Tag Archives: taking a leap

To Partner, or Not to Partner:  That is the Question

partnership

Although the calendar year is winding down, for me it is also the beginning of the year 5777, the Jewish New Year.  This means I get a second crack at New Year’s resolutions, a head start on planning for 2017 and also, thanks to several weeks of holidays, a renewed spiritual energy.  And it’s a good thing, too, because I have a feeling 2017 is going to be filled with change.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so let me explain.  I am in the process of developing three different major professional projects.  Two of them are solely my own, but one of them involves a potential partner.  That is perhaps the project that is the most daunting and also the one that is currently the most fun.

I have never had a business partner before.  Many years ago I owned a small franchise business and although I was part of a supportive network of owners, I was pretty much on my own.  I enjoyed all of the success, but also shouldered all of the burdens.  This time around, I’m planning to partner with a friend, something most people run from.  But I am confident we have a very specific division of responsibilities and a very clear vision for what we want to create.  And while I have some anxiety over sharing control, I believe for now that it’s a worthwhile trade off.

I want to offer some tips for partnering because whether it’s with a friend or someone who is just a business associate, there are some things that are universal.

  1. Before deciding to partner, figure out if it’s really necessary. That sounds obvious, but many people get carried away with the idea of going into business with their BFF and before you know it, things are out of control.  Conversely, some people lack the confidence to go it alone and default to having a partner.  So ask yourself, “What do I bring to the table, and what is missing?”  If the missing skills and talents are things you can learn on your own, by all means try it.  If there are specific skills you lack that cannot be readily acquired, consider a partner.  Also consider your financial resources.  Do you need to invest with someone, or can you take the risk yourself?
  1. Once you decide you require a partner, work on developing your business plan together. TAKE. YOUR. TIME.  Do not rush this part of the process.  It is critical to the success of the partnership that you learn how to communicate and get to know each other’s quirks, strengths and weaknesses.  Even if you are friends, this is a new context for your relationship and it will take time to develop.
  1. Figure out how you will divide your responsibilities and financial resources. It is critical that you both have a clear sense of who is doing what.  Again, obvious maybe, but it’s amazing how quickly things can unravel in all the excitement and stress of setting up a new business.  This is a good time to consider consulting an attorney who can help you define the parameters of the partnership and it’s dissolution.  Kind of like a business pre-nup!
  1. Be patient! Setting up a business takes time.  Patience is definitely not one of my virtues, but I’ve been working at it.  It helps to make realistic goals and expectations.  Having a partner is beneficial for me because we keep each other in check and commiserate when things don’t go as planned.
  1. HAVE FUN! I know it’s business but really, why take the risk if you don’t believe in what you’re doing and it isn’t fun. Try to stay focused on your goals and find pleasure in the little things.  Finally getting a call back from a potential landlord after several attempts to connect, hearing potential clients tell you they can’t wait for your business to get going, finding out you can get a discount on some of your necessary materials.  Things like these add fuel to your dream.  Keep going, it’s worth it!

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Savvy

Permission to Create

Big MagicWorking as a creative person, I identify when hearing other creatives’ experiences and struggles.  Elizabeth Gilbert is one such person.  Her book Eat, Pray, Love, which chronicled her adventure of travel to pursue the three things that she most wanted to feel and be immersed in, connected with millions of people.

Her latest book, Big Magic, was a good listen for me.  She went through all the funky negatives we tell ourselves that keep us from creating.  She also gave examples of beloved pieces of art where people carved out a few pieces of time a day to create them.  I like the way she encourages us to create, not for money, not for success, but just for our happiness.

People talk to me about my art like I have a special gift.  I see how people are moved when I tell them about my experience of taking a painting class for the first time, and how I embraced it and knew it was something I wanted to pursue.  I appreciate that people are moved and inspired, and I understand that I have an ability to do what I do, but I don’t believe that I have anymore of a gift than anyone else, except that I became willing to give myself permission.  And what that meant was giving myself the tools that I needed to adventure, hence the painting class.  It was a long time in pause and in the “I don’t know if I can,” or “I don’t think I would be good,” since I had my first drawing class in the mid-1990’s.  Before the class, I could not draw good stick people, but I just wasn’t ready to carve out the time, or venture further, for almost twenty years.

So Elizabeth’s book is another tool, of encouragement, of permission to continue exploring, working toward something I want to achieve.

I hope you will give yourself permission to explore your interests.

Renee Bates

August 1, 2016

About Renee Bates

Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit Greenways for Nashville to pursue art and product development.  Renee likes being in nature, hiking, birding, and working in the garden. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, a 3rd generation business begun in 1932. Renee admires the fact that it was begun by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.  Renee’s art may be enjoyed from her website or followed on Facebook.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

1 Comment

Filed under Fun Savvy, Self Savvy

WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW WHEN I STARTED MY BUSINESS

Start Up

When I started my consulting business a few years ago, I thought I knew what I was doing.  Starting my own business was an old dream conjured up every time I was sick of office politics and the roulette wheel of re-engineering, right-sizing, downsizing, layoffs. (Pick your favorite euphemism.)  After I was downsized yet again, I took the plunge.  That’s when I realized that no matter how well I had planned, there were so many things I didn’t know.  For example, I didn’t know:

  1. How hard it is to hone a marketing pitch. I went through dozens of elevator speeches and 60-second “songs” in the first year trying to find what resonated with potential clients. I believed in the services I was selling but seemed unable to convince potential clients that I was worth hiring.
  1. How hard it is to set a price for my services. Should I charge by the project or by the hour? If I charge an hourly rate what is fair to me and to the client? I’m still not sure I know the answer to this question.
  1. How hard it is to talk about money to people. When should I start talking about money with a prospective client? What if the prospect decides she/he can’t afford me?
  1. How quickly money runs out. I lived frugally but still blew through my severance package and savings before landing a big client. This is the part of starting a business that most of us get wrong, according to the pundits. It always costs more to start a business than we anticipated.

In spite of all the things I didn’t know when I started my company I recently celebrated another year in business. Along the way, I’ve discovered plenty of new things I didn’t know when I started my business.  One thing I definitely know: I want to continue this journey of business ownership.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy. Visit Norma’s website: www.complianceriskadvisor.com/.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

2 Comments

Filed under Business Savvy

It’s Never Too Late:  Pursuing Your Dreams Through Life

Dreams

Growing up I had big dreams, and don’t we all?  From ballerina to movie star to maybe even first woman President, my dreams ran the gamut.  For many years I actually pursued my dreams of being a professional actress and even earned some money from acting jobs.  But alas, over time I realized the life of a starving artist just wasn’t for me and I moved on.

Dreams die hard, though, and through the years my creative self has continued to bubble up in various ways.  When my children were young I owned a small business franchise that offered classes for parents and their toddlers.  The classes were focused on nurturing socialization and movement but also included music and dance.  Leading the classes gave me an outlet for my performing skills and used my musical theater training experiences.  Owning a business also taught me some real-life skills in marketing, networking, accounting and personnel development.  I gained confidence and built my self-esteem in ways I never imagined during my acting days.

Once my last child was in school I decided to return to graduate school to earn a degree in journalism.  I had always loved writing and finally decided to honor another long-shelved passion for the written word.  I chose to focus on broadcast journalism because, again, it gave me a chance to use my performance skills.  It was in grad school that my world really changed.  News writing came naturally to me and for the first time I felt that my work really matched my inner self.  Journalism fed my natural curiosity about the world and the things that both unite and distinguish people from all walks of life.  I love telling stories and giving a voice to those unable to speak for themselves and writing and journalism continue to fulfill me.

Looking back over the years I have come to realize that each thing I pursued built on skills, interests and dreams that came before.  What seemed like random changes at the time now make sense and I see my varied professional choices as logical expressions of pieces of myself.  If I could give my younger self any advice it would be: “Trust yourself and honor your dreams and passions.  Don’t be afraid of making a mistake.”  As I think now about the next phase of my life I am encouraged and fueled by this life lesson.  The things that bring us joy are worth pursuing with drive and passion.  And it’s never too late to dust off an old dream and figure out how to integrate it into a mature life.  What are your dreams?  What are you waiting for?

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She is the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

Leave a comment

Filed under Self Savvy

Going Natural

Kate Stephenson and Mark BatesIt is being discussed more and more.  Women in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s are deciding to cut the hair color and return to their ever lightening roots.  I’m curious, so I’ve asked some friends who have stopped coloring to share their experience with me.

Linda had been coloring her hair from her 20’s.  Because it grew so fast, she would have a color line within a week or so, and needed to color every 2 weeks.  About 6 years ago she decided to stop and go back to her own hair color, which she calls silver, or platinum.  When I asked her why, she said it was because of the pain it was causing…the physical pain from the chemicals, and the emotional pain, being so tired of feeling self-conscious when the gray would start growing out.  “At the time I was dating someone who was not in favor of the silver.  Soon after the relationship ended, I chopped off all of the color damaged, dead hair and took it as short as I could,” adding that it was a bit of a shock, even to her.  When I asked her if she saw any downside to going natural she offered, “After I started growing the silver out I’ve had nothing but compliments. The only reason that someone would not get compliments is if they didn’t style their hair.“

When I asked her what advice she would give to anyone thinking about taking the plunge she said, “If they had darker hair, I would encourage them to start by going with some highlights, blonde goes to silver easier– because when you go from dark to silver, it is too difficult, and with highlights you won’t have that nasty skunk line.  Get as close to platinum as possible.  Otherwise, chop it all off.  It felt amazing.”

Because Linda has beautiful olive skin, hazel eyes and looks much younger than her years, when she was coloring her hair blonde she got hit on often by younger men, fifteen to twenty years younger.  Now that she has gone silver, that doesn’t happen anymore.  She is grateful.  The younger men were not always the most tactful and it would often be hurtful when they found out her age.

“I didn’t feel natural, or pretty, coloring my hair.  I am so grateful that I listened to my intuition, and not my ex-boyfriend.”  Linda adds that just a little bit of platinum highlight keeps it light around her face.  She shares that her hair is much healthier and thicker, another reason to be very happy about the decision to go natural.

When I asked Linda how her business life has been affected she dropped her voice to that solid, personal truth telling tone, “I feel embracing my natural hair color and doing what I wanted to do has brought me in line with being authentically who I am.  This has made me feel more comfortable and has led me to coming into my own.  People see my natural hair and expect me to be a more real person, or maybe I am a more real person.“  Linda Sack is a licensed message therapist and came to that profession after she made the decision to stop coloring her hair, leaving a corporate career behind, and feels that massage therapy is perfect for her.

My lovely friend Marilyn Shriver, who colored for over 25 years, and has the most beautiful white hair now, says, “What kept me coloring was that someone told me that if I let my hair go natural, because I was fair, I would disappear from the neck up.”   This turned out to be mis-information.  She says, “I get more compliments on my hair since I stopped coloring it.  My obsession with hair has diminished.  The hair is much better hair and I have accepted that I am the age that I am.  Everybody’s aging at the same rate.”

So, I am thinking about it more.  The first reason is because my hair is thinning from the chemicals.  Another, besides embracing the real, I’d like to simplify my life and spend time doing the things I enjoy most.

This is part one of a two-part article.  Come back next month as I continue the exploration of going natural with a native Nashvillian who was selected from a group of 7,000 women to represent a world wide cosmetic company, not entirely because of her beautiful platinum locks, but she wouldn’t have gotten the job without them.

About Renee Bates

Renee is the executive director of the non-profit, Greenways for Nashville, a member based organization. In addition to growing private support for the trails and green spaces, she enjoys oil painting, hiking, nature and working in the garden. Renee is married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, a 3rd generation business begun in 1932 by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

Photo Credit: Nfocus Magazine; Kate Stephenson & Mark Bates attend Authors in the Round Dinner, Humanities Tennessee

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Savvy, Self Savvy

The Road Ahead:  How I Stopped Making Excuses and Learned To Love, er, Like Running

Run.

I have a confession to make: I like running.

Not the most earth shattering admission, to be sure, but for me this is mind blowing.  You see, for most of my adult life I have had a love/hate relationship with this type of exercise and by that I mean mostly a hate relationship.  I have started running many times over the years, only to stop over and over for reasons ranging from tendonitis to a lack of time.  I have also invested in countless pairs of specialized shoes, fancy leggings, supportive bras and sweat-wicking socks.  Each of these also was a “culprit” for quitting.  The shoes just didn’t work with my plantar fasciitis, the leggings were too hot, the socks bunched up and the bras weren’t supportive enough.  You get the idea.

So what’s different this time, you ask?  I’ve been trying to figure that one out.  For starters, this past year I’ve packed on some unwanted pounds without changing much about my diet or lifestyle.  I’ve also been feeling sluggish and irritable and definitely not my usual perky self.  Added to all this is a general malaise and a desire for more challenge in my life.  I definitely want to recapture my energy and enthusiasm.  And while there is so much we can’t control, we can definitely control our exercise.  So off I went in search of some new physical challenge.

First in my quest was a personal trainer at the YMCA and a program of weight lifting and cardio, along with my regular Pilates regimen.  All went well for a couple of months and I really loved how my body was changing and becoming more toned and defined.  But one morning I awoke with neck pain so severe I could not move my head.  This continued for a couple of months and even with a lighter weight load, the pain and stiffness persisted.  So I stopped the weight training.

I have several friends who are runners and I began quizzing them on why they like it and how they train.  One friend calls running an “efficient” form of exercise.  She can accomplish some high level problem solving and planning while she runs.  Another runs so she can enjoy a foodie lifestyle with her husband.  Another just likes to sweat.  My weight trainer is also a runner and she didn’t start until after she turned 40.  She was my best cheerleader and encouraged me to just get out there and set small goals.

Once again, I invested in some great shoes, fancy leggings and a supportive bra and, joined by my new puppy Bentley, off I started.  The area around my house is very hilly and not much fun so after several weeks of hell, I headed to the local greenway, a flat nature trail that goes for miles.  The first day I decided to just run without tracking my speed or distance.  And I’m not going to lie, for the first 20 minutes or so I kept thinking of excuses to stop.  But I focused my gaze on the road ahead and kept going, Bentley at my side.  I’m not sure how far I ran that day before turning around and walking the last bit, but when I finished I felt great!  It was still hot and humid, but the feeling of accomplishment, of pushing myself to my limit, was exhilarating!

I’m now a couple of months into this running experiment and I have been tracking my speed and distance.  I’ve worked up to running 5 miles at a fairly good clip.  I’ve participated in two races, a 5K where I had my personal best time and a 5-mile where I ran and walked with my daughter.  I’ve lost weight, I sleep more soundly, I have found my energy and I feel like myself again.  I still spend the first mile or so thinking up reasons to stop, but so far I have been successful in keeping my gaze fixed on the road ahead, setting small goals to stay motivated and finishing what I started.  Efficient, challenging, good cardio; Sounds like life.

I really like running!

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website athttp://www.zoneabouttown.com.

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

Leave a comment

Filed under Self Savvy

“Wise up ladies!”

Key

Through our many life experiences we become wise, knowledgeable, and gain much Wisdom.

Wisdom is what we offer to those who follow in our footsteps, those we coach and mentor, love and care for, and those we sit next to in the Board Room. Wisdom has a place in all of our lives.

I’ve shared these five (5) wisdom keys many times before and now I’d like to share them with you.

WISDOM KEYS

1. Performance First
You MUST perform in order to succeed. A no brainer!
2. Take Risks
Take the leap. Otherwise life will be safe and boring!
3. You Own Your Career
You are responsible for your career… your boss isn’t, your spouse isn’t … YOU are.
4. Network, Network, Network
Build Relationships with everyone you meet. People help people.
5. Ask For What You Want
If you tell people what you want, they don’t have to guess.

Recently, I was asked to speak to a group of middle school young ladies. So, I revised my wisdom keys to address a young audience….

WISDOM KEYS for Emerging Young Leaders

1. Study First – No excuse!
2. Stand out in the Crowd.
3. You are responsible for the choices you make:
The music you listen to, the way you dress, and the friends you choose
4. Network, Network, Network – build relationships with family, teachers and your church.
5. Ask for what you want – If people have to guess, they might guess wrong!

Sharing wisdom with others could change their lives…as it did ours, along the way! So, I encourage you to share wisdom with those who could benefit from it… you could change a life also.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Business Savvy, Self Savvy

Step Up To the Table

Meeting Room

Being a woman executive in the engineering profession is still a novelty. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I’m often the only woman in the board room, in the leadership team meeting, or on the advisory board. Sometimes I’m even the first woman to have been around those tables.

Last year, Governor Haslam appointed me to the Architects and Engineer’s Licensing Board. In the 100 or so years of its existence, I am the first woman engineer or architect to have been appointed. Now, you cannot tell me that in the past 100 years there has not been a qualified female architect or engineer worthy of this appointment. Many are WAY more qualified than I will ever be. And before you go blaming past Governors or the influence of men in our profession, let me tell you what I found out. Those asked to suggest nominees for this appointment have been asked before to put forth qualified women’s names, they simply couldn’t find any women willing to commit to the service. That’s what I learned. Now, perhaps they didn’t look hard enough, or ask the right women, but nonetheless, they were told, ” No.”

If you’ve read Sheryl Sandburg’s book Lean In, this propensity for women to say no won’t surprise you. Women often undervalue their qualifications; many believe that if they aren’t 100% qualified for an opportunity, they should not accept it. Men, on the other hand, believe that if they bring over half the skills necessary to the task, they’ll pick up the rest of it OTJ and thrive in the position. This plays out over and over in job searches, promotions, even asking for raises: Women are consistently less likely to put themselves forward for consideration than equally qualified men.

This self-limiting behavior has got to change, ladies. We need you to look for opportunities to step into those leadership roles that you’ve every right to pursue. The young ladies who follow in your footsteps need you to; the men who will prosper from having your expertise at their tables need you to; and I need you to. I want more women at my tables!

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Savvy, Self Savvy

Leap?

Woman-leapingI work in a profession where we strive for certainty. As engineers, public health, safety, and welfare is in our hands; it is what we promise to protect when we get our licenses. We need to know we’re making the right decisions. Technically. This has made us a people who are cautious, and rightly so, about forward movement.

However, we are also business people, faced day-to-day with decisions where there is no proof in the moment that the path we choose will be the right one. Where even past experience doesn’t give us the reassurance we need to know we’ll get the outcome we need. Things like striving to capture a new market sector, hiring an outside PR team when we’ve never done THAT before, making an investment in technology that might improve our efficiency. Not public health, safety and welfare issues, perhaps. But, decisions important to succeeding in business.

That’s when I pull out my favorite saying: “Leap and the net will appear.” When you’ve pulled together enough information, ruminated it in your experienced mind, vetted it with trusted colleagues….sometimes you just have to go ahead and act. Even without certainty, even without knowing. Even if….it might not work.

The trick is to know when it’s ok to leap….and leaping.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Savvy, Self Savvy