"I pay very little attention to the competition" with Michelle Baxo

Michelle Baxo

Michelle Baxo is an international love coach, writer and speaker, helping professionals thrive in love: dating, relationships, intimacy, and self-love. She’s been published and quoted in places like Thrive Global, Dreams Recycled, The DateMix, and Bustle, while also featured as a dating/relationship expert in various summits and podcasts. Michelle’s expertise comes from her professional training in psychotherapy, healing, and coaching as well as from her personal experience transforming her own love life. Today Michelle has created a beautiful family shared with her partner Tommy, daughter Isabella, and their dog Sulis. 
Can you tell our readers about your background? 

Professionally, I have a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology and a rich background in counselling, healing, and coaching.  Ultimately my passion has always been to help people live the life of their dreams.  

What inspired you to start your business? 

After years of working in the personal development field, I had helped hundreds of people cause massive breakthroughs in their lives, and I had created many myself too.  I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t translating to my love life.  After 2 failed long-term relationships, I found myself to be a hot mess when it came to dating.  For 6 years I stumbled through the dating world. My career was taking off and I started to tell myself that having a family probably wasn’t in the cards for me.  I dated emotionally unavailable and non-committal people so it became a self-fulfilling prophesy.

One day someone asked me what I would regret if I died tomorrow and I knew right away that I would regret not having the kind of relationship I always wanted.  One where we could create our own rules and empower each other. One where we would raise a child with equal partnership and thrive as individuals. 

I knew it was time for me to take on my love life.  So I did.  I built a program for myself where I sought out dating advice, removed my inner-barriers, and went on 2 dates a week. I reported the whole journey on a video-blog and what happened next was a miracle.  It only took me 4 weeks to attract the perfect person to me.  The vlog never took off but it inspired my first business focus, helping high-achieving women attract the right person and fall in love without compromising themselves. 

I was so shocked at how drastically my love life changed in such a short period of time that I turned it into a pathway for others to follow as well.  I call it POWER LOVE. 

Where is your business based? 

I’m based in Toronto, my assistant is based in Michigan and our clients are across North America, South America, and Europe. My business is offered online so there are no geographical limitations. 

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

The first step I took was getting clear on the lifestyle I wanted to live.  I didn’t want to be tied to a location because at the time, I wasn’t sure where Tommy and I wanted to live and I hated commuting.  I had this thought: “Why not ditch the office and go worldwide?!” So I looked for a business coach that had everything I needed and found one that had a team of various experts that could support me.  The next steps I took was to establish a niche and ideal client, outline a program, set up a single-stream funnel which included Facebook ads —> opt-in page —> live webinar —> invitation to book a call.  If someone was an ideal client, I invited them to work with me and participate in my program.  I eventually automated this system and created a group program.  

After having a baby, I shifted from scale scale scale to serve serve serve. Most of my clients are now referrals or people who have followed me for a while and reach out to work with me.

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

Originally it was Facebook ads but in the last year, I no longer saw the reliable return on investment. Facebook ads are a great way to introduce yourself to people and stay connected through your mailing list but ultimately it’s the value I give them over a long period of time that keeps them aware of my business. I make weekly videos (Facebook live or YouTube) and send them to my email list and post them in my groups and pages.  I mostly provide value and periodically talk about my services.  

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

My biggest challenge was the massive change in the Facebook ad ROI.  I was 7 months pregnant, in the process of building my team, and nothing was working.  I was pouring thousands of dollars into the same funnel that had previously worked reliably, except this time I was losing money big time. My team was frustrated, I was panicked, and the baby was coming no matter what!  

The way I overcame this obstacle was to finally let go of what wasn’t working.  I also needed to face my lifestyle change so in the end, not scaling my business as planned was the best thing for me and my family.  Now I’m more focused on serving my clients through my unlimited coaching and mentorship program, I have a program people can purchase without coaching at a lower price-point, and my overhead is a fraction of the price.  I spend less time “selling” my program and more time serving clients and being with my family.  That being said, I needed that initial growth and understanding of building a funnel and I’m grateful to the Facebook platform. It served its purpose but now I’m happy to now have an organic reach that I can nurture and serve with my free and paid offers. 

How do you stay focused? 

I used to have this awe inspiring morning ritual that really set me up for the day (read Miracle Morning). However, since having a baby 10 months ago, all of that went out the window so I had to learn to focus even when my cup isn’t filled first (though I am a firm believer in filling your own cup first and aim to get back to that routine). 

I also have a mindset coach who I can reach almost anytime and she reminds me of the difference I make and stops me from chasing every squirrel of an idea that comes my way. 

I hired a nanny for 10 hours a week and since that is very little time, I work my buns off during that time. I am motivated to be as much a part of my daughter’s life as possible while rocking my business.  I think the extra pressure of limited time actually helps me be more focused.  

It’s easy for me to be focused when I see clients, which are usually in the evening after my daughter has gone to bed. Coaching is my superpower, so when we are video conferencing together, the rest of the world disappears for me.  

How do you differentiate your business from the competition? 

First, I pay very little attention to the competition.  I couldn’t tell you much about what others do and that is intentional.  I want my offer and my expression to be purely from my passion as well as from my personal and professional experience.  

I would say that my focus on Power Love (as opposed to powerless love) is unique.  The focus isn’t on what to say or how to look.  It’s about being empowered as the person you really are and learning how to attract the right kind of person into you life and become the kind of person that ensures a healthy relationship.  The focus is on personal development while taking consistent action. 

I am authentically me so that naturally differentiates me.  I am completely transparent about my journey of love and I find people tell me that it’s refreshing how relatable I am.  I have also recently created a model where my clients can request coaching 24/7 through a walkie-talkie app.  

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

Webinars that provide actual value and have a bold call to action. Also consistency.  While consistency is the hardest thing for me, I know it works. 

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

Get a business coach and do EVERYTHING they tell you.  You can always make changes later but learn a proven system first.  I saw so many people resist parts of a working system and then complain that they didn’t succeed. Some people resist webinars or doing Facebook lives.  That’s fun for me but the tech was much harder.  I wanted to skip parts or hire someone else to do it.  But learning it all myself first allowed me to understand every aspect of my business and hire intelligently. 

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

Favourite app- Voxer because I like to talk more than text.  My favourite blog? I don’t read blogs. My favourite book changes according to what I’m up to.  Currently, my favourite book is Chillpreneur by Denise DT because it gave me permission to design my business around my lifestyle and made it ok for me to let go of an old model. 

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

Zoom.  I love being able to serve clients through video conferencing (or phone if they prefer), and this is also where I host my webinars and record my YouTube videos.   

Who is your business role model? Why?

Ellen DeGenerous is my business role model.  Even though her business model is completely different from mine, her authenticity, focus on contribution, and commitment to play inspires me beyond measure. 

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

Ha!  Ok, I’m not really the girl who should be recommending beauty products or routines because I like to keep the maintenance as low as possible.  I do have my hairstylist come to my home to do my hair once in a while which is a bit posh I suppose but I prefer to work while I get my hair done.  Joico Color Endure is my shampoo/conditioner of choice.  My daily make-up is simple: concealer, black eyeliner across the top, mascara and a light all-day lipstick.  If I’m recording or on video, I’ll put some mineral powder, blush and eye shadow on too. 

How do you balance work and life? 

Since having a baby ten months ago, I simplified my life so allow for balance.  I have time for work and time for family, with occasional time for social.  I recently decided that “I don’t do stress anymore” which has done wonders for my well-being overall.  I ask for what I need from my partner so I don’t fall into the supermom trap. I nap when I need to without a single ounce of guilt.  While there’s a time and place for grinding it out, I’ve come to learn that my best ideas for expanding my business and serving more people come when I’m feeling good so it’s becoming easier and easier for me to justify filling my cup. As my daughter gets older I’m able to make more time for friends, yoga, journalling, and drinking coffee in silence.  

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

I love a yin or restorative yoga class. I also adore taking myself out for breakfast. My guilty pleasure though is ordering pizza and wings and watching a romantic comedy or marvel film. Oh and love it when Tommy and I go out to enjoy some live music. 

What do you have planned for the next six months? 

I plan to continue being an example of living my dream by soaking in this special time with my daughter and enjoying time with my partner Tommy.  I’m expanding my reach through YouTube mini-trainings as well as creating online programs that support a more diverse audience in various stages of their love life. I’m writing a book that I hope to be complete in the next 6 months and I am building a love coach training program. 

How can our readers connect with you?

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/LoveCoachMichelleBaxo/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/powerlovecoach_michellebaxo/ 

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/MichelleBaxoPowerLove 


"Never, never, never give up…..that is what the plaque on my desk says and that is my motto" with Anne Marie Cummings

Anne Marie Cummings

Anne Marie Cummings Author of the book Baby Boomer Bonding – Luxurious and Meaningful Lifestyle without Breaking the Bank has reinvented herself 7 times in 30 years each time creating greater purpose and financial rewards for herself and her family.  Long before her name became synonymous with reinventing yourself in retirement (Retreats and Workshops she leads) Anne Marie was working 15-hour days in the technology industry squeezing in time before going to the office and on the weekends to work on her hobby of renovating and flipping homes. In addition to being an Author, Speaker and Real Estate Developer, Anne Marie has started building a community where like-minded people 55+ join together to share a home, known as the Marigold Mansion, and support and help one another live in place for as long as possible.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

I was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada and received my B.A. in Psychology from Carleton University where I studied part-time at night while working as a full-time Executive Assistant at the Board of Education and Crown Attorney’s office.  Believing I could do more with my life I applied and was accepted to a prestigious law school; a dream I had from a very early age.   In the summer between receiving my BA and attending law school I took, what I thought would be, a summer job at a large software company.  The high energy of the technology sales environment captivated me and before long I abandoned my dream of becoming a lawyer and started my career as a sales executive in the technology industry. 

After 13 years in technology I decided to leave the hectic pace to spend more time with my son; who was 6 at the time.  During this hiatus from technology I opened a Decorating Den Franchise and started my reinvention as an interior designer which remains a passion of mine to this day.  After a few years of doing that I was longing to return to the corporate world and went back into the technology rat race and handed the reins of the interior design business to trusted employees.

For the next 16 years I worked for startups and large technology giants and it was an amazing journey yet I was getting bored and wanted to try something new so I started flipping houses part time in the evening and on weekends while I was working full-time in technology.  I took my passion for design and my head for business and combined them to create a successful real estate flipping hobby.  After a very lucrative year of doing that part time I was able to leave my technology career and concentrate full time on building the Marigold Mansion brand which started by writing the book Baby Boomer Bonding – Luxurious and Meaningful Lifestyle without Breaking the Bank an Amazon bestselling book.  I now lead reinvention workshops and speak on career transition, business reinvention, and Rescuing Your Dreams at various retreats and workshops; (see AnneMarieCummingsEvents.com for more details).  In addition to being an Author and Speaker, I am building a community where like-minded people 55+ join together to share a home, known as the Marigold Mansion, and support and help one another live in place for as long as possible. 

I have walked the walk when it comes to reinventing myself;  having done so 7 times in 30 years each time creating greater purpose and financial rewards for myself  and my family. 

What inspired you to start your business?

When I went to visit my paternal grandmother in her nursing home, I often reflected on the life she had previously lived and wondered how she must be feeling, living in a home where she wasn’t the hostess and the belle of the ball.  I couldn’t help but feel that her final years would have been more satisfying for her if she were able to live in her own home versus a nursing home. I wondered if she’d had the full-time companionship of supportive, like minded friends living with her would things have been different?  Around the same time, I saw the movie Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I felt that that concept was exactly what was needed and from there the idea blossomed.

Where is your business based?

Currently the business is based in Canada; however, I am looking at heritage homes in the US and Italy to expand.

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

The first step was to write the book Baby Boomer Bonding.  I felt this was essential because I needed to do the research associated with aging and what is important as we age.  I then purchased a heritage home outside of Toronto and restored it to its glory days and from their the bootcamps began and the Marigold opened.

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

The book was a great way to raise awareness as well as news articles, blogs and radio talk shows etc.

Marigold Mansion Halloween.jpg


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

The biggest challenge to date was to raise awareness of both reinvention workshops as well as finding suitable house mates for the Marigold Mansion.  In addition, the restoration costs are generally high with heritage buildings so getting funding has often been a challenge.

 How do you stay focused?

I was an executive in the technology sector for 30 years; I use the same strategies running my business as I did when I was working in the corporate world.  I start each day with a plan and I execute on the plan with great precision.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

I differentiate the bootcamps from my competition because my competition are life coaches but they have not reinvented themselves to the extent that I have over the past 30 years.  I have literally had 7 different careers in 30 years and each reinvention was financially successful.  I have walked the walk so to speak.

Secondly, with regard to Marigold Mansion, I differentiate myself from other home sharing competitors for two reasons.  First, I only use restored heritage mansions; homes with an abundance of character and second most of my competitors are people who are buying into a percentage of a house.  I think that model complicates things at a time when we should be trying to simplify your life.  With the percentage purchase model when a person wants or needs to leave the living environment it is difficult to sell a portion of a house.  With Marigold Mansion you simply lease a space in the house and when you want to or needs to cancel your lease you are able to without complication.

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

The book and speaking engagements have been a good way to grow the business and of course I have been featured in news articles, radio shows and blogs which is also very helpful.

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

Never, never, never give up…..that is what the plaque on my desk says and that is my motto.  Also, do not listen to people who say it cannot be done.  “People Who Say It Cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt Those Who Are Doing It”

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

At the moment I am reading a lot of Brene Brown as well as watching her podcasts + Joyce Meyer is also one of my go to books.  I spend 1 hour each evening reading or listening to them to get inspired and sometimes when the day is long and tough, I need some encouragement and both of these individuals provide that through their teachings. 

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

I google everything; what did we do without it?  In addition, I am a spreadsheet junkie; everything I do I use a spreadsheet to keep it organized and on track. I also like to use notes on my iPhone to keep track of things I need to do.  Any tool that helps me stay organized I will use.

Who is your business role model? Why?

It is difficult to select just one; I have worked for some very inspirational leaders over the past 30 years from Charles Wang, Dr Goodnight to Larry Ellison.  They all had their own style but each one was driven, smart, willing to take risks and believed fully in what they were doing.  Larry Ellison once said that when you innovate you have to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts.  I have been told this a time or two in my life but I did the thing anyway.

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

Well, I love to look polished even when I am staying home.  I do apply make up every day as well as wash and blow dry my hair.  I love La Mer products to keep my skin looking young and I use Lancôme makeup. 

 How do you balance work and life?

It is much easier to balance work and life now that I am working for myself.  I still work 8-10 hours per day but I do it on my terms.  I am a very early riser so I can get a lot accomplished before most of the world wakes up.

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

I decompress by playing the piano, watching motivational podcasts, reading motivational books or watching Netflix with a glass of wine.  Just depends on the day.

 What do you have planned for the next six months?

I am currently in the middle of a very large project to acquire a 12,000 square foot Heritage Mansion that has been left to ruin for many years.  It will take 28 months to restore the building and a lot of blood sweat and tears but I am passionate about bringing it back to life.

How can our readers connect with you?

BabyBoomerBondingBook.com

AnneMarieCummingsEvents.com

Twitter: AnneMarie45

Facebook:  Marigold Mansion

"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

"I take time away from work" with Emily Frank

FrankEmily_007_072217.jpg

Emily Frank is a career reinvention specialist who works with quirky, creative people and those who have lived overseas to help them find careers they love.  She has over 12 years of experience helping people find their passion and manage their jobs.  Prior to founding Career Catalyst, she worked in higher education and spent 3 years in Japan.  She has a bachelor’s degree in East Asia Studies from Smith College, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

After I got back from my time in Japan, I was at a loss regarding what to do with my life.  I tried on so many hats—from escorting a group of Japanese middle schoolers on a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park to attend cooking school—that I finally had to see a career counselor.  When I realized what a positive impact she had on me, I realized that I wanted to provide that kind of help, too.

What inspired you to start your business?

I enjoyed aspects of working in higher education, but I tired of red tape and change-averse attitudes.  When I was offered a small grant to work with people who, like me, had been working in Japan, it seemed like a message from the universe it was time to do my work in my way.

Where is your business based?

I’m based in Denver, CO, but work with people from all over the world.

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

I did some simple things first, like having a logo designed and getting some professional headshots, and having my website professionally done, but the best thing I did as a new entrepreneur was to hire a business coach.  She’s been instrumental in my success, and I encourage anyone starting her own business to consider finding a coach.

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

Although I’ve had several marketing strategies, I’ve found most of my success from organic use of social media.  I do a weekly Facebook Live, and then a slightly different version of that content on LinkedIn.  I write 2 blog posts a week and share those through my website and social media.  I also try to catch career-related questions that my social media acquaintances have and to answer those quickly.  I also have listings on Google and Yelp, which may not help in terms of business per se, but increases my visibility.

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

My first few months in business were hard because of how much I didn’t know about running a business.  I spent money on things that didn’t work out, like print and Yelp ads, and spent too much time trying to crack Facebook’s advertising secrets.  When I finally started having success, it was because I had learned to focus on the clients I wanted to attract and had learned to manage my time in a sensible way.

How do you stay focused?

This can be such a struggle for a solopreneur!  I have tried various things, but what I’ve found most effective is to chunk my day out into task categories, and to put those tasks on my calendar.  I’ve learned that I need to be specific because a Wednesday afternoon that just says “marketing” means I’ll probably spend 3 hours doing something useless.  So now I still categorize things under titles like “marketing,” but then I add specific tasks: “Write 3 blog posts,” or “FB Live: managing your manager.” 

On busier days, I also make a focused to-do list of small things I know I can accomplish that day, so even if I have a huge task, I know I’m chipping away at it.  Finally, one of the most important things I do is take time away from work.  I don’t answer emails, texts, or phone calls after hours or on weekends, and I try to take 3-day weekends regularly.  Self-care lets me re-energize so I can focus anew.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

I don’t really see other career professionals as competitors because we each serve different niches.  I work mostly with cultural creatives and repats and am more than happy to send business to my colleagues when a client isn’t a good fit for me.  I also get referrals from other career counselors, so it strengthens my sense of being a colleague instead of a competitor.

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

Consistency has been really key for me.  It would be easier to stop my weekly videos or to slack on monthly emails to my subscribers, but if I drop the ball once, it’s much harder to pick it back up.  So I need to make myself do all the things.  On especially challenging weeks, I will often give myself a little reward when I’ve accomplished some of my less-fun tasks.  Today it was a macaroon.

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

Take advantage of services available to entrepreneurs.  Your bank will help you set up a business account, your local Small Business Development Center will talk to you about processes, and your local SCORE chapter may even hook you up with a mentor.  Accept all the free and low-cost help you can find, and when you have a good sense of what you will do, invest in a business coach.

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

I love Allison Green’s Ask a Manager blog and book.  She’s funny and wise and gives excellent advice on navigating tricky career situations.  I send lots of my clients her way well, because she writes in a friendly, accessible way, and gives fabulously no-nonsense advice.

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

Because I work with so many people who aren’t in my immediate area, I use the online meeting tool Zoom, and it has been precious to me.  It allows me to connect with people in a way that feels more personal than a phone call, to run larger workshops, and to avoid that ridiculous back-and-forth exchange of Skype handles.  The free version is probably good enough for most people, but I have invested in the professional version and have been thrilled with it.

Who is your business role model? Why?

My biggest business role models are Karen James Chopra (http://www.chopracareers.com/)  and Ronda Anstead (www.bethechangecareers.com) because they have thriving businesses without the pressure to get huge.  They have both focused on staying authentic, and have also both been very generous mentors to me.

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

Beyond working out 4 or 5 times a week, I can’t claim to have much of a beauty routine.  I focus on being clean and presentable, but I don’t do a lot with makeup and styling products. I use body wash and similar products by Lush because my skin is sensitive, and I love how their products smell.

How do you balance work and life?

As I mentioned earlier, I guard my free time zealously.  While I do sometimes take evening clients, when I leave work, I leave work.  No email, no phone, no texting, no social media.  (https://www.facebook.com/DenverCareerCatalyst/, https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilykikuefrank/)  I take my birthday off every year, and since it was on a Thursday this year, I also took off the following day, for a luxurious 4-day weekend.  When I have a late-night or two, I also try to make it up by leaving early later in the week.

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

I do yoga and Pilates once or twice a week, and I have a weekly dinner with childhood friends.  My partner and I also watch movies in the evening fairly often, and I garden and make fruit wines.  Anything that isn’t related to work does the trick for me!

What do you have planned for the next six months?

In August, I am planning to hold a workshop on protecting your career from unforeseen changes like layoffs, recessions, and restructuring so you always have plenty of possibilities. 

How can our readers connect with you?

I encourage anyone who is interested to look at my website first: https://www.denvercareercatalyst.com/. If that resonates, email is the best method of reaching out to me: Emily@DenverCareerCatalyst.com.  The phone is the second best: 720-839-9769.

"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

"Just take the leap and learn as you go" with Lily Lopez

Lily Lopez

Lily Berman Lopez is the founder of Gut Garden (www.mygutgarden.com), a supplement company based on the innovative, functional medicine approach to gut health. Gut Garden’s hugely popular GoodGut Program has served thousands of customers since 2016 with one simple mission – to help you feel your best.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

My name is Lily Berman Lopez, and I am the founder of Gut Garden. I live in Chicago with my husband and one year old son. Before Gut Garden, I worked in marketing for professional services, focusing on the engineering and legal fields.

 What inspired you to start your business?

I started Gut Garden in response to my own experience with chronic digestive symptoms that began when I was in my early 20s. About 10 years after my symptoms began, a functional medicine doctor helped heal my gut through a system similar to the one that Gut Garden offers today. Along the way, I learned about the importance of the body’s microbiome and its role in every just about every bodily function. Unfortunately, my diagnosis story, or lack thereof, is not that unique. The truth is that there are so many people walking around that simply don’t feel well. Gut Garden is what I wish existed when I was sick – an easy to follow road map to relieving digestive symptoms.

Where is your business based?

Gut Garden is based in Chicago, Illinois.

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

The Resistant Starch Prebiotic Fiber Blend was our first product. As a patient, it was something that I knew there was a need for. More and more studies were being published about the benefits of a diverse variety of soluble fibers for optimal gut health. I dove into the research and worked closely with medical professionals to develop the formula. We always knew that there would eventually be a full line with 5 steps, but we introduced the prebiotic (step #4) first. At the time resistant starch was something that was being talked about only among real gut health nerds, and we felt that it would help establish credibility for the brand. After about 2 years we were able to invest our profits from that one product to manufacture the other 4.

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

Having endorsements from medical professionals in all different forms of media has been very helpful for the business. In addition, having quality products helps grow the business organically and we see a large amount of repeat customers.

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

Developing the formula was the easy part. Finding a quality manufacturer to take me seriously was much more difficult. We only had enough money to buy about 1500 containers at first and most of my calls to manufacturers went unreturned. It was really important to me that our manufacturer have a cGMP certification and strict standards for quality and testing, and generally those manufacturers have minimum order quantities of 10,000 and up. Eventually I found someone to take a chance on us and we’ve been with them ever since. They’ve been a great partner and now they’re producing 4 of our products.

How do you stay focused?

I balance working on Gut Garden with taking care of my one year old son. My husband has a job that is 50% travel so I really can’t afford any distractions. For me, having a solid morning routine is the key to having a productive day. I am not naturally a morning person so I worked really hard to train myself to wake at 5:45 and exercise before my son wakes up. Afterward I’ll make a smoothie with Gut Garden’s Collagen Peptides and go over my to-do list for the day.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

The supplement industry is hard! It’s very competitive and every day we are trying to stand out among companies with multi-million dollar marketing budgets. Research is very important for us. Each of our formulations is the result of a tremendous amount of research, and we want our customers to read and understand that research for themselves. We provide links to published studies that verify each benefit and health claim we make for every single ingredient.

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

I think educating our customers has been very important. For example, today, collagen can seem like a buzzword and an ingredient that can be found in everything from coffee to ice cream. Social media is full of testimonials regarding the improved appearance of hair, skin and nails. What is less well known (and Gut Garden’s particular area of interest) is how great collagen is for digestive health, and by extension, immune health (70% of the immune system is located in the gut). We talk about examples like this one because we want our customers to be informed about what they put in their bodies.

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

Just take the leap and learn as you go. If I had waited until I was an expert in the supplement industry, eCommerce, retail, supply chains, manufacturing, marketing, accounting, etc. Gut Garden wouldn’t exist. Make mistakes early and often. Hire great people that know what they’re doing and trust them to do their job.

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

Favorite App - Yelp. I love looking at pictures of food and reading menus.

Favorite Blog - Damsel in Dior. My favorite lifestyle blog. Jacey has great, simple style, and she mixes high end pieces with finds from places like Forever 21 and J Crew.

Favorite Book - Call me American by Abdi Nor Iftin. I just finished this so it’s still on my mind. It’s an impossible, fascinating story of a Somali immigrant and the best book I’ve read so far this year.

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

Amazon! We started selling on Amazon almost immediately after we launched. They’ve made it possible for us to reach customers across the US and Canada, which would otherwise have taken years. They also handle fulfillment of our orders so we can spend more time on marketing and product development.

Who is your business role model? Why?

I recently heard Sara Blakely (Founder of Spanx) on the How I Built This podcast and it was a great interview where she told the story of founding Spanx. I was really inspired by her. Like us, she had a hard time finding a manufacturer to take her seriously when she was first starting out. And she just hit the pavement with her product and sold sold sold.

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

I look my best when I can keep my diet clean, stress levels low, sweat a little, and have lots of laughs. Everything else is just extra.

How do you balance work and life?

It’s hard. Every week is different. My husband and I are a great team. When he’s gone for work, I focus more on my personal and family life. Weeks that he’s home, he picks up a lot of the household chores and childcare duties so I can devote more time to work.

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

Spending time with my son. Before you have children everyone tells you how hard it is going to be. But no one tells you how much fun it is! I love trying new foods with him, and taking him to restaurants and to the pool.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

We’re looking toward getting our products into more retail stores, and due to popular demand - expanding in Canada.

How can our readers connect with you?

Website: www.mygutgarden.com

You can find us on Facebook and Instagram @MyGutGarden

"Keep going and be consistent" with Sophie Bibbs

Sophie Bibbs

Sophie Bibbs is a digestive health coach that helps women struggling with IBS and uncomfortable digestive problems to take control of their gut. She works virtually with clients all over the world, so they can take control of their gut from wherever they are. She offers personalized support to work out what's triggering your problems, and feel better, so you can get on with living your life! She has trained with IIN, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Monash, the creators of the low FODMAP diet.

Can you tell our readers about your background?

Sure! I graduated with a degree in business and worked for 8 years in sales, digital media and marketing. I more recently followed a passion and trained in health and nutrition coaching. I combined all these skills to set up my business as a digestive health coach, helping women struggling with IBS and nasty digestive symptoms to feeling more comfortable, in control and confident.

 What inspired you to start your business?

I was inspired to start my business by a personal problem, actually! I suffered with IBS for most of my life but, when I moved to Malaysia a few years ago, I caught a parasite infection and my symptoms got much worse. I was given all the tests under the sun and eventually diagnosed with IBS. The doctor wrote ‘low FODMAP diet’ on a bit of paper and sent me on my way. I was so relieved to have a diagnosis but, at the same time, totally lost as to what to do about it.

I didn’t want to give up, so I trained in the low FODMAP diet (not really a diet, but a process for figuring out your IBS trigger foods, founded by Monash University) and took myself through it. I worked out what was triggering my IBS and I felt better! It really did change my life.

As I talked to more and more people with IBS, I found I wasn’t the only one who’d been sent on my way by my doctor after my diagnosis. I felt the urge to pass on my knowledge and help other people in this situation through it, so they didn’t have to feel so alone. So, I trained in health and nutrition and I set up my business.

 Where is your business based? 

I set my business up in Malaysia, and have recently moved to Chicago. However, I work virtually and see clients online through video call, so have a worldwide client base.

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

 The first step I took when starting my business was to make a plan. I planned where I wanted to get to in a year’s time and then I broke that plan down into little pieces. Looking at the huge goal of ‘setting up a business’ sounded totally ominous, so I broke it down. By figuring out what I needed to do each month, then each week, then each day, it seemed manageable.

Sophie Bibbs


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

The most effective way of raising awareness for me has been through blogging and social media. The key for me has been consistency. Ever since I started my business, I’ve made sure that I post every day on social media and I blog every week. Sometimes, I haven’t wanted to do it, but I haven’t missed a week. It’s raised awareness slowly, but it’s been organic and has gradually built up.

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

My biggest challenge has been not getting disheartened. It’s so easy to feel like you’re working so hard but getting nowhere, and to want to give up. There have been a few times where I’ve felt like I just wanted to have a little cry. I’ll tell you my little trick for getting through this, which might sound totally weird. I’ve got a folder in my phone where I keep photos/screenshots/testimonials from everyone who I’ve helped and who feels better because of my work and my business. When I’m feeling disheartened, I take a look at that. It reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing and inspires me to keep going so I can help more people feel better.

How do you stay focused?

At the start of every week, I write a plan. I write out my 3 big goals for that week and then list out all the tasks I need to do to achieve those 3 goals. Once I’ve listed out all those tasks, I plan when I’m going to do them and block the time out in my diary. I then stick to those commitments just like I would any other.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

This may sound silly, but I focus on being me. There are loads of people out there doing the same thing, but nobody will do it in the same way that you will. I focus on telling my story and talking about the approach I take. Some people will resonate with me, and some people won’t..and that’s OK.

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

Great client service! I focus on giving every client I have the absolute best experience I can. Obviously, that benefits them as they finish up working with me feeling great, but it benefits me too. They write me a glowing testimonial, that will help me to market myself to new clients, and they talk about me and refer me to their friends, acting as free marketing!

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

Keep going and be consistent! There will be days when you feel like you’re doing all the things and getting absolutely nowhere. However, keeping your head up and consistently putting yourself out there, whether it’s with your blog, social media, workshops or calls, will pay off in the long run. Being consistent builds trust with your potential customers and shows them they can count on you, which will make them much more likely to want to work with you.

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

App - Evernote. I’ve got it on my phone and laptop, and love it because it lets me record everything so easily. I’ll be out and about listening to a podcast, and hear a great tip, so just jot it into Evernote on my phone. Then, when I get home, I can pull the notes up onto my laptop.

Blog - I’m actually much more of a podcast listener, as I love being able to listen to something when I’m walking or exercising. My favourite podcasts at the moment are Rise by Rachel Hollis and Brand Yourself by Blair Badenhop. They both interview inspiring women who’ve set up their own businesses, and they always leave me feeling empowered and energized.

Book - I’ve just read Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden. A fellow business builder recommended this book to me and it really resonated with me. Rory says in the book ‘success means doing things you don’t want to do,’ which doesn’t sound glamorous but is so true. It was a great reminder for me that building a business isn’t glamorous and you’ve got to put in the hard work, but it’s so worth it.

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

Sounds simple, but I love Google docs. It allows me to access my documents from wherever and also to share documents like food diaries and coaching summaries with clients seamlessly.

Who is your business role model? Why? 

Rachel Hollis. I have a serious girl crush on her. Why? I just love her attitude and approach to business. She is a firm believer that you can do anything, BUT that you can’t just hope it’ll happen. You have to put your head down and work your ass off for it.

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

I use a natural cleanser every morning, that one of my best friends made for me. I was dubious, but my skin has been amazing since I started. Aside from that, I love Liz Earle skincare as it’s gentle on my sensitive skin. I don’t like to wear loads of makeup, but Bare Minerals is my favourite brand as it looks super natural. I just bought all of my wedding make up from there.

How do you balance work and life?

I am really strict about making sure I have weekends and evenings. I don’t work after 7pm and I don’t work on weekends, and I stick with that. That’s been a hard one to balance as a business owner, as it can be so easy to keep going, especially when you love what you do. So, those rules have really helped me keep the balance I need.

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

I love running! For me it’s a form of mediation. No matter how stressful my day has been, just popping in my headphones and going for a run outside acts as a form of meditation for me and really clears my head. If I’m lacking energy for a run, a walk normally does the trick too.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

 Over the next 6 months, I’m opening up more coaching slots, so I can work with more and more clients one on one. I’m also looking at putting together DIY resources for IBS sufferers, so more people can get the help they need.

How can our readers connect with you? 

You can check out my website at www.sophiebibbs.com or I’m @sophiebibbs on all forms of social media (although Instagram is my fave).

www.sophiebibbs.com

“Nothing like a small win helps motivate you to push through to the next challenge” with Delane Mazaheri

Delane

Delane and her partner saw a need for change in color cosmetics.  They began to challenge the norms and fought to understand formulations that would be safer, eco-friendly, and most importantly—good for humans. Seeking expertise from professionals within the beauty industry and focusing on the science of beauty, STARE was born.  Delane guides STARE Cosmetics with expertise, love, and excitement. 

Bringing a new generation of long-wear color makeup to market is what STARE Cosmetics is all about.  Commitment to our customer, enhancing beauty through science and consciousness.

What inspired you to start your business?

Inspired by an idea, “makeup should complement your skincare routine”.  My team and I set out to create a color makeup line focused on high performance without skimping on quality ingredients.  We had one goal in mind, blend nature and science and make a product line healthy enough you would want your own family to wear.  Thus our gluten-free, paraben free and cruelty-free makeup was born.

Where is your business based?

We are based in Santa Barbara, California.  

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

I first focused on the core items like product development, R & D, and business infrastructure then hired the right partners and employees so we could take our brand to market.

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

Brand awareness is a process of steps taken to get your name recognized.  We set goals, hired specific teams of experts to help us achieve attainable milestones month after month. This collaboration helped us to finesse our brand ethos. Effectively garnering STARE press and media coverage, connecting STARE with our customers globally and also focusing on our local community, hosting events and aligning with charitable causes.

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

The route to ROI, I think all indie beauty seeks this relentlessly.  We dialed into our sweet spot (Indie Beauty – Gluten and paraben-free color cosmetics) and are creating opportunity within that space.  We know what we are good at, and to tell that story so it resonates with our audience is the most important aspect of sharing STARE with others.

How do you stay focused?

Having a brand consultant who keeps us focused and on task is very helpful.  We believe this has been the biggest asset to our recent growth. Setting goals and meeting frequently with our team to understand our business, what works, what might need to be changed and what we need to better.  I constantly check in with everyone to get feedback and take note of the successes along the way too. Nothing like a small win to help motivate you to push through to the next challenge, which always seems to be the case in small business.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

We are only trying to be us.  STARE is committed to providing a luxury high-quality product. I am always working to discover ingredients designed to aid in the benefit of great skin.  We don’t skimp we will wait until we know a formula can be done just the way we want it. Performance, ingredients, and quality are paramount in how we differentiate ourselves.  It’s crazy but when you combine great ingredients with amazing beauty science, you get wonderfully high performing long wear makeup. Over 70% of our line is vegan, and we have worked hard to make that happen.

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

STARE’s strategy has involved being nimble, learning from our mistakes and focusing on quick responsiveness to all categories within marketing a new business.  Adapting to new technologies, listening to customer feedback.  Our success is connected to our customers and the invaluable insight they share about our products.

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

Research and ask questions.  When starting a business there is so much to think about.  Knowledge is power and will help you map your plan of growth effectively.  

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

One of my favorite books that comes to mind is “NOT TAUGHT” by Jim Keenan and Backblaze is one of my most helpful apps I have discovered.  It gives me the ability to back up and have access to all my data right on my handheld device. 

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

The ability we all have to source the great world wide web.  I love the access the internet provides, invaluable for contacts, information, and resources.

Who is your business role model? Why?

In business, you try to cultivate relationships designed to serve both parties.  I have had many mentors and within those relationships; I have learned so much about myself and experienced growth because of the wisdom shared. It was a cumulative effort and the best part of having great business role models.  A collective is better than one in my opinion. Supporting someone in their dreams seems valuable to me and I am grateful to those have done the same for me.

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

Great skin and beauty is a combination of internal and external awareness.  Even self-care at home can be beneficial in keeping yourself glowing. I love STARE’s Eye Revive Serum and our Botanical Hydration Mist. I don’t think I go a day without using either.  

How do you balance work and life? 

The age-old question of balance!  It is hard as an entrepreneur to find this balance.  I schedule “me” time and family time as much as I can to achieve balance.  If there are times I work too much, I ask myself what can I do to work smarter not harder.  Social media can be a time sink, I guide my team but they manage the brunt of that task.  STARECosmetics.com and @starecosmetics is always a work in progress but what we hope to achieve is to inspire all genders and all skin types to find their own beauty and enhance it with our “good for you” products. Our Facebook page shares a little more about events we may host throughout the year.

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

I love naming STARE products.  I find it relaxing and fun. Inspiration comes from all around, it’s definitely a very personal task and connects me to the STARE brand a little more intimately.

What do you have planned for the next six months? 

It’s a great time for STARE—we are rolling out our brand in several luxury hotel properties like The Ritz Carlton, Dallas and Gurney’s in Montauk this summer, and hosting amazing events like master classes with celebrity makeup artists throughout the US.  We will be at Miami Swim week this year and then co-hosting a fabulous event in DTLA this August with The Collective Affair and Christine Kong of Daily Kongfidence. STARE is planning to be in London and Dubai soon too! Big goals worldwide for this little indie brand.

How can our readers connect with you?

I am always an email away at info@starecosmetics.com or our Instagram DM is great too. @starecosmetics. 

“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

"If you try to appeal to everyone, you won’t affect anyone" with Jennifer Woodward

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Jennifer Woodward is a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist who specializes in helping women to get to the bottom of their chronic health concerns.  She believes in finding the root cause to autoimmune disease, weight issues, hormonal imbalance, and chronic fatigue. Drawing on her extensive clinical and practical knowledge of the body, she crafts individual healing programs to help women thrive.

 Can you tell our readers about your background?

I have been a student of the body since I was a young child. My mom suffered from brittle Type 1 diabetes and our lives were run around her disease. If her sugars were too low, she would have a “reaction” and pass out and the paramedics would have to be called. If she was too high, she was manic and spacey. She was a great mom, but my sisters and I learned how to care for her early on.

In college, I constructed a special minor in Nutrition and pulled from nursing and pre-med and biology to learn all I could about the body while I was pursuing Psychology, which I thought was going to be my career track.

Life pulled me in another direction and I started working in a lucrative position for Abbott Labs, selling pharmaceuticals to physicians. The training I received also gave me plenty of information about the human body’s physiology and me found it fascinating, though the job itself was pretty repetitive and dull.

 I took a 12-year hiatus from the workplace to raise and homeschool my four kids, but when they were ready to go back to “real school”, I was ready to pursue my true passion: nutrition. I went back to school and studied to become a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist. FDNs are integrative health practitioners that look at the body. We are trained to disseminate traditional and functional lab work to look for the hidden causes of disease. 

I finished school and went into private practice as soon as my kids were back in the classroom.

What inspired you to start your business?

 Most of us are in the integrative health field because we have our own health problems traditional medicine not solved that. I am no exception to this. For years, I just did not feel “well”. I was exhausted and had skin issues like psoriasis and suffered from major digestive complaints like IBS, pain, bloating, and food allergies. I had undiagnosed thyroid issues and was plagued by recurrent Epstein Barr reactivations. These problems led to anxiety, mild depression, and severe insomnia. My hormones were all over the place. I had gone from doctor to doctor and had found no help. In fact, I had gotten worse, and I was at the end of my rope.

As I was searching for help on the internet (!), I came across a few FDN practitioners and the healing modalities they used made sense to me. All of my doctors were treating my symptoms, one at a time. Functional Diagnostic Nutrition treats the body as a whole. I asked my husband for his thoughts on enrolling in the program and he was all for it. So I did. As I started to feel better, I was inspired to bring this information to as many women as possible. I couldn’t get my business started fast enough.

Where is your business based? 

My physical location is in Bakersfield, California. I work in an office with some amazing chiropractors. But much of my business is non-local. I work online via a HIPAA-compliant platform with women all over the world.

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

I finished school and realized I had a passion for helping women but no business training. My husband has started many businesses on his own, so I asked him a bunch of questions and he helped guide me toward the logistics of starting a business. I’m a girl, and I love pretty things, so I started with my website and branding just to get my creative juices flowing. I spent countless hours on trainings and seminars on how to brand and advertise via social platforms.  A local business here offered me a great deal on their excellent two-day immersive branding workshop. That stuff was fun for me after so many months dealing with the headiness of my studies.

On the practical side, I registered my business with the state, obtained my reseller’s permit, drew up documents with my lawyer, found some sweet office space with some wonderful people, and started hustling to promote my business.

I taught cooking classes in my home with a friend and then made my attendees stay for an informal class on food and hormones. These were fun (good food and alcohol and music!) and became popular. I started getting clients who liked my message. 

Jennifer Woodward

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

Social media is hands-down the most effective way of raising awareness for my business. 

I actually, am a private person. I had no social media before I started my business, and I was a happy abstainer. But I realized that social channels would be excellent and organic means of promoting my business, so I sought out people to teach me how to use these. Some of my friends with established businesses gave me pointers, I paid for some classes, and I taught myself the rest.

I realized I love to teach. Public speaking does not scare me, and I can speak better in front of people than I can in real life (like when I am talking to my kids and tell them to “go get an apple out of you know, that big cold thing!”)

Teaching on social channels allows me to connect with people and share information that is of benefit to them. A wise friend told me one time, “give 95% of your content away for free”. Holy shit, I thought. No way. But it was a great piece of advice. If I learn something new, I share it right away so people see me as a helpful teacher. That’s really what I want to be, anyway.

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

 I knew nothing about starting a business. It felt super daunting to create something out of nothing. My first year in business, I overpaid the state by $1600 by double-paying taxes because I didn’t know enough about business financials. It took me countless hours to learn how to build and maintain a busy website. I was constantly worried that I was doing something wrong on the business side. To overcome this, I prayed a lot and took things one day at a time. I realized that I couldn’t be too prideful in wanting to do everything myself, so I sought out advice on how to run the business side of things, and now I feel like things are running smoothly on that end.

A huge challenge for me was to not take things personally. I am a perfectionist, and I am super empathetic. When things were going great for my first clients, I was on top of the world. But when clients were not progressing in the way I thought they should, or when I could not unravel a complicated health problem, I would start to doubt myself personally and professionally. My husband had to remind me of my role- as teacher and educator, not a “fixer”. Our FDN model is “an opt-in model of self-care”- meaning that we teach and encourage, and the client has to do the work. Results aren’t really attributed to us either way. Once I saw this more, I became a better practitioner.

How do you stay focused? 

I can’t do vision boards or even daily checklists. It drives me nuts. I am very good at looking at the big picture and working backward. Once I see the desired outcome in my mind’s eye, I can take the steps necessary to get there. 

It helps me to incorporate daily exercise, eat really well, spend quality time with my family, and be present wherever I am. My husband and I have our morning a ritual where we get up early, drink coffee and read our Bibles, chat about random stuff, and get ready mentally for the day. 

I also go to bed by 9:30 most days. Ha. 

How do you differentiate your business from the competition? 

I teach wellness, but I am not all or nothing. I am a mom of four with a husband who has to entertain for part of his job. While a healthy body is a necessary part of overall wellness, I focus more on teaching my clients how to relax, relieve stress, sleep well, and enjoy the life they have. I take a more balanced approach to wellness and I think my clients love that. I teach them how to nourish themselves so they can nourish others. 

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

My weekly Instagram videos are an effective marketing tool. I love to share information every Tuesday, and my followers are always appreciative for health tips. Most of my free 15-minute discovery calls start with “I have been following you on Instagram for a while….

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

Find exactly who you want to serve. I work with men and children and families and corporations and group homes and I love all of it, but my passion is women’s hormonal health. This is where I focus all of my studies and classes and programs. I want to be the best at what I do, so I have to focus on my niche. If you try to appeal to everyone, you won’t affect anyone. 

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

My favorite app is Mint. Fiscal responsibility is one of the primary rules of having a successful business. I can track my expenses and income here. I don’t naturally take to rules or budgets, so this is a great tool to keep me on track financially. Having the Mint app made me delete my second favorite app, that devil Amazon. Stop stealing my money with tchotchkes I don’t need, damn it!

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

My favorite app is Mint. Fiscal responsibility is one of the primary rules of having a successful business. I can track my expenses and income here. I don’t naturally take to rules or budgets, so this is a great tool to keep me on track financially. Having the Mint app made me delete my second favorite app, that devil Amazon. Stop stealing my money with tchotchkes I don’t need, damn it!

My all-time favorite blog is Mark’s Daily Apple. I have camped here on the weekends for years. I’ve read all of Mark Sisson’s books and most of his free stuff on the blog. I’m bummed he followed the recent keto trend because he has always risen above the diet rabble, but his insights on integrative health are unparalleled. He was living this lifestyle before most of us were born. I love the way his site balanced health and real life, and the research articles I pick up from his blog are incredible. Thanks for everything, Mark. 

My favorite book is Kelly Kapic’s Embodied Hope. We don’t know how to deal with suffering as a culture. The church is even deficient in this area. Kapic looks at physical suffering from a personal perspective and gives a great framework for how to deal with it yourself, and how to help others who are suffering.

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

My online HIPAA-compliant platform is everything right now. I can work anywhere I need to with Healthie. I invested in it last year and it has been a game changer for me. I can host video chats with my out of state or out of country clients. I keep all records securely online. Clients can book via the website, change appointments, and get reminders. I set up a series of welcome videos and worksheets for the first 28 days of working with clients so they can stay motivated and encouraged. They can use the app to check in with me daily- log food, mood, exercise, weight, and chat with me right there on the platform. I love how it helps me separate business and personal life. I was getting bogged down by client texts at 9:30 on a Friday night, so this is a great way to keep everything in its place. Instead of using 4 or 5 different programs to run my business, I have one. And it’s awesome. 

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

 Oh hell yeah- fun question. I am an earth mama at heart and try not to put anything on my skin that I know is not good for me.

In my morning shower, I use a Rose Beldi soap that my friend gifted me. It reminds me of a Turkish spa and is great for my skin. I’ve got a full line of Kevin Murphy hair products that my sister-in-law and hair stylist insists I use because there are no harmful ingredients like phthalates or sulfates.

After my shower, I use Jason Vitamin E 25,000 IU cream on my face and body. I use Old Spice Men’s deodorant because it is stronger than the weak shit they put out there for women and I feel like I smell sexy all day long. In regular deodorant, there is no aluminum.

Thanks to my friend Sarah, most of my makeup is from Kosas. She is militant about her beauty products’ ingredients and I have benefitted from her research. On days I feel like I need a power move, I’ll apply Darkroom lipstick and prowl about my day. I wear minimal makeup. My skin is clear and usually looks fine without anything on it, thanks to a great combination of food and supplements. If I am speaking at an event or on TV or filming a video, I will go heavier on my makeup. Most days it is mascara and lipstick though.

At night, I use a trick I learned 10 years ago from - wait for it- Keeping up with the Kardashians.  To take off any makeup and clean my face at night, I use a piping hot clean washcloth and steam my face, then gently wipe off and buff my skin. It works like a charm.  I will put more Vitamin E cream on my face. Sometimes, I’ll put a layer of carrot seed oil or Le Prunier plum seed oil on my face or hands too.

How do you balance work and life?

I have four kids, a husband I adore and love spending time with, I coach school and club volleyball, teach Sunday school and host a life group at church, and am trying to build a two business while I take classes for my Master’s degree in integrative health. We love to entertain, and my husband is constantly coaching a sports team besides his fast-paced job. Writing it out feels overwhelming. Every day is packed, but I remind myself that I chose this life and I am blessed to have my family and get to pursue my passions.

I make sure I exercise, but not too much as I know now that overexercise destroys my hormone levels and causes my Epstein Barr virus to flare up. I’ve been into swimming lately because I live in the desert and it’s easy to swim in my backyard and I get a lot of great ideas while I am doing the meditative work of kicking and pulling and breathing. I can’t take my phone or computer in the pool, so swimming is a mental break for me.

I fuel myself with plenty of protein and produce. I have learned to rest when I am tired and make sleep a priority. I read for pleasure to balance my studies for work or school, and this helps refocus my brain. 

I love to cuddle with my kids and my puppy on the couch, and we will watch a movie as a family a few times a week. 

Since it’s just me at my business, and I am in the building and learning phase, I can get into the bad habit of working all the time. If I am not working at Reformed Metabolics, I am taking classes for school or researching medical mysteries for clients. It can get overwhelming to work all the time, so I set time limits for myself on projects and give myself grace. 

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/reformed_metabolics/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100017962119133&ref=bookmarks

What’s your favorite way to decompress?

I have two.

One is a great workout, and the other is a slow and luscious evening of cooking seasonal food while drinking an amazing glass of wine and lingering long into the evening with good friends, enjoying great conversation.

What do you have planned for the next six months?

I am partnering with an amazing businesswoman locally. I am creating a line of superfood powders. She will be incorporating these into her storefront’s smoothies and juices, and we will be marketing them directly to consumers. In my trial runs, they have gotten great feedback already and I am so excited to bring them to people. I love it when I hear that clients and friends are sleeping better, experiencing less anxiety and anger, and enjoying more balanced hormones.

I’ll be making headway in my Master’s program and creating four programs for eating well and balancing hormones based on the four seasons. I’ve been studying Eastern medicine as I delve into herbs and superfoods. The Eastern cultures have used food as a medicine far longer than Westerners have, and the gentle, nourishing nature of foods and herbs to support health blows my mind. I want to bring this grounding wisdom to the fast-paced, reductionistic culture that so many women in the US are a part of.

How can our readers connect with you?

You can find out about what I do at www.reformedmetabolics.com.

My Instagram is a great place to get tips and tricks on health: https://www.instagram.com/reformed_metabolics/ . I respond to DMs within 24 hours and love connecting with people in this way. 

I am on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100017962119133&ref=bookmarks

You can book a free 15-minute discovery call to discuss your chronic health concerns and autoimmune issues and see whether we are a good fit to work one-on-one here:

https://www.reformedmetabolics.com/services