4 Ways Running Can Help You Run A Business

Are you a runner or is shopping your cardio? 😉

The author finishing a 5k

I started running later in life (i.e. post-school), and I’m so glad I did. Besides being excellent exercise, it’s fun to be a part of such a wonderful community. The running community embraces runners of all capabilities and provides support in the form of running partners, groups and tips from more experienced runners.

A Supportive Community 

A supportive community is one way that running translates to running a business. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you’re probably working alone. Tapping into the entrepreneurial community can help you grow and manage your business. Whether you frequent a co-working space or join an online community, fellow small business owners can give you advice, help you brainstorm ideas and offer support from someone who understands what you’re experiencing.

Related: Is collaboration the new competition?

Long-Term Plan

Runners tend to have a long-term plan, incorporating when they’re competing in races, rest days and specific things they’re working on (i.e. a stronger kick, running technique). Small business owners need to plan as well, so they can run their business effectively and look for growth opportunities. Looking at your bigger picture helps when making decisions about what opportunities to pursue and which areas to focus on at specific times. Of course the best plans should always be adjustable.

Rest Days / Down Time

As noted above, part of a runner’s long-term plan is incorporating rest days. They’re vital to performing well, in running and business. Small business owners tend to wear a lot of hats, which can make it difficult to unplug. It’s important to your long-term outlook (and health) that you take time for yourself so you can be at your best when focusing on your business. Don’t burn yourself out and short circuit your business before you’re able to achieve your dreams. Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Related: How to Take a Break from Technology Without Moving to the Woods

Aha Moments 

When I run, I listen to my tunes and try to empty my mind (or think of inspirational movie scenes if I need an extra boost to reach the top of the hill). I’m not thinking about customers, business issues or other important topics. That’s probably why I come up with some of my best ideas or feel confident making a decision I’ve been thinking about after a run. The combination of physical activity, clearing my mind and the euphoria of finishing my run seems to spark creativity and clarify my decision-making process. The next time you’re struggling with a business decision or client project, go for a run. It may spark an ‘aha moment!’

Running translates well to running a business on several fronts. Runners can draw inspiration and insight from their hobby while they tackle the tough task of running a business. Not a runner? It’s never too late to lace ’em up and hit the pavement or trails. Couch to 5k can help you get started, or find a running community to join. You’ll find the same support, camaraderie and inspiration as you find in your entrepreneurial or small business community.

Happy running (a business)!

Just a (small biz owner &) runner from Akron,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about small business life, running, your marketing needs or otherwise):

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A Nation Full of Dreamers: Who inspired you?

Today would have been Sally Ride’s 64th birthday. She’s widely known as the first American woman in space, no doubt inspiring millions to dream big and shoot for the stars (literally).

Sally Ride's 64th birthday

Not as widely known is her work on Earth, educating millions of kids in science, especially girls and minorities. As someone who broke barriers, Ride, a physicist, wanted non-traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students to know that they could succeed in these fields too.

Most of us have someone who inspired us to do what we do. It could be a family friend or well-known individual in your field. We asked CCC Facebook fans what book transported them to a defining moment or event in their life, and Missy Radecki, an RN and Associate Professor of Nursing, gave a tremendous response.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly….published in 1997, memoir by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby editor of French Elle. He had a stroke at the age of 43, woke 20 days later and had locked in syndrome, he wrote the book by blinking. It gave me insight into being a patient and how he saw his nurses….I was moved by it and was the cornerstone of how I treated my patients.”

That question was inspired by a book I read while in college, A Big Life (in advertising). The author, Mary Wells Lawrence, rose through the ranks in the advertising world and ended up owning her own agency when few women made it past the secretary pool. The Mad Men finale triggered memories of reading this book, which is set during the same era, and encouraged me to pull it from my office book shelves.

When I read this book, I was pursuing a degree in advertising, so Lawrence’s message of success hit home. Despite ad agencies still being male-dominated, I knew I could survive and even thrive on Madison Ave, just like she (and Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway) did. It was a bonus when I discovered that Lawrence hails from Ohio, just like yours truly.

So thank you, Mary Wells Lawrence, for living your big life (in advertising) and inspiring a fellow Ohioan to follow in your footsteps. Maybe one day I’ll get there.

Who fueled your dreams?   

p.s. Another great book by a woman who excelled during the ‘Mad Men’ era of advertising is Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond by Jane Maas.

Living a big life,
Jaime

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Writer’s Block: 4 Ways You Can Break Through the Wall

You sit down at your computer to write an inspiring blog post and you get nothing. Maybe it takes the form of a brick wall or just an expansive black void. Everyone suffers from writer’s block from time to time, but how do you break through it to produce meaningful content?

Blinded by the beauty of nature this afternoon. #nature #hiking

A post shared by Jaime Shine (@jaimeshine) on

Current Events: What’s going on in the world right now? It’s so important to be up on current events, not only to make small talk with potential customers and partners, but also so you can tap the pulse of the world, your country, your industry or your city in your blog. It may surprise you how often there’s a connection between what’s going on in the outside world and what you do. For example: Where Has All of the Good Journalism Gone? | The Olympics: A Global Brand (Kind Of)

Your Story: Your journey on the road of owning a business (or excelling in your industry) shouldn’t be shared only during networking events and hostage situations (kidding on that last one). Talk about memorable moments or how you handled difficult situations. People want to hear from people who have lived through similar experiences. Your personal observations can help others navigate through chaotic moments. For example: Jumping Off A Cliff: My 1st Year As An Entrepreneur | An Omnipresent View? The Life of a Small Business Owner

Your Customers: While you’re answering your customers’ questions, jot them down. Chances are that other people have the same questions. Sometimes when a client asks me a question, I actually think, ‘there’s a blog post in there!’ Don’t be afraid to talk about successful case studies either, especially unique ones. Of course, you should make sure your client’s comfortable with using its name or just talk in generalities if you’re not comfortable doing that. For example: Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation | Should You Slim Down (on Social Media)?

Your Interests: Have you watched an intriguing movie lately? Attended a thought-provoking lecture? Read an inspiring book? Talk about it. Tell your audience why it affected you and how you’re using the experience in your professional life. You may be surprised at how your everyday life spills over into your business. Trust me, I didn’t set out making leg lamp cookies to learn about my business, but I did.

Your Inspiration: I wanted to be two people when I grew up: MacGyver and Ricardo Tubbs. Either that, or join the A-Team. What does that have to do with your business? Everything. I shared with my readers how MacGyver can inspire their marketing efforts and how to model your team after the best there ever was, the A-Team. Oh, and don’t forget about how Elvis can inspire your success. Big fan here! Use your inspirations to inspire others. You never know what will cause that ‘ah ha’ moment in someone else.

Your Turn

How do you beat writer’s block?

What other writing prompts have you used to break through the wall?

What’s your favorite blog post where someone tied in an unexpected subject to business?

Black belt (in beating writer’s block),
Jaime

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What inspires you?

Inspiration. It’s a beautiful thing but can be hard to come by sometimes. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Need inspiration? Look at nature.

Typically, I hit the ground running. Physical activity, especially in serene natural settings, does wonders for my creativity and mind (not to mention my health). Today, it was a candle-lit bubble bath with a great book. Delving into another world opened up my mind to blog topics and content marketing ideas. Other days, a quick meditation may do the trick.

Related reading: Need an Idea? Just Walk Away

So, what inspires you? Whether it’s an intriguing piece of art, an upbeat Zumba class or a person you hold dear, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Chime in and help inspire us all to greater things.

Humming the Rocky theme song,
Jaime

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A Picture’s Worth A Lifetime of Inspiration

crossing the finish line of my first half-marathon


This picture shows me crossing the finish line of my first half-marathon in 2011. It was so much more than just a race though. At this moment, exhausted and hurting, I realized that I could achieve so much more in life. No more just accepting the status quo. Since this picture was taken, I’ve completed two more half-marathons (and dozens of 5ks & 10ks), continued on my healthy journey, started my own business and sat down to think about what I wanted out of life — not just what everyone else wanted from me.

What was your aha moment? What’s your picture that’s worth a lifetime of inspiration? Please share! I’m looking forward to being inspired.

Cheers,
Jaime

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Wilson: Friend, Confidant & Idea Man

As I’ve noted before, I like to get moving when I’m trying to think,  brainstorm or solve a problem. It just works for me and apparently I’m not alone, as I’ve seen this tactic cited in various business and news publications.

Related reading: Need an Idea? Just Walk Away…

Granted I’m an active person and sometimes need to dispel a little extra energy, so sitting behind a desk just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes I’ll hit the trails for a blood-pumping run or a quiet yet vigorous hike, where I’m always inspired by the sheer beauty of nature.

Hocking Hills Resevoir

The beauty of nature inspires me.

On other days, I’m content to take a brisk walk around my neighborhood, through the park, soaking up the sunshine, to get the ideas flowing. That’s when Wilson joins me.

Wilson -- my idea generator

Meet Wilson, my friend, confidant & idea man.

Wilson is my friend, confidant and idea man. I’ve hashed out many a good plan bouncing Wilson while traversing the streets of my neighborhood. I’ve made decisions, outlined blog posts and constructed marketing plans for clients with him by my side. For some reason, he inspires ideas within me. Perhaps it’s the added activity of bouncing the ball or the rhythmic feel of the worn, fuzzy surface hitting my hand. Whatever it is, it works.

Yes, Wilson is a pink, fuzzy tennis ball. On a whim, I picked up a tube of tennis balls on clearance at Target a few years ago. (Hence, the pink.) I don’t own a tennis racquet, so clearly that wasn’t the plan. I just knew when I looked at that tube on the shelf that I needed to take Wilson (and his bros) home. Who knew?

I’m curious… what unexpected item or situation sparks your genius? Are you a mover and shaker or do you like to meditate and chill out? Do you have a lucky charm that you always take to presentations or always drink the same tea while writing? Do you hit the cinema or catch a poetry reading when you need to crank up the old brain?

What inspires you?

Cheers,
Jaime

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My 2013 Bucket List: Six Months In

“Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.”     –Lesley Carter

Earlier this year, I came across Lesley Carter’s 2013 bucket list and was inspired to create my own. (Ed. Note: If you haven’t checked out Lesley’s Bucket List Publications, please do so. What an inspiration!)

Related reading: My 2013 Bucket List: What’s On Yours?

It struck me a few days ago that we’re already half way through the year. Crazy, isn’t it?! So I wanted to post an update and see how I’m doing so far.

Without further ado… (items crossed out have been accomplished:

  • Attend a Kent State University basketball game (my alma mater!)
  • Go ice skating
  • Watch a hockey game live
  • Attend a professional networking event
  • Go for a twilight hike
Lake Erie Monsters hockey

I love Zambonis! Watching the Lake Erie Monsters

  • Enter a trail running event
  • Register for my first triathlon
  • Get together with my family at least monthly <So far, so good!>
  • Celebrate special occasions with family & friends <Just celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday and Father’s Day this past week! Next up, my brother’s birthday.>
  • Watch the inauguration festivities for the first time
Valentine's Day wreath

A slightly different take on a Valentine’s Day wreath…

  • Bring on 5 new dream clients <On pace, lots of activity right now…>
  • Read 100 books! (Yep, full fledged book worm here.) <I need to start counting!>
  • Write the first chapter of my novel
  • Make time for me 🙂
  • Jump out of another airplane!
Dark Tower Series

Finished 6 of 7 Dark Tower books by Stephen King… along with a few others.

  • Go to the theatre
  • Pay It Forward
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take advanced coding classes
  • Attend a NASCAR race
KSU + Haven of Rest = Pay It Forward

Proud to join the KSU Alumni crew at Haven of Rest for National Day of Service 2013

  • Spa day 🙂
  • Finally bring home a furry friend
  • Travel, travel, travel — across town & across the world
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
sunset at Canal Park

Watching the sunset at Canal Park

  • Step outside of my comfort zone
  • Watch the fireworks at an Aeros game
  • Book a spontaneous getaway
  • Unplug & connect with nature for a day
  • Laugh often
  • Create with my hands
Mother Nature's beauty

Enjoying the serene Alder Pond at Gorge Metro Park

  • Swim in the ocean
  • Walk on water again –> paddle boarding 🙂
  • Get up close & personal to the octagon at a UFC event
  • Be ready for my next great opportunity & pounce on it
  • Get muddy often

How about you? How are you doing on your 2013 bucket list? It’s not too late to create one! Leave your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

Dark Tower books photo courtesy of The Dark Tower Official Website
All other photos from my personal collection 

Smiling in the sunshine,
Jaime

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How MacGyver Can Inspire Your Marketing Efforts

I wanted to be MacGyver when I grew up. [Who’s MacGyver?] Not Cinderella or Barbie or Sassette Smurfling (although living in the Smurf Village wouldn’t have been so bad.)

macgyver in action

MacGyver was always thinking, which inspired me to do the same.

Why? MacGyver was a thinker. He didn’t just shoot someone (didn’t even carry a gun in fact) or take the easy way out of a situation. He used logic. He stepped back, looked at a problem from all angles (even under extreme circumstances) and figured out a solution. That impressed me even at a young age.

MacGyver wasn’t flashy; he just went about his business of fixing things and saving people while living his life. The fact that he happened to get into shaky circumstances so often didn’t seem to phase him at all. I related to him as a thinker, an introvert, a problem solver.

Not everyone did though. For show and tell in second grade one week, we were supposed to talk about our favorite superhero. I was excited to talk about MacGyver: how cool he was, and how I wanted to be like him when I grew up. You know, a non-violent secret agent who has a scientific background and uses everyday items to solve major issues. Practical, right?

Anyway, I announced that my favorite hero was MacGyver, which my teacher promptly rebutted with, “MacGyver isn’t a superhero.” My response, “Why? Because he doesn’t wear tights?” My sarcasm was evident even as a seven-year-old.

MacGyver didn’t need tights or special powers, just a Swiss Army knife, encyclopedic knowledge and common sense.

Marketing professionals can learn a lot from this fictional character and utilize MacGyver’s ‘tools’ to succeed.

  • Knowledge is power. The more you know about your industry, organization, objectives and marketing will put you in a position to succeed.
  • Always be prepared. MacGyver carried his Swiss Army knife wherever he went just in case. What’s your Swiss Army knife? A master binder covering every detail of your event? Your company’s marketing plan? Your smartphone? Whatever it is, know where it is at all times.
  • Be flexible. Yes, you need to plan. But the best laid plans can change on a dime, and you need to adapt to your surroundings.
  • Solve problems. Sometimes we get so caught up in marketing, that we forget our primary goal is to solve a problem — our company’s, a client’s, a non-profit organization’s that we’re volunteering for. [I’d be remiss not to mention Jeff Bullas’ excellent post on this subject: Why Solving Problems Beats Marketing.]
  • Think. You have a brain; use it. Don’t overreact to every situation and try to ‘do’ your way out of it. No matter how crazy it seems, you have time to step back, look at a problem from all angles and come up with a solution. Use logic to fight (metaphorical) fires, and more often than not, you’ll put them out much quicker.
macgyver scaling a mountain

He may not wear tights, but he does scale mountains! Looks like a superhero to me.

See, MacGyver really is a superhero. As a marketing professional, you can use the same tools he did to succeed and be a hero to your clients, boss, business associates and colleagues.

Now it’s your turn.

What’s the go to ‘tool’ in your arsenal?

Do you agree with the tools I mentioned? What am I missing?

Did another character inspire you when you were growing up?

Chime in! I’d love to hear your thoughts on MacGyver, inspirational characters, the aforementioned ‘tools’ to succeed, marketing or whatever’s on your mind today.

Photos courtesy of the Richard Dean Anderson Website (Yep, that’s MacGyver.)
Video courtesy of the CBS Television YouTube Channel

Your marketing secret agent,
Jaime

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Run For Boston: #BostonStrongAkron

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.

This quote by Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame) has popped up across social media networks since the horrendous news broke of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

In the wake of tragedy come inspirational stories of courage, people rushing to help the victims in whatever way they can. At the scene. By donating blood. Financially. Keeping those affected in thoughts & prayers. 

#BostonStrong

A runner and blogger who goes by the handle Pavement Runner wanted to do something more, something he could feel. What do runners do? They run. This avid runner organized a community run in San Francisco, #BostonStrongSF, and invited runners across the world to unite and run for Boston on Monday, April 22nd. [see A Week After: A Run For Boston In Your City]

News spread. A friend of mine on Twitter created an event in Long Valley, NJ, and I noticed it in my Twitter feed. I checked out Pavement Runner’s blog post and was inspired to create #BostonStrongAkron to get a group together here.

#BostonStrongAkron

If you’re in the Akron area, please join us at 6pm EST on Monday, April 22nd at the Sand Run Metro Park Towpath Trail (near the N. Portage Path & Sand Run Pkwy intersection). All ages and running experience are welcome. If you’re a walker, then walk! Can’t make it at 6pm EST? Run or walk on your own and chime in on the event page. Photos and thoughts are appreciated from attendees in person and in spirit.

Not in the Akron area? Check out the other 80+ events around the world or host your own. Or just go for a run with a buddy and think about the brave people in Boston who reacted heroically to this situation.

>>>Whatever you do, I’d love to hear from you.<<< Leave a comment about your run, walk or event that is honoring the victims and those who rushed to help in Boston. If you don’t have an event near you, you’re welcome to participate in spirit at #BostonStrongAkron. Jump over to our event page and say hi!

Please help spread the news about #BostonStrong, so we can invite and inspire as many people as possible. Remember, look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.

#BostonStrong banner courtesy of Pavement Runner

Grateful for the helpers,
Jaime

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