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.



Could Google Hangout Be the New Interview?

 The Good Ole Days

You get a phone call or a letter from the company that you have been dying to hear from, you get your chance- you get an interview-for a job, to get into graduate school or to land an account or project.  Soooo exciting.  And to make it even better they have asked for a “phone” interview set up and they want to use Google Hangout or Skype.

If you have never Skyped or used Google Hangout…

This post will not be a tutorial on how to use Skype or Google Hangout, each application has great “Help” areas where you can learn how to do it.  But one piece of advice is:  NEVER make the most important call your first attempt at using a platform – practice on someone that knows how to use them and can walk you through it.  You need to make sure you have all the settings on your computer correct, maybe have headphones and/or microphone handy.  Does your computer have a webcam, do you need one?

Google Profile Picture

If you do not have a webcam, make sure your Google + Profile picture  is what you want it to be for the occasion.  Hangout pulls that image and if you are without a webcam, it flashes in the middle of the screen so make sure that photo isn’t one of you doing something that was funny when you posted it but not so funny now when you are going for the interview.

The View

If you are using a webcam make sure what people are seeing behind your head or next to you is what you want also.  This is an interview after all and that first impression is very important.  Having the background of a dirty dorm room or something less than flattering is a bad idea. Test it.  If it isn’t something you like, then either go somewhere that there is a good background or stage one.

If this call involves a job where you may be working with kids, perhaps the “sippy cup” with water in it is perfect. You can use this staging to market yourself too, is the company an outdoors company?  Do you have a picture on the wall behind you of your favorite salmon river?  (I do)  It is easy to find some common ground with the interviewer or the company especially when you take a couple minutes to give them something pertinent to look at.


Just like you probably wouldn’t bring your children to a client’s office for a business appointment, leave them in the waiting room or bring them in the room with you, make sure they aren’t climbing all over you, this means your dogs too (especially in my case.)  Turn down the music and focus on the conversation and the interviewer.  TURN YOUR CELL PHONE OFF and don’t be checking your email.  It’s rude.

Pretty Easy, Right?

I have been on more conference calls, webinars, etc. where I have seen all of these scenarios.  You would think people would know better. When that person isn’t right in the room with you negotiating salary and benefits, they are still there and they can see a lot.

Michael Fox

I found this post while I was researching.  It is very good and has some helpful information, even though it is from 2012, it is still accurate and well written.  (Disclaimer:  I don’t know Michael in the business sense or personally.)  He brings up some interesting points including ones about security on Google Hangout, it is well worth the read.

Thank you for reading.


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!

“Where, Oh Where Has Our Maine Gone?”

Being from Maine and just like my parents before me, I have seen lots of “progress” while I have lived here.  In fact, I even moved north from the region I was born in, to get away from all that “progress.”  Whenever I go back to my mom’s house, I cannot wait to leave, I hardly know the place much less see many people I know! I am proud to be from Maine, proud of the way I talk and how I think.  It may not be the perfect place for everybody, but it is the perfect place for ME.

And as life gets more complicated,  I find that I long for traditions and things that are familiar to me. Because sometimes life isn’t so easy We have lots of humor and humorous people here.  My dad used to listen to Marshal Dodge of Bert and I albums and roared. My dad was also a friend of Judd Strunk – the folk singer that made the small towns of western Maine famous with a song called “Daisy a Day.” And like the true storyteller Judd Strunk was, this one is my favorite, “The Biggest Parakeets in Town”

Now with YouTube, podcasts, blogs and Facebook, we have all kinds of other ways to stay tuned to the old stories, accents and our old friends.

Here are a couple of some of the new kids on the block that I would like to share with you!  If you are a current Maine inhabitant or “Maine-iac”  (or a Mainer in Exile as I refer to my brother), there are some great resources that can link you to the minds of those doing great things to keep our heritage in tact!

Here is a quick funny tune for you…

Then there is Dickie Baker or Dickie Richards. He has a YouTube Channel.  He has a video cast he does called, “What’s f’Suppah?” My favorite one he does is showing us the recipe for Moxie Boomers.  Of course Moxie being a Maine beverage, he also has some other more random, fun videos, about Cutter Bug Dope and Port-A-Potties.  He is a gem, I don’t know him personally, a friend of mine posted one of his videos and tagged me on Facebook and instantly I was a Fan.

Then, the truly multi-media treasures I JUST learned about are Rose and Trout.  They have a website, blog and weekly podcasts that are just wonderful.  They tune up their downeast Maine accents and have a conversation similar the ones my brother and I used to listen to at Jack’s Trading Post in Farmington.  We used to hide in the back of the store and just love listening to the stories that were told.  Now we do the same at MC’s in Birch Harbor. My brother comes for a visit each year and every day he goes to “the beer store” and I get to do it nearly every weekend in the summer.  The locals  don’t think what they are talking about is funny, it is just their life and we love how they stitch the words and humor together!  It is the “realness” of it all that makes it extra special.  Check out Rose and Trout  – I promise you will not be sorry!

My friend Brett Slater of Slaters Garage just shot a commercial for Dick Stacey.  For all of you that know Dick Stacey’s Country Jamboree on Channel 7 out of Bangor about 20 odd years ago, this is just for you!  Here is a video Bret shot promoting the DVD for Dick Stacey’s Country Jamboree.  And of course, there is Jenny Shontelle with the “On the wings of a snow, white, dove…”  It is a bargain and you can order it now!  I know a few people that I will be stuffing their stockings with that gem of a gift!

Being proud of our heritage and having a sense of humor is something we are desperately trying to hang on to here in Maine, we have lots of folks “from away” that move here because they like it so much only to want to change it to be exactly like the places they left behind.  We like our dirt roads, our small towns without WalMarts, early frosts and our state flag with the motto of “DIRIGO” on it.  (Most of us even know what that Latin phrase means!)

So the next time someone teases you about your accent and asks if you are from Maine – just give them a jolly “YES-SAH” or a “WICKED” with a big smile and know you must be doing something right!

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!

Keeping up with "THE NEWS" with Google Reader

We are in a 24 hour news cycle and have been for a while, so even tho I am pretty used to all that “noise,” I like to sift through what I like and don’t like to listen to, watch and definitely what I have TIME to READ!

Most nights, I was driving home and I say, “SHOOT! I needed to look that up!” Of course by the time I could I had forgotten it all ready.

What I was finding was that the list was becoming endless and I was becoming more frustrated. One of the guys in my office suggested “Google Reader” which of course they got the trademark blank stare, “HUH?” from me. There are others and certainly tell us if you like certain ones by commenting.

They showed me how to sign up (pretty painless) and I must say I am “hooked” so at that time, I put it on the Sephone blog, here is a link back to an “ABC’s” page that may help complete with screen shots.

I made this post short so you can go back to that link and sign up yourself! You can start putting your favorite news sources (this includes blogs) in one place that you can log into each day and see what is happening!