Saturday, July 4, 2015

You Are Not A Brand

Others don’t get to define you, you define yourself. People may label you or assign motives, but at the end of the day, your actions and thoughts are your responsibility.

This is why you are not a brand, no matter how popular or mainstream the term “personal branding” becomes. Brands can be shaped by us, but are ultimately defined by others. We, as humans, can be shaped by others, but ultimately we are defined by ourselves.

Originally published January 2014

Friday, July 3, 2015

On The Joy of Missing Out

We tend to fear missing out more than we fear mediocrity.

Saying yes to every opportunity and hiding behind choices that only serve to make us look good in the eyes of others results in a lack of focus and muddled vision. It also depletes emotional, physical and financial resources that could be used to pursue the goals we truly value instead.

You weren’t designed to do or be everything. Pursuing excellence means embracing the joy of missing out.

Originally published October 2014

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stop Watering the Weeds

Every entrepreneur has a to-do list a mile long at any given time. The truth is that not everything on that list is high priority and most likely not all of it has to be done by you. Too often we focus on what makes us feel important rather than what actually is important. Busy work is like a weed — it will multiply and then choke and kill the time needed to work on what will truly help your business flourish.

Pull the weeds, water the flowers.

Originally published September 2011

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

4 Hiring Tips for Entrepreneurs, by Jennifer Stein of @DestinationIDo

As a business owner with more than ten years experience, I’ve definitely learned what not to do when it comes to expanding a team. I’ve gone from a two-person team to a staff of 15 people. Through it all, I’ve learned from some bad judgment calls, yet I’ve also had some major hiring victories. Your company may differ in some ways from mine, but I’m certain the overall concepts may prove helpful no matter if you run a stationery studio or an online favor company.

1. Avoid hiring friends or family – that is, if you can help it.
When you hire someone you’re close with, it’s great if it works out – but when it doesn’t, it can turn ugly and potentially ruin the relationship (or at least put some irreversible scars on it). In the beginning, it can seem exciting and the financial gain could be too good to pass up. I get it. I’ve been there. But when things go South (and unfortunately, more often than not, they do) the relationship can go with it.

Now, I’m not saying working with friends or family is doomed to fail, but the risks are greater because it not only impacts your company, but your personal life. My rule of thumb is: the reward should outweigh the risk for both parties. For example: if you’ve worked together before (perhaps you became friends at a previous job and can reference that experience) or if it’s a small independent project (for example, I happen to be good friends with several freelance writers we hire), then chances are you’re safe. But if you’re considering your best friend of 20 years to lead your sales team because she was recently laid off, you may want to rethink your strategy.

2. Determine if the job can be done by an independent contractor.
We work with several independent contractors and it has proven to be a great option for our small business. We’ve done this for a couple reasons. For starters, the scope of the job isn’t large enough to hire a full-time person. Also, for certain jobs, the overhead to hire an employee far exceeds what it would cost to work with an independent contractor . . . from health care benefits to equipment and office space, the price tag can add up.

3. If you’re considering hiring someone straight out of college, see if they will do an internship first.
This provides helpful insight for both parties and can act as a “dating” period before you “propose.” You can see if the person is the right material for your company. They can also see if they like working for you. It’s a two-way street and even if they are a fit, you might not be. Better to learn that before you’re paying a salary and benefits (and they begin searching for a new job on your dime).

4. Have more than one person interview the candidate.
If you’re like me, sometimes when you get to the point where you’re ready to pull the trigger on a new hire, you’re eager to get them in because the position should have been filled months ago. If there is urgency about it, it could cloud your judgment and you could miss key red flags. Ask another person at your company to sit in on the interview and come up with a few questions as well. Or if you don’t have anyone else at the company, perhaps ask someone you respect to come in and meet them. It could help you get the right person or avoid hiring the wrong one.

JENNIFER STEIN is the co-founder of Destination Media, LLC which was established in 2004 and publishes the international title, Destination I Do Magazine. Jennifer has over 18 years of business and publishing experience and was recognized as one of the "Top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35" by Arizona Republic. As Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Jennifer has helped drive revenue growth by 135% since 2010 and has elevated the brand by collaborating with some of the best in the wedding and travel industries. You can follow Destination I Do on Twitter and Instagram.

Hiring? Check out, the job board connecting wedding businesses with creative people. 

Originally published March 2014

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On Dream Jobs

It was one of those days. You know those days where everything seems to be going wrong before the coffee maker is finished percolating. It didn’t get any better after that first cup either. Later that afternoon, I arrived at a meeting – looking completely put together on the outside but still totally frazzled in reality. While I and another person waited for the rest of the group to arrive, we made small talk. I asked her how she got started down her career path when she made the comment, “My dream is to do what you do.”

Owning a company is hard and it’s not for everyone. For me though, it’s still a zillion times better than working for someone else. Even the days where nothing seems to go right are still far fewer than the days where I feel really lucky to be able to get to do work that I love in a way that I want to.

If you wake up every day hating your job, find a way to change it. Not always an easy endeavor, but a necessary one. There are a lot of people out there dreaming of having your job.

Originally published September 2011