Archives for guest blogger

Women are bad Entrepreneurs? Speak for yourself! Part 2

Continuation from Women are bad Entrepreneurs? Speak for yourself! Part 1

Women in BusinessI asked Smith College Alumnae to share their thoughts about the article by Penelope Trunk in Techcrunch that claims that women are bad at startup’s because of kids.  The post is inflammatory to say the least.  Here is a continuation of what Smith women had to say about the post.

Cynthia Neil says, “Ms. Trunk has made her own decision for her own reasons. She could have written an excellent article written simply from that premise. Instead she has generalized her decision to all women of a certain age who aren’t running startups — a mistake, in my view. I’d like to know what she means about the biological clock exploding at 35 — are you not supposed to have kids after that? There are women having their first children well after that date (including myself, and including many of the lawyers I know). Not everyone is dating the right person at 25, or 27 — I certainly wasn’t.

And only 1 year of marriage sans children? Girl needs to get a life — or may value her husband primarily as a sperm donor, which is too bad, because although men are definitely different from women I usually enjoy being around my husband, and we certainly enjoyed life together before our child arrived (which was four years into our marriage).

I also find it amusing that she thinks she’s “a magnet for high-powered women with stay-at-home husbands”, but it’s really the women running the household too, because the men just don’t pay enough attention. AND they’re running startups as well. Really? Methinks perhaps she’s a magnet for control freaks who fail to see the value of their spouses… not necessarily for high-powered women.

I’m sure she makes good points about the nature of startups — that they demand 100-hour weeks, that they are like having a child, that it’s very difficult to have a personal life of any magnitude while you are involved in a startup. That’s fine. The startup as a specific kind of business may not be what women with young children need. My mother runs a business out of her home — granted, she’s not in that age range and doesn’t have small children at home, but she COULD be in that situation and she’d still be fine doing what she’s doing. It’s a very flexible situation and she’s making a great deal of money. It’s not a “startup” in the sense that Penelope uses the word, or really in any sense — she’s been running it in one form or another since I went to college — but it would be a feasible business for a new/young mother.

I think it’s doable for young women with the right kind of knowhow and dedication to run their own new business while they get their personal lives going. They will need to remain more flexible than Ms. Trunk has.

I also wish that Ms. Trunk hadn’t generalized her experience to the entire female population. What about the women who met their mate when they were in college? Or the ones who don’t until they’re 35? She has a very narrow definition of the female personal/career path. She’s right that our personal choices affect our career choices — duh, it’s your career, so it’s personal too. But to generalize all of those choices to all of her readers is silly. Why not write it as “this is my decision and why I’m making it”?”

Kennie Desine wrote, “[The post] reminded me of a pivotal law suit, decades ago, charging Sears (it may have been Sears & Roebuck at the time) with discrimination against a female employee who vied with male employees for a significant departmental promotion. Sears stated that women didn’t perform well in management, as they were more interested in “makinig friends” on the job, while men approached management as if it were a jungle. The finding was against the female Plaintiff.”

Tish Gier wrote, “Trunk is an a$%&*#@ who is reporting her own anecdotal experience and someone should smack her right in the head. The issue is very complicated–and 20-30 something men are often prejudice against 40-something women(who are often in the “entrepreneurial phase” of their lives) because they see women only as either those who are marriagabel and those who are not. Yes, women have biological clocks, but when those clocks slow down, or if they decide (for many a good reason) not to have children, and they want to develop something, it’s men’s own biological clocks that cause us to be left out.” (@tishgrier, read her blog)

Annie Pedersen writes, “The author has a point. In my business, I see married couples with children and both spouses work. Many times the mother is the parent making the doctor’s appointments, driving the soccer taxi, and making dinner. There are plenty of exceptions, too; however, where the father takes over those tasks. Anecdotely, it appears the parent with the lower paying job seems to be the one who takes on more of the home-based work.” (read Annie’s other post on finding success here, email her,  or visit her website)

Project Junkie pt. 2: Productivity Checklist

Matt Mansfield wrote a great post about being a project junkie. He admitted his project addiction and bravely took credit for it and all the professional chaos it can cause. It is my turn.

I too am a project junkie. I get excited about things and then just dive in feet first. But as a business owner you cannot always do that. You have to be smart about your projects.

Since I am in Project Junkie recovery, every time I start feeling that excitement about the next best thing, the newest and most exciting project on the horizon, I take a moment and got through a productivity check list:

1. Will it make me money now?
2. Can I afford to not make money now?
3. Have I taken care of my clients first?
4. Have I taken care of my existing business responsibilities?

Once I have answered these questions, I am ready for the next part of my checklist. (See Project Junkie Part 3 posting on Thursday Sept. 23, 2010 …aka. tomorrow).

Unselfish Blogging: Building Traffic and Relationships

Blogs tend to be very “me”-centric. I am writing about me or about my business and giving you my advice. This does not mean that I am not providing great advice, of course – there are a lot of great blogs filled with information. But you will still often see the blog proprietor as the primary author, sometimes the only author. So maybe they are offering help or just a new perspective. But in some way, shape or form, the focus is still them. It is their blog.

When many of us fresh bloggers hit the big scary blog city and try to get our voices heard, we are often drowned out by the more notorious bloggers out there. We are desperately clinging to a few trickles of traffic and listening to every piece of advice on how to get more traffic. All we want is to be heard…and hopefully grow our business so we can be successful at whatever fabulous thing we are blogging about!

I recently decided to reach out for guest bloggers. Yes, I was following some advice on growing traffic. Yes, maybe in my desire to increase my posting frequency I didn’t always want to be the one writing. Maybe I was seeking some creative inspiration by seeing what brilliant ideas other people could come up with. It is possible that all these things are true.

I read a lot of blogs, forum posts, tweets and status updates. All of these different voices and opinions come together and help inform my own voice. So why not make some of them available on my blog? I thought I would be reaching out to many people in my immediate network – and I did! But my reach went much farther.

My friends started telling their friends and making suggestions to other people. Suddenly I am connected to more interested (and interesting) bloggers than I realized! What is remarkable is that some of these people are first time bloggers – others are people who wanted to guest post but were too shy to ask. Some were people who felt stifled in their own blog and were looking for another source of inspiration. Some I knew, others I just met. Now I am having dynamic conversations with them.

This not only makes my blog more diverse, but opens it up to new audiences. I have grown my traffic and expanded my influence. I have created a new level to my existing relationships and created substantive relationships with new people. I now have a wonderful group of bloggers who are significant resources.

Reaching out beyond yourself and offering opportunities to others will deliver way more than traffic; it will deliver a whole new network!

So go and blog unselfishly! Build your traffic! Build your audience! Build your relationships!

Dumbing Down Your Writing

In a few discussions recently the question, “Are Twitter and Facebook damaging people’s quality of communication?” has come up.

I think this is good question. Twitter limits your speech to 140 characters. Facebook has no limit, but if you write too much, no one reads it. And blogs, everyone tells you not to use words like loquacious or circumspect. However, the idea of dumbing down your writing does not appeal to me.

Words not only have their basic meaning, but they have sociological impacts. They have a history and are dynamic. The choice of your words can reflect a multi-faceted implication that relates to more than what is initially apparent in the original statement. However being excessively verbose will also make it seem like you are just waxing intellectual.

If it is your natural inclination to use big words, then by all means, write that way. If breveloquacious is not a part of your normal lexicon, then just say “short, sweet and to the point” instead of using that fabulous $50 word that is not even listed in most dictionaries.

From an emotional point, I resent being told that I need to dumb down my writing. I believe you are smart. I believe that if you do not understand a word, you are fully capable of looking it up. I believe this of you because I want you to believe this of me.

That being said, you do not want to speak above your audience’s head. If you are a PhD, and your audience is Mommy-bloggers, then maybe you should not speak in theoretical sociological jargon. People will just think you are being pompous. Unless of course, you want people to think that you are arrogant. Then go right ahead. But most of us are not trying to put that foot forward. We want to be accessible. We want people to feel comfortable with our writing and we want it to be a resource.

To be accessible, to build relationships with your readers you have to be emotionally intelligent. You have to include TEQ (technological EQ) into your writing. You readers do not have the benefit of being able to see your facial expressions, or hear your voice intonations. You might think you are being clever, and a third party might read it and think you are being rude or condescending. Make sure to re-read your writing from the point of view of someone who does not know you. Then how does it read? Are you coming off to other people the way you think you are coming off in your head?

Make your writing accessible. Make it simple but not stupid. Put your best foot forward, and then re-read it and make sure it is really your best foot.

Guest Bloggers Wanted!

I am a bit believer that my opinion is not the only one that matters.  I want to hear your thoughts and perspective.  I always hear about people looking for opportunities to guest blog.  Well, HERE IT IS!  Send me your blog post!

Possible Topics:

  • Social Media
  • PR
  • Reputation Management
  • Time management
  • Business development
  • How you turned your fitness routine into a successful business plan (ok, so I am just trying to throw out some interesting and fun idea’s out there)

Send me an email to with Blog in the subject.

I can’t wait to see what you send!

Build it and they still may not come: You “liked” my blog but did you read it?

Blogging is one of the best ways to speak in depth about your area of expertise.  It is a way your audience can get to know you and your brilliance!  But if no one is reading your blog then your brilliance is wasted. Marketing is only successful if you are able to reach your audience.  A blog written in the woods with no one to read it makes no sound.

This is the first of the “Build it and they still may not come” blog series.  Our guest blogger, Marina is the President of Miia Communications, a company that professionally writes for people and business.  She understands that good communication is just as important as a good product.

You “liked” my blog but did you read it?

By, Marina (, @MiiaWeb)

People are lazy when it comes to reading, and that’s a fact. Trying to get someone to read a paragraph of information is like trying to feed your child broccoli and Brussels sprouts. They might, or might not eat it. If you have a blog that has long entries, big, fancy words, there is a chance that people won’t read it.

I have been always told to write at a 6th grade level. Which means that people should be able to understand your writing at a middle school grade level.

Here are five (5) tips on how to make sure your blog is read:

1.Write brief entries
If your blog entries run on for half a page, chances are your readers will give up reading half way through. You want to state your main point at the beginning of the paragraph and then move on to explanation. If anything, at least the readers will get a gist of what you’re trying to say. Blog entries should be just a few paragraphs long.

2.Use plain English
Avoid using words such as “comprehend”, instead say “understand”. Instead of saying “consume”, say “use”. This will help the reader follow the text better without stopping to define the words first. Remember the tip that I mentioned earlier about writing at a 6th grade level? Yeah, that’s what I mean. If you have ever taken Shakespeare in high school, you know how frustrating it can be to read words that you’re not familiar with. Just think of that next time you blog.

3.Video blogs

A video blog will have a greater impact than a written one. Again, people don’t like to read, either because they don’t have the patience or the time, or both! Having a video blog makes it more interactive. Plus, your readers can view your blog and see the “face” behind the written text, which is always a good thing – makes your blog more credible. Video blogging is a great way to get your reader’s attention; people would rather watch a video than READ! Do a search online and you will find quite a few video blogging services.

4.Use numbers
People like to see stats; they like to see numbers. Instead of saying “How to build a website”, you can say “Top 20 tips on getting your site up”. Use statistics where you can, saying “10 million jobs were lost”, or “There are 20 million videos uploaded to YouTube”. You get the idea…

5.Offer something for free
We all like freebies, right? You don’t always have to write your blog articles about business topics. Sometimes it’s fun to get creative and step out of the “formal business” zone. Depending on your company, think of giving away something free. You can have sweepstakes and giveaways and let readers participate for a chance to win. For example, you can tell readers that if they share your blog link with 10 friends, they will be entered for a chance to win so and so, just be creative.

Happy blogging!

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