Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    p:| 360.222.6820
    c:| 425.351.7531

    f:| 360.222.6820

    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    8-4-16 An email can create misunderstanding

    Have you received an email with several misspellings or grammatical errors?

    Have you received a group email that got sent around several times to several people, including you?

    Do you find yourself sometimes struggling to get through a long email, only to reach the end and realize you’re still not sure what it was all about?

    Have you sent an email assuming the other person would understand your words and your tone, only to get a response back that didn’t really relate to your intentions?

    I’m sure you can come up with several other items to put on this list.  In our high speed communication age, we rapidly email and text and tweet several times a day….but are we really communicating?  There are some disagreements about how much human communication is non-verbal, but I think that we all can agree that lacking voice intonation, facial expression, body language and simply feeling another person’s energy, words alone will not necessarily convey thoughts accurately.

    I have a bit of a silly streak in me (those who know me might say it is more than a bit).  I learned a long time ago never to use my silliness in an email unless I was absolutely sure that the person knew me well enough to understand the communication (and I’m not sure it’s wise to send anyone a silly email).  Of course, I can add an imogi or a simple :>), but……

    Here are a few suggestions to avoid misunderstandings when emailing:

    • Keep it short and simple
    • If at all possible, save your sincere, serious communications for in-person or by phone
    • Read every email over before you press “Send”
    • If you are sending out a longer email or something with important information, make sure you have someone else read it before you send it
    • If you are feeling angry or frustrated with someone, DO NOT send them an email and let them know this; cool down first, and then make a phone call
    • If you are sending an email to a group of people, use the bcc, even if everyone knows each other; it will seem more personal and it will be impossible for someone else to press the “Reply all” and send out swirling emails that can drive us crazy;

    7-28-16 What if making money kills the joy of your passion?

    One of my on-going themes for having a successful business is the importantance of being passionate about what you do.  I have written several stories about people who moved to Whidbey and became entrempreneurs, often doing something very different on the island than they had done previously.

    Then, I got this response that really impressed me:

    “I once had a business that was also my passion but I found that when you absolutely must earn a living from that thing, it can take the joy and pleasure right out of the thing that once fed your soul. For me, it's been much easier to NOT earn money from "what makes me passionate," but to do something else that can enable me to do my passion outside of work, without it having to be reduced to the grind of needing to make me money.“

    I’ve read this over several times.  I certainly understand the point that was made. 

    And yet, on Whidbey especially, I see so many examples of people who really love what they do while they are making a living from their business.

    I think what I have observed is that many people who move to Whidbey need to find a different way to earn a living since there are relatively few jobs on the island.  Many decide to follow a dream they have had but never acted upon.  Running any kind of a business isn’t easy, but I have crossed paths with many who moved to the island, decided to do something as a business that they had never done before, and find themselves feeling very contented with their business choice….even if it isn’t earning the money they might have gotten from their city job off the island.

    There really is no pat answer to the dilemma of job/business satisfaction vs. making enough money to live comfortably.  Obviously, if you can follow a passion and earn as much as you need to get by, it’s a formula for a happier lifestyle.



    7-21-16 Promote your business and help support the Whidbey Children’s Theater  

    One of the major ways that a Whidbey business can develop excellent PR and market the business is by making donations to some of the many worthy non-profits on Whidbey Island.


    I happen to be on the board of the Whidbey Children’s Theater, and I am always impressed with what this organization does for children’s self-esteem by providing a place that is totally accepting of who they are.


    WCT has been building a program of sustaining memberships with local business owners. For $35 a month (and you can certainly do more if you want), you receive several benefits including s 1/8 page ad in our playbill for the season and two tickets to a show of your choice, plus lots of acknowledgements from WCT in its communications with the public.

    It’s a great way to let the community know that you are supporting a very worthy organization and it’s certainly a reasonably priced way to purchase advertising that will be seen by hundreds of theater goers over the course of an entire season.

    Deadline for reserving a space in the playbill is July 29th, so If you are interested, please call the office this week at 360-221-8707.


    7-14-16 Another example of filling a business niche: Ruby’s Closet in Freeland  

    I’ve written before about how much easier it is to market a business when that business fills a niche. By definition, a business niche means that there is a need for a particular business that hasn’t been met yet.

    I just interviewed Kari Daumen who own’s Ruby’s Closet, a consignment store for baby and young children’s clothing and toys, as well as good quality new toys, strollers and other baby needs. Kari has two children, who are now approaching 5 and 1. When she became a mother, she became aware that there was nowhere on the south end of Whidbey to shop for her children’s needs.

    Kari did a lot of research and she had some wonderful Whidbey serendipity come her way. She opened Ruby’s Closet nearly four years ago and has seen the business grow as people in the community have learned what she offers. She is providing a much needed service, and, as an added work benefit,  she is able to bring her children to the store with her (and she invites shoppers to let their kids play in the store while they shop).

    The full story has been posted in Business Spotlight of  .  It certainly can be an example for other businesses that can fill a niche on Whidbey.



    7-7-16 Environmentally responsible agriculture: A growing way of marketing

    Rich and I just returned from a trip to Northern California where we visited with many family members, including a two-day visit to an organic, permaculture and bio-dynamic farm run by his cousins.

    We received a tour of the property that included looking at ponds containing rainwater run-off that is circulated using solar energy and provides a source of water for irrigation without impacting the water supply in the community. Solar panels were everywhere, supplying most of the energy needs of the farm. There is a relationship between the animals and the agriculture where each helps the other. The ponds have tiny fish that eat the mosquitos. No pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used anywhere on the property.

    Interestingly, in the nearby small town, large signs at some of the restaurants invited customers to come in and enjoy food that was raised using organically raised produce and animal products.

    I know there is an ethic on Whidbey, and in many other places, where people look for products that are raised in these environmentally ways.

    For a growing segment of the population, eating foods that have been grown organically and where there has been little impact on the environment makes them feel they are contributing to the well-being of our planet and supporting businesses that have these ethical standards.


     (Note: If you know of a farm on Whidbey that operates this way, I would enjoy doing a story about them for Business Spotlight.)