Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

Who is the fairest of them all? 

We all do it. We all walk past a mirror and check ourselves out. Walk by and pretend we’re not looking at our reflection looking back at us. In my house there is a mirror behind the kitchen table and I swear, people talk while looking at themselves and don’t even look at the rest us at the table. Is this a self esteem issue? I once had a boyfriend who literally just looked at himself while we ate dinner. Another stellar choice on my part. (Cue eye roll). Don’t worry, it didn’t last long. Back to the important stuff.

Why is it that we find the need to ‘always check our hair’? 

The idea of even writing about mirrors started when I read an article and was discussing it with one of my girlfriends (shocker) and she literally had just listened to a podcast about the exact same thing. The two of us could relate. For the life of me, I can’t find the article anywhere aka or remember where I read it (she listened to Joe Rogan). Long story short, it goes something like this. A woman and her boyfriend were in a fight (we’ve all been there) and when she picked up her coat to leave in the middle of the argument, she noticed that she looked to her left. At a mirror. She looked at herself and didn’t turn around and look at the man she loved. She walked out the door and showed him. But, for the rest of the walk home, she could only think of how selfish she acted. There is no end to the story, we don’t know if they got back together or not, but that seems unimportant when you think about the lesson she was teaching us.

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? 

Do you see a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a friend, a companion? Do you see a survivor, a victim, a hero, or a tired soul? When you look in the mirror, do you smile and think, thank you. Thank you for another day. Thank you for another chance to be better than you were yesterday? Do you think, when you look in the mirror how many people love and count on you? Even the the gas station attendant who has little to no impact on your life but perhaps you were the only one who smiled at him today? Who do you see when you are brushing your teeth or putting your make up on? Who do you see when you are walking by a mirror?

At the end of the day, you are loved.

Someone is happy you are in their life. Someone likes to see those sparkling eyes, someone loves that smile, or to just hear your voice. You look great. You smell great. You look like you. So, with all the chaos going on in the world, lets take a moment to remember we don’t have to make our hair look perfect, we don’t need to glance at that mirror when we walk by it. Don’t distract yourself from the conversation you’re having to look at yourself. Don’t interrupt the person you are speaking with to adjust your suit. You look great. Be confident in the moment. Feel the people you are with. You have all night to be alone and admire yourself, but do you really need to do that? Confident people do not need to be told they are wonderful. Rich people do not need to be told they are rich.  You can walk by that mirror and just keep walking. You can do it.

Because, we are all beautiful. We are full of life and of hope and we all have a reason to be here. 

Steve Jobs. The man, the myth, the legend.

“Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around to fury and despair. His tail is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.” Walter Isaacson CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of the book: Steve Jobs.
Like many great men whose gifts are extraordinary, he’s not extraordinary in every realm. He doesn’t have the social graces, such as putting himself in other people’s shoes, but he cares deeply about empowering human kind, the advancement of human kind, and putting the right tools in their hands.Laurene Powell
If you haven’t read the book Steve Jobs, we highly recommend it. There is also a documentary that is based on the book, you may have heard of it. Ashton Kutcher plays Jobs. This man was literally a legend. You’ve heard of Apple. You are probably reading this blog post on one of their products.
What Steve Jobs taught us.
1. You can control your life. You can change and mold your own life.
2. You must have passion for what you’re doing. If you don’t love what you’re doing you will give up. You can persevere if you love what you do.
3. Live below your means. Be humble.
4. Surround yourself with a great team.
a. Have a vision and be able to articulate it with the others around you and include them on your team. They will be core to the success of your company.
5. Don’t settle. Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you want to create the best product or service possible. Be proud of what you create. Stay passionate.
6. Customer service is the most important factors after building a successful team. Learn to build everything around your customer. Listen to their feedback. Learn from what they say.
7. Be effective in creating change. “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do it.” Steve Jobs
8. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
9. Marketing is crucial. As a company, what do you want your customers to know about you? What creates a great brand? Nike is the best marketing brand in the world, they honor great athletes (think Michael Jordan) and great teams – with the slogan, “Just do it.”
And, the final tip from one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.
10. “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”
Side note. We highly recommend that you take the 15 minutes to watch the Stamford University commencement speech Steve Jobs gave in 2008.
Steve Jobs is the man, the myth, and the legend.

We’re starting a company

How are we doing it? At Putnam Marketing we’re making it work.
Team work makes the dream work.
At Putnam Marketing, we know that we can’t do this alone. To start, if you have an idea, you need to jump in, with both feet. Take a leap of faith. And, pray. A lot. To what ever God you believe in, because it’s scary, it’s fun, and you will learn something new every day.
Then take it in steps and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are, people who have more experience than you do and trust them.
What we have learned.
Make lists. What do you like to do? What are your passions? What do you want to accomplish in your life through this company?
1. What are you going to do? Decide what your strengths are and where you can use your skills.
2. Do your research. Find out who your competition is, what are they good at, and then create a plan. Where do you fit into the market? What makes you different? Why would people want to pay for your services?
3. Register your name with the state. Create a mailing address. Hire a CPA. Get all of the legal licenses in order.
4. Financially, if you don’t have venture funding to plan your finances then you have to literally ask the people you are hiring to work for free on a 1099 for a short time or on a commission basis to start.
5. We’re using Quick Books for our accounting system at Putnam Marketing, it’s quick and easy and accessible on your phone. You can track your milage and you can link your checking account to it so that every penny you spend can be tracked.
6. Market. Promote your company. Create social media sites; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp. Ask everyone you know to like the pages. Update them frequently and write blog posts weekly.
7. Pick an office space if it is necessary. Personally, I don’t think that it is necessary and it is a good way to keep your overhead low. We are creating an entire company without meeting each other and it’s working just fine. We have weekly team meetings and daily one on one meetings to be sure we’re on track.
8. Create a business plan and a marketing plan. You will also need to have a operations plan. Check it regularly so that you can stay on track to meet your 30 day objectives.
Make it a priority to stick to your plan. Plan your days to make your plan work. Review your goals and hold everyone including yourself accountable to achieve them. Be flexible. Be willing to learn. And, plan on changing your plan daily, weekly, and monthly.  That’s the only way building your own company will work.
We wish you the best of luck and will be giving updates as we learn them so that we can help you be successful too.

Putnam Marketing – The importance of networking

We are growing at Putnam Marketing, and have learned that surrounding yourself with good people you create a better you.

You are creating a stronger network and a team of people who are inadvertently cheering for you. The hustlers that understand hard work. People in your life who know Johnny Smith would be a perfect match for what you or a colleague are looking for.

Putnam Marketing - Networking

Putnam Marketing and the importance of networking

Everyone has something to offer, if you listen.

It is when you tap into the introvert and the extroverted part of yourself you can become who you are supposed to be. You will then know how to read people and quickly identify their strengths and can in turn, strengthen your own team. Moving forward as a team at Putnam Marketing, we have leaned on many different resources and cherish our networks. This is where we find leads, prospects, and potential clients.

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The saying it takes a village is a key saying. When you connect with people in a professional manner and have a well established network is an interracial part of our lives.  Referrals and advice from the people you love and trust are the best ways to move forward. If you were going to buy a new car, the most logical idea is to ask someone who owns that car that you trust. When you recommend a product you are establishing trust and the trust you build is undeniable. It is an efficient way to build rapport.

When you  are professionally building your network.

You can meet people that you wouldn’t usually meet, you can make connections that you wouldn’t usually have. LinkedIn is a wonderful resource for leads and studies prove that networking has become an essential aspect to job searching. Many jobs are not posted outside of the company so if you know someone who works inside the company that is crucial to learning how the company works.

 

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Volunteer. 

No matter where you look in your community, there are always organizations that could use a few extra hands. Think of big brother and sister programs, local homeless shelters, boards that can allocate money to the right places. The Rotary is a great way to connect with business leaders and get out into the community.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. 

 

 

Real rent and fake checks.

I have been using Craig’s List for years.

We found a roommate in Breckenridge, Colorado who ended up becoming a dentist. She was great. And, ever since then, I was hooked. I’ve met roommates who then turned into friends (don’t get me wrong, I don’t have 10 cats and I’m not going onto Craig’s List to find friends or anything psycho like that), but I have found paintings for my house, and other odds and ends that go along with Craig’s List.

This month was a game changer.

The ‘Payment Department’ sent me a check.

Wait, back up.

I live in a small town with the only Law School in the State of New Hampshire so my roommates have come and gone through the years, semester, or visas. My latest roommate returned to Portugal after her visa was up. Naturally, I thought that this was a good time to find another roommate.

So, logically, I put an ad on Craig’s List. It was generic and sounded like this:

“Looking for a professional roommate, who can pass a background check, non smoker, no pets. Rent one of the rooms in a two bedroom apartment close to downtown Concord and share the utilities. I am very clean, quiet, and like to have a low keyed living situation. No drama. $650 plus half utilities.”

Photo credit: Contemporary Designs

I mean, how simple is that?

Well. Let me tell you, I got a few responses from two women who were “traveling nurses” that wanted to rent the room. Which, honestly, is pretty common. I live near the Concord Hospital and it would make sense to stay here for a few months. I don’t want a long term commitment on that level by any means.

Back to the scam.

I had two girls respond to me right off the bat. They sent pictures, and looked like “normal” everyday people. Facebook, Twitter, Insta; normal social media platforms that regular people would stalk.

As in, me.

I explained to them that I had multiple offers (truth) and the first person to send me a check could rent the room. Commitment and I are working things out, but for the most part, have come to an agreement, we can make this happen.

Long term commitment sent me a check. 

TD Bank didn’t accept it, direct deposit from my phone didn’t accept it. And then, I knew. I just knew that the fact that she wanted to borrow my sheets for her bed, that she liked to shower before work around 7:15, and, didn’t need a dresser, it was all fake.

And, then I called my mom.

Huge shocker. I talk to her all the time. If she actually used these words, she pretty much thought this was the dumbest thing she had ever heard. I think she literally said “You’re too smart to be this naive.”

Next move. I called a couple of my girlfriends.

I’m lucky they were available. Now, half the month had passed and I still didn’t have a roommate. It was game time. I would call them professional stalkers but that is not encouraged, so I will say that they quickly proved that the check was fake. My roommate was not coming.

It gets better.

LTC (I’ll abbreviate for everyone’s sake). Long Term Commitment asked me very casually to just sign a car for her. (One of my girlfriends in Breck had cars delivered when she needed them, so I thought, whatever lady. Let’s just get this over with).

Next time, hard pass.

Miss. LTC wanted her car to be here when she arrived, ‘to make the transition smoother’.

She sent me a check, with the amount for the car delivery and the amount for the rent. As if this was an every day situation.

But, seriously. Kate, no problem.

I called my favorite guy. Apparently it was all hands on deck for this debacle. Again, shocker. He laughed. Reminded me so kindly; ‘You potentially would have a STOLEN BMW sitting in your driveway that you signed for and you paid for the delivery.’ This is not my kind of fun. Netflix and chill is my kind of fun, no matter what night it is. With pizza.

Lessons learned.

Set up phone calls. Make every single person interested in what you’re selling speak with you. Don’t leave a key under your mat. And, definitely don’t sign for a car. EVER. The Concord Police operator even laughed at me. I mean, after you call your parents, your girlfriends, and main squeeze, apparently the police are the next great idea.

All I could think was, how the hell did I fall for this? Hook.Line.And.Sinker. Everyone told me this was the oldest scam in the book. So, note to self, be smarter than the book. Call your friends and family and don’t try to cash checks. Especially if the routing number starts with a zero.

Remember. Real rent, fake checks.

Putnam Marketing: Real Time Marketing

We’re going back to school and you’re going to join us! We got into school and we’re learning the basics. Our first class is Intro to Marketing. Lesson one. Real time marketing. Harvard University Style. We’re going to give you a short rundown on how to create great content and engage your audience. 
 
 
We’d highly recommend online courses to anyone thinking of attending or going back to school. It’s so much easier when you can pause the lecture and take notes. Then rewatch it before a quiz. If you don’t get a perfect score then…that’s definitely something you can change.
 
Step one in Marketing.
 
The base of Marketing is the consumer. Obviously. There are different ways that you can touch your consumer and that starts with things like real time marketing.
 
 
It’s as simple as it sounds. When you create a marketing plan in advance you are executing it on a fixed schedule. Real time marketing is creating a strategy focused on current, relevant trends and immediate feedback from customers.
 
The case study we studied was about Oreo cookies.
 
First of all, who doesn’t love Oreo cookies? It was as they say, a slam dunk. A quick preview. The power went out in the Superdome during a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Oreo jumped on the chance to make a splash. They Tweeted:
And, the crowd went nuts. We’re still talking about it four years later and professors are teaching it as the number one Marketing ideology.
 
The point is; to be on top of your game.
 
Be prepared. Have all of your ducks in a row. Know your consumer. Know the context of the event. While you are building your brand stick to the basics. Position your brand. Stay neutral. Real time marketing means you have a grip on your market. 
 
These simple tips will help you stay on top of the competition and ahead of the game. Think outside the box. Think in ways that other people don’t. 

The Art of War

For Women by Chin-ning Chu.

Read it. You need it.

And, you don’t even know what you’re missing. I recently saw somewhere that CEO’s read an average of 60 books a year. So, of course, yours truly just joined a couple of book clubs and realized that it was time to stop binge watching Netflix and get smart in my downtime.

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I’m working for a Chinese based company and.holy.cow.  

What a cultural wake up call. The East and the West are like Yin and Yang, the sun and the moon, black and white. Think of every polar opposite that you can and that’s what I’m working with. You can’t have one without the other, opposites attract, even Paula Abdul got it down. You can learn something from your opposite.

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Just like I remember her.

It became very clear, very quickly that things in China are run very differently than they are in America.  Starting with; the method of communication, to the relationship structures, to the basic foundation of the culture within a company and family style. Put it this way, food and sleep are for the weak.  American’s talk too much. We put in too much detail, about everything. American’s like conflict.

The Chinese like to prepare.

They like to plan and meticulously navigate through every decision in their life. They do show emotion. They don’t like to show weakness in any way. Women do not smile in pictures.  And, when they tell you to do something, don’t say a word.  Just do it. Do it their way.

You are not an individual.

You are part of the greater good. It is what’s best for the company, family, and country as a whole. We’re all part of a team. Your opinion is important when you’ve proven yourself, but, a nice side note is that the managers in China do it backwards. You are perfect until you prove them wrong, in America you have to prove yourself first.

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There has been zero touching, but you get the idea.

So, as I said before, I decided that it was time to learn the Art of War (and I don’t mean in Mr. Timm’s AP English class at Hoppy High) this is different. Right on the cover it says, “it is not about war, it is about the art.” So, it was time for me to learn about the art of not being Western and tune into my chi, become one with myself.  It was time to learn everything I could about myself before I could learn about my enemy or everyone else around me.

Take a few minutes to meditate throughout the day.

Starting with first thing in the morning.   Feel your own breaths (I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m doing that but that’s not what the book recommends). Trust your intuition.  In other words, trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, step back and wait. Prepare, and wait, until it does feel right.

 

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Timing is everything.

“Don’t become your own worst enemy. Use your instincts to determine when the time is right to set your plans in motion.” As Master Sun put it, you control your destiny so don’t get too excited too fast and make impulsive decisions. As in, don’t be too American.

The best part of working for an international company is learning different cultural styles. Different ways of thinking and certainly different ways of operating. The Art of War for Women has taught me to slow down and process before speaking. It has taught me to think like a chess player, and to wait for the right time to present anything or submit something.

Most importantly, it has taught me to trust myself, get to know me, for who I am, and accept and enjoy that woman, as opposed to battling with myself.

Read it. You’ll thank me. 

 

 

You’re not supposed to go through life…

“Thinking that you’re not where you’re supposed to be. Just remember, you’re not a finished product. You may have some weaknesses, and have areas you want to improve, but that will not help you move forward.Joel Osteen (no matter how you feel about him, that’s good advice).  You’re not supposed to go through life feeling defeated.

You must accept yourself right where you are.  As my mother always says, bloom where you are planted, if you will.

I’m obsessed with houseplants right now. So you’ll see a lot of them.

That was the last thing I expected to write about today.  As you know, we’re in this together. Fifty-two blog posts are coming your way. That’s five. two. Fifty-two times I get to escape from the world of HVAC, Google Translate, and swimming in SEO world. This was a little run in I had with Google this weekend:

Google Translate. Go home. You’re drunk.

So, together, we’ll make this happen.

I’ve written about how there is no perfect partner. And, then of course, my best friend from High School met the female version of himself. They like science, tide pools, and eating ice cream. They both have dogs, she loves cats, and he loves her. It’s like two peas in a pod. It’s awesome. So, I won’t bore you with that love story.

I’ve written about love lost, poor decisions, and, moving on. But, apparently, today I’m going to write about being happy right where you are. It’s not always the dream life, the way you envisioned it when you were young, but it’s right where you’re supposed to be right now.

For everyone born in the 80’s someone you know had this van. Photo Credit: The New York Times

This sounds so weird today, but I thought I’d have a minivan and five kids by now.  I thought I’d be cutting oranges for soccer games, and teaching swim lessons to my little bambino’s. But, apparently as of today, that’s not in my cards.

I’m married to my work. 

Literally.  I’ve always wanted to start a business and a wonderful opportunity fell into my lap. They’re starting a subsidiary of the parent company located in Shanghi – so we have their support we’re just starting the North American company here. I have a great boss and am psyched to make it happen.  We get to start a company and literally do every single detail of it. It’s not a Case Study at UNH, it’s real life. And, I’m so grateful that my girlfriends, family,  and boyfriend are so supportive because I’m literally never around.  I am swimming in work and loving every minute of it.

My sister and Molly Bean help keep the house clean, my roommate reminds me to eat, and I just work. Agh, I sound like a 60 year old man who can’t retire, but you get the idea.

Enough about me. I’m proud to be blooming where I am planted.  And, today I’m feeling nostalgic and asking you to do the same thing. Just for today.

Remember that you’re not supposed to go through life feeling less than.

Just for today, remember that you’re future will be brighter than your past.

Sitting on the stone wall

I met one of the nicest group of people I’ve ever met in my life. 

Not just any stonewall. A wall in downtown Concord, NH.

Every Thursday I have a standing hair appointment. It sounds so basic, I know. But my Grandmother was grey at a young age and I’m not ready to go there quite yet. These ladies know just how I like my color, that I don’t need a massage, but that I love to visit and catch up. We eat, we laugh, we visit, hear about each others lives. Regular coffee talk. Minus the coffee.

Anyway.

On my way there I see the same group of people sitting outside the Clock Tower as I always do. We exchange pleasantries, say hello, and go about our day.

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The regular view from the stonewall

It’s on my way home the magic happens. 

My buddy Kevin plays the guitar. He yells “HI KATIE!” to me from across the street. He waves and smiles like I’m the only person he has seen all day.  And, every time I see him, he moves over on that stonewall and makes a seat for me.  I sit down, I visit, he and his buddies fill me in on what’s going on in town. We talk about the small things and the seemingly big things, which are of course all relative.

Today he was right in front of the State House, depending on the time of day and what’s going on in town is a pretty normal occurrence.  There were dogs, and families, new bikes, old bikes, and per usual, he moved over, made me a seat and we sat down and talked.  There was a ceremony on the State House steps and men in uniform walked by and saluted him and thanked him for his service. Today, Kevin was decked out in his military clothes. I also thanked him for his service.

And, he told me it was an honor to serve his country.

He told me about combat and where he was in the world, what he saw, and the kind of friends he made. He told me about how he left everything behind and when he came home nothing was as he remembered it. He’s a pretty private person and will only give little tidbits at a time about his life but I love hearing it and he knows everyone in town and their story too.

These guys stick together. They know where each other are most of the time. If someone’s missing, it’s because this or that. They care about each other and are proud to call Concord home.

When it got way too busy, the Introvert in me took over, and I said my goodbyes and he told me to be safe. We don’t even high five. It’s just an understanding, thanks for being here, nice to see you, hope to see you again next time.

With a wave and a big smile that was it. Until, we meet again my friend. 

The Office

Is a joke.

Oh Susan, please tell me more about your life, I’ll smile and pretend to care about your craft projects, or guys you’ve slept with, and how your night was.

Actually, let’s call a spade a spade. Not so much.

I hear that people have a hard time working from home; that there is too much that needs to be done around the house, and that there are other things going on, etc…coming from someone with a very high level of energy and a serious case of ADHD working from home for me is a miracle.

I can get more done in 5 hours than I ever could in an office. It’s time management at its finest.

Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but for me, working from home is a blessing. I can get my work done, meet my deadlines, not have to hear about Susan’s date last night, or any other useless drama that goes along with small talk in the office. It’s like the Monday morning quarter back, water cooler talk, blah, blah, blah, which to me are a huge waste of time.

If you trusted me enough to go to college, I can self manage. Trust me. 

There is a mentality in our country that you must be at the office by a certain time, be watched, micromanaged, and babysat the entire time you’re there. And, for me that just doesn’t fly. I know how to self manage. I know how to hit deadlines, I don’t need someone looking over my shoulder telling what to do. Give me a deadline and an idea of what you need, and I’ll make it happen.

In order to get a job in this country a Bachelor’s degree is expected, and then you get it, and you go right back to being in high school. It’s bizarre.  Working from home should not be earned, it should be expected. I build budgets, I pay you to work, I don’t want to pay to babysit your every move too.

While I was at UNH no one cared if I showed up to class, no one cared how I did on my exams, but, I only had three exams a semester per class my Freshman and Sophomore year so I better be damn sure I passed them with a B (any grade above a C was mandatory) if I wanted to stay in the Business School or on the Crew team. Which, obviously, I did.

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I spent hours and hours at the Thompson Library at UNH. Photo curtesy of UNH.

My experience at college was a lot of drinking, a lot of eating, a lot of studying, and a ton of time figuring out how to adult.  I knew what I needed to get done, when it was due, and how to manage a project.

Even if you didn’t go to UNH if you have any kind common sense, you get the point. 

Time management is crucial in any part of your life, whether you’re a mom, a professional, or juggling a ton of other projects. If you can’t be trusted to work alone, why keep that job?

I say that because I was just promoted and sixteen hours into the promotion an Executive in the company decided that our entire department needed to report back to the office because his son can’t be trusted to work from home. I’ll avoid the entire subject of nepotism for the sake of my own sanity,  but you get the point.

Hmmmmm….on that note, check please.

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So to wrap this up, I want to end with the fact that in my experience, adults don’t need to be babysat. They need to be trusted, empowered, and enabled to make their own decisions with the right guidance to get a job done correctly.

If you’re one of the managers that thinks anyone likes their hand held there are lots of books on the subject. 

My advice to you is to be a good leader, be a good role model, and make your employees happy. It may not be easy, but it’s the most economical, financially fiscal, and time efficient way to succeed.