Thursday, April 27, 2006

How to Write Right

There are two kinds of people in the world: numbers people and words people. (I bet you thought I was gonna say dog and cat people, huh?)

For as long as I can remember, I've been a words gal. I love 'em. My major
in college was Publishing Studies (and yes, I heard many, many, many times - "how do you make a living with that?"). Part of the reason I became a lawyer included learning how to use words to make the world change for the better. Hey, it's not a secret that I'm an idealist.

Even with all my practice writing, I wasn't prepared to write for the Internet. It threw me for a loop to see all the slang used and purposeful typos. Still, I figured I better learn more about it.

Informally, I started a swipe file. It contains any piece of marketing material, written online or off, that caught my attention as being intelligent and compelling. I read that file whenever I have to create a new marketing piece. I suggest that you start a swipe file, too.

I don't copy the text (that would be stealing, tsk, tsk!). I use it as a guide to the different styles of persuasive writing. Some people like to be convinced with facts and figures (probably number types). Some people are persuaded based on their emotions. Others find the experiences of those in similar situations to be compelling. Each kind of buyer requires a slightly different approach and you can learn them by studying the way other writers use words to appeal to each group.

Or, you can hire a commercial writer.

I've learned a lot after years of study, but now my time is better spent on creating content based on my expertise designing Ombuds programs rather than writing sales copy. So, I'm considering hiring a commercial writer or copywriter.

In cruising the Net I came across Barry Morris, who seems to know a thing or two about writing. Mainly, I was interested in his take on using "cold email". He sends a simple email to potential clients asking if they ever use a freelance writer. Most reply yes and request his materials. Sounds so simple, I may try it. I may also put Barry on the short list of candidates to update the writing on my site,

Also, I know a really terrific editor named Ted Thomas of "Write Way". Ted is a reknown poet from the Boston area who has been featured many times in the Boston Globe. His newest endeavor is Words Flight, a poetry blog. Drop by soon-he'll have some of his first audio blog poems up in a few weeks.

I'm also searching for a few other great writers to consider. If I find someone wonderful, I'll let you know.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


PS Here's the link to the next Laser Calls. Feel free to forward them to friends who are thinking about starting or growing an ADR business.

Monday, April 24, 2006

How Not to Read a Business Magazine

Heaven, or some smart marketer, sent me a copy of Selling Power today. Not my usual biz magazine of choice, but the April issue is chocked full with useful information and story ideas.

As I perused the table of contents, I thought about how I used to read these magazines. If there wasn't anything ADR or human resources related on the cover, I didn't buy it. What a waste. I don't want you to make the same mistakes, so here are some tips on how NOT to read a business magazine:

Mistake 1 - Don't read any business magazines.

We are in business, people, regardless of whether we call our work a practice or calling. We need to know about and understand the workings of business. And where can we find those topics? Business magazines, blogs, newsletters, and columns.

Take baby steps and start with Inc. Magazine, the handbook for the American Entrepreneur. It has a ton of how-to, hands-on content for folks just starting out and those who are growing their business. The online version is pretty good, too.

Mistake 2 - Don't read the table of contents.

Failing to read what's inside the issue is like ordering without looking at the menu. You may get what you want, but how many interesting, exciting things are you missing?

Reading the table of contents will help you to discover new ideas that could benefit your business that you might not have seen if you just read the cover or looked at the article titles alone.

Mistake 3 - Don't read the Editor's letter.

OK, I made this mistake myself until recently (I wanted to get to the meat already!). However, I've learned that the editor shares his or her views not only on what's important in that issue, but also where the magazine is going, in terms of content, over the next few issues. Or, the editor will highlight a growing trend or concerning issue in the introduction. Or, maybe announce a contest that you could win.

Getting all the good stuff.

Business magazines are expensive but they are one of the costs of doing business (you do write off those expenses, right?). Make sure you get your money's worth by reading the entire magazine cover to cover (and I do mean the classifieds, too).

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Take this Idea Please!- Helping Lawyers

Here's a real quickie!

Jim Hassett writes in his blog, Law Firm Business Development, that lawyers are now interviewing their clients about their levels of satisfaction. It's a great idea, but the Post notes that lawyers probably aren't the best folks to do the interviews.

Here's where a mediator or Ombuds could come in handy. Why not offer interviewing services to the law firms in your area? You have the skills and the need is growing.

Let me know if you try this one!

Try. Fail Learn. Grow.


Friday, April 14, 2006

What Flavor Are You?

Mediators come in flavors (transformative, evaluative) and so do entrepreneurs. I see it when I coach business owners, especially when it comes time to hire a second-in-command or groom someone to take over the business.

There are two new books available that speak to the notion of types of entrepreneurial personalities. If you're curious (and you should be if you're considering starting an ADR business or have an existing one), check out
these titles:

Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley. Tom explores several types of personalities that drive innovation. I was thrilled to see that my work as an Ombuds fits into the anthropologist type, meaning I seek to understand how groups interact and make meaning. In terms of my business, I'm more of an experimenter, which means I'll try new things and refine them until the fit is right.

My friend, and emerging entrepreneur, Erin Ferraguto, is also a great experimenter. She started a number of terrific businesses in the five years I've known her, including a very successful scrap booking business and her current custom-designed hand-knit handbags and accessories. What I love about Erin is that she has a very positive "can-do" attitude and is always willing to learn. If you're the same, you may be an experimenter too.

The other book is The Entrepreneur Next Door by Bill Wagner. According to Bill, entrepreneurs can be categorized into two main groups: generalists and specialists. I say most ADR types are specialists with an authority type personality. That means we're very conscientious, patient, accommodating by nature and function with a high degree of expertise. The down side is that because of our accommodating nature we don't like prospecting or getting the business; we prefer business to come to us (sound familiar?)

I find this kind of analysis to be incredibly useful, and so will you. Check out these books.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

ADR Gold!

I feel like I just won Olympic gold or an Oscar. Thank you to everyone who joined me on my very first Laser Call. I couldn't have done it without you.

The call went really well. I felt relaxed and in the zone. I also learned a heck of a lot:

1. Technology takes twice as long as you think to tame. Happily, I was able to conquer two small problems that arose with the conference line and PDF file. Next time, I'll triple check everything.

2. Ask for help and understanding. My participants had to help me by muting themselves because my controls didn't work. They did. It worked. The call proceeded smoothly. Good things happen when we work together.

3. I'm good at this business building stuff! When finally launches sometime this spring, I'll be on track to grow my business and the profession.

4. I've been so busy I haven't had time to savor the moment yet. Tonight, my hubby is taking me out to celebrate and I'm gonna eat like a horse! Celebrate all success, even the baby steps.

The next two Laser Calls promise to be just as informative and fun. The topics are:

Could You Be a Successful ADR Entrepreneur- May 2, 2006 12 noon
40 in 40: Amazing ADR Business Ideas! - May 24, 2006 12 noon

Click here to register and learn more.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Remember how I was talking about focusing? Well,
let me tell you--it works!

As a result of lots of hard work (with a big dollop of fun),
I'm thrilled to announce the launch of my very first Laser Call.

Title: Writing for Dollars- Article Writing Strategy
Date: Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Time 12: 00- 12:40 p.m. EST
Location: Anywhere you are!

The 40 minute, lecture-style call will focus exclusively on
the basics and mechanics of using article writing as a
marketing tool, a great marketing tool. There's also a companion
worksheet that has plenty of online resources to keep you
motivated. Click the button below for more details and to register.

Why Article Writing?

Short answer- it's easy and it works.
All the publicity I've
gotten in the past year, and it's a considerable amount, has
been the result of writing something: a letter to the editor,
press releases, blog comments, and articles. It's a terrific way to
let the world sample you in their own time in a convenient way.

Visibility for me and my website increased when
I approached writing and submission in a systematic way.
What does increased visibility really mean? Clients contacted me instead of the other way around. I could reach out to prospects with interesting content
instead of simply prospecting for business. Like-minded folks email me
to do joint ventures and such.

Why attend a Laser Call?

Short answer- it's fast and it works. You can get the information, tips and advice you need to build a profitable ADR business in a convenient way.
I was just chatting with a lovely woman who plans to practice mediation
with a focus on intercultural conflict. She mentioned that it is difficult
to find resources on what types of training is best; how others started in
the field and brainstorm ideas for getting experience (there are few internships

You can get that kind of practical, proven content on a Laser Call. And, when the launches this spring you'll be able to get all that in an intense two day format that gives you a blueprint for success. (Someone recently described my session at the Ombuds conference as so many good ideas it felt like 'getting a drink from a fire hose!- I'm taking that as
a compliment ;)

Don't forget to register for tomorrow call at noon.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Staying Focused

One of the most difficult things to do, at least for me, is to stay focused.

Good stuff happens all the time, and I just want to jump into every project with both feet. While this enthusiasm has definitely served me very well over the 13 years during which I created 3 ADR companies (and a fourth will launch soon!), it can be actually detract from success if not properly managed.

Take right now, for instance. I'm just back from presenting a terrific (their words not mine) session on building a private Ombuds practice at the International Ombuds Association conference in San Diego. Besides wanting to stay in touch will all the really fine Ombuds-entrepreneurs I met, I came away raring to get ADR Practice Builder launched! I'm designing the website right now.

I've been talking about Laser Calls for weeks and my first will be hosted on
April 12th. YES! This Wednesday!! It's called Writing for Dollars- Article Writing Campaigns. It'll offer the first steps for becoming a recognized expert by writing articles.

I'm setting up the registration using Acteva, an easy to use, time-saving tool. Acteva takes registration, collects tuition and even allow me to send messages and resources to my participants. Check back on Monday after 6 p.m. EST for the link to register for Wednesday's Laser Call.

Lastly, I'm scrambling to finish a press release announcing that I'm featured in
Costco Connection this month. (It's page 9- I had trouble finding it at first.) My mom is thrilled because she finally has something to show her friends. Once the release is finished I'll distribute it using PRWeb, which will turn your release into a pod cast for an additional fee. Pretty cool, huh.

Naturally, with all this going on I feel overwhelmed (also happy, very happy though). But my focus is scattered. Here's my strategy for getting everything done, and I'm almost embarrassed that it's so simple: do one thing at a time.

I realized that most of my tasks are somewhat interrelated. The Laser calls need to be tied into the website. The release can preview the launch of ADR Practice Builder, etc. I can accomplish more by finishing each task with a high degree of attention. I'll let you know how it works out.

Don't forget to drop back Monday night to register for the Laser Call. Writing has gotten some tremendous results for me and it can do the same for you!

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Could You Turn on a Dime?

I am in love. True, I just got married last year and renewed my
vows this year to another wonderful entrepreneur, Peter Eisenberg, who
runs a market research company, Bullseye Research. But that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm in love with my business model but we've recently broken up.

When I started, gosh, three years ago, I envisioned
it as a membership site. I imagined harried business owners becoming members
and enjoying "just in time" coaching for those tough business conversations.
I studied up on the subscription website model and even purchased
the Cadillac of all software, Membergate.
The software manages membership, sends newsletters, has a built-in
shopping cart, and SEO optimization so you get traffic from day one.
Sounds great, right?

Nope. In three years I think I've had two people become members. Why?
Because business owners won't pay a monthly fee for something they may
not need each month and they rarely think pro-actively about staff issues.

Happily, I believe in flexibility in business models. My motto is:
You gotta do what works. And since membership didn't work, I switched
to a product driven model. That worked but not as well as I'd like.

So guess what? I changed my model again. To be clear when I say model, I
mean "How can I generate revenue?" Or as the online folks say, "How can
I monetize this idea?"

What does this mean to you? If you're stuck on a hourly rate model you may
want to re-think it because you're limited to the hours you personally can
devote to clients. Think about what you want to achieve then ask yourself:

Is my model working? (there's a difference between slow market acceptance and
no sales at all)

Is the entire idea bad or does the execution need tweaking?

Who is getting the results I want and how? Benchmarking others is good.

Let me know if any of this resonates for you.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Lifestyle Entrepreneurship- Another Take

You know how my mind works, right? I start thinking about one thing, which leads to another, then another. So, while I was thinking about lifestyle entrepreneurship, it occurred to me that there could be two meanings to life entrepreneur.

According to Mark Henricks mentioned in an earlier post, it's about using a business to create a life that represents your values and interests. ADR types do that. We work to make connections between people and change the world. Many of us work at home and have flexible schedules.

But, I wonder do we live the lifestyle we ask parties to take up? Do mediators (Ombuds, arbitrators,etc.) really embody the values of our work? Or as the saying goes, "Do we walk the talk?"

I'm throwing this out for further discussion, people. Leave comments. Share your thoughts.

In the meantime, if you're interested, check out Mark Henrick's book and Jane Pollak's book, Soul Proprietors: 100 Lessons from a Life Entrepreneur.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.