Making Connections & Establishing Your Brand

For some women making connections comes easily – whether it’s chatting with other moms at a PTO meeting, making friends through your church or networking with other biz chicks at a Chamber of Commerce event – friendships and connections come easily for these ladies. For others, the thought of attending a business speed dating event or going to a mommy meet up is as dreaded as an annual Pap smear.

Chances are you can identify with one of these women. You might be reading this thinking, I love attending networking events and business mixers, in fact, I actually like my OB/GYN…

Or maybe you’re thinking, Omg that’s me! I get anxiety just clicking “interested” in an event on Facebook, let alone going to a meeting or a party where I’ll be surrounded by strangers…

Regardless of your comfort levels when it comes to putting yourself out there, when you own a business making smart connections is key to growing your brand and establishing your credibility. It’s also great to have business friends, the same way you have your “mom friends” – because they get it. They know what you’re going through and can empathize during hard times and encourage you when you need it most.

I’ve been lucky to make some awesome connections since I started my web design business, and some double as mom friends which is a bonus. I was voted “most talkative” in my high school year book and it turns out those talking skills have been really helpful in the business world. If you’re new to the area, just starting a business or simply need a little help getting out of your comfort zone, here are some simple tips for making connections in your day to day life.

1. Sign Up

If there’s a women’s event, business mixer, or workshop that interests you, sign up. If you don’t want to go by yourself, ask someone to go with you! You won’t make new connections if you don’t put yourself out there, so the first step is to sign up for something that will get you in a new place with new people. Local to Lancaster? There are some amazing resources for female business owners here! INSPIRE has business workshops for women happening regularly and most cost less than $50. Some other great women’s groups include ASSETS or Women Connect Lancaster. Check them out and find an event that speaks to you, then sign yourself up! You can also find local groups on Facebook – moms groups, business connect groups, and fitness groups. Do a quick Facebook search and you’ll be surprised by the number of options.

2. Show Up

No backing out. If you’ve signed up the next step is to show up. Not sure if you’ll know anyone else? Stalk the Facebook guest list and connect with some of the other attendees on Instagram. This will make them seem more familiar and likewise, they might recognize you. Need something to chat about? Do your social research so you can be prepared. Take note of who people are connected to online and what they’ve been sharing about recently. Make an effort to seek those people out at the event and start a conversation. You can always start with, “I saw we have some mutual connections.”

Chances are, when you ask questions and show interest, other women will do the same. At the end of the day, we’re all attending workshops and events for similar reasons – to learn, to connect, to grow. When you show up, be yourself. Bring some business cards. And at the end of the day, have fun! I am a firm believer in the law of attraction which says we are drawn to similar energies, so be intentional in your interactions.

3. Follow Up

You came, you saw, you conquered (your fears). Now this is the important part. If you want to make genuine connections, follow up. If you really enjoyed talking to someone and you want to chat further about business, mom life, or whatever it is you bonded over, send them a message and ask if they’d like to grab coffee sometime soon, cowork for a day, or simply meet up. I recommend suggesting some days/times right away so you can get a meet up on your calendar. We all have that old friend we bump into and say things like, “We need to catch up soon!” But you know as soon as you turn the corner you’ll never take the time to reach out to them… Don’t let your new connections become like these old friends. Be intentional about your invitation to grab coffee or collaborate, and once again – show up. You might just make a new best friend or find your businesses can truly benefit each other.

Making new connections can be daunting. In fact, I still get nervous when I attend workshops and events without a friend and I’m not sure I’ll know anybody else. But at the end of the day, I’ve met so many wonderful women who’ve become partners, podcast guests, collaborators, mentors, and friends… Putting myself out there hasn’t always been easy but it’s been worth it! If you need help getting connected, contact the INSPIRE team today.

Transformation Begins With Responsibility

Personal responsibility is the key to whatever you want. It's the way to wherever you're going. Owning what's happening in your world allows you to access the ideas to change it. When you change how you think and what you'll accept you begin to create a new world. If you blame everything on everyone else you won't get the ideas and you'll be stuck. When you take care of everything that you can do you begin to make new paths for light, and as the clutter is cleaned up in your mind, you will find that so many things you wanted just appear. Do what you can in every single area of your life and don't blame others around you for things. Choose to focus on you and what you will do and watch how your whole world transforms.

To Blog or Not To Blog

By, Rachel Kline

When I start working with a client who needs help with social media, the first thing I ask is "do you have a blog?" Why is a blog SO important? Well, if you don't have your own blog, where is your content coming from? In this post I want to share my top four reasons for starting a blog this summer (if you don't already have one)! And if you do, but you've been inconsistent or short on ideas, you'll also want to keep reading.

1. A Blog Helps Establish Credibility

First things first, a blog is a great place to establish yourself as an expert. Whether you claim to be the most up and coming clothing boutique or the area's number one lifestyle photographer, a blog is the perfect place to offer your knowledge and share your experience. If your website doesn't have a FAQ page, your blog is a great place to answer questions and provide detailed answers for your audience. You can share photos from a recent project or step by step instructions for styling a new piece of jewelry. Show your audience that you are the real deal and there’s more to your business than a short Instagram caption – entice them to “keep reading” and expand on popular topics on your blog. Don’t forget to include a bold call to action with each post. As you establish your credibility you build your client’s trust in your products and services, converting web users to customers as they purchase your products or sign up for your workshops!

2. A Blog is a Great Way to Keep Your Website Fresh

Adding new content to your website is great for SEO purposes. A blog is a simple way to add keyword phrases on a weekly or monthly basis that can increase your Google ranking and help you highlight your skills and services. For example, if you're an organizer writing a post about a recent project you could direct people to "click here to learn about my hourly consultation services." Or, share a link to your products page or a previous blog post with links to your favorite organization items. (Affiliate links if you’ve got them!) Be sure to always have a call to action at the end of your post where people can contact you, book a service, or buy your products.

3. A Blog Provides You with Endless Social Media Content

A blog is the easiest way to create content you can share on social media. Sure you can share someone else's articles or tips, but then you're sending your audience to their websites when you should be bringing them to yours! When you have original content to share, you can control the information you're providing your followers on social media, and you can make one blog post go a long way. You can share a link to your post, a photo from your post, a graphic you designed to go with your post, a video you created to give people a preview of the content that’s in your post… The options are truly endless. If there’s one piece of advice you take from this article, I hope it’s this: A blog post can and should be shared more than once. For more tips on how to make your content go further, click here.

4. A Blog Will Be There When Social Media Is Not

Yes, as important as social media is, it may not always be here. Remember that day a few months ago when Instagram was down for [gasp] 12+ hours!?? If you rely on teaching through IG Live or spreading your message through thoughtfully curated posts that’s great – but when your account is down you need another way to reach your audience and get your content in their hands. This is where an email list is absolutely essential, and a blog is their final destination. New course? New post or product? Get the info in their inbox and get your audience to your blog or custom landing page.

If you haven't started a blog yet, this summer is the perfect time to step up your social media game. Need a quiet place to write, or a place to feel inspired? I would love to see you at the Inspire Business Community Coworking Space. It’s open M-F and they have convenient punch passes if you simply want to pop in from time to time. Not only will you leave the space with fresh ideas, you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee while you’re working and meet other local businesswomen. Blogging doesn't have to be a headache, it's just a matter of creating a plan and sticking with it.

The Process

It's up and down and front then back
As we wrestle forward letting go 

What's comfortable is what we knew
We're going forward into unknown 

The territory's wide expanse
Seems vast, foreboding and unclear

What should we do, what should we not? 
We trust our intuitions here

We open up to all that's new
And gently let it all unfold

We know we're not now in control, 
But trust that we are being led

And as before the path awaits
We trust that we shall have the faith

To step out into the unknown 
And try things not before here done

And as we watch it all take place
That we shall have a deep, deep grace

To grow inside, stay grounded well 
And not be stuck in our own way.