Dare to dream! Finding our power as entrepreneurs

betty ming liu Inspiration 13 Comments

After nearly 57 years of wandering this world, I sit here now in an entirely unfamiliar emotional space. This month marks the official start of my entrepreneurial life. Steady pay check? Gone. Daily routine, what’s that? It’s just me and my blog, staring at each other, wondering what to do next. Help us reorganize!

This is a call to re-invention — not just for me, but everyone because we can find strength in numbers. A despairing world, with it’s rotten global economy, needs our collective creative energy. The crazier and more outside-the-box, the better, if you ask me…

Then again, no one’s asking, which makes our mission super-challenging.

Can I believe in myself enough to buck soul-numbing current trends?

To put this in context, consider yesterday’s thoroughly depressing front page Wall Street Journal story: “Risk-Averse Culture Infects U.S. Workers, Entrepreneurs.” Here’s the lead graf (journalistic slang for an article’s opening paragraph):

Americans have long taken pride on their willingness to bet it all on a dream. But that risk-taking spirit appears to be fading. 

Gulp. Sigh. It gets worse. The next graf:

Three long-running trends suggest that the U.S. economy has turned soft on risk: Companies add jobs more slowly, even in good times. Investors put less money into new ventures. And, more broadly, Americans start fewer businesses and are less inclined to change jobs or move for new opportunities.

The story goes onto say that we are suffering from the impact of an aging population and the increasing dominance of big corporations over how we shop, source and live. No, no, no — we need to stay youthful and hold onto our power!

So it’s time to make a few calls to action.

First step: Support small businesses. I’m dedicating myself to shopping small businesses, from the little stores and restaurants in my neighborhood to the Saturday farmers market. Might be a bit more expensive because the small guys don’t rack up the volume to offer deep discounts. But I believe that what goes around eventually comes around. If I am generous in modest ways, my positive karma will be eventually rewarded.

Second step: Shop smarter in big stores. Have you heard of the “buycott” app? Install it on your mobile phone and iPad so that you can scan product bar codes to get the 411 on the manufacturer. Click here to read more about it. To be honest, I’ve installed it on my iPhone but keep forgetting to use it. Patience — it takes time to develop new habits. I will learn!

Third step: Build a personal power base. This is the issue for me now. While my blog traffic steadily grows, I’m not exactly sure why. That should change soon; I just shelled out $597 for an online Google Analytics training course. Hopefully, it will help me decode the traffic patterns for this site. At the moment, I go to my Google analytics to see this:

Analytics

Okay, great. I get 13,539 visitors a month, who stay an average of 1.37 minutes. Hmmm, how can I become more useful and get you to stay longer? Until I find that answer, I’ll remain like the neurotic blogger (redundant phrasing) in this cartoon from a recent issue of The New Yorker, haha!

NewYORKER530

Be part of my recovery! You can do that in two ways. For starters, it would be a huge help if you subscribed to my blog. That way, I can email you whenever there’s a new post or other potentially interesting stuff going on. Subscribe to my blog — just click on the link at the end of this post.   ^_^

I also need a clearer idea of what type of posts vibe most with you. Would you like more blogging about my journey as a recovering daughter of impossibly strict, demented Chinese immigrant parents? What about super-simple vegan, gluten-free recipes? The how-to posts on journalism and writing usually do well — more of those? Or maybe other types of how-tos? Or more on creativity, art, parenting, pets, restaurants, holistic health, relationships?

Anyways, hope you’ll feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. Note to first-time commenters: You don’t have to use your real name. Make up a user handle you like. As for shy folks, you are always welcome to send me an email at betty@bettymingliu.com.

In the meantime, remember, we are an entrepreneurial community. One people. We stand together.

You are not alone.

 

Comments 13

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    Author

    Oh gee, my call to action just led one person to unsubscribe from my blog — too bad. Then again, the goal for everyone is to maximize quality of life. So when people leave, I wish them well with appreciation for the time spent with me. And, I view it as a chance to hone my sub list to true believers. Thanks for reading!

  2. What I like about your blog is that one never knows what it will be about. That unpredictability is always interesting. I note you don’t comment on politics, world affairs or “issues.” I am sure that if you did, it would be well worth reading. On the other hand, there are an infinity of sites that are all about such things and it is pleasant to read a blog that is about interesting aspects of daily life. You have a way of making your readers feel like friends who have dropped by for a little visit and I think that is a great strength.
    I entirely agree with your views about supporting small businesses.No power on Earth would get me to set foot in a Walmart, for example. While big box stores my be able to provide some discounts, they destroy diversity in the market place. Locally, we have a Home Depot, for example, as well as the crowded, over-stuffed, dimly lit West Trenton Hardware. HD has all the essentials of course but if you need one tiny little nut to go on a bolt in some antique you are repairing, West Trenton will absolutely have it. HD will not. The problem is that selling me that little nut won’t keep West Trenton in business. It is vital I go to them for the big ticket items as well or they won’t be there when I need that infuriating little nut.
    BTW, in evaluating hits on one’s website, it is important to know that a huge number of brief hits are in fact not people. They are web spiders automatically crawling all over, looking for key words.

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    Author

    Amen, my brother! I too, have avoided Wal-Mart in years (although, I confess to a weakness for Target). But the extra dollars we spend in the little retail spots count. Of course, there’s the problem of product line depth — can be hard to get the range you find at a big store. Still, my neighborhood health food store is happy to order stuff for me, which gives them ideas on expanding their offerings. The owner began carrying Tempt brand unsweetened hemp milk for me and she says it now sells very well!

    Thanks for your thought re SEO key words. Very important. As for covering conventional politics, it’s just not my strength. While I have opinions, gathering all the facts to make a case is beyond my interest and energy level. Also greatly appreciate your observations about me offering variety. I’ve heard this before a few times; can it really be a sustainable brand? Thanks, Toby! Big hug!

  4. Favorite Ma & Pa store anywhere: Berger Hardware in Hawthorne!!!
    I Christmas shop there. My husband and I practically go on dates there. If you’re inventive but have no idea how to make what you’ve dreamt up, there’ll be a clever and generous guy there who will brainstorm with you. Kind of amazing. And the Bergers own an appliance store next door that meets Sears prices and has really knowledgeable service. Love the place.

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  5. Betty,

    I didn’t know you were vegan – that’s fantastic! I am, too. It’s just the best way to live, feeling all healthy and clean, and knowing you’re doing as little harm as possible. I love the way you’re working to integrate the personal and global (e.g., discussions about food waste and consumerism) and would like to see more of that.

    I think your entrepreneurial success will come from your recognizing what is the core value you have to offer us — your readers — and the world, and then focusing as relentlessly on that as possible. (That was advice I got from an entrepreneur who built his business to $250MM btw.)

    I would also like more info on what you learn about Google Analytics and whether the course was worth it. I just signed on with CopyBlogger.com and am learning lots.

  6. Post
    Author

    Thanks for the feedback, Hillary! I’m actually not vegan but I prepare as many vegan meals as possible. Food goes over very well on my blog so yes, I need to do more. And I will think about “core value.” That’s a tough one for someone who wanders around as much as I do! Yes, will keep you posted on the Google Analytics course. Good luck with your course too. Hopefully, we can talk more about all that soon. :)

  7. Happy to hear about the vegan meals, Betty. Here’s an article i wrote on “nonperfectionist veganism” that you and others might find useful:

    http://www.vegsource.com/news/2012/06/the-rise-of-nonperfectionist-veganism.html

    re the Core Value, it won’t be antithetical to your “wandering around” unless some of that wandering is due to fear/avoidance. But somewhere underneath the nonfearful wandering will be some of the core values animating your entire approach to life, and that’s what I think you should look for. Your approach is obviously valuable and speaks to many people so it’s a matter of finding the root of that.

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      You make excellent points in your piece — very thorough too. Thanks for sharing! I will also give some thought to this whole issue of non-fearful wandering. This will be interesting. Thanks, Hillary!

  8. I totally agree with Toby’s comment, “You have a way of making your readers feel like friends who have dropped by for a little visit and I think that is a great strength.”

    Fun to see your happy, younger self photo, too.

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  10. I could relate to a lot of what you posted and I found you by searching for radish green recipes! Then I related to comments about supporting small businesses (I own one and am its only employee) and also about avoiding Wal-mart but liking Target and being a smart consumer in general. Most of the items in box stores just are unnecessary in life, period, just MHO though. One tip I can share about surviving as an entrepreneur: don’t stray from being quality oriented even when someone encourages you to do so for some reason and mind the details even when you are so tired you could just sob. It can get tempting to let certain things slide, I know. Those two things have kept me in business for 13 years, through a recession, and other depressing facts I will intentionally omit here. But last month I was busier than I have ever been in 13 years. So, be prepared to stick it out through minor pitfalls — Rome wasn’t built in a day after all. : ) I enjoyed this entry, laughed at the cartoon, and smiled at your elementary photo … I also posted a similar photo of myself on my first website.
    One last thing … for things you run into but feel clueless about, try Lynda.com for online training on-demand. She offers a wide variety of topics that I’ve found very helpful in the past.
    Good luck to you!

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      Michelle — thank you for visiting! I get the most interesting readers from that radish green post, which has been pinned quite a bit on Pinterest (learning to use Pinterest now). So agree with you that we don’t really need to buy another thing. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from hitting the mall…

      Really appreciate your reminder to maintain quality standards, and to persevere. Your story of staying in business 13 years is inspiring. And definitely, Lynda.com is a great place to get training on online stuff. Totally helpful to get your input. Thanks again. :)

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