Getting Your Message Out

When you start a new business, one of the first things you do is to create a product or service that is ideal for your target market.  You set the price, you have the features and benefits and you are ready to rock and roll.  Until you realize that you don’t know how to let your target market know that you have the solution that they need.  It’s like having to ends pulling in opposite directions…you have what they need and they need what you have…so what’s next?

When I first started my company in 2009, I did not know one person in Dallas, other than the people that worked in the company I just resigned from…not necessarily the best people to share my message with.  I had to figure out how I could let people know what I was doing, why I was doing it and with whom I wanted to share it with.  So of course we always go back to basics and that is identifying your target market.  Ok that’s done…now what?  I could call everyone I knew and let them know but… I just finished saying I didn’t know anyone in Dallas and thought I should start with a model close to home first.  My first option was to network and meet people…and I did…lots of people of course I networked anywhere and everywhere and 90% of the people I met were not my ideal target…but I did meet people and they did know people so that was working somewhat.

I also hired a business coach and of course, since I knew better, I didn’t really listen to all her brilliant suggestions…until she called me out and asked why didn’t I just roll down my windows in my car and throw money out of them since that’s what I was basically doing with my coaching sessions.  She would suggest, I would resist.  She would suggest, I would ignore.  It was a wonderful cha cha…and that did continue for a bit until I was not seeing anyone want to do anything with me or my business and couldn’t understand why.  So I asked my coach and she laughed and said ok now are you ready to listen?

She told me I needed to do two things to share my message in a wider circle but not stop doing the things I was already doing.  You have to build wide not high to spread your name. So along with all the things I was actively doing in Dallas like networking and doing 1:1 connections, writing articles etc.  I also decided to add speaking to my activities.  Of course I wasn’t going to be able to demand big speaker fees since no one knew me, I had to keep my eyes on the goal…getting my name out.  I started speaking at every Chamber, Rotary, Women’s organizations and any place that would have me.  Each time I spoke, I not only met people but I also perfected my talk so that it was more focused, relevant and valuable to the audience.

The other thing my coach told me to do, was to write a book…that was NEVER on my radar and again our dance continued until I finally cried “Uncle” and promised to give it a shot. It took me about 6 months to write the book and the first printing of 750 books was delivered to me at a conference where I was the keynote speaker on a stage of almost all men, to a group of almost 4,000.  The books sold out and I had people ordering them online and it was awesome.

Now, when you ask people about Judy Hoberman, many know me.  When you ask about Selling In A Skirt…most know my company and my message.  A lot of time and hard work was needed…of course had I listened sooner, who knows how much time might have been cut out of the equation.

So what are some ways to get your business and your name known?  Well, for starters I would try to get myself entrenched locally…again, use it as a template and see what works or doesn’t instead of jumping on a plane only to realize, you should have tried it locally first. Here are a few suggestions…

  1. It’s all about relationships. Whether it’s with business owners, CEOs, Presidents of companies or other entrepreneurs…build the relationship before you need it.  I realize you need it now, but not with everyone at the same time. While you’re at it, start developing relationships with local reporters. Do you know how valuable you can be to a reporter? You are a new business, or an existing one.  You are in the community and you might have some valuable insight into a story they are working on.  Or perhaps you can bring a story to them.  Trust me, reporters look for people that have a story that is interesting or intriguing and….most importantly show up. Once you do, and they know they can count on you…you become a favorite.  I am on a radio show in Oregon every month as a business contributor.  Why? Because we talk about things that are interesting to HIS audience.
  2. How about local newspapers or magazines? Why not be a contributor there?  Any idea what happens when you are published?  You are now the expert in your space and you can become a regular contributor.  Once you get one article published, you can use that as a resource for others.
  3. Ever thought about winning an award or being on a local list? You know the newspapers and magazines I just mentioned?  They run contests, awards and produce lists of the best of the best…if you don’t have anyone to nominate your business, do it yourself.  Remember, the goal is to get your name out there so find an award or list that reflects your area of expertise.  I was recently named Mentor of the Year from The Women of Visionary Influence here in Dallas.  I was nominated without me even knowing about it and was truly honored.
  4. Network with intention. Yes, you can go to every event and meet lots of people and yes those people know people but…it might be a better move to network with your target audience or your strategic partners.  I would rather have 5 qualified networking events a month than one a day that is truly non-productive.  Can I just say, been there, done that and bought the T-shirt…many times over?
  5. Relationships are not just with people that you are hoping will share your name and brand. They should also be with your clients. Think about what a happy client will do.  They will give you referrals and testimonials.  They will keep coming back and bringing their friends.  They will want everyone to have the same incredible experience with your company as they did. This does not happen the first time you do something great and they buy something from you.  That is the beginning.  The follow-up is the most important part of the sale. Many times clients will be excited to be at the ground-floor with a new business.  You get to let them in on what’s coming next and when they know you are trying to build your company, depending on the experience they have had with you, they will either help you or go running into the hills. Let them know that you are there for the long-haul and nurture those relationships.

Remember, the customer’s perspective is your reality.

The Word is….

Did you sell lemonade when you were younger. Perhaps girl scout cookies were more up your alley? Or maybe you mowed lawns in your neighborhood….do you know what the common thread is between your first experience having a business as a child and jumping in and doing it as an adult? It’s a word that speaks about courage, work ethics, determination and excitement.  The word is ENTREPRENEUR!

Are You In Transition?

According to, transition is “movement, passage, or change from one position, state,stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change: the transition from adolescence to adulthood.”

It seems there is an awful lot of people in transition these days. The most common form seem to be those in a career transition. Either they have been promoted right out of their position or down-sized due to company budget-cuts. This affects not only those without a job but their family and friends as well. Whatʼs the best thing to do for those in this transition??  This is the time to network and let those around you know that you need their help.

There are also those graduating from College and are leaving the safety of their University family and transitioning into the cold world. This form of transition is just as difficult because the graduate really has no experience and their network is almost non-existent. Thatʼs where those of us that have a network can offer to make the path that much smoother.

Finally, there is the transition when you as the parent now become the child. Your children are grown and may not need you as much any longer. They have their own lives, friends, and families. To me this is the hardest one of all. You always imagined that you would be the center of your childrenʼs lives. When did it change? How do we make this a smoother transition? One quote that has helped me with this transition is “There are only 2 lasting things we can give our children….one is roots, the other wings.”

Recently I have been approached by people in transition to introduce them to people with whom they can network, to help them find a job or the courage to do their own thing, or even to give them a hug when their family dynamics have changed. Being in transition is a scary enough place. Being in transition alone is overwhelming. Be the person that others contact. It sure feels good giving back.

Have you recently helped someone through a transition? Or maybe even gone through one of your own? Please leave a comment below with your story. I’m sure there are others out there who could benefit from your perspective.

South Bend Revisited

While this blog is about my journey, and I do want it to be in the correct sequence, the next blog or two are a little out of order, but they are too important to hold on to.

If you go back and read the post on South Bend, the Final Frontier, you will remember that this was my last training with a very special group of people. They are the Mad Dogs and I am their Kennel Keeper. Even though I have known and have been friends with the Agency Manager for over 15 years, we didn’t really get close until I became “Corporate”. Remember, even though I am not really a Corporate kind of girl, I wouldn’t trade what I learned and gained for anything…this is one of those reasons.
Originally, I was supposed to be part of their celebration in July, rewarding the team for some amazing production. I chose to back out of that event because I had left the company and I didn’t want the day to be about me and what I was doing and was I ok etc. It needed to be about them and how they all banded together to make their production really stand out. As sad as that was for me, it was the correct decision.

I had made plans to be in Grand Rapids, MI for a very personal reason and South Bend would be the beginning of that trip. I was not going there for my old position or my new Company. I was going there to be able to officially say goodbye to my Mad Dogs, and I was told, they are indeed my Mad Dogs. Many people use that phrase but I promise you, you have to earn it and after my last visit, it was sealed in my heart.

Ok, back to the trip. I arrived in South Bend 30 minutes early. That is unheard of, especially after my last trip! My consultant and I still talk about that trip 🙂 Tom picked me up and we were going to have a nice quiet dinner and talk about how the next day was going to unfold. This was just going to be a chance to say goodbye and I was looking forward to seeing everyone. There would be a trainer for the group on a new product and then he asked me to let everyone know that there is life after leaving the company and then a tailgate party-hopefully the weather would hold out.

Of course the dress of the day would be jerseys. What else would you wear to a tailgate party?? Except that won’t work for me for two reasons 1-I don’t own a jersey and 2-I am always dressed for Selling In A Skirt….and that was what I would be wearing. Tom laughed and said he didn’t even think that dress code would apply to me…

Friday morning arrived and Tom picked me up and we headed to his office. He was wearing his jersey, and so was everyone else. The trainer did his thing and then Tom got up to speak. He was talking about this bowling shirt that was given to him and how special it was to him and then he began talking about another special person and got choked up. Was he giving me this special treasure? He was talking about me and I thought OMG please don’t make this that kind of goodbye! I don’t know if I can take it. These are my Mad Dogs and they are a major part of the reason why I took up crying as a sport.

But it was and it was so touching. I didn’t get the bowling shirt. Instead I received my own jersey that had Mad Dogs on the front and Kennel Keeper on the back AND to make it more like me, it even has puffy sleeves with pictures of dogs on the shoulders. When he presented it to me, I ripped off my jacket so fast and wore that jersey proudly. Between that and the beautiful card and the testimonials, I was a goner. I’m not even sure if what I said to all of them was audible.
Emotions ran so high that day and that was only the beginning of the weekend….

Chapter Officially Closed…Well Mostly

Of course, wouldn’t you know that my plane was delayed? I was working with a very small window in order to see my daughter and it didn’t look like it was going to happen.  Our pilot made up some major time and from the moment I landed, we had about 10 minutes to spend with each other but that was better than landing and watching her plane take off. After she left, I waited for my son and had a few minutes to think about the day.  I officially closed a huge and important chapter in my life and there was no turning back.  Well, of course let’s not forget that I am contracted to facilitate three trainings in 2010 with the Company, but other than that it is over. Everyone is asking what am I going to do?  I honestly want to take a few weeks off and just relax because I haven’t done that in such a long time.  I am sure it is going to be a little weird, but let’s put that off until after the weekend. My son arrived to pick me up and he was so excited for me. We were going to have a great weekend and there would be no tears, no negative thoughts and no reminiscing about the past 15 years. Our first stop was to check in to the hotel and unpack and then on to our favorite seafood restaurant.  We had a glass of wine and toasted great things going forward.  The food in the restaurant is fabulous and the service makes it that much more amazing. Our server was telling us about the specials and the types of oysters etc. and got onto a topic about moving away and starting over. My son told her that today was my last day at work and that I had officially resigned.  She was so excited and wanted to hear everything…I sent her to my blog as I wanted to talk to my son. I hope she is reading this as she was knowledgeable and fun. We talked about next steps and what was out there for me and ideas and dreams and the one thing I was pretty positive about was that I did not want to look for a job.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to work, but a job in a Corporate office was not on the list.  The question had been asked of me a number of times: if money, time and age was not an issue, what would you want to do? That was simple…

Will You Be Walking Around The Building?

Well this is now the last week of work and it’s clean up time.  I’ve already carried out one of my awards every day so that I wouldn’t have to figure out how to get all of them home.  They are fragile and heavy and may have no value to anyone else, but I worked hard for every singe one so I don’t want them to get damaged. Each one got seat-belted in and you can say that I’m over the top but each one of them means something to me and all made it home with no casualties.

I had a system for bringing home all my other “stuff” so that I wouldn’t have tons  to unpack once I got everything home at the end of the week.  I would take one box home at lunch and unpack it, bring the box back at do that again at the end of the day.  By Thursday I was all done.

This was a pretty quiet week.  A lot of people were on vacation so the goodbyes would be minimal.  The team I worked with when I started in Corporate were there during the week and offered their help and we said goodbye throughout the week. On Friday, IT came into my office and took my laptop, blackberry and air card.  Next came HR and asked if I would be walking around the building at all?  I said that I wouldn’t and they took my badge.  That was it.  I was now finished and my 15 years with the Company was over. Very uneventful and finito!

Rox, Val and Annette took me to lunch and that was awesome.  After lunch, I went home and was finishing a few emails and right in the middle of an email, I was notified that I was now disabled….Ok that can mean so many things but I knew it meant I no longer had access to the Company’s website, files or my email. Seriously? I didn’t think I was a threat but I guess it is a security issue. I guess???

I was heading to Denver later in the day to start the next chapter of my life and if I played my cards right I would see my daughter at the airport as she was flying out of Denver and I was coming in to see my son.  I don’t get both my kids in the same state that often so keep your fingers crossed…

Getting Excited and Make Things Happen??

Well I did go to Chicago for that final training.  Here’s what I weighed: I had no new projects and all my projects were done.  I got the thumbs up from everyone and if I didn’t get to be out of the office I think I would have internally combusted. I think I made the right choice.

Before I left, the Agency Manager that I was going to see,  ran a mini contest and the prize was dinner with me the night before the training.  I was really touched and there was quite a crowd there.  It was wonderful and we all talked about business and told stories and laughed and that was  exactly what the doctor ordered.

The training the next day went well.  We went over some popular and necessary topics and there were a few people that drove from Wisconsin to hear me.  Remember what I said earlier about bringing value?? Ok I get it, I did and do.  One of the Wisconsin attendees and I have been friends for years and he was really sad that I was leaving. I told him friends remain friends no matter what or where you are. They are your super heros and no matter how often you actually see them, these are your true friends.  I mentioned earlier about life lessons and finding out who your friends are and I knew that was in store for me but I assured him that would not happen to us.  He gave me a beautiful card and present and drove me to the airport.  My final training was a hit and on the flight home I realized the hard stop in front of me.

My life was changing faster than I had imagined.  Only one week left in the office and then I would be unemployed, 55, nervous but so excited I could hardly stand it.  Someone said to me that I wouldn’t realize how stressed I was and how I didn’t feel that great until a few weeks from when it was over and I saw how great I actually felt.  Someone will have to prove that to me…


As I scanned the back of the room and saw everyone from the Agency there, it suddenly made sense why those that were supposed to be there kept me at the front of the room for ridiculous reasons i.e. can you move this box, can we talk about whatever…Inspector Clouseau at your service.

I was presented with a beautiful plaque that was inscribed with “With sincere appreciation for fifteen years of loyalty, dedication and service to the agents & field leaders” I received a standing ovation and then I was asked to speak….not an easy task if you are doing what you have been doing best lately.  Yes you guessed it, crying.  I seem to have perfected the runny nose and red, mascara dripping eyes quite well and no I still have not purchased waterproof mascara. From what I understand about it is that no it will not run if you cry but no you can’t get it off with water either so I’m a bit leery.  That’s another entirely different issue.

What I said simply was this was/is a very difficult decision to leave but that it was time to go and see what is going to be the next chapter in my life.  I do want to have some balance and find a life.  If you really did read all the posts you will know my age and know that if I don’t get some balance now…

I also let them all know, both the Agency and the training class, that I’m not as tough as they all think.  If you just take the time to get to know me, I truly am mush on the inside, but you have to want to take the time.  At that point, our SVP and VP made the announcement that I had agreed to come back for the last three training classes of 2010.  We had discussed it and I still had to read the contract, but it was as good as done.  The class was excited and the June session came to an end.

After that, the Agency took me to lunch and presented me with a very heartfelt card, that I read in private, and tickets to dinner and Wicked.  It was a wonderful lunch and I went home and cried and went to sleep for a quick nap.  I was totally spent.  Wicked by the way was fantastic.  Dinner is a special one in August.

There are some many “final” episodes that are coming to an end.  A few more to follow…

Final Graduating Class

Before I let you know whether or not I met the request to do the last training, there was actually a few other “final” activities to complete.

I had the incredible opportunity to help create our internal University. I was also given the honor to facilitate this training and the June session was fast approaching.  This would be my last appearance at the University.  There were three other sessions already scheduled for the remainder of 2010 but there would be someone else to fill that space.  I was hoping that whomever was going to take my place would be able to shadow me during the pre-work, the session and the post-work.  After the June session, I would still be working for a few weeks, so this should be an easy request.

As we got closer to the training, there was still no one slated to take my place, however there were many different people that would be able to do a little bit here and a little bit there.  The whole is greater than the sum of all the parts theory?

The preparation for this session was definitely more organized than other sessions and everything was completed prior to the deadlines that we placed on ourselves.

Set up is on Sunday and everything went extremely smooth.  The invitees arrived Sunday afternoon and most everyone was there for the welcome dinner reception.  Of course this is Dallas and the weather does affect air travel so there were a few that were rerouted to other airports but by midnight everyone was here and ready for the week.

Monday morning everyone was at breakfast and you could feel the mood was “Why am I here? I already am a big producer? How can I take a week out of the field?” Just remember those questions for now.  The kickoff session went great and everyone had their expectations and so did we.

We divided everyone into their breakout groups and would see the group at dinner.  I would be around to all the breakout groups and see how it was going throughout the week.

The group started with Advanced Sales Training for 3 days and it was amazing how different the attitudes were by Wednesday evening.  The trainers from our outside vendor surprised me with a beautiful card, book and journal for my next adveture.  I started to read the card but yes you guessed it the tears were flowing so I chose to wait until I was safely in my room that evening.

Thursday we have our Appointment Setting guru in who is not only fabulous but she is my friend and one of my greatest supporters.  Picture me with red hair and we are identical twins from different mothers.  This session is always a favorite and the results are amazing.

Friday is our Life session and is the perfect direction for our field to be gravitating towards.  Again, another hit with the crowd. This ends the official training and no one is asking any longer why they were here or if this was worth being out of the field for the week.

Friday ends with our “graduation” ceremony.  Everyone gets to cross the stage and receive their certificate from me and a gift from our SVP and, there is no Pomp and Circumstance playing.  Benjy, our AV wonder, has very uncommon graduation music playing which definitely encourages dancing across the stage.

Everyone gives me a hug and says something wonderful to me and each person is asking me not to go, to please stay and of course my microphone is picking everything up…

At the end, our SVP closes out the week.  As I am introducing him, I start to see the entire Agency piling in through the back doors.

This can’t be good….

Caged Tiger Anyone?

After getting back from my adventure in IN, I was now “grounded” from traveling.  If you haven’t learned anything about my personality yet, I’m not an office person so this was a hard pill to swallow.  I didn’t really understand the reasoning behind this as I did ask if I could travel and was told “NOPE” and didn’t get any explanation.  My thought process was as long as I gave 8 weeks notice, obviously I was still committed to the cause and wanted the best for the field.  Why not use me to my best ability?  I decided to just let it go…and with that I bet those that know me are crcacking up.  I really did behave.  You can ask anyone.

So what I did was to make sure that everything going forward was completed and organized so anyone could step into my shoes and not have to even think.  I don’t believe in leaving anything to the imagination when it comes to my job.  Why shouldn’t I make it as easy as possible?  After all, I did give 8 weeks notice!

I believe I might have said in a previous post that I was feeling a bit invisible in the office but I’m sure it was the only way to be.  I couldn’t get any new projects because I would be gone.  I came in everyday and put in a full days work and was as positive as always.  I will admit though, it was difficult not being where I truly belonged, in the field.  But, I decided not to question that decision. You see I did ask more than once.  I know you are giggling about that right?

Anyway, one of our Agency Managers was at a meeting with our SVP and asked if I could come out for one last training for his office.  He told him how valuable that would be and how much his team had benefited from my other trainings and was told that would be a great idea!  He called me immediately and told me about the conversation and asked if I would do that.  Ummmm I was jumping up and down on one hand and totally confused on the other.  What would you do?