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Freedom, Free time and Business
September 20, 2011 at 9:29 am 0
success As we've mentioned in the past, we've been building a great little marketing company over the past two years. Business has been going great, and we've gotten some great clients, cool projects, and an unbelievable lifestyle. It wasn't until this summer that I made a fantastic realization - the business works in cycles similar to that of a school teacher; busy in the fall, busy in the Spring, and pretty quiet in the summer and over Christmas! What a fantastic lifestyle! So instead of trying to fight it, I just went with it...this summer I worked an average of 6-8 hours a day, but rarely ever on weekends, and on days where there wasn't much to do...well, I focused on other things, like going for long walks before lunch, meeting friends, reading, and doing lots and lots of yardwork. If you're considering going into business for yourself NOTHING beats the freedom. Yes, it can be stressful at times, and yes, you'll probably have some pretty tight budgets over the first few years, but in the end if you learn how to work it WILL pay off big! The freedom you'll have from not reporting to a boss, and having ultimate decision making power, the free time you'll have if you learn to go with the phases of your business, and the joy of running your own business...and knowing you made it. NOTHING BEATS IT!
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Life
Proof that Good Thoughts Become Good Things: Biz is Booming
August 2, 2011 at 7:58 am 0
selfemployed2 Last year I started my own business. It was tough to start, and of course there was that little voice of doubt in my head. The one that says "what if it doesn't work out, what if nobody wants my services, what if I make no money, what if people think I had a silly idea"? All of these doubts swirling around in my head. But I forced myself not to listen to them. It was going to be a success. I was going to be able to live a life that included running a succesful business, and having many of my "life dreams" come true (like living part time in the country, part time in the city). So, I started the company and didn't look back. I worked my tail off putting together some promotional materials, and emailed and called everyone I knew telling them I'd opened my own marketing company. I went to networking events where I knew nobody. I'm not great at selling myself - so I didn't pretend that I was. I let my work speak for itself... and showcased the great results we'd been able to provide for other clients. I knew that speaking live was something I enjoyed, and people tell me that they really enjoy seeing me speak at events. So I took that as my natural advantage, and applied to speak at many events to get our company's name out to the public. And. Voila! Last year was decent...I was happy with how many clients had signed up, and I really enjoyed what I was doing. This year, things are exploding. This week I've been asked by two big companies to speak at live events, and I've been approached by two big organizations to work on marketing programs for them. It's true, good thoughts (with a lot of work, a little luck and a supportive husband) can become good things! P.S. Do you dream of starting your own business one day? Tell me about it - I'd love to hear your story.
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Life
Being A People Pleaser: Business & Life Kryptonite
February 9, 2011 at 9:17 am 1
People Pleaser Recently things have been a bit hectic. Work has been busy, life has been busy, and everything in between has been busy. But it felt like I was spinning my wheels. I guess I had already forgotten to live by my New Years Resolution. And, to be totally honest, I had to deal with a really b*tchy and unappreciative client that was taking up so much of my time and making me feel really blue about my business. I'm sure if you've ever had a bad boss, or co-worker, or client to deal with, you know how it can be an experience that is hard to break away from. So, like I try to do with everything, I had to turn my negative situation into a positive one. But this time, instead of trying to make myself better I decided to really get into what was bothering me - and WOW, what an experience! It turns out that I was falling back into some bad patterns, trying to please people that just want to complain and be negative (i.e. my client) and focusing so much energy on trying to win her over and try to make her see that I was doing something great for her. The more I did, the more she complained. So our project that was for a few hundred dollars and should have taken 3 weeks turned into a 3 month project, where I literally spent a hundred hours (i.e. thousands of dollars of my time) offering her more training, fixing up her graphic work, making other changes that I'd already told her would look bad. And the whole experience left me deflated after I offered to help her with some free training for 30 minutes, only to have her yell at me on the phone saying that she was not going to be told she only has 30 minutes to have her questions answered! Trying to be super professional I dealt with the whole thing without breaking my professional tone and answered all her questions. But it didn't feel good. And it really made me have a "blue" weekend where I had to really think about my business and what it was doing, and what it meant to me. Luckily, I have a super supportive husband who spent the weekend chatting with me, looking at my business model with me, figuring out why this situation had me so upset. I also decided to delve into the whole experience on a deeper level by reading "Breaking the Pattern" by Charles Stuart Platkin. The book focuses on how to help you take action in those areas where you feel like you're stuck, or doomed to repeat negative experiences. In my whole dealing with this client I was re-living my experiences as a kid, desperately trying to get my parents attention, and to be appreciated, and have my efforts be rewarded. The harder I tried to win my parents attention and affection, the less they were interested. And I was re-living this whole experience with my client. I have loads of other great clients that pay well, really appreciate all that my company does for them, and are dying to tell everyone they know about how good we are. But I was falling back into the pattern of spending all my energy trying to please the people that don't want to be pleased. The whole experience was exhausting, but looking under the covers of it was fascinating...I had so many "AHA" moments over the course of the weekend! And I was able to come up with a plan to help build a better business and a more rewarding life: - focus on my main clients & the ones I enjoy working with - pay a lot of attention to what happens when clients ask for my services, ask myself if they are a fit for me...if not, pass up the business. - focus on more corporate clients, partnerships and other "top level" clients You know what happened? With my newfound inspiration for my business and a deeper understanding of what my business kryptonite is I had a totally refreshed mindset. And on Monday morning at 9am I had an incredible meeting with one of my biggest clients ever. The kind of client you dream working with - who has a great business, who appreciates what you do and who really values your services. What a difference some introspection, a little shift in my plans and re-affirmation that I "got it" via an excellent client meeting made!
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Life
What’s Your Business Personality?
August 26, 2010 at 10:39 am 0
Happy business woman on the cell phone under the blue sky Recently while doing some research we asked several female entrepreneurs how much personality they show in business. The answers were varied - some people showed a lot, even in some cases blogging about sexual experiences and other extremely intimate situations, while others not at all, and some said just be yourself and let your personality shine through....to a limit. The way we conduct ourselves in business is largely a part of our personality in general. But for business, according to Darrell Zahorsky these can be categorized into 9 different personality types: The 9 Personality Types of Entrepreneurs 1. The Improver: If you operate your business predominately in the improver mode, you are focused on using your company as a means to improve the world. Your overarching motto is: morally correct companies will be rewarded working on a noble cause. Improvers have an unwavering ability to run their business with high integrity and ethics. Personality Alert: Be aware of your tendency to be a perfectionist and over-critical of employees and customers. Entrepreneur example: Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop. 2. The Advisor: This business personality type will provide an extremely high level of assistance and advice to customers. The advisor's motto is: the customer is right and we must do everything to please them. Companies built by advisors become customer focused. Personality Alert: Advisors can become totally focused on the needs of their business and customers that they may ignore their own needs and ultimately burn out. Entrepreneur example: John W. Nordstrom, Founder Nordstrom. 3. The Superstar: Here the business is centered around the charisma and high energy of the Superstar CEO. This personality often will cause you to build your business around your own personal brand. Personality Alert: Can be too competitive and workaholics. Entrepreneur example: Donald Trump, CEO of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. 4. The Artist: This business personality is the reserved but highly creative type. Often found in businesses demanding creativity such as web design and ad agencies. As an artist type you’ll tend to build your business around the unique talents and creativities you have. Personality Alert: You may be overly sensitive to your customer’s responses even if the feedback is constructive. Let go the negative self-image. Entrepreneur example: Scott Adams, Creator of Dilbert. 5. The Visionary: A business built by a Visionary will often be based on the future vision and thoughts of the founder. You will have a high degree of curiosity to understand the world around you and will set-up plans to avoid the landmines. Personality Alert: Visionaries can be too focused on the dream with little focus on reality. Action must proceed vision. Entrepreneurial example: Bill Gates, Founder of MicroSoft Inc. 6. The Analyst: If you run a business as an Analyst, your company is focus on fixing problems in a systematic way. Often the basis for science, engineering or computer firms, Analyst companies excel at problem solving. Personality Alert: Be aware of analysis paralysis. Work on trusting others. Entrepreneurial example: Intel Founder, Gordon Moore. 7. The Fireball: A business owned and operated by a Fireball is full of life, energy and optimism. Your company is life-energizing and makes customers feel the company has a get it done attitude in a fun playful manner. Personality Alert: You may over commit your teams and act to impulsively. Balance your impulsiveness with business planning. Entrepreneurial example: Malcolm Forbes, Publisher, Forbes Magazine. 8. The Hero: You have an incredible will and ability to lead the world and your business through any challenge. You are the essence of entrepreneurship and can assemble great companies. Personality Alert: Over promising and using force full tactics to get your way will not work long term. To be successful, trust your leadership skills to help others find their way. Entrepreneurial example: Jack Welch, CEO GE. 9. The Healer: If you are a Healer, you provide nurturing and harmony to your business. You have an uncanny ability to survive and persist with an inner calm. Personality Alert: Because of your caring, healing attitude toward your business, you may avoid outside realities and use wishful thinking. Use scenario planning to prepare for turmoil. Entrepreneurial example: Ben Cohen, Co-Founder Of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. What's your business personality?
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Life, Style
Orlena Cain: Fearless and Fabulous Female Entrepeneur
August 16, 2010 at 11:56 pm 0
orlenaMix Our latest Fearless and Fabulous Female Entrepreneur Series feature is Orlena Cain – founder of Sugarcain Entertainment, an online magazine that supports up and coming, aspiring female journalists, Belleville's Mix97's morning announcer, and The Shopping Channel's TV presenter. Orlena also works closely with the Children's Aid Society, and other charitable organizations. Busy does not even begin to describe Orlena, but you'll be surprised by what makes her tick and what she would do differently if she could do it all again. --- How did you start your business? I created it 6 years ago to help me build my portfolio of interviews and I kept meeting women who wanted to come on board and do the same. 2010 marks the end of a significant run in the world of entertainment news for Sugarcain Entertainment. We started out with one and currently have 25 journos that are in Toronto, Barrie, Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal. Vancouver, BC, Los Angeles, CA and TEXAS! We really are everywhere! What’s your typical day like? Throughout the ownership of my own online magazine, I have also continued to work as a television host and now morning show radio host too. A typical day starts at 430am/530am depending on if I wash my hair or not, which also depends on how restless my night was...lol! Its on air 600am - 1000am in Belleville on MIX97 radio (Mon-Fri)and then if need be I may have to travel an hour and 45 minutes to The Shopping Channel (TSC) studio to work an afternoon or evening shift. I usually work weekends in Toronto at TSC. What was your biggest worry when you started your own company? My biggest worry was that no one would find it interesting enough to read and to date we have 250-thousand readers! Not too shabby for no advertising and purely word of mouth. How long did it take for you to feel confident about working for yourself? For me confidence has never been something that I wait for to do something. I walk fearlessly and sometimes foolishly in the path of the least expected. Sometimes I fall flat on my face...but most times noone is around to see it and I dust myself off, wipe a tear away if it has strayed and keep moving. Life is a battle. You don't stop - keep moving! What surprised you the most about working for yourself? I will tell you what surprised me most about working for myself - you can make anything happen and it is true, " If you build it, they will come." What’s the biggest reward in working for yourself? The biggest reward is that I have had a successful online magazine for 6 years and I have helped alot of young women help themselves. I feel incredibly grateful to have met over 50 women who have been affiliated with Sugarcain Entertainment. Some have moved on to great jobs like Monika Platek who is an in house announcer for their live TV coverage for the TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS or Loriann Vilani who works on 102.1 THE EDGE as an anouncer. What have you sacrificed? I have sacrificed having or starting a family. I have sacrificed sleep. But I would change nothing, because, everything is as it should be. Is there anything you would have done differently? EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE. If I could change anything, I may have told a couple of people to go SCREW THEMSELVES. However, the world is small, so I silently have said it and not verbalized it, even though they deserved it. ----- Other Inspiring Women: Fearless and Fabulous Female Entrepreneurs Ali De Bold – cofounder of ChickAdvisor Equipped with a great business idea and loads of hard work she and her husband and business partner, Alex De Bold, started www.ChickAdvisor.com – Canada’s first user generated reviews community for women to share advice on their favourite products and local places. Find out how she did it, and the one thing she would have done differently! Lisa Ng – founder of HelloDJ Lisa Ng is a woman that goes after what she wants. She’s never worked in a corporate office, she owns her own DJ company, Hello DJ, and she’s not afraid to take risks. But how did she do it and what’s it like?
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Life
Using LinkedIn To Grow Your Business: 8 Tips
August 9, 2010 at 7:28 am 0

Succesful Woman

For many professional women managing a career profile on social media sites is extremely important. You've come this far, right, so you need to make sure that all that hard work pays off! Hands down the best social media site for professionals is LinkedIn. But how do you get the most out of it? Victoria Ipri from www.theconfidentcopywriter.com has these 8 tips: 1. See the future: How much new business can you comfortably handle? Be realistic. One new client a month is 12 for the year. Not bad. 2. Choose a target market and do not stray from this focus 3. Join groups for those markets and actively participate in a meaningful way 4. Educate yourself on effective LI search…there are ways to search and findspecific information about specific people 5. Stand out: Be active! Be proactive! Be visible! Get out there and get involved. Create a highly compelling profile; not a resume rehash. 6. Answer questions to highlight your subject expertise 7. Accept connections and request connections. People want to connect with you! 8. Talk to people. I mean, really talk. Show an interest, look for ways to help each other…seeking connections isn’t only about having lots of connections! This advice also works if you are an employee and not an entrepreneur. Managing your LinkedIn can be the key to your success. Make sure that your profile is updated regularly with job information, great articles, and get involved in discussion boards related to your area of expertise. Don't wait until you need to find a new job to refresh your profile. You will have missed a lot of opportunities if you wait until you need something. Recruiters are constantly scrubbling LinkedIn for professionals - make sure you are easy to find! Have you joined the Cashmere Clutch Women In Business group on Linkedin yet? It's the network for fulfilled and fabulous women looking to connect with like minded ladies.
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Life, Style
Ali De Bold: Fearless and Fabulous Female Entrepreneur
May 5, 2010 at 10:30 am 2
Ali De Bold - cofounder of ChickAdvisor.com Our latest Fearless and Fabulous Female Entrepreneur Series feature is Ali De Bold - co founder of ChickAdvisor.com. Equipped with a great business idea and loads of hard work she and her husband and business partner, Alex De Bold, started www.ChickAdvisor.com - Canada's first user generated reviews community for women to share advice on their favourite products and local places. It was launched in September 2006 and has reached over 3 million women since. How did you start your business? I was planning my wedding out of province and was researching for hair salons and spas for the big day. It was 2004 and there weren't any websites in Canada that had reviews for those kinds of services. In fact, most salons didn't even have a website. My only option was to flip through the yellow pages and choose the prettiest ad - and pray I picked well. I complained to my husband that there should be a site like that where women could give each other advice and he suggested we start one! Did you always know you wanted to work for yourself? No. I didn't have any specific desire to start a business. I always thought I could work equally well for myself or someone else as long as I was passionate about what I do. What’s your typical day like? I get up at 6:30 and go to the gym. That's the only time I can squeeze in a workout and it helps with energy and productivity. If I'm not in meetings, I spend a lot of time preparing proposals for clients, writing articles, chatting with members in the forums, testing and reviewing new products and attending press events. I also have a strategy session with the team once a week to discuss new ideas, then do testing and tweaking until it's ready to go live. What was your biggest worry when you started your own company? What if I fail? I always believed in the concept, but it's an incredible risk to work for yourself with no safety net. I'm very lucky that my husband is my business partner. He's a web veteran and incredibly smart, He supported us while we got the company off the ground. If I didn't have him, this wouldn't have been possible. How long did it take for you to feel confident about working for yourself? I didn't have much time to ever reflect on that. When we started the company I was in school full time in my second year of a 4 year degree program. I worked hard out of necessity because failure wasn't an option. I wasn't going to drop out of school, and since money was tight, I had to get strong grades so I could get scholarships every year. I wasn't going to let the business fail either. I don't start something only to get a C+. I wanted an A and I really pushed myself to get that. What surprised you the most about working for yourself? I'm more capable than I thought. I've learned so much in such a short time. I would never have believed this could be possible in 3 years. Was there a moment that you thought you wanted to quit and go back to a 9-5 job? Never. Being an Entrepreneur is incredibly challenging and there are more ups and downs than you could imagine, but it's all worth it. I've never regretted doing this and unless it was failing, I wouldn't be able to quit. What have you sacrificed? Social life, sanity, lifestyle, money… a lot. I've never worked so hard in my life. It took a long time for my friends and family to understand that working for yourself doesn't mean you have more free time, it means you have less. If you don't sit down and do the job, it won't get done. Even if you hire someone to do it, they may not come through for you and so you'll be the one working into the wee hours to push it across the finish line. I've sacrificed a lot but I've also gained a lot. It's a crash course in business, marketing, management, logistics, accounting.. you name it. What advice would you give to other women who wanted to start their own business? Start it for the right reasons. If being rich is your ultimate goal, you may be lacking the passion and vision to actually create something of value. If you are passionate about what you do, the money will come. If it doesn't, you'll still be happy along the way because you are doing what you love. I also think it's extremely important to have several mentors you can turn to for advice. I've learned a lot from my mentors, one of the most important being: Hire slow and fire fast. Having the right people on your team is critical. If you haphazardly hire someone you will pay for it later. Is there anything you would have done differently? I'd trust my instinct more. It's so cliche, but it hasn't led me astray. There have been cases where I've ignored it, whether it's hiring someone I didn't feel 100% confident about or entering into business discussions with parties I don't completely trust, and inevitably I would have been better off trusting my gut. ---- If you enjoyed this interview you should check out our interview with Lisa Ng - DJ, Fearless & Fabulous Female Entrepreneur and blogger at Hip and Urban Girl
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