Wednesday, 25 July 2012 15:11

For Sammy

This column is dedicated to Sammy. I met her during a weekend visit to Squirrel Island off the coast of Maine. The island is a summer cottage colony where folks from Maine, around the country and the world come to spend weeks in beautiful cottages while swimming, sailing, playing tennis, lounging on rocking chairs overlooking the ocean and enjoying the best of summer in Maine. Many of the families have summered here for generations. There is a church, library, ice cream stand and post office on the island. There are no cars, restaurants, shops or stores.

I was walking to the beach one afternoon when I saw a little girl sitting behind a card table in front of the post office. She had stacks of duct tape in bright colors and she was very busy crafting bracelets, wallets and gift tags from the tape. We struck up a conversation. I learned that she was selling her wares. She showed me her price list - $1.50 for a braided duct tape bracelet. I immediately placed an order. She asked me to choose my colors. I went with purple, green and yellow. She said she would have my order ready in 10 15 minutes.

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:34

Weed out the bad

I got a little carried away planting my garden this summer. I have flowers in beds, hanging baskets and clay pots. Lots of flowers. Now that the heat of the summer is upon us, some of them are not doing well and need to be pulled out. It kills me to pull out a plant and toss it away, especially after all that time I spent planning where to plant it, watering, fertilizing and nurturing it. Still, after all that TLC some plants are dead or dying. This leaves me with the choice to pull out the dying plants and let them go or try to bring them back to life. This is not unlike many of the tough the decisions we have to make in our lives and our businesses.

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:32

Don't let your degree hold you back

Within the last few weeks I've witnessed two young women trying to land a job. One has been successful; the other is still looking. These women don't know each other and they live in different towns. But they share many of the same traits. Both were raised in Maine, left and have now returned. Both are in their 20s, well educated and bright. I'm thrilled for this state that they're both back to stay!

What's been interesting is how each has approached her job search. Both are hoping to work in their chosen field. Both have been networking and talking with people in their industry a great strategy. But their expectations differ greatly. One has been unwilling to accept anything that she thinks is beneath her. She has passed on opportunities in her industry because they are parttime, not in her preferred community, don't pay well enough or are too entry level. She is still looking. The other young woman interviewed for a number of positions and was even willing to accept an internship (not a job) with a company because she wanted to get her foot in the door. By the end of her first day as an intern, she was offered a permanent job!

Published in Local Business
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 16:03

Bidding the boss farewell

I recently interviewed two women who made the decision to leave their day jobs to go into business for themselves. One is launching her wedding and family photography business full time and the other is a veterinarian who is launching a house call vet service. Although their business differ greatly, their path to getting to the point of submitting their resignation letters have many similarities.

Before you decide to do the same, there are a few lessons they shared with me that might be helpful to you.

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:04

Tie it down!

It was a nice-looking wicker chair brand new and in good condition - and it was free. But I chose not to pick it up. It was lying in the middle of I-95! Seems it had flown off the back of a trailer hauling furniture (probably to someone's summer camp) and landed smack dab into traffic. I managed to swerve around it, but it took me moments to realize 'that was a wicker chair in the middle of the interstate!' I'm hopeful everyone else managed to avoid a collision with the wicker.

I've spent a lot of time travelling on the roads lately, and I've seen way too much stuff flying off of vehicles. The most common items I see coming off of vehicles travelling at rates of speed greater than 70 mph are plastic bags, cardboard boxes and plastic coffee cups. These typically are flying out of the backs of pick-up trucks. The more unusual items (in addition to the wicker chair) have included a plastic cover off a cooler from an ATV being towed behind a truck and a hammer off the roof of a commercial vehicle! The hammer incident scared the heck out of me. Fortunately I was at a safe distance behind this vehicle when I noticed an object fly off the roof of the vehicle in front of me. I hit the brakes and moved to another lane to avoid the object. When I realized it was a hammer I uttered some choice words out loud that I won't repeat here and thought how bad it would have been if that had been thrown into my car or worse yet through my windshield! Getting 'hammered' on the interstate is not the way I want to go!

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:43

I'm sort of annoying

I hope I don't annoy my co-workers. I try not to, but the fact that I often talk to myself out loud might annoy some. If you work in an office with others, chances are you may annoy or be annoyed by - someone there. Career experts advise that you should confront an annoying co-worker and address the issue. But sometimes that just exacerbates the problem, leading to tension and more annoying behavior. Sometimes it's just better to accept your co-workers as they are focus on the positive!

According to an article in 'The Grindstone,' here are eight annoying habits of our co-workers that are best to just live with.

Published in Local Business
Thursday, 14 June 2012 08:36

Stop planning!

I caught a snippet of a graduation speech that Jane Lynch (of GLEE fame) gave at a recent commencement. She told the recent college graduates to 'Stop planning!' noting that she would not be where she is today had she followed her plan.

Hear, hear, Jane!

Think about the plans you had for yourself on your graduation day. How's that working out for ya? Chances are you can look back over the years since graduation and note that most of what has happened to you was not part of your plan.

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 16:06

When working for someone else doesn't work

A friend of mine has a dilemma. She has a job with great pay and awesome co-workers, and she enjoys her work. Yet she's miserable. I know her well enough to diagnose the problem. She's an entrepreneur. As much as she likes her job, living by someone else's rules and schedule is making her nuts. Not to mention working to advance someone else's business rather than her own. I suggested to her that coming to terms with her entrepreneurial nature is the first step to finding the right career path.

It is possible for those of us with these traits to work for other people providing the environment and culture allows our inner-entrepreneur room to breathe. But being in the wrong work environment can cause the entrepreneur to feel caged in. Of course, one option for my friend is to start her own business, and that is likely the direction she will take.

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 14:32

Summer bucket list

Ms. Jetta's snow tires have been replaced with her summer shoes. The hats/mittens/scarves and winter coats have been packed away. The flower gardens have been planted. I'm ready for summer in Maine! You and I both know all too well how quickly the summer season flies by, so now is the time to make your plan to insure you get out there and enjoy all that Maine has to offer.

It's time to make your annual Maine Summer Bucket List! Think of your Top 10 things you want to do this summer. If you have kids, engage them in the process. Write down your annual mustdos, but also add a few new things you have never done before.

Seeking some new ideas myself, I posted this question to Facebook. Here are some great ideas you might want to add to your list:

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 16:21

Watch out for Moose

I'm on the road for business and staying at the Hampton Inn in Presque Isle, Maine. I'll be spending the next several days in Northern Maine with representatives from various agencies meeting with businesses throughout the county in my role with the Department of Economic and Community Development.

As I checked into the hotel last night, I recalled the last time I stayed at a similar hotel. It was in Pasadena, California a few weeks ago. I love California it's my birthplace. But given the choice I would rather be here than there any day.

Northern Maine is truly one of the best places on earth. That is my opinion and I'm sticking with it. I drove here from Bangor on a beautiful afternoon that turned into a stunning summer evening. Seeing the view of Katahdin to my left and the sun setting over rolling hills and fields that are being prepped for this seasons potato crop was breathtaking.

Published in Local Business
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