Finding your million dollar idea

Everyone says it. Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. As someone who's had jobs that I've loved and jobs that I've hated, I can attest to this. I'm sure you can, too.

Today, I was reading the story of Brad and Jera Deal. They took a hobby that they enjoyed with their children and, over time, turned it into a $10 million business. You may have seen them on Martha Stewart, Oprah, or Rachel Ray. In short, they take photos of everyday things that resemble letters of the alphabet. They then frame each letter individually and people can buy letters to spell out words, names, or phrases. You can watch Brad and Jera's story below:

The thing that makes this story especially noteworthy to me is that it is a creative endeavor that was born out of a routine, family activity. Brad and Jera didn't sit around trying to come up with their million dollar idea; they were cultivating that idea all along. They only had to recognize its potential.

Look at your life. Your routines, your habits, your hobbies. Do you have a system you've created for organizing yourself? How about something you've rigged up because no "real" product existed to meet your needs? Have you been doing something that you enjoy, that others might enjoy, as well? Think about it. Really think about it.

Sometimes, opportunity doesn't knock because it's already in our homes. It's sacked out on the couch with us as we watch Seinfeld reruns and thrust our hands into a bag of Cheetos.

Wake up. Open your eyes. Examine your life. Is that million dollar idea already in your world just waiting for you to notice it?

Can a social media vacay ruin your online presence?

You know what they say about a reputation. It takes a lifetime to build and only a minute to destroy. I kind of feel the same way about social media.

The last three weeks, I've been crazy busy. Personally and professionally, I've been burning the wick at both ends. I plowed through it all and met my obligations, but my tweeting, blogging, and Facebook page have suffered. As my social media channels got a little dusty, people said buh-bye.

When I wrote my post last week, I only got two comments (I love you Vanessa and Jeanie!). I haven't gotten that few comments in a long time. My engagement on my Facebook page has plummeted and my retweets are non-existent. I'm back where I was three years ago!

But, I'll persevere.

As I've always known, succeeding in social media takes a constant presence. When you fall by the wayside, so does the community you've worked so hard to nurture. In reality, I did post to Facebook, I tweeted, and I read other people's blogs, but I wasn't able to put the time into engagement. That's the sweet spot. That's what makes the difference.

The truth is, life catches up to all of us. Work, family, unexpected problems and obligations get the better of everyone. The answer isn't to quit, though. The only solution is to start again and rededicate yourself to your online presence.

So, here it is. My second post since I've returned from my social media vacay. Hello? Is anyone out there?

Does your retail space come with baggage?

So, you're opening a new store! Good for you! It's a fresh start in a new space, but do you know who that storefront isn't new to? Those in the community you'll be serving.

There's a restaurant near me. It's nicely decorated outside and looks inviting. But, I will never eat there. Know why? It used to be a funeral home. Yeah, I'm sure they took out the dead bodies and the embalming fluid, but I can't even begin to think of having a panini in a place where viewings were once held.

A few miles from the funeral home, er, restaurant, I saw someone outside yesterday hanging a sign for their brand new business which will open in a few weeks. A spa. Looks like the kind of place that will charge high prices to make you feel pampered and pretty. But, I just can't seem to look past the fact that this place was a porn shop for the last 20 years.

As a new tenant who's excited to open up your new store, you may not have inquired about what used to be in the space. If you're not from the area, you probably wouldn't even know. But, for those looking to open up a retail store, be sure to do your homework. Ask what used to be there and for how long.

Maybe the rest of you aren't as particular as I am. I'm a bit of a germaphobe, so that probably comes into play a little bit here. But, these retail spaces have baggage that I'm not willing to overlook.

I'm eager to hear your thoughts on the matter. Would you dine at that restaurant? Would you strip down for a massage at the spa? Does the baggage bother you? Or, is what's in the past of no consequence?
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