When Connection Works

As a startup solopreneur with few connections I decided to try networking meetings. I went to as many as I could find and guess what… I wracked up my credit card with breakfasts, lunches, fees, etc. I thought I was wasting a lot of money and a lot of time, then something happened.

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One week, I started getting clients through referrals from a person I met at a networking group, Tammy of Boljuncic Financial. I have been helping her stay focused, motivated, and define her brand, along with developing a strategic plan of action to move her business forward. She loves networking in the real world and I am fortunate that she ‘loves’ me so much.

I found cheerleaders in a small business owners like, Robin, and Lisa, a client in Karen, and so many wonderful people who are connecting with each other in the real world. Some people are friendly and want to genuinely help others to shine, others are connectors and are passionate about being able to be a resource of introductions between people. Unfortunately, most people are pushing the business card industry to high profits by throwing theirs around and collecting as many as possible. They don’t get much more than a larger card collection out of networking.

I have found a few groups that work

Andrew is a friendly older man who runs a networking group in Coquitlam and has asked me to present to the group a couple of times about topics on social media. My presentations are filled with stats, questions, advice, tips, and ideas so everyone in the room can leave with value. I am fortunate to have met Andrew because he likes to help others shine.

Then there is the super connector – George, he is a passionate networking individual who runs my favourite networking group. This group has a long list of wonderful people who actively connect with each other. The group itself is casual, fun, and entertaining, a great start to my Friday morning.  George promotes a healthy referral and networking environment by using technology and leading by example, because he actively connects people on a regular basis.

Then there is Marilyn.

When I first met Marilyn, she reminded me of my grandmother. My grandmother was a remarkable woman, a journalist, a model, a business owner, and actively involved in developing the social organizations in our small town of 2 000 people, in an out of the way place. She was elegance and class all rolled into one. So trust me when I say, that anyone who reminds me of her, has something extra special about them.

For some reason Marilyn and I both wanted to connect and find a way to work together. It took a few weeks, but we finally met for coffee, we were in for a surprise. We started talking and it was like talking to an old friend. I loved her stories of being a single mom in Vancouver, starting a business that she loves, and connecting with people. Then she asked me where I grew up.

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I grew up on a mountain and a lake 20 – 30 minutes out of a small city of 2 000 people. Why do I call it a city? Because it was incorporated in 1906, the year my great grandfather built his fancy Sears catalogue house behind my other great grandparent’s home. At the time it was the economic hub where the Shuswap met the Okanagan in BC’s Interior, however, due to the railway being built and a Native Reserve placed around half the town, trade and industry moved south. The city emptied and to this day, Enderby remains the smallest city in the Okanagan.

Considering the size of the town and that a large portion of the population has stayed there, you can imagine my surprise when Marilyn told me she grew up in Enderby a decade before I was born. She went to school with my dad’s cousin and knew a lot of my family’s life long friends. She knew my dad and my dad remembered her and where she lived, I don’t think my dad ever really forgets anything.

We sat and talked about this small town and what it was like living there during two different times. She left for Vancouver around the year my mom’s family came to town and took my mom took her place within the class.

Finding common threads in our story created a stronger connection than trading business cards and giving each other a wave each week. It takes extra effort to be vulnerable enough to ask to meet for coffee and then spend time sharing your story to someone you don’t know. However, once you find that common thread, you build the most important part of connection – trust.

The common thread that I share with Marilyn created a connection that is leading to a project and a strategic partnership between us. I’ve been able to introduce her to a couple of my clients who share the same target market and am hoping together they can find a connection to their shared target market.

Networking in the Real World Works

In a world where everyone is focused on digital connections and getting the largest following possible, it is important to remember that real connection happens in the real world. Using digital marketing to tell your story, develop credibility, and make virtual connections is important, but don’t forget to take the next step by connecting in the real world.


Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more: Shannonpeel.com

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Talented at Connecting

IMG_0653I hang out and work out of a coffee shop called The Good Sunshine Cafe here in South Surrey.

There are plenty of good coffee shops in the area to choose from, I live in Canada’s version of Seattle after all. The Good Day Sunshine Cafe isn’t the easiest place to find, it isn’t in the main part of the larger shopping areas, you don’t drive by and see it on a regular basis because it isn’t on any main road. It’s not well known. There is nothing from the outside that makes you think, “I have to try out this place and make it my destination location.” However, it has one thing that no other coffee shop in the are has – It has Kris.

After my first encounter with Kris, I knew that I was going to host all my South Surrey #MarketAPeel Brainstorms and drop ins there. It was going to become my coffee shop hang out

The other day I was sitting with a group of women talking, because you know thats what we do, and I mentioned that I was going to be talking about Kris in my connection series. A wonderful lady immediately agreed that he was amazing. She goes to the coffee shop for paint nights and the women, love Kris.

She thinks some show up just to see him.

What he has is the ability to immediately connect with the customers and make them feel welcome. He is happy to see them and naturally wants to enhance their experience. He knows his product and can describe his favourites to you in a way that makes you open your wallet and buy even though you know your waistline doesn’t need any extra treats. It’s that extra. He naturally gives the customers an ‘extra’ experience that feels tailored to them. He remembers you, suggests new things to try, and gives that extra bit of excitement to the transaction.

The biggest difference I see is his natural ability to talk to people and describe the food and drinks he serves, as if he were telling a story. He is genuine, knowledgeable, positive, and friendly. He doesn’t shy away from eye contact. He fills the space he occupies and welcomes you to share in an experience of coffee, treats, and community.

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In contrast, I have been to coffee shops where the staff makes you feel like you are wasting their time, causing you to feel unwelcome in their establishment. This discomfort has the opposite effect of connection because your defensive barriers instantly go up. I don’t know if these people are truly unfriendly or their shyness comes across that way.

For example, it is hard to make a connection with my daughter, she has been told that kids think she is either a snob or mad at them for some reason. My daughter is neither, she is a true introvert who listens more than she talks and is shy when people she isn’t comfortable with are around. However, once she knows you, she is the hoot of the party, funny, smart, and the one her good friends seek out when in crisis. In contrast my son is the complete opposite. He is a true extrovert who is the life of the party the minute he walks in and he knows a lot of people because he instantly connects to them and they trust him immediately with their problems.

I don’t know if it’s something you can learn or if its all about personality. Maybe by the end of the month I will have figured out Kris’ secret.

Do you know anyone like Kris?

If you are ever in South Surrey on a Wednesday morning drop into the Good Day Sunshine Cafe and have a latte with me so we can brainstorm about why some people make instant connections, while others struggle.


Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more: Shannonpeel.com

What is Connection?

In today’s world we are more connected to our devices than we are to the people around us.

Connection at it’s core is the spot where two things join to complete a circuit. Electronics can’t work without strong physical connections between all the parts in the circuits. If one connection is broken, the whole device doesn’t work. I want to take a deeper look at this word to find out how people connect in a technological dependent world and how we can form better connections to become successful in business and life.

April is about Connection

I’ve been thinking a lot about connection again, so I am dedicating a month to exploring the word, the concept, the action. I will be writing about connection here and linking other posts about connection to this post for you to use as a resource on the topic, scroll down for links to other posts, articles, podcasts, videos, and books that explore the idea of connection, what it is, why we need it, and how we can get better at making it.

I will look at our connections to family, friends, coworkers, and the people around us. Our connection to media, technology, and the things around us. Most importantly, I will dive into our connection with ourselves and how connection effects our health.

Follow me on social media to be part of the research process and I encourage you to be a part of the conversation too by engaging with your thoughts. Connection is too important to ignore.

Resources:

Social Media – I will be posting questions about connection for us to explore this idea and learn from each other. Drop by and be a part of the conversation. – Comments may be used in future blog posts, podcasts, or social media posts.

pexels-photo-267350.jpegMarket A Peel Facebook Group

Shannon Peel Marketing Page 

Market A Peel Twitter

Market A Peel Instagram

 

Blog Posts – I will be writing about connection as I dive deeper into it’s meaning and why it’s so important to us as human beings.

person-woman-apple-hotel.jpgDisconnected in a Connected World – Are we connected or disconnected in today’s tech connected world?

 

 

 

Podcast – I will be talking about connections and interviewing people about their thoughts and how they use connection to become successful in today’s world.

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Instant Connection

 

 

 

 


Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more: Shannonpeel.com

Sales – Oh God Shoot Me Now!

There is only one reason small businesses fail — NO SALES.

Without sales there is no cashflow and without cashflow there is no business. Most small business owners and entrepreneurs are not professional sales people, they are better at doing what they are selling, not selling what they do.

Smile n Dial

My wonky career path has included professional sales, the smile and dial numbers game sales. I was kicking butt good at smilin and dialin, finding the decision maker, and getting in the door to meet. I had no problem making 40-60 dials a day, regardless if the product was Advertising, Online Review Platform, Financial Planning products, or Chinese Pump Jacks and Oil Pipe. I built qualified lists, found business, and even closed sales.

Today, I am standing on the cliff edge knowing that the only way my business will succeed is if I get on the phone and make appointments to talk to people about their personal branding to help differentiate them from their competitors. I know what my target market looks like, I know where to find their contact information, I know how to build a CRM database to manage these cold leads and guess what —

I’m frozen.

It’s not the sub zero temperatures that have gripped the Vancouver area that have me covered in ice… It’s fear. OMG – I’m scared to pick up the phone and ask someone to meet me.

How did I go from a kick butt cold calling appointment setter to frozen solid on a cliff’s edge? What’s different?

Well, the product I am now selling is – me – and I’m not confident enough.

Selling myself, sounds so dirty, like I should have a 1-900 number or be working some corner in DT East Van. I know I’m not the only woman to have an issue with self confidence and selling her services in a crowded marketplace. It’s one of those things we were taught not to do as young girls – “Don’t be too loud.” “Don’t toot your own horn.” “Don’t be so full of yourself.” Little boys were to cultivate confidence, we were to cultivate coyness and virtue.

My confidence has taken a hit from all the rejection, broken promises, disappointment, and crap life has heaped on me the last five years.

I know I’m good at what I do. I know I’m smart enough. I know I’m qualified. I know I have the credentials. I know that I work hard to ensure my clients succeed. I know I have a service Independent Professionals need at a price they can afford… I know all of this and more – However, I don’t want to hear “no” when it comes to selling myself. I’ve heard you aren’t good enough too often the last five years.

The Big Thaw.

Time to get over myself and stop coming up with excuses about why I can’t get on the phone and start calling my target market. It’s the only way small businesses can start, by knocking on doors and making calls.

The only way to cure myself of this affliction is to do it. To create a list of targeted Independent Professionals, pick up the phone, and dial. Once I’ve made the first appointment, I know I will be back, kicking butts and taking names.

All I need

My time is limited and what I sell is my time, so, I only need the following:

4 Monthly Marketing Management Clients
5 Personal Branding Consulting / Coaching Clients
12 Grape Peel Marketing Group Clients
The odd project management client would be nice too

So, I won’t have to smile n dial for long.

The time is now and now is the time.

UPDATE: I did not cold call… I advertised free brainstorming sessions on certain days and people came to me. My confidence is increasing and soon I’ll be back to kicking butt while smiling and dialling.


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Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more: Shannonpeel.com

Disconnected in a Connected World

I have been thinking a lot about connections recently.

In todays world, we have the tools to connect on a scale that was considered science fiction when I was born, forty some odd years ago. Generation X started their journey in the dark ages and grew with a world that became more digitally connected and more isolating.

I remember watching a news broadcast, years ago, about Faith Popcorn and her theory on how our culture was going to disconnect through cocooning. It sounded like an odd idea at the time. How could we, as individuals, isolate ourselves from each other?

Well We Did

Video arcades, a teen social hang out, no longer exist because we bought our own game consoles.

Cinemas used to be a weekly treat, but they made way for video stores and ticket costs sky rocketed. Gone are the dinner and movie dates, they’ve been replaced with Netflix and chill.

Drive through options have extended our isolation into our cars where we pick up food, coffee, and groceries. Amazon and Online Shopping  keeps us out of stores and malls so we can shop from the comfort of our homes without ever chatting with a salesperson.

We have slowly been removing social hang outs for teenagers and they in turn, have no where to go. Most helicopter parents won’t let their kids ‘hang out’ anywhere because they might get into trouble. So, our children are learning how to stay home.

We Are Home Alone

1795684_666542126736269_214740821_n-2My bank account dictates whether or not I can hang out in coffee shops. With the skyrocketing cost of living in the city, my time in these establishments has started to dwindle. Even when I am in these places for long periods of time, I hardly meet anyone new. Everyone, including myself, is behind a laptop or looking at their phone, the two items that tell those around you – I’m busy, buzz off.

Not to mention I live in a city known for it’s isolation.  Dating in this city is near impossible, let alone finding people willing to invest in a friendship, especially with someone who is overweight. This city isn’t a fan of fat people. 

Work has even become more isolating as many people, like me, work from home. To save money, companies are opting for more remote arrangements for their employees. Making it even harder for people to connect with others and network.

Connected Online

Social media and online tools have grown over the last ten years to improve personal connections, to keep in touch, share our experiences with those we know and love. Are we really connecting though? 

I spend a lot of time online. Taking online courses, writing, posting on social media, tweaking my website, watching Netflix, dating and applying for work. I am chatting with people, virtually meeting new people, learning about people and telling people about myself.

Does this mean I’m connected though? 

What are your thoughts? Which generation do you think was more connected to friends and family in their forties, us or our parents? 

What to do

what-you-seek-is-seeking-you_fotorGetting out into the real world and saying “hello” to people on transit and coffee shops, is a start, which risks the one thing people fear – Rejection.

Volunteer for a charity or cause.

Text friends to see if they want to do something.

Go out into the world for a mini staycation adventure with your kids to build stronger connections with them. The bonus is getting acquainted with the city you live in.

Use Online Tools

Attend events advertised on Facebook.

Go to free seminars promoted on LinkedIn.

Attend meetups to get out of the house, and more importantly, out of your comfort zone. Learn something new while meeting new people.

Use dating sites to make real world meet and greets in a public place. This is really hard because most men seem to think a date is meeting them in private, but that’s for a different post.

Which online connecting tools do you use to help you get out and make connections in the real world? 

Make it a goal to smile more, get out more, and live more. Maybe you meet someone new, maybe you don’t. At least you lived.

 


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website. www.shannonpeel.com

 

 

 

Fallout of Feminism

If you are a member of the X generation, in your forties and early fifties, you are experiencing the fall out of feminism. The generations before us fought hard so that women of our generation and our daughters would be equal in this world.

Someone forgot to write the manual

Our generation is defining what equality looks like, what it means and how we can be truly equal, however, we are victims of our upbringing. The girls of our generation grew up being told that we could have both a career and a family. We were given a torch that had no manual and few models to show us the way. The boys grew up watching their fathers and learning what it was to be a man. Their message didn’t change, stereotypically, mom did the house work, dad did the work outside. Mom took care of the kids and dad drank beer.

The result?

We have a generation of women trying to have it all and not enough time or energy. They are tired, stressed, and have little left to give to their husbands, who still need their attention. Men feel the demands of having to help out, do more of what they were taught was woman’s work. They changed a few diapers, made a few meals, and took care of the kids a little more than their fathers ever had. For that, parents patted them on the backs, congratulated them on a job well done, and told the women, see you have equality.

As women, we picked up the slack. We strived to be everything. We felt the guilt of not being there full time with our children. We felt the pressure of not giving enough time to careers. We felt our husbands slip from our grasps and move away from us.

Is it no wonder the divorce rate is so high?

Will gender roles change?

Society has a long way to go before we are truly equal and the ideology of what is men’s work and what is women’s work in the home changes.

I applaud the men who stayed home to raise the children and care for the family. It is not a choice society embraces, yet as equal partners, men should be able to make the choice to stay home.

There is hope that men and women will figure out how to work together in this new reality. A world where what it means to be a man includes childcare, housework, and laundry.  Until men and women can truly break free of traditional gender stereotypes and models, relationships will continue to strain to the breaking point.

 

A letter from a father to a daughter about what lessons she learned from him regarding woman’s work and how sorry he was.

 

Purpose of this Blog

This blog is a look at the characters in a new novel about being a 40+ year old woman in today’s world. The novel, like all literature, draws from real life but embellishes it, changes it, and merges it together with fantasy. You won’t find a 100% true story on the blog or in the novel. I welcome any parenting or dating stories you would like to share for the book, but please understand the story will only be a jump off point as I’m not about to publish anything exactly as it happened. Email me today at Shannonpeel01[ at ]gmail [.com]

And yes…. Dating stories about women behaving badly are welcome too, as my characters are flawed and handicapped when it comes to dating.

Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website.www.shannonpeel.com

Am I a Man Hater?

Is it better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all? 

My friends love men and find themselves hurt by them on a regular basis. Almost daily my phone rings with stories of betrayal, insecurity, and miscommunication. I listen, offer comfort, and give advice. Some of their stories about the selfish men they date make me furious and I encourage them to move on.

I know, dating is hard and loneliness can hurt, but it’s better
to be alone than with a selfish, uncaring, person man or woman. 

I have seen love. 

I know good men, men who love the woman in their lives. They protect, provide, and care for their woman. They support, champion, and scream out to the world about how wonderful she is. And she is. The women I know who are loved by a man, are amazing women. They are supportive, caring, and respectful of their man. They are his cheerleader, his confident, and his best friend.

I have seen love modelled my whole life, in my grandparents’, my parents’, my uncle’s, my aunt’s, my cousins’, and my brother’s relationships. They have a partnership, which makes both people stronger.

Am I a man hater?

I am scared of men hurting me. I’ll admit that.

I am angry at how some single men behave and how they don’t care about whom they hurt. Their bad behaviour is how the idea for the series 40 Something came about.

Do I hate all men?
No, just the single middle aged ones. 😉

No, I do not hate them. I struggle to understand them. I know there are some  who don’t care about women beyond the physical and don’t care whom they hurt as long as they get what they are after.

There are plenty of women who behave badly too.

There are very few single middle aged men who treat a woman like a lady. However, many weren’t brought up to and women have punished them if they even tried to be chivalrous. The sexual revolution and feminism have freed women to behave like men and now men find what they want so easily, they don’t have to behave, love, or even commit.

I get it. Doesn’t mean I have to put up with it. After all, online dating sites have lots of men and maybe one will know how to treat a lady properly. Until them …

I chose to be single.

Does that make me a man hater?


The Man Hater in 40 Something 

copy-of-40something-6The character Charlie, in my series 40 Something, is a man hater. She’s been hurt and overlooked because she believes she doesn’t fit the young, good looking, image media says successful men are drawn to and she blames men for her plight. Is it the fault of men or her own insecurities?

Men Suck, I hate them All

I’ve paired her with Lindsay, a woman who loves men for who they are, short comings and all.

I’ve created male characters who love their wives and are ‘good’ to woman. Gus is the perfect husband, the provider, and protector. His brother Gary is in touch with women’s pain and offers his help whenever it is needed, however, he does not see his wife who is too introverted to voice her needs.

I want 40 Something to be a reflection of being a 40 something person in the 21st Century and that includes man haters, man lovers, and men themselves.

Read Excerpts of 40 Something

Ebooks

 

Paperback – Includes Ebooks 1-5

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Shannon Peel is the author of 40 Something, Captive, and  THIRTEEN. For more information check out her website.www.shannonpeel.com