February 21, 2013
Running your own business can be a huge challenge, especially as you start to take on employees. When it’s just you, staying focused and excited about your mission is much easier. But when you have employees to motivate and focus, it’s a whole other set of interesting and unique challenges to face.
Ideally, you can hire staff that engage and take on the mission of your business as their own. Even if you don’t get the cream of the crop in terms of employees, you still have a lot of tools at your disposal to encourage initiative.
Be the Standard
First and foremost, you must be the standard bearer for your company. If you don’t care, why should your employees? If you’re not excited about what’s happening, then why should they be?
Your passion for your business is addictive. You may not realize it yet because you may have bottled it up. Let it out! Your employees need to see you excited and energized about your company. They’ll catch the fever.
But more than energy, they also look to you for work quality and other standards. How do you treat other employees? How do you treat customers? These are just a few ways that you also have to lead by example. Passion is vital. But don’t stop there – show your employees how to be excellent and you’ll find they’re much more likely to be excited about what they’re doing.
Create a Positive Culture
Encouraging initiative can be one of the more complex social tasks a business owner can take on. Initiative requires courage on the part of the employee – what if they fail? What if they over-step their boundaries? These are the kinds of questions that go through their heads when deciding whether or not to take the risks they associate with taking initiative.
That’s why you MUST create a positive culture where employees feel safe taking initiative. When a staffer tries something out of the box and it doesn’t go well, take the opportunity to identify what worked, what didn’t, and make sure they know they did the right thing by trying something new or taking on additional duties.
When something goes right due to an employee taking initiative, reward the behavior. Let other employees know that this is encouraged. Thank them for their efforts. Review what went well and what could have possibly been improved upon.
The point here is to notice when someone is taking initiative and to value the act enough to take the time to encourage it. A positive culture where employees feel safe taking risks is critical if you want to see them stepping up and taking ownership alongside you.
Empower then Get Out of the Way
One mistake that business owners make when handing off a task or process is that they don’t truly empower and then leave their employees alone. This is to be expected, somewhat. Afterall, the business owner built the company and won the customers. It can be difficult to hand over even small parts of the business to people.
But if you want to encourage initiative, you must show employees that you trust them. Empower them by giving them the authority and resources to do their job. And stay out of their way. Of course you should monitor their progress, but that doesn’t mean hovering over them, constantly correcting minutia, or taking over. They likely want to learn and are trying hard to get a process just right. So empower and step back – most of the time they’ll pleasantly surprise you.
Balance is Key
Ultimately, happy employees are employees that are balanced. Work, family, personal hobbies – these are some of the things that make everyone feel accepted and fulfilled. If you push them too hard to focus on work, they become imbalanced. Imbalanced employees are unhappy employees. Unhappy employees don’t show initiative.
So give your employees room to find balance. Encourage them to take opportunities to engage with family, friends, or in hobbies on a frequent basis. Educate employees on the importance of balance and give them the tools – such as flex hours or time off – to find and stay balanced. Before you know it, you’ll have gung ho employees who stay at the top of their game and are a large part of helping you move your business forward.
Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company that offers flyer printing, business cards, catalogs, posters, postcard printing and mailing, booklets, and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.
October 26, 2012
“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.” ~ Seth Godin
Q1: How do you get into a positive mindset before you start your day?
Pray & meditate first thing to center myself. I also try to go for a walk by the water which always calms & clears my mind
Huge.. I often fail in this area; making sure family’s body is fueled & not mine. It’s a constant reminder.
Q1: How do you get into a positive mindset before you start your day? #startupchat” Turn up the music..!!
i have a power up routine that includes prayer, exercise, reading something motivational & listening to my ideal lifevision
to add value daily. I always ask “what questions am I answering today” at the beginning of the day
And at Night I ask “what can I do better tomorrow” doing that now..tis 7:20pm here
1. Walk dog 2. Throw ball 3. Large coffee 4. Take photo 5. Check surf 6. Go to studio/desk 7. Face the music!
Q2: What do you read that inspires you or attributes to Mindset success? #startupchat
Read a lot of Entrepreneur magazines, new technology, mommy tips, organizational living..
I love @thehopegiver for motivation. I get her weekly emails. LOVE success principles, too
Q3: What do you do throughout the day to keep yourself from getting derailed from your positive mindset? #startupchat
Reading Canfield’s “Success Principles” changed my perspective on life & career & inspired me 2 become a coach
Count blessings, in list format, so I can see it
Being grateful for what I have helps a lot. When really discouraged, I go 4 a walk/church to decompress & think clearly.
a good to do list, my vision board and my goals above my desk.
I work with amazing people, they help! But go back to that list and very often sing again in public, lungs in full flow
A question: What are the things to watch out for when recruiting people for your start up team?
Make sure you have the right people ‘on the bus’ ie those who can actually do what they say they can
@neckidpouch if you don’t have a strong network yourself, who do you know who does?
#startupchat it’s def harder than one would think. Posting on fb and encouraging friends to pledge is difficult.
how do you bounce back from failure with negative mindset?
Any suggestions on other good websites to gain views/backers?
September 21, 2012
June 15, 2012
April 16, 2012
Everyone knows someone who is hurting. This person might even be you… if so, my heart goes out to you and the many others who are struggling with challenging life circumstances. And many of you are not only dealing with your own pain, but are also raising a family and running a startup!!! I get how very hard this must be for you.
I am not a therapist but I love to help others succeed and am passionate about supporting our community. There are many who are seeking help and it is my hope that a few of the following ideas and insights will give you strength and healing. I have had my share of financial, health, and family challenges so I feel that I can relate to the pain and experiences that many of you may be facing right now. I remember days when I couldn’t afford gas, diapers, or food. I remember days when taking a shower was an accomplishment. I remember days when I felt so very alone and scared about what our future would be. Life has now shifted and we are in a good place, but those times were not that long ago and I remember what helped me through them and I want to share them with you. These are things that I do often and when I have a hard day I go back to this list and make sure I’m trying to do them.
First of all, you need a friend. Everyone needs a real friend, and if you don’t have one, seek for and pray for someone to show up in your life who you can talk to and share your struggles with who will be uplifting and supportive. This friend should be in a stable life situation, so they can be a mentor and offer good feedback. Ideally this is someone who you could call on a weekly basis or even text on a daily basis when things are very dark and hard. When identifying who your ‘friend’ is make sure they are willing to be this person in your life right now, you might need to be clear that you need to be the receiver of their friendship for a time but that you will try to also be available for them as they need you.
Self-nuturing, rest and good nutrition are very key for thinking more clearly and for managing the overwhelming circumstances. Be peaceful about decreasing your work load and increasing your rest. Take time to eat well and if you can’t manage it, ask for others to help make sure you’re eating healthy (avoid fast food, processed, refined, and canned food). Increase your water! Learn to love naps, 15 minutes can make a huge difference!
Create routines that give you some consistency. Just as children thrive with routines, so can we. The goal is to find routines that will help cheer you up when you’re having a hard week. Think of what will get you out of bed, get you moving, connecting with others and help you smile more often. Give yourself permission to create something you want to do for yourself. Consider one of the following… reading for 15 min each night before bed, weekly library day, walk to the park after dinner with your family once a week, enroll in a class you’ve always wanted to take, schedule a monthly massage, or whatever else you feel YOU want to do for YOU.
Try a Pains/Gains worksheet- This is excellent free therapy! Take a piece of paper and fold it vertically and on the left side write ‘PAINS’ and on the right write ‘GAINS’. Simply write down EVERY single pain you have on the left column, anything that is bothering you in any degree physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Write until you can’t think of another thing, take a break, reread it and add anything else. Then on the right side under ‘GAINS’ write down one thing per item that you can benefit from this particular pain. For example, if the pain is ‘headaches’ the gain can be ‘chance to rest more often’. While the headache isn’t great to deal with, the rest does have some benefit, forcing you to slow down and take time for healing.
Uplifting music can be an excellent mood booster. I memorized the lyrics of many songs that give me emotional and spiritual strength. I remember many times singing out loud the words of inspiring songs while I went on walks, showered, or drove my car. This very powerful, don’t underestimate the high vibration and energy music can offer you.
Mantras offer support when our spirits are low and we are feeling negative and or when we want to shift into a higher thought process and create something better for ourselves. Mantras or affirmations should be short and easy to memorize and repeat. For years I’ve used a very simple one when running or working out, “I am strong, I am fit, I am free, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” or I just shorten it to “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. Regardless of where you find inspiration and help, find what works for you, write it down and etch it into your heart and mind and whenever you have a moment when you’re feeling sad or need encouragement, turn to it. Reading anything uplifting can help when done repeatedly and when you see examples of people using faith and humility to overcome challenges.
Journaling is an effective form of release that is under used by busy women! Keep a small journal in your bag and another by your bedside to write down thoughts or feelings, express yourself freely and without restraint… burn it if necessary! Get out those feelings of pain and overwhelm. Write down all the things you’re grateful for often, make a list of 100 things and add to it daily.
Aromatherapy is a personal favorite for managing emotions. Are you aware of the power of smell? Do you have a diffuser? if not, get one here. I am a distributor and use the doTERRA essential oils brand. They are so powerful because they are better than organic (tested 3rd party, every liter) you can take them internally, topically, or use them in a diffuser. Excellent oils for emotional support are Citrus Bliss, Balance, Elevation, and Serenity. I use them over my heart and mind, put them in my bath water too. If you want to know more about these and how they work feel free to text me at 801-856-4765.
Remember that Touch is one of the most healing gifts we have been given. Give hugs, receive them, snuggle up with a child or loved one, get a massage, give one!
Connect to Nature! Whenever I go for a walk or look at our amazing mountains I’m uplifted and feel encouraged… the more time I’m off technology and into nature I’m feeling better about myself and the life that is mine to live.
Praying isn’t just for the church going types, its for everyone who believes in a higher being, in a Creator. Have you ever reached out and gave thanks for your life and blessings? Ever asked questions? Even if you’re new to prayer or its been a long time since you’ve prayed, I highly recommend you give it a try. There are many ways to pray, find what works for you. I believe in God the Father and in His son, Jesus Christ so this is how I do it: I start by saying, “Heavenly Father, Thank thee for….. I ask thee for …….. in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Then I wait and pause to listen to what I feel and any ideas or inspiration that comes to the questions or concerns I discussed and I write them down. I believe that when you take time to write down the inspiration you receive and then act on those things then your relationship with God and Christ increases. I especially recommend praying out loud and when possible in nature, it’s amazing. I love to pray because I feel connected, supported, and comforted.
Lastly, do you have a Vision Board or a Bucket List? If not, make one today! Dream, dream, dream, then put that dream into action little by little.
Keep the faith and hope alive that your challenges are temporary. Ask, ‘What am I supposed to learn from this so I can move forward?’ Listen, pay attention so the lesson can be complete.
Consider- How do you want to react to your situation? I invite you to do it with gratitude, love and peace. Choose to live daily with faith and I promise you that with a cheerful outlook life will improve every moment.
I hope you try some of these ideas and that they help you to feel more peace and more joy in your current situation and beyond, I feel honored to share them with you.
What ideas do you have to add? What helps you? We would love to hear from you!
This post was written by Kelly King Anderson, the Founder of Startup Princess.
July 28, 2011
Have you heard the good news? We’re doing live weekly chats on Twitter! It’s called #startupchat and it’s every Wednesday at 12pm MDT/2pm EST. Follow the conversation on Twitter by searching #startupchat.
This week we featured a conversation with the talented Daily Candy team. The topic was, “Being Ready for Media at Any Moment” and we had a great time discussing tips and strategies for startups. Plus! We shared the amazing contest Daily Candy is sponsoring right now called Start Small Go Big. Their contest is taking entries until August 5th so go check it out and see how you could be ‘discovered’ by Daily Candy and win all sorts of opportunities, including a trip to NYC and a day mentoring with top industry experts!
Here’s highlights of the conversation. There were over 400 tweets so this is just a quick snapshot of the Q&A that we had with Daily Candy and others who chimed in to offer their insights.
How important is branding to deciding who to feature or not?
DailyCandyPR: Good branding is so important, because that’s the first impression you give.
When choosing a company to feature, what are you looking for with their website?
DailyCandyPR: It needs to be uncluttered and easy to navigate and have a fresh, new design. Also, no spelling errors. (You’d be surprised!)
MichelleDoodads: In my experience, websites provide legitimacy and to see if their branding matches their message.
TaraHolling: Good content is equally important – validates expertise and credibility
Daily Candy: Yes! spending time on CONSISTENT branding, is just as important as as a clear brand.
StartupPrincess: Regarding photos, I’d always hire a pro for your product images ideally who has published their work
DailyCandyPR: For a great example of great packaging and photography, look @boccesbakery. So clean!
DailyCandyPR: Make sure photos are centered on the page and without a lot of clutter and text
What kind of media training do you recommend for a business owner?
DailyCandyPR: Volunteer speaking engagements are a great way to practice- embody your brand. Try it out w/ friends & fam.
StartupPrincess: I recommend stylist, speaking coach, great headshots
StartupPrincess: Learning to speak (and tweet!) in sound bytes is very helpful for being quoted by press
MichelleDoodads: Soundbites are the language of the media. Be able to tell your story in one or two exciting sentences.
LibbyDowd: don’t ever say you dont know…thats 101….I will check into that etc…..
DailyCandyPR: Make sure you research who you’re interviewing with. If you want them to do their homework, you should do yours too.
DailyCandyPR: Also, when we write about people we’ve often crashed websites! Another tip: make sure your bandwidth is up to snuff.
How do you choose which companies to feature?
DailyCandyPR: what we feature has to be new. It has to be original,& our editors have to want to own & use it themselves.
DailyCandyPR: we have always been a launching pad for new small businesses. Start Small Go Big Contest takes that step further
Thank you Daily Candy for joining us for #StartupChat and for empowering small biz owners to make their dreams a reality. If you have more questions on how to be on Daily Candy, you will love this clever video:
How NOT to get into @dailycandy video (clever!) http://www.dailycandy.com/startsmallgobig/videos.html
Be sure to enter Start Small Go Big! Deadline August 5th.
April 6, 2011
We’re testing the power of social media and we want you in on it! Our presenting sponsor Doodads Promotional Products is giving away $500 in prizes – including a brand new Apple iTouch.
Here’s how you can enter to WIN one of our fabulous prizes including the iTouch!
Enter a comment below and tell us what you have enjoyed most about your day at Touchpoint? Did you make a connection you’re excited about? Is there a speaker/topic that you particularly enjoyed?
Additional entries can be earned by (And leave a SEPARATE comment here after you’ve done any of the following below):
- Hit “Like” on the Doodads Promotional Products Facebook page and leave a comment on the wall about any promotional product you have ever received. Include the company name (if you remember) and what it was.
- Follow @michelledoodads http://www.twitter.com/michelledoodads on twitter
- Follow @StartupPrincess http://www.twitter.com/startupprincess on Twitter
- Hit “Like” on the Startup Princess Facebook page and leave a comment on the wall about what you are enjoying most about Touchpoint.
- Hit “Like” on the Designer Cakes By April Facebook page and leave a comment about the yummy cupcakes you tried at Touchpoint thanks to My New Enterprise!
- Tweet out one the following Tweets or make up your own tweet JUST INCLUDE the following hastag in your tweets: #supa11 (And include the URL for the tweet when you leave the comment below)
I’m loving @startupprincess Touchpoint! Thanks to @michelledoodads for a fun giveaway! #supa11
Have you heard of @startupprincess ? They’re an awesome resource for women entrepreneurs. Check out http://www.startupprincess.com #supa11
Doodads Promotional Products prints company logos on over 850,000 items. What will you print next? http://www.doodadspromotional.com #supa11
I’m lovin’ @startupprincess Touchpoint! Great event for women in business! Register for their next event here: http://bit.ly/gaaWwS #supa11
All entries must be received Today, April 7th by 3:30 PM
Winners will be selected by random.org and announced at the end of the networking session
Fine Print: No purchase necessary to enter. Winner will be notified via email.
Startup Princess, Doodads Promotional Products and other contest contributors reserve the right to change or cancel giveaway or giveaway requirements at any time. Upon acceptance of prize, winner agrees that name, likeness and image can be used for promotional consideration. By entering, participants agree to hold harmless Startup Princess, Epson and other affiliates, employees and partners from all liabilities arising in connection with this giveaway and product and promotion thereof.
September 15, 2010
Startup Princess’ motto is “Make a Wish, Make it Happen” and we’re thrilled to grant wishes for women entrepreneurs who desire to attend our 4th annual conferernce, Touchpoint and yet are a bit strapped for cash. We hear your pain, as bootstrapping entrepreneurs ourselves we remember well the days when we’ve longed to be at cool business events and the disappointment when desire didn’t match the funds available in our accounts. You might have wondered, “how am I supposed to grow my company and learn from experts if I can’t afford to go?” Wish granted. Through the generosity of our sponsors we’d love to make it possible for you to attend Touchpoint and invite you to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. (We also want to thank Danielle LaPorte, this year’s Keynote speaker for inspiring us with the “pay what you can day” idea!)
For 1 day only (TODAY until MIDNIGHT PST) you can make an offer for what you’d like to pay for Touchpoint and we’ll grant all reasonable requests.
This offer is for a 2 Day Touchpoint Ticket – Regular Price is $175
- 2 Hour Image and Media Session on Thursday
- Pre-party and Networking Event on Thursday Night
- Full day Friday Touchpoint Ticket (Which includes: networking, keynote speakers, breakout sessions, boutique, video marketing competition and fun swag…)
including Lunch on Friday (It’s going to be a yummy meal by David Boswell, a former Sundance Chef)
Here’s How It Works:
1. Send us an email and we’ll review your “pay what you can” request privately.
2. Or, if you want, you CAN leave a comment below with your offer, and we’ll get back to you via email. Either way, we’ll send you a PayPal invoice
3. Please spread the word via twitter, facebook, and by emailing your friends who could benefit
4. Pay the PayPal invoice within 24 hours. (Touchpoint is only 1 week away!)
5. Once you pay, we’ll register you into our system and you’ll receive an email confirmation that you are registered for our two day event!
6. Come to Touchpoint prepared to make the most of your experience and truly help your business take off.
Some Fine Print:
1. If you decide that Touchpoint is worth full price or is worth WAY more than $175 before or after the event is over, we won’t turn away your cash.
2. This is an honor system activity. We invite you to pay what you truly can pay.
3. We reserve the right to refuse crazy offers.
4. This offer is not retroactive.
5. We’re here to answer any questions you might have. Just email us.
6. If you hear about this offer after Sept 16th or your internet was down, etc., so sorry, but this is ONLY for 1 Day. Ends at Midnight Sept 16th. The end.
July 7, 2009
Step #1 in Margie’s how-to? Have a great product. Clearly, to get media coverage for your product, it’s gotta be a great product. She’s absolutely right about that. Margie goes on to list some of the elements of a great product–priced right, unique, visually appealing–but doesn’t spend a ton of time on it because her article is focused on getting media coverage for your product. I encourage you to read her article because it offers wonderful tips, and as a successful PR person, Margie knows what she’s talking about.
Reading this article reminded me of when I invented Swaddleaze and how exciting it was to take an idea and turn it into an actual product on store shelves.
It also reminded me of how easy it is to get burned by your lightbulb moment if you go into it blindly.
So, here are my steps to avoid getting burned by your lightbulb moment:
1. Google your idea to see if it already exists. If there’s already something like it on the market, would your invention be an improvement? Is the market big enough (read: would enough people buy your product) for both products?
When I attended the JPMA trade show two years ago, there was a guy who’d “invented” a neoprene bottle cover that kept baby bottles cool. My sister & I (and everyone who saw his sketch) didn’t have the heart to tell him that his “invention” had been on the market for years.
2. Search the U.S. Patent & Trademark Organization. Do a “quick search” under both “issued patents” and “patent applications”. Do you see anything here that looks & sounds like your idea? Again, even if you do, it doesn’t mean that your product can’t be brought to market–it’s just great to be aware of competitors early on in the game.
3. Ask your family & friends for their honest opinion about your idea–and don’t be paranoid about them stealing it. Most people don’t have the time, money or energy to develop a product.
Would they buy it? How much would they pay for it? Would they make any improvements? Where would they go to purchase it? If you have a prototype, let them try it. My husband’s coworker tried a Swaddleaze sample on his twins and he was the one who discovered Swaddleaze’s second use as a sleep sack!
4. Consider presenting your idea to key people in the industry, like retail buyers, advertising executives or the CEO of a company that might make a product like yours. Bring a non-disclosure form to protect your idea. Hearing feedback from unbiased people will give you a better look at your product’s future AND it may create opportunities for you early on (licensing, selling your idea, exclusive deals, etc.).
5. Surround yourself with support. Read books about people who’ve done it before. Visit websites for inventors. Join an online community for mom entrepreneurs. And know that I’m always here to help.
Following these steps will help you get started with your eyes open and will prevent you from getting burned by your lightbulb moment.
Heather McCarron Allard is the mother of Hope, Grace & Brendan & writer of The Mogul Mom, a blog for mom entrepreneurs. Before blogging about mom-owned business, Heather invented Swaddleaze & Blankeaze, two wearable blankets inspired by her daughter Grace. Last year, Allard sold her inventions to Summer Infant and now spends her time writing The Mogul Mom & raising her three sweet kids. Heather offers Free email coaching for those who sign up for her email list.
July 5, 2009
Perhaps it sounds insane, particularly since I only have 3 pages written so far, but last week I committed to my coach Heather Madder that I would have an eBook done and ready for an editor within 30 days (if it goes like I hope then I’ll seek publishing after). I’m going to have to move mountains and bust out a lot of faith and effort to “make it happen” but I’m excited. My book has been on my mind for over a year and its season is here. On last week’s call with Heather she was bursting with an inspired message for me, ‘Get to Work Now’ then she said I’d know what it meant…true. The message was about my book. I knew instantly why she told me that message. I’ve known for a while there’s incredible urgency to get to work “now” on my book because (1) I’m going to be on the cover of Wasatch Woman magazine Read more