Archive for September, 2011

27
Sep
11

coming home

This past week I’ve had the rare opportunity to travel back to each of the towns that has meant something special to me. I’m on a book tour with my dog and we cleverly chose places that we previously lived in to launch the book. Pulling into each town is always exciting. You get to see what’s changed and what stayed the same. What highways and tollways have been incorporated to sustain the growth. What happened to your old neighborhood. It’s always “iffy” returning to the past because things are never the same. Past flames never feel the same, some of the neighbors are gone, and your house may be painted a different color or torn down altogether.

The other thing you get to see is your true friends. These are the ones who would drive clear across town in rush hour traffic to help you celebrate your first book release. Absent are the ones who feigned concern when you were the boss, or could only relate to you when you were a member of the work pack. Things do change, but true friends don’t. It’s always good to separate the wheat from the chaff repeatedly in your life so you know whom to focus your attention, time and prayers on.

I am not running the largest organization I ever have at this time in my career. It’s a small independent publishing company. It’s a lean, tight workforce. Gone are the parking spaces, trips to corporate and sexy job titles. But that’s okay. Sometimes when we make changes we tend to evaluate them based on the very superficial things such as personnel supervised, revenue, title, and perks.

As I reconnect with friends who had known me from my previous “very important jobs” I wondered what they thought about my new leg on the road of life. It was immediately obvious. They couldn’t have been happier. We were all once awash in the sea of corporate bureaucracy, but now they see that I am on solid footing. I get to make my own decisions, donate money to worthy causes, and speak out without fear of reprisal. In short, they say, I’ve finally found exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. They told me they can see it in me.  And that has been the most astonishingly tremendous aspect of coming home.

 

21
Sep
11

i’m proud to be a coal miner’s doggie, by Mr. Blue

My Mom is not really a coal miner, but she is from Pennsyltucky, so maybe there’s a little bit of it in her. I am halfway through our “pawtograph” book tour for my book, True Blue Leadership: Top 10 Tricks from the Chief Motivational Hound. My pack picked cities we had previously lived in and partnered with small businesses and local animal rescues for our events. We’re humble hounds so this type of venue suits our nature. We worked like dogs for the last three days in a row meeting wonderful humans and hounds and yapping it up with other dog and book lovers.

Eileen Voyles, our tremendous publicist, worked hard to get us several TV appearances, radio interviews, and newspaper coverage before each of these events. They were all great successes. As we traveled from town to town, Eileen commented that this reminded her of the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter, where Loretta Lynn’s husband suggested they take a homegrown promotional tour working tirelessly to meet with all levels of disc jockeys across the South.

As we packed up our books, Frisbees, t-shirts, and doggie bandanas and headed off to the next venue, it was clear that the overwhelming majority of people who came out to each event heard about it via the radio and the newspaper or had seen a posted flyer. It’s very interesting that in today’s virtual world, the written and spoken word still have such power. Now I look forward to updating my Facebook fan page as much as the next pup, but this experience taught this old dog a new trick!

Traditional media, just like social media, is free. If the local stations like you and your story, they are more than willing to jump in and provide you the coverage. Social media is the same way, but there are still many people who don’t use it. One of the couples who attended our event was vacationing at a local bed and breakfast. When they checked in with their dog, the caretaker had seen a flyer my mom passed out to local businesses and recommended the event to them.

So the moral of this “tail” is, don’t neglect any of the marketing arrows in your quiver. If you think you can change the world with your message simply by sitting behind the computer and putting it “out there”, think again. You may hit some of the targets, but you’ll miss many others. Organic growth, where you get out there with all four paws on the ground, is still quite powerful, even in today’s Internet age. It’s just a matter of being willing to invest your time and money to promote your message, even if it means hauling boxes of books from city to city or driving all night to be on an early-morning local news show for two minutes. A tired pup is a happy pup, so get out there and work like a dog to get your message, product or service out there!

12
Sep
11

how to shuck a huckster

One of the biggest challenges faced by business owners is choosing whom to do business with. One wrong “ally” can result in lost revenue, stolen customers, or pirated intellectual property. The best way to separate the wheat from the chaff is to align yourself with people who do things solely to help you. My father used to tell me that if you give to get, that’s not giving, that’s trading. And in today’s business world, it is imperative that we continue to find others who work for a higher good over their own personal benefit. These people are the real deal and embody the term adding value.

Make sure your closest advisors, board members, mentors, consultants, and key personnel are true evangelists for supporting your business or cause. Whether it is referring you to their clients, or simply forwarding an eBlast or tweet, they are “on your team” to promote you. Make sure they are doing this or find someone who will.

Watch out for people that won’t do anything for you without a cut. I’ve had people call me about a promising client or sale and in the same breath begin discussing their cut. I may be old school, but I truly believe Zig Ziglar’s famous quote, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Again, I want to align myself with helpers, not traders.

There are plenty of consultants out there who will charge you to grow your business before they’ve delivered results. Be very careful investing upfront with anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game. If someone is really that certain or savvy about delivering the results they’ve promised, they should be more than willing to wait for the actual results.

As a publisher, we invest in authors because they can transform the lives of others. Take some time to ensure that the words are an authentic representation of the person putting the ink on the page. You can’t teach others to get their house in order unless yours is. Do your homework, get references, run appropriate checks, and remember: actions always speak louder than words. This is critical for any business, regardless of the end product or service.

Following these brief hints will ensure that you are working with those who truly have your best interests at heart. The greatest supporters in my business have come to me willingly, doing things without my request, and stepping in to provide their expertise without trying to negotiate a deal. And in helping me, I have added helping them to the top of my strategic plan.

07
Sep
11

not all who wander are lost

When I was young I had a passion for writing. I was told I was good at it. It came naturally and I enjoyed it. When it came time for college, I went the engineering route because that’s where the money and jobs were. Being a creative person in a technical field definitely had its advantages. The ability to write and communicate was always in demand so I felt actualized on both sides of the brain. The leadership training I gained during my years in the Air Force was also a plus. Looking back, even though it wasn’t my most authentic self, it was still a pretty good self, and I worked hard at each job.

When I got my first dog, Mr. Blue, I was intent on socializing him. So I signed him up to go to a tremendous doggie daycare, DogBoy’s Dog Ranch, in Austin, Texas. For four years he romped through the fields learning how to play and be a joyful canine. I’d drop him off and he’d race into the pen to join his friends. I wished, each and every time, that I could run into the area with them and spend the entire day playing rather than going to my J.O.B. But could I pay the bills hanging out with dogs all day and sharing all the amazing things we can learn from them?

Fast forward ten years. As part of my journey, I wound up back home in Pennsylvania running Tremendous Life Books, the premier publisher of motivational and leadership material. I can’t say it was planned, but I’ve always subscribed to the mantra, “Not all who wander are lost.” I’ve never been one to pass by an open door. As Yogi Berra so famously said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

So now I am a writer. And I get to bring my dog (now dogs!), to work every day. And my dog wrote a book. And we’re going on a six-city book “pawtograph” tour. And I get to give speeches with my dog about leadership and our various journeys throughout life. Had I not had all those “detours”, I wouldn’t have much to share. Sure I could go on and on about how much I love my dog, but so could every dog parent.

So in the end, despite all the wandering and forks in the road, I wound up exactly where I am supposed to be with my best friend by my side! All those previous industries and experiences helped me discover the most authentic version of myself. Best of all, I get to spend my entire time focused on the things in life that matter most to me, and make enough money not only to pay the bills, and to give back to some tremendous organizations.

I’m finally running and playing in the field where I was meant to be.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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