Today is recognized globally as the day of love, Valentine’s Day. It is great that we recognize and appreciate that we love others. But what about loving ourselves. You can’t truly love until you love yourself.

As an entrepreneur, it is easy to get lost in the hustle, to grind till you drop. But at what cost? I’m guilty of that. In fact, I’ve been accused many times of being a workaholic! Sadly, it’s true. I’m learning to dial back a bit without the fear of losing my edge.

One thing I’ve learned is that I have to love myself more. That means allowing myself time to rest, exercise and feed my mind. Making the time to get all this done while still doing the things I need to get done for my clients is a challenge. So I have learned to maximize my time, effectively.


This is where Audible comes in. I invested in the monthly subscription for Audible. As much as I love to read, I don’t always have the time to stop and read. Audible app provides me the opportunity to listen to a book while I am driving, exercising, waiting for an appointment or cooking. Now I’m hooked on listening to professional and personal development books.

Often, I listen to three books at different times throughout the week. Currently, I’m listening to The Power of Broke by Daymond John (Shark Tank) and Daniel Paisner. The stories that they share about other entrepreneurs are both inspirational and informative.


The book provide tips that I can use in my business, especially for controlling my budget while making a pivotal change in direction. It also gives me a feeling of “I’ve got this!”

While listening to some of the Audible books, I have uttered “Yeah!” or “Amen!” on the treadmill at the gym. Needless to say, I’ve gotten some “what’s with her” looks.

What’s the bottom line? Making the time to enrich yourself mentality will help your grind game. Take the time to Be Your Own Valentine and Love Your Mind!


Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. Marlene is the owner of Small Biz Evolution, LLC. She is a Keynote Speaker, an Author and a Business Consultant.

Wayne Dyer's Quote 8-31-15.001

Two of my favorite people left this realm, yesterday: Dr. Wayne Dyer and Mrs. Louis-Charles. They existed in different physical places on this planet, but reside in the same place in my heart.

On one of my restless nights at approximately 2 a.m. in the morning in the year 2003, I came across a PBS show. The person on the screen was talking about “Intention.” He mentioned about being connect with the “Source of the Universe.” I was intrigued by what he was saying so I didn’t change the channel. As I watched, I learned that his name is Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Ever since watching that show, my outlook on life “shifted” to reading, learning and implementing more of Dr. Dyer’s teachings of: Connection, the Power of I Am (respect of the God within us), encouragement, the importance of embracing life’s journey and of universal love. His teaching had such a great impact on me so much so that I included him in my book: “Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters.” He was one of my Spiritual Diamond Cutters.

Wayne Dyer touched millions of lives in his time here on earth. Maybe he even touched yours. I didn’t get the chance to meet him face-to-face. I was looking forward to doing this at his events in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale. Interesting enough, one of his daughter, Serena, and I were classmates in our Masters Degree program. She exudes her father’s teaching. I truly believe she will continue on with his legacy.

Mrs. Louis-Charles was not as famous as Dr. Wayne Dyer, yet she was famous in my heart. You won’t find her on social media or television. She was my sister’s mother-in-law. This woman was love personified to me. From the first time I met her, I felt love. She was always welcoming with her words of encouragement and her grace towards others. Mrs. Louis-Charles met my son, Tarik, a few times. My sister said she always asked about Tarik because she saw something special in him.

Whenever they met, Mrs. Louis-Charles would give Tarik a great big hug, She would also tell him he has talents. She encouraged Tarik to develop and share his talents wit others. Each time I think of her, it brings a smile to my face and my heart. I hope to be like Mrs. Louis-Charles that when someone thinks of me, they smile. Do you know someone like that? Are you someone like that?

Mrs. Louis-Charles loss her battle with cancer the day after Dr. Dyer made his transition. Here is my simple tribute to two beautiful human beings: one well known to others and one living a quite life. Though they are not with us in this physical realm, they continue on within my spiritual heart. Their examples of love, encouragement and kindness towards others have permanently imprinted on my soul. Their legacies live on in us, the ones they have touched.


Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page to allow me to share more Purposeful thoughts, ideas and experiences with you. Feel free to leave a comment or share the article with others.


Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently the Toastmasters District 47 Media Manager,. She provides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Marlene M. Bryan, Corp and Small Biz Evolution, LLC. She is a Speaker, an Author and a Business Coach.

Beautiful Little Business Woman With Briefcase

Have you ever dreamed that you would do something that made a difference? So did I. One of my aspirations was to start and operate my own business. I had a stable 9-5 job but lacked fulfillment and wanted to pursue my DREAM! How about you, do you desire to have your own BUSINESS? If yes, the following are some tips to help you on your way!

The Internet has lots of information about starting your own business. Perhaps too much. As you search you find that the rules vary from state to state, province to province, country to country. It can all be overwhelming.

Here are some basic steps that I find work for me after starting a few businesses or helping others to start theirs:

1) Choose the Right Name: Creating the right name for your business is one of the basic steps for creating a successful Brand Name that others can easily associate your business for its expertise, products and services. If your business is part of an established industry, I suggest that you include something about your offering in the name of your business.

For example, if your target market is small businesses, you may want to include something about small business or some word associated with small business in your company name.

In an episode of the CNBC series “Profit,” one of the companies featured was called “Green Tea.” Most people polled thought the company was selling tea. It was actually an ice cream company. This didn’t cause the business to fail, but it may have slowed the growth because of the lack of name association to the product it was offering.

2) Corporate Structure: Structuring your corporation requires a little more thought and homework; if you are not familiar with setting up a company. Deciding whether your company will be a sole proprietorship, S-Corp, C-Corp, Limited Liability Corp, etc. is very important for not only decision making process, but taxation purposes, liabilities and any future sale of the company.

The rules surrounding these various types of corporate structures are different based upon where the company is established. In Florida, the definition of the Managing Member of a Limited Liability Corporation has been modified with huge implication on who has the authority to make decision in such entities. Do your homework and/or consult with a corporate attorney to help you understand the rules.

3) Virtual Presence: Today, if you are do not have a virtual presence (website, social media page, etc.), most folks, at least in the USA, would question your business validity. If you are reading this article, I presume that you are in an area where people have access to the Internet.

Having a virtual presence will help you reach an audience outside of your local area, if this is one of your goals as an entrepreneur. It gives you the appearance of being an established company just like the larger corporation. It gives you access to a wider marketplace with more buying power.

4) Brand It: When you think about your company name also think about things such as:

  •   What should the company Logo be?
  •   What are the color schemes for the Logo?
  •   How about the company other marketing materials and virtual sites?
  •   What should your tag line be?
  •   What do you want your company to be known as or for?

Create marketing materials that support these aspects of your business. Include them on your business cards, virtual cards, brochures, letterheads, videos, podcasts, etc. You don’t have to do all of these, but even if it is only your business card, make it count. Brand your business to standout from the crowd.

5) Give It A Heart: In your Vision, Mission and Values statements, give your company a heart. I call these three your companies Heart Statements. Put the things that you envision your clients would experience from purchasing your products, services and ultimately you and your employees! Then live this heart. Don’t just state it. Live it.

I find that I am willing to purchase from companies that live their Heart Statements. There are arguments abounding whether a corporation is a person or a thing. I won’t get into them. My views about it is that someone creates a product or offers a service for another person to purchase and use. When a company makes it all about the money and nothing else, I’m not willing to share my hard-earned dollars with this type of business. Many of my friends and colleagues feel the same way. Again, give it a Heart by offering products and services that benefit others.

I hope these tips help to guide you in your steps towards becoming an entrepreneur. There are more to these as you may expect. Take it one step at a time and before you know it, you can hang the “Open for Business” sign literally, figuratively and virtually!


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Webinars Suck - Is That Right?
Webinars Suck – Is That Right?

Come on. Admit it. You joined a Webinar that you really wanted to learn something new to advance your business practices, implement new ideas or utilizing new tools. You finally get added into the session after five or ten minutes of downloading software or multiple retries…only to be greeted by hundreds of beeps, bings, and bangs  as other folks join. It is so annoying that you want to yell to the moderator: “Mute the “Beeping” call chimes!!!

Okay, maybe it’s only me. But I would guess that a lot of folks have encountered this experience. Some may have even walked away with a bad impression of a Webinar session; if this was their first experience.

Speaking with a friend the other day, I asked him if he thinks Webinars work. He said most of his clients believe they don’t. In fact, some of them think Webinars suck! Wow! This should make a lot of Webinar providers and presenters happy. Not.

In my humble opinion, Webinars can and do work; if done in the right fashion. Over the years of conducting Webinars as a Sales Engineer Manager, a Product Manager, Marketing Director, a trainer and now as a small business owner, I have learned that to present a successful Webinar I was must include or do the following:

  1. Great Content
  2. Organize It
  3. Make Interactive
  4. Select the Right Webinar Provider

There is quite a lot of information to share with you. I don’t want you to ask: “Where’s the beef?” Therefore, I will share these tips in each part,  spread out over four posts especially for you “multitaskers” (you know who you are)!  Today, we will examine how having the right content will contribute to your next Webinar’s success.

Content! Content! Content!

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here (I’ve been accused of worse), but in planning your Webinar session you need to take into consideration how the content meets the need of our audience. Too often, I have participated in Webinars in which the presenters spent most of the time pushing the products and services. While they spend very little time discuss how these products and services will benefit the participant’s business or individual’s requirement.

Or they conduct the bait and switch approach. They promised one type of experience, but when you get in the session it has nothing to do with what was promised. In fact, the content was not relevant to your needs.

Here are a few ideas for great content:

  1. Make it informational (Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em) – Address a problem that the audience may have. Share ideas with the audience how to address this problem. Example: “Not sure how to maximize your LinkedIn connections to get new business leads? The Five Tips on Maximizing LinkedIn Connections for Business Growth Webinar will give your the methods to Convert Connections to Clients.” or “Learn How to Convert LinkedIn Connections to Clients”
  2. Show them – Give step by step instruction is a great way for people to remember and learn a subject. We love lists. We were conditioned to remember lists. We make a list when we go shopping. We make To-Do lists to get tasks done. We take lists of questions to our doctors for health issues we may be experiencing (if you don’t, you should).
  3. Give them proof that it works – Providing your audience with a strong case study of how you or your company helped solve the problem for someone just like your audience. Back the case study up with a testimonial from that person or persons.
  4. Summarize (Tell ‘em what you told ‘em) – It is a good idea to summarize the problem and solution again at the end of your Webinar. Remind them of the key benefits and value they will get.
  5. Give a Call to Action – Include a call to action in the content of your presentation. You may softly mention the call to action a few times in the Webinar session, then state it stronger at the end.

Throughout your content be clear, get to the point and concise your message as much as you can without losing valuable information. Don’t make it too long. One hour or less is best. Use this quick mantra: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Show them. Give them proofs and examples. Finally, tell them what you’ve told them.” By incorporating some of these tips into creating content for your Webinar, you should be able to make it more attractive to your target audience. In the next post, we will move onto getting organized in part two of this four part series.

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, My Mentors and Coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters


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Road to Improvement.001

There is a reality show on CNBC called “The Profit” that I occasionally watch. Marcus Lemonis, the star of the show, helps struggling small businesses to improve the profit of the businesses. Marcus invests his own money into the rejuvenation of them. In the last episode I watched, Marcus is trying to help a floral business get back its footing.

One of the issues Marcus identify was that the general manager (GM) was not performing the role of the GM to the level that was expected of her. He recommended that the GM be demoted.  Marcus told her what her new role was and what was expected of her. She was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (P.I.P.). She was obviously hurt by the demotion as evident by her tears.

But what really impressed me was that she didn’t toss in the towel and quit. She stayed on and actually earned Marcus’ respect. She showed up each time with a positive attitude and did what was asked of her. In the end Marcus told her that he believed she should be the person in charge of the business at all times…even more so than the owner should be. The owner on the other hand was mostly negative throughout the episode.

As a manager, it was not pleasant for me to put an employee on a Performance Improvement Plan (P.I.P.). At this point of the decision, I found that the employee was performing his or her job way below expectation. In this case, I would work with the Human Resources representative to create a 30-60-90 day plan with measurable goals. Goals that were fair to the employee and the company. 

Are you on a Performance Improvement Plan? Here is what you can do to Beat the P.I.P.

Understand what is required of you:

  1. Review the Performance Improvement Plan with your manager to ensure you understand each goal and what is expected of you.
  2. If there is something that is not clear to you, ask questions.
  3. If the Human Resources representative is not present (in person, on video or on the phone) ask if you can have that person involved in the discussion.

Take it seriously:

  1. Don’t take a P.I.P. lightly. If you want to keep the job, then seriously take stock of what you need to do to meet the goals. Create your own plan and start implementing the activities that would get you there.
  2. Your feelings may be hurt, but this is an opportunity to show that you can rise above this low point. Put some sweat equity in. Action is what gets the job done…not sitting around and wishing things will work out.
  3. Like the general manager in the opening story, don’t quit. Reach out to those that may be able to help you meet your goals…whether it is an existing client, a co-worker or a mentor. Be open and willing to do some of the things that they advice you to do.

Maintain Positive Attitude:

  1. Be positive. I’ve seen so many people get put on a P.I.P. and immediately their attitudes become negative. This is not going to improve your manager’s opinion of you. It will validate that he or she is right about putting you on the P.I.P. in the first place.
  2. Start your day off with something that inspires you to push through. I sometimes like to watch an inspirational video on YouTube or read a quick affirmation statement to get me in a great frame of mind.
  3. Encourage others around you. The demoted general manager did not take her demotion as a defeat. Instead she maintained a positive attitude and started to encourage her peers and her direct reports. She provided positive feedback to them.

Being on a Performance Improvement Plan doesn’t mean that you cannot do the job. It simply means that you may need to make some adjustments that would move you to a higher level of performance. Just remember: understand what is required of you, take it seriously and maintain a positive attitude.

Many of my mentors have helped me and continue to help me attain my goals. Learn how they helped me in my book Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters.

I leave you with a short video that inspired me today:

GET INSPIRED – Never Give Up On Your Goals!

Remember the Diamond is within you on Timeless Tuesday!

Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page. This will allow me continue to write and share with you on a variety of topics.