Christine TillChristine Till, author of Fired at Fifty: Stop Looking For Work and Discover What You Were Meant To Do, has 20+ years of marketing background. As a science major with business management and accounting, she brings to today’s modern business theater a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise as “The Marketing Mentress.” http://www.marketingmentress.com. Learn more about her book at http://bit.ly/FiredatFiftyKindle.

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Are You a Wall Flower?

Remember the days? Those high school dances? –Sitting on the sidelines waiting for some dashing young man to ask you to dance? Maybe this was not you. Perhaps you were up dancing the entire evening and never were a “wall flower”.

What do you think the difference was between the “dancers” and the “wall flowers”? Was it a bubbly personality? Was it something to do with being more attractive? Perhaps it was being a great dancer? Well, if they received more dance invitations because they were great dancers…makes sense…they had more practice! Know what? It wasn’t because they were more attractive. It wasn’t because they were great conversationalists. No matter how we look at it, it all boiled down to how the gals made the guys feel!

Have you ever thought about that? How do you make people feel when they are around you? Do you leave them feeling better about themselves? This is what social media is all about. It is all about “them” not about “you”.

When you connect with someone, do you actually send them a message thanking them for joining your network? Do you ask them how you can help them in some way, either through your network, or yourself? Do you ask them to share more about themselves and what inspired them to do what they do? Building online relationships is the same as what we do in a live networking event.

Have you connected with someone online and then received a 2 page expose’ about what they do and how they do it, and if you sign up today, you get their super special offer…and on and on it goes. How did that make you feel? Did you feel like you were just slapped in the face? People will buy into your “why” and “who you are” long before they will buy into your “how & what”.

So as you reflect back to being a “wall flower”, how did you make the guys feel when they finally mustered up the courage to ask you for that long awaited dance? Were you so wrapped up in yourself and your own nervousness that you barely smiled or said a peep? How did you make the guys feel…really? Conversely with your social media…how do you make your connections feel when they muster up the courage to trust you enough to click “connect”?

Know what the big secret is to your success with online marketing of any sort? It’s bringing the connection from the online relationship to a face-to-face. Face-to-face is where real business gets done. Social media is your means to an end.

Watch for more of my story in “Do You Like Sales?”

Got a LinkedIn question? Feel free to email me at marketingmentress@gmail.com and I will answer it in my next blog.

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Still Stuck in Peanut Butter?

Remember what it feels like when you get too much peanut butter in your mouth at one time? Your tongue gets stuck and you cannot seem to clear the stuff from the roof of your mouth! It takes time…and patience…and lots of “spit juice.” Without this combination, the peanut butter would never move and your tongue would be stuck…forever!

Well…maybe not, but it sure would feel that way.

For this reason many of us dislike peanut butter with a passion, and vow never to go near the stuff again. Could this be you with your LinkedIn?

Over the years I’ve noticed that over 70% of my followers on LinkedIn are male.  It made me wonder why that is. After all, LinkedIn is the biggest and best online platform for business on the Internet. It was a puzzle to me why more businesswomen were not using it.

Here is what I discovered:

  1. Women are busy, very busy juggling their business, careers, family and aging parents.
  2. When women get on LinkedIn and start setting up a profile, they realize that it is going to take some time, which they feel they do not have enough of in the first place, and they leave, never to return.
  3. Many women leave the platform feeling frustrated, thinking they don’t have time for this, and plan to revisit it sometime soon…which often never happens.
  4. Many get all set up with their profile and don’t know how to use it effectively, get frustrated and leave it.
  5. Others just leave their LinkedIn profile sitting there, waiting for someone to find them.

For these reasons, I have discovered many women, and a few men, wonder why LinkedIn is not working for them.

It’s like the peanut butter. Without the “spit juice” and patience we will never conquer it.

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Wuss or Warrior?

So you’ve been “laid off, pink slipped, downsized, side-stepped”. If your employer does not have another position to send you to, you are just plain fired…short and simple! People use the above to soften the blow, so to speak. But if you see it like I do, it is just plain and simply “fired”.

That fateful day in January 2011, when my then boss “laid me off” as he put it, he had no idea the repercussions that would result. Too bad I could not put names in my book…my publisher wouldn’t let me. So I resorted to finding my own solution in a constructive way. As a result, I found that I was not alone.

As I travel to speaking engagements and sell my book, I meet many different people and circumstances. One gentleman came up to me and told me he had been “fired” at 62. An attractive woman said she was “fired” 2 weeks before her 50th birthday. Another person was “fired” 2 days before their 50th birthday. – And the list goes on…

Through meeting these people and hearing their stories, I discovered that there is definitely a trend going on in our world today. I discovered that there are some companies out there who make it a policy not to hire anyone who is 50 or over. Based on my experience, here are the three key reasons why:

  1. Companies know that people over 50 tend to use their extended health plans more than younger workers, thus driving their monthly premiums up.
  2. Companies want to avoid paying pensions of any kind.
  3. Companies wonder “if we train this person, how long will they stay with us?”

Here is the “straw that broke the camel’s back”…The main reason that people over 50 don’t get jobs again is because the majority go into interviews with HR managers who are half their age and while they are being interviewed, they are thinking, “I could do her/his job ten times better than them!” Whether they want to admit it or not, it comes across in the interview.

I had the opportunity of speaking with a young, vibrant HR Manager, who was in charge of hiring, training, and developing staff in her department at a major hospital in Florida. Over time she has developed a unique way of interviewing people that brings out their true self. I was impressed with her technique so I kept prodding her with more questions. After all, I had taught a course at the local college on “Hiring, Training, and Developing Staff”. I was twice her age. She made me dig deep. I was humbled as I reflected on how I had interviewed for jobs after I was “Fired at Fifty”.  I asked myself if I had been one of those she described.

Know what? I can honestly say that I did not think those thoughts when I was interviewing. I just wanted to pay my mortgage and keep up my car payments. I was willing to do whatever it took to fulfill my desperate needs financially…as long as it was legal, morally right, and non-fattening. I was willing to clean bathrooms if necessary. That’s just the way I am.

Does this provoke you to thought? Where have you found yourself if you were “Fired at Fifty”? Are you one of the thousands who have not been able to find work? Would you like some ideas on how you can monetize yourself and become your own company? Are you a wuss or a warrior? You and I should start a conversation.

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Like Riding a Bicycle…NOT!

How long has it been since you rode a bicycle?

Do you remember when you first started to ride a two-wheeled bicycle? It was not a simple thing, was it? If you were like me, you ended up with a few scraped knees, elbows, and a bruised backside…more than once!

Then you finally caught the hang of it and you sailed off down the roadway feeling like you had just been given new wings! Remember? Remember the exhilaration that flushed through your entire body as you actually rode your bicycle all by yourself, no training wheels?

Now think about marketing your business. Are you still trying to market “using training wheels”? What I am referring to, of course, is are you moving your marketing techniques into the 21st century, or are you still using the old school systems? My question then is this: Are those old systems still working as well as they used to or are you questioning what you need to change or upgrade?

I can hear many voices groaning as you force yourselves to keep reading this blog post. But you know what? I understand where you are coming from. You are already working twelve to sixteen hour days and are having challenges fitting anything more into your day. This makes me wonder if you are trying to wear all the hats in your business. Does your business rely totally on your own actions? If so, perhaps you need to learn how to delegate.

There are definitely some things that you cannot delegate but when you have a business, you need to decide what parts of the business only you can do, and what parts you can pay someone else to do for you.

Or perhaps you just don’t have the budget that allows you to delegate yet. You will be elated to hear that you can use online systems and social media marketing programs to help gain exposure to a greater market potential with only 30 minutes a day! Yes! I kid you not!

If you are a solopreneur or any type of entrepreneur trying to get connected to your target market, all you need are these few key elements:

  1. A computer that works and is connected to high speed Internet.
  2. Be connected to the three basic platforms of social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.
  3. A social media autoresponder, like SproutSocial.
  4. A website with a blog, and a customer connect key.
  5. A mentor to help you with your plans.

Sound a little daunting for you?

Try scheduling in a time every day to concentrate on your marketing and start recording ideas on your smart phone to help you get your blog rolling. As thoughts come to you throughout your day, record them on your smart phone. Then when you get to your 30 minutes, you can just sit and write, publish and post.

Easy-Peasy!

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The Call to Action

So there you are, living your life the way you have always been taught…living the “Rut-race”…travelling the same path day in and day out, and now you are 55+.  The work is familiar to you and you really do enjoy it, even though you are getting a little tired, but you tell yourself you only have a few more years and you can RETIRE!  So that is what you motivate yourself with every day as you get up and go to work. –Until one day when you walk into work and are handed a “pink slip”, voila, you are magically out of work.  The cushy job you had and thought would continue working at until your official retirement at age 65 has now de-materialized!  Now what?

You check your bank accounts and investments, and realize that you just don’t have the savings and investments you need to live the rest of your life with any kind of lifestyle close to what you have become accustomed.  You are 10, or so, years short of your financial goals.  The employment insurance will only last you about 5 or 6 months.  Then what do you do?

But you are still vibrant and full of life!  You are intelligent!  You have no signs of dementia…perhaps a few aches and pains showing up slightly, but nothing serious.  You are active and exercise regularly.  You still look and feel great!  Why don’t they want you?  Oh yes, you shed more than a few tears!

Even though you feel dejected and rejected, you go out and search for another job and send out hundreds of resumes…only to find that nobody wants you!   “Are they discriminating against me?” you ask.  -Or is it my age group?  -But wait!  You receive a job offer!  Wooppee!  Someone really wants you!  The excitement wells up in you and your heart pounds as you open the email!  Everything is just what you were looking for, until you read the last line.  Sadly, they are only offering you a little above minimum wage.  What do you do?  If you accept this offer, you know that you will not even have enough to pay your essential bills, let alone food.  The offer isn’t much above the amount of your EI cheque.  Do you swallow your pride and accept this “new offer” or do you dig your heels in and start your own business?

News Flash!  You are not necessarily being discriminated against!  Businesses are only making a business decision.  If they can hire two people who are half your age and pay them both what you were receiving, it is only economics.  The businesses know that they will be sacrificing some wisdom and experience by hiring someone younger, but they will only be paying them ½ of what they were paying you.  To the businesses, it is worth the sacrifice.  It’s simply business economics.

Here you have all this wisdom, experience, knowledge, great health and energy.  How can you use all this to be of service in the world?  So, you decide to start your own business while you are on EI.  Don’t tell anyone, because you might just be making an income!  Sadly, you don’t make any income, and your EI runs out.  How do you get your little business to start paying you?

Stay tuned for  “The Rest of the Story”.

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Are You “Stuck in the Ozarks”?

 The world came crashing in on me January 4, 2011. I walked into my office where I had been working as the sales and marketing director and an hour later, I walked out of that office having been given my wings!

Yup, I was fired!

The common terms you hear are pink-slipped, downsized, side-stepped, outsourced, or laid off. Let’s face it, if that employer does not have another job for you, you are ‘fired’ plain and simple.

After a period of self-pity, I decided I would search for another job. So I sent out a myriad of resumes and cover letters thinking that I present myself well and don’t have dementia so should be able to find work quickly. Well, I had another think coming! I received four job interviews and one job offer at $10 an hour! I was stunned! What was I going to do…work three jobs? I went to my car and cried. I still had car payments to make and a mortgage to pay. I was at a loss for ideas. Then I spoke with my son, Michael, and he mentioned that I had been doing podcasting for a while now, and was also very good at sales and marketing. Why not start a marketing podcast show and coach people how to use LinkedIn?

Voila! The Marketing Mentress was born, and the Marketing Mentress show!

What I did was dig deep to find my strengths and then package them in a way that people would want to use my services…and pay me money. Once I started networking and meeting others who had found themselves in similar situations, trying to build a brand around themselves and their strengths, I realized that I had finally found my niche, and could help these people, but you don’t just walk up to someone and give them advice, do you. That is how I came to write my book, Fired at Fifty: Stop Looking For Work and Discover What You Were Meant To Do.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it.? Well it was not so simple. It took me time to find the resources I needed to bring everything I needed together. I found free resources and free coaching services. I traded for services. I did whatever it took to succeed with my brand – as long as it was legal, morally right, and non-fattening.

A few short years ago, I was literally dragged into the 21st Century kicking and screaming. Let’s see if you might have been, too. I figured that I had managed just fine without a cell phone and without a computer for most of my life. Then one day I walked into my office where I had been working as a real estate secretary and there sitting smack in the middle of my desk was a miniature monster…an Apple 2e! My beloved IBM Selectric typewriter was gone! I searched everywhere for my beloved typewriter, and it was nowhere to be found. The nerve of my boss to do such a thing! Didn’t he know that he had just cut off my right arm? (I had forgotten that he warned me a few months ago that I should get some computer training, because he was going to computerize.)

How in the world could this really be happening to me? I had seen the fate of the Commodore 64, so to me it was a no-brainer that computers would never succeed further than the rooms full of computers that helped run big business. Come to think of it, I have a good friend who still laughs today about his degree in “Commodore 64”. Who’d-a-thunk-it!

It is obvious that more than just one someone did “thunk-it”. Today we have computers everywhere around us. They run cell phones as small as a wrist watch, or as large as those that run automobiles, transportation systems, the petroleum industry, and the list goes on. Here I am typing on a laptop for goodness sakes! Laptops did not exist until the 90’s! Every once-in-a-while I have the privilege of meeting a business person who does not use a debit machine to perform financial transactions. Even the smallest sole proprietorship at least has a “swiper” these days to help them process purchases for their clients. You know, those square gadgets that plug into your iPhone or Android so you can swipe a credit card and have money deposited directly into your bank account. In light of today’s high tech lifestyle, it is kind of shocking to find individuals who still choose to remain “in the Ozarks”.

Now using computers and cell phones has become just a small part of the whole online connection that can be utilized in today’s high tech world. Because of this new advanced technology, people and thus business have become mobile. We receive email and messages through our mobile devices. The goal today is to be able to still keep on top of our daily communications, find new products for business, and book appointments, all while we are out and about. We as a culture have become totally dependent on technology. Can you imagine not having a microwave or a coffee machine or a stove? Computers are everywhere!

For over 20 years I have been involved with sales and marketing. It used to be that I would use the newspapers and phone books to find leads. Or I just plain went door-to-door making friends. Do you remember the good-old-days?

Although we can still find people using the old systems to generate sales, today we depend on more sophisticated means for finding new clients and keeping in touch with them. Instead of sending a physical letter or greeting card, we send email and text messages. –But then how do we become effective using this new type of communication to get sales?

All it takes to succeed with this new marketing medium is:

  1. Hard work.
  2. A system.
  3. Service with integrity.
  4. An unstoppable dream.

Sound familiar?

Let’s conquer this marketing together! What can I help you with?

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