Why It Pays To Be Honest in Business

Joleene Moody

I’m going to share a personal story here, one that actually destroyed me emotionally. But only for a moment. When it was over, it gave me exactly what I needed to be a better leader. If you’re interested in being the best version of yourself, listen up. This has to do with being brutally honest, even at the cost of making a fool of yourself.

     I write books for professional men and women. Self-Help and How-To, mostly. When someone who needed a book written contacted me, his professional stature intimidated me a bit. So much so, that when he asked me what it would cost to write his masterpiece, I fumbled and jumbled my quote horribly. So much so, that I severely undercut myself.  Severely.

     He agreed to my teensy price and we ended our call. I was devastated. What had I done? Why didn’t I say anything? How could I possibly move forward, knowing I would be making mere pennies, thanks to my fumbly foolishness?

I had a choice to make:

1) I could either move forward and write his book for peanuts, or

2) I could call him back and tell him I made a mistake.

     If I went with option one, I knew I would regret it and hate every step of the process.

If I went with option two, I risked making a fool of myself and looking unprofessional.

     After wrestling with both options, I decided to go with option two. I decided to be honest, even if it meant I might look like a fool. Here’s what I said:

     “Mr. Author, I owe you an apology. For reasons I can’t quite explain, other than I became flustered while talking to you, I severely misquoted you. I said I would write your book for X dollars when the truth is, I should have quoted you four times that amount. I am so sorry. I don’t know how it happened or what I was thinking, but I would be doing myself and my clients a huge disservice if I moved forward writing your book for what I quoted you. I am so very sorry. I am embarrassed and humiliated. I understand completely if you want to move on and find someone else to write this for you.”

     And do you know what happened?

     He said he would like to move forward with me anyway.

     Yes, I was as stunned as you are.

     Mr. Author told me he valued my work and appreciated my honesty. He could hear in my voice how terrible I felt and understood I simply made a mistake.

     After we hung up, I had an unexpected emotional release and I cried.

     I cried because telling this man I made a mistake was very difficult.

     I cried because the perfectionist in me was still beating me up.

     I cried because I was honest and it felt good.

     I cried because I realized, even if he decided not to work with me, being honest and standing in integrity felt better than any check in my hand would.

     Choosing to be honest is actually a gateway to freedom. Had I lied to him or myself and moved forward anyway, I would have actually done more damage than good. One lie leads to another lie, which leads to another lie, which in turn leads to another lie. My emotional release was my body understanding that, and thanking me for being true to myself and to Mr. Author.

     If you want to feel free, take the route of honesty every time. Looking back, I can safely say that even if Mr. Author told me to go fly a kite, I still would have felt free and safe because I told the truth. There were no stories to protect and no lies to continue to weave.

     Decide to be honest, no matter what. None of us is perfect. All of us make mistakes. Besides, look what happened when I told the truth. I ended up getting paid what I should have from the beginning. See? It really does pay to be honest.

JOLEENE MOODY is a freelance writer, blogger, and speaker who lives in Oswego County with her husband and daughter. Learn more at: www.joleenemoody.com

How To Dominate Social Media

Joleene Moody

If your business isn’t showing up loud and proud on social media, you could be compromising your bottom line. You want to dominate the social airwaves and bring new clients and fresh opportunity with it. Your social success hinges on where you post and how much effort you put into it. Consider these options when posting on social media platforms that meet the likes of your business.

1) Schedule Your Posts

     Some businesses don’t consider this an option as they circulate the cyber airwaves. But continuous posting can pull more followers your way, especially on a platform like Twitter. Use apps like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule hourly tweets. Include posts that inform, engage, and promote sharing. Your followers choose to trail you because of what you do or what you’ve posted in the past. Make them happy and share their posts as well. The more followers you have, the more you open the space to be recognized as the expert in your field. If you seek more sales and a powerhouse reputation, share great content and post regularly.

2) Use Video to Share Content

     When Twitter released Periscope, the response was both immediate and overwhelming. Within a few short months, small business owners and entrepreneurs across the globe were Livestreaming tips, stories, and useful information to followers. With a chat that allows comments and hearts for likes, Periscope is ideal for the business owner that wants to stay focused and instruct. Many followers convert to fans and clients for those that regularly use the app.

     If Periscope doesn’t thrill you, consider Blab, a social video platform still in its Beta stages. With four video seats and a chat section that allows hundreds of attendees to engage, Blab is shaping up to be the new wave of Podcasting. If the host allows, a single attendee can briefly take one of the video window seats and be heard. Blab chats can go on for hours. Some Blab users actually schedule 24-and-48 hour marathons. While this isn’t necessary, a short 30-minute show can prove invaluable for business owners that want to share content and elicit trust.

3) Use Platforms that Match Your Business

     You don’t have to exist on every social media platform to dominate in social media. For some businesses, determining which platform works best is a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. Spending time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest can answer that question for you. If you are a coach or consultant, Facebook and Facebook Ads are where your tribe exists. If you are a social media or content marketer, Twitter may be where it’s at. And if you own a design or bakery business, Pinterest is the ideal platform for you. Overwhelming yourself with too many platforms can actually work against you. Choose two or three that fit your business well and shoot for the moon.

     Regular posting and highly valuable content will give you the exposure and leverage you need on social media. Offering information that is actionable is also key, as it leads followers to your website and other social platforms. Show up with integrity and your business will shine above all others.

JOLEENE MOODY is a freelance writer, blogger, and speaker who lives in Oswego County with her husband and daughter. Learn more at: www.takeyourvoiceback.com

Take Action Everyday

Joleene Moody

“Your life will never improve unless you start making daily improvements.” – Lewis Howes

I’m a quote geek. I always have been. When I feel like the world is crashing down around me, I look for a quote that seems to fit exactly what I need to know in that very moment. Sometimes that quote shows itself to me.

     My hope is that Lewis Howes’ quote just did that for you.

     There are so many of us that have wants and desires but let those wants and desires sit on a shelf collecting dust because we don’t know what to do with them. We don’t know how to get to them. We may think they’re impossible to achieve or too hard to begin.

     And you’re right.  It may hard to begin. Which leads me to quote number two: “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket

     Very few people that start on the path to success know what they’re doing. It’s true. But it doesn’t matter to them because they know the answers will be revealed to them along the way. They understand that taking action every day is the only way to live life. It’s the only way to learn. There is no physical manual or blueprint that tells you exactly what you need to do to get started. But there is a soulful blueprint. And it lies within you.

     You know what you want. So take a tiny step toward it today. No matter what it is that you want to chase, there are a plethora of things you can do to start manifesting it right now.

Here is a list of things you can do to get started, no matter what it is you’re after:

  •  Read a book.
  • Ask someone what book you should read if you don’t know.
  • Ask a question.
  • Ask a question of someone who is doing what you want to do.
  • Watch movies.
  • Read some more.
  • Take a workshop.
  • Ask more questions.
  • Read more books.
  • BE CURIOUS.

     When I wanted to be a public speaker, I took the time to ask a speaker that was visiting a local school what she did to get started. She told me to buy a book on her website and begin there. She also invited me out to lunch and gave me an hour of her time to tell me more.

     Those nuggets of information were pure gold. They got me started and took me to the next level. Once I reached that second level, I asked more questions of more people. Up and up I went.

     So ask questions. Read books. And don’t rush the process. But do begin now, before your dream gets so covered in dust, you won’t be able to find it.  Which leads me to one final quote for you:

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

     Better stand up and take action. Your dream is waiting for you.

Breaking the rules of writing with style

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

I’ve been writing professionally and as a journalist for 15 years.

My accolades include three published books, hundreds of published news and human interest stories, a successful blog, two award-winning investigative television series and a comedic stage play that made its debut in 2014.

I have learned how to write from the best and the worst.

I have been told to write at least 1,500 words a day.

Or 3,000 a day.

Or whatever the hell I want every other day.

I’ve been advised not to use semicolons; that they are insignificant.

It has been suggested that I swear by the Associated Press Stylebook.

The next day I’m told to burn that book and worship The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Authors and Publishers.

Never use slang.

Use slang whenever I want.

And dammit, Aaron Sorkin says I shouldn’t start a sentence with dammit or and. Ever. (He wrote “Newsroom,” which you should watch.)

Stephen King writes 3,000 words or more every day, even on holidays.

J.K. Rowling writes up to 11 hours most days.

Margaret Atwood writes between 1,000 and 2,000 a day.

Enter contests. Don’t enter contests.

Go to writer’s retreats and workshops. Don’t go.

Take an online course. Don’t take an online course.

I could go on and on with examples that so many offer on the rules of writing. But I won’t because despite all of the rules and suggestions, the best thing you can do for yourself is to DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

Does this mean you should disregard what seasoned writers and screenwriters say? No, not at all. Listen. Implement. But trust your gut, too.

I wrote a screenplay last year that I pitched to a production company in February. They requested it to read, getting back to me 4 weeks later to tell me the screenplay was overwritten and a slog to get through.

At the same time, a producer that thought my script was a hoot asked my permission to pass it on to Cobie Smulders’ agent.

In both instances, my writing had a different impact on two different parties based on their rules of writing.

THAT WILL ALWAYS HAPPEN.

Some will love you, some won’t. We know that. So why do we continue to try and conform to the rules of others, even when our gut screams at us to follow our own?

Look, I love to write. I do it almost every day. There are some days I don’t really want to, but because I make a living with my pen, I kind of have to. For the longest time, I thought the Writing Gods would come down from the Script Heavens and destroy me if I skipped a day.

“You’re never going to be successful if you don’t write every day,” they would say. “Because you skipped Sunday and Monday (and used a semicolon yesterday), we’re going to punish you by seeing to it that that production company doesn’t choose you. Tsk, tsk.”

I worked with a business coach once that said, “You are responsible for the box you put yourself in. If you live by the rules and beliefs of others, you will never experience true freedom. Break the rules. As long as no one gets hurt, break the rules all day long.”

So this post is your permission slip to do just that.

You may be torn on whether or not you should move a scene to the top of your script because someone very seasoned suggested it. You’re allowed to be torn.

You may be torn on whether or not you should change the title of your book because a very seasoned publisher suggested it. Again, you’re allowed to be torn.

What you’re NOT allowed to do is doubt yourself. (I know, I know, we all struggle with this…)

Believe it or not, there is an Inner Knowing within you that really needs to be trusted. That, coupled with the knowledge and experience that seasoned writers offer, is what makes a really good writer an amazing writer.

Having said all of this, make your own rules. Take pieces of what he said and she said and what you feel, and make your own. Want to use a semicolon? Use it. Want to swear and cuss and use big words? Use ‘em. Want to keep that scene intact? Keep it.

In the end, don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously (Quote: Lev Grossman).  Just because you’re “not there” yet doesn’t mean you don’t know well enough to get there. It just means, well, that you’re not there yet. Keep learning, keep growing, keep believing, and you will be.

All my best to you.

 

Joleene moody is a freelance writer, blogger and speaker who lives in Oswego County with her husband and daughter. Learn more at www.takeyourvoiceback.com. Her column appears monthly in NNY Business. Visit nnybizmag.com to read past columns online.

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

Do you love going to work?

I’m going to guess no, because you’re reading this right now. You want out, but you don’t know how to do it. You have bills to pay and mouths to feed. It’s not like you can just give a two-week notice and walk out of hell and into your dream job, right? I mean, who does that?

Thousands of people do that every day.

Droves of unhappy workers trade in their desk and stapler for a shiny new career all the time. We just don’t see it because we’re too busy suffering eight to 10 hours a day at a job we don’t love, compromising ourselves spiritually, financially, and emotionally.

A Gallop poll revealed that 70 percent of U.S. employees are unhappy at work. Seventy percent is a lot of unhappy faces.

When you’re unhappy at work, you start a chain of events that become progressively worse the longer you stay behind the desk. Your life becomes miserable. And the misery doesn’t go away. You wait for it to, but it won’t. Not until you walk out the door.

Here are five things that happen when you stay in a job you don’t love, and the remedy of what to do to rid yourself of the misery
so you can live a genuinely happy life.

Your heart breaks
It’s a thin line between love and hate. When you have to wake up every day and go to a job you don’t love, that line between love and hate grows smaller. You start to question what life is all about. Is this it? Is this all there is; just a commute and a paycheck? This is what I signed up for?

Your relationships suffer
As you question life and your place in it, you become angry. Who do you take your anger out on? The ones you love. You’re not nice. You lash out at those closest to you because they’re standing right there. They take the brunt of your anger, until one by one your loved ones fall away and you find yourself alone.

You become mean and bitter
You’ve seen mean and bitter people out there. They hate the world and everyone in it. Now you’re mean and bitter. You snap at others and become hateful. When you see happy people you secretly plot their demise. It’s a horrible place to be.

You slowly die inside
You’re awake and you’re breathing. You put one foot in front of the other every day, but that doesn’t mean you’re living. Your suffering is causing you so much pain that you’re actually dying inside. Your joy is gone. But instead of taking actions to get out, you take actions that keep you stuck right where you are.

You blame everyone around you for your pain
When you’re stuck in a situation that makes you mean and bitter, you blame others for putting you there. But they didn’t put you there. You put yourself there. You made a series of choices that landed you where you are. If you want out, you have to take responsibility for yourself and take action to get out, bottom line. End of story.


You might be reading this thinking, ‘Working somewhere I hate isn’t ruining my life. That’s ridiculous.’ Perhaps, but here’s the deal: Human psychology says that we need to experience and fill six specific human needs in positive ways in order to feel fulfilled and purposeful. One of those needs is growth. Without growth, we die inside; just like I said. We walk around numb and uncertain. We just exist. Our lives become a circle of frustration. We go to work, come home, pay bills, go back to work, come home, pay more bills … and the cycle continues.

When the weekend comes, we think. “I’m saved!” When Monday comes, we think, “This sucks.” Where’s the joy? If we have to wait for the weekend to experience joy, what kind of life are we really living?

You have a right to love what you do and get paid for it. You don’t have to suffer working a job you don’t love. You tell yourself you do because the bills are piling up and your friends tell you it’s impossible to go after a passion or dream. Everyone else has to work a job they don’t love, so why should you be any different?

They must be right.

You’re scared, too. If you leave your job, you’re ditching your favorite security blanket. Plus there’s that whole, “How am I supposed to support myself and my family if I leave my job to go chase a dream?”

Have faith, baby; just a little faith. If you don’t have a drop of faith, you’ll always be stuck. You’ll always blame others. If you think faith isn’t part of the equation here, stop reading. This isn’t for you. This is only for those who are ready to reclaim their lives.

The remedy

You want out; really and truly? Decide to get out. No more fluctuating back and forth, telling yourself horror stories of what might happen when you quit. No more telling yourself that what you have is “enough” when you know darn well it isn’t.

This isn’t going to be easy. Nothing ever is. But you have a choice right here and now: You can continue to feel the pain of doing what you don’t love, or you can move forward feeling the joy-filled pain of doing something you actually do love.

Either way, it’s going to be uncomfortable. Either way, it’s going to be uncertain. But it’s worth every single awkward twitch and burn. Decide. Only you can put yourself where you truly want to be, no one else.

Be brave. Take the leap. You’ll land on your feet. You always have.

 

http://www.nnybizmag.com/index.php/2016/11/22/11297/

August 2016: Entrepreneur’s Edge

How to get your content to go viral

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

You need more traffic to your site. More interest in your articles. More reaction to your action. You’ve been told a thousand times that the key to making you a master on the web is to create viral content. And so you attempt to do so. But nothing happens. No one tweets you. No one shares you. Basically, no one loves you. So how do you turn things around so your content is contagious? Easy peasy. [Read more…]

July 2016: Entrepreneur’s Edge

Don’t give up because it didn’t happen

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

Are you familiar with the 80/20 rule?

It’s originally known as the Pareto Principle and it basically says that 20 percent of any input creates 80 percent of the result.

In other words, only 20 percent of you will do whatever it takes to become a self-sustaining entrepreneur. [Read more…]

June 2016: Entrepreneur’s Edge

Tips to improve social media response

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

There’s a saying out there that says, “If you’re not on social media with your business, you’re not in business.”

I believe this to be true. And if you’re in business and disagree with this, you should check your resistance and ask yourself why. Why are you resisting a social media presence? Whatever answer you come up with is the very block that needs to be removed so your business can grow. And trust me, it will grow. [Read more…]

May 2016: Entrepreneur’s Edge

On mud, entrepreneurship and flowers

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

It’s May. (I’m sure you knew that.)

This is the time of year when I am reborn. I hibernate in the winter. But come spring, I grow new petals and my stem gets taller as I look up and drink in the sun. It’s lovely, beautiful, glorious May. And it’s a brand new season. [Read more…]

April 2016: Entrepreneur’s Edge

Release your expectations and enjoy

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

The large majority of us have dreams.

Wait, scratch that.

Every single one of us has dreams. Desires. Goals. A things-to-do list or bucket list or whatever-you-want-to-call-it list. For many of us, we make a plan to attain a particular desire or goal and then we attach an expectation to that desire or goal. When that goal isn’t met, then the expectation isn’t met. That’s when we crumble. We die inside. We whine and cry and decide to give up, all because we attached an expectation to the end of our desire. But here’s the tried-and-true secret to life: If we release the expectation or outcome of any scenario, some seriously incredible and beautiful things can happen. [Read more…]