Moderating a Columbia College Women's Panel of Women Entrepreneurs and was Fascinated

Very early on a Thursday, I stopped my workday at 5pm to begin to get ready to moderate a panel put on by Columbia College Women (Office of Alumni Affairs and Development) and the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Consortium, thanks to an invitation from Tin Shingle member Stacie Bach.

Art Fair Launching Again During Recession - with 50% Growth

The Armory Art ShowLeave it to our good old daily paper, AMNY, to feature business that is growing in the most peculiar areas: The Armory Show, New York's international art fair housed on the West Side Highway on Piers 92 and 94. The art exhibit was born in the recession of the '90s, and has expanded by 50% this year. As was revealed to AMNY in an interview with a founder of the show, Paul Morris, he is very "bullish" about recessions and sees opportunities.

It's all about thinking smart these days. The article goes on to say that the exhibit may not be as decedent this year, and may be more "handmade", and remenisent of styles of the early '90s when artists like "Jack Pierson and Jim Hodges and Kiki Smith and Charles LeDray [were] making art out of practically trash" says Morris. The DIY approach even made it to the opening sequence of the Oscars this year, when the giant Oscars looked like they were made of cardboard or papermache.

So, if your purse strings are tight these days, and you want to take an inexpensive day trip to an art exhibit that supports hundreds of others, put on your scarf and get going. There may be something in your price range to buy, since this is a recession and all, and prices are lower. Raandesk Art Gallery has invented a new reason to buy moderately priced art for gifts, called the Art2Gift program. Browse through a variety of pieces of art that you very well may click to buy without much damage to your checking account.

And then you can come home, make dinner, and get out some supplies in order to polish what you do have in order to make yourself feel like a million bucks, like I did with this giant copper bowl that was literally trash, until I polished it. Vigorously. And now it's beautiful.

The NOT Going Out of Business Sale!

Fish Eddy's NOT Going Out of Business SaleI spotted this storefront while reading our local daily newspaper, AMNY. Maybe you've seen this in your town, but around here, there are plenty of "Recession Lunch Special!" signs on many restaurant windows. But this sale takes the cake from Fish Eddys: "The NOT Going Out of Business Sale!" And its sister, the "Chase Bank NOT Coming Soon Sale". Big chain drugstores and banks are gobbling up prime real estate on parts of Broadway that run through neighborhoods, thus enticing landlords to hike the rent on boutiques and local restaurants, causing them to not renew leases. So to see this ad campaign is fantastic!

Photos by Rolando Pujol

Media Kit Reminder: Always Be Prepared

We all know that media kits are essential to your brand, as they are you calling card to the press, buyers, investors, your sales team, really anyone who wants to know about you, your business, and your products or service.

As a rule at Red Branch PR, we always have at least 10 hard copy press kits created and good to go should they be requested by an editor, producer, or stylist.  Yes more and more often these days one can just email a media kit and save paper, but at least once a week (at least) we are mailing a kit that was requested, or sending it along with a sample to an editor.

To save yourselves the hassle, I recommend the following "always be prepared" tactics that are a rule in our offices, and should be in yours as well:

* Always have ten prepped media kits good to go with your "foundation material" which includes your biography, company backgrounder, one sheet (if necessary), a couple recent press releases, line sheets, photos, and product FAQs. 

* Only add in press pages to kits once you know where it's going.  Don't send a kit out to a media outlet with lots of their competitors' press in it, they won't cover you and you won't look original.  Only send press clippings from outlets smaller than the one you're pitching, or in a different medium (TV vs Print, Online vs Newspaper, etc).

* Always have a template media kit prepared that can be used as a model.  This way if you or someone else need to make one in a flash you can just follow the model. 

* Never send a media kit out without personalizing it:  add or subtract any material according to who is receiving it, add a personal note, and be sure your business card is included.

* Keep all your "filler" material organized by client next to the prepared media kits.  When you are running halfway through them, re-order so you never fall short in a pinch.

Be sure to give yourself monthly Media Kit Check-Ups and go through the material to be sure it is up-to-date and in line with your key brand message.

Entrepreneur Day (as a holiday) - Who's With Me??

So, my husband and I are going to a wedding over Valentine's Day weekend, and I made the plane reservations for Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Working for myself means that I'm on my own schedule, pretty much, so I could have stayed until Monday morning, which is what I sometimes do when visiting friends or family. My hubby, however, is on a film job, so most likely needed to be back.

Neither of us realized that Monday is a holiday. It was my mom who reminded me: "Why don't you stay the extra day? It's a holiday!" Holiday? Does that affect me?

Ever since becoming a full fledged entrepreneur, and working for myself, paying my own health insurance, paying into my own IRA with no 'matching program', I look at Monday holidays as quiet days, days to get things done. Come to think of it, before I broke out on my own, I used Monday holidays to develop my business, and relished in the day not have to go to the day job.

That said, it is for the mental health of all of us, that we must take a day or a week off! Perhaps if there was an official Entrepreneur Day, we would remember to shut everything off and just be on vacation for a minute. It's not like we need government approval for this. We won't be paying into it as a paid holiday. All we really need is for all of us to stop working on one day. Stop emailing each other for one day (although I'd miss everyone). And maybe if Macy's or Sleepy's had a big sale in the name of Entrepreneur Day, that would also recognize it, like they do for Columbus Day and President's Day.


Start your day off right! Get your Morning Mojo Back!

The first year I started my business I would shoot about of bed in the morning bright and early, partially due to my massive list of things to do, and partially out of excitement/fear/disbelief over what I was doing and building.  As an entrepreneur there is rarely a morning that I ever press snooze, as the moment my brain wakes up it's ticking off a list of things to do and full of new


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