me timid of approaching it again. Babying an injury that usually resolves with I.C.E. Then, once you’ve cured the issue, you head back out for your next ‘first time’ and you’re fine doing things full out.

This was quite literally a leap but I understand we all have similar experiences. You ever have those dreams where you’re flying or jumping on a huge trampoline and you just keep going and going like Superman pushing the atmosphere into outer space?

And it’s an amazing, euphoric feeling to FLY!

But then you realize you are a human….and you aren’t built for flying.

Cue your stomach dropping and that sick feeling deep in your gut trying to figure out the next move. How will I keep going? How will I land? Uh oh, going back down better figure this out quickly.

 

In both of these experiences I was most scared about the landing. Getting height on your leap or knowing you can fly are some of the best feelings. Only when you are up as high as you can go do you realize how much you can see around you. You can see the big picture, every person you love, the good, the bad, the ugly, maybe even a glimpse at the future. But you have to take the action and make the jump to see that.

You’ll never know if you never try.

 

I find it ironic that the thing I was most scared about–aka falling on the ground, landing on my face, breaking something— was the one thing holding me up. The foundation I was standing on, the thing that holds up multi-story structures, protects us from elements and storms, literally grows and re-grows living things…and I was concerned it would let me down???

How selfish.

I love this quote.

if you think

Your foundation is your faith. Your discipline. Your family and friends and support network.

You are standing on the ground without literally ever questioning how else you will walk, not afraid of falling in (except city grates those things I avoid at all costs) it’s as natural as breathing and you’re telling me you’re more powerful than that?

 

As we approach the one year mark of starting Local Collaborative, I am reminded of the fearlessness and determination I felt when setting my site to live and publicizing my new venture. The chain of events leading up to the launch were extremely evident and on my mind daily. When the opportunity arose to find another work opportunity or create something I wholeheartedly believed in; I chose to chase after what set my soul on fire.

I know a lot of things I want out of life and I’m intimidated by declaring a ‘purpose’ but I do know had I settled yet again for being taken advantage of, smothering my creativity, following mundane tasks that led nowhere quickly…I would also be headed no where quickly.

 

I had no clue that I would go months without replacing my income and I am still nowhere close! But I’m fine. We’re fine. I feel no stress. I would be doing this for free if I didn’t want to contribute to my family’s income and time is my currency. I love collaborating instead of closed-off delegation and the flexibility this allows me is exactly what our lifestyle requires.

I often think about if I were given the chance to go change something in my past or take a glimpse of my future…I would probably go change something in the past. If nothing else but to guide that fearless but lost and insecure girl. I find so much of the payoff and surprise of the unknown takes you back to your roots, your gut instinct and trusting the foundation you’ve built for yourself thus far.

 

A challenge is inevitable but defeat is optional. Even if you ‘lose’ you will gain a lesson.

Don’t worry about how big that leap of faith is. In fact, I hope you take it and soon! No matter how, the ground will always be there to catch you.

 

Cheers!

Marin

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Book Club Review + Bonus Download. GET THIS BEFORE THE NEW YEAR! (November & December 2018)

Before we begin, look to the right. If that doesn’t say you’re following the blog make sure you put your email in and I’ll send you free downloads from here on out!

In 2017 I started a list of my goals and accountability tracking for the year. I reached and exceeded every goal. (You can see that post on my personal page here.) If you haven’t read my other book reviews from this year you can catch up here.

The goal of this section of the blog is to share a glimpse into what inspires, motivates and teaches me. Out of the books I read, I only bring up the ones I would suggest taking a look at…there are still a few that get left out; entirely based on my own opinions.

So where do I find all these books to read? Lots of places. I follow the Book of the Month Club on Instagram and I get weekly suggestions from my daily news source, theSkimm. You can sign up for free here using my referral code!

Read For Fun

beautiful ruins Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

A romantic love story set in Italy and Hollywood, this novel takes you back and forth in time and place. This story spans fifty years between people who dreamed of loving each other but cannot find each other or reconnect. There were lies, deception, missed connections and sacrifices. The story revolves around several characters interfering in one another’s lives with surprises and rocky navigation written with descriptive, rich language and telling a beautiful story. It’s less about travel and more about the depth of the characters. While I don’t think this is one that’s the most memorable, it could make for a great romance novel, beach read or audiobook for background noise.

 

 A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Russia Investigation PTSD? No worries this is much, much different than that. It focuses on an in-depth character named Count Alexander Rostov who is a Russian aristocrat. He is convicted (Wrongly? Read it and find out) and is sentenced to confinement in the attic of a luxury hotel. While this might sound luxurious for some of us, the Count finds himself in a deep depression and is saved by the hotel staff before jumping off the roof. He finds a new purpose in sharing his knowledge of manners and etiquette which he shares as an employee, mentor and friend to others in the hotel. This book follows Alexander, the loveable Count, and his tribe in a journey of triumph and complications in communist Russia. Interesting but an easy read.

 Charlotte Walsh Likes To Win by Jo Piazza

This book stood out because of the political climate and was #GirlPower without being super feminist. It was entertaining, heartbreaking, realistic and entertaining enough I could picture it as a TV show. I finished this fairly quickly so it’s great to read on a weekend or during a short trip. This was well-balanced and so well written I recommend to all!

 

 We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

If I could make it mandatory to read one book this year, it would be this one. When the author, Georgia Hunter, was fifteen years old, she learned that she came from a family of Holocaust survivors. We Were the Lucky Ones was born of her quest to uncover her family’s staggering history. While this novel is inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family, the author explained “The story that unfolds in We Were the Lucky Ones is based on true events. Every significant movement, incarceration, brush with death and escape described in the book actually happened.” The Kurc family is separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite—We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds. This will draw you in, keep you there, take you on an unbelievable ride, pull your heartstrings and make you hold your breath. This is a must read. 

 

stay with me Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

I completed this audiobook in less than three days. I felt like hearing the character’s voices helped jump into the story. This is usually not a book I would ever have picked up or been interested in but it was raw, authentic, emotional and it was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. If I only had a select few words to describe this book I would say it starts off as a young-love romance and the intentions of a happy marriage every new couple has. But after years of infertility and the pressure and shame from the Nigerian culture, they face polygamy, murder and several other high-stake costs of the ‘happy life.’ 

behind closed doors Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

This was so.good. There are two books with this title so make sure you double check the author before reading. Behind Closed Doors has you cheering for the murderer throughout the novel and takes you through the physical and psychological life of domestic abuse from the wife’s point of view. What you would most likely suggest the husband is already two steps ahead of. This jumps between Past and Present chapters in the most seamless way and I came back eagerly waiting to read it every time. 

same kind Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

You can’t afford not to read this. This novel was written by the ‘characters’ and tells the true story of how their lives intersected. The book was also released as a movie in 2017. It was recommended to me by a friend and you can easily have it read in 1-2 days. It revolves around a white couple in Forth Worth who begin volunteering with the homeless when they come across a black man named Denver. Denver tells his stories about growing up on a Louisiana plantation and the unimaginable life obstacles and pain he had to face; ultimately deaths of everyone ever close to him lead to his being homeless. As the title suggests, the couple and Denver find out how the other reflects so much in them and 

 

Read For Improvement

straight-talk-for-startups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Straight Talk For Startups by Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman

 

This book was gifted to me by a family who created their own startup business and I was excited to find it was broken down by these 100 rules into chapters; making it a lot easier to read through. They had examples of moguls you always here about, lessons learned from personal experience and went fairly in depth on investors, funding and liquidity. While this is nothing I see Local Collaborative going through any time soon it was great information for on boarding a team and being aware of what OTHER clients who are startups might face. 

girl wash your face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

I finally came up on the waitlist for this instantly famous non-fiction novel and it was just as entertaining as you’d think…I finished it in two days. There will for sure be a dedicated post to just this (or even 12,390 posts) so make sure you’re following on the right. I love books like this so much that I filled up an entire sticky note on my desktop with favorite saying, pieces of info and story prompts. My favorite thing about listening to the audio book was hearing the famous speaker’s voice motivating you and the Q&A at the end. It’s a great read for women and young girls and, even if you don’t share in the publicly embarrassing stories like she does because that would be weird, you will internally relate. 

Unlimited Book Review at mylocalcollaborative.com Unlimited by Jillian Michaels

While I didn’t hear a ton from this book that came across as groundbreaking, I did find a few good examples of the hard-ass approach that Jillian Michaels is famous for. Unless you’re a fan of Jillian then I don’t think you’re missing much. Every chapter is filled with examples from her Biggest Loser contestants. One of my favorite excerpts in her last chapter was the difference of quitting vs. letting go because I resonate with that daily

 

There will be more in-depth blogs coming up on the self-improvement books especially so make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out. Simply enter your email in the Follow box on the right and let the world wide web take care of the rest!

 


You’ve read through my opinions so you deserve some FREE STUFF! Make sure you are following the blog (upper right of this page) to get free downloads in the future. Once you’re following, go ahead and download this document: GOALS FOR 2019 from Local Collaborative I mentioned to track your goals and adventures for the rest of the year and into 2019.

Cheers!

Marin

PS: Are you enjoying these blogs? Have we worked together? I would love to get your short and honest review on my Facebook page. Thanks in advance!


Girls Weekend in North Carolina

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We had just moved in to our new home in North Carolina and would host our first guests the next week. Over Labor Day 2018 two of my friends, Lauren and Tessa, made the drive down from West Virginia!

We were new to the area and had much less to do than the PNW but we still had a blast! The first day we had together was spent driving out to Caswell Beach on Oak Island. We chose the Oak Island stretch because of the liquor laws and the atmosphere. There were lots of young couples and about as many families during the busy weekend. Before you go, research what the rules for alcohol are , because some don’t allow it, then pack a cooler of canned beer and head out. 

We made the wise decision of eating lunch before heading out to take beach photos. Much like Oahu. Grab a table at Shagger Jacks for some seafood, burgers and simple drinks. It’s a short drive to the beach and free parking for  beachfront access. 

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We had a great time laying out on the beach since the sand was super soft and surprisingly clean. We were to the left of the Oak Island Pier that’s experienced multiple hurricanes and was built/rebuilt a total of three times from what I’m aware of. We liked playing in the warm Atlantic water even though we couldn’t see much. 

After a day in the sun, grilling at home and having friends over for game night was perfect. 

The next day we wanted to take our friends on a tour of Fort Bragg (something we usually do with any guests we have in a new area) and on up to the infamous Southern Pines. Southern Pines is just south of Pinehurst which is known for their world class golf courses and hosting several events. Southern Pines is easy to walk around eating, drinking and shopping in this area. Over the multiple trips we usually visit Chapmans, The Bell Tree, Neville’s and The Jefferson Inn. New favorites include the Mockingbird on Broad for unique gifts, Betsy’s Crepes for the infamous treats, Southern Pines Growler Co. and Southern Pines Brewing Company just a few minutes down the road. We have a few places on the still-need-to-visit list including Sweet Basil

If you’re looking for any suggestions, reach out! 

If you’re worried about having fun…don’t be.

On our way home we also stopped in at the hometown star of the show, and well loved by locals, The Mill at Puppy Creek. They frequently announce live music guests and have homestyle food with a few local and domestic beers. The thing that really sells this place, however, is that it is set in the woods down a gravel drive with an old mill feel next to a river. During Hurricane Florence it was amazing to see how many people volunteered times and services at The Mill to help block the rising river from destructing the restaurant again. 

There are basically two levels to the restaurant and bar with an outdoor seating patio perfect for twinkling lights and live music. It was not only fun to meet new friends but also get an initial bachelorette party for Lauren! (Hint: The Bud Light hat.)

How we feel after hosting a whirlwind Labor Day Girl’s Weekend.

If you’re familiar with anyone in a military or long-distance position you know how important it is to visit them and make an effort to explore a new place. We have lots of places left on our list but we are excited to get out and see the east coast! Please leave your suggestions below. 

Cheers!

Marin

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Day Trip: Paradise and Mt. Rainier

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If you’re familiar with Washington, you’re familiar with Mount Rainier
This stunning beauty is iconic whether you’re seeing it from I-5, on the  daily dog walk in my neighborhood, at the end of the parade field on Fort Lewis or visiting for the weekend. 

One of the many views of Rainier. This one from Madigan Hospital on Fort Lewis.

While my all-time favorite trip was hiking our way through the Olympic Peninsula, this is a close second.

Paradise is about 5,400 feet on the south slope of Mount Rainier in Mount Rainier National Park. This area includes Paradise Valley, Paradise Glacier (which is the source of the Paradise River), meadows, wildflowers, wildlife and much more.

I enjoyed the visitor’s center as well as how accessible the area is for all modes of transportation and ages of people. This was one of the most crowded, busiest places we had explored which made it feel very touristy instead of a sweet escape into wilderness but the further up you hiked, the more desolate it was. The only possible frustration here would be parking. There are several lots and roadside options (which we chose to do) so be prepared to drive around a bit and take the first spot you see if you don’t mind a small pre-hike warm up! 

Besides a fantastic view one of my favorite things about being on top of a mountain is the wind that silences out any other noise, the feeling of being on top of the world and the change of scenery as you climb from concrete parking lots to grassy meadows to sandy outlooks and rocky peaks. 

Paradise is so appropriately named because of this. Our friends were able to see a bear, deer and beautiful fall colors. Check out her Instagram and these photos she took! 

On August 20, 2017 we hiked halfway up Mount Rainier yesterday and agreed it was one of the MOST beautiful place we’ve been. To get there you’ll need a National Park Pass (free for military) or $30 per vehicle (includes all passengers, good for seven consecutive days.) You will get a map but follow signs for Paradise Road. The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is the busiest visitor center and is open year round. Next door is the Paradise Inn. Enjoy the views on the way in!

This area of Mount Rainier National Park is basically a glacier-covered volcano but it’s also home to the park’s most popular trails. We opted for the longest of the three options known as  Skyline Trail: 5.5 miles RT, 1700 feet elevation gain. 

View of Mt. Rainier through Paradise on the way down. 

While we didn’t see bears or deer we did see enough marmots they could consider renaming the mountain. Despite the endless warnings not to step on the grass there were still visitors climbing over to mess around. Hike Guides would consistently reprimand them and hikers coming down from the summit were passing us on the way down. After climbing the initial two miles you’ll get to Panorama Point which gives you an amazing view and an outhouse style toilet available to visitors (hilarious for jokes.)

As we kept climbing we wove in and out of grooved rock formations, gravel pathways, large rock navigation, snow and a few creative jumps across frozen creeks to maneuver where we wanted. We stopped a few hundred feet from where people were changing for the base camps to summit. In a matter of hours we had started in a sunny, hot August day and ended in a near-freezing winter wonderland. It’s the coolest experience! 

The end of Skyline Trail on Mount Rainier

Where was your favorite place to visit in the PNW? Leave it below in the comments and make sure to add Paradise to your next trip.

Cheers!

Marin

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The Mountains Are Calling: Mount Si

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Sigh…

Si what I did there? 

Okay. I’m done. Mount Si (pronounced sigh) was our last big hike we did before leaving Washington. As any other Sunday we headed out on July 8, 2018 around 11 a.m. to climb a mountain.

From a previous hike at Rattlesnake Ledge, another must do!, we had seen and heard all the rave about Mount Si. Si is in the Snoqualmie Area and is 8 miles round-trip. As far as elevation goes you’ll get a gain of 3,150 ft in under four miles. The highest point is 3,900 ft. From using our WTA app I found out this mountain was very important to the Snoqualmie people.

“In the legends of the Snoqualmie people, Mount Si was the body of the moon, fallen to earth through the trickery of the fox and the blue jay.”

 

This was a dog-friendly hike so we were taking our German Shepherd/Saluki Mix, Argo, and Drew’s pack. It was the ideal hiking day; maybe even a little too hot: Clear and 72 degrees. As soon as we got near the infamous peak and sheer edges were showing off for us. It’s intimidating to view this driving in but soooo satisfying when you’re driving away. Feeling like a badass=addicting. 

Post-Hike IG story. Can you see Argo’s tired head waiting for ice cream?
IG: @marinslocalcollab

It’s important to note that they have a parking lot but you might find it difficult to find a spot. If it’s a great day expect to create a spot like we (and many others) did. They also have a bus option to shuttle in and out if you don’t want to bother driving. They also have bathrooms and a water spout at the trailhead.

On the way up you have an opportunity to learn about the Snag Flat and how the mountain survived logging, mining, fires, and other natural causes. The trail you walk actually was once a 4×4 track. 

Finding squirrels and chipmunks

By the time we started our hike up it was 12:45 p.m. With a few stops to enjoy the view, catch my breath and dog breaks we reached the top at 1510 (or 3:10 p.m.) 

From the top we could see beautiful Mount Rainier, Snoqualmie Valley, Seattle, and the Olympics. If you look down and around you you can also see small wildlife.

We took turns holding the dog while the other navigated through jagged rocks to climb even further to the peak. If you’re able, go a little bit further up. The view changes with every few feet and you get closer and closer to a 360 view. The true summit is called Haystack.

In early spring, climbers getting ready for Rainier come here with weighted packs. Conventional wisdom says if they can reach the end of the trail in under two hours, they’re ready to conquer the state’s tallest peak. 

WTA

The top is mostly rocks so don’t expect shade for your lunch or snack break. I recommend lots of water, a hat and crouching down under the tree or large rocks you’ll find for shade. 

We started heading down at 3:45 p.m. and were back in the truck by 5:30 p.m. I remember how much my knees HURT so wearing proper hiking gear, layers and good boots will make a world of difference. No, we never used poles. 

As I shared on my Facebook and Instagram (FOLLOW ME FOR REAL TIME UPDATES!)

Conquered Mount Si today and HOLY KNEES AND CALVES this was no joke! 8 miles in 5 hours. We gained about 1,000 ft in elevation per mile and reached the elevation 3,500 ft. Perfect hiking day with clear views of all the cities and #mountrainier ! 😍
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#mountsi#climb#hike#explore#adventurer#getoutdoors#optoutside#pnw#themountainsarecalling#mountains#workoutcomplete#sundayfunday#upperleftusa

This kicked my ass!

Not only was it a steep and slightly challenging hike there were a lot of people on the trail (100,000 per year hike this trail) and I was at the battle of some health issues that would last a few months. But, as with all of our hikes, I was impressed that I was capable of handling something like that in good time and the view is always worth it.

Don’t let this scare you away though! Novice hikers are just as welcome and enjoy it just as much. We had so many friends who denied (and continue to deny) exploring the areas we live in. If you just get out and try you will be in awe. You have no idea what you’re missing until you go see it for yourself. 

Cheers to getting outside and moving today!

Marin

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Interest in Pinterest: Analytics For Any Season

The world is visual. 

We want to see beautiful photos, watch motivating videos and see professional, clean posts in person and online. 

You may not think the font, colors or editing you use is important but it is. 

You want to know why? 

  • 87 percent of consumers purchase a product solely based on how it looks. 
  • 94 percent of first impressions are design-related.
  • 75 percent of potential customers confessed to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.

Social media, websites and online presence are more than likely the first impression someone will have of you; make it a lasting impression. 

You know why clearance sections are in the back corners of the store? They want the regularly priced items up front, they want the pretty display up front, the neatly folded clothes up front…the disorganized, pile of clothes with the small, white, boring sign above it. 

When an area is too busy or confusing humans avoid it. Chaos and messy areas are distracting to your senses (clean your room!) and you will never get your message across with the ‘noisy’ distraction of a mess. 

If your site is bland it looks neglected.

If it’s all over the place you look irresponsible. 

If you have incorrect grammar, spelling or punctuation it looks careless.

For a review of your current branding efforts, schedule a free consultation. You can also check out this post on branding.

No matter the season or occasion, people hop on Pinterest to plan their next celebration. 

There are several tools you can use to post across multiple platforms. Buffer, IFTTT and Hootsuite are some I have used and enjoyed. 

In order to track your progress and impressions you will need to establish a business account on Pinterest. Here is a quick guide on how to do that. You can either ‘rebrand’ and change your current page or create a new one; whichever makes more sense for your business and products. 

Not sure? Just ask!

Next, make sure your boards are organized into Holiday Recipes, Christmas Decor, etc. For examples on how to do this check out popular brands like Target, Crate and Barrel or other popular brands in your field. 

You will also want to make sure your images and headlines match up with the season as I mentioned in this blog. Get your pins out earlier than the season as people want to prepare. December 1 is not the time to start sharing Christmas decorations. October 31st is not the day to share Halloween makeup. Be there before your audience is. 

How are they performing? 

Pinterest Analytics serves as valuable market research to watch for traffic and what performs well (or poorly) so you can adjust accordingly. 

Pinterest is not my sole source of clients but it does allow business, self help and marketing searches to pop me up. I include visually pleasing photos that include my website so they can return to my page and not use my work on other pages. My travel guides, book club and 

Using my page as an example, I can find my page’s analytics in the upper left hand corner. 

I have 57.3k monthly viewers, 1,414 followers with 2.6k of monthly engagement and I can see what photos or materials were saved from my website or regular uploads. 

Business accounts are FREE so you literally have nothing to lose by trying this out. You start by answering five simple questions telling them about your business and make sure all of your contact information is setup correctly. 

I have the easy view of my stats once I log in to my account and I can promote the page if I would like. 

If I wanted to click on my monthly stats it shows my stats. This is helpful to see when I had a boost, what was posted or what time of day, weekend/day, and more valuable information so I can maximize my reach in future posts. If something performed poorly I might try switching the photo or, as some people do, publish the same material with 2-3 different cover photos and see which performs best then. 

I also get sent regular business page emails about which pins were performing best and how many impressions they received. The one I recently received let me know

“93% of people say they use Pinterest to plan purchases. As a brand,
creating boards helps you get your products or services in front of
Pinners. Pick a theme, like dinner recipes or summer outfits,
then 
add some Pins.”

Here’s a screenshot from another email breakdown. 

While not all of my pins are created by me I can see what people follow me for my most popular impressions and start to create material for them if I would like. 

I highly encourage you to switch over to a business account on all of your main social media pages and, even if a site isn’t a main traffic control, it can always give the opportunity to lead people back to your site…or you can just nerd out on numbers and demographics like me. 

If you need help setting up business accounts on any social media account, let us know. We are happy to help get you the marketing results you need!

Cheers! 

Marin

6 Creative Ideas For Your Holiday Social Media Strategy

$1 trillion

The predicted amount Americans will spend during the holidays this year. Hint: that’s the highest it’s ever been. (You can sign up free through my referral link here.


Source TheSkimm

As a business owner, how are you planning to compete in the marketplace against the noise of large, corporate companies? 

If you’ve completed a Branding + Positioning Strategy with us then you know who your target audience is, how to speak to them and where to interact with them. 

The unique position you have as an entrepreneur, small business owner or the town’s only boutique is the attention to detail, the local supplier, the sense of community, the benefit of supporting a family vs. a large corporation.

You may offer homemade ornaments, goodies baked from scratch or customized clothing. 

Maybe it’s a  service you offer. Landscaping companies who hang Christmas lights or do cleanup. A cleaning service prepping for the guest’s family visit. A decorator ready to deck the halls for any office party or set a table for a home gathering. 

Ho-Ho-Hold On….Even if you weren’t planning on incorporating holiday marketing in your strategy, you need to. Too busy or overwhelmed? We are here to help.

What you offer is just as unique as how you market it. How you market your product or service needs to match the effort you put into your work. Otherwise, how will it get into the lives of those who need it? 

I have put together six ideas to bring joy to your holiday marketing strategy (and to your customers.)

  1. ADVENT CALENDAR. Most manageable is a 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar. Each day, at the same time, publish a photo or video with an offer that’s good for the next 24 hours. You may also choose to do a full 24 days and you can enter whoever answers a fun holiday trivia question correctly to win one big prize. Other ideas could be the instant winner, the refer-a-friend tag or a discount on a future purchase. 
  2. E-COMMERCE. E-Commerce sales take the lead in all orders and more than 20 percent of those sales take place during the holiday season. more than half of the sales traffic is done via mobile. Is your site optimized for mobile screens? Another great idea is to ‘decorate’ the platforms your customers will see. Think of the Coca-Cola polar bears and Santa. Incorporate a new cover photo, cover video, profile photo, and effects to your platforms. Do you have an up-to-date website? We can help. 
  3. #HASHTAG. Market research can lead you to find the most frequently used hashtags for search engine optimization (SEO). #WishList2018 can be added to your feature items or #HolidayCheers for your wine, beer or spirits. The more creative for your special offers, the more buzz. You can also turn famous songs, stories or rhymes to fit your business’s theme. Have fun with it!
  4. Packages. Make it simple. Make it easy. Creating gift boxes, packages (or another creative name) is a great way to group similar items at a few different price ranges for your customers. If they can order a basket for an outdoorsman, a teenage girl or a newborn it’s a one stop shop. Showing these off as Gift Guides For… allows people to imagine who they could gift the package to. Bonus points if you include giftwrapping in the price!
  5. North Poll. Conducting polls about Christmas cookie shapes, favorite songs, least favorite movies, holiday drinks, decor styles, etc. gets interaction from your customers. By including your shop’s tag or website on the image, every time the image is shared it’s circulating to new audiences and people will look you up from the original source. 
  6. Santa’s Cause. Tis the Season to give back. At the beginning of the month announce a cause near and dear to your company’s heart. If you have a brick and mortar you can hold a warm clothing or toy drive. Enlist your employees and their families to ring bells for the Salvation Army. A portion of your sales can go toward an organization or you can accept Christmas donations (trees, wreaths, decorations, etc.) to give to those in need. I recently saw a story of a family unable to EVER have decorations or a tree because of their financial priorities. A simple Facebook post by a family friend gave them a beautiful Christmas and no Christmas decorations or trees were tossed in the trash. 

Looking for more ideas? We’ve been waiting to share more. Just ask!

I would love to hear your ideas in the comments. If you found this helpful or entertaining please share it with your friends and business tribes. 

Cheers!

Marin 

If this was helpful please leave a review on our Facebook page. 

Do you or someone you know need a hand during the holiday rush? Reach out! 

“My Success Is Inevitable.” And The 10 Step Action Plan To Get You There.

In the Winter 2018 publication of Success Magazine Harris Faulkner shared her bits of wisdom on a feature page in the back. I loved everything she mentioned and hope to get my hands on her book “9 Rules of Engagement” soon!

Harris shared answers to several questions but one of my favorites was her favorite quote. I agree with Harris that my favorite is always fluctuating depending on what I was going through or needed in  that moment.  Her fortune cookie left her with “My success is inevitable.” It’s a great reminder that you are where you are supposed to be and, so long as you keep working and moving forward, you will be successful and end up just where  you need to be.

The answer that stuck out the most was her definition of integrity. Her prompt was “Integrity is…” to which she answered and I will paraphrase ‘That thing you do when nobody is watching.’

The definition of integrity is ‘the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.’

It’s when you find money on the ground and return it to the waiter who dropped it. 

It’s when you have the opportunity to break the law but choose not to. 

It’s when you hold yourself accountable for your words, thoughts, actions when you’re alone or with others. 

“Take care of your words when you’re with others and your thoughts when you’re alone.” 

A person of integrity, a person of success, a person with knowing all have a plan. I also read in this issue that being ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ is not an excuse for wandering aimlessly. You can always change your mind about who you want to be but you must always be working toward something. 

To keep working toward something, you need to create an action plan. This will help you get started in the direction of your goals and allow for flexibility should you (probably) need it later on. This is something we do with all of our clients in the Branding + Positioning Strategy which you can check out here.

  1. Set SMART Goals. The first thing we learn in any communications class is how to set SMART Goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Instead of saying ‘I will raise awareness on diabetes,’ try ‘I will prepare 200 infographics with a checklist of tasks and due-dates to help identify pre-diabetes and distribute at the health fair by April 1.’ This allows you to track progress and see how well you performed. 
  2. Identify your audience. Who are they? What do they look like? What do they sound like? How do you communicate with them? On which platform? All of these questions and more are answered in our Branding+ Positioning Strategy.  
  3. Hire in the direction you want to go. In the time it would take you to learn, try, research and implement something by ‘just doing it yourself’ take a look at who around you could help out. You can find graphic design students, Fiverr freelancers, SAHMs, Facebook job postings or a family friend to take care of the things you can let go of. Use your time where it makes sense for YOU to be. If it’s not 100% mandatory you do a task, delegate it. 
  4. Identify Opportunities. If you’re a crafter, what holidays or occasions are coming up? If you’re a decorator, before what events do people want their home decorated? Find a problem in your industry and provide a solution for it. What is the biggest pain point for your clients and how can you fix it? This is often done by a little field research as informal as a Facebook poll. 
  5. Income. Even when you think the last three months of business have been booming there is always a chance that funnel will dry up. By creating products, email campaigns, eBooks or other services you can guarantee yourself, and your employees, continued paychecks. If you’re a coach and someone can’t (or doesn’t want to) pay your monthly coaching fee, would they settle for one call a month at a lower cost? Implementing a referral program or short-time offer is a great way to bring in new clients while servicing your loyal current clients. 
  6. Move forward every day.  It’s easy to feel burnt out in your endless pursuit to success. Each day you should be taking a step toward what you want to achieve. What would a fitness icon do today? They would workout even if they didn’t feel like it. What would a millionaire do today? They would make that phone call they might not want to make. You are always choosing. You can read a book or watch a TV show. Which would be more beneficial? You could choose to sleep an extra 30 minutes or you could take a walk. Which would be more beneficial? The best thing here is that the answer is different in every situation. Some days you will need to de-stress with trash TV and sleep in instead of working out and eat a bar of chocolate instead of an apple. Balance. You control your decisions. 
  7. Network! Building a network is much more than a business luncheon to pass your business card around. Meeting locals in or outside of your industry allows you to get the word out about your offers and work with others you may have otherwise never known. Networking provides the chance to meet your mentor and create an accountability group. You could be someone’s inspiration and you’re doing no favors by playing it shy and small.
  8. Take Action! A blessing and a course, my sense of urgency still gets sh*t done. My husband is very much the type who wants to put things off and is never ready to start in fear that it will never be perfect enough to put out. I encourage clients to be well prepared but you will never know what works or what doesn’t if it isn’t public. You have nothing to improve if it doesn’t exist. 
    Want me to review your current work? Just ask!
  9.  Log Your Hours. Keep a log on your computer of where you spend your time. Much like a timesheet when you’re on a 1099 contract, log your time for a week and see if you’re spending the most time on projects that make you the most profit and make you the most happy. 
  10. Review and Improve. After implementing, testing the course for a while and reviewing your log, review what is or is not working and how you can make it better. Even if things are going great there is always a way to make the customer experience better, increase employee morale, or add-on to a current offer. Fix anything broken and reward yourself for a job well done. Thank those who have helped you thus far and be kind to those just coming in. 

I hope that you know your success is inevitable. You can slow down but you cannot stop. As long as you never give up, you will succeed. 

Cheers to taking action!

Marin

Are you ready to put your plan into action? Let’s go!

Thanksgiving As A Lifestyle

If you’re like a majority of my social media feed, your house (and mind) are probably decked out for Christmas already.

But we have to celebrate Thanksgiving first!

 

Usually my husband and I spend Thanksgiving as Friendsgiving since we live far away from family. Last year we were in Hawaii! You can read about it here.

This year, however, my in-laws will be coming to visit us and spend a week as a family of six people and two dogs.

Wish us luck on the two dogs part….

 

 

I  enjoy Thanksgiving because of the delicious comfort of traditional food, being surrounded by family and friends, watching parades and football, playing games and enjoying each other’s company with warm-scented candles and cold drinks.

In my family we pray before we eat. Right before we’re allowed to grab a plate we form a circle, hold hands and bow our heads.

We thank God for blessing us with a healthy, happy family standing to our left and right, a roof over our heads so we can celebrate together and how fortunate we are for everything we have. We also have a tradition of going around and saying what we’re thankful for. It often includes a few sarcastic remarks to make us laugh, a few sentimental comments but mostly saying we’re thankful for what is considered mundane and common.

Then we eat.

And an hour later someone will be napping, the kids want a piggyback ride and 10 people are looking through Black Friday ads.

 

 

Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It’s a time to express gratitude to those who helped you, thankfulness for having overcome trying events and appreciation for everything good in your life.

I’m thankful for my husband and my marriage. 

I’m thankful for my dog bringing humor and love to our life especially when I’m alone.

I’m thankful for a car that works, a beautiful home and the opportunity to work.

You remember the feeling of the love, the gratitude and the initial pull at your heartstrings when someone mentions your name or something you’ve done.

If you’re wanting to give this feeling to someone else in your content, download this free guide.

 

 

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be reserved as your once-a-year good deed. It’s a lifestyle.

A lifestyle of expressing gratitude, showing appreciation and spreading joy. It’s a chance to reflect on how thankful you are for people and experiences; negative or positive.

If you haven’t already hopped on the gratitude journal train, let this be the time you try it out. Just give it one week. Just try it. You have NOTHING to lose.

Literally. Nothing.

 

Every morning write three things you’re grateful for. Think of five things and list them out. If you can think of ten things, write down ten things you’re grateful for. I challenge you to come up with something different every day. Stretching past the obvious and easy topics encourages you to focus on what you take for granted or what makes you happy.

When you’re actively looking for gratitude, you will find it. 

 

The idea of writing down what you’re grateful for provides a visual of how much positivity you are surrounded by. I often flip through my old entries and can see me going in and out of slumps or where my mind was at that time. I forget I was thankful for the sunshine, a trip or flexibility.

Finding gratitude and appreciation in your daily life is proven to reduce stress levels, improving self-esteem, creating change and gaining new perspective. It also helps attract more of what you want (Law of Attraction) and forms self discipline in your daily routine.

Many people often pair gratitude journaling with meditation, prayer or just staying silent in a moment of self-care (which might be your only moment of silence all day.)

 


 

I’ve been a confused child, a dramatic teenager and a college student surrounded by chaos. I have always aimed to do my best but know I have made mistakes and experienced many things only few know about.

In times of wanting comfort and support from others I found people who could care less, people who smirk and reply with ‘I told you so’ or thrive on the secrecy of disappointing news. In the times when I was physically or mentally alone it helped to bring myself back by realizing every good thing I did have.

If you’re struggling with diving past 1) Family 2) Friends 3) Health on your gratitude list, think deeper. Write down every detail and find the positive in every step. I’ll use my day as an example:

  1. I woke up. I’m grateful for that. 151,600 people die each day
  2. My phone alarm went off. I’m grateful I have a phone and the money to pay for it. 14% of the global population don’t have access to electricity.
  3. It was raining so I didn’t take my dog on our usual morning walk. I’m grateful for the rain and a house to protect us from it. More than 20 percent of the world’s population lacks adequate housing.
  4. I worked out. I’m grateful for a healthy, fit body that’s capable of moving. 5.6 million Americans are paralyzed. 
  5. I ate a healthy breakfast and threw a healthy supper in a crockpot. 1 in 6 Americans face hunger.
  6. I took a hot shower. 25% of the world’s population don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
  7. I worked on my computer while listening to an audiobook. I’m grateful for technology to connect to people far away. I’m grateful for my hearing and sight. 700,000 individuals in the U.S. have some level of both vision and hearing loss.

All before noon. If you realize how lucky you are, even in a horrible circumstance, you are still alive to experience that.

And that’s something to be grateful for in itself.

 

Getting Started

I prefer pen and paper in a journal so if this appeals to you grab a fun pen that glides across the paper, a journal that excites you to look at and, another thing I did, place stickers randomly throughout the pages. I also flipped to random pages and wrote quotes or inspirational sayings.

You will come across those pages at just the right time (like this) and they can also work as writing prompts should you get stuck.

 


 

I can’t wait to hear about living a life of thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation. There is a difference between saying or believing you are and actually living as if it’s true. In your words, in your actions and in everything you surround yourself with I hope you are thankful.

 

Cheers and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Marin

Looking for ideas to promote your business over the holidays? I have some ideas I would love to put to good use in someone’s business.

Schedule a time for us to talk.

Please use them!