Diane de Mere, a corporate trainer from 1994-2004, taught leadership and communication skills, motivation, image, values, and ethics. Her clients included Fortune 500 companies and colleges. In 2004, she relocated from Los Angeles to Seattle, shifting her focus to stress management. The result is her new book, Happy Tales, How to Manage Stress and Find Peace and Joy. Living with her husband and Alaskan malamute in the Pacific Northwest, she writes a blog on stress management, guest articles for corporations, and supports the environment and animal rescue.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I worked for IBM for 10 years right out of college. It is a fabulous company and I learned so much, but I wanted to run my own business and make all the decisions.
Tell us about your business.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1994 with my husband’s career, I started my own business as a corporate trainer and motivational speaker. In 2004, once again, I moved with my husband’s career, this time to Seattle. I had taught corporate seminars on stress management, but I needed to set boundaries on my own work schedules, as I was working seven days a week, sixteen hours a day. Deciding to practice what I had been teaching, I studied stress management, determined to live a more relaxed, more peaceful, and a happier life. The result is my new book, Happy Tales, based on a journal I kept, beginning in 2004. It is filled with stories about the adventures I have every day, surrounded by the beauty of Puget Sound and The Olympic National Forest, and how I overcame the challenges that we all face every day. I also write a blog on handling stress and how to be successful in life.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I would like to give away 5 free books to the first 5 LadyBossBlogger readers who share my interview with 3 or more friends! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!
I received extensive sales and marketing experience with IBM and Color Me Beautiful. Between 1970 and 1981, I earned seven awards with IBM, including the IBM Means Service Award. From 1981 to 1994, I graduated from John Robert Powers and modeled for such clients as Clinique and Famous & Barr Department stores. In 1995, I received Image Certification Training with Color Me Beautiful, became an Independent Image Consultant with them and formed my own corporate training company. In 1996 and 1997, I earned the Circle of Excellence and Achievement Awards in mentoring and sales with Color Me Beautiful. Having served on the executive boards of five organizations, my strengths are in management and leadership skills. In 1996, I was listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Women.
Where is your business based?
I work out of my home on Whidbey Island in Washington State.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
- Upon deciding to become an author, I researched getting published, and selected a self publishing company, WestBow Press.
- I sharpened my raw talent, in order to make myself a more professional writer, by taking courses on DVD by The Great Courses. Specifically, Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft, by Professor Brooks Landon, The University of Iowa.
- I purchased a publicity package for print media and social media through WestBow Press.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I use print media publicity and social media via a website and Facebook.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Establishing a strong social network. I had to start over in a new town, not knowing anyone, as we have moved every five years with my husband’s career. Making new friends and beginning a new social life takes time.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I purchased a publicity package for print and social media from my publisher, WestBow Press. I continue to assess responses to my print and social media campaigns, making changes to what is not working, and continuing to do what is working.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Difficult times are often defined as being stressful and hindrances to our success. I always do a self analysis of what is causing my stress – what am I doing, or not doing, that is causing me not to be as successful as I want to be in a situation? Through self diagnosis, I find the answers to making breakthroughs in these situations are always: mindfulness, exercise, setting boundaries, being in nature, journaling, to name just a few.
In my book, Happy Tales, in the section on “Tips for Handling Stress”, I list and explain 18 tips for handling stress and staying motivated. By reading my book, you will be able to experience what I do on a daily basis, and over time, to stay motivated. The section “Summary and Lessons Learned” also provides in depth explanations of how I made major decisions in my life and went forward in excitement. The section titled “Recommended Reading” lists twelve of the books that have had great impacts on shaping my character and how I make decisions. Also, my number one resource is my relationship with my Creator (for me that is God), through prayer and mindfulness on a daily basis.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I stay true to myself and do not compare myself. I stay true to my vision, helping others through my own examples and stories. Every person is unique, and in that, we distinguish ourselves from others. By keeping a mantra in my mind of: Do not compare—Do not copy, I open myself up to my own creative ideas.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
My husband is my most valuable sounding board. As I have been frustrated over different facets of starting a new business, my husband has validated my feelings of not chasing everything I read and hear. He has told me to stay true to myself, my vision, who I am, and what I stand for. He provides an excellent example of staying focused, doing one thing at a time, and not multitasking which uses up so much of my mental and physical energy.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
- Know your strengths and talents and perform those related work items yourself.
- Know your weaknesses and frustrations and hire someone to take on those tasks with you, or study and practice your weakness so you can handle them better.
- Research your field of business and make sure you are extremely professional.
- Always give your customers/clients more than what they expect.
- Repeat and referral business is based on your customers, so make sure they are extremely happy with your product and your service.
- If something isn’t working, stop and change it. Continue doing what is working.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
- The Great Courses, college level classes on DVD taught by the most respected professors. Always choose to learn from the best.
- World news on TV, AOL, Internet Explorer, Facebook. Being aware of what is going on in the world on a daily basis will give you insights into business trends and widen your mental and verbal vocabulary.
- Reading everything and anything that comes into your mind. It will keep your mind sharp and creative.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
The books: 1) Fear, and 2) How to Relax, by Thich Nhat Hanh, and 3)The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Expanding my social media reach—search words, audiences, and fine tuning my print media publicity.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- Increasing my physical fitness. Due to caring for our 9 year old dog who has some problems, and my 97 year old mom, I have let down on my own exercise routines. Exercising (weight training and aerobics) on a regular basis (at least 3 times a week) is crucial to mental, physical, and financial success.
- Staying focused on my bottom line: expenses vs. income.
- Keeping my boundaries, in order to stay focused on my business and the other important things in my life. As an over achiever, I have to continue to keep a balance in my life and say no to people and events that will take too much time or take me off on a tangent, away from who I am and away from my goals in life.
- Daily power walks in nature in order to stay in touch with my Creator and receive His direction and guidance.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #mindfulness #meditation #stress #stressmanagement # happiness #joy #peace #serenity #focus #success #values #inspiration #motivation #direction #goals #advice #balance #nature #spirituality