October 28, 2010
“Childhood is so fleeting, I venture to tap into that charming, forgotten realm.” Meet whimsical children’s illustrator and designer Elisabeth Bell, who not only taps into that “forgotten realm” but dives into it! Having 3 small children of her own to keep her busy and to inspire her, Elisabeth infuses her artwork with rich colors and fanciful designs. Born in Australia, Elisabeth has migrated to the States bringing her love and creative ability for all things children. Read below to learn more about this delightful artist and her warm, inviting artwork. Enjoy!
Hometown: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Current Residence: Vail, Arizona
Education: QCA, Griffith University, Bachelor of Visual Arts in Animation
Company: Lis-trations Art and Designs, LLC. Founder, Owner.
Professional Background: After graduating from the Bachelor’s program, I worked on various children’s animation projects in Australia, from designing children’s characters for CD-Roms to working on a popular children’s day time television cartoon series called, “Little Elvis Jones and the Truck-stoppers.” From there, I did humanitarian and missionary service in Salt Lake City, Temple Square, UT. I have also delved into painting children’s wall murals and teaching children art. I now create designs for the crafting industry, and license my designs to companies worldwide.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: I wanted to be a princess, particularly Cinderella (I loved her ball gown). Or at least draw all their pretty dresses. Disney was the epitome of my world – especially all those Disney Princess dresses!
What you are: First and foremost, I am a Mom to 3 beautiful children, a 2 year old (our Princess), 4 year old (our Energizer Bunny) and 9 year old (the Dragon Tamer). I am the wife of a brilliant man (my Prince Charming – of course) who supports me in all my business and artistic endeavors. And secondly, I am an entrepreneur illustrator and designer, specializing in the children’s field, running my art business from the ease of my laptop at home around my family. And yup. I am Queen of our castle.
Brief Summary of your Start Up: I have always been inspired by all things children – from the bright colours on toys in department stores and sticker albums in craft stores, to the lively characters on children’s animated feature films and in picture books. I have always known that I would be a part of the industry for children’s products. Creating designs for the children’s market is something I deeply enjoy, and I always push myself further to create appealing images that will last far longer in the heart of the customer than its life time on the product.
What inspired you? Of the many inspirations I have for my work, my three young children are my main and constant source of creative ingenuity. Their images often appear on the pages of my sketch books (of which are a good many that fill my drawers and pile high on my drawing table) and end up on the final product. Walt Disney is also my inspiration. He was a man of vision, ambition, conviction and determination. His genius lives on in the legacy of his dream, the spirit of his achievement and the love he fueled behind his beliefs.
How long have you been in business? Officially, I have been in business for 4 years.
How did you fund it? Fortunately, most of the equipment I needed to build my business I owned up front. As I already had a computer, I purchased the Adobe CS4 Master Collection and pretty much self taught my way around Photoshop (with some lucky help from other experienced Photoshoppers), and began my journey working on a digital level. I also acquired a Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet, which has aided me to become more successful with my art.
Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? I am blessed with many Fairy Godmothers. My mother is my greatest mentor. Including my husband (my Fairy Godfather). They both offer great business advice and encourage me in my creativity. Tara Reed, licensing expert and artist entrepreneur, is also a gem in my late art career. Tara has years of experience in the art industry, and has a lot of knowledge that she shares with me. All three of my mentors are amazing!
Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups? I am a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.)
Current Business Challenge? I am currently working on designs for the children’s book illustration market, and expanding my licensing line for manufacturers in the crafting industry and beyond.
What are you doing about it? Using resources that can be found through social networking to further me in my goals has proven to be very helpful. I have also created a separate website for children’s book illustration purposes (www.elisabethbellillustration.com). Plus I am learning more about art licensing and am in the process of contacting licensees with the guidance of my mentor, Tara Reed.
Favorite motivational quote: “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” -Steven Pressfield
Family? My husband, who is not only truly brilliant, he is also my manager, cheer squad, my creative light bulb, and my sanity. Plus my 3 treasures, each a brilliant jewel in their own right. They keep me young, on my toes and insane – *cough* – ly happy!
If so, how do you balance family and business? With having three young children, this is a constant goal (battle) for me. I refer to my daily schedule, or my daily To Do List – which oftentimes falls through the cracks much to my vexation. Which is why I have immense gratitude for my understanding husband who takes care of the home- front (and is my official Check List) so I can work during the days that he is home from work. When he is not home, I work during the evenings and on weekends too. We spend time together as a family during meal times (and I even cook on some nights. Woot!). We even run errands together, which allows us time out of the house as a family. On such family outings, hubby and I often read to each other (we’re always reading a book together) while the other drives. On weekends when there is more time and when Daddy is home, we try to do more family activities together, such as visit Grandma and Grandpa or go to the park. We endeavor to make time work for us… the operative word being “endeavor.”
What do you do to relax? Sip on a cup of hot herbal tea and play Animal Crossing or MySims on the Wii next to my hubby (while he plays his MMORPG game). On the other hand, I also like to run, or do a Crossfit workout. I love doing pushups to good music with an upbeat tempo and a healthy bass. I find this relaxing, because it’s ME time.
What do you want to change most about your world? About my world?… I would like to move into a bigger house!
What are you most proud of? My children. They each are my heart walking about outside of my body. My marriage. I am very proud of how far hubby and I have come along in all facets of our almost 11 years together. My business, and where it is today. The ability to bring joy to others, and to help contribute towards enhancing their own crafting enjoyment and experience through my designs. This means a great deal to me as an artist. Mine is a productive and industrious life, and certainly one I would not trade for anything. With a beautiful family and a fulfilling career, I am “living the dream”, for which I am most grateful.
What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses? Hang in there. This may sound cliched, but your work IS being noticed. Keep believing in your talent. Remember, you ARE the competition. Keep the Plus Mentality. Learn from others and be open to new ideas. Be bold. Open your mouth and speak up. If you want it, go after it! Be generous. It all comes back to you in the end. And always, always be kind to everyone. You never know when that someone who you were kind to will help you out in a manner that can change your future in positive ways.
Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)? Macbook Pro, Adobe Photoshop CS4 and the Wacom Intuos 4 tablet. In my studio, all three work inseparably. And the internet! There is so much information at one’s finger tips. These tools are indispensable to my business. And my Mum.
If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use? Dazzling diamonds (dozens! – it’s my birthstone) and sparkly, Jello-red rubies.
October 27, 2010
Guest Author Pamela Yellen shares the following:
The idea of having a comfortable, worry-free retirement has become a distant dream for many business owners — even for those who did “all the right things” that Wall Street and the financial gurus told them to do.
Are you tired of relying on hope and luck to achieve your financial goals? If so, how likely do you think it is that following the same strategy that got you where you are today will get you where you want to be?
Give Your Retirement Plan the “Acid Test”
Do you know what your retirement account will be worth in 10, 20, or 30 years… or on the day you plan to tap into it?
If your answer is “no” or “I’m HOPING it will be worth $X” – you don’t have a plan!
And if you’re relying on a financial advisor, stock broker or plan administrator for advice, ask them if they can tell you what your account will be worth on the day you plan to retire. Then follow it up with, “And will you give me a money-back guarantee if you don’t hit that savings target?”
The Power of Rationalization…
Remember the scene from the 1983 movie classic, “The Big Chill,” where the character played by Jeff Goldblum asks, “Have you ever gone a week without a rationalization?”
Well, many business owners and professionals today are trying to rationalize away the fact that they won’t be able to retire when and how they had planned by trying to convince themselves that retirement is overrated.
They now talk about continuing to work in some capacity as long as they can.
While there’s no question that this can give you more of a sense of purpose and fulfillment and keep you from dying of boredom, the realityis that many people are being forced to retire earlier than they can afford to. Job layoffs and health issues are the primary reasons for this.
I love what I do, and I hope to be doing it for a long time. But shouldn’t the decision to retire — or not — be a matter of choice, not necessity?
If you believe it should be a matter of choice, what’s the best way to invest your money?
I’ve researched over 450 savings and investing products and strategies over the past two decades, as a consultant to financial advisors. I ultimately concluded that Americans have been brainwashed into believing we must risk our money in order to grow it.
Wall Street and the financial planning industry have led us to believe that “saving” and “investing” are the same thing. However, they are not. The money you have in “savings” is money you don’t want (or can’t afford) to lose. Money you “invest” is subject to loss.
Most people today “invest to save,” and as a result, have no idea what their nest egg will be worth when they hope or plan to tap into it.
Look Beyond the Traditional Financial and Retirement Planning Strategies
Consider proven and time-tested ways to grow a substantial nest egg — without the risk or volatility of stocks, mutual funds, real estate, and other investments.
Tip: For example, there is an asset class that has increased in value during every stock market decline and every period of economic boom and bust for more than a century.
That asset is dividend-paying whole life insurance.
A dividend-paying whole life policy grows by a guaranteed and pre-set amount every year. In addition, the growth is exponential, meaning it gets better (more efficient) every single year you have the policy, simply because you stick with it.
This gives you some protection against inflation and provides peak growth at the time you need it most (retirement). And no luck, skill, or guesswork is required to make that happen.
Furthermore, there are little-known options that can be added to the policy which turbo-charge the growth of your equity (“cash value”) in the policy. When your policy is structured properly, you can use it as a powerful financial management tool from day one.
Once credited to your policy, both your guaranteed annual increase, plus any dividends you may receive, are locked in. They don’t vanish due to a market correction.
These policies also give you peace of mind for retirement planning, because you’ll know the minimum guaranteed income you can take in retirement, and for how long you can take it.
Bank On Yourself
You control the money in your policy, not the government. You can use the money to “bank on yourself” and become your own source of financing, so you can reduce or even eliminate the control banks and financial institutions have over you.
In fact, many business owners and professionals who use the Bank On Yourself method have been able to get access to needed capital to start or grow their businesses – even when no banker would give them a dime – by answering just one question: How much do you want?
Many famous companies used the Bank On Yourself method for start-up capital, including Walt Disney, J. C. Penney, the Pampered Chef and Foster Farms.
No begging, no prying applications to fill out, no pledging your first born. And you can pay the money back on your own schedule, notsomeone else’s. Plus, you recapture the interest you would otherwise pay to banks and finance institutions to lease or finance equipment, office buildings, and more.
Some insurance companies even offer an option that allows you to use your equity in the policy, and the policy continues growing as though you never touched a dime of it!
In addition, it’s possible to take retirement income from these policies with little or no tax consequences, under current tax law.
During the financial crisis, even as the experts lamented there was no place to hide, no one lost a penny in a dividend-paying whole life policy, and their policies continue to grow safely and predictably.
There are many myths about this powerful financial tool, and no shortage of financial gurus who will tell you to avoid whole life policies. That’s why I created the $100,000 Challenge. It lets you test your knowledge of the facts about dividend-paying whole life. And a $100,000 cash reward awaits the first person who has a different product or strategy that can match or beat a properly structured dividend-paying whole life policy.
© 2010 Pamela Yellen, author of Bank on Yourself: The Life-Changing Secret to Protecting Your Financial Future
Financial security expert, Pamela Yellen, is author of the best-selling book, Bank On Yourself: The Life-Changing Secret to Growing and Protecting Your Financial Future. For more information, visit: www.BankOnYourself.com and to take the $100,000 Challenge, visit:www.BankOnYourself.com/challenge.
October 25, 2010
Fairy Godmother Tara McCausland shares the following advice:
Failure is a part of life and if you are an entrepreneur, you’re sure to experience a big dose of it from time to time. We entrepreneurs are risk takers and with risk comes the opportunity to experience failure. Yes, you read that right – the opportunity. Truth be told, if we want to be genuinely successful not only in business but in life – failure is one of the best things that could happen to us. Why? Mark Twight, owner of Gym Jones, put it this way. “The risk of failure, social or physical, is paramount because failure and dissatisfaction are the parents of thought. Success and fulfillment do not inspire or require introspection.”
You may still be asking yourself how and why failure is a good thing. Truth is, failure has the potential to tutor us unlike any amount of success could.
Here’s a classic example of how failure made a man. Name this person. Failed in business. Ran for state legislature – lost. Later lost his job so he tried to get into Law School – couldn’t get in. He borrowed some money from a friend to start a business that within the year was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life trying to pay it off. Ran for state legislature again – won this time. He was engaged to be married and his fiance died, causing him to have a nervous breakdown. He was in bed for 6 months recovering. Tried to become speaker of state legislature – defeated. Sought to become elector – defeated. Ran for Congress – lost. Ran for Congress again and won this time. When he tried to get re-elected – lost. Tried to obtain the vice-presidential nomination at his party’s convention – got fewer than 100 votes. Ran for the Senate again – lost again. Elected president of the United States in 1860.
This of course is none other than our illustrious president, Abraham Lincoln. This story is the quintessential example of the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!” Another lesson can be gleaned though. Without these refining experiences, I’m going to venture that Lincoln wouldn’t have had the necessary strength or fortitude to take on one of the greatest challenges an American president has undertaken – abolishing slavery.
Oprah Winfrey is also a prime example of someone who, after what would seemingly be the ingredients for only failure, was able to rise above poverty, a broken family, and abuse to become one of the most powerful and affluent women in the world.
Like them we may experience failure, but it is only succumbing to and not learning from our failure that is the true tragedy. If we allow ourselves to be educated by our misfortune or mistake, pull ourselves up by our boot straps and then continue on – failure will only deepen our character, broaden our understanding, and strengthen our resolve to succeed. Success will come so long as you persist. History is evidence of that fact. Let it also be noted that success is never so sweet as it is when we’ve worked tirelessly for it.
Some practical advice if you’re experiencing a spot of failure.
- Take time to ponder and reflect. Your failure may be circumstantial or self-caused. Whatever the case, when we take time to reflect, the seedlings of solutions start sprouting.
- Learn a lesson. The opportunity in failure only comes when we choose to become better as a result of our challenge. We may not always have control over what happens to us, but how we respond is indeed a choice.
- Experiment. Success doesn’t merely require persistence. You must be willing to branch out and try different things. Examine the problem, be creative, and experiment with all the unexplored options. In time you will find a solution.
- Stay positive. I once read that failure is only a state of mind. How true that is! We are only beat when we say we are. The person who thinks they can will eventually win the prize.
To you I say don’t be afraid of failure! When hardship comes your way, stand fast through the storm and your roots will be stronger and deeper than ever before. Then and only then will you truly succeed.
Tara McCausland is a speaker, author, and the owner of her own success coaching business. As a coach, Tara specializes in helping her clients become masters of their minds, their time, and their lives – building prosperity from the inside out. She’s also the happy mommy of two little boys and has been married to her high school sweetheart for 5 years. Best way to contact Tara is by email at email@example.com or on Twitter@myjoyquest
October 20, 2010
Fairy Godmother Laura West of Center for Joyful Business shares the following sales tips:
Sales page creation is both an art and a science. It can be very creative and artistic, and at the same time, there is a science to getting people to make purchases online. With an online sales page, you really are presenting a story.
Your page should be visually interesting. Not so interesting that potential clients are confused and there’s too much to digest or look at. But appealing enough that they feel they know you. That they would love to go to coffee with you and pick your brain. Since they can’t do that, they’ll do the next best thing… buy your product, program or service.
So, how do you create a sales page that presents your story and connects you to your future buyers?
#1 Connect to your joy and align your energy for creative flow. It’s so much harder to write from a standstill or when you are staring at a blank page. You want to tap into inspiration, creativity and flow… even when you are getting ready to write something serious and practical like a sales page. However, you can “cheat” and get yourself into the flow!
First of all, it’s highly unusual to sit down and create an entire sales page at one time. So, relax. When you relax, you open your mind, body, spirit and cells to more creativity, more ideas and more inspiration.
A Business Goddess opens her mind, her heart and her spirit, even when or especially when it comes to something as practical-minded as writing and creating sales pages.
#2 Get clear about who you are writing to. Who is your ideal client for this sales page?
This is one of the biggest secrets for being able to create a sales page that really connects and is engaging and compelling. Hopefully, you’re clear on who your ideal client is in general, but you may have to narrow that down for the specific program, product, or service you’re creating your sales page for.
#3 Start noting ideas for your sales page. A sales page has different sections (the science piece of a sales page). Think about what you want to say in each section. Make notes about the first things, ideas and inspirations that come up for you. Keep your focus on one product or service for your sales page and on one ideal client
#4 Gather other items for your sales page. Start gathering the other items you’ll need for your sales page: photos, clip art, graphics, etc.
#5 Write your first rough draft Start putting everything together in a Word document. Take your notes and let yourself write a rough draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect; in fact, it won’t be. Let it be messy. Just get it flowing. If a section feels too hard or you can’t think of what to write, just make notes. You don’t have to create a sales page in order. Much of the time, you’ll get clearer once you have created the easy stuff like listing the product details and bonuses.
#6 Fill in specific holes and items that are missing Now you come back and fill in the holes. Which pieces do you need more information on? Where can you find it? Who can you ask?
#7 Create sales page online or send it to a team member Now it’s time to put your sales page online. You can do this yourself or work with someone who knows how to do this easily like a web master or virtual assistant.
#8 Revise and edit Once you see it up online, then you’ll want to revise it again. Make sure it flows, and tighten up words and phrases. Check that you are inviting your specific ideal client and coming from a confident place vs. a desperate place.
- Determine what’s missing.
- Is it compelling?
- Will they want to buy NOW?
- What is the ONE action that it’s obvious you want them to do?
#9 Have a fresh set of eyes review Have someone review the page for typos and necessary edits. After you’ve worked on this for so long, it will be hard to spot those. Ideally, have someone who successfully markets online review it as well. It might be your virtual assistant, a colleague or your business coach. Proofread. Test your links. (Always test all links!)
#10 Test and tweak Time to let her go! Your sales page is ready to be seen by your list. Pay attention to comments, feedback and results. One of the great things about marketing online is that you can change headlines and copy in a flash!
#11 Keep updating and make it fresh You are going to want to make sure your page stays up to date. You don’t want a year to go by, and then people see your page and think you aren’t very professional or committed. You’ll also be getting new results and new feedback about your product or program, so you’ll want to tweak your page to keep it compelling.
Once you have a system (again, that science piece), you’ll be able to tap into the creative, artistic side of designing a sales page, one that allows you to bring your brilliance out into the world. You’re not just selling something; you’re making the world a better place with your product, program or service. Remember that as you create your sales page from that place.
Laura West is an award-winning entrepreneur, and president and founder of the Center for Joyful Business. As a certified business coach, author and speaker, she helps thousands of women entrepreneurs create successful businesses filled with passion, purpose and prosperity. She is known for making marketing simple and fun for passion-based business owners. She is also the author and creator of Joyful Business Guide™ Home Study System, and she is author of the upcoming book, Awakening Your Inner Business Goddess. She is also the Fresh Entrepreneur Expert atLadies Who Launch.com and creator of their Fresh Entrepreneur workshop and workbook program.
If you are interested in having Ms. West speak for your organization, membership club, teleseminar, or Internet radio show, please contact her Media and Marketing Manager, Dawn Goldberg, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more media information, please visit:www.centerforjoyfulbusiness.com/media.html.
October 18, 2010
Guest Author Marcia Reynolds, PsyD shares the following insight:
If you are a smart, strong, goal-driven woman, you have some unique stressors that plague you based on your strengths of confidence, competence and self-sufficiency.
In other words, your greatest strengths are also your greatest weaknesses.
The good news is that if you listen to your self-talk, you can hear the assumptions that trigger the unique stressful reactions of being a high-achiever.
See of you can catch yourself thinking these thoughts:
Assumption #1: There is a right answer and it is mine
If you are the best and the one who knows, then you have an answer for every question about things that are important to you. Always being right not only hurts your relationships, your body triggers a ‘fight-response’ when your brain senses disagreement. Even if you have learned to manage your mouth, your belief will still trigger your stress. Can you let some other people be right sometimes too?
Assumption #2: No one can do the work as well as I do
Things will spin out of control or fail if they aren’t done by you. As a result, you will overwork, take on too many projects, and resist sharing your work with anyone else. This not only produces stress, you are often resentful and exhausted. Look for the times you can develop someone else by training and delegating, and allow others to learn from their mistakes as you have also done.
Assumption #3: I am disappointed, again
Whether it’s a job or a relationship, you start out excited about the possibilities, then you feel let down. This is due to the unreasonable standards you set up which no job or person can meet in the long run. If you don’t tone down these expectations, you will always focus on what is wrong. Try focusing instead on what is right and what is possible instead.
Assumption #4: I don’t need help
You are a strong, smart woman so you don’t need anyone to help you succeed. You can figure it out on your own. Unfortunately, this assumption is a horrible waste of your precious time. Letting other people help you is more efficient, it builds relationships, and you look stronger as a leader.
Assumption #5: I have to be great at everything I do
For the first time in history, girls are brought up to believe we can do anything. To make up for lost time, this message is being delivered with a vengeance. As a result, girls interpret the words to mean, “I must be great at anything I choose.” Then as a woman, the more knowledge and experience you gain, the heavier is this “burden of greatness.” When one accomplishment is complete, you quickly search for the next great thing to conquer. As a result, you may not enjoy your achievements as you busily, and stressfully, move on to accomplish something more.
This realization of assumption #5 launched the idea for my research and the exercises in the book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction. By increasing awareness of what drives you, understanding who you are separately from what you do, defining what gives you a sense of purpose in your busy workday, reconnecting with nature so you feel grounded and stopping to celebrate the amazing fruits of your labors, you can deal more effectively with your stress and have a more emotionally-satisfying life.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds is a coach who teaches classes worldwide on emotional intelligence and leadership. Read more about her and her book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction at www.WanderWomanBook.com
October 14, 2010
Mallory Musante knows that shoes are a girl’s best friend and at only 22 years old she is building a business out of it. Combining her passion for shoes and art, Mallory designs and hand paints high heels custom to each owner’s style. Get to know the innovative and very talented Mallory by reading below and connecting with her on twitter. Enjoy!
Hometown: Mystic, CT
Current Residence: Mystic, CT
Education: Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Bryant University
Professional Background: I started Mallory Musante Shoes while I was still in college so my professional background is limited to the following: Marketing Consultant for Holistic Guidance, LLC, Marketing Intern for The Genesis Network, Marketing Intern for Big Sisters of Rhode Island
What you wanted to be when you grew up: For a really long time, I wanted to be a teacher but once I got to high school I knew I wanted to be a businesswoman of some sort.
What you are: An entrepreneur and an artist.
Brief Summary of your Start Up: Mallory Musante Shoes hand paints women’s leather shoes to create wearable pieces of art that allow women to express themselves all the way down to their shoes. Mallory Musante Shoes’s philosophy is that your shoes should match your personal style and personality perfectly.
Company Website? www.MalloryMusanteShoes.com
What inspired you? I originally wanted to be a shoe designer making custom, handmade shoes. I took a 5-day class in San Francisco with a London-based accessory school, Prescott and Mackay, to learn how to hand make a pair of women’s pumps. After taking the class, I realized that it wasn’t feasible to hand make custom shoes for women because the materials are extremely difficult to find and sometimes very costly.
Then I met the owner of JGoods, a customization company that hand paints sneakers, at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization National Conference in Chicago in 2008. This sparked my interest and I wanted to know if there were hand painted shoes for women. I looked everywhere and only found a few different options that targeted very specific styles of women.
Since I’ve always painted, I wanted to try painting a pair of women’s pumps. I instantly fell in love and so did all my friends and family. So in 2009, I decided to start Mallory Musante Shoes by doing custom pairs of shoes and I have now expanded into creating my own line of Signature Looks.
How did you fund it? I funded it with my own personal savings.
Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? Yes, I have an amazing Fairy Godmother! I was able to develop a great relationship with a professor at Bryant while I was there and I continue to work with her closely.
Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups? No.
Current Business Challenge? Time, time, time. There is never enough time during the day to do everything I need to do!
What are you doing about it? I create to-do lists the night before and star the most important things that absolutely need to get done. I always find it easier for me to gather my thoughts if I write things down and can see them. It is also pretty satisfying to cross things off once you are done!
Favorite motivational quote: “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Family? I’m only 22 so I don’t have a family of my own yet.
Favorite book? Kelly Cutrone’s If You Have to Cry Go Outside. She shares stories from both her personal and professional life to give you her secrets on how to succeed by discovering who you are as an individual and what you really want in life. It is a truly inspiring book that brings out your inner power chick.
What do you do to relax? It depends. Occasionally I treat myself to a pedicure while other days I go for a nice long walk with my mom or just throw a movie in to watch. But a sure way for me to relax is to hang out with my boyfriend or my friends. I love being around positive people with great energy. It definitely helps me relax, recharge my energy, and lift my spirits when I need it.
What do you want to change most about your world? I don’t think there is anything I’d change about my own personal world right now. I’m so happy with everything I have and everything that I’ve been through and am going through in both my personal and professional life.
What are you most proud of? I am most proud of the fact that I have created something that is all my own at such a young age. I love the idea that I started with an idea and I have now built it into my own business. I love seeing my vision come alive for both my company and the designs I paint, especially when I am working with a client and I create exactly what they want. There is probably nothing more satisfying or exciting to me.
What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses? Be patient but persistent. There are a lot of ups and downs when you are first starting out so it is really important to be patient. I had so many delays and obstacles come up that I simply could not control so I really had be flexible. You can’t give up when an obstacle is put in your place, even though you may feel like it is the end of the world at the time. Be flexible and innovative to solve any problems that arise. Find something else to focus your time on while you wait on delays that are out of your control. Trust me, being patient and persistent definitely pays off. Once something positive happens for you, you will know that all the difficult times were well worth it!
Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)? My Fairy Godmother of course! But I also use the Internet a lot. If I ever have a question that I need a quick answer for, I know I can always find it online.
If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use? Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds! Next to shoes, they are a girl’s best friend!
October 13, 2010
Fairy Godmother Heather Allard of The Mogul Mom writes the following:
I’m a Gemini, which basically makes me highly inquisitive and on a constant “need-to-know” basis. I love analyzing things, viewing statistics and solving mysteries. That probably explains my love of CSI Miami–I think it’s so cool how they solve crimes by analyzing the smallest bits of evidence and figuring out how they all fit together.
As a blog author (and former ecommerce website owner), that’s also why I love website statistics, programs that show who & what’s going on your website or blog. I’ve been a Google Analytics user for years and I’m still a big fan–but recently, I’ve discovered Alexa.com and Clicky, two more web stats programs that are, in Rhode Island speak, “wicked good”.
If you own a website or blog (and I’m guessing you do), you need to check out the features & benefits of Google Analytics, Alexa and Clicky and how these web stats programs can help you with your business.
- Analyzes traffic by visitors, traffic sources, content, goals & more.
- Customized dashboard–arrange only the information you need on your dashboard.
- AdWords integration–use Google Analytics to find out which of your AdWords are most profitable to your business.
- Easy implementation–place a small snippet of code into your website pages and tracking begins immediately.
- Google Analytics is free.
- Google Analytics data like monthly page views, unique visitors and bounce rate can help you attract advertisers to your site.
- Knowing where & when your customers leave your site can tell you why you may be losing or gaining sales. It can also show you which content is most popular & which isn’t–that’ll help you tweak your content appropriately, giving your readers more of what they love, less of what they don’t.
- See who’s talking about you–GA’s “top traffic sources” will tell you who your top referrers are and can help you discover press coverage that mentions you and websites that are linking to you.
- Help you hone your AdWords-if you’re spending money on Google AdWords, Google Analytics will help you see which ones are earning you the best return on investment. In this economy, you’ll want to earn the most bang for your advertising buck and Google Analytics will help you do that.
- Offers a series of tools specifically for web site owners. These tools can help to drive traffic, make money, find broken links and more.
- Shows the websites that link into your website.
- Gives your website’s traffic rank globally, by country or by categories like business, arts, sports, health and more.
- Compares stats from different sites.
- Has a search bar that allows you to “find sites about”–just enter any keyword.
- Alexa is a free site.
- As with Google Analytics, knowing your Alexa traffic rank will help you attract advertisers. The lower your traffic rank, the better–being in the top 100,000 websites is the goal.
- Gives you the chance to compare & contrast your stats with your competitor’s stats.
- Shows you what sites are linking into your site–the more sites linking into yours, the better–that usually improves your Alexa traffic rank.
- Measures your traffic over a 3-month period and gives you a chance to see your progress, an especially rewarding benefit for hardworking mogul moms!
- Let’s you see what sites come up when you search on specific keywords–a great opportunity to uncover competitors and see how they rank.
- Offers real time, highly customizable web stats organized by visitors, locale, content, links, searches, campaigns & goals.
- Tracks every visitor who comes to your web site with amazing detail, and shows all their history with one click.
- Offers on-the-go access to your data with an iPhone interface & generic mobile interface.
- Highly detailed, real time campaign & goal tracking.
- Offers five different plans, starting at FREE to $299.99/year.
- Gives the most in-depth look at your visitors and what they’re viewing, clicking & downloading on your site.
- Extremely detailed traffic sourcing–tells you how your visitors got to your site, directly or by bookmark, links, searches, advertisements, webmail, RSS reader or social media.
- Affordable plans for every need.
- The real-time stats are perfect for the ultra-inquisitive person who doesn’t want to wait 24 hours for stats to update.
I enjoy using Google Analytics, Alexa and Clicky for very different reasons. For me, Google Analytics gives me the best numbers, Alexa gives me the best competitive insight and Clicky gives me the best way to really get to know my readers and find out what’s valuable & interesting to them.
Heather Allard, The Mogul Mom, Heather Allard is a mother of three and a “Renaissance mom entrepreneur” who has developed products, offered a service and built a blog since 2001. She blogs at http://www.TheMogulMom.com and offers email coaching for mom entrepreneurs. Heather’s products have been seen on Access Hollywood & Pregnancy Magazine and are a best-seller in One Step Ahead. She’s been featured in Working Mother, Entrepreneur and The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds. Contact her via Twitter: @themogulmom or through her site.
October 11, 2010
Guest Author AmyK Hutchens writes the following:
For every six minutes you experience a high state of negative stress it takes your immune system six hours to recover. That doesn’t stress you out does it?!
Experiencing a rotten, lousy, no good, stressful day creates a chronic cycle that wears your immune system down, leaving you exhausted, sick and feeling even more stressed. The goal, however, isn’t to get rid of stress… our brains are hard-wired for it, and we actually need some stress (called eustress) in order to function. The goal is to short-circuit the negative cycle.
Stress has been around since the first human tried to light a fire and failed, only to have his girlfriend show him how it’s done. Telling your brain that “not having enough time in the day” does not equate to “being eaten by a sabre-tooth tiger” doesn’t work. Attempting to convince your brain that the wooly mammoth in front of you is really just your boss or your mother-in-law is next to impossible. Your brain doesn’t distinguish the difference. You’ve got better odds teaching your brain that the saber-tooth tiger is actually a house cat and that your mother-in-law really doesn’t care that you can’t cook.
Seems simple. It is simple, it’s just not easy, especially when your mother-in-law sighs every time you look at your cookbook.
Stress starts in the brain and then spreads throughout your body. The part of the brain that processes your emotions also controls your immune system. Ever experience a stressful week and then get a chance to take a few days off only to find yourself nursing a cold while on vacation? Within seventy-two hours of a significantly stressful event your body manifests some type of physiological symptom. It’s as if you internally vent on your way home, your brain hears you and empathizes with you, and then gives you a migraine, or acne, or both! Really, your brain was just trying to prove you right, you are stressed, so voila, your body now proves it too!
Twenty percent of the oxygen of every breath you take goes straight to your brain. When we’re stressed, one of the first things that changes in our bodies is our breathing – it gets shallower and we take in less oxygen…so right now just breathe. Take a deep breath …inhale slowly, exhale slowly and repeat. Your brain thanks you, and, it will think more clearly for you, more rationally, thus preventing you from throwing that cookbook at a certain someone.
The mere thought of the holidays sends some people straight into stressed-out orbit.
The ubiquitous themes of time, not enough of it; money, not enough of that; food, way too much of that; and relationships, pleasing everybody, can cause extra anxiety.
This year, give yourself a present first: the ability to stop the stress cycle early, before it sends you to bed. And while it may seem like a great place to escape your boss and mother-in-law, there are better ways to spend the holidays.
Short Circuit the Stress Cycle
1. Prioritize & Simplify
Reducing stress is not about creating balance it’s about getting focused. Balance is a myth. Let’s get real – when it comes to life activities there is no such thing as balance, onlypriorities. If you strive for balance you’ll only add to your stress levels, not reduce them, but if you change your priorities, your focus, you will immediately start reducing your stress and feel more in control of how you utilize your time.
Successfully dealing with life’s pressures, demands, and hassles means you need to appropriately respond and manage the tasks at hand in order of priority. Create a list of what you value and need to accomplish over the next two days. (Don’t forget that YOU should and need to be on that list.) Assign each priority a chunk of time and then live within the parameters of that scheduled list. Follow up that time-framed list with another list of new priorities or re-prioritized activities. Every two days (or week) you can create a new list that outlines and accounts for all your responsibilities.
Simplify 1 thing each day. It may be a priority that you serve your family dinner tonight. It’s not a priority that you cook it. You can pick up take-out, or pull something out of the freezer. Choose 1 activity each day and find a way to reduce the time it takes, or the energy it requires of you to complete it.
2. Place Yourself in Time-Out
The purpose of putting a toddler in time-out is to re-set her attitude and improve her behavior. (If only we could use that with our colleagues.) Take some time to be silent and reflective, even if it’s just 3-5 minutes. There is scientific proof that doing so can decrease blood pressure, pulse rate, and improve blood circulation. By removing yourself from a stressful environment or giving yourself a moment to biologically shift, you aid your immune system in getting back to healthy. A few deep breaths while you’re in time-out is an added bonus.
3. Get a Giggle
Laughter reduces your stress hormones and literally changes your body chemistry. Humor releases endorphins and antibody enhancers which aid your immune system. Schedule 30 minutes to watch a funny sitcom or read a humorous book. If 30 minutes just doesn’t exist today, then give yourself a five minute giggle and watch a youtube video. There are many short clips of truly funny comedians and silly people who will definitely give you a smile that will last awhile.
4. Put it in Perspective
Changing your perspective, your thoughts, is the most effective tool we have for reducing our stress and it’s the least used tool by people when they’re experiencing stress. When stressed out individuals scream, “I don’t have five bleep-ity-bleep minutes to watch a YouTube video!” there is one thought, one shift in perspective that helps a lot. “It’s only five minutes. Big bleep-ity-bleep deal.” There are 10,080 minutes in a week. Take 5 of them, so the other 10,075 minutes are more peaceful, more positive, more meaningful. Typically, upon hearing this news, these frenetic, time-obsessed totally stressed out individuals stop holding their breath and suck in a large volume of oxygen. It’s a great start!
The objective isn’t to fight circumstances. You’re not insane, just stressed. Sane people know that arguing with reality only creates more stress because reality always wins. Let it win, and let it go. The goal is to change your perspective to less painful thoughts. Your boss may still growl and snarl, your mother-in-law may still sigh, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if you handed her the spatula and said, “I’m so glad you’re great at cooking. Please, by all means, my kitchen is your kitchen.” And with that, you have not only changed your perspective, you’ve simplified your life, and given yourself a thirty minute time-out to go watch that sitcom you’ve been wanting to watch all week. Life is good.
AmyK Hutchens, Founder and Intelligence Activist, AmyK Inc., is a speaker, trainer and business strategist. She is best known for helping business leaders capitalize on how the brain and human perception filters work to help them be more effective in business and their personal lives. Follow AmyK on Twitter @AmyKinc or visit at www.amyk.com. http://www.amyk.com
October 7, 2010
Robin Shane and Gina Fabiano are practically soul sisters sharing not just a business together, but by coincidence, the same wedding anniversary. They met when working as costume designers and soon started Go Baby, a company that offers products for mom and baby, coaching and resources on how moms can manufacture products, and the Go Baby Seal of Approval for mom-invented products. This talented and creative duo have not just built, sustained, and expanded a business, but have extraordinarily remained great friends throughout the process. Meet the remarkable Robin and Gina of Go Baby. Enjoy the interview!
Robin: Wayland, Massachusetts
Gina: Various places as my father was in the military and moved us often but always near the sea: mostly New Jersey and California.
Robin: Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Gina: Sunnyside, New York
Robin: BA in Theater and Psychology from Wesleyan University; MFA in Design for Stage and Film from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
Gina: BM Music Performance – Classical Flute
Robin: Worked as a costume designer for theater, opera and dance regionally and in New York City for almost 15 years.
Gina: After leaving a career in music I started to work in theater and film as a stitcher and costumer. I then worked for an organization that launched new non-profits globally where I learned the steps to starting a successful venture.
What You Wanted to Be When You Grew Up
Robin: As a kid I wanted to be either a veterinarian or an astronaut (but I’m allergic to most pets and I am afraid of heights, so that was the end of those career tracks). I briefly considered going pre-med in college but barely passed chemistry. I have a BA in psychology so if the costume design thing didn’t work I was going to become a social worker.
Gina: Happy. More than anything I just wanted a life filled with enjoyment and a feeling of accomplishment.
What You Are
Robin: Mom, small-business owner, off and on costume designer.
Gina: A hybrid balancing a creative side and an organizational task-master
Brief Summary of your Start-up
Robin and Gina first met in 2002 while working on a film where Robin was the costume designer and Gina was her assistant and the wardrobe supervisor. After the birth of Robin’s first daughter in 2003, Robin decided to take a break from designing costumes and started making items she couldn’t find on the market but needed for her active New York City lifestyle. Gina, who had extensive experience with helping companies build from the ground up, took her skills and Robin’s initial ideas and together they launched Go Baby, which gave them the opportunity to combine their talents and share their original designs with moms everywhere.
What inspired you?
Robin: All of the initial Go Baby designs are inspired by things I made for my oldest daughter, because there were all sorts of activities and things we did together that required all sorts of baby “equipment.” I found myself making a lot of items because I found easier/lighter/more transportable ways of making things that were more appropriate for city living than what I could find at the baby stores. After Gina and I paired up, our designs evolved through our combined design talents and were refined as we tossed ideas back and forth. Now we inspire each other!
How long have you been in business?
How did you fund it?
Family, self, and credit cards and LOC
Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)?
Robin: My dad has been incredibly supportive, both financially and business-wise. He was in manufacturing for years so he had lots of contacts for us, and is always there with advice, but is also very respectful of our need to do it our own way.
Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups?
Hybrid Mom, MomSpace, United Inventors Association, Driving IR
Current Business Challenge
The current CPSC/CPSIA laws meant to protect children (which we absolutely endorse) have been very tough on small businesses. We found ourselves stuck in a cycle of having to test our products (which all passed, of course) but not having the capital to manufacture more new products because of the high costs associated with the component testing. We would also like to produce our products only in the US and with only organic means, but we cannot fund that method at this time. Also, the lag in the economy has been a real hurdle for many businesses and it has inspired us to think of non-traditional ways to connect with our customers.
What are you doing about it?
We are starting a new program whereby we encourage other mom inventors to bring their products to us, and our network of at least 100 mom testers will use, evaluate and score the products. Those products that score high enough will be awarded the “Go Baby Seal of Approval” which tells other moms and consumers that the product is of the highest quality, made with the safest manufacturing methods, and are the most useful. The products are then featured on the Go Baby website. This is a win-win situation for us and other mom-inventors: we are able to support other moms, give our customers only the best products, and increase our product line.
Long-term, we would like to offer counseling and advice to new mom inventors to help them through the idea, manufacturing and sales process for their own products. We have learned quite a bit through our own mistakes and would like to help other moms avoid those if at all possible.
Favorite Motivational Quote
Robin: “It is a great pleasure to do what others say you cannot do.” I got this in a fortune cookie when I was in college and it has been my motto ever since!
Gina: “Build it and they will come.”
Robin: 2 children: Cecily, 6, and Miranda, 3. Plus my wonderful husband of 9 years, Jonathan.
Gina: I have a wonderful husband and kitty cat. On a funny side note, Robin and I were married on the same day on different coasts almost at the same time a few years before we even met! We share our personal and professional anniversaries together which is really fun! We joke that we are each other’s wives, and really, a successful business partnership is much like a successful marriage!
How do you balance family and business?
Robin: I will only work when the kids are in school or at camp. That limits my time to less than the typical 40 hour work week, but I find that I am much more productive when I focus for short spurts rather than trying to tackle everything at once.
Robin: I recently read “The Four Hour Work Week.” It has really inspired me to only do the things that are satisfying to me and to cut out any extra “busy work.” While logging many hours at the computer might make me feel like I’m working a lot, is actually a huge waste of time and not a measure of productivity at all. I also try to consider the true measure of my worth by what I get done, not by how long it takes me. I do believe I can get done in 3 hours what it would take someone in an office 9 hours to do. It’s just a factor of being a busy mom!
What do you do to relax?
Robin: Since my younger daughter was born I have become a runner, and I have run 2 10-mile races and 1 ½ Marathon, plus a bunch of 5K and 5 milers. I also enjoy Pilates and am a typical gym rat. But relaxing? I don’t really know how!
What do you want to change most about your world?
Robin: I would want people to value each other for process, not productivity. I would want to find a way for people to be compensated for giving of themselves and their time whether by caring for others, or educating children, or producing art, or supporting their own or each other’s dreams.
What are you most proud of?
Gina: My relationship with my business partner. After 5 years we have managed to ride through the highs and lows of starting a business together and keep our friendship intact. I am proud of what we have accomplished together and that everything we do is a blend of both our ideas and not just one person that yes’s the other.
What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses?
Robin: Live your dream, but be realistic. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and don’t spend tons of money on your product/idea until you are SURE there is a market for it. Make sure that you ask strangers for their opinion, not just your friends or family, and spend the time showing your product to many different people and really LISTEN to their reactions and responses. You may love your product, but if no one else does, it’s not going to sell. Period. That being said, go for it!!
Favorite Magic Wand
Gina: Google, SCORE’s free business counselors, and chocolate. Sometimes you just need free advice and something sweet to get you through the tough times!
If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use?
Robin: Opal, Aquamarine, Turquoise and (the birthstones of my children, my husband and myself)
October 6, 2010
Want to break out of the nine-to-five day job doldrums? Stay motivated and passionate by starting your own business! In this modern day and age, a woman’s business can easily be an Internet startup, e-commerce site, mobile game (or “app”), a cleantech/biotech advancement…. Ladies, the sky’s the limit so think big! Let’s create high-growth, high-tech ventures to challenge the household names. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google), and Larry Ellison (Oracle) move aside. Let’s make these women household names as well: Caterina Fake (Flick and Hunch), Donna Dubinsky (Palm and Numenta), Diane Greene (VMware), Kim Polese (Marimba and SpikeSource), Penelope Trunk (Brazen Careerist), Cyan Banister (Zivity)…
So Startup Princess, what is your big idea? The 4th annual Women 2.0 Startup Competition invites early-stage ventures with at least one woman on the founding team to apply. What early-stage startup doesn’t want feedback from mentors? All applications will receive written feedback from the judging panel of Silicon Valley investors and successful startup executives. The competition is open to submissions globally, so what are you waiting for? From Tel Aviv to Taipei, get feedback on your early-stage venture from Silicon Valley. Finalists are invited to pitch live onstage at PITCH Night in San Francisco for meetings with iconic investors (Esther Dyson of EDVenture Holdings, Matt Murphy of Kleiner Perkins, Mike Maples of FLOODGATE, and Naval Ravikant of AngelList and VentureHacks).
Women more than men tend to wait longer on acting on their business ideas. We like to make sure we have all our ducks in a row before we act. Do you have some of your ducks in a row? Here’s a deadline to work toward: October 8, 2010. Get all your ducks in a row and apply to the Women 2.0 Startup Competition for feedback, fame, and fortune.
Early-stage startup ventures with an alpha/beta product are invited to apply to the Women 2.0 Startup Competition. There are three steps to apply to the competition: online application, paper napkin, and video pitch. We’ll break it down for you below:
1.) Start filling out the one-page application online today — you can update and edit the application until the closing date of October 8.
2.) Mail in your “napkin business plan” in to Women 2.0. You heard it right, send in a seven-by-seven inch paper napkin with your business plan scribbled on it. Add some creative doodles and mail it in as step two of your application to Women 2.0 Startup Weekend.
3.) Create a quick 2-minute video pitch for your business to your customer. This is not an elevator pitch to an investor, but a television commercial for your consumer. Don’t be afraid to be creative. Here is your chance to really capture the attention of the judging panel, and sell your product or service. Prove that you’ve done your customer development homework. Google the words “Steve Blank” for more on this.
The mission of Women 2.0 is to increase the number of female founders of tech startups. We do this by partnering with Startup Weekend hackathons to launch startups, and we run a pre-incubator program called Women 2.0 Labs in San Francisco to prepare women-led starts for incubators like YCombinator and TechStars. Women 2.0 received coverage on TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb.
Let’s bring female founders of tech startups out of idea mode and out of obscurity by applying to the Women 2.0 Startup Competition. What do you have to lose? Get valuable (and free!) feedback on your business idea. Start your application to PITCH today athttp://pitch.women2.org