female founder

"Believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one else will" Treva Brandon Scharf

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Treva Brandon Scharf is an ICF-certified professional life coach, dating coach, fitness professional, and first-time bride at 50. With over 35 years in the fitness industry and many more in the singles world, Treva knows first-hand how to achieve peak performance in both life and love. Learn more about Treva and her coaching services at www.trevabrandonscharf.com.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I’m an only child born and raised in Beverly Hills, CA. Parents were both agents in the entertainment industry. I attended CU Boulder and UC Santa Barbara, graduated with a B.A. in Liberal Studies. I’m a life long athlete and fitness enthusiast. Moved to NYC out of college, became an advertising copywriter at BBDO. Five years later, I moved back to L.A. and created entertainment advertising for networks and studios.

I transitioned to full-time fitness in 2001 as a personal fitness trainer and group fitness instructor.

In 2014, at the age of 51, I got married for the first time and started a blog called “The Late Blooming Bride,” which established me as an authority in the midlife dating/singles space.

In January 2019, I became an ICF-certified professional life coach and dating coach. 

 What inspired you to start your business?

While I was teaching at a fitness studio in L.A., a fellow group fitness instructor (who was also a private trainer) asked me if I’d be interested in working with one of her female clients. I said yes, and proceeded to change this woman’s body. I realized I had a gift to motivate and inspire, so I left advertising and devoted myself to fitness.

My move to life coaching and dating coaching was a natural progression, and a no-brainer in terms of potential business for me. 

Where is your business based?

Beverly Hills

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

My fitness business was all word of mouth and still is. Somehow word got out, and I was able to build a very successful, high-end clientele. My life coaching/dating coaching business is still getting off the ground, but my first steps were building a website, getting business cards printed, appearing on podcasts, and announcing it on the major social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, LiinkedIn, Twitter, and Aligned.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Social media has been the most effective, but I’m parlaying it off my existing fitness business. I also have my own podcast I co-host with my husband called “Done Being Single,” on the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network. I just started running promos for my coaching business on our show.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Self-promotion is always challenging for me. I hate tooting my own horn, but I realize it’s necessary to establish myself, gain visibility and break through the clutter (everyone and their mother is a life coach or dating coach these days, so you’ve got to stand out!).

How do you stay focused?

I keep my eye on the prize, stay away from distractions, and visualize my success in daily high-performance self-guided meditation and breathwork.  

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

I work with my life coaching/dating coaching clients like their athletes because that’s the world I come from. I’m big on discipline, accountability, tough love, hard work, meeting challenges, and facing your fears. No one can kick your ass like a former trainer!

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Growing my life coaching business is still new, and I’m still building my brand, but so far the best marketing strategy has been networking, affiliating myself with other coaches, and marketing myself on my podcast and appearing on other podcasts, and social media.  

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one else will. Do everything you can to build your confidence, skills, worth and value to yourself and others. Read, read, and read more! Get informed and be empowered!

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

The latest books I love are “The Big Leap,” by Gay Hendricks, and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k,” by Mark Manson. I eat up all the fantastic self-improvement and personal growth & development articles on Medium.

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

Blogs from thought leaders and influencers on LinkedIn, articles on Medium, and watching closely how other coaches run their businesses.

Who is your business role model? Why?

Oprah. An overweight woman of color starts with nothing and becomes an industry. She’s a success in every area: publishing, TV, movies, retail, self-help, wellness, entertainment, etc. Her story is incredibly inspiring.  

What is your beauty routine? What are some of your favorite products?

 I’m embarrassed to say I just started to really take care of my skin in my 50s! I wash my face at night and combine a homemade moisturizer with a lightening cream from The Perfect Derma Peel to lighten spots. Sometimes I use my mother’s secret and smear a Vitamin. E capsule all over my face. In the morning, I use a tinted moisturizer by Dermalogica, a powder bronzer by Mac, lip pencil by Gabriel, and eye pencil by Pacifica (both available at Whole Foods).

How do you balance work and life?

I devote equal amounts of energy to both, but if work becomes too much, I make sure I balance it out with downtime, exercise, time with my husband, or hanging with my girlfriends. You can read more about me, and my passions and purpose, at www.trevabrandonscharf.com and at @trevabme.

 What’s your favorite way to decompress?

Having a glass of wine with my husband after work, chilling at home. And yes, I smoke pot.

 What do you have planned for the next six months?

I just finished my self-help memoir, “Confessions of a Late Blooming Bride: how to conquer singledom and triumph at love.” The next six months will be spent shopping it around to agents and publishers, and promoting it everywhere I can. I also plan on continuing to build my life coaching & dating coaching business by blogging prolifically, building my social media following, increasing my exposure and branding.

How can our readers connect with you?

www.trevabrandonscharf.com

Twitter: @trevabme

IG: @trevabm

"Setting an intention (one task) for the day is my secret to staying ridiculously focused" with Courtney Elmer

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Courtney is a Business Strategist and Stress Expert who teaches high-achieving women how to expand their income + impact without the stress (or as Courtney loves to say: “how to make bank in their biz without the burnout!”)

After a fast-paced career and overcoming cancer at the age of 25, Courtney realized that life’s too short to waste any time feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked.

Now as the creator and founder of The StressLESS System©️, Courtney specializes in showing busy women how to ditch the overwhelm, create order out of life’s chaos, and find their inner peace. 

She’s known for sharing simple, actionable steps to help them scale their business without the stress, so they can have more time to enjoy the life that’s in front of them right now. 

After all, “StressLESS, LiveMORE” is her motto!

You’ll find her in New Orleans with her husband Alan and their son AJ, most likely with a hot cappuccino and piece of dark chocolate somewhere nearby.

To learn more, you can connect with Courtney on Instagram @CourtneyElmer_ or on her website, CourtneyElmer.com.

Can you tell our readers about your background? What inspired you to start your business?

Overcoming cancer at 25 was not how I expected to start my journey as an entrepreneur. But that’s exactly where my story starts, because as I sat there in that cold, sterile exam room, THAT was the moment I realized that life is too short. 

That’s when I decided to quit burning myself out, feeling like I had to choose between having success or having a life I truly loved, and figure out how to have both. So I walked away from my fast-paced career (and all the luxury and accolades that went with it) and became obsessed with figuring out how to StressLESS and LiveMORE. 

And on my journey of healing, I quit buying into the belief that to be successful I meant I had to DO it all.

So facing this unimaginable challenge was not the end. It was my beginning. 

My test became my testimony, and I created what’s now known as the StressLESS System© to help high-achieving women carve out a clear path to create wild success -- without the stress.

Where is your business based?

Although I help women across the globe thanks to the power of technology, I live in New Orleans with my husband Alan and our son AJ (a surprise miracle baby following my cancer treatments!) 

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

It’s a funny story, actually. When I went back to my full-time career following my cancer treatments, I kept feeling this tug on my heart that I was meant for something more. So one day, I decided, “Ok, I’m going to launch this coaching business to teach other women what I’ve learned, and see where it goes.” Little did I know I’d have a ton of growing still to do both personally and professionally, but that decision — that moment when I said to myself, “I can do this,” — was the start. 

From there, I told my husband, “Babe! I need a business coach.” And he said, “Ok, well why don’t you interview a bunch of coaches and find one who you really connect with and go from there.” So, I started researching and came up with EIGHT different coaches to interview. Now you have to understand, my husband Alan is an engineer. I’m a creative. He’s into the data, while I take more of a “let’s jump in and figure it out as we go” approach. But I knew I needed to win him over to this idea of investing thousands of dollars in hiring a mentor to help me launch my business, so I created a spreadsheet listing the pros and cons of every coach I interviewed, the investment, and what I personally liked about each one.

One morning over breakfast I said, “I’ve found the one!” and then I pulled out my spreadsheet, and made sure he was sitting down so I could tell him it would cost 5-figures to invest in her program. To my surprise, he was totally on board! So I set up a payment plan, flew to Canada for two weeks to meet my new coach, and took a crash course in everything from marketing funnels, to offers, to program content, and more. 

But what I least expected was THE deep personal transformation I experienced and learning how my own journey played a much bigger role in my overall mission. And having this new-found knowledge about myself from the get-go helped me to set up my business in a way that was in such alignment with the desires of my heart: sustainable, simple, not stressful! 

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Speaking, social media, and PR are all a huge part of my visibility strategy, but the number one thing that’s helped increase awareness for what I do is this: exceed people’s expectations. 

Get in front of them, deliver what they expect, and then some. 

This is what gets people talking about you! Word-of-mouth marketing builds know-like-trust faster than any other form of marketing. And it’s been the single-most influential thing that’s increased awareness for my brand.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

While going through cancer at 25 as a newlywed was certainly something I never expected to face in my lifetime, the bigger challenge I struggled with after going through cancer treatments was the possibility that we might not ever be able to have a family. Because of my age, there was a risk that the radiation could cause infertility. 

In fact for almost 5 years following treatment, it didn’t look like I’d ever be able to have kids. So instead I stayed focused on growing my business.  Things were running smoothly, and my business was growing even faster than I’d expected. I was totally enjoying the process, and I felt like I had it all figured out. 

But then, I woke up one morning and could barely drag myself out of bed. It felt like I’d been run over by a truck, and on top of it I had a debilitating migraine. This went on for days — and many tests later, my doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. And THAT scared me. 

These symptoms were almost identical to what I’d experienced before my cancer diagnosis, and I thought the doctors were missing something. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and start testing what I could on my own to rule out any and every other possibility.

And one of those tests came back positive. I was pregnant.

I can’t even begin to describe the emotions I felt in that moment — shock, joy, excitement, disbelief! We were completely caught off guard and so humbled by this true blessing. 

And then it hit me. How on earth was I going to be a mom and keep growing my business at the rate it was growing? How could I stay present for my son and be successful in my business at the same time? Questions like these kept me up at night. 

And now after a full year (and then some) of being both a work-at-home mom and the CEO of a major brand (without putting my son in daycare), I’ll tell you my secret to having success without the stress: the one thing I had to do early on was to challenge my own beliefs about myself as a mom and as a business owner. 

First I had to define what it meant (to me) to be a “good mom.” Then I had to pick a pace that I was comfortable with in my business -- a pace where we’re steadily growing, but not at the expense of everything else that’s truly important. 

It’s a total game-changer. Because your thoughts determine your beliefs, which define your actions. And your actions create your reality. So, if you’re not happy with your reality, you have to change your thoughts about it so that you can change your actions, and get different results.

How do you stay focused?

The to-do list that comes with being a mom, a wife, and a business owner is endless. For many people, it feels like there’s “never enough time in the day” to get it all done.  

I used to fall into bed at night feeling like I’d worked my butt off all day but didn’t really accomplish anything. It was defeating, and exhausting. 

So I started approaching things differently. I began starting each day by asking myself, “What’s the ONE thing I want to make sure gets done today?”

I’d set my intention for the day with my answer, and make sure that one thing was done by the time I went to bed at night. Maybe it was an important phone call I needed to make. Maybe it was work on a major project that I’d been procrastinating. Maybe it was a workout or some me-time. Whatever it was, I’d make sure it got done. 

I practice this every day, and I teach my clients to do the same. I encourage them to pick the one thing that will move the needle the most in their life or business, and focus on that. When they finish it, if they have more time, they can go on to tackle other things on their list. 

Setting an intention (one task) for the day like this is my secret to staying ridiculously focused AND feel accomplished when my head hits the pillow at night. 

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

We all have “our thing” that makes us unique, right? For me, my story, the challenges I’ve overcome, and what I’ve learned (and now teach others) definitely sets me apart. But when it comes to differentiating myself as a coach and speaker, that’s not my “it factor.” Lots of coaches and speakers have amazing personal stories of overcoming and triumph.

That’s why the StressLESS System© I created and the way I teach it is what sets me apart and makes the work I do with my clients so effective, because it gets them better, quicker results.  

The problem I see in the industry is that most coaches and speakers only specialize in one methodology: they either teach mindset OR “how-to” strategy, but not both. 

And this is where a lot of clients are when they first start working with me. They feel like they’ve had some AHAs about themselves and a few mindset shifts along the way, and they’ve been out there devouring every free resource on “how-to” do all the things in their business, but they’re not sure how to put it all together for their unique life and business

It’s kind of the equivalent of going to a great conference. You get really inspired by all the speakers that are there and take tons of notes. But when you get home, the excitement fizzles as you “get back to the real world,” because you have no idea how to apply all that you’ve just learned and take action on it. 

So with the StressLESS System© I help people on not only their mindset or on their business strategy, but on BOTH. 

Mindset work is absolutely necessary. If you have a belief about yourself or your business that’s limiting you, you can work as hard as you want forever and still never see the results you truly desire. 

Or, you can try every “how-to” in the book and waste a ton of time going through trial-and-error to figure out what works for you, but it’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. 

That’s why I help my clients do both. I do not teach them about “managing” time or “managing” stress. Instead, we go deeper and more foundational to figure out what mindsets are causing them those feelings of stress and overwhelm in the first place. Then, I teach them how to reframe those limiting beliefs and identify the perfect strategy for them to achieve the unique goals they want in life and business: faster, more effectively, and with better, longer-lasting results.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

My number one piece of advice for growing your business effectively through marketing is this: find where your ideal audience hangs out + deliver quality content to them consistently. 

So many people make the massive mistake of trying to be everywhere at once. Facebook, a Facebook Group, Instagram, LinkedIN, Twitter, Pinterest, a blog, guest-blogs, a podcast, guest-podcasts, weekly email newsletters to their audience, a website, and all. the. other. things. 

It’s exhausting just thinking about it all!

Here’s what I suggest. Ask yourself: “Where does my ideal client hang out? How do they like to consume information?” If your ideal client is someone in the flesh and not an avatar, ask them where they hang out and how they like to consume information. 

Then, aim to deliver your (high-quality, high-value) content to them on that platform, consistently. This will build know-like-trust and help to get your business in front of other ideal clients who are likely using those platforms to consume information like yours too.

And last but not least, it’ll take the pressure off you from feeling like you have to do it all and be everywhere. Because you don’t. 

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Did you know that over 7 out of 10 new businesses fail within the first two years of getting started? That’s alarming. And the reason is because too many new entrepreneurs are biting off more than they can chew, trying to grow too fast and burning themselves out in the process.

So instead, GO SLOW TO GO FAST. It sounds counterintuitive, I know. And I get that when you’re first starting out, there are SO many big ideas in that pretty little head of yours that you want to bring to life, like now. 

But remember, you will get nowhere fast by burning yourself out. 

Take it slow. Focus on one project at a time. Build intentionally, create systems, and document processes, so that one day you can have a business that runs without you. 

A little bit every day over a long period of time will truly help you grow sustainably in the long run. 

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

App: It’s less of an app and more of an iPhone function that has made a huge difference for me in how I start and end my day! It’s called “quiet mode” and you can set it up in your phone settings. (Google how to do it, it’s super simple and takes less than a minute to set up!)

I’ve set mine to “quiet” all of my apps from 8pm to 8am. And I LOVE IT because while I aim to spend the first and last hours of my day off my phone, sometimes out of habit I’ll open it up to check Instagram or email or whatever. But when it’s on “quiet mode,” it’s a gentle reminder that I don’t need to be on my phone right then and it helps me turn my attention back to whatever I was doing so that I can stay present and live in the moment. 

Book/Blog: 

(I’m more of a book girl than I am a blog girl!) One of my all-time favorite reads is The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. 

The more you can get to know yourself and how you operate, the more you can operate better in all areas of your life. 

If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, this book is a perfect introduction!

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

Is it cheating to say my VA + Interns? Seriously! I consider each of them an ultimate business resource, and it’s truly an honor to empower others to gain new knowledge and skills when we work as a team.

On a personal level, it’s helped me take a lot off my plate that I didn’t *need* to be doing, freeing up my time to stay in the visionary role in my business and focus on important projects that are up to me to do.

The best thing about working with Interns, especially, is that they will often work in exchange for experience. I give them tons of fun perks and opportunities for personal coaching when they work with me, and create a true team environment where they’re able to gain valuable skills to add to their resume. So, even if you’re just starting out or if you feel like you “can’t afford” good help -- I’m challenging you on that. You can. You just have to do it in a way that’s smart.

Start with an Intern who can manage your social media. You write the content, and let them post and schedule it. Even that simple small task will save you HOURS and give them the experience that they want on their resume. It’s a win-win for you both!

Who is your business role model? Why?

Oh wow it’s going to be impossible to answer this question without writing a book. I have so many who I look to for advice and mentorship!  

James Wedmore and his program, Business by Design, has been an invaluable resource to me along the way. 

As my biz took off it was obvious I needed a framework to get my message out to the world in a bigger way. I knew adding an online component was the answer, but I was so afraid of losing that authentic human connection if I tried to take the powerful, transformative experiences offline and put them online. 

But I needed to make a decision fast, because not only was my business growing beyond what I could handle on my own, I’d just become a mom and I wanted to stay true to my personal mission of stressing less while scaling my business.

I’ve invested in myself and my biz a lot over the years but Business by Design stands out. I’ve learned SO much! James has made it so easy to track my progress, make sense of the numbers, and know exactly when I’m on track, and in a way that’s in such alignment with my own mission — sustainable and simple, not stressful!

What is your beauty routine? What are some of your favorite products?

My routine is super quick and easy. (And an esthetician just recently told me, “keep doing whatever you’re doing, your skin is amazing!)

Part of my success early on in my career was in network marketing. I used to rep for (and got hooked on) Neora anti-aging products, and what I love is that they’re so EASY to use. Literally one-step in the morning and one at night!
My typical routine looks like this:

Wake up, brush my teeth, wash my face with the Neora Age-defying Botanical Cleanser. Then, I use the Hydrating Day Moisturizer to fight free radicals and deeply moisturize my skin without feeling heavy or sticky (I live in New Orleans y’all -- heavy moisturizers and high humidity do not mix!) That’s it. Most days just a dab of mascara and I’m out the door.

Then in the evenings, I cleanse again with the Botanical Cleanser, and spray rose-water toner all over my face before applying the Age IQ Night Cream

That’s IT. Super simple! 

How do you balance work and life?

This is one of my all-time favorite topics. I literally just gave a workshop on the surprising truth about work-life balance, and why it’s a total LIE. 

Here’s the thing. There are 3 myths about balance that our culture wants you to believe. 

3. Balance can be found

2. Balance exists outside of you

1. Balance exists, period. 

But despite popular belief, Balance can’t be found because it’s not something that’s lost. Balance doesn’t exist outside of you, because it already exists inside of you. The perfect “work-life balance” doesn’t exist in the way our society wants you to think that it does, because balance is a feeling, not a thing. And it’s a feeling that’s unique to you!

So of COURSE if you’re chasing after someone else’s (or the world’s) idea of “perfect work-life balance” you’re not going to find it. 

First, you have go get clear on what balance looks and feels like for you. Close your eyes and imagine: if you were living a day that felt perfectly balanced, what would you be doing? What would that day look like? What would that day feel like? Get as clear and descriptive as you can. 

Then, take small steps toward this vision. If “being more present” and “working out” show up in your vision for your perfectly-balanced day, then ask yourself: “What’s one step I can take to be more present in my day?” “What’s one step I can take toward moving my body more today?” 

This is how I find — and keep — a feeling of balance in my work and in my life. I’ve defined what my definition of balance is, for me. And I take small steps to create this in my life every day. It’s what helps me live in the moment, and it takes the pressure off of having the “perfect” work-life balance… just a balance that’s good enough for me. 

PS: If you want my 4-step process to getting crystal clear on what balance looks like for you so that you can experience more of it, check out the free resource I created for you: Your Ultimate StressLESS Balance Blueprint! (courtneyelmer.com/balance-blueprint)

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

There are two things that I love to do when I need a little mental break: barre class or hip-hop dance, and date nights with Alan. There’s nothing I love more than moving my body or spending quality time with the man I love!

What do you have planned for the next six months?

The last half or 2019 is going to be a huge period of growth for the company! We’re officially re-opening the doors to “Chaos to Clarity,” my signature 6-week digital group coaching experience where I teach the StressLESS System© live to high-achieving women who want to learn how to have it all without having to do it all. 

I’m working on a podcast that will also be launching late Fall/early Winter, and my book proposal is out for bid to find the right publisher! 

But even with all of these exciting things in the works, my #1 mission is the same: serve others by walking my talk. The best way I can teach others to StressLESS is if I’m living my mission in my own life. 

How can our readers connect with you?

Although I run a primarily digital company, I believe in the power of human connection. And that’s why I love technology, because it’s what connects me to YOU! I hope you’ll come hang out with me on the ‘Gram @CourtneyElmer_ and for more info on how I serve high-achievers like you, visit my website courtneyelmer.com

I can’t wait to connect with you!

"I read everything from Vanity Fair to Fast Company to the New Yorker" with Carol Galle

Carol Galle, CMP, is the co-founder, president and CEO of Special D Events, a strategic professional events company and its subsidiary, The Anniversary Company. Carol is active in many community and event industry organizations, having served on the Events Committee for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Editorial Advisory Board for Michigan Meetings + Events magazine. She is also the co-founder of the Detroit Events Council. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame as “Best Meeting Professional” by Michigan Meetings + Events magazine in 2013.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I have a bachelor’s degree in communications and began my professional career as a writer and editor for the auto industry. Along the way, I was exposed to the world of corporate events and made the leap to change industries.

 What inspired you to start your business?

While working for General Motors, I was tasked with coordinating the Dealership Management Academy, an extensive training program that prepared the sons and daughters of Chevrolet dealership owners to take over their parents’ businesses. I was exposed to some of the greatest business minds in the world -- the academy’s presenters. Until that time, I had never considered becoming an entrepreneur. In fact, just the opposite. I craved stability. My father was in sales and our family’s income and security always felt at risk. When I joined GM, the promise of a full-time salaried position felt like the brass ring to me.

 Where is your business based?

We’re based in the Detroit area, with offices in the city of Detroit and a suburb. 

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

My first step was to find a partner with the skills I lacked. I had become a skilled event manager and thanks to my Dad I could sell ice to an Eskimo. But, I found a partner whose passion was both HR and finance, and we made a great match. We shook hands over a Coney Island hotdog (it’s a Michigan thing!) and began by taking a class in entrepreneurship at Detroit’s Wayne State University.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Referrals and repeat business. I’ve owned the company for 28 years and our longest continuous client relationship ran for 24 years. My team’s ability to meet our clients’ needs is key to future sales. 

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them? 

The event industry is the canary in the coal mine for our nation’s economy. Although events can motivate a company’s workforce, generate sales, and build customer loyalty, many companies are quick to cut their event budgets at the first whiff of a downturn. It’s up to us to demonstrate the benefits of strategic event management. Still, we definitely struggled during the recession. During that time, I launched a subsidiary called The Anniversary Company which provides consulting services to organizations celebrating milestone anniversaries. While a special event is often part of an anniversary celebration, there are many other strategic initiatives that can be planned to not only honor the past, but also launch an organization’s future. Despite the recession, we were able to provide value to companies in a different way. Our clients didn’t want to miss the opportunity to celebrate their 50th, 100th or 150th anniversaries, despite the downturn.

How do you stay focused?

My husband always says that the hallmark of a successful leader is his/her ability to consume a tremendous amount of data, but immediately sift out what really matters. I am a life-long learner. I read everything from Vanity Fair to Fast Company to the New Yorker, and I always seek the person who seems the most different from me in a room. There is so much to learn, and I practice sifting out what matters every day.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition? 

Our core values and they are not aspirational; they are genuine. My senior leadership team and I carefully considered what clients said they like about working with us, and we narrowed it down to five core values. We are responsive, accountable, consultative, nice and we roll with it. We hire, coach, and evaluate those values.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business? 

It’s impossible to choose one strategy. Our marketing plan is complex and evolves constantly.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

I recommend Googling the image for the Japanese word “Ikigai”. In English, the word translates to the “source of value in one’s life”. But the diagrams typically associated with Ikigai illustrate the intersection between what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what people will pay for. If your business concept incorporates all aspects, you have the foundation for success.

What’s your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

I’m obsessed with Furbo. I often travel for business, but no matter where I am in the world, I can use the Furbo camera and app to check in on my dog and even toss him a real treat. It’s pure joy for both of us.

Most of the blogs I read are event-related and I intentionally vary them so I’m always learning something new.

Danny Meyer’s book about the hospitality industry, “Setting the Table”, is one of my favorites. He is a master at making people feel welcome and valued, and that is crucial in my industry.

What’s your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

We use Smartsheet daily at our office. It’s a very effective project management tool and easy for anyone to pick up with little training.

Who is your business role model? Why?

My husband. I worked for him as a writer years ago and I always admired his dedication, passion and unwavering support of simply “doing what’s right” when it came to the customer.

What is your beauty routine? What are some of your favorite products? 

Sunscreen, medium coverage foundation and lots of black mascara!

How do you balance work and life? 

It’s easier to balance now that my step-daughter is grown and has her own life. But, I genuinely regret how much time I missed with her while she was growing up and I was building my company. I will never get those days back.

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

A healthy combination of wine, cheese, comfy clothes, and talking with my husband on our back porch. That’s my idea of heaven.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

Balancing my business along with supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I belong to a global organization of entrepreneurs and we recently committed to helping the UN achieve 17 goals that represent a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. Over 178 countries have pledged their support, but the UN knows that governments and NGOs will need the help of business leaders and individuals to succeed.

How can our readers connect with you?

Carol A. Galle, CMP

President/CEO

Special D Events (and The Anniversary Company)

535 Woodward Heights

Ferndale, MI 48220

P 248.336.8600

carol.galle@specialdevents.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolgalle/

www.specialdevents.com

www.theanniversarycompany.com

"Get started! Take imperfect action! Don’t wait another day" with Julia Jones

Julia Jones is a postnatal doula leading a worldwide renaissance in the way we care for Newborn Mothers. She has created a new paradigm for postpartum care by merging traditional medicine and culture with cutting-edge research on hormones and neurology.

Julia is the author of both Nourishing Newborn Mothers - Ayurvedic Recipes to Heal your Mind, Body and Soul after Childbirth and Newborn Mothers - When a Baby is Born So is a Mother (
www.newbornmothers.com/books/). Julia is also the creator of the worldwide leading education resource for postpartum professionals: Newborn Mothers Collective (www.newbornmothers.com/training)..

Julia Jones

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I started out as a postpartum doula when I was only 24 years old, and not yet a mother myself. I came to postpartum care through my love of Ayurveda - traditional Indian medicine - and cared for new mums in their homes with meals and massage. Now more than a decade later I’ve moved into the training space and have taught postpartum care to 700+ doulas in 30+ countries around the world. I’m also a bestselling author with my book Newborn Mothers reaching number 3 on Amazon, right after Michelle Obama’s book!

What inspired you to start your business?

The leading cause of maternal death is suicide, and 2 out of 3 mothers don’t meet their own breastfeeding goals. These numbers can be scary and overwhelming, but there are simple and effective ways we can make a huge difference in the lives of new mums. That’s why I began training postpartum professional around the world so that together we can have a bigger impact.

Where is your business based?

Online. Everything I do now is online as I recently made a commitment to stop flying for my business as my personal action against climate change. I work from my garden office in North Fremantle and it’s a kind of magic today how we can reach the world from our own backyards!

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

After I finished my own postpartum doula training, I quit my job and planned to start my business. At the same time, my husband’s wages were cut in half because of the global financial crisis and we had a baby under one, so suddenly things got urgent. I invested in a business coach and it was the best thing I ever did! I learned about email marketing (even though my business was local services at the time) and content marketing. I started running free pregnancy workshops at my local midwifery centre every month and things snowballed from there.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Definitely still content marketing and email marketing! It worked when I was running a local service-based business and it works now that I have a 6-figure online business. Every week I release a blog post or podcast, and every week I encourage people to sign up to my email list. This means I now have a very large audience to sell too.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Patience! Everyone wants to be an overnight success, and all the stories you hear about are the unicorns. But the truth is it takes time and perseverance to build and grow a business. I’ve developed a good mindset over the years, I stay focussed on my dreams and make sure they are always bigger than my fears, and that way I can overcome my fears. This has taken time to cultivate!

How do you stay focused?

I actually find this really easy! With three young children, my work is a respite from my chaotic home life! I have built myself a beautiful tiny office in my backyard so I can step away from the housework and I LOVE my job. I feel very lucky that I get to speak to inspiring people every day and create a better world for mothers.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

Our culture is very focussed on birth, most of it based on fear. Postpartum gets completely overlooked and many parents don’t even realise it’s a thing till they get home from the hospital and realise they have no idea what they are doing! It’s easy to be different when there is such a gaping hole in the market!

I also differentiate from other postpartum resources because my work is never information or advice-driven. I teach mothers to tune in to their babies their bodies and their intuition. I can explain the brain changes and personality changes that they are going through so they can feel confident instead of confused. I focus on the birth of a mother, from her perspective, not baby care or breastfeeding advice.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

I created my “signature talk” a decade ago when I first got started. I’ve tweaked and updated it over the years, but it’s essentially the same core message. I used to deliver it monthly to pregnant parents in my local area, now I have online videos and webinars with the same key messages available all over the world. And then I invite people to take the next step. One really important aspect that women forget about with content marketing is actually asking for the sale! Sometimes we are so tense with money blocks that we feel uncomfortable bringing up our product. Sometimes we are so scared of being rejected that we never close the sale. So actually asking directly for the sale is essential.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Get started! Take imperfect action! Don’t wait another day!

What’s your favourite app, blog, and book? Why?

I adore the book “What Mothers Do - especially when it looks like nothing” by Naomi Stadlen.

What’s your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

Simplero! It does so many things for my business, keeps things streamlined and simple and all in one place.

Who is your business role model? Why?

Denise Duffield-Thomas. She is a self-made millionaire who teaches women about the money mindset required to take their life and business to the next level. She is ambitious and driven but also balances her work with family life.

What is your beauty routine? What are some of your favorite products?

Uuuummmm... don’t have much of a beauty routine, I’m an au naturel kinda gal! I use a homemade vitamin c serum on my skin and Ayurvedic oils for just about everything. One of the best things I’ve done is to hire a stylist - Alma Barrero - to help me with my colours and capsule wardrobe so getting dressed and looking fabulous every day is easy and fun.

15). How do you balance work and life?

I never work from my phone, even though that means I’m not on Instagram and probably missing out! I work school hours only and never travel for work. I spend lots of time in nature and love hiking and camping. I also love gardening and food. I play circus and piano... so many things! I have found things outside of work that I love so that I keep coming back to them again and again.

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

Definitely hiking! My youngest is only three so a bit young to hike very far with me, but we take the older kids out on the Bibbulman Track - a 1000km hiking trail that starts near my house. When my toddler is old enough we plan to do an end to end together as a family which takes about 6 weeks.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

I’m about to re-launch my newest course about building your village and creating space in motherhood for your dreams. It’s based on the idea that you can do anything, but not everything, so if you want to make your dreams come true you will have to let go of something else - like being a good housewife for example!!! I’m so crazy excited about this course. We’ve been seeing some amazing results already

How can our readers connect with you?

www.newbornmothers.com

“Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good" with Molly Beane

Molly Beane

Molly Beane is the founder/CEO of clean beauty startup From Molly With Love. Molly started the company as a kitchen-table startup in 2016. Less than three years later, her products are sold in hundreds of retailers with international distribution. Molly and FMWL have been featured in Good Morning America, Well + Good, Pop Sugar, Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, BuzzFeed, Forbes, and other publications. frommollywithlove.com

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I am a first-generation college graduate who was determined to succeed and break the cycle of poverty that I was born into. I began my career in PR, communications, and marketing - working for PR Firms and in communications positions with the U.S. EPA and U.S. DOE.  

Although I liked my jobs, I was always searching for more. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur 10 years before I ever started my first business.

What inspired you to start your business?  

After experiencing early childhood trauma, I began to self-medicate by “working hard and playing hard.” In 2016, I realized that I was “playing too hard” and entered myself into rehab to quit drinking. During that time, I lost my job in PR.  

I’d always wanted to have the courage to branch out on my own and now I was being forced into it. 

Years before that, I became obsessed with all things “clean” skincare and started crafting my own concoctions and reading up on ingredients and formulations. I took a trip to Seoul in 2015 that really inspired me because I was so enthralled by Korea’s innovations in skin care.

Although my friends urged me to turn my hobby into a business but I didn’t think I could. Until I was fired from that job. 

I had a full product line already created, just no labels, website, or money. So with $300 and without proper labeling, I put From Molly With Love on Etsy.

I started getting good reviews and invested in labeling, proper branding, and developing an eCommerce website. We also starting pitching our products to small retail stores like boutiques and gift shops.

Less than 3 years later, we are sold in hundreds of stores in 4 countries, including major retailers like Urban Outfitters and Francesca’s! We’ve even won local small business awards!  

Our baby business has grown from my kitchen to selling around the world.

Where is your business based?

 We are based on the beach in Sunny San Diego, California. But we have distribution centers and labs based in Texas and Florida, respectively.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

My motto is “don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.” I started before I was ready.

I knew I could put my oils, sprays, and creams in jars, take some photos on my iPhone, and put them up on Etsy and social media just to get them out in the world. I was able to gather proof of concept while making revenue so I could iterate and improve as I went. We were also using customer feedback to fine tune our products and selection.

I started selling at craft fairs - anywhere that would let me put up a table, really. I could see the buyers’ reactions to help refine my line, and I also noticed what kind of branding they were drawn to. I began collecting email addresses.

This helped me when, 3-months in, we hired Loki Loki (another woman-owned business) and it was time to “really” create the brand. I had a clear idea already of what was going to sell, who our target customer was, what look & feel would work best with that audience, etc. We also developed a clear brand narrative, which is part of our USP.

Before we even had our e-commerce website launched, we had labels, so I knew I could pitch our line to stores. So we started pitching 25 stores a day, 5 days a week. And we did land wholesale accounts before that site was ever launched!

And to be honest, we’re still iterating and improving. But if I had waited to start until it was perfect, we wouldn’t exist today.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Our business is both B2B and B2C. I asked myself, “what is the least expensive way of marketing FMWL to those audiences?”

●      For B2B, it was researching stores, sending emails and providing samples. It cost me almost nothing to acquire long-term retail customers.

●      For B2C, our magic bullet was using subscription boxes to grow. There is a myriad of subscription box companies, and they’re all looking for new products to include. We would provide the product heavily discounted (always with just a sliver of a margin), but it exposed our company to tens of thousands of new customers we wouldn’t have had without it. This was not only “no-cost marketing,” but it also helped us get sizable revenue on our books.

  • We used Facebook funnels/ads when we launched our website and we’re just beginning to work on new Facebook campaigns, but this requires significant resources, so we couldn’t truly dive in right away.

  • And of course, we used organic social media and growing an email list as free/low-cost ways to engage with our growing audience.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Hands down, cash flow.

You can literally grow yourself out of business - and we’ve almost done it. For product-based businesses, if you want to retain more of the earnings, growing slower is actually a better approach. But I am ambitious, so I wanted to sprint. That means times have been hard.

We invest nearly every penny of our profits back into the company and have also used debt financing. Most of the time, this means I don’t pay myself.  

Last year, a retailer ordered 14,000 units for a nearly $100,000 deal. I couldn’t say no! But I’d need to fund the production and not get paid until net-45 after the shipping date. In these situations, seeking out gap lenders or invoice factoring companies can be helpful.  

50% of small businesses fail in their first five years. I’ve seen a lot of storefronts in my neighborhood go up and quickly come back down. Cash flow challenges are real, but if you have the resourcefulness and iron stomach to stick it out even when times are rough, you will make it through.

A lot of the time it just comes down to not quitting. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We now have a professional bookkeeper and accountant to help us. We’ve asked our network for help. I’ve googled until my eyes bled to get find solutions to cash flow issues. If you have proof of concept, are growing, and have devoted customers, then every problem is solvable.

How do you stay focused? 

This is a pertinent question for me. I fell down a flight of stairs in August 2018, knocked myself unconscious, fractured my skull, damaged my frontal lobe, and caused my brain to bleed. I was in the ICU for 4 days with that traumatic brain injury and am lucky to be alive.

I couldn’t earn disability benefits or fully take time off work. So thankfully, my two employees were well-trained and could handle the bulk of the work for a few months. I am forever grateful to them. 

Today, I am back to working mostly full days, but my focus and cognitive ability have taken a hit.  

What helps for me is to have a master calendar & use it for goal setting and scheduling, I have posted it on the wall in our office and even includes when certain employees will be away. But I can look at that calendar and think:

-       What do I want to accomplish this month?

-       How much bandwidth do we have?

-       What is going to drive the most revenue?

-       How do we need to plan out this month to achieve these goals?

-       What time of year do we need to be pre-planning for, etc.?

I use Trello & Slack to help with the implementation and to communicate with my team members. And now, I am trying to only give myself 5-8 things to do each day. I work on them one-by-one without trying to multi-task. And that helps me work less and be more effective.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

  1. Cost: Clean beauty is expensive and it doesn’t have to be. With a proper pricing strategy, I am able to offer products that look, feel, and perform like luxury without the luxury price tag. Our line ranges from $8.99 - $46.99. I wanted to make these products accessible to anyone. And our retailers love it, too!

  2. Brand narrative: Millennials and Gen Z are the most inclusive generations in history. Our models/marketing show EVERYONE as beautiful - from the obese woman to the trans woman to the 80-year old woman. 

 We don’t use terms like “anti-aging” to beauty shame our customers. We don’t prey upon your insecurities to make a buck. Instead of selling you something that you “need to fix about yourself,” we sell items that can be used for self-love/self-care. Our product descriptions, emails, social media content, and blog posts are empowering and encourage our customers to question the toxic beauty standards that we’ve all absorbed. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Early in my career, a very smart person told me, “If your competitors have more funding/resources/name ID than you do, you will never beat them by doing what they do. The only way you can win is by doing what they’re NOT doing. When they zig, you zag.”

So, I knew we’d need to get creative with our marketing strategy. As stated earlier, working with subscription boxes was key to our growth in the first year. We also got pull-through from our physical presence in retail shops. This way, we weren’t paying for marketing, but getting paid FOR it.

We also have had success running promotions/flash sales on random days. During Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Labor Day, etc; you are competing with every other retailer on the planet and the average person has a zillion marketing emails to sift through (ignore).

When I have a 1:11 sale, or 34% off for Molly’s 34th birthday, we see MUCH better success because we’re competing with fewer retailers.

Those are just a few examples of how we “zag,” but this approach is working for us.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

●      Start before you’re ready, yes, but make sure you have a solid business plan in place and know how to get proof-of-concept. We researched key trends, followed economic data, developed a strategic pricing strategy, and more before we launched our website. Passion and work ethic count for a lot, but you first have to make sure that people want to buy what you’re selling.

●      Stick it out when times are hard and be resourceful when it comes to solving challenges.

●      Take care of yourself first. Working 80 hours a week isn’t cute anymore. Burnout and stress can literally kill you. Set reasonable goals (even if they’re ambitious) and delegate what you can. You don’t want to end up resenting what you created. And I have become MORE productive by taking my time and doing less.

●      Be decisive and go with your gut.

●      Finally, tell a good story. People connect with people, not companies. I have shared very vulnerable information about myself on my website. This can feel scary but it provides a means for connection with people. My customers feel like they really know me, which gives them a deeper connection with the brand.

 What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

APP: I use Insight Timer every day. I meditate twice a day, every day, no excuses. I think more clearly and it is a vital tool for keeping my mental health in check.

BLOG: I am obsessed with astrologer Chani Nicholas. She writes the most brilliant, poignant, and moving horoscopes that go WAY beyond the norm. She also offers inexpensive courses that give insight on what’s going on in the sky right now and how it may impact you. And you don’t have to be an astrology expert to understand her teachings. Just to remember to read for your rising sign!  

BOOK: A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. This book changed my life and how I view and operate in the world. The ideas presented in this book have helped not only my personal life but also my business relationships.

 What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

Bench.co is amazing for bookkeeping.

 G-Suite has all this functionality that I just started taking advantage of recently. If you pay Google to have a @yourdomain.com email address, make full use of what you’re paying for. We use Drive to store our files, and Keep is amazing for taking and organizing notes.

We also use Trello & Slack for internal communication and project management. I couldn’t survive without Canva.

Who is your business role model? Why?  

Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier. She created not just a brand, but a cultural phenomenon in just a few years. She tells a cohesive story and their social channels are incredibly engaging. The customer experience is on-point. And her marketing and sales strategies are brilliant.

Being well-funded helps, but Emily and Glossier are aspirational to me.

What is your beauty routine? What are some of your favorite products?

AM: I should cleanse more thoroughly in the morning, but I am a human, so meh.

Of course, I swipe my face with our From Molly With Love Micellar Water on a cotton pad. I am also currently obsessed with Caudalie Cleansing Milk. The product is both a makeup remover/cleaner and has a moisture effect. I like how it multitasks. I am getting inspiration for how to get 2 or 3 steps into a single product.  

Next, I tone with From Molly With Love Glow Juice Vitamin C AHA Toner. The AHAs in this toner gently exfoliates dead skin so it can better absorb the Vitamin C. Brilliant. It tingles just slightly, which is fun before I’ve had my caffeine. 

I like to keep the morning simple, so I will finish without any other serums. I either use From Molly With Love Maracuja Oil or From Molly With Love Skin Magic Moisturizer, which is loaded with goodies like hyaluronic acid, squalene, peptides, and vitamins E, C & B.

For Sunscreen, I love Suntegrity. They’re a non-toxic sunscreen company that WORKS. And then for lip balm, I am obsessed with Yes to Coconuts Cooling Lip Oil.

PM: I do a more thorough cleanse in the evening, especially if I’ve been wearing makeup. I cycle between From Molly With Love Rosewater Facial Cleanser and Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser.

I don’t use AHAs at night, so I skip the Glow Juice Vitamin C AHA Toner and instead use From Molly With Love Sea Kelp Bioferment Essence. This is a cross between a toner & a serum, but I like to use it with a cotton pad like a toner. You could also pat it into your face or squirt some into your moisturizer. My trip to Seoul inspired me to create this product, as essences are such an important step in the Korean skincare routine. It is as if K-Beauty and La Mer had a baby. This essence contains many of the same active naturals in Creme de la Mer. Oh la la.

I might massage or jade roller my face while the essence sinks in. Then I apply our new Pro-Repair Serum, which has HA & a shot of multivitamins. Finally, I’ll re-up on the Skin Magic Moisturizer. Four times a week, I also use retinol. An amazing, gentle, affordable version is French and it’s called A313

How do you balance work and life?  

This became very important to me after my accident. Especially because I was in full burnout-mode when it happened. My TBI literally forced me to slow down.

Today, I have a morning and evening routine with meditations, readings, gratitude, and journaling. I take breaks when I feel like I need one and rest my brain with Hulu or Netflix. I am a member of a support group, which I attend three times a week, and my husband and I make an effort to get out & about, whether for fun with friends or to participate in the community.

Usually, I feel the most creative or insightful when I am resting my brain, so I always carry a notebook with me to capture ideas just-in-case.  

And frankly, once I learned how to properly delegate to my team, we started getting more done while working less.

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

Hulu, reading, walking my 13-year old Pekingese, spending time with friends, meditating, reading, journaling, coloring, or going to yoga.

I have a list of these things written in my notebook as part of a tool-kit when I’m feeling stressed and need to unwind.

 What do you have planned for the next six months?

Preparing for the holidays always starts in August! Woo hoo! 

We are also in the process of negotiating on some big projects, so I have a loose framework for our next six months, but also need to have room for flexibility, as plans can often change in real time. For example, we’d been developing a new product but had to put that on hold because a large order took up all of our resources. But I know I can always launch it in 2020.

We’re also working on building up the e-commerce (B2C) side of our business since the majority of our revenue is currently B2B. This will help improve our margins and put us in a good place to attract our ideal investors/VCs.

How can our readers connect with you?

Facebook: facebook.com/frommollywithlove

Instagram: instagram.com/frommollywithlove

Twitter: twitter.com/heymollyb

website: frommollywithlove.com

"Absorb everything. Read more about what you're trying to do" with Lanae Dedeaux

Lust Swimwear

Over the years, Lanae wanted nothing more to achieve confidence in her everyday life, so she set out to create a new meaning of the word ‘lust.’ At lustswim, they strive to combine the sensual undertone of the word with a hint of simplicity and elegance to create high quality pieces that are guaranteed to make you love your body.

Redefining what it means to be sexy, these detailed designs accentuate your every curve and celebrate what makes you, you. 

The Lust team is passionate about creating a community of diverse women all over the world, promoting self-love, and ultimately delivering timeless pieces each and every time. 

What made you want to start your own swimwear company?

I grew up in Las Vegas where the sun is always beaming, which called for a lot of swim activities. Unfortunately, I was never able to find swimwear shops that suited my style, so I created my own pieces with the hopes that other women would relate and gravitate towards them as well.

What can buyers and influencers expect to see at this year's show?

Buyers can expect to see bold, vibrant colors this season. Generally, I have always stuck with safe, neutral colors, but this summer I want my consumers to see a different side of me. The pieces are free-spirited, playful and full of life, fit for every woman's skin tone.

What's one thing you'd tell your younger self about starting a business?

Absorb everything. Read more about what you're trying to do, listen to what others have to say including friends, family, peers, and even yourself.

What advice can you offer other women wanting to start their own business?

Don't let fear dictate your future. You just have to go for it and learn from your trials and errors. Never be afraid to fulfill your dreams because you're worried you will fail.

Start to build your clientele, never stop being a student of your craft, and hustle hustle hustle. Turn your boundless energy, desperate innovation, and relentless determination into your entrepreneurism.

To see the entire collection, visit LustSwim.com.

"Without focus, nothing gets done" with Tricia Campbell

IMG_2304.jpg

Hailing from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Tricia Campbell is an accomplished plus-size supermodel, motivator, entrepreneur, and trailblazer who is gaining recognition as a symbol of confidence and a voice of encouragement to women everywhere. Tricia is Oprah’s Stand in Model for the O Magazine Cover Photo Shoots and has also been featured on the pages of publications like Essence and Glamour. She currently lives in New York where she is the proud founder and owner of Can you tell our readers about your background? Glamour Glamour Swimwear. What inspired you to start your business?

What is your backstory?

I am a Jamaican girl, born and raised in Montego Bay Jamaica where I went to the beach every weekend. After high school, my grandmother moved my entire family to NYC where I still reside.

What inspired you to start your business? 

Wow, being a swimsuit model for many years, I noticed a void in the swim industry. There were not many bright vivid controlling swimsuits on the market. I also noticed plus size women wanted to be sexy but the swimsuits on the market were way too skippy. One wrong move while playing with their children, women would be embarrassed by the pool.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

It was by the grace of God, I prayed and started sketching. I also made sure the GGSW name was not taken.

Where is your business based?

We are based all over the world via our website www.GlamourGlamourSwimwear.com, but our physical plant is in New York City.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

Two strategies really social media-Instagram and Facebook; and traveling to different plus size conferences and runway shows worldwide.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Our biggest challenge as a young company is finding funding to expand the business. We are still working on those challenges.

How do you stay focused?

I really love to see the results. Without focus, nothing gets done.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

Wow! that’s a good question. At Glamour Glamour Swimwear, we are a fun brand. We party, we uplift, and we empower plus size women. Good Vibes only. No judgments-our suits shape and contour your shape brightly and boldly.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Love what you do and know your customer.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Testimonials from our customers.

What’s your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

My favorite app is Square, @Stylishcurves, Successful Women Speak Differently by Valorie Burton.

What’s your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

My favorite business tool is my manufacturer. They produce our suits great. Plus our suits are made in America.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

Whatever God has in store for us.

How can others get in touch?

Your readers can connect with us on:

Website: www.GlamourGlamourSwimwear.com

Instagram @GlamourGlamour_Swimwear

Nonnahs Driskill, Founding Organizer Get Organized Already! Inc.

Nonnahs Driskill

Nonnahs Driskill is the founder organizer at get organized already! inc, a home organization firm in Southern California. After working with clients on her own for two years, Nonnahs expanded the firm to be a collaborative effort, combining the skills and experience of eight delightful organizers. She has also served on a number of design panels, news shows, and been featured in lifestyle magazines. Nonnahs loves to play tennis and her passion is connecting people and ideas.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I’ve always been very organized and detail-oriented. When my high school counselor asked what job I was interested in, I said, “I’d like to be a professional friend.” Now I am exactly that.

What inspired you to start your business?

Busy girlfriends inspired me to go into business doing for others what I did for them naturally. “You know this is a job, right?” They asked me.

Where is your business based?

We have two teams of professional organizers. One team serves NELA, Pasadena, and DTLA; the other team serves residents of Long Beach, CA.

How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?

This is my third official business. So I knew I needed to get a DBA and open a bank account and all of that boring stuff first. Like I said, I was already organizing for my friends whenever I could. So I put up a website, did some research, and started charging.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?

We have the most success reaching potential clients online. That seems to be where women search for an organizer.

What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

It is harder than I ever imagined to find women I trust to represent my company name. You hear people say, “Good help is hard to find.” But I never felt that in my heart until I started hiring people.

I’ve made so many mistakes that I don’t know if I’ve overcome the challenge at all! I keep trying though.

How do you stay focused?

I’m all about quality of life so I tend to compartmentalize my schedule. When I know there will be time in my day to do other things, it is really easy to stay focused on work.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

Get Organized Already specializes in helping women who are chronically disorganized. We don’t do Pinterest-worthy make-overs. We are in our clients’ lives for a long time, offering them real, day-to-day relief from the stress and guilt of having a cluttered home.

What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?

Because I want us to have notable internet presence I’m always creating online content. We have a blog, video tips, and use social media to drive traffic to our website every day.

What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?

Work for a similar business for a year. Take copious notes about everything you see and learn, good and bad.

What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?

The Bodhi timer is my favorite app. It’s so simple. The timer sound is beautiful and using a timer is one of my favorite productivity tricks.  

My favorite blog is our own, “Get Organized Already”. It’s funny, educational, and pretty.

“The E-myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber inspires me to delegate and keep growing my business.

“The not so big life” by Sarah Susanka helps me stay more grounded and focused on the good stuff.

Those are two books I re-read often.

What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?

I’m pretty sure I use google calendar more than I use toilet paper! All of our organizers have a calendar. My family members each have a calendar. I have 2twofor myself. It helps me relax when I can see all of my responsibilities for the day in pretty colors.

How can our readers connect with you?

website:

GetOrganizedAlready.com/blog-organizing-tips

social media links:

http://www.facebook.com/getorganizedalreadyla

http://twitter.com/GetOrganzdAlrdy

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_pDnJJIhhunw6uqgeomMig

https://instagram.com/getorganizedalready/

https://www.pinterest.com/getorganzdalrdy/

https://medium.com/@GetOrganzdAlrdy