What is my Personal Brand?

Not Your Mothers MenopauseI’m a business owner, a dog owner, a gun owner, an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a friend. So many different things, to so many people but who am I to me?  Who do I want to be the most? The last 11 years, I have been an owner of Sephone. And all of my life I have been a marketing person.  I think “like that” all the time because I am in it all the time.  Being part of Sephone Interactive Media, I have been fortunate to learn so many things about online marketing and social media.  I have been able to be on the ground floor. When we started, Sephone, the idea of someone without web skills punching in text was unimaginable to so many people.  So many people other than my partners at Sephone.  They knew, I believed  (and still do) and here we are!

I love people, I love to help and I love to tell stories.  About 8 years ago, I met a woman named Deb. Deb Neuman is a very inspiring woman.  Never afraid to try something new. Never intimidated to be around other driven out of the box thinking women.  Over the years, we have helped one another, cried, laughed and had a blast doing it all.  We both have grown and changed along the way.

Deb and Kelly doing Back to Business Radio Show
Deb and Kelly doing Back to Business Radio Show

Deb has been the State of Maine Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development, a “media head” writing columns for newspapers, blogs, she has her own syndicated radio show and she is currently on the air today. She has been a small business owner, has a cottage industry going and she STILL gets people together. She has connected me with countless people as I have  her.

As “50 Something”  women we are working on a project,  Not Your Mother’s Menopause, This blog has grouped some writing women  and some experts that can write. We share experiences of all kinds to other women or people that are feeling like us.  There are so many writers and topics it is easy to find some you like and identify with.

Personally I am sharing stories from my life from 50 + and how I have been on the road to making changes in my life.  Yoga, Hypnosis, Meditation, stuff like that.  I also talk about how 5 years ago I never would believe that I would be doing this!  We are getting lots of visitors and lots of interest from all over the world. I am finding that this writing that I am jumpstarting my own writing again.  Once again Deb gets me moving in the direction I need to go in and want to go in but need that little shove to do it. Thanks GF!

This blog will still go on and GROW on because of Not Your Mother’s Menopause and all the great chemistry of all these great women!  Have ideas of what you may want to see?  Shoot me an email and THANKS!!

Another Re Invention

When I started this blog several tears ago it was for people that were struggling with technology and how to use it, what “things” to buy, platforms to use, the dangers and the good things and all in language for the layperson.  I am one.  I am not a person that cares about how something works, I care that it works.  That once I plug something in and hit a couple of buttons it needs to work.  Simple as that. (Is it ever as simple as that?)

Writing for me is on “Inspiration.” And with all the blogs out there today, so many more than when I started doing it, the old subject matter isn’t that “Inspirational” to me anymore. You can tell by the gaps in the content.

I can write about anything.  If your business needs someone to write for them, you need someone that cares about you enough to learn about your business and what is important to it and to you.  I can do that.  I can write web copy, I can write white papers and I can blog.  When I write for myself it feels different. Writing something important for someone’s business, I get feedback.  Writing for myself it is more isolating.

Who Do You Love?  And Who Loves You?

Connections are everything.  People like to feel appreciated and identified with so they can trust you, don’t you?  I am not an expert in sociology but I have spent most of my life people watching, relationship building and I get a real “charge” (a Maine saying) out of helping people and feeling like we are on the same team. Trying to accomplish the same goal.  We all complain about being on hold with a customer service department that is in a foreign country that cannot pronounce our names much less care about our problem enough to solve it.  So how much are you trying to give up?

Chris Brogan

For those of you that believe in the “Human Being” it’s uniqueness and treasure it, you need to read Chris’s blog.  Chris has that special sauce that I go to when I get frustrated about my problems being pushed into automation.  Pushed into the “OK, let’s stick Kelly here and call it close enough.” Because it isn’t. I teach Social Media at Husson University and one of the things we talk about is having a “Hero” or a “Mentor.”  It is no secret that Chris is mine.  He boils down all the confusion and tech, putting it into human terms.  Chris reminds me that I want to help people. And people come to me often.  They want to meet someone I know or wonder if I have a connection someone.  They seldom go through my LInkedIN account, they call me or yes, send me an email because they know ME and I know THEM.

Please Stay Tuned

This blog is going “Back to School.”  The basics. It is not an echo of Chris Brogan’s blog because I have the link and you can read his words for yourself. This blog is going to refocus on what you and I both know is right, how we all can deal with this over texting, over automated world and how we can all stay grounded together.



A Confession

I am painfully aware that I have been really lax in this blog.  It isn’t because I don’t want to do it, I have other blogs that I write for, some for my company and some for other companies.  But more and more there seems to be a space where I would love to say something. Maybe get it off my chest or to think that someone is listening out there, to share.  And some of the topic matter manages to run counter with the themes of other blogs that which I contribute.

For bloggers, we know that blogging is hard.  It takes discipline, it takes a plan.  Even if that plan is to just vent your frustrations about things, you need to do it regulary.  This is where I have fallen down.  I also diluted my efforts so instead of 1 or 2 posts in a week on 1 or 2 blogs, it has turned into being no posts on either one.  🙁

I started blogging for myself a few years ago.  I wanted to learn how to do it.  I made the mistake of thinking I needed 2 with different content on each one.  That all sounds good but when your business has you running 50+ hours a week and a home life that is pretty unsettled, it is a recipe for disaster.  So here we go again, I may have said this before but one of my old bosses said to me, “Cotiaux, you can eat an elephant, one bite at a time.”  Strange quote to some of you but when you are drowning in the Pool of Overwhelming, this makes sense. Your inclination (or mine) is to throw my hands in the air and say, “Screw it, I can’t do it.” But the Overwhelming Pool – is deep but not long, so I just need to swim to the other side and go after that elephant!

For those that don’t blog many people think it is purely a waste of time.  Would they say that about writing an article for a newspaper? (While traditional print media is failing at a sad but alarming rate.)  Or are they the same people that dump on anything they know nothing about?

I think it is mostly #2.  Double entendre?  

So stay tuned.  I am going to try again.  Don’t mind posting a comment here if you think there is some content I should blog about, content is always tricky.  I am interested in the content you want to read.  I am also interested in the content I know something about.  (As I previously stated, too many people spout off about things they know nothing about! )

Back to School means Back to Work!

Summer is a crazy time.  When you live in “Vacationland” which is imprinted on our State of Maine license plates, our region seems to come apart at the seams.  Then our relatives that have moved away decide that they need to come and visit, each weekend is full to the brim.

I confess, I have been distracted.  I haven’t been blogging, but I promise to get better.  So bear with me I will get better.  New post coming!

The Internet CAN be your best friend

For those of you that read this blog regularly, you may know that I have had various friends sick or pass away within the past year. THAT isn’t what this is all about, it is just an introduction to get us all on the same page.

For anybody that has a serious illness or has a friend or far away person that needs support for their loved one, there is this gem of a website and it is FREE to use.

(In their own words), Caring Bridge“personalized websites that support and connect loved ones during critical illness, treatment and recovery.”

The advocate or patient can make entries about the daily trials and successes of long term illness or conditions.

For the person that is in treatment or in the hospital, everybody that is invited can sign on to Caring Bridge with their email address, and gets notified when updates are made to the blog.

For the caregiver (or advocate), the condition and circumstances are described one time as well as a Journal that helps them vent and tell friends and family just where they are at.The caregiver can privately pause to cry, or save to look at later, but Caring Bridge allows the creator of the blog to control the flow of information.  That is one great thing about the computer.  It is just between you and it.

There is a really nice area “My Story” that tells the “How we got here” for those late comers that need to be brought up to speed.  And the blog entries are kept chronologically and time stamped so the family member of friend can keep track of the events.

Let’s face it, even though we all want to help, sometimes those 20 phone calls after a long day just drains everybody that is truly living the drama. Caring Bridge can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection.  Hospital, while waiting for a test or home with your feet up on the couch.

As I said in the beginning Caring Bridge is free to use, which is so great for the people with these insane hospital bills.  But as anyone that owns a business knows it isn’t free to run and to keep running.  There is a place to donate and even though the minimum donation choice on the secure form is $70, they certainly will take less, every bit helps and it is a very special service for all of us to know about.  Here’s how to donate if you are so inclined.

I have used the link for my college roommates husband that has had brain surgery nearly 2 months ago and is still in the throws of it all.  But if you are ever invited to join the Caring Bridge “family.” Please think a moment and give what you can.

“Everybody” is an expert, yeah right!

I read a lot of things on line.  If you read my posts very often,  you probably know that all ready.  But something interesting happened to me yesterday and I felt the urge to share it.

I was in a meeting with a person that expressed frustration and confusion with social media and feels overwhelmed.  She starts off with the list, “I know I am supposed to twitter, blog, facebook and I don’t know where to begin and I am embarrassed to admit it to anybody! Everything I read out there online makes me feel really intimidated.  I am so far behind the 8-ball, I don’t even know – what I don’t know.”

She reads lots of blogs and we both agreed how often we’re shocked by blogs and blog comments that are arrogant and hurtful. Almost as if there isn’t a person on the end of that keyboard.

If a person from the “40+ something” generation reads stuff like that, it is intimidating and often discourages them from engaging in a wonderful sharing process that 95% of this whole Social Media “thing” is.

In the Social Media world, I personally believe there ARE NO REAL experts – in fact it is really SO NEW for us NON-TECHIE types, it is okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes.  In fact if you are over 40, my guess is you come from a culture where asking for help isn’t easy.  ESPECIALLY from a complete stranger.  You feel as though you are exposing your inefficiencies and in our day, you could get terminated for that – especially if you are female.  I think half of the jobs I had in the 80’s were kept because I knew how to use a telex, was polite on the phone and could type!

How I got started.  I have had a Twitter Account for a long time now – (longtime in Twitter years is like “dog years” on steriods-2 years in Twitter time is like 20 years because of how fast this Social Media thing is moving!)

I am lucky.  A man that works with us here (@justinrussell) at Sephone, suggested I give Twitter a shot.  The second best suggestion from him was that I follow a guy named @chrisbrogan.  So I did.  Chris Brogan is a thoughtful, information seeker and social media philanthropist in the Social Media world. (My definition, not his – in fact I haven’t even asked him if I can mention him in this post- oops!) Chris is a helper.  His blog is written in a helpful, non boastful way.  I have NEVER met the man and yet I suggest people follow him whether they are in PR, Marketing or anything else.

Chris gets out there-speaks, blogs, does webinars, podcasts and is available.  As far as I am concerned, he is the center of my Social Media – but I think that may embarrass him. He always asks for feedback when he posts something and you know he is listening and reading it all.

A little tip: When you read a blog you don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable, just leave it and don’t go back.  “We” are not their target audience anyway. But keep trying.  Eventually,  you will find the people that are “your experts,” in the meantime, your skin will become thicker and those “other people” wont make you feel so bad, because you are finding your own way, at your own pace, for your own reasons. It is about you, and after all it is what you want to accomplish.

So, “Come on in, the water is fine!” Get your feet wet, find some people like Chris to follow or read if you choose not to have a Twitter Account and know that most of us are finding our way as all this changes at a rapid pace. Social Media does not take a summer vacation!

Blogging ABC’s

Sometimes people just think this BLOG thing is a fad and I really cannot blame them for wishing it to be so in some ways. Maybe if you wait long enough it will fade away like that avocado refrigerator you had in your kitchen growing up.

In some areas of the country blogging is a way of life when it comes to stuff going on in your kids school, scout troop, or things that a person might be interested in. My sister-in-law knits. Like REALLY knits. She reads several blogs that she finds are very helpful to her and brings her into this tight community of people that have same interests that she has. Her online “Stitch and Bitch” session.

That really is what blogging is. There is no mystery to it.

I also have a friend with cancer. She blogs with people around the world for support and suggestions on things she is going through and strangers help each other deal with the daily trials of a fight for life.

But how do you start? I wrote something in the Sephone blog about this very thing and there is a demo if you are interested in starting your own and these tools are all free and out there for the world to use. I also read a blog from one of the social media guru Chris Brogan that also had some very interesting perspective.

Personally, I started with the basics. Somebody told me about TWITTER. Here is a very easy way to learn about what is happening in an interest you may have. Twitter is about individual entries or “tweets” (see very non-techie cute) about what’s happening. The question at the top of the screen is “What are you doing? “ People fill it in and it posts to all the people that are following that individual automatically. If you click on the above link, you can go to mine and look at who I follow and see if there is someone on that list that you may want to follow or search for a topic. It is like a bulletin board with lots of links on it from people you choose to follow and if you see something tweeted, that takes you into directions onto other sites that you never heard about or never even thought about searching for.

iVillage is popular and mentioned on the Today Show a lot. It is a lifestyle blog that seems to be clued into young professionals, stay at home moms, families etc. I read it occasionally, but since I have no children and that seems to be central, it isn’t one that I check often.

One of the frustrating things I must say with some of these “social network types .” They are so busy cross-selling you on their latest book, seminar or whatever, it can be a bit much. Also the social networking “gurus” can be a bit intimidating because of the jargon they use. The first thing I say to myself is, “Well obviously they aren’t talking to me!”

But I am talking to you. And if you are a beginner, this advice is for you. Get a twitter account (again free) and try it. You’ll be surprised at what you may learn from complete strangers or the connections you can make around the world.

Here Now! – Techno Trapped in my 40’s

I am working on a new blog especially for people like me.

I am a “40 something.” I am too old to know how to understand text message talk, too young to retire. I think I am in a big group of folks that are trying to learn everything and just dont know where to start.

I just bought my first car with automatic windows and it practically talks. I try to embrace technology and explain it to people in a way that shows them why it is a good thing for them, but first I need to understand it and use it myself. Yes I have an iPod, yes I subscribe to podcasts, yes I know some things, but this trend of stepping away from the intimacy of person to person contact is a little disturbing, yet I know I need to learn to do it.