YOU and Your WORK – What is it Worth?

Hello Blog Lovers!

Another week has come and gone again and we are less than a week away from Labour Day long weekend. Phew, where has the summer gone!

Last week, I talked about what I was able to learn about life from canning with my Mom over the years and this week I will touch on the same topic, well sort of.

Let me explain…

Last week while working in my office I stumbled upon a discussion amongst other women entrepreneurs in a closed Facebook group I am a part of called GWEn–Growing Women Entrepreneurs.  The discussion started when a member inquired about the large price gap evident in this region for social media managers and their services.  It would appear that the scale can range from $200 – $2000.  Obviously this depends on the size of the agency and or if it is just one individual (solopreneur) offering up their expertise and services. That isn’t the interesting part, as I have had this discussion many times over the years with colleagues and fellow entrepreneurs.  No, what was interesting was the concept of pricing based on your value versus based on what potential clients are willing to pay.

female-entrepreneurThis concept and debate really does resonate with me.  It is something that I have struggled with over the years and I know that I am not alone.  We as women entrepreneurs are still being well under paid in comparison to our male counter parts for the exact same work done. Is this due to the given market or is it because we as women entrepreneurs are under valuing who we are and what we offer professionally or can it be a combination of the two?

Since relocating  back into the Niagara region from Vancouver over 3 years ago, learning to adjust can be classified as an understatement!  Life and business here in Niagara I have discovered is really about who knows you.  People generally will only do business with someone they feel they know and are apart of the community they operate in.  Moving from the West Coast and setting up shop here as an independent freelancer with a Cue Creative Consulting has definitely seen its ups and downs.

When networking or talking with local area residents, the usual response when I say I work with a Cue is generally ‘who’?  So having what seems is an uphill battle, the idea of price is generally the first place we think we need to adjust our business.  “If I just lower my price, more people will want to hire me, right?” Is generally the first place our minds go.

But, how is this helping us, our value or the value of the work we offer?

Our work and who we are has value.  And, it is about time we and the market start recognizing that!  If we don’t value ourselves how can we expect others to do the same?

largeThey say we attract the energy we put out into this world.  Let’s start using positive ‘valuable’ energy out into the universe when we all collectively think of who we are and what we offer our respectable industries without compromise or fear.  Once we stick to that, the ideal clients will come and will be attracted to the energy we put out.  If they aren’t the ideal clients, then we simply must say ‘thank you, but please move on’ so you can leave space for the ideal client to come into your life.

Acknowledging the value in ourselves adds value to our respectable industries which in the end is nothing but a win, win all around!

Following this philosophy has allowed me to slowly but steadily grow my business.  I have enjoyed and worked hard seeing my baby grow and I am so excited to see her grow even more into the booming business I know she can be.

Thank you once again for coming along on this blogging journey with me.  But, before I go, let me ask you, do you think we as women entrepreneurs base our service fees on our intrinsic value or on what we think people are willing to pay in this current regional market?

Please join this important conversation as I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below!

Until next time,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

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Tis The Season To ‘Preserve’ Family & Tradition

Hello Everyone!

I hope that you all had a wonderful week.  Time for me to pen another blog and continue letting you all into my little world here in Port.

As you all know, the summer is starting to wind down as we head even closer to Labour Day; kids going back to school and all you parents will finally get your sanity back.  But, what this also means is that we are in prime canning season.  Yes you heard me, canning season, that time of year we turn into furry animals prepping and storing our bounty of summer fruits and veggies into a ‘canned’ state so we can nourish ourselves over the long cold winter, which if you follow the Farmer’s Almanac it is going to be a doozy this year…You know THAT time of year.

But what comes to mind even more profoundly more than anything about this time of year, is the bonding that Mom and I would have over each and every one of these seasons. As far back as I can remember, Mom canned beets, peaches, lady rose pickles, pickles, apple sauce, jam, you name it she canned it.  I remember pulling up a stool next to her in the kitchen and I would be in awe of the smells, textures and colours of all the beautiful fruits and vegetables my Mom was carefully and with precision chopping, sauteing and stirring on the stove, like an orchestra of beautiful sights and smells singing to every one of my senses.

You have to remember, we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, my Dad became very ill and was no longer able to work when I was very young and my Mom had to stay home to take care of him. As you can probably guess this made money very tight in our home and resourcefulness became a means of survival.  Mom had to become creative in making a dollar stretch while still ensuring that we all ate good, healthy food.  This is where canning came in.  But, what I remember most from these times is the life lessons that my Mom was teaching me whether she knew it or not; the value of a dollar, if you want something out of life you have to work for it, making your own food is more economical and better for you, and most importantly my love for cooking, and that by being creative in the kitchen you were able to not only feed your family with nutrition but with love as well.

So many years later, I find myself back in canning season once again with Mom.  Both of us laughing, music playing and a sense of satisfaction that we are once again making food that is not only nutritious but filled with love for our family and friends.

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14088658_10154120329617741_7474633276648553527_nPeaches are in prime season right now, and as tradition should be, it must be passed down to keep it alive.  So I would like to pass on the tradition of canning peaches by sharing our canning recipe to all of you.

This year, we altered the recipe a bit as both my Mom and my Stepdad are diabetic so we we decided to get creative with the ‘syrup’ we used this year; pure apple juice.  But, if you are a true traditionalist then by all means substitute simple syrup for the apple juice in the recipe I am about to share below.

So from our house to yours, here is our simple recipe for Canned Peaches:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bushel of Free Stone Peaches (peaches that come freely from the pit, Red Raven is a good example)
  • 2 cans of pure apple juice (enough apple juice to cover the peaches adjust accordingly)
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar (adjust to your own taste)

Directions

Place the whole peaches in a large pot of boiling water so they are submerged around 5 minutes, just so the skins can come away from the fruit easily.  Remove the peaches and place them in the sink with cold water.  Once the fruit is cool enough to touch, peel the skins off of the fruit and slice the peaches into pieces and place in another pot.  Repeat until the 1/2 bushel is complete.  Pour the apple juice over the sliced peaches until they are just covered.  Add the lemon juice and sugar.  Bring the peaches just to a boil and remove from heat.  While the peaches are being brought to a boil, have a separate pot for a boiling hot water bath to place your canning jars in.  Place the rubber stop lids of the canning jar in a separate pot and bring to a boil as well.  All of this is for sanitation and to ensure your jars will seal.  Now this is where the real ballet begins, now it is all about timing, once the peaches have been brought to a boil and removed from the heat you have only a small amount of time to get them in the hot jars and sealed.  Remove the hot jars from the hot water bath, but be sure not to touch the mouth of the jar, fill the jars with the peaches and liquid and then place the boiled lid on top of the jar and then put the ring around the lid until secure and then place the filled and sealed jar upside down on a tea towel until cooled.  Repeat until all of the peaches have been filled in jars.  Once cooled, flip the jars back upright and if the lid is concave or appears to be sealed downwards then it has successfully sealed and can be stored.  If not, simply place the entire jar in a boiling water bath and leave the entire jar submerged for 10 to 15 minutes which should reseal the lid.  If not, you have have to start all over again for that jar.

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Label with what is in the jar and year it was canned and voila you have delicious and nutritious food to feed your family over the cold and unforgiving winter.

Again, thank you for stopping by and for coming along on this blogging journey with me, it does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.  But before I go, what do YOU like to can or what are your recipes that you and your family love?  I would love to hear!

Until we meet again,

Love & light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

Doing The Hokey Pokey With My Comfort Zone

Hello All,

Another week has come and gone, but magically we did get some much needed rain here in the Niagara region, as we were in desperate need..so YAAAAAAAA!

This week, I am gonna get back to my roots of this blog and dive a little deeper into who I am and where I have come from.  Yes I am a Niagara region replant we have already discussed that, but for those that have never met me, I feel that I need to make a confession. Over the years, as far back as I can remember I have dealt with what I now can call a form of social anxiety; a feeling of panic and heightened anxiety when put in situations of stress or experiences or events outside of my ‘comfort zone’.  This anxiety became so severe, that in my younger teen years I battled with severe shyness and mild to moderate depression.

Don’t worry the irony has not been lost on me as my professional career now is in Public Relations, an occupation directly out front and center in the world and sometimes directly in the spotlight, I know, I know, I get it, don’t worry. 🙂  You see, at a young age, after a traumatic experience as as teenager I decided that enough was enough and I was not going to live my life like that anymore and I consciously made a choice to change, and I have.

Let me explain…

As I had mentioned, as a young kid I was very shy, this shyness grew as I headed into my teenage years.  This introversion as you can guess made me a prime target for bullies and for retreating into the safety of my dark bedroom listening to music by myself and stewing in my own self hatred and loathing.  This self hatred and loathing hit a pinnacle when I was 15 years old.  As you can probably guess, my depression became so severe that I seriously started to think about ending it all, if I was not around anymore, no one would miss me and I wouldn’t hurt anymore is what I thought.  I know now that was not true but when you are in the spiral of depression, being bullied and feeling like you are worthless, it seems like this is your only way out.  Standing in the kitchen with a handful of pills in my hand, ready to end it, only one thought kept coming up in my head, “how can I allow my Mom, the woman who was always been there for me, loving and supporting me find me like this?”  THAT was the only thing that stopped me from ending it all that day.  But, one significant thing did shift in me from that experience, I knew that I didn’t want to live like that anymore, I needed to make a change, and change I did.

woman-leaping3I started forcing myself out of my shell, joining clubs, the school band, student counsel, sports, you name it I joined it and slowly the blossoming occurred.   Ironically, getting a job at a local diner as a server was the biggest change maker for me, I had to deal with people of all walks of life no matter what.  I learned to define and create my own voice and it was empowering.

However, there is still one such gremlin from this dark time that still rears its ugly head even to this day; a out and out fear of public speaking.  I know this fear is quite common for many, but this gremlin is one last hurdle I aim to jump over and get past forever.  I can manage small gatherings and making presentations, I know my triggers and I have developed coping mechanisms to get me through, but large gatherings still trigger those sweaty palms, dry throat, anxiety riddled emotions that I know all too debilitatingly well.

So why do I bring this up you ask?

Comfort-zone-smallWell, I guess this is my official coming out announcement to all of you, I have been given the honour to be asked to be the official Master of Ceremonies for the upcoming SaMM2016  – The Sales and Marketing Marriage Conference being presented here in Niagara on September 28 by Prowl Communications.  This is my ‘coming out of my comfort zone’ party so to speak.  One of my last hurdles of yesteryear that I no longer want to inhibit me from achieving all that I know I am capable of.  I go on and on about getting outside of your comfort zone and really learning to live all the time on my own biz social media platforms, now it is my turn to finally put my money where my mouth is so to speak.  I will not lie I thought long and hard about this as my old insecurities came to the surface when Debi Katsmar of Prowl Communications asked me.  I asked my colleagues and friends if I should do it, and ultimately they all said the same thing, listen to your gut as it never lies to you.  My gut, the little voice inside of all of us calmly and softly spoke amongst all the noise of self doubt brewing in my head and whispered, “It’s time to blossom again”

So here I go, not only putting my left foot out of my comfort zone, but I am going to jump head first out of my cocoon and experience what it means to truly ‘live’ outside of the safety of what I know and into the excitement of what will be.  Am I scared? YUP!  But you know what, I’m gonna do it anyways 🙂

Thank you once again for coming along on this blogging journey with me.  Your support and feedback does not go unnoticed.  If any of you are interested in attending the SaMM Conference, then I encourage you to click the hyperlink for SaMM here to get more information.

Also, I would love to know, what have you done lately to get outside of YOUR own comfort zones?  I would love to hear!

Until we meet again,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

Time To #RideTheHose and Get On The Jetovator!

Happy brand new week everyone!

I can not believe that we are in the second week of August already, where is our summer going?

If you are an avid follower of my blog then you know that for my birthday this year I treated myself to a ride on the Jetovator.  What is the Jetovator you ask?  Well a Jetovator is a portable platform that is operated by 2 throttles attached to a PWC or Personal Water Craft by a hose that supplies the power to the platform so that the participant can fly up in the air….Sounds complicated right?  Well actually not as much as you think, let me go on and explain how I went from normal social media manager to extreme sport participant, flying in the air aerialist…well sort of..here goes..

A few months before my birthday I had a brainstorm as to what fun and outside of the box thing I wanted to experience for my birthday, you see every year I try to do something I have never done before to remind myself that I am truly alive and I need to celebrate that! Last year I went on a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls with Niagara Helicopters which was fun and exhilarating experience that I would highly recommend, that I had the pleasure to experience with my family.  So as I was scrolling through my Facebook Feed an Ad from 905 Rentals came up for the new season of Jetovator Rentals.  905 Rentals is a Jetovator, paddle board, kayak and jet ski rental shop in Wainfleet run by the charismatic and personable Brian Grant that I had the pleasure of meeting the year before at a networking event in Port Colborne.  The light bulb went off, YES this would be one hell of a way to ring in my 44th year on this spinning planet I exclaimed!  Well more in my head not out loud per say, but let’s continue 🙂

Happily my birthday arrived and off me and my parents went to #RideTheHose as they say. (You see, I had to have witnesses to this adventure and of course a back up plan to have someone drive me to emerg, but I digress 😛

We pulled up to 905 Rentals in Wainfleet located right across the street from DJ’s Roadhouse and went in.  We were greeted with smiles and enthusiasm for choosing to celebrate my birthday with them and for trying something outside of my comfort zone. Graciously, Brian offered me a wet suit to put on before we walked out to the beach, I accepted and went into the bathroom to change.  If any of you have ever put on a wet suit before (I never have) then you know, it is a workout all on its own.  I now have coined this experience as putting on the ‘body condom’.

So I walk out of the bathroom to be greeted by a look of confusion on Brian’s face as he nicely smiled and says “ummmm you have that on backwards”.  Yup, backwards people! I’m a dork..lol..So red faced and laughing uncontrollably I corrected my error in fashion and off we went on our trek to the beach, but not before I added a helmet and a life jacket to my fashion attire, because as we all know ‘safety first’, which goes quite nicely with my ‘body condom’ I was sporting dontcha think? 😛

We get to the beach which was FULL of people getting in some of their ‘fun in the sun’ on the cool waters of Lake Erie.  “Great spectators to my klutzy demise” I think.  So I take a deep breath and off we go into the water, oh did I mention that this was one of the windiest days they have seen in quite some time with white cap waves to go along with it, Awesomesauce…

We wade out and Brian gives me a quick tutorial on what I need to do to operate the platform, of course this demo is over waves crashing into me and my face.

So a little nervous and slightly confused all the while trying to balance myself on the platform I begin to wonder”What the HELL have I gotten myself into?” “Too late to turn back now” I say as Brian sends the first thrust of power to the Jetovator and….

Well instead of me telling you, why don’t I show you.  Click the video below and see the many..many..I mean many times I attempted to #RideTheHose that day.

Did I mention many times 🙂

Thanks to Brian and 905 Rentals for a Birthday I will never forget and of course to all of you for stopping by and reading my ramblings every week!

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and if trying out the Jetovator interests you, then by all means give 905 Rentals a shout, they are top notch and can make anyone confident and ready to #RideTheHose no matter their abilities!

But before we go I would like to ask you all this, what have YOU done lately to push yourselves outside of your comfort zones and see what you are capable of doing?

I would love to hear!

Until next week,

Love & Light I send to you always,

Dina xxoo

Everything We Do Is Marketing

Hello Everyone,

I hope that you all had a great week, mine was filled with a weekend packed full of Canal Days and hanging with family & friends while filling in the gaps with the much needed work I needed to do for me and my clients.

This week’s blog post will be a bit “marketing-esque’ hence the title. This may happen sometimes, as I do work in social media and marketing so ideas for topics may fall within that scope from time to time.  So here we go…

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As I was driving around my little town this past weekend, I noticed a couple things that stuck me; two completely different businesses with similar marketing deficiencies; the exterior of their businesses did not match what they say they can do as a business.

Let me explain, one business was a landscaping company and the other a driveway paving company, both did not live up to the title of what they do.  The landscaping company’s front yard was overgrown, plants were dead and the sign was being covered by overgrown weeds while the driveway paving company had a gravel driveway riddled with potholes.

Now I ask you, after seeing what I described to you concerning each business would you hire either one of them?

I get it, it is probably the age old scenario of the ‘cobbler with no shoes’, but as as business owner you must be aware that EVERYTHING we do is marketing!  How we present ourselves to the world both physically and online is the gateway to how we are perceived as an expert in our chosen field of business.  Whether either one of these businesses are exceptional at what they do and how they treat their customers is irrelevant, if we are first given the impression of ‘less than’ to start with.

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The same can be said for social media managers, would you hire someone to manage your presence online when they themselves either don’t have a business social media pages or they haven’t made a post to any of their platforms in 3 months?  You may still meet with them, but your trust and belief in what they can offer will be diminished from the get go.

So to avoid any of this, simply have the ‘cover match the book’ so to speak when you present yourself to prospective clients.  Put yourself in the mind of your ‘ideal client’ and ask yourself ” what would I expect and want to see when I pulled up to the storefront and when I met with the owner, right down to doing business with them?”

Once you get your answer, make sure that you do everything in  your power to ensure that these expectations are met.  It is not just about getting a client, it is about getting the ‘ideal client’ the one you would want to do business with and build an ongoing relationship.

Once you have created this, be sure that your online presence is alignment with what you have created offline.  There is nothing worse than following a business online, really connecting to what they have to say on their social media platforms and the values they had been presenting to you,  you decide to take the plunge and take it offline, call or go to the business storefront only to be greeted with a totally different persona and image that you had created a relationship with online.  That is a huge disappointment, and you not only will have lost a customer but now this person will tell their friends about their inconsistent experience and they will tell their friends and well you know the story.

Consistency in business marketing is crucial for not only maintaining but growing your business both on and offline.  So the next time you make a post online or put up a new sign on your storefront ask yourself, does this give ‘value’ to my ideal client and will my efforts be congruent with who we are and where we want to go as a business?

If your answer is no, then you really need to rethink what you are doing and come up with a better plan of action that not only benefits your business, but will attract and maintain your ‘ideal client’ for years to come.

Thank you all once again for coming along and reading my weekly ramblings!

Let me ask you, have you ever gone into a local business and were completely disappointed with what you were greeted with or encountered either online or offline?

I would love for you to join the conversation!

Until we meet again,

Love & Light Always I send to all of you!

Dina xxoo