professional picture zinga hart return on investment akron cleveland

Return on Investment: Get a Professional Picture

Most of my “One More Moves” are free. Honestly, most of our beginning desires for success in life can be achieved for free. Mapping a business plan, building a network, sharing your ideas, staying productive and motivated….there are free ways to do all of these things, the investment comes when you are ready to grow.

Like all good things that come to grow, you need to invest:

  • energy,
  • time,
  • and/or money

into getting to the next phase of your mission. While you could live in the very romantic world of hopes, dreams, and ideas, you will miss out on the fulfilling experience of creating your desires into a reality.

How tomakea workshop (4)

So what’s one small investment you can make?

Adding a professional picture to your digital profiles.

I tell you! It’s an investment I made near the end of 2016 and the changes have been real and meaningful. Here are some immediate returns on my investment in a professional photo:

  • Improved level of connections on LinkedIn: Within days of updating my profile pic, I was invited to connect by a US Senator.
  • Impress colleagues: For my new role, I did an interview, having my own professional photo instead of the standard issue one given by the university, allowed me to bring my warmth and character into my first stamp.
  • Increase confidence: When building my website and creating flyers, I feel great sharing my face and brand because I am not doing an “in-the-car selfie”. I show that I could invest in the experience needed to do the job.
  • Better lighting: Improved lighting allows for you to use your photos in a variety of situations, you can cut and paste can add it to book covers, marketing posts, and plenty of other places.

A typical professional business headshot will typically be an investment of $100-$250.

Unless….

How tomakea workshop (3)

You’re a Northeast Ohio (Akron Event) woman and a member of Empower NOW, the social enterprise group that empowers women to empower women through business development, creative connections, and resource sharing!  Get a professional headshot on March 25th for only $10 thanks to the generous donation of one of our members and the sponsorship of the Akron Microbusiness Center!

 

 

Have any tips on getting a professional headshot? Comment below!

Looking to the future and other writings.

Last week, I wrote about small moves you can take to plan for 2017. I hope you get to read it. This week, I’m just put some free-thought in response to what I wrote.

Why?

Well, I took this week to publish on the Pulse. I do that sometimes for my small business owners and community leaders. [Find my other writings from 2016 there 🙂 ]

So here we go:

Building off of 2016

2016 was a tough year.

Firstly, America’s existential crisis, was definitely a point of concern. I do hope we can find unity again.

Personally, this year I stepped up my presentation as a leader. As an INTP, I am super comfortable hiding behind my work. Look at the good work I do and let’s move forward to do more. As an employee or an assistant that makes me ideal, but as a leader of a budding non-profit, it is completely ineffective.

A leader listens to their community and responds in-kind. While I was always strong at the listening part, this year I really boosted the response part. They asked for more presence I created a monthly newsletter; more engagement – we added meeting activities and in-between events; more communication – we revamped our meetings, developed workshops, and gave even more details reports! All of this I would have never found the energy to do, if it wasn’t for their need.

A leader listens to their community and responds in-kind.

Yet, learning the balance between being present as a leader and finding energy as an introvert, was no simple feat. I learned to say no to wasteful-time sinks, yet so no to work during my agreed-upon free time. I listened to my body and gave it rest when required, and I never over-loaded my day, making sure to be aware of my meeting availability over the course of a month.

In 2017, I hope to be more present in the world of higher education. While, I love writing to help us all find our personal success, and running local and online economic empowerment initiatives, my true passion is higher education. Shifting how we draw out the success of adults from a systemic level will truly help achieve my vision of showing the world the trillion-dollar value of education. I hope to find time to meet with people during my professional career at the university, and eventually present myself on a person that likes to build communities that form a culture around the love of  self-development.

That long conversation…

When I meditated on my self and my higher purpose, I found that I finally feel as if I shifted into the groove of being passionate about what I produce. Now it’s a matter of producing consistently and intelligently.

So, I want to be even more efficient with my time in 2017 and to find ways more meaningful ways to connect with the people I care about more often.

Strive for More…

My greatest dream for 2017 is to grow Limitless Ambition’s (the non-profit) and Empower NOW’s (the network) community and to find better ways to serve their success.

On the blog, I hope to hone in and help you take meaningful moves to build your authentic success.

My fantasy is to head to an international beach for a week, something blue and sandy.

mpfiyu__1ba-joe-cooke

A week will do.

Honing in…

To review, serving others is going to be a key focus for 2017. I will shift from putting the work first to putting the heart first and instilling it into my intents and actions. Should be an interesting shift for a get-it-done girl like me.

Action Steps 

  • Call at least one friend and one family member per week.
  • Provide high-quality help to least two small businesses a quarter.
  • Give away highly valuable resources that I know others would find help on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Offer one highly-useful workshop, webinar, or tool per month to help people grow the authentic [small business/nonprofit] success.
  • Set a budget for a beach trip and save 🙂
  • Have lunch with one new or familiar colleague at least twice a month.

So there’s the quick personal plan for 2017. What are some action steps you want to take during the next year? Comment below!

Career Champs with Alicia Robinson, Founder and Executive Director of Limitless Ambition

Bootstrapping a non-profit is no light affair.

alicia robinson limitless ambition kent ohio zinga hart

I remember the night like it was yesterday. Frustrated with being severely limited at my job, I needed a way to vent my  insatiable need to create solutions to complex problems, and I found myself meeting with the coolest professional woman in the coolest building on campus at what was formerly known as the Blackstone Launchpad.

It was a semi-transparent glass box, smack dab in the middle of the student center, and having encountered her before, I curiously wondered how we could connect. When we met, she gave me the invitation to an All the CEO Ladies networking meeting later that week. It was after work so I went. It was there that the true connection was made.

It was there that the true connection was made.

We all had to pitch as a part of the membership. I came up with an idea to develop a social app that categorized and simplified who will be on the current political ballot. Everyone cheered, it was and still is a pretty crucial invention that we can’t quite get popularized.

Then it was her turn, Alicia Robinson. She sat and cheered everyone through their ideas and made friends pretty instantly. Like a cool older sister that you wonder where they get their je ne sais quoi.  We all heard her stitch together her vision of a future where women accept our pain because it pushes toward a life of purpose and passion. Where we network together to build youth girls to dream, believe, and achieve without limits. An organization she would call Limitless Ambition, Inc.

An organization she would call Limitless Ambition, Inc.

Her ideas of the future were so grand and so big, it  almost felt like one’s first visit to the late FAO Schwartz. She had the determination in her voice that made everyone feel like all the pitches we gave would pan out perfectly, just because we said it. We wanted her to succeed because we felt our own limitless ambition fueling us there in each others presence. A room full of young, emerging women hoping to craft a better future with our best ideas.

women leadership free lessons a woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman

Start-Up Leadership Lessons

By this point, I had experience with growing and refining strategies for non-profits so I agreed to join the group and help create a strategic plan, while doing some marketing.  that is where I learned that a start-up non-profit is a completely different canvas. This is when I learned that a start-up non-profit is a completely different canvas than the well-established organizations I was used to before starting college. Becuase it was a start-up, I was voted into the position of president, a role I was surprised to be offered. Yet, my initiative and understanding of the mission along with my comfort with strategic management fit for a startup. I agreed to take the position for three years, we the stipulation that we would spend time finding a president of a much higher-profile by the end of my term.

Alicia and I were still in school at the time, we both also worked full-time had tight millennial budgets, an untapped network, and  starter experience to boot. Our passion wouldn’t let that stop us, and, thankfully, Blackstone Launchpad, now KSU Launchnet provided an excellent source of wisdom, connections, and support along the way. We had late nights,  early emails, weekly and twice-weekly meetings; we devoted any minute of our free time, effort, and attention into making sure Limitless Ambition, Inc did everything as thoroughly as possible, to show we could match the pace of our peers. What we learned was that we had something that worked and that we had to keep serving those around us because they found value every time.

When life called she answered cultivated visions

Our Start Up Nonprofit Grows Up

It is no easy journey and we still have a long road to walk. There were small successes, frustrating failures, arguments, and awkward moments of facing our truths, so we could improve and move on. Yet, all along the way, we knew the moments were moments of empowerment, which was exactly the point. Thus, we kept moving forward, ego bruises and all. Now, we are preparing to host our next summer program and we have grown our team from around 5 to over 20 in three years time. Our organization has had a reach of over 600 people face to face and we have a locally-targeted social media reach of 4000+, all while working our passions part time.

As our team grew our hectic schedules quelled, and now we face new leadership lessons beyond the ones of our early start-up days. How do we ensure our mission is reflected in every aspect of our work? How can we provide community transparency that builds trust amongst those we serve and support? How can we be better leaders, still?

This may be my last year serving as the president of Limitless Ambition, so I hope to leave my lessons here for those who will carry the torch forward. Take a moment below to watch me interview Alicia in my special podcast segment below.

lessons learned from leading limitless ambition for the ladies who launch gala

Lessons Learned From Leading Limitless Ambition

As I get ready for the gala this week, I realize that this leadership ride I’ve been on has shaped some powerful lessons in my life. You see,  when I was in grad school I was a woman seeking to take a stance of power within my life and the world around me. Thanks to connections made at Kent State University’s LaunchNet, I was fortunate enough to encounter a young startup non-profit that had a motto aimed at helping girls dream, believe, and achieve without limits. As a lover of building solutions from scratch and human empowerment, I found a home to pursue my passion of achieving long-term strategic goals, while doing good in the world.

Shortly after, I found myself to be the president-elect of Limitless Ambition, Inc. and while growing a non-profit organization that empowers women in Northeast Ohio, I’ve come to unearth many areas of growth. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned after 2 full years in the position.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse. Read more.

3 free paths to clarity

3 Paths to Clarity

I created an infographic for http://www.cultivatedvisions.com social media postings. It reminded me of how important it is to ensure you continuously seek to clarify who you are and who you will be. There are so many areas of input that can muddle up the inner voice that guides us while we fulfill our purpose. Sometimes the voice is so subtle it sounds like it’s coming from our Self.

So here’s an adapted version of the infographic to apply to any area of your life where you seek to find clarity.

 

3 paths to clarity for international and northeast ohio leaders

 

clarity on social media marketing for small business shows a clear windshield with a dream catcher

Clarity is Imperative For Sustained Success

 

The Law of Entropy. My chemistry professor used to joke entropy was to blame for his messy office.

It’s bound to happen, our persistently organized systems will break down…

Despite our best efforts to build better and better systems, there will always be room for improvement because our systems will eventually encounter a chip, glitch, or setback.

This universal pattern explains why as we try harder and harder sometimes it feels like we find more moments of failure, more than when we didn’t even try at all.  Perhaps we can even give it the term the law of effort: mo’ money, mo ’problems in a sense. It’s why we entrepreneurs are always reminding each to keep hustling and to take one more risk.

You may consider to yourself: what does it take to make sure as we attain new heights of success on our journey? How can we ever continue when we feel the blows of betrayals, letdowns, and disappointments?

One key practice is making sure we are crystal clear about what moves us forward and why we choose to move forward.

It is imperative we keep crystal clear about what moves us forward and why we choose to move forward. @ZingaHart 

Stepping back to unfog our vision’s lens every once in awhile is as relieving as cleaning your car’s windshield. The tension of life’s muck provides a subtle added negative stressor from the strain of trying to see as far ahead as we know we can. So we take a moment to wipe it away, and then we see what we know we have the potential to see. A brighter vision of the road ahead of us.

How do you wipe the subtle stressors that slowly attach to your success goals over time? Do you meditate? Journal? Or perhaps simply unplug? Comment below or share with me on social media somewhere 🙂 

For me, my current long-term project is developing workshops to help small business owners gain social media clarity. Writing this for me takes a lot of concentration and energy, and having a clear strategy helps take the stress of thinking away. When I don’t feel like I know what to do next, I know to defer to my past notes for inspiration, and motivation. No matter what, if you are fighting through a mental fog at any point on your success path: slow down, reflect, and clarify. The next step will open up when your insight can relax on your vision again.

If you are building a social media strategy as a part of your success plan, you should sign up for the 10-day social media clarity challenge.

Go from chaos to clear in just 15 minutes a day – delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign up here for free or sign up below. This is nothing fancy, just simple action emails to keep you moving forward. Do this for your personal brand or your business. Challenge starts May 1st. 

One More Move: Sustain Your Momentum

Agendas, fundraisers, programs, networking and this is just the volunteer work?!?! As a passionate creator that presides over a startup non-profit, #LimitlessAmbition, 2 businesses, a higher ed profession, and a beautiful growing-so-fast family surfing the wave that is seeking success could easily crash, but when we do what we love…love finds a way. As entrepreneurs,  we often find ourselves swimming deep in a variety of projects, responsibilities, deadlines, and commitments that could easily have us feeling burned out, overwhelmed or just swamped. Our ambition won’t let us give up and the people we serve rely on us to be leaders, mentors, and overall figures of what our purpose stands for. So how can we ensure we sustain ourselves while completing complex projects and timelines?
Here a three key factors to take into account:
  1. Honesty is a winning policy: Before you embark on any ambitious journey, you need to honestly assess the progress you and your team can capably commit to weekly. If you are already in your journey and are starting to feel buried, share that with your team as well. Voicing frustrations, delays, and setbacks with everyone allows for many minds (including your own) to create a solution. Journal, set up a meeting or group chat to discuss a strategy for success that works for everyone!
  2. Create and celebrate easy wins in your project, early and often: *Secret Alert* I have a little happy dance EVERY TIME I release a post by the end of Monday. I started it in an effort to share what I learned helps individuals craft their own success, so they can contribute to and grow a thriving community! Although it takes some time to complete, it is still a small step towards ensuring that someone will be inspired to boldly take any small step towards building their own success journey.

celebrate victory zinga hart

  1. Harness the power of your tribe! Being held accountable to our goals boosts our sense of commitment. There is something special about someone else knowing about what you want to do and then checking in on you to make sure you completed it! Schedule lunch dates, send a FB msg or text, connect in a Group chat, etc. etc. Find an accountability partner/group and share your goals and progress with them. Need someone to hold you accountable?
What goals are you sustaining in March? Share them in the comments below.