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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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    11-30-17 What is really important if you are a business owner?

    When many people hear about someone creating a business, they probably think that making money is the primary goal motivating a business owner.

    Obviously, if you own a business you have to make enough money to make it worthwhile to stay in business.

    But, as I have written these business stories for the last five years, I have noticed that what seems to motivate business owners even more than money, especially in a community like Whidbey, are feelings of satisfaction, passion and love for what they are doing.

    I often hear how much work is involved running a business. There is no question that having a business usually requires more work than a 9 to 5 job (do those still exist anymore???). But what I hear most from the business people who have been the subjects of my stories is how much pleasure they get from what they are doing.


    11-23-17 I am really thankful to be part of the Whidbey Island community

    I’m taking a break from my marketing blog to reflect on what the Thanksgiving holiday means to me.

    First, I am very fortunate to have a great partner in life and to have children and grandchildren who are all doing well.

    Shortly after our marriage in 2002 Rich and I came to Whidbey for a visit from our home in Bellevue. We had a lovely get together with some good friends who spent the afternoon telling us about the wonderful lifestyle on Whidbey and why we should move here. They were so persuasive, that we made the decision to do just that before we returned to Bellevue that day.

    We spent a lot of weekends looking for property on the island. We found some land in Greenbank, built a weekend get-away house there, and after a year of weekend visits, we realized we wanted to live here full time. We lived in Greenbank for five years before deciding we wanted a little bit bigger house and we wanted to live closer to the community of Langley.

    Today, we cherish every day that we are in our comfortable home on 2-1/2 acres of beautiful forest in Freeland.

    But, I also truly cherish this community. The arts flourish here. We have theaters, talented musicians (with many venues now to hear their music), talented artists displaying their work in the many art galleries, charming iconic towns and of course, the gorgeous views that greet us no matter what direction we are driving.

    Whidbey has special meaning to an extrovert like me: I notice all the smiles (often accompanied by hugs) from friends I have made working with valuable non-profits or just taking a walk, going to the movie theater or simply doing grocery shopping.

    I have written a lot about the courage it takes to create a business, but on Whidbey when you create a business there are a lot of people who give you support and encouragement.

    I am truly grateful to be part of this community.


    11-16-17 Whether it’s a local person or a tourist, making a person feel welcome as they come into your business is your most important job

    Have you ever walked into a business…

    … and waited to be noticed while the person in the store intently stared at a computer screen...

    ….or, waited while two of the employees were engaged in an intense discussion…

    ….or, the person barely noticed you and had a distant or irritated look on their face.

    Some people may be OK and forgiving if they are treated like an invisible being when they enter a business, but I am not.  I want to be noticed immediately, and I want a smile and a friendly greeting. If someone is engaged in something that is drawing their attention away from me, I want them to tell me so, apologize for not helping me immediately, and let me know when they’ll be able to respond to my needs.

    It’s my belief that having a successful business begins with making every customer you come in contact with feel that they are the focus of your attention; that you are very important to them.

    Even if you’re not feeling well or you’re in a negative mood, greeting people in a way that makes them feel good will make you feel good too. It’s a classic win-win situation.

    And, it will certainly play a major role in attracting more people to your business and having them feel like they want to do business with you (and tell their friends about your positive and responsive service, as well).


    11-9-17 Commitment, an essential quality for a successful business

    There are lots of marketing tools that can help build a business, but, in my opinion, nothing is as important as having a true commitment to the value of what you’re offering. It also helps if a business owner maintains a passion about the business to which they are committed.

    One of the best local examples of commitment is Moonraker Books in Langley. Josh Hauser, and her husband, Glenn opened Moonraker Books at 209 First Street 45 years ago.

    I asked Josh what created the commitment to this business and she quickly responded, “I love people and I love books, and when I can have them together in one spot, I’m in heaven.”

    Josh has also benefited from a turn-around in people wanting to have a real, paper book they can hold while they read. There was a fear a few years ago that technology was going to make old-fashioned books obsolete. Fortunately, for Josh and us book lovers on South Whidbey, that didn’t happen.

    For the current story about Josh and Moonraker Books, see the story on the Business Spotlight of Whidbey Local.



    11-2-17 Outcast Productions Follies in Concert blends entertainment and art

    Outcast Productions presents Follies in Concert for three weekends, from November 3rd. to the 18th. The show features the music of Stephen Sondheim and includes 15 performers.

    Today, I attended a one-hour lecture by Eileen Soskin, the Musical Director of the show. She did a brilliant job of explaining the difference between entertainment and art. Sondheim’s music, as she pointed out, is entertaining, but is truly art. She noted that as many times as she has played the music from Sondheim’s shows, she keeps finding new ways to interpret what she is hearing.

    Some of Sondheim’s best known shows include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and my personal favorite, Into the Woods.

    As Soskin spoke and performed some piano excerpts, she pointed out the nuances in the rhythms and the melodies. As she talked, I realized what an emotional punch I have often gotten listening to Sondheim music. She provided examples of how the emotions and thoughts of the characters are conveyed in the way that the music is written.

    I don’t usually make recommendations in this marketing blog, but hearing the lecture today made me want to share my enthusiasm for Outcast Productions and my excitement about seeing this show.

    If you want tickets, you can go to the Outcast website for information: You can purchase tickets through Brown Paper Tickets or send a request for a reservation to