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Character Discernment: How to Find Safe People

Have you ever met someone who seemed fake? They’re charming, funny, and confident. Yet there’s something about them that’s off?

Your intuition waved a huge red flag in your mind’s eye, signaling caution! DO NOT PROCEED!

And what did you do?

You ignored the warning and form a connection with that person to only regret it later.

We’ve all been there.

I’ll be the first to admit of learning the hard way.

Character discernment is like completing an American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. It’s incredibly challenging, but with practice, patience, and self trust, it can be accomplished and very necessary for protecting yourself and your business.

What makes character discernment challenging?

From personally experience and observation, I have uncovered 4 basic truths.

1. Adults have become masters at hiding our true selves from the world. Western society has taught us we must be something more than who we are to belong. The search for belonging and acceptance motivates us to consume things we believe will “fix us”

2. Not trusting yourself.  There have been countless times I trusted others before myself.  Yes, I was naive and yet I didn’t know my own power so I freely gave it away.  How many times have you trusted someone’s word over or your intuition? What about a group of friends, or experts? We naturally look to peers and expert opinions before trusting our own judgement.

3.  We judge others based on qualities outside of character traits. Some of us discern people based on their personality, looks, financial status, ethnicity, etc.  It’s only when we look at character are we truly able to connect with safe people.

4. Allowing emotions to over-ride rational thinking. We buy out of emotion. Marketers know that, sales people know that, and manipulators know that. Being able to pull back those feelings and think things through would save a lot of money and heart-ache.

 How to find safe people

Safe people are those who are trustworthy, reliable, and genuine. They’d never intentionally bring you harm and want the best for you. Finding safe people involves being aware of patterns in behavior and conversation, self-reflection and dealing with your own short comings and sticking to personal boundaries.

 

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What The Tech? Top 3 Questions To Ask When Investing in Technology

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the latest tech talk?

If you’re anything like me, technology doesn’t get your go. In fact, it’s a little overrated.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars and time experimenting with software, equipment and online courses to discover there’s a lot of mediocre products out there.

Not to mention, purchased items I have yet to use.

Sound familiar, right?

I gained tons of wisdom that I’ll share with you so you can avoid costly mistakes.

Before you invest in technology ask yourself,

Will you actually use it?

Many times we run out to buy the latest tech because of the perceived benefits. Little consideration is given to the time and practice it’ll take to learn it. To implement a program, software, or equipment takes more time than we realize because new habits must be developed. Is it user friendly? Is support included? Are there additional fees? Any tech that will drastically change the way you work is not for you no matter how awesome the benefits are.

What problems do you want to solve?

Are you having issues with workflow, customer engagement, or sales? Identifying the root causes of issues will eliminate a lot of headaches. How many times have you purchased a solution that only addressed the symptom? Diagnosing problems is 80% of the work so take the time to identify the real problem before shopping for a solution.

Does it align with your philosophy?

How you run your business must be aligned with your why. If you’re an entrepreneur that’s big on building relationships, your communication methods shouldn’t heavily rely on email and social media. Doing so will be a breech of integrity and you’ll lose trust from prospects.

Tech you should invest in.

Technology is meant to compliment your work and make doing business manageable. It can never replace the human element. Software that helps with the back-end of your business like project management, velocity, and finance, will save money and minimize human error. Software such as CRMs and email automation handles the front-end of your business, where you engage prospects and clients. Using tech that assist with the front-end of your business will help increase revenue.

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What You Should Know About Chatbots


If you’ve heard talk about chatbots and are wondering what they are, you’re not alone. As the online world is constantly changing, it’s hard to keep up at times.
Chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence.

Huh?

Like Amazon’s Alexa and iOS-Siri, chatbots act as an online concierge in text form. They can help customers search for a product, answer customer support questions, check the weather forecast, etc. By using artificial intelligence, chatbot programs learn your preferences to provide notifications, search information upon request, or hold conversations with you.

This sounds cool and creepy at the same time (two words, Minority Report).

Time is a premium for busy people and who isn’t busy? We search for ways to simplify and enrich our lives. Chatbot programs are playing a major role in helping us manage daily routines, or are they (Hear from Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus)?

Companies cash in on the benefits too since chatbots can improve customer experience, simplify customer support, save time and money.
Yet the boundaries of privacy continues to fade as convenience is given more importance.

Why are chatbots a big deal?

Besides all the benefits chatbot programs have to offer, data has shown that more people spend time on messaging apps than on social networking sites. In other words, people want to connect with friends in a private and personal way.

As a result, companies are forced to find new ways to reach their targeted audience. With chatbots companies can engage customers in a human way with little interruption of their daily routine.

No matter the concerns about artificial intelligence and it’s uses, this gravy train ain’t stopping.

As a business owner and consumer, I definitely see the advantages of using chatbots. As explained in the article, The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Chatbots By Matt Schlicht. Chatbots could replace apps and even websites in the near future. All business owners should know about this technology and how it can impact their industry.

If you’re interested in exploring Messenger’s chatbot platform click here.

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Purpose Revealed: Serving Entrepreneurs

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve gone off script with the last few posts and you may be wondering,”What the heck is going on?”

I’ve written about travel for several months and now you see posts about business and self-improvement.
Confusing right?

First, I’d like to apologize for the confusion.

The last thing I want to do is confuse my readers. I enjoy travel and believe in all the benefits it has to offer I’ve uncovered my true passion, helping entrepreneurs.

You know that feeling of complete bliss get after doing something you truly enjoy?

Well that’s the feeling I get when I serve entrepreneurs.

It’s time to accept my calling and share my wisdom with the world.

As a small business owner, I understand the challenges we face wearing multiple hats. We work countless hours marketing, serving others, and improving our business.

My entrepreneurial journey has been filled with triumphs and mistakes, Mount Everest peak highs and deep ditch valleys lows. Yet, through it all, I’m stronger, more confident.

I’ve spent countless hours prospecting, and feeding the marketing beast and almost depleted my resources. If I knew what I know now, I could have saved thousands of dollars and be further along in my business.

I want to share what I’ve learned with so entrepreneurs can avoid the same mistakes I’ve made.

I want your business journey be less tumultuous, and more fulfilling.

I’m committed to helping small business owners create relationship focused marketing strategies that are aligned with their branding and lifestyle.

We all know relationships are key to living a fulfilled life. It turns out the same is true for building a strong, sustainable business. There is a trend of hacking business relationships and it’s costing entrepreneurs money!

What if you could turn key clients into permanent referral sources? How much time and money would you save? How much money would you earn? It’s time to work smart not hard!

Future posts will focus on my passion and I ask for your patience as I transition. I’ll continue to write about travel as it relates to business and still include hot vacation deals from time to time.

If my new focus doesn’t interest you, no hard feelings. Share this posts with someone who would benefit from the information. If you’re a service provider and you’re tired of feeding the marketing beast, than stay tune for future posts.

Thanks for your understanding!

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Book Your Vacation Today: Hot Travel Deals

Ready for some HOT TRAVEL DEALS?

I hope so!

I searched high and low for incredible travel deals for you and boy did I find them! Below is a list of vacation deals that caught my eye and if you find a

deal you like, book it ASAP with your trusted travel consultant or with us!

Spring Break Sale: Save up to 60% Funjet Vacations Spring Break Sale

Destinations: Mexico, Caribbean
Travel Dates: 03/01/18 – 04/14/18
Booking Dates: 10/26/17 – 11/09/17
Your clients can enjoy incredible savings on their ultimate 2018 spring break vacation now through 11/9!

Save Up to 50% + Resort Coupons in Playa del Carmen

Photo Credit: Playa del Carmen

Destinations: Playa del Carmen
Travel Dates: Now – 12/20/19
Book By: 11/15/17
Let your clients experience an adults only getaway in Playa del Carmen with savings up to 50% + up to $100 in resort coupons* at The Royal Playa del Carmen.
*Resort coupons valid for bookings now – 11/15/17. Blackout dates do apply. Resort coupons travel dates now – 12/21/17. Credit applies to per room, per stay.

Save Up To 55% Plus Kids Stay Free* at Hyatt Ziva All-Inclusive Resorts

Photo Credit: Hyatt Ziva Resorts

Destinations: Los Cabos, Montego Bay, Puerto Vallarta
Travel Dates: Now – 12/20/19
Book By: 11/15/17
Kids can have a blast at the Kidz Club and parents get to finally relax at the spa. There’s no limit on family fun when pristine beaches, vibrant culture, exciting activities, luxurious accommodations and gourmet cuisine are always included. Indulge in all-inclusive luxury.

Limited Time Offer! Save Up to 35% on Select MGM Resorts Hotels

Photo Credit: MGM Resorts

Destinations: Las Vegas
Travel Dates: Now – 09/30/18
Book By: 11/17/17
Save 35% at these resorts: Excalibur, Luxor, and Monte Carlo

 Azamara $1,000 Cruise Credit + Free Double Upgrade

The world is full of breathtaking views, and with our latest offer, those views can be seen from the sky and from your own personal balcony at sea. You can choose from select European voyages, book your air travel through ChoiceAir by November 30th, 2017, and receive $1,000 in ChoiceAir cruise credit and a complimentary double upgrade.

My Quiet Spaces Women’s Retreat Cruise With ETS

My Quiet Spaces Cruise
Join us for the first My Quiet Spaces cruise event – a retreat designed for Christian women. Engage your mind, body, and spirit through music, creative writing, meditation, movement, and prayer. Gather with other women who are seeking a time of renewal and connection with God. Relax in the warmth of the Caribbean while enjoying the comforts and activities of the ship, beaches and ports with Christian friends new and old. The price of this trip starts at $419 for an inside stateroom, not including the $71 tax or $75 program fee.

Book your spring  break vacation today!

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Do You Know How To Change Your Bad Mood?

Happy day everyone!

Some of you woke up grateful and excited to get the day the started, while the rest of us woke up thinking damn, here we go again…..

I tell you, some days I have to slide out of bed because I don’t want to adult. I try to find positive things to look forward to change my attitude. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that looking forward to something or someone and turn your day around.

Who knew right?

If you’re anything like me, you like to look up every question you have about life and chances are you find some pretty cool videos and podcasts.  Any time I get writer’s block, feel useless, or just plain stuck, I have my go to list of videos and audio. Below is my top 7 mood changing list. Just promise you’ll share your list with me too!

Motivation:

We all need motivation from time to time and I like Les Brown, Tony Robbins, etc. Here’s one that strikes a nerve every time I hear it. It gets me fired up and ready to work.

Dr. Eric Thomas, You owe you

Ted Talk: Change Your Mind Change Your Mindset

Music favs:

Music can be very healing and it’s great when you need to change your attitude.  I listen to the songs below to change my mood, especially before a big meeting or event.  When I need to strut my stuff and light up the room, I listen to this:

Kendrick Lemar I

Floacist The Stand

The Jackson 5 Can You Feel It

Continuous Learning

I most Americans, I’m a fan of personal development.  Although it’s easy to overdose on all the books, articles, and podcasts available, I found an interesting anti personal development article that’s worth reading.  For those who are on “positive thinking” overload, read this article to find balance.

5 Brutal Truths I learned after positive thinking screwed up my life

If you’re an entrepreneur who gets that dreaded blank star every time you say your elevator pitch, this one’s for you!

Sam Horn: How to Create Interest and Connect with Anyone

What are your favorite motivational talks, videos, and podcasts?

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
If you’re a semi-expert traveler, why not get paid for it? Click here for details.
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Relationships: Lessons From A Children’s Show

As I was preparing for the day this morning, I could hear a children’s show on the T.V. “Do something nice for your neighbor” was sung every few minutes.
At first, I was a little annoyed. But as it continued I paused and walked in the living room to see what the show was about. The Neighbor Day episode of Daniel
Tiger’s Neighborhood was playing.

Every time Daniel and his friends sung the phrase, “do something nice for your neighbor,” they performed different activities to show kindness. Daniel helped a neighbor carry grocery bags, helped the mail man deliver packages, gave gifts to neighbors, etc.

I stood there and watched the rest of the show calling to memory the life lessons I was taught as a child and how those lessons prepared me for adulthood.

How often do we as business owners forget to show kindness to our network?

Doing something nice for others is the cornerstone of relationship building because is brings value to their lives.

We all know the importance of relationships in business and some of us are masters at connecting.
Yet there’s always room to show a little more kindness.

Is there someone in your network you’ve been thinking of and haven’t spoken to in a while? A name that continues to pop up during discussions or in social media.

I encourage you to pick up the phone and call that person to check up on him/her. Have a conversation with no hidden agenda, and ask how you can help them.
Maybe you’ll get a business deal out of it, maybe not. The point is to show you care with no strings attached.

When we focus on relationship building, business growth is one of many side effects. The big reward is creating a group of people who care for you and in the grand scheme of things, relationships is the true measurement of a fulfilled life.

 

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Business Networking: How To Become A Premier Vendor

Have you ever attended a networking event that was full of card pushers? You know the ones who pitch to you right away, stuff their business card in your hand, and quickly move on to their next target? They have no interest in connecting because all about them.

If you ever been to a networking event, chances are, you encountered someone like this or you might be the over zealous networker (yes, I was one).

Many professionals have written off networking groups and believe it’s a waste of time because of lack of new business. Yet, there’s great value in meeting like-minded professionals. With the right mindset and strategy, you can network your way to premier vendor status with my top 3 suggestions below.

Why do you network?

Most professionals attend networking events to attract new clients and rub elbows with influencers. We all want to grow our business and lead generation is a simple solution. Networking isn’t about pitching on the first encounter. It’s about connecting to other people’s network.  So it’s not the person you meet who you sell to, it’s their network. In addition, networking groups can provide more than leads when you find the right group. It can provide support, a safe place to experiment, and a mastermind.

Yes, a one stop shop!

I found a network group I enjoy. It’s a divers group of entrepreneurs from all walks of life, there’s plenty of seasoned experts, and everyone’s friendly. I always gain valuable information and connections when I attend.

As a result of attending this group, my business is growing, I’ve gained life long friendships, I’m collaborating with other entrepreneurs on a few projects, and I’ve strengthened a number of skillsets.

It’s well worth the investment to find the right network.

What can you do for the network?

The quickest way to become known, liked, and trusted in a networking group is to serve. If you focus on helping others solve their problems without asking for anything in return, you will become top of mind. Volunteering, donating refreshments, or taking attendance can  work to your favor.

Networking to build relationships

Networking isn’t the best way to feed your business overnight because relationships take time to build. Ask around and look for a network group you can consistently attend. 

If you’re looking for a quality network group, use the Meetup app to start your search. I highly recommend attending Wisconsin Business Owners meeting held every fourth Friday of the month.

What networking groups do you recommend? Are paid networking meetings better than free ones? We want to hear from you!

 

                                                                         THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
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Have You Gone Apple Picking Yet?

Photo by Melody Bates on UnsplashFor the past 3 years, Ryan and I have gone apple picking at our local fruit farm and I look forward to it every year. It’s one of the many fall activities that we enjoy.
Most people go once a year, but not us. We have to go at least twice every season. If I had it my way, we would go every weekend for the whole season.

Why?

There are hundreds of apple varieties and no one apple orchard are alike. Walking through endless rows of apple trees invites my inner child to run and explore.
For some odd reason, it tickles my fancy to pluck an apple from the tree and munch on it before tossing it on the ground. (I probably did this a lot as a child).

We’ve picked apples twice this fall and we’re going pack at least one more time (Honey Crisp will be ripe the end of September).
On each visit, different varieties were available to pick.

What’s Your Favorite Apple Variety?

During our first, visit I discovered a new favorite, mollies. They’re sweeter than Honey Crisp, loads of flavor, and firm. They taste like Apple Jolly Ranchers.

I think I’m becoming an apple geek… but what do you expect from a fall baby!

Our last visit wasn’t as spectacular as the first.Courland, Fuji, Gala, and McIntosh were available but I didn’t care for any of them.

Thank goodness I tasted each variety! There’s nothing worse than picking a bag full of apples you don’t like (yep, been there, done that)!
Courtland apples are very tart and super firm.
You know, the kind of firmness that gets stuck between your teeth and can cut your gums. Eating a Courtland apple is like that Tums commercial when the food fights you back.

Galas, Fuji and McIntosh were ok in texture but the apple flavor is very mild. I was a little surprised by how mild they are.
We’ve brought these varieties at the store and thought the bland taste was due to the apples being picked before ripeness or we got a bad bunch.
Turns out that’s how they taste fresh off the tree.

Now I know what apples NOT to buy when grocery shopping.

If you and your family have yet to go apple picking, there’s still time to get out there and discover your favorite varieties.
Where else is it encouraged to chuck half eaten apples on the ground?
Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Where To Go

There are plenty of apple orchards here in Wisconsin and you can find a list of them here. Apple picking will go into October so set a date, invite friends and family, and get to picking.

The nearest orchard near me is Barthel Fruit Farm. You’ll find dates, list of varieties, recipes, directions, etc on their website. They also have a pumpkin farm, pears, and a store if you don’t want to pick your own apples.

Apple Holler is another well- known orchard and great for families. An unique orchard I’d like to try is Weston’s Antique Apples. They have varieties I’ve never heard of.
Autumn fruit picking is in full swing and with so many apple varieties to experience, it’s the perfect time to take a trip to your nearest fruit farm.

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Top 3 Family Vacation Ideas For The Fall

School’s back in session and you know what that means, car pools, after school activities, and homework.  It’s a bitter sweet change in your daily routine and it can feel daunting at times.

I can relate.

Children have the same mixed feelings about the school season and while parents celebrate having our homes kid free during the day, planning a fall trip will ease  the pressure of a demanding family schedule.

Why not take advantage of school breaks and plan a family getaway?
Here are the top 3 vacation ideas taken from Travel Agent magazine.

Theme Parks

Perennial theme parks are a popular choice family getaways and every year there’s something new for visitors to experience. Universal Orlando opened its new Volcano Bay water park late spring.

It’s the third theme park in the resort, spanning 30 acres and four themed areas. Enjoy the 200 foot body plunge slide, 124 foot water slides and the Krakatau Aqua Coaster. If death defying rides isn’t for you, there’s multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, a winding river and plenty of places to lounge and relax.

The 22nd annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival runs from August 31 through November 13th.

This festival is  packed with activities the whole family can enjoy. There’s entertainment and eats for foodies. Children receive a passport that can be stamped at a collection of 35 global marketplace booths.

Local indoor theme parks in Wisconsin Dells offers an wide array of fun too..

Road Trips

Did you know that Georgia is a hotspot for the Hollywood film industry?

That’s right, location scouts and director flock to this beautiful state to film movies like the Hunger Games: Catching fire, XMen First Class, and The Blind Side.

Georgia Film Selfie Spot Tour, a self-guided tour, is open until  the end of the year. Visit 33 sites across the state. Each site marks the ideal spot for the perfect selfie.    Visit “Captain America: Civil War,” at the Porsche Experience Center, Atlanta, where families can test drive a Porsche and take a selfie at the Avengers’ Headquarters.

Resorts

Little River Inn, a three hour drive from San Francisco. Spend time at the Pennyroyal Dairy tasting handcrafted cheeses, ride the heritage Skunk Train along redwoods and take a guided kayaking tour of nearby sea caves.
A special 2 night package for two adults, two children under 12, above mention activities and 1 breakfast for four is priced at $945.

Did I mention Little River Inn is pet friendly?

You can begin pricing vacations for October and November, when the weather averages are mid-eighties and seventies in most southern states.  Perfect timing for the first days off from school.

Would you like to win a spa/golf getaway for two? Sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win this month.
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