OpenLink event Interview to be aired Friday, Sept. 10 on My Carolina Today!

See our interview on My Carolina Today! Airing, Friday NBC 17, @ 11 am. Greg Hyer, Founder of and I, are talking about the power of networking and speaking about our upcoming event OpenLink. Sept. 16th, 6-9 pm, Solas restaurant, Rooftop. Interview to be listed and promoted on their website also, at 3 pm Friday. presents OpenLink event at Solas restaurant, Sept 16th

Come and network for FREE with local professionals and business owners while supporting a good cause.
On 9/16/2010 will be hosting the OpenLink Networking Event and School Supplies Drive presented by Solas Restaurant Lounge & Rooftop in downtown Raleigh.
This event is open to all members of this group and their guests. We ask that you do use this page to register for the event and let us know how many guest you are bringing.
We are proud to announce that we have partnered with the United Way of the Greater Triangle for this event.
We ask that you bring one school supply item to this event. All collected school supplies will be given to the United Way of the Greater Triangle to distribute to teachers and students throughout the Triangle. School supply items can include unopened packages of pens, pencils, dry erase markers, filler paper, notebooks, backpacks, etc. For more information about the United Way of the Greater Triangle please visit:
Would you like to partner with by helping sponsor this event?
We are offering two very affordable packages that any small business owner would be crazy not to take advantage the opportunity. Contact me at for all the details.

Bartering is Alive and Well!

Do you remember way back to grade school when you didn’t like what your mother packed you for lunch and neither did your “BFF” (Best Friend forever)? So the two of you decided to trade the 3 Oreo cookies for his/her chocolate pudding. Those were the days of innocence and adventure. Nothing could stop the exchange of goods. Neither one of you like the food choice so it was inevitable to do “the trade”!
Well, today, the same principle applies. Trading and Bartering is still alive and well in today’s society. We all have wants and needs. Some of us have those, but can’t justify the cost, but in order to survive in today’s economy or our businesses, we find a suitable partner “Do the trade” For example, I have a marketing service that I can easily use my time to provide, while the other person is helping me to build a website. Easy enough and understandably so. I need the website, primarily because I don’t have the time to learn how to build one and they are more knowledgeable about it , and he needs marketing assistance. Bingo, deal done, no money exchanged. It makes sense.
The most notable example of a “trade” was when a person traded a red paper clip all the way up to a house! Can you imagine the possibilities if done right? Amazing!
There are some rules that apply and must be adhered to in order for “the trade” to be a success. There are always advantages and disadvantages to every trade. We really do, in this instance, compare “Apples to Oranges.”
1) The “Tit for Tat” rule: The value of each must be equal. Or it sours the deal.
It doesn’t make any sense if the want or need is not the same. If the only thing you have to offer in the deal is something the other doesn’t need or want, then obviously the trade won’t happen. But, then there is always the “Triangular Exchange” Where a third party enters into the arrangement and you eventually get what is needed.
2) The “Tit for Tat” rule and Time and effort plays a part:
Do we really need to measure the amount of time it takes to accomplish the trade? Yes. The time and effort it takes one party, might not be equal to the other service or product in the exchange. That is where both parties have to agree on the scope of work and effort.
3) Another disadvantage: Tax consequences. If you are essentially on the “up and up” on your values, and a invoice is part of the exchange to justify the exchange, one is obligated to show it on the “books” of the business. That is when your CPA starts to question and the value of the service or product is recorded as income on the “books.” So because I am not a CPA I cannot give any more advice on the matter. Consult your accountant for the validity of the exchange and how it is reported. Yes, the IRS has set rules in place to account for the exchange.
4) Tax Credits: The best advantage of Bartering is even though the trade was not equal in value and you are part of an actual Bartering program, you can donate the bartering credits to a charity and write it off on your taxes. Some businesses can even further the bartering process to defer or avoid paying taxes by way of the 1031 exchange, primarily used for real estate. Consult a CPA or an accountant for further explanation.
Since the ancient times, bartering has been a way of life for many, especially to combat poverty and inflation. If done right and “apples to oranges” are essentially given equal consideration, the “trade” can be done effectively and all parties are happy. You have accomplished your goal. Congratulations!
Here are some resources and links to conduct bartering practices:
1) International Trade Association
2) IRS on Bartering practices
3) Raleigh Bartering group
4) Inside919 Barter group
copyrighted by CBJ Promotional Avenues. All rights reserved. Written permission must be given for any reprint of information.

Conquering Your Fears and Challenges…

After a week long trip to my hometown with my two teenage children and driving over 9 hours each way, I have finally realized what it is like to see myself, at that age, as they are today. I can only imagine what they must think when they see me doing things I haven’t done in years and thoroughly enjoying myself and acting like a kid! Some thoughts I imagine they were thinking or whispering to themselves, i.e. “My Gosh, my Mom is so weird, why is she doing that?’ or ” She is yelling and screaming on the roller coaster loader than I am!” or “Look at my Mom, she is in the front of the raft paddling through class 5 rapids, she is fantastic!” Or at least that is the impression I want to leave them with!
I had so much fun with my teens this past week, it was awesome! For them to have let me be as weird as I wanted to, yell as loud as I wanted to, scream out my lungs on the roller coasters and tackle the rapids in the New River Gorge, was the best possible time I could spend with them! Just hanging out and not being a Mom so much, except when needed, and letting my hair down about work and being a kid.
Sometimes in life we have had some experiences that have left us with a memory that not only challenges us, but keeps the gripes of fear riveted in our brains, that we cannot overcome. It is not until we let ourselves experience all the wonders that life has to offer and then some, to fully appreciate our youth. The young are fearless for a reason. The young are impressionable for a reason. We are shaped by our experiences. If we grow up being fearful, we won’t experience half the most pleasurable and rewarding moments in our lives. For this reason alone, I will no longer dreamily want to do something or experience something, I will just do it! Of course if it is within my power and financial wherewithal to do it.
Why is it, that our brains hold onto these memories and experiences, whether positive or negative? Well, from what I gather, and I am not a scientist or anything close to it, but, we are shaped by the moments and they make us who we are today. Character traits are an important part of us. We live our lives by what has been taught to us, what we have experienced, who has passed down from generation to generation the traditions and principles, and most importantly what our parents exemplify to us. For the latter, we are who are parents teach us by example and passed onto us. If they are negative or even negatively perceived lessons or examples, it is up to us as individuals, to change the pattern, or the experience or the lesson. I believe you should break that mold and become your own person. Shape your own destiny, take bits and pieces of the best part of the lessons taught, and move forward in a manner that fits YOU!
I had a bad experience on the river several several years ago. The raft and guide ran us right into a huge boulder, we got trapped on the rock with the raft having flipped up onto us, covering us. We ended up finally being able to release the raft and having to jump into the river, class 5 rapids, and floating down to an area of safety. Very harrowing experience for a 17-18 year old. Very eye opening and memorable experience. I was able to go down the river one more time after that, and then the fear set in from the experience. It took me another 20+ years, and many other kinds of moments and experiences to finally overcome that fear of the river. Not to say, one shouldn’t be fearful of the river, but very cautious and respectful of it.
The point I am trying to make in all of this is the fact that, no matter what, do not let anything or anyone hold you back from doing what you want to do or know is right. Our experiences shape us. Don’t let one bad experience gripe you and take hold forever. Conquer the fear, own it, and experience a new one. I had the best time with my kids and they didn’t even know about my bad experience with the river until after. I didn’t want to scare them. I didn’t want to impose my fear onto them and shape their decision to experience a rush one can grow to love, the thrill of adventure!
I can emphatically transpose this type of lesson or overcoming my fear/challenge to my business life. As an entrepreneur, for years I had dreamed of starting my own business. I put myself on the back burner for years, while I resoundingly took care of my family and children. I have very much been rewarded taking care of them, but my itch to start my business was there looming in the background. I helped run a business with my husband for 5 years, but it wasn’t until I struck out on my own, that my passion of being a business owner, had taken hold. Since my business beginning, Aug, 2, 2007, three years ago, I have experienced so many more positive and negative moments, lessons, and growth, that it has spurred me to incorporating the passion into my personal life more as well.. One should never hold themselves back from experiences. If you can swing it, “JUST DO IT” PERIOD.

Support the First Amendment with 1 for All (via News)

I believe all people of every country should have the right to the freedom of speech which is a part of the 1st amendment. My mother always taught me to express my thoughts and opinions and to never let anything hold you back. I practice this principle in my everyday undertakings, unless it is maliciously harmful to others.
No person, anywhere, should be held back from speaking their minds. It gives us the character to not only express who we are individually, but to stand together on issues with others to work together for solutions. I don’t believe our freedom of speech should be embellished or diminished in any capacity whatsoever. When that right is taken away from us, we are antagonized to the point of not being heard or not making a stand to make a difference in our world.
I do believe that there are a lot of negative viewpoints reported on TV and the news stations and not enough positive viewpoints to report about things that are good in this world. That is where we need to stand together to make the impact and take the positive from every bad situation. Where one wrong has occurred, a positive should be produced.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Born and raised on the Texas Gulf Coast, I've spent the past few months trying to wrap my head around the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent massive oil spill that is no … Read More

via News

Lease a Sales Rep hosts new networking group for CEO’s and Executives

The Triangle Catalyst
July 27th, Inaugural Networking Event
This event is for CEO’s who run businesses in the Triangle. As CEO’s our time is extremely valuable, not only in dollar value, but in opportunities lost if we are not focused with our time, energy, and networking efforts. CEO’s want to get to the point, go for the GUSTO! and make connections with like-minded individuals, that know what it is to start, grow and manage a business.
This is what Triangle Catalyst is all about.
This “CEO/Executive Only” event brings together the Biggest. Baddest, Smartest, and well connected CEO’s and executives that want to share with other like-minded people challenges that they may face in their business and get answers through relationship building and networking with peers. At the same time, we will forge new relationships, and serve as a Council of Advisors, to bounce around ideas, and to share success stories. Our Inaugural Triangle Catalyst Event will be the 1st of a series of quarterly events that will be welcomed strategic move for the busy executive.
The best part of these events will be sharing the room with major connectors and listening to other CEO’s and Leaders in their fields providing insight into what will make a difference in our businesses and economy. Big ideas, Big people, Well connected leaders, and Movers and Shakers that make decisions and make things happen will be there.
Come joins us. Don’t miss this opportunity.
This event is exclusive and limited to 50 participants. High level people with deep experiences running major companies will be attending.

You’re Invited:
July 27th, 2010
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Johnson Lexus
Test Drives too!
Speaker: Ron Smith of S & A Cherokee
Building a Business in a Challenging

Don’t wait, register TODAY!
About the speaker, Ron Smith, CEO of S&A Cherokee:
Ron Smith has worked in the communications field for more than 30 years. He has served as a newspaper reporter, newspaper editor, magazine publisher and editor and public relations counselor.
Ron began his career while in high school by working as a writer for a weekly newspaper. He worked his way through college as an employee of various newspapers and he completed his last two years of college while working at the newspaper full time. As well as, a city editor of a daily North Carolina newspaper for six years before entering the public relations field.
Ron first began in public relations from 1976 working for several advertising and public relations firms until he started S&A Cherokee in 1982.
Ron is a member of the Public Relations Society of America since 1976 having held several positions of leadership in the NC chapter society, as well as, being named NC Public Relations Master.
Host: Gilbert Pagan, CEO, Lease A Sales Rep, Inc.
Event Coordination: Christina Blandi-James, Pres.
CBJ Promotional Avenues

LinkingRaleigh presents Uplink “Social Media Marketing”

The UpLink Professional and Business Networking Luncheon is a networking luncheon opportunity for you to meet other local professionals.
Topic: Social Media Marketing and Business
This is your opportunity to come and hear from professionals of social media marketing. Gain insight, knowledge and inspiration that may help you find a new way to attract new customers and prepare you for the changes ahead.
The panelists will discuss how they use social media marketing in their role, discuss best practices and share insights into what is to come, followed by questions from attendees.
Panelists include:
* James Wong – Marketing Communications Manager at iContact
* Martin Brossman – Owner and Social Media Coach at Martin Brossman and Associates
* Greg Hyer – Founder of
Will you join us for lunch? Register TODAY!
A buffet lunch catered by The Matthews House will be provided.
Event Coordination by:
CBJ Promotional Avenues – Christina Blandi-James

2010 N.C. Chiropractic Association Wellness Symposium, Aug 14-15 @ Atlantic Beach, NC

Bring your family and enjoy the beauty of Atlantic Beach, which is known as N.C.’s “Crystal Coast”. The Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel has a fishing pier, volleyball courts, outdoor pools and tons of other fun activities. Have fun in the sun with some education and wellness fellowship!
Stay Active. Eat Healthy. Live Naturally. B E W E L L .
Featured Speakers:
* Dr. Steven Weiniger: Strengthening Posture: A Key to Moving & Aging Well
* Dr. Thomas Mitchell: Ayurveda: Theory and Practice
* Kevin Powell: Working Dorsal to Ventral to Unlock Chronic Myofascial Patterns
* Dr. Bonnie Walker: Acupuncture: Form Follows Function-Using Energetics to Influence Structure
* Properly Billing Through Integrated-ActivHealthCare, LLC
* How to Bill Out-of-Network

Followed by a Family Fun Night! Games, Volleyball tournament, food, prizes!

Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel 2717 Fort Macon Rd. Atlantic Beach, NC 28512 252-240-1155
Don’t forget to ask for the NCCA group rate starting at $159 for an oceanview room, which is subject to availability after July 14th.
We welcome all companies in the Wellness Industry to become a sponsor or an exhibitor! So if you know of someone who might be interested, please share!
Don’t wait, Space is limited, so contact us TODAY about sponsoring/exhibiting or attending!

For more information about sponsoring or to register as an exhibitor, please contact Christina of CBJ Promotional Avenues, at 919.796.5704.

Work and Life Balance….Are You Living your “BEST” Life?

As luck would have it, I did not bring my laptop with me on my mini vacation! I was fortunate. I did have many phone calls for requests for my attention and luckily I handled them quite quickly. How many times have you been hard pressed to answer the”call of duty” while away on vacation? It is almost impossible to get away as a solopreneur without thinking, wondering, and analyzing your next moves and how to handle them efficiently. You just want to get away and not think. Is it possible? Can we shut our brains down enough to unwind, enjoy the family and let loose just a bit? Sometimes, but it is another skill that we must learn in order to balance our lives and live our “BEST” life.
Our “BEST” life. What does that mean to you?
* Does it mean, shutting our computers off at a certain time of day, even though we have many more tasks on our “to do” list?
* Does it mean, not worrying about what is next on the agenda and putting it off until tomorrow, so that we can make our kids baseball game or swim meet?
* Does it mean, we have to schedule our work according to our everyday lives to balance and feel at peace with how things are going in our lives?
If you answered yes to most of the questions, then you are on the right track! Yes, we have to schedule our work around what is going on in our lives, in order to achieve the peace and synergy that we crave. How could we not? Life is a balancing/juggling act. With all the things that we are responsible for, not only our work requirements, but our children’s lives and all of their activities, our vacations, days off, sick time, school / homework time and help, fitting in fitness (yes, fitting and scheduling it in is a must! It really does help you to focus and stay on track when you feel you are strong), and even more educational learning and development times, how do we do it?
One of the best answers that I can give to anyone is, that as much as we try to achieve our ideal work-life balance, not everyday can be scheduled and kept to the same routine. It will vary everyday! If you think it is going to go accordingly everyday and it be the same, guess again! And it shouldn’t. How boring would that be, to know that everyday you’re going to know exactly what you are doing at every given moment? BORING! Be flexible and it will be that much more rewarding in the end of your day. That you got exactly what you needed to get accomplished and your personal life did not suffer either!
How do we do that?
* Schedule your work day, making sure that the most important tasks are done first thing in the morning.
* Do you know where the closest fountain or water source is to sit by and listen to while you relax just a bit to eat your lunch outside? Water is very calming.
* Condense the meeting and phone conferences into specific time periods and don’t let idle talk take over the tasks on the agenda and you might just be able to “cut” out early to enjoy your drive home and catch the last tumble of your daughter’s gymnastics practice to surprise her!
* When you get home to the family, do not answer the phone or talk business (unless it is urgent or can’t wait) while your child is standing there waiting for you to throw the ball or go swimming…they do remember it.
* Catch a movie with the kids or watch AFV with the kids and laugh your head off!
* When you do get away, focus solely on the family or your vacation time. If you have to address any work issues (while you’re away) , get it done and move on!
* There are 4 areas in our lives to focus on: Work, Children/Family, Friends, and Self. Each of these takes precedence over the other sometimes.
* Commit everyday to achieving the simplistic ideals of balancing all of these areas. If you do, you will have attained your goal, PEACE within yourself and for others.
Life will takes its toll on all of us, but if we can achieve our work/life balance we will live our “BEST” life. Life is too short not to work hard at LIVING, ACHIEVING AND ENJOYING all the finer things in life that it has to offer! It is up to us, to make sure we are doing what we need to do!

Where are all the results? The numbers game….

How long have you been in the marketing arena? Have you made a difference in the world of business? Have you become a maven of sorts to bring more business to another business and been rewarded accordingly? It’s about the middle of the year, have you measured all the metrics to see where your clients stand? And if you have incorporated social media into the mix of the marketing strategies, how do you measure it and its return by way of customers, followers, fans, etc. and More BUSINESS!
More and more these days, marketers are pressured to show how they measure up to delivering the results by what they are preaching. It is about the numbers game. In this economy and the way things have gone here lately, we are hard pressed to deliver. Can you show me the results of this email marketing campaign? Can you fill the seats for this convention? Where are all the people and why are they not walking in the door? If you have had these kinds of questions asked of you, as a marketer, you about to fidget in your seat to deliver just what they ask. So how do we justify all the work we are doing? It’s simple: the economy has changed and the way business is done, is a completely different ball game. It takes time and lots of effort on the marketers part to continue to keep “pushing” the company information out and then ask or “hope” for the kind of return that is ideally wanted. The number one thing I can say is, it takes time to build a following, to build a reputation and customer loyalty.
The typical way of marketing and getting the word out there about your business and all its doing is not just the old fashioned way. Print, direct mail pieces (letters, post cards, flyers) tv, radio, etc. Now we have to incorporate new media into the mix and then figure out where all the business is coming from and focus our marketing dollars on those specific efforts that bring the most results. But, unfortunately like most small businesses who are limited in their budgets, we have to have the best metrics tools around that are cost effective and doesn’t break the “bank” until we are further into the growth cycle of our business. As statistics would have it, more than half of all small businesses fail within the first 5 years.
In order for us to not fail, these are the things we must do as small businesses to succeed the failure rate and live our passion.
* Determine what marketing activity best suits the product or service.
* Determine the exact audience that you want to target and focus your clients activities toward it directly.
* Determine how often the marketing activity needs to be measured and by what metrics.
* At first, measure the response rate to online ads, facebook ads, fans, followers, leads generated by sign up forms, surveys, email subscription to blog, etc and events (online or in person)
* Measure often, ask the person when they call or communicate, where they heard about you. This is the most important measurement a small business can do. Find out what is working to get them to you!
* When you are about to launch a new product, service or event, make sure there is ample lead time to accomplish the task. If not sufficient amount of time it can actually hurt the company reputation.
* Make sure all the media/advertising, promotion of such product, service, or event is covered. Promoting the concept is like giving it birth for the first, second, third time and so on. Word of mouth is always the best communication because it is real and genuine, whether positive or negative. There is some form of “Buzz” happening. So talk it up! It does help all the “chatter” on social media too! Whether we want to admit it or not, social media is our new “word of mouth” version!
Well, I could go on more about the steps to promote and get the “Buzz” going about a product, service or an event. But, you get the gist of what I am talking about. We want to measure the “Buzz”
Measuring the social media has been the hardest thus far to date, if we are getting it right, when we spend all this time blogging, facebook fan pages, twitter. You get the picture. All this time we are spending is it worth it and do we really need to be paying someone else to be doing it for us. YES!
So, what exactly is being measured:
* Visitors and source of traffic, where are they coming from twitter, facebook pages, facebook ads, google ads, etc.
* What are the people saying about the brand, product or service?
Let’s take a good look at all the marketing metric tools to see if you are utilizing all of them. And some you may never have heard of. Check it out!
* Google Analytics, best tool around
* shorten your url and get analytics
* Xinureturns:
dashboard, page ranks and backlinks
* PostRank:
good for bloggers
* SocialToo:
social surveys
So, when you are concerned with the numbers game, like we all are, think, strategize and analyze just how your going to get the “BUZZ” going to bring in the leads and make that sale!