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What are you going to do if someone steals your ideas?

A few weeks ago, I filed a trademark application on behalf of a client.  They have been in business a little over a year, and have seen phenomenal growth.  They use their name for everything — from the name of their business, to their website url, to the name of their Facebook group, to the name of their signature product.

So, as I said, I filed the application for them.

Last week, they did a random search and found out another company filed an application for the same name, 6 days after they did.

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5 Reasons You Need a Trademark

What are trademarks?

Trademarks are a way of registering your slogan, logo, system, process or title with the government to prevent others, including your competitors, from using your ideas.  Trademarks can be filed at the state and at the federal level.  A state trademark protects you within the borders of your state, while a federal trademark protects you in the entire United States.  If you have a multi-state business, you should obtain a federal trademark.

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The Turning Point

In what feels like yesterday, and yet was also quite a while ago, I started my first blog.  December 30, 2010, to be exact.

At the time, I had the adulting thing down – employed, married, a parent, paid the bills on time, attended church – the whole shebang.  But something was missing.

One of my big dreams from when I was little was to be a writer. I have notebooks and journals filled with scraps of stories, and outlines of ideas.  I even sent a few stories off to magazines when I was in college. They were all rejected.

But times changed.  When I graduated from Indiana University in 1995, the Internet was still a baby.  Blogs didn’t really exist and social media was still a spark of an idea in someone’s head, and not a real thing.  By 2011, we had social media platforms, and easy blogging tools — in other words, you could write and share it with an audience without even leaving the house.

Looking back, starting that blog changed everything in my life  (ok, maybe not everything — I’m still married to the same guy and we have amazing kids). It changed me – how confident I was, how I viewed my own abilities in this world, and how motivated I was to start going after those dreams I’d had.  It also changed how other people perceived me.  Suddenly, I was telling stories and making people laugh.  I was creating pieces that made people think. I was motivating people — and sometimes I even hear I inspire people.

Starting that blog, and committing to writing every day, was the turning point for me.  It’s where I found the confidence to start my own firm, to pursue our vacation rental business, and to move almost 1000 miles away from home.  Because I wrote the blog, and eventually the books, I knew I could do a lot more things.

Are you looking for a turning point in your life?  What is it you want to create?

 

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Watch Out World

Do you make long term goals in your business?  I do.  And I recently took steps to bring one to fruition, with somewhat surprising results.

To put this all into context, we moved to Savannah three years ago.  My responsibilities in our family shifted when that happened and I intentionally slowed down my business to spend more time with the kids.

All the while though, I knew that in the fall of 2017 — when our youngest entered kindergarten — I was going to ramp back up.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the last year really thinking about what that would look like.  Would it be an outside office? A full time assistant? What changes would I put into place after scaling back to a point where my business was largely just me, myself and I?

An advertising opportunity caught my attention earlier this fall – a really visible (like 40,000 people a week for a year) opportunity.  And I decided to go for it.  The ads go live in the next week or so, and I’ve realized that very soon I may be “recognized” when I am out and about doing normal things, like take the kids to swimming or acrobatics, or go to the grocery store.

In some ways, its a bit of a wake up call.  I may need to upgrade from lazy days leggings and a t-shirt to go to the store to something slightly more polished — and remember to put on a touch of makeup. And, in all honesty, in my old community I had visibility — not the face on the side of a bus visibility, but I knew enough people in the community through my work and volunteer efforts that it was highly unlikely I would go to the grocery store and not see someone I knew.  But other than just a reminder to step it up before I leave the house, its a commentary on visibility.

Visibility, most business experts, is a big key to success. Being known — known for who you are and what you do — can create a business that sustains itself. So often in business these days — particularly business where we work remotely, and we interact largely by phone and email — what we look like and who we are outside of the office isn’t as known to our clients and customers.  Stepping in front of the camera — whether through PR spots or advertising or even Facebook lives — is an exercise in visibility, in allowing yourself — all of yourself to be known.

While I have enjoyed the anonymity of recent years, I am so excited to see what visibility brings to the table.

What are you doing to be more visible in your business?