Heather Habelka told me that when she used to play with dolls, she didn’t cast them as family members like mother, father, sister and brother. Nor did she pretend that they were students and she the teacher. When she was growing up, she told me recently, her dolls were customers. “I always knew I wanted to own my own business.”

Heather has been on my radar for about a year now since we met at a networking event. I think it was Ladies Who Launch. I remembered meeting her when I saw her again at another event a month or so later. Over the year I watched and listened, noticed and became inspired.

One colleague hired her for a project after meeting her at my Remarkable Women’s Network event and was very pleased with Heather’s work. I sat in on a roundtable when Heather was speaking and heard her wisdom voiced to the participants. Recently Heather sent me a note letting me know the impact of my groups on her business.

The point is, and I want to make this very clear, marketing is NOT sending out an e-mail blast. Look at the arc of my relationship with Heather as an example of how many hits and drips it’s taken for me to make the phone call to hire Heather. This goes for being hired as well as hiring. There are few silver bullets, so much of the work of entrepreneurship is staying mentally, professionally and emotionally fit for the long run, the marathon of success.

The impetus to pick up the phone, finally, came when I received an offer from Heather in the EWN goody bag at the Grand Networking Event. It was a beautifully presented card with a well-stated message that fit my time frame and pocketbook. Marketing is not a) attending networking events, b) being a great ambassador for what you do, c) sending out mailings, d) acknowledging others and forwarding relationships, but e) all of the above; rinse and repeat.

P.S. At lunch today I sat next to Sherrie Norton, a creative designer and construction manager. I asked her if she knew early on that she had this interest in shaping space. She told me that, as a kid, when she shoveled snow or raked leaves, she always made it into a floor plan. Some lucky people, like Heather and Sherrie, were born to their businesses. And, they still have to market.

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