Category Archives: Business Development

All In The Family: How To Work For Your Spouse And Live To Tell The Tale

It’s official!

I am now the
Director of Strategic Relationships and Community Outreach
for OJ Mortgage Inc. 

Slide background

Yeah, that’s my husband Stan’s company and I did get to give myself a long and fancy-ish title but I suppose it’s one of the perks of being married to the boss 🙂

So call me crazy but…I did actually volunteer for the job. I mean, I get paid but I willingly went into it understanding I would be working for my spouse. We’ve sort of been dancing around this idea for years, the planets started to really align a few months ago and after much  yelling debate  discussion  casual conversation we decided to give it a real whirl.

This should be a no-brainer for me…I am a self-proclaimed, crazy in a good way networking maven (or at least I think so) and go out and about into the community as well as represent myself online every day with virtual ease. I also have been the unofficial #1 cheerleader for OJ for a long time.Stan, Stan, He's our man...%0AIf he can'tHow long?

Well, first let’s go back in time to the morning that I signed my divorce decree for my first marriage in August 2001. My attorney advised me to find out about refinancing ASAP. Rates were significantly lower than the one I was committing to by taking over the mortgage on my soon to be former marital home. He asked if I knew anyone in the mortgage industry. I said I thought the guy  I was going out with that night was a broker…aka Stan.

Eight hours later I arrived at the restaurant for our first date, albeit a little early. It took a year, a lot of stress, tears and, of course, money to get that divorce and I figured it was time to celebrate so I ordered a bottle of champagne to be delivered to the table. I think that freaked Stan out a little. He wasn’t used to such a controlling take charge thoughtful kind of woman. I also don’t think he was expecting a first date to include a conversation about refinancing but I’m guessing he was able to write off the meal as a business expense? You’re welcome Stan!

Anyway, he told me we couldn’t really talk about my specific circumstances until after the 3rd date.
Seemed a little presumptuous but I giggled at what I sensed was his positive outlook.
Or maybe because I was already halfway into a bottle of champagne?

Did I mention I was celebrating?

Ok, it wasn’t quite like that but you get my point.

We obviously made it to date #3 and I reminded Stan that we needed to discuss my soon to balloon rates. But first I was understandably curious…why 3 dates?

In his mind, #3 would be the make it or break it date…in other words, would we go forward or fizzle like a bottle of champagne after the cork was popped? I get it…no reason to waste a lot of time if you don’t think you are all that into someone.  So  he was going to refinance my home and that meant I was revealing all of my finances to him.  And therefore, he said he would, in turn, reveal his finances to me.


Never would it have ever crossed my mind he needed to do that.

Yep, welcome to #lifewithStan . Go ahead, search the hashtag, I use it often.

Suffice it to say, he won my trust as a mortgage broker and as an all around honest person.
And, yes, he did provide all of his financial documents prior to closing as promised.

Side note: My credit score was slightly higher…score one for me!

So I went through the refinancing process and subsequently to cheer for Stan (and all of Team OJ) for the first time in 2001. And let’s just say he totally had me at “no cost loan”.

We aren’t exactly Renee Zellinger and Tom Cruise but you get the famous movie line reference right???

He also was able to roll some of the home’s equity into the refinancing so I could buy a car (I got the awful mini van with a serious A/C issue in the divorce) and instead of making a $300-400 car payment, my mortgage only went up about $12 per month and I had a brand new Toyota Camry that I essentially paid for with cash out of my home.

Yeah, home prices were climbing significantly back then so I never felt a substantial loss of any kind, but still, I was hooked…on the concept of refinancing, that is. Oh and Stan too. He definitely “dazzled” me with his mortgage magic and thinking outside of the loan process box. Ultimately, it was his sense of humor that really won me over. Hey, how many mortgage guys do you know that are willing to stand on their head in the middle of a home show? 150929_10151243219765017_1445018721_n

Now, almost 14 years later, we are taking our relationship to a whole other level…working together. And we are both really going to need to maintain a sense of humor if we are going to survive. We already know we pretty much disagree on everything when it comes to marketing and have completely different organizational styles, but we usually find the compromises that make us both happy.

I do have to keep in mind that he is the boss when it comes to matters regarding OJ. So here’s my proclamation…

I, Beth Blacker, do solemnly swear to be a great employee and respect Stan Blacker as the President of OJ Mortgage between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, Monday-Friday.
Should we disagree on any matters during those hours I will defer to his years of experience in the mortgage industry and fulfill my employment duties as directed.

After hours…all bets are off.

That’s all for now…#BlackerOut !



Filed under Business Development, Call Me Crazy, Marriage, Networking

It’s Just Another #ManicMonday…Making Networking and Relationship Building Part Of Every Day

Yep, it is just another manic Monday around here. And as I look at my calendar, my head is spinning. But it’s all good, I can keep it under control like I always do with the help of a bazillion reminders popping up on my phone and computer.  That assumes, of course, I put all of the events on my calendar in the first place. Hey, it happens to the best of us.

I’m actually heading to LA on Tuesday to spend a few days with some childhood friends that are sprinkled around the metropolitan area and then celebrate my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah over the weekend. I worked all weekend writing a few blogs, planning out some social media content and, yes, even went into Quickbooks to balance my accounts. Seriously, hasn’t anyone created a way for that to happen automatically?

Oh wait, it’s called outsourcing….

hire a va

Hopefully after a few meetings and running a bunch of errands, I will be home at a reasonable time to pack and be out the door at the crack of OMG o’thirty tomorrow morning. Somebody please promise me one day there will be a way to transport ourselves across the country in the blink of an eye and we no longer need to take early am flights!!!

Anyway, when I first started all of this current craziness (this website and Facebook community page),  I wanted to continue my passion for helping other businesses and organizations grow and succeed, something I had cultivated through my previous craziness while running my baked goods company, tcP! Sweets.

My "Killer" Brownie Bites

My “Killer” Brownie Bites

Many of you who followed me on that journey (or maybe even read the About page on this website) know that I networked my tushy off over the past 3 years building up a lot of recognition and credibility. And you may be surprised to hear I was able to do it by introducing myself a lot of times as a “networking slut”.

Did I mention you can call me crazy?

What can I say, I love connecting with people and I fully embrace every opportunity online and face to face. And I always want people to know that what they see is exactly what they get with me. I don’t think I ever go over the line by being offensive, I just like to keep it real.

In social media expert Kim Garst’s  new book, Will The Real You Please Stand Up, she focuses on how we all need to recognize in the world today how important it is to be authentic or, using her now trending hashtag, #BeYou.  I  happen to be a big fan of Kim so I may be a little biased when I say that she totally nails the whole “being real” thing in this book.

I choose to believe I live by her words in the image above every day. I am extremely enthusiastic about my message and truly hope that whatever it is I do throughout the days, weeks, months and years will inspire and influence others. Probably not in a Mother Teresa or Gloria Steinem way but hopefully still have some degree of an impact in my spheres of influence.

I touched on my, dare I say, obsession with networking and relationship building in a lot of tcP! blogs especially this one about my local “tribe”.

Hanging with my "tribe"

Hanging with my TBBO “tribe” at a piano bar on a marketing cruise in 2014…we totally rocked it!

At the risk of repeating myself from the past, let me just say I am very fortunate to have met some pretty incredible people here in Tampa Bay as well as around the world via all of the social media connections I’ve made but, trust me, it took a lot of work. The rewards, however, have been tremendous.

Most importantly, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now transitioning relatively seamlessly to my new venture as a Business Ambassador.

A what??????

Well, for those that don’t have the time, inclination or wherewithal to network  in a way that truly gains and maintains clients, I will be that person for a handful of small business owners in Tampa Bay.  Yep, more networking my tushy off 🙂 But my role as their ambassador, envoy, emissary, advocate, whatever you want to call it will go well beyond handing out a bunch of business cards at events.

Call Me Crazy Calling Card

It will be about cultivating relationships that will translate to business. And maybe not even with the other business owner I am sitting across the table from having coffee with. Let’s face it…not every business owner you meet will need to do business with you, but you never know who they know that will, right?

So yes, call me crazy, but despite all of the SEO, lead generation, social media, blogging, podcasting, webinars, emails and, yes, direct mail marketing small business owners do to get their name out there, there is always going to be a need to sit down face to face and have a conversation. My recommendation? Always make those conversations more about each other than about your businesses, especially in the beginning of building a relationship. People want to do business with the real you. If they don’t, then do you really want to do business with them?

That’s all for now…#BlackerOut !




Filed under Business Development, Networking