Continuing my interview with Cynthia Occelli, self-described “author, mother, businesswoman, with a law degree & a black belt in shopping,” Cynthia shares why she started a blog, how she began growing blog traffic and what provides her the most joy from every post she shares.
BusinessLife: So far, you have been quite candid about your own personal struggles and how you used them to help better yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually and in the world of business. You've had an amazing life.
BusinessLife: When did you decide you wanted to share information online and develop a blog?
Cynthia: Last year, I noticed it was something I was doing with a lot of people via email and there was a great deal of overlap and repetition. That told me that the challenges were common and many could benefit. It also streamlined the effort. There is also a benefit to those who are uncomfortable asking.
BusinessLife: So, anyone can ask you a specific question?
Cynthia: Sure, I take questions and do my best to give a meaningful, intelligent, practical answer.
BusinessLife: Do you have any specific background in counseling?
Cynthia: Not professionally. I have a law degree. Everything I know about people, relationships and success comes from my life experience and the experiences of others. Though I am an avid reader of psychology, self-help and various health texts, my home library has in excess of 1300 books, last time I did a rough count. I certainly don't agree with or believe everything I've read, but I love to consider and conclude.
BusinessLife: And to be fair to readers, any information provided here is not meant to serve as a professional answer to a mental or emotional health problem.
Cynthia: Of course. I encourage everyone to seek professional help and never attempt to replace that.
BusinessLife: So you decided to develop a blog and share information that your current clients asked about most often. How did you decide what tools you would use to promote your blog?
Cynthia: Well, I didn't know much about blogging and I expected my blog to be a place visited primarily by a short list of friends/clients. So I started on a free site with an easy user interface.
BusinessLife: How long did it take you to start seeing an increase in traffic, outside your client base?
Cynthia: My traffic began to gain momentum in the spring of 2010. A few of my posts were commented on and re-posted by other bloggers and that really helped.
BusinessLife: I'm sure that was neat to have someone actually take something you wrote and re-post to his or her blog. So many bloggers are looking for the most effective tools to help grow page views and so on. What do you consider the most effective tools that other bloggers may want to consider?
Cynthia: I'm definitely not versed in traffic tools, but if you've read my writing, you know that I believe that the universe conspires to help those who help themselves. So I did my part, put content from the heart out with no ulterior motive. The universe did the rest. I met people, outstanding people, who took me in and helped me tremendously. I know that isn't the practical tip one may seek, but it reduces to this: Write great, genuine, generous content and see what happens.
BusinessLife: Content is truly everything. Without it, no matter what leads someone to your blog, he or she won't stay or come back without content that means something. I happened to notice you on BlogCatalog (BC). I will be honest. You were staring at me all of the time.
BusinessLife: You have been on the home page for quite awhile. Has BC helped you grow your following with others like me? Just so you know the staring obviously worked. But the content got me hooked. It is always well-written and gives me reason to stop and think.
Cynthia: I can't say enough positive things about my experience with BC. I signed up for their Recognition Program because I was really starting to fall in love with my blog community and what it has added to my life. I wanted to grow my readership and make a career transition into writing, speaking, coaching etc. I also needed to talk with experts who know how to navigate the web and use it to accomplish goals without being “spammy” and intrusive. Their program delivered everything it promised, but the relationships that came out of it are the greatest result. It was beyond logical expectations.
BusinessLife: So, BC was able to help your blog businesswise as well with technology assistance? Did they review your blog and offer feedback to help you grow your traffic and your friends?
Cynthia: They suggested I move to my own domain name and then masterfully replicated my site and made the transition effortless. They counseled me on what was good and what I could improve on. Tony Berkman, specifically, was instrumental in helping me become clear on my direction, content, intention and limitlessness. He's a visionary and I am grateful to have had his influence and attention.
BusinessLife: That's helpful to better understand what BC can do. It's obviously much more than having your blog on the home page of BlogCatalog.
Cynthia: Even without the Recognition Program, one can benefit tremendously by interacting, asking questions, observing people who are succeeding at doing what you want, "exposing yourself" and giving your expertise to others. Everything you give away will be replaced with something you need.
BusinessLife: Speaking of business, we have been talking a lot about the value of self-worth, how to recognize any need one might have and how to direct one's focus on actively pursuing a positive lifestyle. How have you used this in the business world?
Cynthia: Our whole life reflects our inner world, careers and business included. Whatever fear, doubt, anger, worthiness and trust issues one has will influence their business decisions. People often don't advocate for their best interests because of an underlying sense that they don't deserve the best. People with unresolved negative feelings toward certain situations or personality types will behave unreasonable or unwarranted ways in new situations that trigger those feelings. People, who don't trust themselves, don't trust others.
BusinessLife: These are obviously all substantial employer/employee issues.
Cynthia: Often wounded people attempt to make themselves better by asserting too much control over transactions, people and situations. These presets shape one's career and business.
Cynthia: It also helps to know when you're dealing with these people. Carrots, sticks, awareness and complete self responsibility. That's what we move through.
BusinessLife: How do you walk into a company and convince someone who has not recognized a specific characteristic the opportunity to change to make him or herself a better person and a better employee?
Cynthia: Let me explain.
First we talk about carrots - the potential of the company or person. We discuss their vision of success, their goal, what it would look like when they achieved it "all".
Then sticks - how painful is it going to be if you never achieve any of it? What are the consequences? How will it feel? What will it mean to everyone connected?
Then awareness - we search out problems, obstacles, hindrances, poor approaches, regrettable decisions.
Then total responsibility - One must assume complete responsibility for the problems and their role in them, all of it.
Once the blaming stops, the past is released and they accept the current state of affairs - the power to make the changes necessary to achieve those carrots becomes available.
BusinessLife: When should a business owner consider having someone like you visit their company?
Cynthia: People should call me when they know what they're doing isn't working and they don't know what will work.
BusinessLife: Business is always about the bottom line. How much does what you are able to do impact a company's bottom line?
Cynthia: I work primarily with entrepreneurs and they are brilliant as a group, but because they are the substance and structure of their companies, they can get themselves so entrenched in what's before them that they lose perspective, confidence and the ability to remain nimble.
BusinessLife: And following your experienced advice and discussions, have any of your clients seen a difference in their bottom line?
Cynthia: Absolutely. In that context, every moment spent must be tied to the bottom line. I coach people personally, but not unless we've discussed and defined that as the primary goal. If the primary goal is business assistance, I draw on my history of building my own businesses, developing real estate and marketing. I am versed in straight business consulting (i.e. personnel, entity structuring, insurance, location, cost cutting, internal control, quality assurance, real estate leasing & purchase, accounting) but I gain the most satisfaction from transforming the energy and belief/mission statement of the business. I also write and implement business start up and growth plans.
BusinessLife: I have to agree with your assessment of the joy it brings to help empower a company and its staff to embrace the company's core messages by understanding fully what the company does and how each employee helps the company provide the best of its products and services.
Cynthia: That is the impetus behind my transition out of traditional business coaching. I know what I love to do, I've seen the results and I want to give that.
BusinessLife: What advice would you offer a company that doesn't know if they are really in a situation that requires another experienced voice of employee empowerment? Are there things that a company should look for as areas of concern?
Cynthia: If I had to choose one aspect that is vitally important today it's know and treasure your customer.
BusinessLife: I suppose the golden rule applies? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?
Cynthia: Always. But also, there is a tremendous opportunity to set one’s business out of the pack by being great to do business with.
BusinessLife: Great customer service never gets old, does it?
Cynthia: The days of happily handing dollars over to faceless corporations are over. People want to do business with people. That doesn’t mean they'll stop shopping at Walmart. It does mean they aren't getting warm fuzzies doing it.
BusinessLife: Cynthia, what can someone visiting your blog hope to find?
Cynthia: They'll find hope, encouragement and inspiration interwoven with logic, practicality and strategy.
BusinessLife: I couldn't have written a better ending to introduce you to Broowaha and its family of readers and writers from all across the world.
If you want to discover something extraordinary and meaningful, I hope you will take a few moments to dig in and serve yourself a hearty helping of Cynthia Occelli’s blog, Life. It isn’t for the faint of heart. After all, once you visit her blog, you become another treasured friend and part of her family. And family is always welcome to find something that will satisfy their appetite.