I have done "photo a day" challenges in the past, focusing on the challenge for a month or two. However, for 2018, I wanted to truly push myself with 365 days of photography. I started 2018 with running around in sub-zero temps to get shots of the wolf moon and freaked out some poor guy who thought I was having car trouble in the process! But I got the shot and have continued on for the past week. A result of this challenge is I'm continually seeing, instead of just looking. I am also making myself go outside in the elements. We have been in the single digits and sub-zero temps for the past 12 days and my typical response is to hibernate for as long as possible. However, since I'm doing this challenge, I'm hiking around outside, enjoying nature, getting fresh air and seeing the beauty that winter offers. My 3 words for 2018 are experience, explore and fit. I am hoping this challenge will help push me out of my comfort zone to explore more of my home state and enjoy more experiences. Photos are taken with Canon EOS 7D and iPhone 7+. Follow me on Instagram (@coachrobynadair) or Facebook (@robynadairphoto) to see daily photos. In the meantime, here are photos from days 1-6.
Choose goals that are a little terrifying. Big goals force you out of complacency and push you to take on challenges you normally wouldn’t attempt.
The last big physical challenge I embarked on was a marathon in 2016. Marathon training tends to take over your life. However, when you see the finish line and realize you are going to actually finish, you realize it’s worth it. It’s even worth all of the missed opportunities for sleeping in on weekends and staying out late on Saturday nights that everyone else who isn’t training gets to do. It’s empowering, motivating and a definite confidence builder. I didn’t train for anything in 2017. And I’m not going to lie—it felt good to ride my bike when I wanted, run whatever distance and speed I wanted, sleep in on weekend mornings. I had enough on my plate with my business and it was fun to have a social life that didn’t end at 9:00pm every night! However, I am up for a new challenge in 2018 and that challenge is going to be the Ride Across Wisconsin, a 175-mile bike ride from Dubuque, IA to Kenosha, WI over two days. I am fortunate enough to have found a couple of training partners and possible RAW ride buddies and the ride is supported. It’s hilly—definitely a challenging goal! And I’m pumped to take up this challenge!
One afternoon earlier this year, as I was on my way home from a client appointment, my cell phone rang. My daughter was on the other end and she was in tears. Cecilia worked as an aesthetician at a spa/salon and had started a side business as a makeup artist for weddings and special events. The spa discovered her business Facebook page and issued an ultimatum: close your business and stay with the spa or pursue her business but lose her job. Mind you, she wasn’t taking any business away from the spa. She focuses on brides who want their makeup done on location, a service the spa did not provide.
She wanted to keep building her business but was afraid to lose the guaranteed income that comes with being an employee. I told her to let the spa job go and take a chance with her own business. Cecilia is not unaware of the ups and downs, fears and joys that come with an entrepreneur life. Both her dad and I currently have or have had our own businesses down through the years. She has seen us succeed and she has seen us fall on our faces. After some thought and conversation, she dried her tears, gathered her gumption and embarked on her entrepreneur adventure—and she has never looked back.
Cecilia's initial goal was to book 12 brides. Since she launched, she has not only exceeded that goal but her makeup artistry has appeared on the cover of Milwaukee magazine, fashion runways and the faces of beautiful brides for whom she has created wonderful, timeless looks. She was a featured artist at the RAW show at the Rave last Wednesday. Yes, I am her biased mom, but I’m super proud of this girl, her bravery and her successes!
Sometimes, life takes you places you don’t expect to go. As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to acknowledge your fear, pull on your big girl (or big boy) pants and take a chance. Are you a looking for a makeup artist? Check out Aesthetics by Cecilia for more information!
What is freedom for you? For me, freedom is having the opportunity to be an entrepreneur and pursuing the things about which I am passionate. How can fear of the unknown, those ups and downs that all entrepreneurs experience still translate into a feeling of freedom?
Bravery and freedom are not an absence of fear. As an entrepreneur, I have plenty of fear. There are definitely things that keep me up at night. I know I will make mistakes. I know I may have days, weeks, months when I wonder how I will pay the bills. I know there will be mornings when I'm thinking what in the heck did I get myself into! I know some days will be an uphill battle to keep moving forward. I know I will experience small failures and I know there is a risk of completely failing. But, I accept those risks not because I am without fear, but because I am free to work at something I am passionate about. I am free to make and learn from those mistakes and failures. And I'm free to taste and enjoy my successes.
Entrepreneurship takes us down some scary, bumpy paths and we may have days when we want to throw in the proverbial towel. But we don’t because we know that with hard work, a little bit of luck, some flops and all that learning, we are building something we love and we crave the freedom building our businesses gives us. Again, I ask you, what is freedom for you?
By Robyn Adair; istockphoto.com photo
We’ve talked about the brand promise
being part of the brand definition. But there is more to a brand than the promise. What are brand perceptions and expectations and how do they define a brand?
Brands are built by consumers. How your customers perceive your brand is what defines that brand. Once your customer has a certain perception about your brand, they will have certain exceptions from your brand. If your brand doesn’t meet those expectations during every interaction, you will confuse and alienate the very people to whom you are trying to appeal. Your now ex-customer will turn to another product or service that fulfills their perceptions and expectations.
To illustrate this idea of perceptions and expectations, let’s take a look at Dove’s recent social media mishap. Dove’s brand promise is “helping all women realize their true beauty potential.” Their Real Beauty campaign was a solid success when the company initially implemented it. The campaign celebrated all women: all ages, body types, skin color. We perceived Dove as a brand that was for all women; it was a confidence boost, a statement that we all have worth, that we are all included. We expected future campaigns would continue to promote that inclusiveness.
However, a recent social media ad showed that even big brands can screw up in a big way. The beginning of the clip asked if we were ready to get clean and goes on to show an African American woman removing her dark t-shirt and then morphs into a white woman in a lighter t-shirt. The perception is, well… you get the perception. The ad falls well short of consumers’ perceptions and expectations of the Dove brand. The ad was quickly removed amid a large outcry from consumers and Dove later apologized for their tone-deafness. And I sincerely doubt a racist ad was their intention. This is a great illustration, though, of how consumers’ perceptions and expectations can shape a brand.
Think about your brand. How is it perceived? What expectations do your customers/clients have of that brand? Does your brand meet those expectations every time?
According to the SHRM Foundation, 35% of those in the US labor force will be 50 or older by 2022. Approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. What does this mean? We have an aging workforce. And this workforce has experience and knowledge businesses should be utilizing and exploring. The SHRM Foundation offers these aging workforce strategy goals: 1) keep your older workers as long as possible and keep them engaged; 2) If they are retiring, have them help pass their knowledge on to younger workers; 3) Take advantage of their skills after their retire through consulting or part-time employment; and 4) Recruit older talent. Just because potential recruits are of a “certain age” doesn’t mean they do not have the chops for the job! To learn more, check out the SHRM Foundation.
What is a brand promise? It is the emotional tie from your clients’ and prospects’ perceptions of your product or service to the actual product or service. Disney’s brand promise is “magical experiences abound.” Dove’s brand promise is “helping all women realize their personal beauty potential.” Subaru’s is one word and simple: “love.” What is the common denominator? All three appeal to emotion. As much as we would all like to believe we approach purchase rationally and with common sense, the fact is we are swayed by our emotions. It’s what makes us human! So when we see the commercial about the aging process of the beloved family dog—and we are dog lovers—it affects our emotions and potentially our wallets when we buy that particular brand of dog food. When we see a print ad and see someone who looks like us, it affects our emotions and, again, potentially our wallets when we buy that particular brand of soap or moisturizer. Take a look at your brand. What is your brand promise? Even if your product is light bulbs, you have a brand promise. Your clients and prospects have experience with light bulbs, others and yours. What is that emotional tie? Just a reminder, if you are attending the Wisconsin State SHRM conference, I will be speaking about brand promises and branding your wellness program for success on October 12 at 6:30 a.m. Sensia will also have a booth there and I’d love to meet you!
I am excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Wisconsin State SHRM Conference on October 12 about branding your wellness program for success. If you are a HR professional who is in charge of your company’s wellness program or are on a wellness committee, I invite you to join me on October 12 to learn about creating a wellness brand and how to craft and tell a wellness brand story that will create brand ambassadors among your employees!
Click here for conference details
I’ve talked about this before and it’s something I say to my runners regularly: running is about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. My dad once asked me if I ever experienced a runner’s high. I laughed because the only time I typically experience a runner’s high is when I can see the finish line! Actually, I have probably only experienced it a couple of times, that state where you feel like you can run forever, nothing hurts, everything is going right, and you’re grateful to just be out in nature and enjoying the scenery. However, most of the time, I’m not loving running when I’m running. Everything hurts for the first mile and a half (sometimes the first 2 miles!) After that point, I’m thinking about mile splits, pace and when will this be done! And yet, I do love running but I think I’m more drawn to that great feeling I experience when I’m done with my run. My mood is better, I feel healthier, and if I’m tired, it’s that good tired that I know will also offer me a good night’s sleep later on. A long run is outside of my comfort zone. A tempo run is outside of my comfort zone. Track workouts are outside of my comfort zone. I have been training for races for the past five years. When you’re training, you're training outside of your comfort zone. That is how you improve.
Being an entrepreneur involves being outside of your comfort zone as well. We are networking, selling, planning, marketing, budgeting, targeting, hustling. And if we are solopreneurs, we are doing it all ourselves, which definitely can throw anyone out of their comfort zone. The key is to get comfortable with that discomfort. Discomfort won’t kill you. You will not die of embarrassment from being a little uncomfortable. What’s the worst thing that can happen? I ask my athletes that question and many times, they are afraid of coming in last. But if you never start, you will never finish, will you? If you stay within your comfort zone, you will never grow, as a runner or an entrepreneur.
Will there be pain? If you’re racing at your full potential, then yup, there will be pain. But you survive! Is there pain when you’re freaking out about your accounts payables versus your bank account balance? Or because you aren’t sure you should even be self-employed? Yes, there’s that quickening of the heart that momentarily makes you feel as though you are experiencing a cardiac event. But it passes, until the next time you're worrying about another aspect of your business. The point is, eventually you learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And then you continue to move forward!
How have you faced discomfort in your life, whether in the athletic arena or in business?
If you’re doing any video and using a DSLR, you’ll want to get yourself an external microphone. While today’s DSLRs shoot very nice video, the microphone is not great and the produced sound tends to sound as though those you are recording are sitting in a metal garbage can—very tinny and a lot of echo. You can purchase external mikes but they can be expensive. I recently started shooting video and instead of purchasing an external microphone, I decided to use my iPhone. Don’t discount your iPhone as an external mike—the sound quality is surprisingly good! To make things easier, I downloaded an app called Voice Record Pro (available on iTunes). The app is free and the files are downloadable from your phone and can be imported into iMovie, which is the video editing tool that I use. The audio quality is wonderful and the app is very easy to use. The only thing I did do is purchase a small tabletop tripod for my iPhone so it sits upright during recording. You can see it in the photo. Free, easy to use, good quality: what more can a girl ask for! So, the Voice Record Pro app is my Friday Find and Fave. If you’re starting to do some video, be sure to check it out! Here are the links:
Voice Record Pro
Kenu iPhone tripod
Documentary style fine art portrait photography