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Ways to Celebrate Professional Wins

When you make partner, get a big raise, earn much-deserved promotion, or reach some other big goal, you deserve some recognition (if at least from yourself!), so today let’s talk about the best ways to celebrate professional wins. The last time we focused on how to celebrate wins was in response to a reader question about “work successes bigger than ‘I finished the report’ but smaller than ‘I finished my PhD,’” but today we can talk about achievements of all sizes. With work-related accomplishments, do you typically do anything special to celebrate? What are your favorite ways to pat yourself on the back — or do you prefer to silently congratulate yourself and move on?

In addition to some recent reader questions, this post was partially inspired by this recent comment thread about throwing parties for advanced degrees, which was in reference to conversations like this one and this one comparing milestones in life (engagement, pregnancy) to milestones at work (making partner, getting your PhD). (Mentioned in the conversation is a story from Slate’s Dear Prudence, in which a guest proposed to his girlfriend at another person’s dinner to celebrate getting her PhD. Wow…) 

{related: how have you celebrated milestone birthdays?}

How to Celebrate Work Wins

Besides throwing yourself a party, which is always an option if you’re comfortable with it, here are several suggestions from readers for good ways to celebrate a professional win: 

1. Stick to something low-key: Ask a friend out for drinks or dinner, for example.  

2. Treat yourself: Find a nice piece of jewelry (or shoes … or a bag) to commemorate your achievement — our Next Step series has some ideas, as does our post on the best splurges.

3. Give credit where credit’s due: Get your team together to celebrate and thank the people who contributed to your success. (Here are some reader suggestions for showing your appreciation to your assistant/secretary.)

{related: rewarding yourself for a job well done}

4. Speaking of thanking… Do something nice to express your gratitude a partner/spouse who has supported you along the way.

5. Have a low-key night to yourself: Get takeout from your favorite restaurant and/or relax with wine and Netflix. (Check out some binge-worthy shows recommended by readers.)

6. Toast yourself for a job well done: If this gives you pause, check out our recent post on alcohol in the office.

What do you think are the best ways to celebrate a professional win? Have you ever seen a colleague celebrate an accomplishment in a way you wouldn’t choose?

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The Personal (& Professional) Benefits of Handing Off Lead Generation

Home improvement contractors who leave the time-consuming and ever-changing work of lead generation to third parties like Modernize can finally get around to bigger and better things.

To put it simply, it’s very unrealistic for contractors to actually find the time or wherewithal to do everything their company needs doing as it seeks to grow, from mastering marketing strategies and nurturing leads well to expanding your digital footprint and optimizing your homeowner data. And in the realm of lead generation, the minutiae gets so specific that even after having mastered it, its various corners will continue to evolve, requiring your attention once again (and then again after that).

There are many reasons to sign up with a company like Modernize to handle your lead generation, but a frequently overlooked reason is a world of opportunity that will open up to you now that you’re not sweating to generate new leads or close new business every day. Rather, you’ll be able to focus on what you’re best at doing, whether your expertise is in completing home improvement projects like solar, windows, roofing, HVAC, and so on, or generally assisting homeowners with existing infrastructure. And while you know best what your priorities are outside of that, here are some ideas to consider that can sweeten your personal time, enhance your professional aptitudes, and overall give you back some of your own time.

From time off to therapeutic activities, there is a lot you will be able to do for your own physical, mental, and social health with your new allowance of personal time.

Take Your Partner On Vacation — Or Hit It Solo

No, it’s not unreasonable to simply take a break. You’ve worked hard to reach a point where you can invest in the future. When doing so saves you slices of time you’ve been overworking to fill with lead generation, it’s okay to grab a friend or loved one and head off. Whether you rent a car and drive far away for a weekend or grab a last-minute flight to another country (or city you’ve always wanted to visit), low-cost and fun opportunities are out there specifically for this purpose.

And if you’re reluctant to go on a trip for purely personal reasons, think of a city or neighborhood whose home improvements (or homes themselves) have always intrigued you. Is there a place other than your city that might help you imagine new ways and ideas to bring back to work?

Learn Something New — For Free

From HarvardX (yeah, Harvard) to Coursera and Khan Academy, there are lots of services that offer you access to online classes in virtually any subject. Adjacent to your specialty, check out classes like Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster and The Architectural Imagination. Sign up and immerse yourself in learning something brand new, just for you.

But an education like this is certainly not limited to personal growth. Courses like The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit and lectures like Entrepreneurial Leadership could help you better face your own work, whether in managing your projects or actually executing them. Finally, you might already know about local workshops or certifications that can further enhance your expertise or your ability to boast about it online. This is your chance to finally hunker down and sign up for one of those.

Go To a Trade Show

Conferences are popular in most industries, but most contractors don’t have time to attend them. In that sense, maybe more important is finding the time to implement what you learned at them and follow up on new things they exposed you to. Now, you could have time to prepare for, attend, and lean into the lessons you will learn from a trade show, conference, or exhibition either locally or regionally and specific to your trade.

References Are Everything — Go Get Them

You’ve got experience and it’s sometimes hard to translate that online. But with your time, you could contact your old clients, visit some of them to assess the longevity of your work, and see what they have to share about you. You could even construct a whole new referral program! From possibly (and of course with their permission) taking photos of those completed projects that you can finally add them to your testimonials tab online to actual testimonials you could throw online or share through social channels, revisiting your work could help you with creating a sustainable referral program and cycling new clients.

Connect with Manufacturers — They Might Be Waiting

Your work involves a lot of products and you are likely not making all of them. As you keep finding yourself a middle man between homeowners and the various products they’re buying (if they’re not buying them from you), consider using your newfound time to reach out to some of these manufacturers about potential partnerships. Maybe you find something interesting in a product you’ve always recommended and are able to get a cut of those sales, or maybe you’re mentioned on their very site as an expert in that product. Regardless of the specifics, harnessing new relationships with companies and people in the industry who are adjacent to your own work is nearly always a positive endeavor.

Time is The Most Precious Commodity

In 2019, the same old approach to home improvement lead generation is not going to cut it. The intrinsic value of turn to a company like Modernize for help in that regard is what you personally get from handing over the headache of lead generation to a third party that is fully dedicated to it. We keep ourselves busy learning the newest trends in lead generation, in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), in marketing strategies, in data analysis, and so on. As you know well about your specific field, mastering a craft means continuously learning about it and its emerging evolution.

It’s okay to not have time for that, and it’s okay to turn to Modernize so that you don’t need to find time for that. At Modernize, for example, we use the thousands of surveys homeowners submit to us to learn more about homeowner needs and challenges in the home improvement space — whether for solar, roofing, HVAC, windows, or other projects. Learn more about our most recent findings in the latest Homeowner Survey Index: Q1 2019. If you want to get back to focusing on what you do so that clients can better appreciate your work, consider a company like Modernize so you are no longer on the hook for leads—we’ll be here, staying ahead of the news and staying prepared to help you.

Take a load off! Let us handle your digital marketing strategy

The post The Personal (& Professional) Benefits of Handing Off Lead Generation appeared first on Modernize.



Things All Professional Women Should Know How to Do

Things All Professional Women Should Know How to Do

What are things all professional women should know how to do by age 30, 40, 50, or 60?

So, a loooong time ago, readers had a threadjack on “things all 35-year-old professional women should know/do” — I thought it was a fun discussion, but it particularly stood out because one of my first freelanced stories, back when I was a magazine journalist (before law school), was basically this concept. I don’t remember if it was ever published or not (I vaguely remember the publication going belly-up before the article came out), but I remember making a hard sell to my editor for why all women should know how to tango. 

This is why we probably shouldn’t have 22-year-olds write these things. 

After all, knowing how to tango is great, but if you do NOT know how to tango, do not in any way feel deficient in your life. (In fact, for most of the things on this list, don’t feel deficient if you can’t do them yet.) I thought I’d come up with a few fun things and then turn it over to you guys — what do you think all 35-year-old professional women should know how to do? (Does your answer change if the age changes? What is it for 30, 40, 50, 60?)

ANYWAY. I thought I’d round up my top 5 — I’d love to hear yours!

Five Things All Professional Women Should Know How To Do:

#5: Sing Your Own Praises

Keep track of your own accomplishments, and don’t feel bad about raising them in meetings with bosses, clients, and others.

#4: Say Thank You / Give Genuine Praise

As you become a leader and have more say in whom you work with, being genuinely appreciative and grateful for the skills and work of those around you is an important quality to cultivate. And I don’t just mean the executive team — everyone who’s employed by your company!

#3: Know When to Admit Your Mistakes

I have a Post-it on my computer that says “Grace, Not Perfection” — because mistakes happen! Know when to to admit your mistakes — and when to ask for help. Which leads us to our next one… 

#2: Delegate

You. Can. Not. Do. It. All. Yourself. Say it with me, ladies — learning how and when to delegate in your personal and professional life is super important.

The #1 Thing All Professional Women Should Know How To Do:

#1: Say No

Noooooooooooooooooo. No. It’s a single sentence! It’s ok to say no to professional and personal things. Don’t feel like you need long, wordy explanations or apologies. Just. Say. No.

Readers, over to you — what do you think are the things that all professional women should know how to do? How does your answer differ for, say, a 30-year-old and a 50-year-old? 

Picture credit: Fotolia / Monkey Business.

What things should all career women know, whether by age 35 or in general? Kat shared her top 5 things all professional women should know how to do, including how to sing your own praises, how to say no, how to delegate, and more! Don't miss the comments -- lots of great thoughts from the readers on which skills younger professional women should cultivate.

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Millennial Moves: PR Professional Builds Cigars and Whiskey Experiential Event

Millennials are creating and establishing experiential event spaces to increase engagement, awareness, knowledge-building, and most importantly, including the “culture.”  At 27 years old, Kerry Smalls is a director at public relations firm The Chamber Group, and creator of lifestyle event Cigars & Whiskey. In an interview, he discusses his career trajectory and what it took to build his event brand.

Describe the concept behind your brand Cigars & Whiskey.

The sole basis for the creation of Cigars & Whiskey is the idea of connection. Through living and working in New York, I realized how many people were in my network, and also, who they were connected to but would never have the opportunity to meet because of their differing careers and personal lives. My aim is to bring different minds together to forge nontraditional relationships while enjoying a nontraditional luxury experience that millennials do not often experience: cigars and whiskey—a personal favorite.

Cigars and whiskey are associated with financial gain, wealth, business, and the pleasantries of life—things young millennials, specifically my community of African Americans, are not traditionally exposed to if they don’t go out seeking it and that’s an issue. I want to be able to provide that atmosphere for those people—an atmosphere that inspires someone to change their life.

As a millennial entrepreneur how important is an experiential event to the culture? 

Experiential events are key, especially to culture. In fact, I can’t see a brand reaching their maximum potential without some type of tangible activation or experience that the consumer can latch on to in order to connect the dots to the product or service that is being offered. We live an age where, thanks to social media, visuals mean more than anything. People want something they can feel, touch, and see for themselves.

How has your job, as head of a celebrity public relations firm, prepared you for your latest venture? 

My job, at least nowadays, is connecting the culture to the masses. Creating untraditional scenarios and narratives in order to move a brand from point A to point B. In order to do that effectively, I have to at all times know what is going on in the streets. My career in the business has taught me strategy, it’s taught me timing, it’s taught me execution. But most importantly, it’s forced me to stay ahead of trends and understand the generation that I essentially am marketing to and inviting to my events.

How does Cigars & Whiskey differ from other events geared toward millennials? If you create the environment, the people will come. Simple as put. We don’t want Cigars & Whiskey to just be seen as a party or mixer. Yes, it is social and the events are being created so that you have fun but we want our guests to walk away feeling more inspired than when they entered. We want to send our guests on their way with new relationships and experiences that they can utilize for the betterment of their personal and professional lives.

What tips can you provide to any up-and-coming millennial entrepreneurs who wish to work in your field? 

There are many tips and tricks that I’ve learned that keep me going but the few I focus on the most lately are the following:

  • Work hard, at whatever it is you do and expect nothing in return.
  • Build with like-minded people. As you get older, everyone takes up space. Surround yourself with people that offer something to your life both professionally and personally. You will see that this is effective when you are taking that first leap of faith with your business.
  • Take nothing personally when doing business. You will get hurt when things don’t pan out the way you’d wish they had.
  • Consider your pros and cons but don’t ever let the cons deter you away from making an actual decision. Usually, that means that the move is risky, and typically, that is where you could see the most reward.
  • Balance. Don’t go at that thing so hard that you burn yourself out and jeopardize your creative thinking. Self-care is real. Find enjoyment in your work, even if in small bits. And outside of work, learn to relax. Turn it off. Have fun. The second you stop having fun, you need to go back and re-evaluate why you started doing it in the first place. In that space is where you find the inspiration to keep going.

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