Friday, March 30, 2012

Regina Dugan: What Would You Attempt To Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects -- a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet -- that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail. (Followed by a Q&A with TED's Chris Anderson)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ideas On Success by Wendy VanHatten

Here is a series of posts that I put together that Wendy VanHatten published a short time ago. Worth a second look all in one place.

Take a Break

For the next few blog posts I am talking about success and what it can mean to you and for you.
Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go right? Maybe you feel like you are not accomplishing what you set out to do.

Take a break. That’s right. Forget about work for a while and go do something you love. It might take you a few minutes, several hours, or even a whole day. Walk around the block to clear your head. Read a book in the sun. If time permits, watch a movie. Or head to the nearest coffee shop and indulge in your favorite cup of coffee.
You will be surprised how much stronger and how much more focused you will be the next day. Your success level will be raised, your sense of purpose will be heightened, and your mind will be clearer.

How do I know this? Because, I’ve done it. It works. Try it.

Love What You Do 
Do you enjoy…really enjoy what you do? Do you love it?

Your success depends on it. I mean, think about it. If you view your day as drudgery, how exciting is that?
As a writer, I love writing and working with other authors. That is the key for me. My focus is my life as a writer. It isn’t work for me. It’s fun.

My latest book just came out, “When the Cat Speaks…Listen; A Purrr-fectly Good Way to Enjoy Life”. Everything in that book came from watching my cats. And no one knows how to enjoy life more than a pampered cat. Watch them.
My next book, “My Life the Sequel; A Girlfriend’s Guide to Personal Success” is due out in a couple of weeks. A friend and I co-wrote a book about women, working, raising kids, being a solopreneur, and surviving it all.

So…focus on what it is you love. Find your niche and every day will be a wonderful adventure.

Establish Your Goals and Your Plan to Reach Them 
Recently I read that studies show only three percent of the population write down their goals and structure their lives to achieve them. I find this surprising because I believe it can make the difference between a life of constant struggle and one filled with abundance.

Do you think of yourself as a “do it now” person? If so, do you have goals AND a plan to achieve them?
As a writer I use my goals to keep me on track with my books and my workshops. Do things get thrown in there that upset the plan I have? You bet they do. And that’s okay because I know it is going to happen. I planned on it.

How about you? After all 2012 is just around the corner. Better start thinking of those goals now.

Reward Yourself
If you really want success, how are you going to measure it? How about a reward?

I mean after all, if you really have achieved what you set out to achieve…perhaps it’s time to treat yourself.
Go for a walk in the park, go out to dinner at your favorite restaurant, buy some flowers the next time you buy groceries, or have pizza delivered for lunch. If you really achieved something special…have a glass of wine with that pizza. Of course, you may have to take a nap after that.

I have deadlines. Some are set by me, some by others. When I have accomplished my deadlines consistently, I do reward myself. It’s fun and it works for me.
How about you?

Can you focus on your work if you are thinking about issues, concerns, and life problems unrelated to your task at hand? Probably not. At least, not like you should.

It's important to block everything out of your mind and give 100 percent attention to your work.  You really do not need to solve all of life’s problems at one time. Nor do you need to give them attention if that takes away from your work.
As a writer I can get bogged down in one project, keeping it on my mind even when I move to another assignment. In reality I do not give 100 percent of my attention to either project. What do I do?

I focus on successfully completing each individual task. Does this mean I completely finish one before moving on to the second? Not necessarily. But I do get one to a point where I can leave it and move on. Why? It helps me stay sharp about each one. I know I did what I wanted to do on one and now the time has come for me to work on the second one.
I put the tasks on my calendar and I will come back to the first one later. In the meantime, I am focused on the project in front of me. I do not worry or think about the other one. It works for me.

Be Accountable
I partner with another author when I am working on a book. Why? It keeps us both on track and on our timelines for our work.

We have a system. Weekly we are to send at least one page of written text to the other person. If we do not…we owe $20. This is a real deadline and we both treat each other like we were clients.
We both have other work to do, with other deadlines. So why do we do this? We have each been writing our own same book for over a year. In the meantime, I’ve written another couple of books, edited countless manuscripts for other authors, written dozens of magazine articles, and edited for a couple of magazines. Her life and career have been just as busy.

In the next year, we each want our books written. Not edited…yet. So we keep each other accountable.
And it doesn’t just add up to one page of text. Most weeks several pages get sent.

See, it works!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scum Sticks by Kirsty Dunphey

Scum Sticks…

I was watching my little girl drink her bottle tonight and something hit me. When she’s having a bottle of milk… if she drinks it all quickly, the milk slips right out of the bottle and into her mouth leaving the bottle almost completely clean when she’s done.

If however she dawdles, takes her time, plays with the bottle, or doesn’t finish it and it goes back into the fridge – the milk has time to settle. A scum builds up around the bottle. It’s harder to clean, harder to remove and if it’s not cleaned off completely of course it would only grow bigger and, for want of a better word, more scummy next time.

Now while you clearly wouldn’t leave milk residue in a child’s bottle, it reminded me of the way I’m left feeling when I hang around some people. Negative people specifically. I feel scummy.

The longer I’m around them, the more scummy I feel, the more residue builds up.

The longer I allow myself to be surrounded by people who make me feel scummy, the harder it is to release and cleanse myself of the situation.

A colleague lamented to me this week about a difficult client. I gave her a way to politely and respectfully resolve the situation and told her to “release” the client. “I can’t!” she replied “she’s at me all of the time!”

You know why this client was at her all of the time? Because she’d let the milk settle. She’d gotten scummy and hadn’t cleansed herself of the situation. I was clear that she wasn’t going to be able to please this client the first time we met her and that point in time I removed myself from the situation. My colleague wanting to please everyone (a comment she made herself) had allowed the relationship to continue too long unchecked and the residue was now too difficult to clean.

We’ve all been there – maybe a friend who brings you down, a colleague who works in the bleakest pit of despair right next to you or a client you simply cannot please.

Who do you need to release yourself from?

Reproduced from Kirsty's blog -
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes Shock's Home Furnishings As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Shock's Home Furnishings has just become Upward Trend's latest Trend Setter Package client. We will be building a brand new website, launching a new blog, adding to and expanding social media including facebook, twitter, linkedin, doing video and launching a YouTube channel, a monthly email newsletter, consulting and more.

We look forward to serving Shock's Home Furnishings of Vacaville. Look for more about them on the Internet very soon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes Julz Ice Cream As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Julz Ice Cream of West Sacramento, a wholesale ice cream vendor in business for 23 years has just become Upward Trend's latest Trend Setter Package client. We will be building a new website, a blog, maintaining and expanding existing social media, while adding additional social media sites. The package also includes an email newsletter, YouTube channel, video and consulting.

Some of the product lines that Julz Ice Cream deals with are Blue Bunny, Good Humor, Rich's, Haagen Daz, Nestle, Ben and Jerry's, It's It, Delicious Mith. Julz also has local delivery, can satisfy corporate, school, and church events with ice cream. Everyone loves ice cream!

We look forward to serving Julz Ice Cream for a long time to come!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes Harmony Road School of Music As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Harmony Road School of Music is located at 630 Orange Drive, Suite A, in Vacaville CA.  Harmony Road is an exciting, comprehensive music program designed to help children discover the world of music through motivating materials and "hands-on” activities which develop the whole child.

Harmony Road has just become Upward Trend's latest Trend Setter Package client. We will be building a new website, adding a blog, social media including facebook, twitter, linked-in and YouTube, and so much more all included as a monthly package of services.

Their current website is at and they can be reached at 707-455-1707. It's never too late to learn or expand. In fact, Ryan Stone, partner at Upward Trend takes lessons himself. . .

All of us at Upward Trend look forward to serving the Novinger's and Harmony Road for their Internet services.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

On Personal Development by Terry Minion

One of my favorite quotes from James Allen cuts to the core when he says, "men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound." As a sales manager for almost 40 years, I have seen a lot of that. So many wanted more sales but were unwilling to study sales in earnest, or they wanted more income and could not be bothered to read books that could help them. I'm sure if you've looked around, you probably see a lot of that yourself. People want more but are not willing to change in order to get what they say they want.

Of my many mentors in life, Jim Rohn is at the top and I love how he says to "pity the man who inherits a million dollars and who isn't a millionaire. Here's what would be pitiful: If your income grew and you didn't."

Often I've seen people who are asking what they are going to get prior to explaining what they have to give. Jim Rohn again lays it out perfectly: "The most important question to ask on the job is not "What am I getting?" The most important question to ask on the job is "What am I becoming?" Indeed, the first question you might ask others, but the second more important of the two you can only ask yourself--and it is ourselves that we need to focus on in order to be valuable enough for a substantial return.

Information and books that can help us develop ourselves are so plentiful and easy to find in today's world and yet it is still just a very small single digit percentage that do the reading and study. We get a job and do what we have to and then just keep repeating it. But, I certainly don't want my doctor to be that way, or my lawyer, or any other professional I need to count on. I want them sharp and smart and constantly learning and being up to date.

I've now been in sales and sales management for 40 years and I still study those subjects even today. There is so much to learn in each. Since I left school at about 20, reading so little up to that time, I've read many hundreds of books since and I find some nugget out of every one of them, and some I've got highlights, notes and markers helping me return to multiple nuggets. As an example, I only discovered Jeffrey Gitomer in the last five or six years and he is without a doubt a master in both of these fields. I'm sure I have every one of his books and have given away many more.

If you're not a reader, I encourage you to open some great books and get back on the learning track. Or, an easy way is to read by listening to audiobooks. Though I have an extensive library, I now use my Kindle more than anything. I can download a new book in about a minute and be reading right away, and I take it with me most of the time.

I hope you will find the joy that I have found in learning as a life-long practice, and I think you will find as I have that it is among the most beneficial of all endeavors to the personal development of me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Upward Trend Wins Constant Contact's 2011 All Stars Award

March 16, 2012 – Upward Trend Management Services, LLC, has received the 2011 All Star Award from Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than half a million small organizations worldwide. Each year, a select group of Constant Contact customers are honored with the All Star Award for their exemplary marketing results.Upward Trend’s results ranked among the top 10% of Constant Contact’s customer base.

Terry Minion of Upward Trend states, “As part of our Trend Setter Package of services, we offer our clients an email newsletter to help grow their business and though we have tried others, we choose Constant Contact hands down. Their service is second to none and they are constantly improving their product and features. We are proud to be a Business Partner with Constant Contact.”

Constant Contact customers using any combination of the company’s Email Marketing, Event Marketing, and Online Survey tools are eligible for this award. Constant Contact looked at the following criteria to select this year’s All Stars:

· Frequency of campaigns, events, and surveys
· Open, bounce, and click-through rates
· Event registration rates
· Survey completion rates
· Use of social features
· Use of mailing list sign-up tools

“There is nothing we like more than to see our customers finding success. It’s the reason Constant Contact was founded, and it’s a thrill to see the fantastic results that our All Stars are achieving,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. “This group is really leading the charge when it comes to delivering relevant, engaging content that drives real business results. We salute this year’s All Stars for their success, and are honored to have played a part in their achievements.”

About Upward Trend Management Services, LLC
Upward Trend offers a unique package of services called the Trend Setter Package ( that includes a website, blog, social media, including facebook, twitter, linked-in, YouTube and more, an email newsletter, SEO optimization, consulting, all in one package at a very low cost that every business can afford. Through these services, we help our clients grow their business and consistently and effectively expand their Internet influence.

About Constant Contact, Inc.
Constant Contact is revolutionizing the success formula for small organizations through affordable, easy-to-use Engagement MarketingTM tools that help create and grow customer relationships. More than half a million small businesses, nonprofits, and associations worldwide rely on Constant Contact to drive ongoing customer dialogs through email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online surveys. All Constant Contact products come with unrivaled KnowHow, education, and free coaching with a personal touch, including award-winning customer support. (

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes Comfort Keepers In Vacaville As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

We welcome the local franchisee of Comfort Keeper in Vacaville as our latest Trend Setter Package client. We will be building a new blog, managing and creating their social media, including facebook, twitter, linked-in and more. We will also add a YouTube channel, an email newsletter and consulting. They use a corporate website that will remain unchanged.

We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Michael Gerber: The Four Mind-Sets of an Entrepreneur: Innovators Forum ...

Innovators Forum features Michael Gerber as he outlines the four different mind-sets of the entrepreneur, and gives a synopsis of the E-Myth concept. Read the blog at

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kevin Allocca: Why Videos Go Viral Kevin Allocca is YouTube's trends manager, and he has deep thoughts about silly web video. In this talk from TEDYouth, he shares the 4 reasons a video goes viral. (This is the first talk posted from an amazing TEDYouth event. Many others will come on line next month as part of our TED-Ed launch. We can't wait ...)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Men's Accessories - Baker Street Downtown

Brenda takes us on a tour of the wide variety of men's accessories available at Baker Street Downtown located in Napa, CA. Or online at

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reasons You Need to Hire an Editor…Even if you are Thinking of Self Publishing

Here's an article by Wendy VanHatten of VanHatten Writing Services ( that you might find helpful:

1. But it’s mine…

Have you ever said one of these?

• This is my manuscript.
• My manuscript represents months of work.
• That's my hard work you would be looking at.
• I feel like I've given birth.
• No editor can possibly understand how it feels.

First of all, your editor is not your high school English teacher and is not there to rap your knuckles or give you a “D” for forgetting some obscure rule. Editors are professionals who are accustomed to interacting with authors in a mutually respectful relationship. Editors have to make a living, and they would quickly find themselves unable to if they went out of their way to hurt authors' feelings or insult them.

Throughout history, authors have relied on their editors to be their sounding boards, to represent the eye and ear of the reader, and to bring a viewpoint that can't arise spontaneously in the author's head. Nothing has changed because words are written electronically.

More important, you and your editor are a team. Your goal is to produce the best book or eBook you can, so it will be embraced by your target audience. The editor is there to help you, not to argue with you about the way you write.

2. I Can Edit it Myself…

No, you really cannot.

If you want to publish a work you can be proud of, you are going to have to engage people who have experience producing books. One of those people is an editor. I know you want to spend as little as you can on outside editing. But in the long run…and if you want a professional finished product…hire an editor.

3. My Manuscript is Perfect…

Maybe it is or maybe it is just that close to being perfect. You should definitely make it as good as you can before you send it to an editor.

Having said that…we are human and we all will make errors somewhere in our manuscript. No one is perfect, and no manuscript longer than a few pages is likely to be perfect. Our brains are designed to do many wonderful things, but generating error-free prose is not one of them.

Here's something you might not realize. Editors aren't perfect either.

There is a commercial standard for editing quality and that standard is somewhere around ninety percent. If an editor catches ninety percent of the errors in a manuscript, then the editor has done as good a job as the publisher has any right to expect. Many editors exceed this standard, however.
What does this mean to you as an author? It means that if you submit a manuscript with a hundred errors, the editor should catch ninety of them. Then the proofreader who later checks the typeset pages should find nine of the remaining ten, leaving you with a book that has a single error in it. That's not bad.

If your manuscript begins with a thousand errors (not unusual), the same arithmetic generates a finished book with ten errors. This is fairly common.

What can you do? Anything you can do to produce a clean manuscript is going to help get you as close to an error-free book as possible.

4. I Cannot Afford an Editor…

Hmmm…can you afford to produce a book full of errors?

Some things to think about…

• If you really don't have the cash, then you should probably be sending queries to literary agents rather than trying to publish the book yourself. If a mainstream publisher picks up your book, they'll pay the editor. But if you are determined to self-publish and you decide to do it without an editor, you may come to regret that choice.

• Self-publishing is a business, it’s the publishing business. If you hope to succeed in it, you have to manage it like a business. You have to look at your skill set and decide which of the many tasks associated with publishing you are suited to doing yourself and which can be done more effectively and more economically by others. Your time has value, and you have to decide how it is best spent.

• If you love to write…then write. Don’t edit.

• Editors check documents for a living. They can do it faster, better, and more cost-effectively than you can possibly do it yourself. Employing an editor, a designer, a compositor, a proofreader, an indexer, or any of the other specialized book production people is money well spent when self-publishing. That's because you can use the time you save to sell more books and increase your revenue.

• Focus on your marketing, optimize your website, or get started on the next book. When you count in the time you save and what you can do with that time, using an editor just makes sense.

5. But it’s Just an eBook…

If you tell yourself you can always fix the mistakes later, you’re right.

But every time you upload a new version of the book, it takes time and in many cases costs money. In the meantime, you have buyers who caught those errors, went on to write negative reviews, and now want their refunds. Plus, they are not doing anything for your reputation as a writer.

An eBook is a book. You owe your reader the same degree of respect as any author ever owed any reader, regardless of whether it is a paperback, hard cover, or eBook.

Good editors are a valuable member of your writing team. They won’t try to rewrite your manuscript, change your voice, or introduce content you do not want. But a good editor should ask you questions about your manuscript.

Have a manuscript written? Hire an editor before you get to the publishing stage. You’ll thank yourself!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

How Important Are Clean Restrooms In Your Business?

I have to admit it. When I am travelling, I purposely stop at Starbucks for the bathroom. I almost always buy something to pay them back for the privilege, but I didn't go there for the Latte and Maple Scone (I do love their Maple Scones!).

I go there for the consistency of their clean restrooms. I used to stop at McDonald's before I discovered Starbucks. McDonald's is okay, but not very consistent in comparison. If that's all there is for the next 20 miles, okay, but I prefer Starbucks hands down.

In the last few years I have traveled by vehicle extensively. As a result of discovering Starbucks (I was a late bloomer. . .) about three years ago or so, I have had the opportunity to stop at quite a number of them. I have found their consistency of clean inviting restrooms is second to none in quantity and quality. I feel totally comfortable stopping there and while I'm stretching my legs, I might as well have a latte and a snack. I even have ended up looking at their music CD collections while waiting for the bathroom and have really enjoyed buying many of their CD's.

They say at Starbucks that it is not the coffee, it is the experience. At first I didn't relate to that really well, but I get it. It is even more so when you relate it to stopping there as a first choice when coffee is the last thing on my mind.

You just never know why someone is doing business with you. Now Starbucks knows the biggest reason I go there. I do love the coffee, the maple scones, the sandwiches, the cold drink selection, the CD's, the newspapers, the decor, the comfortable atmosphere, the friendly people, the service oriented team, the fun they seem to have working there, the locations, the colors and the fancy gadgets for sale, the comfortable chairs, and the restrooms. Awesome company and strategy. Sold me and I wasn't an easy sale.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

As The Business Owner/Manager, What Do You Focus On?

When I was a kid, I used to play games with the cracks (I think the correct term is expansion joints) in the sidewalk, trying not to step on them, always missing them. It was challenging sometimes, and the main problem is I couldn't see what was ahead of me because I was looking down focused on the cracks and where I was in relation to them.

I see a number of owners and/or executive managers doing this, including some larger businesses doing $20 to $30 million in revenue. They have a tendency to go from problem to problem without any consistent resolve, lose key employees due to knee-jerk reactions, or poor decisions, and such. I am absolutely convinced that this is mostly a lack of vision, or rather a misplaced focus.

I've studied business leaders and business most of my life and every one of those leaders had what others call vision, and what they mean by that is that the key leader is five, ten, even fifty years down the road with where they can "see" the company and/or products and services heading. Often, they are called visionaries because they seem to see the future before most of us.

What it comes down to from all of my study and personal experience as well is seeing what the possibilities are and how that might play out in a positive light. That is what a visionary is doing. They know because their focus is out in front.

When I first learned how to drive, my dad said to "keep my eyes on the horizon." When I learned how to fly an airplane it was all about keeping my eyes on the horizon. That is exactly where a business leaders eyes need to be--on the horizon.

With your eyes on the horizon, your peripheral vision cannot help to see what is going on around you, so you know what is going on in the here and now, and at the same time seeing the end result, or at least, a future end result that is appealing and enticing. Though your peripheral vision sees what is going on around you, that is NOT your focus--your focus is on the horizon.

As a business leader, one needs to become an expert at delegation in order to keep them uncluttered enough to keep their focus where it absolutely NEEDS to be: On the horizon!

If you are a business owner, executive manager or leader, where is your focus?