As the CEO of glamLIFE Brands for the past nine years I’ve gotten lots of start-up questions. While the details differ, it’s always the same question:
How do I not F* it up???
At the end of the day, that’s really what it all boils down to. How do we succeed in business?
Since we’re keeping things simple here, I have a very simple answer: Trust your instincts.
I can honestly tell you, the only times I’ve made a true screw-up with my business has been when I didn’t trust my instincts.
Case & Point: Fall 2007, our sales were skyrocketing and I needed to scale quickly. I was overwhelmed and unsure how to handle it all. In desperation, I opted to take in the advice of seasoned “experts” in my field. Their advice?
Build your operations for where your company will be five years from now, not where it is today.
The “you’ll grow into it” approach. In particular, this meant investing in a costly enterprise management system designed for complex transactions and much larger corporations. My instincts begged to differ. I felt I should focus on building operational stepping stones to handle the potential growth, not just assume it as a given. However, the fancy new system was deliciously tempting. It had all the bells and whistles I needed, a flashy dashboard that reminded me of a stealth bomber cockpit, and I certainly felt like one of the “big boys” when I mentioned my new set-up. I could be BIG TIME! “This” could SOLVE all my problems, right???
I was officially $25K lighter.
As the ink dried my stomach turned. That sinking feeling quickly stung as I was slapped up side the head with buyer’s remorse. Sigh. I forced myself to “give it a chance” and tried to embrace the change with an open mind. I convinced myself it was for the best and that I would “make sure I got my money’s worth.”
That optimism soon faded as the recession engulfed the economy and my sales plummeted. By the time I had even figured out how to use the new software, I had already lost half of my customers to bankruptcy. I was forced to acknowledge what I knew all along, the system was a naive and knee-jerk reaction to normal business growing pains.
Fast forward: I managed to survive the blunder by liquidating excess inventory, scaling back overhead, and creating a lower priced offering to reach new customers. While I survived the year, I certainly didn’t thrive and my profit margins took the hit.
All in all, it was a valuable lesson learned. Never again would I ignore my instincts.
Bottom line: You know your business and yourself better than any “expert”.
Have a story to share? Question for Heather? Drop a line in the comments below!
As a mom entrepreneur, you’re faced with countless decisions on a daily basis. Some seem more innocent than others and decisions made on the fly can often come back to haunt you. Such decisions include what your title and designation might be.
Do you call yourself: Founder, Owner, Proprietor, Entrepreneur, CEO, Head Designer, Creator??? Think fast because titles mean more than you could ever imagine.
Bottom line: How you define yourself is exactly how the world will define you.
Sure you might “own” your business, but do you really OWN it? If you’re still calling yourself “Founder”, the answer is No. If you want others to see the value in your company, you must see it first. Hiding behind lackluster titles such as “Founder” convey a lack of conviction and prevent you from being taken seriously. Tune in as explain in detail the differences and share my own personal story with OWNing it…
Have a Question for our “Ask Glama” segment? Ask away!
Thrilled to announce that I will be one of the featured speakers at the Disney Social Media Moms conference in Houston September 12, 2012. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello! The event is free to attend and it will be a fabulous networking opportunity for us working moms. Please leave a comment if you’re coming so I can introduce myself!
SPONSORED BY DISNEY PARKS
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
8:00 am – 12:00pm
The Westin Oaks Houston at the Galleria
5011 Westheimer at Post Oak
Houston, TX. 77056
The excitement has been building as the “Social Media Moms Celebration On The Road” gets ready to head to Houston, TX! The Social Media Moms Celebration On The Road conference is a magical opportunity that only Disney Parks could deliver! From the inspiring keynotes, valuable learning and unforgettable memories, this is one celebration you will not want to miss!
The Social Media Moms Celebration On The Road agenda will focus on bringing online influencers together to inspire you through their stories of entrepreneurship, drive and success!
Our dynamic line-up of speakers include:
Maria Bailey, CEO of BSM Media & Host of Mom Talk Radio
This event is by invitation only, however should you like to recommend a mom in Houston area who is immersed in social media, community involvement, business or just an all around influencer in the mom world, let us know, email Megan@bsmmedia.com. Please note space is limited, RSVP is required to attend this event by Friday, September 7, 2012.
We look forward to seeing you in September! Click here to begin registration.
Follow all the excitement on Twitter at #DisneyOntheRoad
COMPLIMENTARY EVENT, BREAKFAST & PARKING
(NO REGISTRATION FEES)
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The blessing/curse of many mom entrepreneurs is that we are accidental entrepreneurs. We took the “necessity is the mother of invention” route to starting up our small businesses. We weren’t seasoned CEO’s or sales rockstars that decided to go solo. We are more commonly bootstrappers and self-taught marketers.
What else do mom entrepreneurs have in common? We’re not the best sales women. It’s not for lack of skills, but lack of “how to sell” training. Our background isn’t putting together compelling sales sheets, knocking out 8 hours/daily of cold calls, or pros at stalking decision makers.
For those of you looking for how to sell advice that gives you a competitive edge without turning you into a used car salesman, here are my tips.
Make Yourself Visible
Who are you trying to sell to? Find their name, company info, location and build a “buyer profile”. Once you find this info you can track them down in social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Make yourself known by re-tweeting them, commenting on their blog posts, joining linked in discussions and support their efforts. Your interest and generosity will be noted and they may potentially reach out to you if they see synergy.
Be consistent in your efforts and only attempt a sales pitch AFTER they have joined in a few online conversations with you. I think of it as a “meet me halfway” approach to business development and mom entrepreneurs are naturals at this. Nobody wants to feel bombarded by a complete stranger spewing a desperate sales pitch. Take the time to build a relationship first and it will be perceived as you reaching out to “help them”. That’s win/win in the how to sell world, your ideal scenario for generating loyal customers.
Learn From The Media
Generating publicity and building relationships with the media is critical to your small businesses success. I wrote about his in detail here: Why Publicity Matters for Mom Entrepreneurs. A major bonus is the valuable lesson it can teach you about how to sell. Once you secure a glowing review, analyze the piece. How did they present your company? What benefits did THEY chose to highlight? What was the reader response?
This can give you valuable clues about what you should be including in your sales pitches and marketing collateral. We’re too involved with the day-to-day of our business to see the big picture. It can be enlightening when a fresh pairs of eyes take note and point out features/benefits you took for granted.
Encourage Customers to Find Your Leads
This how to sell tip is common sense. We all KNOW this is a good idea, but few of us actually use this strategy to our advantage. To build a recommendation engine into your lead generating efforts incorporate incentives for your existing customers.
A couple suggestions to get you started: include a “15% discount for referrals” promotion in your email blast, add a “forward to a friend” link to your online presence, pack a “friends and family” coupon in shipments for customers to hand out, encourage “shares” in social media, contests that reward re-tweets, add an “I’m never too busy for your referrals” button at the bottom of your email signature, and cross promote with other mom entrepreneurs. All of these methods add up and will give you a well of warm leads for your business to tap into.
The love affair started about fifteen years ago. I was flipping through the channels on late night television and stumbled across one of Felix Trinidad’s early fights. He was an amazing athlete full of unwavering determination, brute physicality, and an innate ability for overcoming obstacles.
It was no secret that he would often get knocked down within the first couple rounds of a fight. However, instead of letting it rattle him, he would only come back stronger and inevitably score a dramatic knock out victory over his opponent. You couldn’t help but cheer for him and he became an instant fan favorite. As I continued to watch his fights and boxing in general, I learned quite a few things that helped me in my journey through entrepreneurship.
Lesson #1: It’s Always the Punch You DON’T See That Knocks You Down
Although it may seem that boxers just get out there and brawl, the sport is actually based on tremendous science, research, and strategy. Trainers spend countless hours studying opponents so they can prepare their boxers to overcome any scenario that might come up in the ring. It’s always easier to respond to adversity when you’re not at the receiving end of a left hook. Instead of scrambling to react while half-dazed, you can just take a deep breath and execute plan B. This tactic works equally well for entrepreneurs battling bouts of adversity such as slowed sales, production disasters, or employee turmoil. In the infamous words of Mike Tyson, “everyone has a great plan until they get punched in the face.”
Lesson #2: “If it Doesn’t Make Dollars, it Doesn’t Make Sense.”
This quote is compliments of the notoriously flamboyant Floyd “Money” Mayweather. He’s one of the best pound for pound boxers in the sport and also one of the highest paid. His philosophy is simple, if there’s not enough money on the table for him to get in the ring-he walks. Entrepreneurs would be wise to adopt this mantra when writing their business plans, evaluating partnerships, and developing new products. If there’s not enough profit on the table to invest in a business, new product line, or partnership -keep walking. While his philosophy may seem overly simplistic, I do think its sound. Business success depends on your ability to bring in cash. Whether you use that money to fund your own bank account or a local charity, you still need the cash. Cash is King.
Lesson #3: Sometimes it’s More Important to Win Fans Than to Win Rounds
Clients and customers aren’t always logical. Just because your product is the best, fastest, cheapest out there, doesn’t mean they will love you. A great boxing example of this is “Winky” Wright. He is a veteran fighter with amazing technical boxing ability. He is also amazingly boring to watch. No matter how many titles he wins, no body wants to see him fight. The exact opposite of him is Arturo “Thunder” Gatti. He is a charismatic, big-hearted fighter that often hits the canvas in a bloody blaze of glory. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is fans are on their feet in awe of his courage. He’s the real-life “Rocky’ and fans are transfixed and endeared to him. While he’s not the better boxer, he is the one who sells stadium seats and gets the big paydays.
These exact principles play out in the business world daily. A company with an inferior product, but a great branding strategy can steal the market spotlight and amass oodles of raving fans. Their customers and clients are so endeared to them that they are willing to overlook the higher cost, increased downtime, or technical glitches. Instead of turning on the company when there’s a failure, the customers reach out to help lift them back up. This is any company’s dream, loyal, raving fans that are ultimately your best sales team. Take a lesson from “Thunder” Gatti, don’t just count how many rounds you win, count how many fans you have joining you on the journey.
So there you go, business and boxing are related on more levels than just tax evasion and Don King. We can learn valuable lessons regarding business strategy, profitable decision making, and how to recruit raving fans. These are core principles that can help take your company to the next level.
Next time you’re flipping through the channels and come across a fight, stop and watch a couple of rounds. You just might gain some inspiration for your next great business idea.
Keld Jensen over at Forbes.com wrote a great piece called
I encourage you to click on over and read it in its entirety, but if you’re time-strapped here’s the takeaways:
- While we think of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) as being the strongest indicator of success, it’s not the ONLY one.
- Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge.
- Instead of exclusively focusing on your conventional intelligence quotient, you should make an investment in strengthening your EQ (Emotional Intelligence), MQ (Moral Intelligence), and BQ (Body Intelligence).
I couldn’t agree more. These more “touchy feely” success factors are what make or break people, products and brands. I bet you can think of a couple of examples from today’s headlines where charisma beat out smarts. Here’s why:
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Without this you’re nothing but another talking head. EQ is that little voice in our head that tells us to listen more than we talk, to look for the win/win when negotiating, and allows us to connect in an authentic way with our audience. To be a true leader you must score highly in this department.
This is what keeps word of mouth referrals coming, recommendations stacking up, and you “in demand”. Your MQ directly correlates with your level of credibility. The more credibility you have the more paying customers, invites to serve as an “expert”, and partnership offers with other highly reputable companies. The golden rule applies here, “Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you.”
Body Intelligence (BQ)
This is the realization that “charity begins at home.” If you want to save the world, you must save yourself first. Keep your stress in check, exercise more-drink less, and appreciate that some of your best ideas come after a well-deserved vacation. All the success in the world means nothing if you don’t have your health.
It doesn’t matter how smart you are if nobody likes you, trusts you or you’re too sick to even make the meeting. The greatest ideas in the world fall silent if they can’t be communicated effectively. Sure you can hire a great spokesperson, but the trail will always lead back to YOU. If you come across like a greasy snake oil salesman on his deathbed all bets are off.
People “buy” from people- not IQ scores.
This has become my new mantra and quite honestly, I wish I would have seen the light a little earlier. However, as a small business owner swamped with trying to make sales, market the business, oversee the day-to-day operations, and oh yeah- create the product, I just never saw where “having lunch” had a worthy place in my hectic day. How could mingling be a priority when I still had bills to pay?
With a little free time, I finally decided to join in on a couple happy hours and group dinners. After my first social with other entrepreneurs, I had found a new CPA, brainstormed with an ex-Neiman Marcus buyer on ideas for fine tuning my line, and found a new favorite wine. Not bad, plus I actually had a good time! Letting off some steam with fellow entrepreneurs who understood my situation was exactly what I needed to help me re-focus and re-energize.
Needless to say, I got the “networking” bug and have tried to incorporate some type of business mingling at least twice a month ever since. With the likelihood of continued tough times ahead of us, we all need a little help. Why not try to reach out to a couple of colleagues? Here are some ideas and tips to get you started networking like a pro:
Visit networking sites like www.meetup.com for groups in your area that might be of interest.
- Volunteer to help with organizations you believe in
- Join local trade groups, the chamber of commerce, or even Toastmasters
- Host a brunch/happy hour for parents in your child’s class
- Coordinate a block party for your neighborhood or business park
Know the etiquette…
Listen twice as much as you talk… you’re not there to convert followers, you’re there to connect with others…
- Leave the “hard sell” at home… the possibility of making a sale is an added bonus- not a necessity…
- Have a plan… do you want advice on hiring a lawyer, feedback on your new tagline, or tips on negotiating a commercial lease? You’re more likely to accomplish your goals if you define them from the start
- Remember the golden rule… help others make introductions when you see a good fit and they will happily do the same for you
- Follow-up with referrals quickly and send thank you notes to the person who made the referral
- Be consistent… showing up once every six months is not going to help you become the “go to” guy/gal
Does anyone else have tips or suggestions for getting started networking? I’d love to hear them!
Work/life balance is a hot topic these days as our lives become increasingly dependent on the interwebs. No longer can the 5 o’clock whistle separate our work from family. We are tethered 24/7 through smartphones, ipad’s, and netbooks that allow us to work “anywhere and anytime.”
As virtual work environments increase in popularity, so do our feelings of imbalance in work/life. My argument, however, is that the concept of “work/life” balance is nothing more than a myth. The reality is that your “work” and “life” will inevitably collide regardless of how desperately you try to create separation. Staying up all night with a sick child will effect how alert you are at the 8am team meeting. The necessity of completing an unexpected project by midnight will effect your ability to make it home by dinner time. Life happens.
It’s impossible to draw an imaginary line in the sand that will compartmentalize your two worlds.
And ultimately- that’s okay. It’s NOT lack of work/life balance that makes us so unhappy, but rather feelings of loss of control. Think back to highlights from your career. I bet they were the result of a few sleepless nights, sacrificed weekends, and living off pb&j because you were too busy to cook. However, we don’t feel jaded about those moments. And why is that? Simple. You made the choice to do those things.
You were in control.
The first step towards achieving balance is to forget about chasing that imaginary line. Instead, create a system for maintaining control over YOUR life. To accomplish this, you must be grounded on your CORE needs.
Sit down with a pen and paper and write down at least three things you MUST do each day to feel content, happy, satisfied. They can be big or small, all depends on YOU. A couple suggestions to get you going include having dinner with family, daily workout, morning walk with fido, coffee break at favorite cafe, watch movie with spouse, etc.
The next step is the hardest. You MUST strive each day to incorporate these core needs into your day. The simple act of committing to your daily happiness is a HUGE STEP towards overall well being. When this happens, you stop being a victim of your “to do’s” or “the man”.
You restore a sense of balance, take back control of your happiness, strengthen your sense of purpose, and create an optimistic outlook for your future.
Stop chasing the myth and start creating the reality.
What are some of your CORE needs? What makes you feel “out of control” of your life? Please share in the comments below!
When I coach with small businesses and other mom entrepreneurs I often hear, “Yea, publicity would be nice? But it’s not our focus right now.”
This is usually the moment where I climb on top of my soapbox and start listing off all the benefits of publicity and why it should be top priority. For starters, publicity is far more than a “nicety” for your business. It can actually be the deciding factor between life and death for your company.
New companies have an uphill battle when it comes to proving themselves in the marketplace.
Reality: Everyone WANTS the next best thing, but they DON’T want the responsibility of discovering the next best thing.
This is precisely where publicity comes in. When a respected and credible media outlet gives your product/service the thumbs up it creates a stamp of approval for the world to see. This “stamp” helps ease the “buyer’s remorse” fear that can paralyze a customer’s buying decision. Customers read the positive press about your company and now feel validated, assured, and educated about choosing YOU. Instead of trembling in fear as they hover over the “buy now” button, they will now confidently press that button KNOWING you will deliver. After all, their favorite magazine just told them you would. That trust has now been projected onto you and your company.
For every product out their I can almost guarantee you there is a better, cheaper, faster product out there. Unfortunately, the “good guy” doesn’t always win the battle for shelf space. There’s no benefit to being the best _______ out there when NO ONE knows it but you.
Customers simply can’t buy your product if they don’t know it exists.
This is why publicity is so vital for spreading the word about your product and services. Sales are a numbers game. If you want more sales, you need more exposure. Obviously, you can argue that advertising and social media can help in this department. And you’d be right? However, not every company has an advertising budget or the know-how/time to fully engage in an online marketing campaign. The beauty of securing publicity is that it can be done in very little time and with very little resources. For example, I landed a front page spot on the USA Today business section with a FREE 15 minute phone call. It happens. Publicity is an extremely cost-effective and efficient method of generating awareness for your company.
As a business, your biggest asset isn’t your product/service- it’s your BRAND. The harsh reality is that IF your product is that great, it will more than likely be knocked off. This can happen legally and illegally and most companies are horrified at what little protection they have. By the time you initiate the proper legal action and win/lose that costly battle, the market will have already moved on and you’ve lost valuable resources in the process.
You can easily win the battle, but lose the war.
In other words, while you were spending your time, money, creativity on winning the court battle another competitor may have stolen your market share. It happens all the time. So what can you do? If you have a strong brand, you can avert that crisis by shifting focus from one product to another. The whole of the company isn’t under attack, just an extension. The impending victory or defeat is no longer a matter of life or death, but a normal business challenge to overcome. Business survival is hard enough as it is, don’t make it harder by putting all your eggs in one basket.
When I started my web show, FitandFearLESS.tv, at the beginning of the year I was still a newbie in the world of online branded entertainment. I did, however, know that I wanted to start things off right.
One of the first -and most obvious decisions- for me was choosing the .TV domain extension for my web show’s website address. In our cluttered marketplace, web, and social media jungle you need all the advantages you can get when trying to differentiate yourself. Why hinder your efforts with an ambiguous domain name? If you’re a web show, let your audience know that in .5 seconds. A .TV domain extension helps you do just that and more.
For the “and more” part, I’ll let you tune into the interview I did with Best of .TV.
Just click play below and you’ll find out why I chose to start a web show with .TV, how it’s helped my branding efforts, and the response I’ve had from potential sponsors and advertisers. As always, let me know if you have any questions!
As many of you know, mentoring the next generation of creative entrepreneurs is a huge passion of mine. I spend countless hours each week mentoring, coaching, advocating on behalf of up and coming creative entrepreneurs that never cease to amaze me. Needless to say, they keep me inspired and committed to taking the glamaLIFE Brands to the next level.
When Jaden Black of The Venture Foundation approached me about his new non-profit for creative entrepreneurs, I couldn’t have been more excited to join in! The mission of the foundation is to provide low cost bookkeeping and financial services to small businesses that are barely surviving- not thriving as they should be. The Venture Foundation steps in with peer forums, coaching, mentoring, resources, and most importantly- a community of support. Click here to find out more.
Being the fun-loving guy he is, Jaden kicked off the Venture Foundation launch with a charity bash called “Famous for a Cause.” I was fortunate enough to be a co-host of the event and had an absolute blast! Probably too much fun for a grown woman with three kids, but this glamaMOM can’t resist a good costume party!
Special Thanks to…
Stephanie Migues for my rockin’ hair!
Rhea McCarter for the amazing makeup transformation…so glam!
So excited to be featured in the August 2011 Home Business magazine!
Yours truly is profiled on page 14 & 15 as part of the magazine’s “Millionaires Next Door” annual profile series. You can stop by Barnes & Noble to grab a copy.
I dish on what I feel are the best promotion strategies for the glamaLIFE brands, what it means to be “home based”, and tips for new entrepreneurs just launching their dream businesses.
Please let me know what you think and -as always- let me know if I can help YOU! If you have a question regarding entrepreneurship, work/life balance, bootstrap marketing, etc. just add it to the comments below. I’ll be happy to respond with a Rock Your BiZ vlog post.
Just need a little inspiration? Read this The First (and Last) Time I Cried As An Entrepreneur.
Need more hands on one-on-one help? I do small business coaching as well, click here to find out more.
Being a working mom can be challenging. Sometimes it feels like there are so many balls in the air at one time and it can be hard to keep them all moving smoothly. Fortunately there are a few easy things you can do to help make life a little less hectic.
1) Involve your kids in household activities. No one said quality time only happened outside on a playground or while playing a board game. Pull a chair up to the counter and have your child measure ingredients, sort beans or just practice pouring water from one container to another while you prepare dinner. As you cut and mix, you can talk to your child about the day and spend valuable time together.
Or, let your child help you sort laundry. Older children can help fold while younger ones can help separate pants from shirts. And even if your child’s help is slightly less than truly helpful, it will still be a wonderful time for you to connect with your child while you get important housework done.
Depending on the age of your children, consider letting them clean with you. By using a vinegar solution as a general cleaner instead of a harsh chemical, you can encourage your child to wipe a counter while you spray and then swap roles to clean the windows. Children love feeling they are helpful and this way you will be able to accomplish important housework without staying up late at night or missing valuable time with your children.
2) Turn off the phone. Unless you are a doctor and you are on-call, turn off your phone when you are home. When you are not working, that is your personal time – so be protective of it. Hearing the phone ring when you are not working, even if you do not answer it, can be very stressful. First, there is the inclination to stop what you are doing, jump up, and answer it. And if you do not answer it, then your personal time is still interrupted as you wonder what the missed call was about.
And, for work-at-home moms, silence your work phone when you are not working. As a work-at-home mom, your home office is right in the middle of your home. This is good and bad. It’s good because it is easy to pop in and work a few minutes when a child is napping, for example. But it is bad because it s just so easy to keep working even though you want to be spending time with your children. By silencing your phone and then being sure to check voicemail after the kids go to sleep, you can help keep your work time from invading your entire day.
3) Schedule time with your children. Just as you schedule an important conference call or a meeting with your boss, give your children the same priority status and plan in advance the times you can spend with them. Whether it’s a thirty-minute period in the mornings before breakfast or fifteen minutes after dinner, plan ahead times when you will be able to sit down and give your child your undivided attention. For older children you can use this time to talk about their day at school or plans for the upcoming weekend. For younger children, you can use this time together to read a favorite children’s picture book or do a fun activity like a craft project or colorful printable worksheet. By scheduling this time in advance, you and your child will both have something to look forward to during the day.
4) Embrace leftovers. When you go through the time and trouble to prepare a homemade dinner, spend an extra few minutes and purposefully make more than your family will eat in one meal. Even if you or your family does not like leftovers, a little creativity will help save you from having to eat true leftovers. For example, by roasting a large chicken you can shred the leftover children breasts and use them to make chicken tacos later in the week. With some store-bought taco shells, shredded cheese, and fresh tomato and lettuce, you have an entirely new home-cooked meal in just a few minutes.
Alternatively, invest in an inexpensive slow cooker. In less than thirty minutes, you can prepare a huge stew, pot roast, or a pot of chili. After serving dinner, put the rest in the freezer in individually portioned storage containers. That way you will always have homemade, healthy and delicious food in the freezer for days when things get busy and you just do not have time to cook. Not only will it be a time saver, but it will save you from having to stop for fast food or order in pizza on those rushed nights.
No one said having it all was easy, but with a few simple changes to your daily routine, having it all can be a lot easier.
About…The author is a former lawyer, now work-at-home mom to two amazing boys. Her mom, Renee, is a retired kindergarten and preschool teacher. Visit them at www.schoolsparks.com, a totally free resource of information and tools to help parents prepare their children to start preschool and kindergarten ready to succeed. They offer a free kindergarten readiness test parents can take to see if their kids are ready to start preschool or kindergarten and over 100 free printable kindergarten worksheets to help children develop critical skills.
This question has been in my heart and thoughts lately as my pet project, FitandFearLESS.tv, finally launches. As always, there are naysayers. Naysayers that question what a childrenswear designer could possibly know about the crazy world of online entertainment. As I take my first steps in this new venture, I’m often asked “I know this is a passion of yours, but is it worth it? Will it pay?”
I can’t help but laugh since I was asked those exact same questions when I launched Glamajama. People thought I was crazy when I admitted to wanting to do more than just local craft shows. I guess I couldn’t blame them. After all, I had no experience, no support, and no financial resources. All I had was my hopes, dreams, and a fierce desire to fulfill my passion.
Seven years later, Glamajama is a leader in the childrens industry with national distribution in retailers such as Target and JCPenney. I’ve received thank you letters from Halle Berry, seen our clothes grace countless magazines, watched the hosts of the Today Show excitedly introduce the line on live TV, and helped the design team of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build a house on primetime.
I could go on for hours with all the amazing things I’ve been able to see, share, and accomplish as the CEO of Glamajama, but I won’t. What I will say, however, is that all those things were possible because of my PASSION. Nothing more, nothing less.
I never had a silver platter, rich Uncle, or even a clue at a few critical moments along that journey. What I did have, however, was a vision for my ideal personal and professional life. Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do to make it happen, I focused on what I could. I may have gotten knocked down, discouraged, and even doubted my sanity at times (many times), but that’s natural. At the end of the day…
It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count, it’s how many times you get up that matter.
I’m reminding myself of this today as I hear the doubts in people’s voices when I talk about FitandFearLESS, miss my “video view counts” goal for the day, or fail to get a response from a media pitch. The best things in life aren’t easy and it just makes winning that much sweeter. The joy is always in the journey, not the end.
So what does all this really mean? Does passion pay? I say YES. Our passions might not always pay dividends to our bank accounts, but they will always pay dividends to our heart and soul.
I can’t begin to tell you what an honor it has been to be nominated for this year’s Texas Social Media Awards. What has been even more impressive is the outpouring of support! I feel incredibly blessed to have made such amazing friends over these past years both online and offline. Thanks so much for your continued support!
If you’d like to add your own comment for my nomination, please follow this link Pick Heather!
The judges will take the comments into consideration when selecting the winner.
Heather Schuck of Glamajama, et al.
was nominated by Jason Stoddard because …
No one is more deserving of this than Heather. Heather is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur: Years ago, disillusioned with her own reality, Heather struck out on her own and shifted an entire market from a small home office in Central Texas. Her tireless commitment to her three children, family, friends and would-be entrepreneurs bubbles over with every engagement, online and on the ground. And while many take the low road of shameless self-promotion, Heather rises above it while remaining present and relevant in just about any conversation.
Comments about this nominee…
|Commenter’s Name: Aaron De Lucia
Comment: I have enjoyed learning about Heather and the amazing business she has built while staying true to her top priority, being a mom to 3 beautiful children. I am also enjoying reading and watching her adventures on FitandFearLESS.tv. She is an amazing lady who is committed to offering her community valuable, educational and entertaining content and not too mention a fashionable and sassy clothing line for the little ones. Keep it up Heather!
|Commenter’s Name: Thomas McFeeley
Comment: Heather is the perfect example of determination and desire being the most important business tools one can possess. At a young age, she built a brilliant company through vision, perseverance, and leadership. She is a true business leader.
|Commenter’s Name: Aronado Placencia
Comment: Definitely *****FIVE STARS***** I’ve interviewed and followed over 400 startup CEO’s, “web-celebrities”, and media folks over the last few years and Heather Schuck is absolutely one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. She’s built her *Glama* empire on the virtues of hard work, determination, perseverance, and all the while leveraging “social” extremely effectively and efficiently. We ALL could stand to learn from Heather!!
|Commenter’s Name: Bill Fanning
Comment: I have followed Heather’s business for a couple years and been very impressed with her drive and passion for building the Glamajama brand. Her natural curiosity to understand progressive ways to interact with her customer base and drive awareness of her brand has given her an education through experience in how to use social media to augment her marketing, pr and customer service efforts. Two thumbs up on the nomination!
|Commenter’s Name: Keith Privette
Comment: Heather has it all when it comes to business, smarts, personality, social media prowess. She has taken her dream of GlamaJama and truly made it a thriving and successful business, which is no surprise to me! Heather has enough personality and smarts to fill 3 Texas Stadiums, then have enough to power the jumbotron! If anyone is deserving of this award Heather sure has earned it!
|Commenter’s Name: Mike T Smith
Comment: Heather deserves this reward because she is what social media was meant to be. She’s not always cramming her products and services down your throat, like so many entrepreneurs tend to do. If you speak to Heather she’ll always speak back whether it’s a comment, question or concern. She helped me when I started my company and I never felt like I was bothering her. Despite her success, she is very humble. She is a super sweet and genuine person and one day this reward will be named after her.
|Commenter’s Name: Jessica Eaves Mathews
Comment: Heather is a pioneer in using social media to build strong relationships AND a killer brand. She is authentic, generous with information and very responsive. She is a shining example of how to use social media to build your business successfully AND authentically. Everyone should follow her!
|Commenter’s Name: Steve Wolf, Stunt Ranch
Comment: Heather achieves what remains elusive to most users of social media: She builds genuine relationships with her community. The Heather you contrue through her media is exactly the Heather that you experience in person. She is genuine, funny, warm and enthusiastic, while struggling along just like the rest of us. She shares the full range of her self and her humanity with her friends and with her “social” friends. She is tremendously giving, and understands that we are all in this world together: that succeeding while others fail is a hollow success. She strives to share her enthusiasm and her hard-won knowledge with others, and to promote the brave behaviors that lead to success in her friends and fans. She understands that you make a living by what you get, but that you make a life by what you give. She’s a self starter, a generous business owner, a terrific mom, and deserves recognition for her work across so many areas. She could also use a little sleep. Actually, a lot.
|Commenter’s Name: Christie Schultz
Comment: Heather is amongst the most inspiring, inspired, talented, caring, and charismatic women entrepreneurs whom I have ever had the pleasure to meet and come to know. As the founder of an international organization comprised of entrepreneurial moms, that is truly saying a lot.Heather’s brilliant utilization of social media has literally separated her from the pack of other merchandisers, and has opened up an entirely new avenue for her to carve out her expertise as a now veteran entrepreneur and mom. When she doesn’t have an answer, she makes it her mission to find one. When she doesn’t know how to do it, she figures it out. She slogged it out in the trenches back when no one had any expertise in social media, blazed trails, stayed true to herself, and always followed her gut. What Heather did innately, countless books have now been written and are receiving accolades on the bestseller list for touting their “keep-it-real” social media rules of engagement. Heather is one to watch!
|Commenter’s Name: Michael Priceless
Comment: Heather is the most incredible modern day example of social media. She approaches social media in the most honest way I’ve ever seen. Heather interacts with fans, friends, and followers not because it’s “a part of her business strategy,” but because she actually cares. Heather’s sincerity to teach and show people how to achieve success is truly inspiring.
As a social media master, Heather shows that social media is more than just about business. It’s about a lifestyle. A lifestyle of connection.
Good luck Heather in obtaining this award! You DESERVE IT!
As the CEO of Glamajama for the last seven years I’ve led my company through tremendous growth and small business success. We’ve doubled sales each year, added a media platform, developed key relationships with national retailers, created a TV show, and even launched a few new companies. Despite all those accomplishments, we’re still a small business. Bigger than some, but smaller than most.
As I step into meetings pitching my brand and vision, I’m often reminded just exactly how small we are. While our little fish has grown in size over the years, so has the pond. My competitors are now companies with hundreds of employees, endless venture capital money, and a legal team bigger than my hometown.
When friends and family hear about my adventures building Glamajama there’s the inevitable gasp, “OMG, aren’t you nervous? That’s intimidating! Are you sure you’re ready for that?” I have to laugh, because I simply don’t see my size as a disadvantage. I see it as an ADVANTAGE. Small businesses always have -and will always be- the lifeblood of America.
Large corporations are often staffed with zombies. Employees who have lost their lust for life years ago when their pay scale got capped, they ended the open bar at the Christmas party, closed the cafeteria- you name it. I, however, wake up each morning loving what I do. I control my own destiny. When they’re counting down to 5pm, I’m counting down until 8am. I’ve got a fire in my belly and spring in my step that no zombie can match.
The big boys are notoriously sluggish due to bureaucracy, ridiculous amounts of paperwork, bloated staffing strategies, and backlogs in their accounting departments. By the time it takes a new initiative to reach the necessary 3 out of 5 rounds of middle management approvals, I’ve already patented the idea, launched a marketing campaign, and just closed my first customer. Small businesses are quick and nimble because the CEO’s often serve as judge, jury, and executor. Operational decisions take minutes, not months.
For new ideas to see the light of day at Goliaths, they typically have to move through research/development, market viability studies, endless product testing, sourcing, cumbersome launch campaigns, and more. While it’s nice to have employees ensuring a product’s success, its can also be quite sabotaging. “Cutting edge” ideas might take three years to get to market only to find out they’re not cutting edge anymore. My product development might not be as graceful, however, I can go from concept to customer in three months. That gives me the upper hand in seizing market share and priceless time building my base of raving fans. Raving fans that are eager to help me fine tune the product.
The media, industry insiders, and current market leaders usually only have big players on their radar. Companies with $40 million in assets perceive other companies with $40 million in assets as threats. NOT a newly incorporated business hailing from Wisconsin bootstrapping its way through a five page business plan. Which is a good thing for that small town start-up. They may be simple, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t smart. They know those industry giants won’t realize they have a better, faster, cheaper product until it’s too late. They used their size as an advantage.
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, races, sexes, and backgrounds. It’s a diverse community. Despite all those differences we are unified through several undeniable characteristics. We are believers, doers, dreamers, and above all- FIGHTERS. No matter how many times we get knocked down, we are fueled by a fierce belief in our dreams that compels us to move forward. We don’t file our entrepreneurial dreams away in some corporate file graveyard, we come back better, stronger, and smarter.
The next time you walk into a meeting and find yourself outgunned, never hesitate to hold your head high. Just because a competitor is bigger than you, it doesn’t mean they are better. YOU are the one with the upper hand. YOU are the lifeblood of America.
With the recession officially over, now is the perfect time to start preparing for the extra business. I am a big fan of using virtual assistants to help build out my team during peak seasons. This is an especially useful business strategy in today’s market place. One of the best lessons a recession can teach us is that in many circumstances variable costs beat fixed costs any day. To survive the feast or famine rollercoaster of entrepreneurship, you need to make sure your expenses mimic those same ups and downs.
Benefits of Virtual Assistants
Adding virtual assistants to your workforce is a terrific way to turn a traditionally “fixed” expense, like payroll, into a more cash flow friendly variable expense. Let me explain how it would work. For example, most business advisers suggest that payroll expenses should average 20-30% of your sales. This would mean that when sales are flush at $250,000/month that translates into payroll expenses of $50-75,000. When sales hit a downturn at only $50,000/month, your payroll would then move back to a more manageable, $10-15,000. As a business owner, how closely you adhere to this ratio means the difference between bleeding red and staying in the black.
Additional Benefits Include:
- No payroll taxes or employee benefit expenses
- No “on site” office space requirements
- No costly training programs when hiring experienced VA’s
- No long term commitment
- No morale draining lay offs during slow seasons
Understanding the Relationship
When considering virtual assistants to help manage business tasks, there are a couple considerations to keep in mind. For starters, they are not your employee but independent contractors. This means they will most likely have other tasks and deadlines on their schedule while they are working for you. READ: They are on their clock- not yours. Make sure you are respectful of time constraints and provide as much advanced notice of tasks, deadlines, and special circumstances as possible. As with many business relationships, communication is critical. You can’t blame a virtual assistant for not living up to your expectations if you never made those expectations clear. In other words, don’t just say you need something “right away”, make sure you define “right away” as within two hours.
I also think it is wise to start slowly when building a new relationship with a virtual assistant. For example, instead of requesting that they create a new website for you, start by having them update your blog template first. As each task is completed satisfactorily, and communication strengthens, you can then proceed to larger and more complex tasks. Also, be sure to discuss with potential VA’s their strengths and weaknesses to ensure the best experience possible. If you are in the real estate field, consider searching for VA’s with backgrounds in real estate. If you an entrepreneur looking for marketing help, be sure to search for VA’s with a background in marketing or who are currently active in social media.
Tips from an Experienced VA
For more tips, I turned to Dawn Martinello of Monday Morning VA. As an experienced virtual assistant herself, she had some great insight to share. She can be found at MondayMorningVA.
- Be sure to have an exit strategy. Does your contract give you an out if you don’t mesh well? This is especially important for first time clients. For example, our services are non-refundable, but for first time clients we give a 7 day grace period in which they can bow out of the contract if they aren’t working well with their VA.
- When you’re considering outsourcing keep the price in mind. My rule of thumb is that an entrepreneur shouldn’t be doing anything in their business that doesn’t earn them at least 2/3 of their regular rate. That means if you’re a bookkeeper who charges $30.00 per hour, you should consider outsourcing anything that doesn’t earn you $20.00 per hour. The reasoning behind this is that business people need to spend their time and energy on what generates revenue for them. Spending 4 hours trying to update your website doesn’t earn a bookkeeper anything!
If you have never considered hiring a virtual assistant to build out your team, I strongly suggest taking a second look. As technology continues to advance and better networking platforms are built, virtual work relationships will only become even easier. A couple great places to start your search for virtual help include Guru.com, Freelance.com, RentACoder.com, or a simple “virtual assistant” search on Google.
Business Owners, feel free to leave any questions or experiences you would like to share in the comments. Virtual Assistants, be sure to leave any additional tips and your contact information including your area of expertise.
On a bootstrap marketing budget and looking for do-it-yourself publicity? Click play to learn how to be on “GARD” for media opportunities that can catapult your brand to the next level.
In this video, I explain the “do it yourself” system that has helped me garner media features from such outlets as USA Today, E! TV, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, CBS’s The Early Show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and many more.
Are we connected? Follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/glamajama .
As a bootstrap entrepreneur, I’ve learned there are just some things you don’t cut corners on. My “golden rule” has always been to hire the best Lawyer, Accountant, and Business Consultant you can find, even if you can’t afford it. The truth is you simply can’t afford NOT to. Running my small business over the years has taught me a valuable lesson,
“you don’t know what you don’t know.”
Those past experiences are fresh on my mind as I find myself preaching about my golden rule on nearly a daily basis. As I consult with fellow entrepreneurs teaching them how to replicate my successes with branding, social media integration, and celebrity placements, I am heartsick. I hear countless stories of companies who have learned this costly lesson too late in the game. The “killer product launch” at a tradeshow that cost $30k that no one showed up for because the owner didn’t know how to contact the media or set appointments with key buyers.
The “grand opening” in small town America that didn’t even make the neighborhood newsletter. Or the Mom that licensed her invention only to find that the company shelved the product and she had unwittingly relinquished her intellectual and distribution rights. I could go on. Knowing all of this, I can’t stress my golden rule enough. Please don’t make these same mistakes.
I know it might seem like an extra check to write when your bank account is already maxed out, but it will end up saving you money and heartache in the end. The money is there, you just need to re-allocate it. Instead of focusing your efforts on making a “big splash”, maybe focus on ensuring a return on investment? A solid marketing plan to leverage your event/news/product launch? Or making sure all the legal and accounting issues are resolved so you actually get to keep your money? Seek the help of professionals who have been there, done that. After all, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
In Part I we discussed tips and tricks…here’s an excerpt:
Whether you agree with the phenomena or not, celebrity sells. I have personally seen the momentum it can create with my own company, Glamajama. A celebrity fan or customer gives your brand credibility in the marketplace and makes your company newsworthy. Celebrity Gifting Suites are one of the many ways you can gain access to celebrities for your brand.
I have experience with shows like this and I am happy to share a couple pointers. I was fortunate in that my strategy paid off and Glamajama added quite a few celebrity fans, features on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Dancing with the Stars, and even a spotlight on Oprah. Was this all luck? No. This was EXECUTION of a PLAN.
Attending celebrity events can be quite costly, this post will help you make sure you spend your marketing dollars wisely.
After deciding on an event to attend, ask for a list of invited celebrities and which are expected to attend. Once received, Google each name and create a spreadsheet with their picture, relevant info (in my case as a baby clothes designer I would note kids names and ages), current projects, and future projects.
Once you have everyone’s information handy, sort through the list to identify which celebrities will be the best fit for your product or brand. For example, if you have a “green” product, highlight celebrities known for their green efforts and target them. Create individual bags for each attendee you want to target and even consider monogramming the product if possible. It’s human nature to want to use use things that have been personalized for us and the celebrity will appreciate your additional effort.
Also, target celebrities that not only have current projects, BUT projects launching in the near future. The media loves “new starlets” and they’re also usually more appreciative of all the freebies thrown at them. If you can build a relationship between them and your company during the early days, it will prove valuable as their career blossoms.
The spreadsheet you create will also come in handy for defending yourself against the celebrity parasites that ALWAYS end up in events like this. If you don’t recognize someone from the celebrity invite list don’t be afraid to ask. You can also have your trigger happy friend do the asking. If they end up being famous you can always pull the good cop/bad cop “OMG ______! You didn’t know who she was? She’s so talented…” Cheesy, yes. BUT you can lose thousands of dollars by handing out product to absolute nobodies and then end up empty handed when a real high profile celebrity stops by during the events last five minutes. I have personally seen this happen many times.
If I had a nickle for every “sister-of-the-girl-who-styles-Gwen Stefani’s-hair-during-tours-in-Canada” I’d be rich.
Don’t forget to ask which boutiques will be attending the event as well. These events are frequented by boutiques with celebrity clientele. Why not share with them a sample and your wholesale information? Placing your brand in a high profile boutique is a profitable way to get media attention and additional celebrity fans. This is always a top priority for me at celebrity events. Also, most exhibitors are so focused on the celebrity aspect they miss this angle all together-it’s up to YOU to seize the opportunity!
You can bet this event will be attended by the celebrity scoop weeklies such as Us Weekly, Ok! Magazine, and more. TV shows such as Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, E! entertainment, and others are common attendees. Before the event, reach out to these outlets and introduce yourself. While they might not respond, it still helps YOU stand out in the crowd since they will recognize your brand or product. The “media” are people just like me and you. They can be overwhelmed with the chaos and everyone crowding them for attention. They’ll appreciate a friendly face.
Also, be sure you pack a “media kit” that includes your press kit, a sample, and info where they can download 300 dpi pictures for publication. Let them know if you have any pictures of celebrities with your products from the event and that YOU have the rights to them. People usually choose the path of least resistance. Take advantage of this by positioning yourself as the easiest brand to feature. Grab their business card or ask for an email address so you can follow up with them as well.
I hope these tips get you started in the right direction and feel free to ask any questions you might have. Also, never forget to have a GOOD TIME!!! Enthusiasm and passion are contagious and will draw in the crowds, don’t forget to let it shine-you’re a STAR too!
Whether you agree with the phenomena or not, celebrity sells. I have personally seen the momentum it can create with my own company, Glamajama. A celebrity fan or customer gives your brand credibility in the marketplace and makes your company newsworthy. Celebrity Gifting Suites are one of the many ways you can gain access to celebrities for your brand.
Think of these “swag parties” as extravagant trade shows with the attendees being celebrities getting freebies instead of paying store owners. The main goal of attending a show like this is grabbing the heart and attention of a high profile celebrity which will then translate into media attention, increased exposure for your brand, and ultimately a spike in sales. Does that always happen? Absolutely NOT. Can it happen, YES.
I have experience with shows like this and I am happy to share a couple pointers. I was fortunate in that my strategy paid off and Glamajama added quite a few celebrity fans, features on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Dancing with the Stars, and even a spotlight on Oprah. Was this luck? No. This was EXECUTION of a PLAN.
Let me be clear, “luck” does NOT create success- it can however create opportunities. How you handle those opportunities is what determines your success.
My Tips & Tricks:
- Select the Event Carefully: Spend time researching potential events and their hosts. Do they have a good reputation? Are they sharing pictures from past events? Proof (pictures/testimonials/magazine features/etc) of the celebrities that have attended their events? Just remember almost everyone in Hollywood is an “actress”, make sure the attendees are truly paid professionals with A or B-list status.
- Bring a Trigger Happy Friend: These events are commonly attended by the “paparazzi”. They are hired by the event hosts to take pictures for use in their marketing materials, media outreach, or to help in other promotions. The host will advertise to you that these pictures will be able for your use. And of course they are, at a price. It’s a great way for “them” to make a couple extra bucks. They know you will be desperate to get pictures of your brand with A-listers. Save money by having a friend take pictures for you. He/She will take pictures of just YOU (there is always frenzied competition for the photographers attention), you will have full access to the images, and you can use them in your pitches to the media since you will own the rights-not the paparazzi or event host.
- Don’t be Cheap: If you’re spending the money to attend an event like this, make sure you create a red carpet ready display piece for your company. Celebrities want to be associated with glamorous, exclusive, and trendy companies. If you’re display comes across as being cheap, mass market, or outdated, they won’t be tempted to stop and chat. Put your best foot forward!
Click here for Part II… Celebrity Gifting Suites: How to Develop a Strategy for Success
The decision to pour your heart and soul into a new business venture is often an emotional time. It’s a tumultuous mix of excitement, promise, fear, and insecurity. With all those emotions weighing heavily on our business plan it’s easy to get a little shaken from time to time. I remember very clearly the first (and last) time I let my emotions and self-doubt nearly sabotage my business.
Two months after launching Glamajama, I was eager to gain my first wholesale client. A local store had an enviable reputation for carrying the best baby clothes in town and I knew Glamajama would be a perfect fit. I anxiously packed my best samples, printed off a couple homemade sales sheets, and made my way to what I hoped to be my first boutique sale. I arrived at the store and the salesgirl handed me over to the owner. I nervously introduced myself and offered to show her a couple pieces. She half-smiled and gave me a quick “Sure.”
I set out my pieces and explained my vision for the line, our competitive pricing, and that I would be happy to stop by regularly to merchandise the line. It seemed that with every word I spoke, the less interested she became. The “sure.” was now replaced with blind “uh-huhs” and noncommittal smiles. As her attention faltered, so did my composure.
I had walked into that store with my heart on my sleeve and it was breaking. Every disinterested gesture she made hurt like a thousand knives. I kept hoping for a distraction to give me a welcome escape. The last straw hit when she took “just a second” to call her mother. As they chatted, I finally mustered the courage to whisper, “I’m sorry, is this a bad time? I can come back?” Knowing full well I would never return to that store (or that neighborhood) ever again.
Surprisingly, she responded, “No, you’re fine. Keep going.” A bit queasy, I rambled on aimlessly about my bestsellers and best bets for her store. Five awkward minutes later, she smiled and said “Thanks for stopping by.” I took my cue and thanked her for her time, told her she had a lovely store, and left one of my handmade sales sheets next to her cash register.
Five steps from my car I finally lost it and the tears started rolling down. What was I thinking? I was so naive to think I could actually make a business out my silly little hobby! I was humiliated and speechless. I spent the rest of the night feeling sorry for myself and vowed to start searching for part-time jobs in the morning. I just wasn’t cut out for business after all.
The next morning I managed to sleep in a little, but was awakened by an odd chirping noise. I had heard it before, but without my morning coffee it was hard to place. As I got up I then heard the unmistakable sound of printing. Printing! OMG! It was the fax machine! As I ran over to inspect the fax, my heart stopped. Slowly rolling off the fax machine was a sheet emblazoned with yesterday’s store logo. I was wide awake at that point and in complete shock. Three pages and $1200 later, I had my first boutique customer.
After a much deserved happy dance I called the store owner to confirm and thank her for the order. She laughed and said, “Why do you seem surprised?” I tried to play it off, but subtly mentioned I didn’t realize she was that interested in the line. Her response?
“Oh no sweetie, I knew I loved it the second I saw it. I just thought you needed some practice so I let you keep going.”
I was completely blown away. I was making plans to abandon my dream of starting a business for all the WRONG reasons. I had let my own fears and self doubt create a situation that didn’t even exist. She had LOVED the line.
After that eye-opening experience I stopped wearing my heart on my sleeve. I promised to not take rejections so personally and learned to leave the self-doubt at home. Being rejected is just part of the journey and you can’t let it wreak emotional havoc on your business. Embrace the bad with the good and use the setbacks as opportunities to grow and learn. And most importantly, don’t always assume the worst. You just might be pleasantly surprised!
Do you have a similar story to share? Have you assumed the worst and ended up pleasantly surprised?
Being a mom is challenging. Whether you have a baby, toddler, or teen, your “to do” list is jam packed. There’s always a million things to do with only 24 hours in the day. So what happens when you try to add in a career? Chaos. Unless, you have the right gadgets to simplify things of course! I’ve put together a list of my top five gadgets that help make my crazy life as a mom entrepreneur a little bit saner. Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments below!
iPhone: My iPhone is my life support for both work and family. I use it to organize my time and projects, work on the run anywhere and everywhere, and it’s a life saver when trying to keep the kiddos busy when I’m caught in unexpected meetings. I can take pictures of inspiration pieces for work AND shoot video of my daughter at dance class. If it takes over a hour for the bank to process an international wire? No worries, the kids are watching Finding Nemo and a crisis is averted. It also helps that I have four pages of applications loaded that keep me organized and connected as I tackle the day.
Roomba: I should be a spokesperson for iRobot. It’s not only that I absolutely hate vacuuming, but I just never have time for it. It’s one of those things that always gets pushed to the end of the “to do” list. With Roomba on the job, I never have to think twice about it and the floors are spotless. I use the scheduling option so at 10am each day, Roomba sets off to clean the house and then parks itself back on the charger when its done. Mommy’s the hero for having a clean house and I didn’t even have to lift a finger. What’s not to love?
Netbook with Clear: When I do actually have a chance to sit down and work, whether that’s at home, at a coffee shop, or at an airport, I always have my netbook handy. At it’s 1.5lb weight and 10 inch size, it fits in my “mom” over-sized purse easily and is lightweight enough to carry around “just in case”. With CLEAR 4G wi-Max I can surf the web, upload video, and blog on the go at super fast speeds. My netbook has all the essentials for preparing business documents, editing pictures/video, and a built in webcam for Skype video conferences with my team. I also throw in my 1 terabyte FreeAgent portable hard drive just in case. All my documents, pictures, video, music, etc. fit easily on the drive and I can access it in an instant without slowing down my netbook.
Crock Pot: I know this is incredibly old school, but it works like a charm! Especially when you’re armed with a killer cookbook like this, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking. I love the fact that I can throw in a couple of easy to find ingredients and then just let it set for a couple hours unattended. I can take the kids to the lake, run to a business meeting, or maybe even enjoy some guiltless shopping knowing that when I get home dinner will be hot and ready. There’s a reason why the crock pot is still popular after all these years, it works miracles for time starved Moms.
PowerMat: This gadget is fairly new and a bit pricey, but I’m still a huge fan. My days are hectic and remembering to charge the multitude of devices we’ve got hanging around the house isn’t exactly at the top of my list. I inevitably get sidetracked and end up taking a battery drained camcorder to my son’s graduation. PowerMat to the rescue! The mat simply rolls out and charging is as easy as laying the device on the mat. No more cord tangles, trying to figure out which plug goes where, or screaming at the cats when they mistake the cords for strings. The PowerMat makes powering our electronic lifelines a breeze.
In this ROCK your Biz segment, Erin asks:
“I am so impressed with what you’ve accomplished! You have a great brand. I own a Mom biz (just launched August 2009) & am wondering 1)how you started working the Hollywood angle & 2) what advice would you give a biz who plans to approach big box retailers like the ones you’ve had so much success with?”
Heather shares her tactics for marketing to celebrities including how to get celebrity contact information. She also shares her advice for selling to big box retailers, such as how to know if your business plan is prepared for the additional operations and capital requirements.
Have a question for Heather? Feel free to add it to the comments below!
In this ROCK your BiZ segment, Sarah asks about being an accidental entrepreneur and the confusion that it can bring to your business goals. Heather answers with her own personal experiences of being an accidental entrepreneur. Along with the pros, cons, and helpful tactics to help overcome the uncertainty.
In this Rock Your Biz segment, Ros asks:
“Yay Heather!! So excited about this opportunity to learn. My question is did you have the working capital to back the needed inventory to supply Target and JCP? I have several questions, but I’ll start here.”
Heather answers with tips regarding Rich Uncles, Lines of Credit, Factoring, PO Financing and tips for building a support network among your suppliers and manufacturers. When it comes to building a successful business, you need all the help you can get!
I’ve taken Glamajama from a failed eBay hobby to a million dollar company with international distribution in leading retailers such as Target and JCPenney. I did this all with nothing but a hope, dream, and an appreciation for the school of hard knocks. Sure I’ve had a lot of “hits”, but I’ve also had a lot of “misses”. Many that could have been easily avoided with guidance from a business mentor. Don’t make those same (costly) mistakes I did! Let me help show you when it’s okay to put your hands up and scream (and when you need to assume the crash position.)
Shoot me your questions and I’ll share the answers for all our community to see. Together we can build some kick ass business’s that allow Moms to fulfill both their personal and professional dreams. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?
Ask your question in the comments below, and who knows? We might all learn something new! If you prefer to be anonymous, you can email me at heather (a) glamajama.com as well.
The infamous @RockandRollMama, Lindsay Maines and I will be presenting the panel Beyond Ring Around The Collar: Reaching Tastemaker Moms.
The discussion: There’s buzz around marketing to moms. Word Of Mouth practitioners: Reach beyond the domestic aspects of women, hit a sweet spot, and engage a whole different niche market- the Tastemaker Moms. The sooner Mad Ave realizes that influence reaches beyond the kitchen, the more effective their efforts will be.
Click the link here to “add” it to your SXSW schedule and I look forward to seeing you there!
As always, feel free to contact me heather (a) glamajama.com if you’d like me to speak at your event or can’t make the panel and have questions…I’m here to help!