11 Remarkable Ways To Keep Momentum As A Word You Live By


We’ve all been there. Plans fall through. Promises aren’t kept. Most promises are well intended but how do we keep those commitments? Momentum is the powerful force that can keep us on the right track for the long term. Momentum is a word we should live by to keep us advancing forward. Physics describes momentum as the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.  Watch this momentum video to learn more. How much momentum do you have? How are you able to increase momentum?  Here are 11 ways to keep momentum in your life:

    1. Create a vision of your success. Define success for yourself, write it down and look at it every day. There is a solidifying effect of writing your vision down and seeing it on a daily basis as a reminder of where you are headed. Tweet this
    2. Decide on a BIG goal and write it down. When you write down goals, even if they seem too BIG and far from completion, this allows you to gain momentum towards it. Pick one and start writing.
    3. Recharge your energy. Allow yourself to recharge by doing something you enjoy for a while. Read a book. Watch a movie. Listen to music. Or you can do what I did recently and talk a long walk along the beach.  Recharging is essential to keep up your momentum.
    4. Be courageously focused.  Our fears allow us to procrastinate and put things off. Business race Identify one task that must be done and focus on it until it is done. Tweet this.
    5. Reduce negativity in your life. Do you have friends that consistently doubt you? Do you have people around you that complain about everything? Notice the negativity and reduce it.  Negativity slows down our momentum.
    6. Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to fail.  We all fail sometimes. The best way to keep momentum is to learn from your mistakes and do things differently next time.
    7. Create mentors for yourself. Mentors should be people who will support you in achieving success and your goals. These people should be all different age ranges and have a variety of perspectives and experience.
    8. Maximize your time. Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to do the things you need to do? You might find it helpful to track your time for a few weeks to see where it is being spent. Toggl is a free tool that can help with this. Once you see where your time is going, get creative and figure out ways to eliminate small tasks.
    9. Highlight the small wins. When you complete a task that required your full concentration, reward yourself with something that you enjoy. Never dismiss a small win because this will keep your momentum going to complete the BIG goal.
    10. Allow evolution to take place. When momentum towards your success is really going strong, look around you. Notice connections, clues and opportunities that are around you. Be aware of shifts and changes in your environment.  Any change in one or two variables might affect your momentum. Flexibility is the key to evolving with momentum. Tweet this.
    11. Create a strong commitment. You are the only one who can be committed to your own success in achieving your goals.  Decide today that you will be committed to achieving your goal and don’t give up. It a conscious choice to keep up that momentum.


Momentum is mass in motion. This mass in motion should be unstoppable. Tweet this. How will you create momentum so that no one will be able to keep you from success?  Join me for a Twitter chat on Sunday at 8:00 pm CST called #WordsToLiveBy because we will be chatting about momentum and learn more about how to keep it in our lives.

25 powerful statistics to keep your customers coming back.

shopping bags

Companies today need to go from being “customer focused” to “customer committed”. Customers want to know businesses are authentic, committed and consistent with them at every touch point they have with you.  Here are 25 important statistics every company needs to know.

Customer Service should be the main focus to ensure customer retention and profitability. Tweet this.

  1. By 2020 customer service will overtake price and product as the key differentiator. Source (Walker)
  2. Engaging with customers means 40% more revenue per person – Bain & Co
  3. 89% of marketing leaders expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016, compared to just 36% four years ago. – Gartner 
  4. 50% of product investment projects will be redirected to customer experience innovations by 2017. – Gartner 

Poor customer experiences often lead to lost customers, while happier shoppers will keep coming back.

5.  59% of the customers said a bad experience caused them to stop buying from the  company. – Forbes

6.  Increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent could increase profits from 25 percent to 95 percent. – Harvard Business Review

7.  86%of customers will pay more for a better customer experience – Oracle

8.  52% of customers said a good customer service interaction influenced them to purchase more from the company and 58% of those customers recommended the good companies to others ” – Forbes

9.  75% of customers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with your brand.  Even though it may take a lot more work for a company to provide a consistent experience through all engagement, this statistic is proof that is what companies need to focus on. – Salesforce 

10.  89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive brand experience on mobile” – Think with Google

11.  95% of consumers talk about poor customer service experiences with other people” – American Express

12.  Happy customers who get their issues resolved tell about 4 to 6 people about their experience” – White House Office of Consumer Affairs

Customers want convenience which creates a memorable customer experience.

13.  52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with the company – Impact

14.  61% of Internet users start shopping on one device but continue or finish on a  different one ” – Think with Google

Customers expect their interactions to be personal but automated for faster resultsB

15. By 2020, 30 percent of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen – Gartner

16.  More than 85% of mobile marketers report success with personalization — higher engagement, revenue, conversions” – Forbes

17.  By 2020, customers will manage 87% of their customer relationships without interacting with humans” – Gartner

Customers want to be able to trust companies authenticity in exchange for their loyalty.

18.  81% of users don’t trust retailers with their data. – Opinion Lab Survey

19.  A 2014 study conducted by the PR firm Cohn & Wolfe revealed that the number one quality people demand of big brands is honesty about their products and services.

20.  The Authentic Brand Index, a study put together by brand consultants Principals and the consultancy Brand Navigator, found a correlation between a company’s authenticity and the likelihood that customers become advocates for that brand.

21.  91% percent of customers want brands they follow to be authentic in their social media posts, according to an info graphic from the agency Bonfire Marketing.

Businesses need to utilize the data they have to make changes that the customer wants. Customers are more informed than ever before. 

22.  80% of data is dark and untouched meaning it’s never actually used to make improvements or changes deemed necessary by the customer” – Forbes

23.  80% of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service, but only 8% of customers agree” – Forbes 

24.  81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying, and trust ratings and reviews over 3x more than traditional marketing” – BazaarVoice

25.  83% of customers (think that reviews) are “important” or “extremely important” and 76 percent “always” or “often” use it when they shop online” – RIS News

Being a customer committed company is not always easy but it is necessary for success. Customers  expect consistency, authenticity and commitment to their needs.  What are some companies who are excellent examples of being customer committed? How can you help your company or the one you work for be more customer committed?  I’d love to hear your comments.

How To Use Hashtags On Instagram And Not Lose Your Mind.


6 Easy steps to get started on Instagram (1)If your profile is public on Instagram, hashtags are the key to people finding you. Try to do a post with without hashtags and see what engagement you get. Unless you are Will Smith or Tony Robbins, you won’t get much. When I started using searching hashtags on Instagram, I got so lost trying to find posts I liked.  Typically, I used the incorrect associated word and I did not understand how they were being used.  Through my own trial and error, I have learned how to use hashtags more effectively and I will give you the tips here so you can too and stay sane.


When you open Instagram, tap on the magnifying  glass icon and in the search section at the top, put in a word like “inspiration”. You will see there are several options to pick from to search with a hashtag or word: Top, People, Tags and Places.



Places will give you a list of places that have the word “inspiration” in it. Such as “Inspiration Lake”.  The best thing about this feature is that you can tap on “Inspiration Lake” and see it on a map to find out how to get there. You can also see photos where people have geo tagged that same place in their own posts.  In this section, The Top Posts (most liked) posts will always show first and then as you scroll down you will see the Most Recent posts. This will help you connect with people in your area or places you are interested in.

On that note, it is very important to put in the location of where you are posting, even if it is just the state or country. More people will find you this way. Just think how this could work for your business! (More to come on that topic in a future post)


Tags (#) is a great search tool to find the most commonly used and not so commonly used hashtags. As you can see putting in the word “Inspiration” will show you the highest used hashtag is #inspirationalquotes with six billion posts. When you use this hashtag, it will be seen by a lot of people but it may also get lost in that feed of photos. Since you can use 30 hashtags for each post, the tip is to find 30 hashtags which have 50,000 to 500,000 posts. In this example, I would use #inspirationalwords with #inspirationalquotes when I created my post. Mix it up a bit and get creative. It does take some time, but worth the effort when you find 20 hashtags you regularly use because they represent your brand. Keep the other 10 hashtags to change each time so they specifically relate to the photo. Save your favorite 20 hashtags in your notepad on your phone and you can copy and paste them each time you do a post. Rules to remember about posting hashtags:

  • Numbers are allowed in hashtags. However, spaces and special characters, like $ or %, won’t work.
  • You can only tag your own posts. You can’t tag other people’s photos/videos.
  • If you include more than 30 tags on a single photo/video, your comment won’t post.

Should you create your own hashtag? Personally, I think it’s a great idea if you plan on posting the recommended 3 times a day.  Instagram has created a new feature where these unique hashtags can be followed and they will pull into your feed. Following a hashtag will add a selection of top posts, chosen by Instagram, to your feed which will appear along with the accounts you follow. This means you’ll see more of the content and user accounts you’re interested in without the need for all the manual searching. Find a hashtag you like and click on “Follow”. You’ll be amazed at the results!

IG PeoplePeople

People, People, People. The People section will show a list of anyone who has used the word #Inspiration in their bio. It could be in their name or on the description of who they are.  You can find other like minded people this way and like, comment or follow them.  You can use this word in your own bio description to get seen in this search. Look at the profile and see what they post. If you like their content, follow them and like their photos by double tapping on the post or tapping on the heart. You can make a comment about why you like their post in the comment section of the post. One thing I have learned about Instagram is that Instagramers love emoji. Enter a few of them at the end of your comment. It’s all about connecting with people and making it fun. Plus, if someone does not speak your language, they will definitely understand the emoji.



IG5When you tap on this icon, you will see the people who have the most follows with this hashtag. It’s one of the ways to find popular topics and people with a lot of followers.

One more tip for you: Don’t forget to use the plural of words for hashtags or and underscore. Sometimes the hashtags look like this #inspirational_quotes.  People have gotten creative when the hashtag gets overused.

Now, get started hunting for your hashtags. Let me know when you find your first 20. What hashtag did you decided to follow? I would love to hear about how they are working for you.

6 Easy Steps To Get Started On Instagram

The Instagram platform is the most popular right now with over 500 million users strong and growing.  Many people have asked me how to get started.  And, if you haven’t thought about it lately, you probably should.  Here are the six steps to get you on your way on to the Instagram world:

Step 1:

Download the app

Instagram is different from other social networks in that it is primarily a mobile platform.

Once your account is set up, you will have a page that can be viewed on desktop. However, the majority of your activity will take place within the mobile app.

Click here to download the app.

Step 2:

Choose a username

You can sign up for Instagram with an email address or a personal Facebook account.  If you want a business account, I recommend you create a personal one first to practice Instagram for a while.

Once you sign up, you’ll be asked to choose a username.

Your username will display publicly and will be what people see when they find you on Instagram. Make sure the username you choose is recognizable and is as close to your business or organization’s name as possible.

When signing up, Instagram will also ask for your full name. Here, you can put your full business name which will make it easier for people to find you through Instagram’s search function.

Step 3.



Update your profile

Instagram lets you fill out a 150 character bio about your business or personal account. Because of the text limitations, you’ll want to be clear and concise about who you are and what you offer. If you serve a local customer base, you’ll also want to add your location.  Here is an example of what mine looks like for my blog:


Step 4.

Add a recognizable profile picture

The perfect Instagram profile photo will be 400×400 pixels.

But what’s most important is that the photo you choose is recognizable to people who know your business. In most cases, the best choice will be your business’s logo.

Your profile photo can only be updated on a mobile device. If you don’t have your logo saved to your smartphone or tablet, Instagram has the option to import it from Facebook or Twitter.

Step 5.


It’s essential to have a good understanding of the type of pictures others are posting.  You can search any topic, movie, or place. Search #sodapopcurtis and see what comes up. Ok… I admit. I am a fan of Rob Lowe. You will see the top 9 liked posts for that hashtag and then below these 9 will be the more recent posts.  More to come later on a strategy for followers and why this type of search is important.


If you want to create a business Instagram profile, start by finding a business in your industry who has a hefty Instagram following and high levels of engagement. What do they tend to send, and when do they tend to send it?

Even if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition, it’s essential that you know what others are doing.

Step 6.

Post your first photo

Okay, now that your profile is set up, it’s time for the exciting part!

Here’s a quick run-through of how posting on Instagram works:

First, click the icon (+) on the bottom in the middle of the screen.



You can either take a photo by pressing the circle in the middle of the screen, or click “library” on the bottom left to upload a photo of your own.

Note: “Video” on the right enables you to take a video up to a minute.


If you’re uploading a photo, you will have the option to crop it first. After that, you’ll have options for different enhancements. These are really fun to play around with.

You can choose from a number of filters that scroll across the bottom of the app. (Double tap the filter to add a border or alter the strength of the filter)

You can also click “edit” to access a number of other photo editing features.

Once you’re happy with your photo, hit NEXT in the top right of the screen. Here, you’ll be able to add a caption.

The best captions are the ones that describe the photo. Where are you? What are you doing? What would people find interesting about this photo?

You can also tag people and name the location. This is great to use if you are sharing someone else’s photo or if you want to tag your friends.

Lastly are the hashtags. Hashtags are key to getting your post seen on Instagram. Find the ones that relate to the photo. You can use up to 30 of them for one post.


There you have it! I hope you were able to set up your Instagram account. I will share my best tips and tricks for getting real Instagram followers in a future post. Tell me what hashtag you searched on Instagram. What was one awesome picture you found? I’d love to hear about it. While your on Instagram, follow me for more tips. @brendalhanley.


Wonderful post on how to turn exhaustion into personal fuel.

Creating Six Degrees

Most overachievers have questioned their ability to take it all on. It doesn’t matter whether you are the president of a family-owned business or a Fortune 500 company. Suddenly, you begin to wonder if you really have the right stuff to stay focused under pressure and produce effective results. Someone might have said you look tired or you may have been sick. Although life is going well, others question your ability to keep up the pace and warn you of the inevitable toll your drive will take on your body and your life.

Doubt enters your mind and you wonder if others are right. Could this be the breaking point? The point where the threat of exhaustion convinces you to cut back on your dreams and settle for what you have accomplished? Toxic fumes from the exhaustion of others are trying to contaminate your performance by fueling any insecurity you…

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So you want to go viral on Twitter? 9 Best Tips Collected From My Twitter Followers.

Hello to San Francisco!So you want to go viral on Twitter. I found that going viral on Twitter has a different meaning for me.  I want my Twitter relationships to go viral. I value the relationships with the close to 5,000 Twitter followers. I would not trade that for having a post go viral. My account was open in 2016 and I had 5 followers at the time. I didn’t understand Twitter, how to tweet or why I should. Once I practiced social media the way it was intended by connecting and establishing relationships, I started to realize how much I can learn from others. I’m going to give you 9 of the best lessons learned from my Twitter followers:

  1. Find people to follow that bring you value. Whether it is an inspirational quote or an article about how to make goat cheese, if you like it, retweet it, comment on what you liked about it, and thank them for sharing it. Do this on a daily basis and you will get more followers.
  2. Don’t send automated Direct Messages (DM): This happens when you follow someone and you immediately get a direct message from them. When this happened to me for the first time, I got so thrilled thinking someone was going to connect with me but alas, it was an advertisement.  After the first 10, I started to get annoyed.  You should use direct messaging to connect with people in a personal way, not to advertise yourself to someone who doesn’t know you. Get to know the person and their tweets, then reach out to them. You will get more committed followers if you do.
  3. Do give credit where credit is due. When you like a tweet, retweet it with the person @mentioned. Give them the credit. Never take a quote or article and put it out as if it was your own. When you give credit, you establish trust with your followers and they will do the same for you.
  4. Don’t be a troll. Block trolls. Ignore trolls. What is a troll? A troll is a fake or real account that comments on our post with foul language or makes a comment about you or the post that is inflammatory.  Unfortunately there are people out there who create accounts just to be mean. Check your Twitter account regularly for fake accounts and accounts that have never tweeted. It’s important to block or mute them. Twitter should be a safe place to voice your opinion.
  5. Search out Twitter chats and make connections.  Twitter chats have been so valuable to me because I can really connect with people on a professional level. A few of my favorites are #TwitterSmarter, #PeopleSkills, #CustServ, #NostalgicChat, #ImpactMatters, #BlogChat.  The people who host these chats usually host them for an hour, once a week.  You get to know the people who participate. Some of these chats are for professionals to share best tips and practices.  Some are just for fun like #NostalgicChat where you have a topic like “What are your 1980’s video game memories?”
  6. Be grateful.  Always thank people who give you a nice comment on your tweet. If they took the time to comment, you should take the time to thank them.
  7. Follow the right people. Find the experts!  There are so many Twitter experts who give out free information on what ever topic you are curious about.  I started searching with hashtags such as #Leadership #CustomerExperience #CustomerSuccess and I found so much valuable content to read and learn. Look for the tweets from people that resonate with you. Retweet their articles after you read them and give your favorite quote from what you read. They appreciate your effort and will be more likely to retweet your articles.
  8. Be helpful. Share great content. Be available to answer questions quickly. The more you can help others, the more likely others will help you. The more great content you share, the more likely others will see you are providing value. When you answer questions or comments quickly, people will appreciate you and start to engage with you more. Like everyone, they want to know you are a real person.  When I first started tweeting. I created moving pictures of quotes for a CEO that I really liked his inspiration and I could tell he was creating these quotes and they were original. The quotes were so amazing that I had to share them with my followers including a picture that I thought matched the quote in some way. I was attempting to enhance his ideas.  He really liked what I was doing and sent me his books as appreciation for the work I did. We communicate now on a regular basis.  What ever you see that you like, think of how you can help someone or make it better. You might be surprised at the results.
  9. Take a chance an reach out to someone to set up a meeting for coffee or even a virtual chat. The first person I had a meeting with was a Life Coach from Italy. We had such a great conversation that we still meet today.  We exchange ideas and talk about life challenges and victories. I am very grateful for his friendship and his willingness to reach out to me. Since then I have tried to reach out to one person a week to see who would be interested in a coffee chat. You never know if the person you meet could change your life. Don’t miss this opportunity to establish real relationships. They could go viral.

Sharing My Story Part 2: You Can Reinvent Yourself


FACT: I am one of those Gen Xers. Did this term really take off as it has for other generations? I mean, who wants to be called Generation X?

FACT: I have been unemployed for the last 7 months. This is the longest I have ever been unwillingly unemployed and at my age, that’s pretty damn scary. In the beginning, there was a lot of doubt about myself. I wondered why I spent 5 years in my previous job to only be out of work. I wondered what I did wrong. I thought it was my fault. I thought I was too old. Hear me on this friends: I WAS WRONG!

After I had my brief pity party, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do. You see, since my last dream of owning and running a Day Spa came true, I did not know what my next dream should be. I had to work to support my family, so it was essential to work. I knew I had to get a job no matter what. Here’s what I did to get to my new dream:

Daily, I would get up at 5am, have some coffee and start applying for jobs online. 

My goal was 20 applications a day. That’s 2,800 online applications since I started. That’s also 2,799 rejections. Rejections were tough because I spent a lot of time and effort, not only with my applications but with companies and with people. It’s amazing how some companies don’t respond to you at all. Just ignore you as if you don’t matter. If you read nothing else, read these words: YOU DO MATTER!

I joined a support group for job seekers like me. 

This was the best thing I did. Job Seekers Network gave me new in person connections. Some friendships came through and others did not. However, there was always an inspiring speaker to get our day started. We heard about other people’s successes. We got our resumes reviewed, we learned how to interview better, network better, handle our finances, and market ourselves. There were a lot of Gen Xers in this group reinventing themselves.

I joined Camp Gladiator so I would working out as much as possible. 

This was so helpful in my journey to reinvent myself. Oh yes, there were days I did not want to go but the people in this group were so supportive and encouraged me to go. I made the commitment to go even when I did not feel like it. As a result, I lost 20 lbs and gained strength and courage to keep going.

I invested time in learning something new. 

I took an online course from coursera.com with Northwestern University and started practicing Social Media Marketing. Let me be clear, I am not from the generation that grew up with technology. We had those brick size phones and maybe a pager. Our computers at that time were big and clunky and not everyone had one in their house. However, once I started taking the class, I fell in love with social media. Why? The connections that I made with people all over the world, sharing ideas, talking about struggles, support for one another. It takes a while to find the right group and friends, but once you do, there is no turning back. Here’s where I want to thank all the people who are true experts in Social Media. These people gave away knowledge and advice so that I could become better. During a time where I did not have any money, this was a game changer for me.

I helped others whenever I could. 

With my new skill in Social Media Marketing, I started to share my knowledge with others and help them to market themselves better on social media. I helped them understand their passion. Any time I could give a kind word, or encourage, or physically help someone, I did.

I also volunteered to visit the elderly, babysit, and clean houses. This volunteer work was tremendous for my soul and my attitude.

I trusted my intuition and took action. 

While I was on Twitter, I noticed CEO, Anthony C Gruppo was putting out his own original quotes about leadership and teamwork. They were very inspiring. I started to think how I could get them more noticeable. I started to create quick moving pictures of his quotes. I did this every other day just because I wanted to. I didn’t know if he would like them or see them. But, he noticed them and liked and commented on them. Then he graciously sent me all the books he had written. I read his books and continued to do moving pictures or still ones with his quotes every week, very consistently. I also continued gain real followers on my Twitter account. I went from 100 to 2,700 followers in about 5 months. Anthony made a comment on one of my posts “I should hire you to promote my work.” Now, I could have ignored it, said thank you and moved on but instead, I took action. I immediately messaged him and said “We should have a discussion about this.” He gave me his number and we set up a time for an interview. We talked for an hour and we got to know each other. He told me his group could use some Social Media training and asked if I would be interested in coming to New York to consult his team. I said “yes” and now I am going to New York in October to train his team.

I stayed positive and did not give up.

Other people gave up on me. I heard “You don’t have a job yet?” quite often. Some of my “friends” did not hang out or call me anymore because I did not have extra money to spend on going out. However, I kept going and spent time with friends who supported me in spite of my circumstances.

I applied at Whole Foods for a Team Lead role on their Global Support team because I saw the opening and I have always loved Whole Foods. I got an in person interview and really enjoyed all the people I met there and I thought I would definitely get an offer. But I did not! I was devastated. The manager reached out to me and said, there is a position coming up that I would like you to consider but it’s not posted yet, let’s have coffee and talk about it. We had coffee together and discussed the position. I told her that I was interested. This was a month ago. I started to think it was not going to work out because I have heard others tell me this before and the job ends up getting cut or they delay in hiring someone due to budget constraints. However, I am starting on Monday working for Whole Foods (which just got bought by Amazon) as a Program Manager. The group of people I am going to work with are outstanding. They have the same values as I do and I can’t wait to start on their team.

Two dreams came true for me: I am working for an awesome company, Whole Foods and I am excited about being a part of their Corporate Headquarters team. I have become a Social Media Strategist!

My reason for writing this is to encourage you to keep going and not give up on your passions, dreams and job searching. In fact, what’s your dream? Please tell me in the comments, I would love to hear about it.

Sharing My Story Part 1: Entrepreneurship – Go after your dreams!

carmelWhy did I get into the Medical Day Spa business in the first place?

I was first introduced to massage therapy by a co-worker back in my 20’s who saw that I was stressed out from my full time job and advised me to try a massage.  Since I am not shy about trying new things, I took the lady’s name and number and set up an appointment.  I went to her condo and when she opened the door, I had doubts about what I was getting into.  She had a long dress on, with clogs and she wore small round glasses and had bowl type haircut. She had a room set up in her condo. The room seemed nice enough so I filled out a form and told her about my stress, neck and shoulder tension.  She nodded through my explanation and then asked me to lay face down on the table.  After I did, I started to hear bongo music. I chuckled to myself and said “Oh great!  I hope she doesn’t put a spell on me”  Even though I was anxious and joking about the whole atmosphere, she was able to help me relax, relieve my tension and I fell asleep.  When it was over, I thought, how awesome would it be to help people feel this way, to help people with their anxiety.  After my session, I immediately started to research massage therapy schools and decided I would sign up to get certified on the weekends.

 I talked to my husband about it, he wasn’t sure why I was doing it and I don’t think he understood why I would want to touch other people’s bodies. I think is exact words were “Ewwww”. However, he was supportive of me going to school.  The school was located in an building located right near the Pacific Ocean in Carmel, CA. It was a beautiful outdoor setting. I walked in on the first day of class and I was nervous at first. But, after I meet the teacher and my classmates, I realized that these people were my type of people. I felt very comfortable there.  It was very much a touchy feely place and everyone had the same goal, to learn how to help people. They were healers. Now I had a vision of owning and running a Day Spa after massage school.

After certification, I started to massage my friends and family for practice.  They referred me their friends. I was growing and realized that I needed a small office somewhere near my clientele.  I rented a very small place above a hair studio. That was all I could afford. However, no matter how small it was,  I was able to build a very steady clientele through referrals.  I did very minimal advertising. I did give discounts for people who wanted to come more frequently.  I made sure I was within the going price range.  I treated people with respect, listened to what they needed, and when i was not able to help them, I referred them to doctors that I knew would treat them well. This built the customer’s trust in me and built a long lasting relationship. Keep in mind,  this was before all the computer, phone and social media we have today.  Some clients I had for over 10 years. I knew about their lives in a very intimate way. 

Soon I realized after a few years that I had to expand. I found another place to rent above my cousin’s gift shop and rented it there with an esthetician and hired another therapist to work with me who was trying to build up her own clientele.  Through my client relationships, I found an opportunity to open a Day Spa in the same town but in a new developing area.  I was able to gather other therapists together in the Day Spa and as a team we built the business.  The space allowed my business to expand and I was able to offer classes in Yoga, Pilates, Nutrition, and even bring in massage therapy teachers to train massage therapist in other modalities.

Dreams do come true. Successful dreams take dedication, hard work and consistency with a positive attitude. They also take a lot of support from people around you who believe in you. My business was built without loans, and gave me a steady stream of income to support my growing family. Some clients I had for over 10 years. I knew about their lives in a very intimate way. Whatever they share with me was kept between us and I never violated their trust.

In life, the unexpected happens. In 2008, the stock market crashed and I had a dramatic decrease in clientele, I was not able to recover from that. I did not have enough in reserve. I had to sell my business and it was very difficult for me. I did not want to let it go. This experience taught me to make sure I keep enough in reserve for what might happen. In addition I learned that if I do this again, I will focus on doing massage therapy work or running the business, not both. As you expand your business, you need to think about passing down your legacy.  I did not do any massage work for 6 months after that because every time I tried to do a massage, I would start to cry.

Remember the experience as a success.  At first I was devastated that I lost my business. However, in this whole journey because I was able to help thousands of people over the course of 13 years in reducing their pain and anxiety.  I created some deep and meaningful friendships.  I was able to keep the business growing and I experimented with different marketing techniques and found out which ones worked. No regrets. Even if your business fails, never miss the opportunity to go after your dreams.

5 ways Juan at my local @Walgreens gives me an outstanding customer experience?

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Just down the street from my house is a Walgreens. For those of you who don’t know, Walgreens is a place to pick up your prescriptions but also a place for small items you forgot at the grocery store.  From aspirin to cards to glow in the dark necklaces, you can find just about anything. However, this is not just a typical Walgreens store, this is a place where a model of great customer experience lives.  His name is Juan. You would not know this to look at him. Juan is an older gentleman, he speaks fluent Spanish in addition to his excellent English. Over the years Juan and I have made small conversations.  I would ask about his grandkids and he would ask about my kids.  He always has a smile and greets me when I come through the door.  What made me write this article about him, you ask? Simple, one day while checking out my conglomerate of items, Juan said “You know, your son was in here with his buddies the other day and bought an energy drink.  Those drinks can be harmful, do you want him to drink those?” Understanding his concern I said, “He only gets one a week, so if you see him get more, you let me know. Thanks Juan!”  Juan knows he can’t prevent my son from buying the drinks because he works at Walgreens, but he was kind enough to let me know what my teenager was up to so I could intervene with some parenting if needed.  It’s this extra level of compassion that inspired me to write about him.  I started to think about what Juan does that sets him apart from other workers and other stores. Why do I always use this local Wallgreens instead of the CVS around the block or the 7-11 across the street?  What is it that Juan does to exemplify the customer experience? It comes down to these 5 essential ways:

  1. Be familiar: Juan knows my name and my family member’s names.  It was not instantaneous familiarity.  He saw my name and used it, looking me in the eye to confirm that he was pronouncing it correctly.  I nodded yes and saw his name on his name tag and said his name.  Later, I came in with my kids, he asked their names in a pleasant way “Who is this big fella here?” Always smiling, very cordial. Important point though, when he knew our names, he didn’t forget. 
  2. Be inquisitive: Juan would never let the check out transaction be a boring one.  He always asked something different.  “What are you all doing today?” “How’s everything?” “Hows that tall boy of yours?” “Where’s your daughter, I haven’t seen her lately?” I wasn’t offended by these questions and was happy he asked.
  3. Be humorous: The checkout would never leave without a joke about something. One day I was with my son and as I was putting items on the counter, Juan looked at my teenager square in the eye and said  “Are you buying these for your mom?” Now, Juan knows my son does’t have a job and couldn’t pay for it. But my son would smile at him shyly and we would all laugh. I would reply “Juan, he may have to work in the back, do you have a job for him?”  Juan’s eyes would light up and he would say “Oh yeeesss!”  My teenager at this point would would grin and try to grab the bag of stuff to get out the door.  It’s all in good fun  but my son is now thinking that he might have to work to pay for stuff right?
  4. Be consistent: Now every time I go to Wallgreens, I am hoping Juan is there to do our usual joke. It’s a little silly but this is what we usually do. When I rush into the store, if he sees me first, he will say to me  “Merry Christmas, Brenda!”  (keep in mind, it’s the middle of July) and I laugh and greet him with “Happy New Year, Juan!”  It’s our joke and I feel special. We may use other holiday type greetings but I always think of one that he’s not using. It’s a fun exchange. Juan is also consistently smiling and talking to everyone like he knows them as friends. It’s expected behavior from him with everyone, not just me.
  5. Be sincere:  Even if Juan is having a rough day, he will tell me.  The other day he said in response to my “How are you doing today Juan?” with “Oh, I am tired today, my allergies are acting up.” All I have to do is nod my head in understanding and we move on to the smiles and wish each other well. I know he is sincere because I know he is human.

Customer service, success or experience, whatever you want to call it, is really about a creating a community that cares about it’s patrons.  You can get to know your customers well enough to go the extra mile and make an impression which creates a loyal community.  Who do you know in your community store that does this for you?  How can your business implement these to give your customers the best experience?

Four Key Elements for Prosperous Teamwork and the Incredible Egg


If a business is to be successful, you need to build great teams. As I was taking my eggs out of the fridge to make my favorite vanilla cinnamon french toast, I realized that creating a successful team for a successful business is a lot like the steps in preparing your elements for breakfast.  Bear with me here, I’m on to something.

Know your eggs!

Each person is their own egg.  We come with our own unique shell, our own personal experiences and our own way of seeing the world.  It’s very important for businesses and managers to recognize this.  As managers or business owners, we may try to label our employees and part of this group or that one but in reality, we are all uniquely different. Know your egg and know it well before you form your team!

Pick out the right eggs! 

Strategically pick the eggs that will go together and compliment each other for the project at hand. Be prepared to do some team building exercises to find out which eggs work better together to achieve maximum results. Make sure you don’t have any rotten eggs in the mix.  Rotten eggs are those who don’t see the company vision and are undermining others achievements.  Separate that egg immediately and see if you can work with them to show them how successful teamwork happens.

Carefully break the shell!

Have you ever tried to crack and egg with so much force that it shatters in a million pieces and part of the shell gets into your batter? Not good right? It’s important to remember to gently break someone’s shell or barriers in order to build trust. If your employees build trust with you, they will be more likely to be part of a team.  Hopefully, managers are supported by their company to build trust with their employees.  Successful teams will not work or create the results you want without trust.


Keep whole eggs together! 

No scrambling here.  As the eggs in my bowl swirled around, all in sync, all in one movement, I realized that this is how a team should be. All the eggs are individuals, their yolks are not broken but they are all moving as one big team.  This is the key to successful teams. Keep in mind these several techniques to keep the eggs or your team moving in sync:

  • Communicate openly
  • Engage and debate with respect
  • Learn to commit to decisions and plan of actions
  • Hold one another accountable
  • Focus on achieving collective results

Now! It’s time for breakfast.

Do you have an example of a time were the team fell apart?  What was the reason? I’d love to hear your feedback.