I am often asked what I do. While I am involved in lots of business activities, my initial answer is always the same: I lead the Indie Beauty Network (IBN), a trade organization that provides business and advocacy services to small companies that make health, beauty and lifestyle products, and also to the companies that serve them. IBN launched in January 2000 and today serves close to 1,000 dues paying members. IBN also serves many thousands of others via a weekly newsletter (here's this week's issue; you can subscribe here) and an active social networking site.
To supplement my service to my members, I maintain 3 blogs that serve very distinct purposes. This post shares a bit about blogs so you will know how each one can serve you best.
Indie Business Blog. Launched in 2005 as the Lifestyle CEO Blog, this is my first “official” blog — the place where I share my experiences and personal commentary on how you can maximize your success as a small and independent business owner. As you can see form the left top column, most of the 22 categories encompass areas that are critical to Indie Business success. From Confidence, Leadership and Relationships to Money, Branding, Social Media and others, posts in each category share tips, strategies and real life examples to empower and encourage you to be your best.
Last week, the first guest post, by Luci Weston, was published. I am considering sharing additional posts by some of the other amazing Indie Business owners I know.
Indie Business Advocate. Last year, I began adding more posts about my advocacy on behalf of Indie Business owners to lawmakers, policymakers and regulators, especially where the FDA Globalization (FDAG) Act of 2008 was concerned. Since these posts differed from my typical business leadership and success commentary, I launched the FDAG Blog — now the Indie Business Advocate — to give those posts a home of their own. Today, Indie Business Advocate is where I publish my commentary on the policies, laws and rules affecting small businesses. I welcome your comments and suggestions about your experiences and what positions best support you and the entire small and independent business community.
The Media Is You. If you are familiar with my work, you know that I believe that, no matter what business you are in, you area also in the publishing business. My newest blog, The Media Is You, therefore focuses on my strong belief that your future success as an Indie Business owner hinges directly on your ability to use your own branded media outlets to serve as the chief media outlet for your business.
I base this conclusion on three things: (1) the combination of my experiences as a business owner and a student of journalism and public relations, which I studied in college; (2) my experiences hosting and producing my own media outlets, including a weekly newsletter, a print magazine, several blogs and a radio show; and (3) the current and future outlook for newspapers and magazines in this nation.
The best way to engage people who care about your ideas, and to earn their trust and their business, is by reaching out to them using branded media outlets that share your ideas and your unique personality. The Media Is You empowers you to create and manage those outlets, and is accompanied by in-person, hands on media training workshops designed especially for Indies. The first training will be in January 2010 in Atlanta, followed by Chicago, New York, San Francisco and other cities rolling out next year.
I Hope You Find What You Need!
When one of my website designers, Kim Baron, first told me to launch a blog in 2001, I really didn't understand what she was talking about. I tried anyway, in my own way, and here's a screen shot from one of my first posts, featuring a photo of me and Mr. and Mrs. Luiz Spitz and his wife at their home-based soap museum outside Chicago.
Back then, the technology was wonky and confusing to me, but I tried anyway and published my first post in February 2001. I did not know how to allow comments at that time, so my updates just sat there until I got tired of publishing to myself and started a formal blog.
Blogging has enhanced my life in many ways. I had no idea that those initial posts would be the seeds that eventually spouted into not one, but three separate blogs.
Because each blog serves a distinct purpose, I rarely post the the same content at all 3 blogs, so you can subscribe to the one that interests you the most, or feel free to subscribe to all of them if they apply to you. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.
It is my hope that you will find something of value to you in one or all of my blogs. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy producing them.
Question: What do you think? Are any of these blogs useful to you? What else would you like to see?