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Persistence More Vital Than Ever

Today’s job marketplace is more competitive than ever before. If you are seeking a job or new clients, you know it is fierce out there—regardless of the field you work in.

I am always looking for new clients—it is something I have been doing for almost twelve years. My business comes from word of mouth and referrals, so I have had to do a lot of networking over the years.

Two of the lessons I have learned are:

1. Don’t get discouraged. When prospecting for new clients, I send out emails or make calls. Some reply, but many do not. You have to keep going. Do not lose focus or get sidetracked.

2. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes I get repeat business from past clients—that is always gratifying. Some former clients do not reply to my emails. I have learned not to take it personally. You cannot—otherwise you might feel glum that day.

Since the Fall, I have been pitching my book Mastering the Mommy Track to media outlets and bookstores. I just learned the other day that Sears is selling my book online: http://www.sears.com/unknown-mastering-the-mommy-track/p-SPM540272114P. This is exciting as Sears is a major retailer.

When seeking endorsements for my book, I sent emails to some high–profile mommy bloggers and authors. Many did not reply—maybe they did not want to support an unknown author, maybe my book did not fit with their brand. Who knows the reason why? Eventually, I got some nice endorsements.

I believe in my book, its message and want it to sell well. I am realistic, however, and realize I am not going to be the next EL James.

Bottom line: If you are selling a book or product that you believe in, do not get discouraged. You have to throw a lot of pitches out there—Have faith that some will break through. Keep going!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Helping Those in Transition

The target market for my book Mastering the Mommy Track is working mothers with young kids, and those who are unemployed or underemployed. The national unemployment rate rose slightly in January, from 7.8 to 7.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The unemployment rate has been in that range since September 2012.

Unemployed parents face great stress because of the need to provide for their kids. If you know a Mom (or Dad) who is in a transitional stage, here are some ways you can reach out to help them:

  1. Lend an ear. Invite your friend out for a coffee, a chance to hear what they’re dealing with. They might need a shoulder to cry on or would welcome time away from the computer searching for job leads or new clients.
  2. Recommend local resources. If you know of local services they would benefit from, speak up. If their unemployment is a long length of time, they may have to find a lower cost family health insurance plan, assistance services or even go on food stamps.
  3. Offer a playdate. If your child is the same age as your friend’s, offer to watch him or her for an afternoon so your friend can have some much-needed free time to decompress.
  4. Babysit for an evening. Offer to babysit your friend’s kid(s) so she can go out on a date with her spouse. They don’t have disposable income, so a night out would be a treat for them.
  5. Cook some meals. Drop off some meals for your friend so she does not have to cook for a few nights. This will alleviate her stress level just a bit. She will appreciate it (Who can refuse a hot dinner at one’s doorstep?).

Philadelphia’s Career Wardrobe is one of 74 groups nationwide competing for $250,000 and recognition on The Huffington Post through the JobRaising Challenge. The competition runs from January 21 through March 1, and winners will be determined by how much money and awareness they can raise in that amount of time.

If Career Wardrobe wins The Job Raising Challenge, they pledge to replicate their innovative model of social enterprise and social change by expanding their services into a new community. A few years ago, I donated suits to this charity and realize the great need for their services. Philly had a staggering unemployment rate of 8.7 percent in December 2012.

Extended unemployment can wreak havoc on a family—unfortunately, some couples don’t survive the bumps when faced with drastic cuts. Financial worries are a main reason couples split up.

Reach out to those locally who need your help—consider these ways to assist your neighbor or friend in transition.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

A Caribbean Trip To Remember

On New Year’s Eve, the four of us boarded an airplane from Philadelphia for Nassau, the Bahamas. It was a long-awaited trip—it had been quite some time since all four of us flew on an airplane together. We met up with Jason’s family from the West Coast there for one night, and the next day flew to San Salvador, a remote Bahamas island.

Yes, a whole week with my husband’s family. Some of you may cringe at the idea of spending a vacation with your spouse’s family. You should reconsider this. Our trip was a success and thoroughly enjoyable—not just because of the beautiful weather, water and island beauty.

The girls and I got a chance to get to know his family better (since they are on the West Coast, we do not see them often). We all took plenty of pictures and have memories to look back on.

The girls have taken many trips to Long Beach Island but have never experienced a beach like San Salvador. Now that they are older, they have the ability to absorb such a trip. The waves were not rough most days, so we got them in the water and they loved it. When they were not in the water, they were usually running on the sand.

Another advantage of traveling with family is that you can split the cost of the time-share or house, car rental and food. Traveling with a few kids is expensive. Do the math. If you travel as a group, your vacation expense might be half of what you would spend if you traveled alone as a family.

It’s good to have a buddy system as well if you are on a remote island. Jason’s cousin has a place in San Salvador, so she transported us around the island of only 500 inhabitants. There are no street signs on San Salvador so it is difficult for many tourists to get around and not get lost. One way to figure out your location is to follow the telephone poles. There is no hospital on the island so if you had a medical emergency, it would be a problem.

Before I got married, every year I traveled with a girlfriend or two out of the country. The travel bug hit me again on this trip, and I hope we can take many vacations out of the country with the kids in years to come.

If you’re on the fence about taking a trip out of the country with young kids, consider going as an extended family—either with your side or your spouse’s. There are cost advantages but most importantly, the chance to spend quality time with family you don’t see often.

I have my eye on traveling again next January to a warm but less primitive location—the perfect time to get away if you live in the Northeast.

Today Kaitlyn asked me, “When are we going back to the Bahamas” I laughed and said, “It’s going to be awhile.” Happy she had this experience to remember.

Five Things I’m Grateful for This Year

As the year winds down to a close, I’m counting my blessings. I’ve been meaning to write a blog for a while, so here it is. It’s been an exciting year, with my book published in September. As you know, I am not shy with posting media mentions.

I made a quick list of items I am thankful for. Here they are:

Health: Fortunately, everyone is healthy in the Jay and Flynn families. My parents and brothers survived Hurricane Sandy (parents had some downed trees; brothers had longer commutes in the NYC area)—but nothing catastrophic. Do you appreciate your good health? Don’t take it for granted. Appreciate your weekly activities like playing with the kids at the park or driving them to birthday parties. Your health is your greatest asset.

Family: My girls are really good kids. They are both doing well in school and adore their teachers. Kaitlyn has proven herself to be quite the artist and can draw figures better than I can. She is always asking me how to spell new words. Emma is now three—we are still working on the potty training but will get there in due time. Jason loves the company he works for.

Clients: I secured some new clients this year and look forward to winning more business in 2013. The entrepreneurial side of me won’t die, so I will continue to seek new contract work next year.

Book Reviews: I’m promoting my book to save the cost of an outside publicist. Garnered positive reviews from Small Business Trends, Huffington Post, The ASJA Monthly, Midwest Book Review, and more. Thrilled that Mastering the Mommy Track is being well received.

New Opportunities: I was accepted into the American Society of Journalists and Authors; will be moderating a panel on the book tour at their annual conference in April. Did a local book signing at Barnes & Noble in Marlton and will be scheduling some new signings in 2013. NY Mom’s World chose me as their keynote speaker for their Bonanza event in Westchester, NY last month—enjoyed connecting with other Moms there.

Last week, I got #22 on Circle of Moms Top 25 Book Author Moms – 2012; the website Circle of Moms has 6 million members. It was a fierce competition—I asked everyone to vote for me because I knew it would be close!

What are you thankful for this year? Try to slow down and enjoy the special moments as they happen. I’ll try to blog more frequently in 2013. Happy holidays!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Virtual Book Tour

My virtual book tour is shaping up. I don’t have events arranged in different cities, so a virtual tour will have to do for now. Starting on September 14, bloggers and journalists will be covering my book–posting an excerpt or Q&A, running a guest blog from me, doing a book review or hosting a giveaway.

Here’s the schedule for those of you interested in following it.

Friday, Sept.14: MetroKids MomSpeak — http://www.metrokids.com/Blogs/MomSpeak

Saturday, Sept. 15: Unconventional Librarian — http://unconventionallibrarian.com

Sunday, Sept. 16: Defeating the Squirrels — http://defeatingthesquirrels.blogspot.com

Monday, Sept. 17: Shannon Miller Lifestyle — www.shannonmillerlifestyle.com

Tuesday, Sept. 18: Whatever Works — http://whateverworks.typepad.com/

Wed., Sept. 19: Kids & Mental Health — http://kidsandmentalhealth.wordpress.com/

Thurs., Sept. 20: Girls Lunch Out — http://www.girlslunchout.com

Friday, Sept. 21: Math For Grownups —http://www.mathforgrownups.com/

Monday, Sept. 24: Say it Rah-shay — http://www.sayitrahshay.com/

Wed., Sept. 26: Mom-Blog — http://mom-blog.com/

Thurs., Sept. 27: Flexjobs.com — http://www.flexjobs.com/blog/

Friday, Sept. 28: Smart Spending Spot — http://smartspendingspot.com/

Monday, Oct. 1: Couponing 4 a Difference — http://couponing4adifference.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, Oct. 2: Homeroom At Home — http://homeroomathome.blog.com/

Wed., Oct. 3: Mridu Khullar Relph, Freelance Journalist — http://www.mridukhullar.com/journal/

Thurs., Oct. 4: Diapered Daze & Knights — http://diaperedknights.com/

Friday, Oct. 5: Living on the Cheap — http://livingonthecheap.com

Monday, Oct. 8: Land of Once Upon a Time — http://www.landofonceuponatime.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, Oct. 9: Michelle Rafter, business editor — http://michellerafter.com/

Thurs., Oct. 11: Fun Finds for Families — http://www.funfindsforfamilies.com/

Friday, Oct. 12: Yoke — http://2yoke.blogspot.com/

Wed., Oct. 17: MommaSaid.net — http://www.mommasaid.net/

Friday, Nov. 2: O’Boy Organic — http://www.oboyorganic.com

 

In addition, I’m doing a radio tour. I booked the following radio interviews for myself:

Sept. 11: WFIN-AM Toledo

Sept. 11: WAMV-AM Roanoke

Sept. 11: BEN FM In Studio Philadelphia

Sept. 14: WVNU-FM Cincinnati

Sept. 17: WSIU-FM NPR Harrisburg, IL

Sept. 18: WTBQ-AM Regional NY/NJ

Sept. 19: KJFF-AM St. Louis

Sept. 24: WDIS-AM Boston

Sept. 26: KDAZ-AM Albuquerque

Oct. 10: Cable Radio Network

Nov. 28: Baby and Toddler Instructions (http://www.toginet.com/)

More to come!

My Book

When I started writing this book, my daughters were ages three and one–challenging ages to say the least. I set out to talk to other moms who were struggling with the work-life balance as well as national experts who could offer solutions.

Mastering the Mommy Track is not a memoir, and I don’t share overly personal information about my family. I was fortunate to have no shortage of working moms who were willing to share their challenges during this down economy. My working mom contributors honestly shared their struggles and concerns. My expert contributors offered unique advice and knowledge. They helped me make this book a reality.

Research indicated no competitive books in this area, so I delved into it. I asked myself, “What are the 12 trigger areas that cause working mothers anxiety today?” These became my chapters. This was based on my personal experience, research, and feedback from friends and acquaintances.

I slotted the chapters into four core sections: (1) Home issues. (2) Health issues. (3) Parenting issues. And finally, (4) Work-Life issues. Then I arranged them so that the most fundamental issues came first: Mental health, communication, finances, and romance. These apply both to moms in committed relationships and those who are single.

I hope career moms across the US and UK will read Mastering the Mommy Track and take away insight that will help them improve all aspects of their lives–both personal and work related. It is a juggling act to balance home and work duties, and for a lot of women in 2012, it’s a walk on a tightrope–a fear their families will never experience the rewards (vacation, travel, time off) they so rightfully deserve.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net