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7 Expert Strategies for Using Share Buttons

share buttons

Do you ever get frustrated trying to locate social media share buttons in an article or on a web page that you enjoy?  I know I do.  Then, of course, I quickly give up the search and move on with my day.  Honestly, it’s too bad.  That business or publisher lost out on some free exposure all because there were no readily visible icons on their content.

Believe it or not, though, there is some debate amongst experts as to whether sites should even bother with share buttons.  Some argue that readers rarely use them on desktop and even less frequently on mobile.  It all depends on what type of product or content you produce and whether or not you know how to use share buttons properly.

As a blogger, I can’t imagine marketing my posts without them.  However, we all should learn to utilize sharing icons effectively.  But what are the best practices?  After much research, I discovered 7 expert strategies for using share buttons.

  1. According to Coschedule, the upper left-hand corner of your page is the optimum location for placement.  This is because people scan pages in a pattern starting in the upper left area.  Buttons should appear ‘above the fold’ when someone clicks on your page or post.  Let me explain that; they should be visible immediately without a reader scrolling down first.

  2. As reported in research conducted by Nielsen Norman Group, low numbers offer users negative social proof.  Meaning nominal sharing counts may suggest to readers your content is poor quality or weak.  Some social sharing tools can hide the number of times a post has been shared until a minimum number is reached.  I set my site so the counts aren’t displayed until my posts have been shared at least ten times.

  3. Don’t clutter the screen with too many buttons and overwhelm your viewers.  Many big-name blogs and online magazine like Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Social Media Examiner, for example, offer four to six buttons at most.  And I’m guessing they’ve done their research on this topic!

  4. Share This recommends you display buttons in order of importance to your target audience.  What social channels do your customers prefer?  Do they like Twitter more than LinkedIn?  If so, put them in that order.  And it doesn’t matter if you have an active presence on a particular platform or not.  If your clients like it, give them the opportunity to share your content where they want to!

  5. Use standard buttons instead of custom buttons that match the colors and fonts of your website’s theme.  This can be difficult for some entrepreneurs to accept because they put a great deal of money and time into branding their business.  Then, naturally, they want everything on their site to match.  But if buttons blend in with page design, they will become invisible, and readers won’t see or click them.  As marketing expert Jeff Bullas states, “Use standard buttons that work.”

  6. Consider adding call-to-action text to your icons.  Some social sharing tools allow you to add words to your buttons.  Wordstream suggests you merely ask for what you want.  Saying, “Pin This” or “Share on Twitter” might be a great way of increasing social metrics.  You can try this method and test which strategy works best for your site.

  7. Using a floating share bar makes it easy for readers to click on their favorite icon at any time.  Floating buttons scroll with you down the page while you read.  The folks at Sprout Social believe this is why floating bars have become so popular.  I use them on the left-hand side on desktop and at the bottom of the page on mobile devices.

Related Reading: How to Use Hashtracking & Other Hashtag Lookup Tools

There is an abundance of choices for entrepreneurs regarding the use and placement of social share buttons on their web pages and blog posts.  Hopefully, you will implement a few of the expert tips offered here and grow your business as a result.  What do you think?  Should your share buttons stand out or blend in with your design?  Feel free to comment below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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9 Quality Pinterest Group Boards for Motivated Midlifers

midlifers

Midlifers really like Pinterest.  In fact, according to Ignite Social Media, 53% of Pinterest users fall between thirty-five and fifty-four years of age.  What’s more, 80% of all users are women.  So, it’s safe to say female midlifers are big fans of this social media platform.

However, Pinterest isn’t exactly social.  As a user, you will find little opportunity for networking, friending, or chit-chatting in general.  Instead, think of Pinterest as a search engine like Google.  That being said, you can make comments on pins, follow specific people or businesses, and join group boards.  People typically join Pinterest group boards to promote their business products or blogs.  Additionally, you can participate in other types of group boards based on your hobbies and interests.

What Are Pinterest Group Boards

A group board is substantially the same as any other Pinterest board. The only difference is that many people (members) contribute pins to it rather than just one person.  It’s important to note that you can follow a board without becoming a member.

The creator of the board acts as an admin who can add new members or remove members who don’t follow the rules.  The creator is the first person pictured next to the group’s description.  The description explains what topics are covered and usually gives instructions on how to become a member.

How Can I Find Pinterest Group Boards?

Before I give you my list of group boards for midlifers, let me explain how to find other group boards that pique your interest.  There are a few methods of discovering relevant boards.

  • First, you can go to the Pinterest website and type in a word or phrase you want to search.  People and boards with names containing your searched word or phrase will appear.

  • Second, look at your competitors’ boards to see which group boards they belong to and contribute to frequently.

  • Third, check out your analytics if you have a Pinterest business account.  Look at ‘People You Reach,’ then ‘Interests,’ then ‘Your Followers.’

  • Fourth, search Pin Groupie to find groups and learn vital statistics about each one.  This is my favorite method.  You can search by category, word, phrase, or description.  And it’s free to use.  Woohoo!

Here is a short YouTube video to help you learn to use Pin Groupie:

 

My Favorite Pinterest Group Boards

Happiness at Midlife is the group to check out if you need a mood boost.  Inspirational quotes and topics like romance and mental health are frequently covered.

Skin Care for Women over 40 is a large group dedicated to providing tips, products, and articles to midlifers seeking health and beauty advice.  This active board offers an abundance of DIY recipes for self-care.

Boulevard of Midlife Bloggers is a collection of posts by women who are professional and hobby bloggers over the age of forty-five. The group allows up to two pins submitted each day per member.

Mid Life Stride allows members to pin up to two items a day and asks, like most groups, for reciprocation.  Topics like goals, fashion, health, and empty nest are preferred.

Forty Plus Bloggers Supporting Each Other permits up to three pins per day to be submitted by members. Pins must be of articles and not items or services for sale.  To become a member, you must be a writer who is forty plus and willing to share other members’ content.

Midlife Ladies is brought to you by Kimberly at Fifty Jewels.  This group is comprised of about fifty women who contribute all types of content.  That is, as long as they are of interest to women who follow the group.

Food and Recipes for Over 50s is, of course, a group for pinners focused on preparing and eating food designed to appeal to the fifty plus crowd. Consider joining if you have recipes to contribute or you just need to prepare a tasty meal for dinner.

Interesting Reading: The Other F Word Director Shines a Spotlight on Midlife

Midlife Inspiration is comprised of a small yet mighty group of women focused on embracing and enjoying life after forty.  Pins on this board offer tips on everything from health to love to career.

Vintage Hippies 50+ is Pinterest’s virtual time machine.  Travel back to the sixties and seventies if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic.  Pins are meant to promote vintage hippie culture and lifestyle.

Well, there’s my list of quality Pinterest boards for motivated midlifers.  What do you think of my choices?  Did I leave out your favorite?  Let me know in the comment section below.

Remember, life is better when we lift each other up.

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How to Identify Premium Guest Blogging Opportunities

how to identify premium guest blogging opportunities

I think you’ll agree that guest posting for business is one of the most challenging marketing strategies for entrepreneurs to master.  If you’re considering entering the world of guest blogging, you probably have trepidations and questions.

How do I start?  Is it worth the effort?  How can I identify the best guest blogging opportunities?

These are all excellent questions.  Smart and successful business professionals are constantly touting the benefits of writing for other quality companies to boost online exposure.  But choosing the sites to submit content to can be tricky.

In this post, I’ll give you the low-down on what guest blogging is and how you give yourself a leg up from the start.  Guest blogging is, essentially, the process of writing a post for someone else in exchange for publicity and a link (backlink) to your website.

Backlinks have, in the past, been a great method of building an online presence.  However, Google no longer likes guest posts whose sole purpose is to rack up links.  Guest articles need to be relevant and not stuffed with links to the same site over and over.  If your posts get too spammy, your site AND the site hosting your article could be penalized and appear further down the list of a Google search.  Not good!  So, the moral of the story is to keep it relevant.

Know Who You’re Trying to Reach

First and foremost, understand your target audience.  Who do you want to reach?  What are the demographics of your ideal client?  Once you have identified your niche, only write for sites with the readers in that specific group.  You can often find a site’s audience and customer demographics in their media kit.

At this point, it’s time to brainstorm and do a Google search.  Think of all the companies, blogs, and online magazines that have a similar target market to that of your business.  Ask friends and family to think up a few names as well.  You can also search the terms ‘guest post’ or ‘write for us’ or ‘submit your content’ and similar phrases.

Check out your competition.  Do they have an ‘as featured in’ or ‘as seen in’ section?  If so, voila!  You can also perform a reverse image search on Google of each competitor’s profile picture.  To accomplish this, right click on their headshot.  A menu will appear with the option to search Google for this image.  Now you know who they have guest posted for and who you should pursue.  Sneaky, huh?

Know the Important Numbers

Most blogging experts recommend you only consider writing for sites with a domain authority (D/A) higher than yours.  Some pros, like Brandon Gaille, suggest you should not guest post for anyone with a D/A lower than thirty.  Domain authority refers to a search engine ranking score based on a site’s links, age, popularity, and more.  All URLs are ranked from one to one hundred; the higher the number, the better.  Popular websites like Huffington Post have a score of ninety-eight while new sites will have a score of one.

You should also steer clear of businesses with a spam score of five or greater.  Writing for blogs with a high spam score will likely hurt your site’s performance on Google.  Both these metrics can be found on Moz Open Site Explorer.  You can research up to three sites per day on Moz before you will be required to open a free or paid account with them.  Simply type in a company’s URL, and you will get their D/A.  Their spam score can be found directly under the D/A.

Know What You Will Get in Return

You should get something beneficial in return for your hard work.  After all, there is no monetary compensation for guest posting.  Most business owners like you are looking for publicity and exposure to the hosting site’s audience.  But, will you get it?

Just because a large or popular company wants you to write an article for them does NOT mean you should.  Do they offer you a link to your site?  Do they give you a bio before or after the post?  How many words do they allow in your bio?  Do they link to any of your social media accounts?  How many words do they require per post?

You don’t want to put the time and effort into a fabulous post only to hear crickets after it’s published by someone else.  And the fact is, you’re not going to get much love if readers don’t have access to your bio, headshot, and link.  This is the truth even when you guest blog for a large magazine.  Although, with a popular site like Huffington Post, you may get some credit for being able to say you are a ‘Huff Post Contributor.’

Track the Stats

If you’re serious about expanding your guest blogging opportunities, I suggest you make a spreadsheet of potential websites with the following information:

Name and web address – the name and URL of each site

Same target market (as you) – this can be found in their media kit

Contact name and email – usually found under ‘contact us’ or ‘write for us’ sections

Domain authority –  the number is provided by Moz Open Site Explorer

Spam Score – the number is provided by Moz Open Site Explorer

Offers byline/bio – the answer is no or the number of words allowed in your bio

Offers headshot – yes or no

Offers link – the number of backlinks you receive in your post or bio

Offers Social Media Links – the number of your social media accounts linked to your bio

Words per post – sites may provide this in their ‘write for us’ section

By filling out the columns, you will be able to narrow down your top candidates.  Some will stand out as the real front-runners.  Go after them first.  Putting in a little work up front could pay substantial dividends later and keep you from wasting hours every month on a flawed marketing campaign.

What I Decided to Offer

After completing my own research on guest blogging opportunities, I concluded there weren’t enough sites ‘compensating’ writers for their content in a meaningful way.  I was shocked at how many big blogs and magazines gave guests almost nothing in return for their work.  Further, I was more surprised at the number business owners who were willing to give their work away for almost nothing.

In response, I decided to accept relevant guest posts on my site here.  I have been asked to do this repeatedly in the past, but now I feel it’s the right time to open my blog to submissions.  I am offering writers a forum to showcase their expertise and help my readers, businesswomen over forty, create thriving companies that improve our world.

I hope you found this post informative and encouraging.  Do you have any advice for uncovering quality guest blogging opportunities?  If so, tell us about it in the comment section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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How to Feel Gratitude After a Disastrous Year

How to Feel Gratitude

Enjoy this informative guest post by nationally recognized life strategist, Randi Levin.

The #1 secret to understanding and effectively living a grateful life is in your acceptance that gratitude is not a one-and-done fleeting thought fueled by Thanksgiving. Instead, it is an actual state of mind and a lifestyle habit that exists in your daily life, unrelated to whether you have had the best or the most disastrous year.

This may seem difficult, yet a mindfulness practice of gratitude is rich in rewards, costs you nothing to develop, and keeps fears and energy in check. The overall benefits to your physical and mental health are sound. Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at UC Davis, is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is the author of the book Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. His findings are based on studies and research done around the globe revealing that happiness levels increase by approximately 25% when we practice gratitude!

We essentially train ourselves to reset to a thankful ‘set-point’ allowing ourselves to feel good even when things are not going our way. Dr. Emmons further points out that those who are appreciative tend to have stronger immune systems, are more creative, and may even have closer relationships. Listen to his point of view and amazing tips on how to feel gratitude in the video below or got go the link here.

Dr. Robert Emmons of UC Davis talks about Gratitude from Character Lab on Vimeo.

Have you ever longed to have more balance in your life? You may have noticed that life does not play out in a straight line! There are curves everywhere! Some years are more abundant and joyful than others.

Cultivating an active gratitude practice is the link to balancing the good and the bad, the highlights and the low points, and is a great connector to the gaps in evaluating your own sense of purpose. When you are thankful, you make decisions from your heart and your mind, working together in life-balance and accountability.

Here are 3 essential benefits and action steps of thinking thankful:

  • You fear ‘less.’ Gratitude bypasses fear. When you focus on what you are appreciative of, it becomes difficult to let negative thoughts in. Think about gratitude as a lamp that is turned on in a dark room. When you flip the switch, you shine a light on that which was previously scary, allowing you to take a small step toward a larger goal.

    Try this now: Write yourself a permission slip to do something that previously intimidated you. Then write down all the things that stopped you from doing this one thing before. Say them aloud; dump them in front of the mirror. Now that your fears and limiting beliefs are aired, rewrite that list as if you successfully completed what previously held you back. Now say this new list out loud. See the shift? Great…now what part of this fear can you bypass today?

  • You take action in the NOW. A gratitude attitude grounds you in today and allows you to control not only the moment but also yourself within it. This opens up opportunities and choices that are closed to us when our focus is only on tomorrow’s goals or yesterday’s failures. When you are focused on today, your energy soars.

    Try this now: Create a success jar or a success wall to post your daily successes. Yes, DAILY successes. If you are reaching for resolutions, promises, or goals, what often happens is that in your quest for the finish line you miss the process that led you there. Keeping a jar, or accessible wall filled with small notes about even the tiniest things that went right in your day keeps you mindful of your own growth and success and along with that your gratitude. Review your notes weekly or monthly, when strung together they will begin to weave a tapestry of positive reinforcement and abundance.

  • Manifest into your life what you most desire: You attract what you want because you are focused on the possibilities in your life rather than on the limitations. It is common to feel small and limited when you have had a run of failed results. Yet this is the stuff that resiliency is made of. We need resiliency and flexibility as part of our stories. Sometimes figuring out what you don’t want supports you in understanding what you do.

    Try this now: Reclaim your bucket list! Your new abundant thoughts can help you to pivot toward the things you most want to achieve this year! What shifts if you simply change the vessel? Instead of a large, amorphous bucket, keep your list in a beautiful box or glass bowl. Bring it down to the items that you really want to welcome in. Now…here is where the fun begins! What can you do RIGHT NOW in regard to each and every item on this list?

    We don’t always hit our goals because they are too large and abstract. If you take the opportunity now to decide on your first action step for each one this list comes to life! Here is an example: Your bucket list says that you want to travel the world. Yet, you have little cash and time. What can you do? Where can you combine a business trip and a pleasure trip? Do you know anyone who lives in a city or at a beach that you have wanted to visit? See where this changes the action steps?

    Now, book that trip! Begin.

“Gratitude is the soul of balance, realigning all aspects of your life.” ~ Randi Levin

A Bonus Step To BEGIN TODAY:

Many people love to keep gratitude journals to record their thoughts and activities. While I support this idea, I don’t like how often our words just remain on the page and never make it into real life! What I love instead is a 365-day in-action approach to feel gratitude that you can begin today!

START THIS NOW: Every day, for a year mindfully reach out to one person, one business, one old friend, one ex-lover, your mom, somebody you have not spoken to in years, or one burned bridge and share your gratitude with them! In your email, phone call, or text you are going to express why you are thankful that they are, or were in your life. You are going to shed light on what they have brought into your life, why you support this business, or what you appreciate the most about the lessons you learned from an old friend or ex-lover!

When you share these thoughts, be present about how this makes you feel. Are you happy, angry, sad, or overjoyed? Is this freeing you to do more in your day, to take forward action, to reach for more? Are you more mindful of your current energy and are you using that energy to create a better you and a more stellar future?

Related Reading: How Delaying Gratification Results in Remarkable Success

Think about your conversations with those you have thanked. How have they responded?  How is this changing your every day, and shaping and reframing your perspectives? Are you manifesting new enriched opportunities and connections?

Now, take this one step further! Once a quarter, reach out in person. Write and read a letter of gratitude to someone in your life. Savor the moment. What are you feeling? How are they responding? How is your life enhanced or changed by this experience?

What can you do now?

What can you do next?

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The Other F Word Director Shines Her Spotlight on Midlife

the other f word

Throughout her career as an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and director, Caytha Jentis has focused her attention on stories of interest to moms and women in general.  In her latest project, the popular Amazon series The Other F Word, she shines her spotlight on midlife and the joys and pains that come with it.  While the ‘F’ could stand for the word forty or fifty, it might just as well stand for fun or friendship or fearlessness.

The show humorously addresses the issues near and dear to women over forty who are, as a group, woefully neglected by the entertainment industry.  Caytha’s  main characters attempt to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the middle years with help from well-known actors like Judy Gold, Steve Guttenberg, and others.

I spoke with Caytha Jentis about the series and the difficulties she encountered launching it.  Not surprisingly, she faced an uphill battle getting this project off the ground.  Yet, her grit and determination paid off; to the benefit of fans around the world.

Caytha Jentis
Caytha Jentis

Jen Monks: What was the inspiration behind The Other F Word?

Caytha Jentis: I was looking for the next great story to tell.  My two kids were getting older, and I said, “Wow, this is a really interesting chapter in life.”  Parenting older children or becoming an empty nester wasn’t anything that was being covered episodically at that point.  My children were coming of age, and I felt like I was, in a way, coming of age too.

JM: What reaction did you receive from your industry when you were pitching the show?

CJ: I just want to acknowledge that selling television is hard for everyone.  Even Norman Lear had a tough time selling a show that dealt with older people. I was routinely told my idea was good, but I was pitching a tough demographic.  I didn’t know what that meant at first.  It’s code for, “Your characters are too old.”

The other thing I ran into was a perception that my demographic watches traditional television but they’re not on YouTube, and they’re not using digital content.  It’s a fallacy that we don’t watch or can’t figure out how to stream Amazon.

JM: Why do Hollywood executives avoid series aimed at women over forty?

CJ: I had this profound realization that, in this industry, you are either prey or you’re put out to pasture.  There is a little space for women like Sarah Jessica Parker or Reese Witherspoon who have broken through.

I don’t think it’s all entertainment’s fault, per se, but it’s just this larger thing.  Advertisers don’t want their sexy Lexus next to a commercial about Depends.  Besides, advertisers don’t think they need to court us.  They think we will just buy regardless.

“In this industry, you are either prey or you’re put out to pasture.”

JM: Has it been difficult to find sponsors for your show?

CJ: No, but some brands stay away from my type of material.  My characters sometimes swear and talk about sex toys.  I want to tell my stories fearlessly.  Many companies don’t respond to that.

JM: What kind of reception have you received from your audience?

CJ: I’ve been overwhelmed by it.  The success has been huge.  We have been able to reach nearly a million people.  And you have to go directly to Amazon to watch the show, so it’s amazing to me.  With a minimal marketing budget, we have been able to grab so many people.

I feel like our success is a success for all women in this pivoting and reinvention phase.  If I can persevere with this impossible dream, then maybe I can inspire others.

JM: What type of show is The Other F Word and what topics do you cover?

CJ: I wouldn’t call it a comedy.  It’s humorous, but it’s totally driven by drama.  There are so many relevant themes going on.  The four main characters deal with death and parenting and separation and health.  It’s about change and transition.

JM: How has creating this show affected you?

CJ: I used to write to run away from my life.  Then I began to look into my own world and experiences for material.

I have been so profoundly changed by the people I have met.  It’s been a great place to be positive and open a dialogue.  And many of the themes we cover are universal.  All generations can connect with our stories.

JM: What advice would you give people who want to reinvent their career?

CJ: Do your homework.  You need to have passion and fearlessness.  Don’t be afraid to cry and get up and go for it again.  It’s now or never.

Related Reading: 5 Hottest Franchise Opportunities for Successful Women

JM: You recently released season two of the series.  How can we ensure there will be a season three, four, and five?

CJ: My simple ask is to watch the show and if you like it, share it with your friends.  There’s nothing else out there like it.

Things are beginning to change for our demographic and women are all a part of that.  Hopefully, if we keep driving these big numbers, we can’t continue to be ignored.

JM:  Thank you, Caytha.  I hope you’re right.

 

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5 Hottest Franchise Opportunities for Successful Women

hottest franchise opportunities

In my practice, I work with women who express the desire to have more control and flexibility in their work hours and want to build something for themselves. I hear it over and over again, and it’s some iteration of this: “I work hard. If I’m going to continue to work my butt off, I want it to benefit my bottom line and not someone else’s.”

In a recent survey conducted by Franchise Business Review, (the leading surveyor on franchisee satisfaction) 90% of female franchisees surveyed said they enjoy operating their business. So, here are 5 of the hottest franchise opportunities for you to consider that cover the spectrum of industries and investment ranges:

1. Blo Blow Dry Bar

Blo is North America’s original blow dry bar. They launched the original ‘no cuts, no color’ concept. Their distinctive hot pink branding and cute slogans like “you’re not cheating on your hairdresser” and “so you say you want a blo?” attracts rabid fans. This is a hot beauty category that continues to attract customers with convenient and affordable blowouts. Additional revenue streams are provided by makeup and some other retail offerings.

The investment range is reasonable at around $300K “all in” for one location. It’s easily scaled, and as you add locations to your budding empire, you will begin to work less and oversee the managers. A super fun business to run if you don’t mind a staff of young artists.

2. Huntington Learning Centers

With a 40-year track record, Huntington knows what works. This tutoring center offers test preparation and subject tutoring.  The company boasts that utilizing their system, students improve over two grade levels in reading and math in just three months and an average of four ACT points or one hundred ninety SAT points.

The centers are accredited by the same organizations that accredit local schools, a recognition of excellence that few other tutoring companies earn. With a claim that their centers earn 63% more than their next closest competitor, this is an obvious must-see for anyone interested in giving back to their community and helping students achieve. The overall investment range is $125K to $225K, depending on your location and buildout.

 3. Just Between Friends

This is the dominant brand in the rapidly growing consignment sales event industry and the leading pop-up consignment sales event franchise in North America.

Franchise owners collect sellable items from consignors and hold at least two large (VERY large – like 20K square feet large!) consignment events a year. People seeking bargains purchase the items, and the owner makes a percentage of every item sold.  It’s a great win for all parties involved. Consignors can earn money back on unused baby clothes and gear, maternity items, and kid’s clothes in great condition, as well as children’s toys and games.

Investment in a Just Between Friends franchise starts at $14,900, making it very affordable. Franchisees hold a minimum of two events a year, which makes for an easy-to-manage, flexible business. It is excellent for anyone looking for supplemental income, and a good choice for the stay-at-home parents who want to generate more money – or even someone currently working and looking for a way to own his/her own company. This is a more or less ‘part-time work for supplemental income’ type of business.

4. Oasis Senior Advisors

Oasis Senior Advisors provides a free resource to seniors and their families to help them find senior living communities, whether that be an assisted living, memory care, or independent living community. The communities pay a referral fee (to the franchisee) that is typically 70%-75% of a community’s monthly bed fee.

Oasis franchisees focus on the model’s three simple components: Build an inventory of communities, then develop referral partners (social workers, hospital discharge nurses, geriatric professionals), and help families. This is a business you run from home, typically by yourself with no employees to start.  You are helping seniors and their families by providing an extremely valuable service during a time of extreme stress in their lives.

With a low investment of just $60-$80K, it’s one of the hottest franchise opportunities for someone wanting to work from home with no employees. I recently profiled a successful owner in my “She Owns It” series. You can find Connie’s story here.

5. Showhomes

Showhomes is America’s largest home staging provider with a unique five streams of revenue approach. It’s not your mother’s staging business anymore! Showhomes began in 1986 with the concept of transforming unappealing, vacant houses into fully-furnished, inviting, valued Showhomes. Now in their third decade of service to homeowners and their realtors, they’ve become America’s premier home staging service coast-to-coast.

Every major national media outlet in the U.S. has praised the work of Showhomes, and the company’s work has also been featured on The Today Show, HGTV, and the Travel Channel.

Related Reading: How to Write an Elevator Speech That Rocks

With an “all in” investment under $80K, this work from home model appeals to anyone who loves homes, looking at homes and improving the appearance of homes. You are required to have at least one employee to attend training as one of you will be sales and the other admin. You should also be prepared to network with realtors and home builders in your area. The homes you service will be the very cream of the crop in your market (the top 20%).

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Trailblazing Sitcom Writer Talks Sex, Career, and Stars

sitcom writer

Pioneering sitcom writer, Susan Silver, thrived climbing over obstacles and breaking down barriers throughout her life.  Her often glamorous career began in the sixties when professional opportunities for women were limited to those of secretary or telephone operator.  However, with luck and tenacity, Susan landed the job of casting director for Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Doggedly, in the Mad Men-esque environment of Hollywood, Susan eventually became a writer for the iconic shows The Partridge Family, Maude, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and others.

Within her memoir, Hot Pants in Hollywood – Sex, Secrets & Sitcoms, Susan recounts the fascinating, star-studded ups and downs of her life.  As a seasoned writer, she grabs your attention by opening her book with an amusing ‘vibrator girl’ story.  She goes on to name A-list celebrities whom she turned down and even describes a frightening encounter she had with a young Bill Cosby.

I recently interviewed Susan Silver about her intriguing professional and personal experiences and her tell-all book.

Jen Monks:  One of your first big breaks came when you were hired as casting director on Laugh-In.  Were you intimidated by the famous people you were supposed to recruit for the show?

Susan Silver:  No.  I don’t understand why, but nobody intimidated me.  I guess I was just too young to know any better.  And I could spot a star a million miles away.  If I saw somebody famous, I would run after them.  I even did that on my honeymoon.

JM:  When you failed to book a well-known entertainer, your boss intimated you should have offered the actor an inappropriate favor.  How did you handle this request at the time?

SS:  Sadly, that’s just the way it was back then.  I decided not to play into it.  You had to ignore it or laugh at it.  I thought he was joking and said, “No way!”  Then I walked out of his office.

In retrospect, it was kind of disgusting, but at the time I probably went home and complained to my husband.  Then I moved on.

JM:  How did such a young, inexperienced person find work on the most successful sitcoms of the seventies?

SS:  Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall’s (Laverne & Shirley) brother, was my mentor and manager.  He was a great guy and a dear friend.

I saw The Mary Tyler Moore Show and told him I wanted to work for them, and he got me on board.  They wanted women writers on that show which was unheard of in those days.  I loved that experience.  It was the best job with the best people.  Everyone worked well together and got along.

sitcom writer Susan Silver

JM:  Over the years you turned down dates with big-name celebrities, and lucrative job offers on Love Boat, Wonder Woman, and the second Newhart series.  Any regrets?

SS:  You have to read my book to find out.  I do wish I had said yes to Steve McQueen.  I turned him down first; then he turned me down.  It just didn’t work out.

As for the shows, it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted.  There were going to be too many hours involved.  I wanted more freedom.  I like to work when I want to, not when I have to.

JM:  After a frustrating experience writing for the Sarah Jessica Parker series, Square Pegs, you changed careers and worked for the Anti-Defamation League, the United Nations, and the Democratic party.  Why the shift from comedy to serious causes?

SS:  After twenty years of writing, we had a Writers Guild strike in 1989.  By then I was divorced and didn’t want to live in L.A. anymore.  I visited New York and decided I wanted to live there.

I networked and came to the realization I needed to return to my Jewish heritage of which I knew nothing.  I ended up booking speakers for the Anti-Defamation League for two years.

Then I worked with the U.N., and that was a difficult job for me for many reasons.  So, I became interested in politics.

JM:  You had a professional relationship with Bill Clinton and other influential people throughout your career.  How have you connected with so many powerful individuals?

SS:  I get invited to events. Friends take me to parties in New York City, where I live.  I always know or figure out exactly where to stand at an event to meet the most interesting people.

I’ve met almost every icon of my generation.  It’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time and being friendly.  I have been accused of being pushy.  I never considered myself pushy: I thought of myself as open to new experiences.

JM:  You eventually turned your attention back to writing and penned editorials for The New York Times and had a long-running column called The Search for Mr. Adequate. Tell us about that.

SS:  I wrote the column for The New York Social Diary.  It was a little like Sex and the City for the baby boomer generation.

The premise is there is no perfect man, and after thirty-five there is no prince, and after fifty there absolutely isn’t.

It was a fun thing to do for four years.  I joined all the dating sites, and that was a nightmare.  But, overall, it was fun.  Just like most of the projects I have been involved in throughout my life.

Interesting Reading: Help! A Troll Stole My Content; And How to Stop It

Susan has gone on to teach comedy writing and currently hosts short radio commentaries on Robinhood Radio.  She continues to embrace projects that spark her creativity and claims she will never retire completely.

Although the veteran sitcom writer admits she didn’t realize the social significance of Maude and The Mary Tyler Moore Show at the time, Susan Silver is proud of her contributions to them.  She should be.

What was your favorite sitcom of the seventies or eighties?  Feel free to share it in the comments section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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How to Control Fear and Overwhelm in Business: An Expert Speaks

How to Control Fear and Overwhelm in Business: An Expert Speaks

Randi Levin has helped hundreds of fledgling entrepreneurs avoid fear and overwhelm in their business lives throughout the years.  She is a nationally recognized life strategist, author, keynote speaker, and reinvention expert.  As an advocate for professional women, she coaches them through successful and powerful life transitions.

I recently interviewed Randi about the most common struggles women face when starting and managing a small business.  Topics ranged from fear and overwhelm to productivity and time management to self-worth.  I am confident you will be able to relate to this important discussion.

Life Wise Lady: When a woman wants to start a business or take an existing one to the next level, how can she get the ball rolling and skip feeling stuck?

Randi: We do tend to stop ourselves right at the door with a lot of excuses and reasons why not.  The first thing you should think of doing is getting your feet wet.  If you’re coming out of corporate and into private, that’s a very scary place.  Ask a lot of questions.  Is there someone you could shadow or a course you can take?  You have to be able to see yourself in that new business.

Life Wise Lady: Sometimes an entrepreneur is intimidated because of her lack of experience with technology, social media, or some other process.  How can she avoid getting caught up in anxiety and insecurity?

Randi:  My favorite quote is “Say yes now and figure it out afterward.”  We get in our own way.  Nothing is ever really perfect.  If we hang around waiting to launch the perfect product, business, or website, we are passing on developing ourselves and stepping into our business.  Step into the thing that scares you the most.  We all feel fear.  Go!  Trying things is so much more worth it than not.

“Step into the thing that scares you the most.”

Life Wise Lady: An overwhelmed businesswoman often experiences frustration and is tempted to multi-task.  What tips do you have to help her stay focused and calm?

Randi:  It goes back to that old issue of balance. It’s something I talk about all the time. The reality is we’re not balancing multiple things.  We are balancing one thing – ourselves.  What are we letting in our lives and what are we letting go of?  We need to shift our view of balance and ask ourselves if we are fulfilled.  We do have to pick and choose.  Are the things we are working on and surrounding ourselves with the things we love?  When you answer that truthfully, that’s when it all starts to fall into place.

Life Wise Lady:  What time of day do you think a professional woman should take on her most challenging tasks and why?

Randi:  I think it’s morning because we are refreshed.  If you’re talking about business tasks, always go after the ones that deal with money first.  If there is something that’s dealing with your service to a client, handle that task before the others.

Take a look at your to-do list.  We are all guilty of adding small tasks so we can cross them off quickly.  If you had three to five really key things to accomplish, you would have a better chance of actually doing them.  Put in front of you what is doable.

Life Wise Lady: What strategies do you recommend to a woman who is overwhelmed in her professional life?

Randi:  Give yourself some space.  If you feel as though things are going south for you or you’re stressed, allow yourself to pause.  And not necessarily for a moment.  Break away from the stressors and regroup.  We have so much coming at us.  Take a lunch.  Put the phone away.

The other piece is to stay connected.  We are so connected by social media and through texts and phones.  We have moved away from the in-person connections.  So, bringing those back into our day takes away stress and allows us to be human.

“Break away from the stressors and regroup.”

Life Wise Lady: What causes the fear of failure and how can women overcome it?

Randi:  People often won’t start something or won’t finish something unless it’s perfect.  A lot of New Year’s resolutions stop because they seem like too big a mountain to climb.  Reassess what you said.  Who is the one who said they were going to lose weight or get three new clients?  It was you.

I’m all about growth versus goals.  Have the goals and the destination in mind, but what is the process?   When you track your success it’s a little bit easier to get to the end result and failure seems a little less imminent.

Related: Chrometophobia; How the Fear of Spending is Hurting Your Business

Life Wise Lady: An entrepreneur might tend to feel like a fraud or have difficulty accepting praise or accolades.  How can she move past these insecurities?

Randi:  In business, people say, “Fake it until you make it.”  There are certain times when we have to take a leap of faith.  When we step into a relationship and get married, it’s all new.  How do we know how to be married?  We step into that and learn as we go.  When we allow ourselves to feel like imposters, we are not giving ourselves credit for living and for all the things we know and have accomplished.

Maybe you don’t have the ten years of experience someone else has, but you have other skills that they don’t.  There is something in your history that got you to do what you’re doing now.  If we own our story a little bit more, all of it, we can project why we are doing what we are doing.  Your experiences are to be celebrated and highlighted.  The minute you take yourself seriously, people are going to take note of that.

Life Wise Lady: When should a businesswoman seriously consider hiring a coach like yourself to solve a problem or achieve a higher level of success?

Randi: The first thing is to be aware and understand when you feel stuck.  Question yourself.  Should I get some help?  Is what I’m doing not working?

Sometimes, as women, we will go out with friends and unload our problems and our friends want to help us.  So, they tell us what to do.  If you do that, you’re probably going to wake up the next day and not take any of their advice.  Even if you do, it may not work.  The reason is that these solutions are not yours.  They are your friends’ solutions.

Coaching allows you to come up with your own answers and solutions to the things that are going on in your life.  We take actions on the stuff that is our own.  If you’re getting at the right things, in a few months your perspectives are going to shift and you’re going to be taking action in your life.  Having a coach is very rewarding.  It’s a gift that you give yourself.

 

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Midlifers and Boomers; 20+ Best Facebook Pages for You

midlifers and boomers; 25+ best Facebook pages for you

On the heels of my first post in a series of resources for Midlifers and Boomers, I’ve composed a list of targeted Facebook pages for the woman over forty.  They range from well-known, popular pages to obscure, smaller ones. As long as each is useful or entertaining, that’s all that matters.

The topics covered vary widely as well.  From pressing health matters to funny memes, you’ll get a little bit of everything with this list.  Consider it a Facebook buffet.  Are you ready to eat up?

 

Humor and Inspiration

  • Rocking Over 40 encourages you to be bold and own your age while striving for personal and professional success.  Very empowering messages found here!

  • Amazing Women 50 and Better is a blend of positivity and humor.  Stop by when you need a little ‘pick-me-up.’

  • Purple Clover has a sarcastic and clever vibe.  I simply couldn’t leave this popular page off the list.

  • Midlife Mayhem is interactive and entertaining.  Join in and answer questions or laugh at pictures and memes.

  • Life Starts After 50 inspires and helps you feel better about getting older with themed days like ‘motivation Monday’ and ‘feel good Friday.’

  • Aging Abundantly shares uplifting cultural stories and thought-provoking ideas about midlife and beyond.

  • Sad But True Life of a Middle Aged Woman is, you guessed it, funny with a dash of unfiltered attitude for flavor.

  • Women After 50 boasts well over one million followers for two reasons; it is witty and covers all the topics close to our hearts.

Parenting, Grandparenting, and Family Life

  • Grown and Flown gives parenting advice and support to those with older teens and young adults.  An empty nest doesn’t mean your worries stop.

  • The Midlife Mamas shares the most interesting family-oriented posts on the web.  I can quickly get sucked into the feed on this page if I’m not careful.

  • Daily Caring gives practical tips and advice to those caring for a parent, spouse or sibling.  Such a good resource!

  • Fabulous Grandma is the page you follow the second you find out you’re gonna have a grandchild.  This is THE feel-good place for grandmothers!

Travel and Leisure

  • My Itchy Travel Feet is for boomers who have wanderlust and long to find inspiration through adventures.

  • Mid-life Cruising! shares the experiences of a couple as they live their lives sailing the Caribbean.  Bon voyage!

  • AARP Travel Center is a partnership between AARP and Expedia that offers member discounts on travel to locales all over the world.

Money, Business, and Career

  • iRelaunch educates and supports professionals attempting to return to work after a career break.

  • Boomer Benefits empowers those new to Medicare and unsure of what it covers.  Use it as a resource to compare benefits and prices.

  • Life Wise Lady is my page (not so subtle #humblebrag).  I help women over forty create and grow successful businesses of their own.

Related reading: 25 Fantastic Facebook GROUPS for Midlifers and Boomers

Health, Wellness, and Food

This is a mere sampling of the many wonderful Facebook pages dedicated to midlifers and boomers.  You can find hundreds, if not thousands, of others to follow.  As a matter of fact, if you would like to share your favorites, mention them in the comments section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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25 Fantastic Facebook Groups for Midlifers and Boomers

Fantastic Facebook Groups for Midlifers and Boomers

To whom do you turn for support and resources as a woman over forty?  Do you confide in family members, neighbors, co-workers, or high school friends? Perhaps the answer is no one.

As midlifers, we experience daily challenges particular to our situations and ages. The sandwich generation, as we are sometimes called, is pulled in multiple directions as we caretake our parents and children, our jobs and romances, our changing bodies and plummeting hormones.  We yearn for emotional support and comradery to maintain a sense of balance and clarity.

Thankfully, with the rise of social media, we no longer rely on proximity to establish connections to people with whom we can relate.  Facebook groups is a prime example of a tool that can help us find quality connections.  According to Pew Research Center, only eighteen percent of Facebook users are women ages forty-five to sixty-four.  However, there is no shortage of groups dedicated to midlifers and boomers.  In fact, the task of narrowing down hundreds or thousands of social groups is daunting.

But fear not my friend.  I have narrowed the choices by eliminating groups of less than two hundred people and those that allow men to join.  Sorry, fellas!  My list of 25 fantastic Facebook groups for midlifers and boomers is for women only.  Of course, the exceptions are groups created for singles and finding romance.

 Update: I have added a few groups to this post and started my own FB group.  It is a community of businesswomen and bloggers over forty who want to share their wisdom, products, and services with each other.  Join Life Wise Lady!

Support of All Sort

  • The Latte Lounge (Top Tips 4 Women Over 40!) This “virtual coffee shop for all women over 40, 50, and BEYOND” is a delightful forum to contribute interesting articles, health recommendations, advice, and news.  It was formerly called Top Tips 4 Women Over 40. 

  • Over 40, Fearless & Free (Women’s Group) is a safe place to share inspiring books, tips, and delicious recipes.  There is a maximum of six posts per day to keep down the number of notifications you receive.

  • Fab Women Over 50 is where to go to chat about issues important to you at this stage of life.  It’s an active community of positive, like-minded women who encourage and engage each other frequently.

  • 40+ Women Divorce Support Group is dedicated to helping those who are separated, divorced, or widowed.  You may ask questions or offer guidance to make the most out of one of life’s most stressful situations.

  • Rocking Midlife – Join the crowd and connect with fantastic ladies from around the world.  You can indulge in humorous videos and memes or seek comfort and counsel.

  • Women Over 50 ROCK was established to empower women with themed days like ‘Monday Motivation’ and ‘Tuesday Tips.’ While the group is mainly one of support, you are allowed to promote your Facebook page or a product/service on Fridays.

  • Forever Fierce: The Midlife Revolution – The name says it all.  This collaborative community was founded to “shift the perception of women at midlife and beyond.”  Although this group emphasizes style and fashion, various topics are welcome for discussion.

  • My Side of 50 covers issues like health, retirement, food, fashion, travel, grandchildren, and aging parents.  It’s a one stop shop for midlifers and boomers who want to establish virtual friendships.

  • The Flock (of TheMuttonClub.com) – Meet, chat up, and laugh with feisty, outspoken ladies here.  Topics vary and there are no holds barred.  You may also promote your business page on Fridays.

 

Parenting

  • Midlife Moms is for women who have babies or toddlers a little later than most.  I am not a member, but I imagine the talk and advice revolve largely around parenting small children and the struggles of midlife motherhood.

  • Having Babies Over 40 (Women Only) – If you are planning to get pregnant or are pregnant or recently gave birth, then you will be welcome here.  It’s a supportive, friendly crowd of “kindred spirits ready to welcome you.”

  • Moms with College Kids – When the hatchlings fly off, you may need tips on how to handle this transition or how to accept your empty nest.  Members also discuss college admissions, internships, and surviving ‘adult children.’

 

Health, Fitness, and Wellness

  • Day Off Diet Support for Women Over 50 assists midlifers in their struggle with weight loss.  Everyone benefits from the tips, strategies, stories, and recipes shared amongst members.

  • Peri / Menopause Support Group gives direction to those in the beginning stages of menopause or those who have been experiencing this transition for years.

  • ForeverHer – This group focuses on wellness and exercise trends for ladies who are thirty-five plus.  Members offer tips, encouragement, and reviews to inspire you to stay fabulously fit.

 

Relationships, Dating, and Romance

  • The Original- Over 40 Single Mingle is a “make friends and see what happens” kind of crowd.  You are encouraged to share pictures, discuss events, and arrange meetups.

  • For Over 50 Senior Singles Dating is similar to the group above.  However, the admins strictly forbid anyone under fifty from joining.

  • World Wide Senior Dating and Romance – Don’t let the name of this club discourage you from joining if you are a midlifer.  Singles forty and up are accepted if they have a Facebook profile with a picture of themselves.

 

Style, Beauty, and Fashion

  • Beauty Q&A..Insider Tips – This is a U.K. only group for women to share, ask about, and learn beauty tips.  They frequently discuss trends and which products and services they prefer and why.

  • Ageism is Never in Style – Don’t you just love the name?  The group was created for women who feel ignored by the fashion industry simply because of their ages.  Feel free to contribute style tips, blog posts, and inspiring stories.

  • Mamas Over 40 Who Love Makeup, Fitness and Fashion! –  This bunch of gals is, of course, into chatting about style, clothes, makeup, and fitness.  They share the latest trends and discuss releases and give reviews.

  • Style Your Way to Success Over Fifty was created by a midlife image stylist. Interact with this empowering tribe by giving advice, asking questions, or posting pictures of your confidence boosting outfits.

  • Silver Foxy is all about women (and the occasional man) who want to maintain natural, silver hair.  Contribute tutorials, tips, videos, and pictures of yourself and your lovely locks.

Related Reading – Midlife Reinvention; Is it Time for a Professional Pivot?

For Writers and Business Owners

 

I sincerely hope you discovered a few groups that piqued your interest on this list. After all, we need to vent and share our successes and frustrations occasionally. Do you remember the intro to the show Cheers?  “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.”  My apologies if that song gets stuck in your head for a while.

Do you belong to any fantastic Facebook groups for midlifers and boomers?  If so, don’t keep it a secret.  Please share the names so we can all join.

Life is better when we lift each other up.