Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Personal Qualities of an Entrepreneur

Gender discrimination and pay inequities in the corporate world cannot be underestimated so women might as well choose the path of business ownership for these reasons and more. Further, having control over your destiny is a mighty powerful motivator.

Becoming an entrepreneur requires numerous personal qualities regardless of gender. All entrepreneurs are:

Bold, daring, cReAtIvE, calculated risk takers, INNOVATIVE + autonomous

The profile of women entrepreneurs is not necessarily different from our male counterparts. What's noticeable is the contrast in managing style ... other than that ... pretty similar.

For my women readers, may you start a business in 2010. Best wishes for a happy and successful year.

Photo credit: Laurel J. Delaney, lake front at Rogers Park, Illinois, U.S.A., from The Official Escape from Corporate America Blog

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Women Business Owners Know How To Create and Be Creative

New research forecasts women small business owners will create 5+ million new jobs by 2018, while creating a far more inclusive workplace environment through their distinctive management approach.
Based on the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute’s projections, women-owned small businesses will generate more than half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs expected to be created, and roughly one-third of the 15.3 million total new jobs anticipated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2018. This projection is striking, given that women-owned businesses currently account for just 16 percent of total U.S. employment.

The Institute’s projections are based on a rigorous analysis of converging factors, including the faster growth rate of women-owned businesses vs. male-owned; higher college graduation rates by women vs. men; the predicted growth of industry sectors and occupations dominated by women; and The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Thorough Human Being

Maybe I should surprise you and begin with "Big Women" or should I say "Strong Women." Thoughts come to mind about big women because it's the complete opposite of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, "Little Women." But the real reason for bringing this to your attention is to focus on one of the characters, Josephine "Jo" March, the chief protagonist of the novel based on Ms. Alcott (pictured above) herself.
Jo is a tomboy and the second eldest sister at fifteen. She is very outspoken and has a passion for writing. Her bold nature often gets her into trouble. She is especially close to her younger sister Beth, who tries to help her become a gentler person. At the beginning of the book, she is employed by her Aunt March as a companion, but when Beth becomes ill, Amy is sent in Jo's place. Jo cuts off her long, chestnut brown hair — "her one beauty", as Amy calls it — and sells it to a wig shop to get money for her mother to visit their father, a sick Civil War chaplain. She refuses the proposal of marriage from family friend Laurie (despite many letters sent to Miss Alcott to have them married), and after Jo moves to New York, later meets and marries Professor Friedrich "Fritz" Bhaer.
Quite simply, Jo was and will forever be remembered as an entrepreneur and a thorough human being. Here's one of her famous remarks:

"Look at me, World, I'm Jo March, and I'm so happy."

If you have a chance, watch (review here) the original 1933 B/W classic "Little Women" movie to experience a couple of hours of warm and fuzzy feelings. I think I've seen it at least three dozen times and plan to watch it again this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010: Go Your Own Way

As you pave the way to success for yourself, pay a visit to Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (pictured) for additional ideas:
The Kauffman Foundation is working to further understand the phenomenon of entrepreneurship, to advance entrepreneurship education and training efforts, to promote entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and to better facilitate the commercialization of new technologies by entrepreneurs and others, which have great promise for improving the economic welfare of our nation.
See, you are not living in a vacuum. The world is working with you to get that business idea off the ground!

Learn more here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Let the Truth Be Told By a Scholar About Women Entrepreneurs

Maria Minniti Ph.D. (pictured), holder of the Bobby B. Lyle Chair in Entrepreneurship at SMU’s Cox School of Business, proves to us that studying women entrepreneurs sheds light on entrepreneurship and wealth creation, employment choices, human capital, labor market dynamics, family dynamics and employment, business creation and peace, to name a few.

Women’s businesses tend to be smaller and to grow less than those owned by men. But do those tendencies really convey the nuances inherent in female entrepreneurship and its full impact across the globe?

A couple of highlights from Professor Minniti's research:
• Women are involved in entrepreneurial activities out of two primary reasons — opportunity and necessity.

• Countries which have healthy and diversified labor markets or stronger safety nets show a more favorable ratio of opportunity to necessity-driven women entrepreneurs.

• Only recently has the link between peace and female entrepreneurship been appreciated; it could represent a very significant source of stability in some of the most unstable areas of the globe.

• On average, women seem less networked than men and, in some cultures, have access to fewer social resources.

• Minniti notes that "women are very strong at negotiating, achieving goal-congruence, and consensus-forming.”

• Self-satisfaction is more important to women that financial profitability and growth; and of course, family considerations are very important in women's jump to self-employment.

• How institutions promote or discourage female entrepreneurship should be studied for its policy implications.
Read more here. And to request a copy of Dr. Minniti's forthcoming paper, “Gender Issues in Entrepreneurship,” go here:

Click to email (Partial email = @cox.smu.edu)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

When You Go With What You've Got; It Can Become Something Great

That's a quote from 30-year old Norah Jones (a favorite of mine) and I am inclined to agree with her. She's taking her entrepreneurial musical talents in a whole new direction (in her new album, "Come Away With Me," she plays the guitar).

Daring? Yes. BOLD? You bet. Will it pay off? I don't see why not.

We all have to update our talent constantly, go in new directions, launch fresh ideas and take chances in life to become who we are meant to be.

Is that your plan, too, for 2010?

Pictured: Norah Jones (the top one is her new look!)

Friday, December 04, 2009

We Interrupt This Blog To Bring You a Male Entrepreneur: Sir Richard Branson

"If you can run one company, you can run just about any company." ~ Richard Branson

Motivation comes in all shapes and forms. Capture something from this video to spur you on to starting your own business!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Leave the Rat Race for Entrepreneurship

Today I did a Google search on:

leave Corporate America

The purpose was to put myself in the shoes of many folks who intend to do just that in 2010 (and of course, it's something I did many moons ago). Below is what I discovered. Are you feeling this way?
Have you ever thought of leaving the rat race before becoming a rat? I worked in Corporate America many years and I don't believe that ...

My decision to leave corporate America crept up on me slowly. It wasn't some lightning bolt of revelation that vividly popped into my brain one morning ...

Corporate America is stealing your life and paying you to give it to them. Quit and start a business!

Incorporate every step listed above before you leave corporate America, and success is guaranteed. Many blessings upon you with preceding ...

Several former financial services and insurance company meeting planners talk about starting their own business—even during a recession.

When I finally decided to leave corporate America the first thing I had to do was determine what my basic needs would cost. I was pleasantly surprised to ...

Would you like to leave Corporate America? Have you thought about what it would take for you to leave Corporate America?

An ideal situation for many people is to leave corporate America and run a home based business. There is no boss breathing down your neck ...

No limits: how I escaped the clutches of Corporate America to live ... Luckily for me, a series of events led me to leave Corporate America back in 2005 and I am now trying to help other passionate and creative people like ...
Need assistance with your idea? Get in touch with a SCORE counselor who can help you live your dream of entrepreneurship!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Do It Oprah-Style: Be a Real Person

If you are trying to build a foundation for your business, why not do it Oprah-style by acting, thinking and speaking like your target audience? In other words, be a real person -- step into the shoes of your client, connect on a personal level and then create a community just for them.

Read more about what I am referring to here.

Pictured: November edition of Oprah magazine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Berry Entrepreneur

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry turns entrepreneur.
Berry's first fragrance, Halle, debuted in March 2009 after two years of development -- just as the economy was tanking. On March 9, the Dow tumbled to 6,547.05, marking its lowest point in more than a decade. Berry had her doubts about the timing, wondering if "now is not the time to be asking consumers ... [to] buy something else."
Read more here.

Subscribe to Halle's newsletter here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Are You Limited in the Corporate World?

Jennifer Jack (pictured) is currently the owner and operator of Good Fortune Soap, an all natural soap and body care company located in Athens. However, when she graduated from Cleveland State Community College, she never knew that a few years later, she’d be a business owner.
“Working in a corporate job, I did not feel like I was able to use all of my creative talents and all of my gifts. I felt very limited in the corporate world, so wanting to start my own business was an expression of artistic freedom. The freedom of being my own boss and scheduling my own hours was a big plus for me.”
So in May 2006, Jennifer gave birth to Good Fortune Soap.
“From day one I studied soap making, natural ingredients, and the natural products industry as a whole. The fearless mad scientist I knew as a child took over as I experimented by making hundreds of batches of soap, scent combinations, shapes, colors, and more. I taught myself and basically perfected the process night and day while working full-time as a graphic designer.”
Since then, her company has grown tremendously. It is currently being sold in many cities throughout Tennessee, as well as over 18 states.

As the article states:
It proves that with a sound business plan, and a quality product offered at an affordable price coupled with innovative marketing, a creative entrepreneur can not only succeed, but thrive during these times.
Are you limited in what you are doing? Escape. Start a business. Read more here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Death of a Business: 5 Signs

My latest contribution over at the OPEN Forum, "The 5 Deadly Signs of Business Decay."

Here's one:
2. The word 'new' has been eliminated from everyone's vocabulary. If you haven't launched one new "something" - project, product, service, technology or talent, for example - in well over a year (nowadays, with technology, it's more like every week!), you're in a downward spiral toward not just mediocrity but "Dullsville," and no one will pay attention to you, let alone buy from or consult with you. Experimentation or calculated risk-taking is essential, and if it dries up, so does the business.
Find out if any of these signs are happening at your business. I sincerely hope not! If they are, do something about it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boring Is Out. Facebook Is In.

Steve Strauss writes an interesting post at USATODAY.com on why it's important to focus on Facebook to boost your business.

An excerpt from his Q&A:
I recently saw a story about a woman starting a new business who, prior to getting started, joined a few groups pertaining to the industry. A few months later, as she got started, she posted a request for people who would be willing to be on her virtual board of advisors. She revived more than 50 offers from top people in the field.
Learn all of Steve's great tips here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Wave of Entrepreneurs Called Women

How to get inspired with a little help from your friends, a kitchen table, some moxie and a few bucks scraped together to launch an idea into a business.

ReneƩ De Pew, for example:
When ReneƩ De Pew heard about the impending shutdown next year of NUMMI in Fremont, the car plant's executive assistant decided to flex her entrepreneurial and artistic muscles, launching www.rcdepewfineart.com to start selling her artwork.

"When you see the light at the end of the tunnel getting dimmer, you start thinking creative thoughts about how to make money so you don't lose your home," De Pew said. "I figure if I don't have another job by the time NUMMI asks me to leave, I'll start teaching art or start a home-staging business."

Read more here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Resource That Provides Access to Women Entrepreneurs

If ever there were a key resource to tap into and get involved with, it's Women Entrepreneurs, Inc. (WE Inc.). Its mission is pure and simple: helping women in business. Full disclosure: I know the founder, Karen Kerrigan (pictured) -- she's a dynamo (a tireless advocate to women entrepreneurs)! -- and I serve as her Global Markets Advisor.

About We Inc.:
WE Inc. is a a project of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) -- a prominent advocacy and research organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. WE Inc. aims is to improve and enhance the economic climate for women's entrepreneurship. By advocating for policy solutions that encourage business ownership by women, and providing information and resources to entrepreneurs at all stages of their business development, WE Inc. works to increase economic opportunity and financial security for those seeking the rewarding and challenging path of business ownership.

You may visit SBE Council's website at this address: http://www.sbecouncil.org/

Karen Kerrigan

WE, Inc. Agenda
Click here to read more

Check out the website, become a member and be sure to sign up for WE Inc.'s Weekly Brief. They also offer a phenomenal monthly e-newsletter filled with important news items and updates concerning women business owners. It's a great way to stay on top of things and push to get ahead (including taking your business global!).

Don't miss a beat. Go visit now!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Go Get 'Em Girls For This Guide Is For You!

I received a magnificent pitch by email this week -- one too good to pass up -- from Debra Shigley, author of the new "The Go-Getter Girl's Guide: Get What You Want In Work and Life (and Look Great While You're at It)."

What struck me is this part:
I graduated from Harvard (undergrad) and Georgia State College of Law, and briefly practiced employment law before returning to a writing career (I guess I'm an escapee, too :). I've appeared on The View, CNN, ABC news and more. I have also been quoted by the Washington Post, AJC, Wall Street Journal, and Redbook. I will attach a quick release about the book [Laurel here ... which she did], and you can learn more on my website here.
So naturally I responded to Debra with a "WOW ... great pitch ... send me a copy of the book -- no guarantees on anything -- but go ahead!" And she did.

I read my copy quickly because I was curious as to what a Harvard grad-lawyer-turned author has to say about getting your career on track and staying stylish at the same time. Debra doesn't let us down. She, herself, is a smart go-getter and this quality shines through brightly on nearly every page of the book.

She guides us carefully on all sorts of office issues -- from the importance of networking to wardrobe building (which I could use a little help on) to how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She does this through interviews with dozens of successful, stylish women -- many of them well- known (e.g., Soledad O'Brien; Tory Burch; Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss; Johnson Publishing COO Anne Ward; Spanx founder Sara Blakely, etc.) and many of them entrepreneurs that Debra claims: Escaped from Corporate America!

Here's what folks have already said about the book:

“A must read for savvy women everywhere. Debra's invaluable style and career secrets are sure to skyrocket you to success!”
- Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss

“So much more than a series of success stories . . . This kind of wisdom is priceless. With her keen understanding of today’s working girl, Debra explains how to put those street smarts into practice.”
- Carley Roney, Cofounder and Editor In Chief of The Knot Inc.

“Go-Getter Girls know that 50% of their credibility comes from how they look, 40% comes from how they sound, and 10% from what they say. Debra Shigley provides practical tools and tips for achieving 100% success at go-getter girl speed!”
- Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D., author of Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office

“Take the work place by storm! A fun step-by-step primer for getting everything you want out of your career. If you have ambition, this book will give you the confidence and tools to go out and make your dreams happen.”
- Bonnie Fuller, former editorial director of American Media

“A fast and fun read for the busy on-the-go girl who is looking for her ‘must do’ tips for success!”
- Keri Glassman, Early Show nutrition contributor and Women’s Health columnist

"If you want a fun, energetic, step-by-step guide to achieving the career of your dreams and look smashing to boot, this book is for you."
- Laurel Delaney, founder, The Official Escape From Corporate America blog

Learn more and purchase the book here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Do What You Enjoy: An Interview With Artist Gina Signore

Gina Signore is a magnificent artist tucked away in the beautiful and peaceful area of Cassopolis, Michigan (village population estimated at 1,740) doing what she does best: artistry (shown above).

Recently, I had the great pleasure of being re-introduced to her work and ordered a few select note cards online for my own enjoyment. After receiving them in the mail and feeling like a kid in a candy store, I decided immediately that I must share the gift of knowing Gina with all of you, especially with the holidays right around corner.

To give more details, when I received my note cards, they were carefully hand-wrapped in cellophane with a delicate ribbon-tied bow; a tiny note accompanied each set with an original signature by Gina. Needless to say the cards are so beautiful that I most likely will never let them out of my sight. Instead, I might opt to frame them -- they are that gorgeous.

Gina's art work makes an ideal holiday gift for that special someone -- a colleague who made you shine through the year, a family member who's always there for you, a best friend who sticks by your side come thick or thin, that special client who thinks you are brilliant or the vendor who saves you gobs of time. Whoever it might be that is deserving of something special this year (I'll take 'em :-)!, they are sure to enjoy receiving Gina's art.

So, before I jump to where you can find her work, here's an interview I conducted with her discussing how she decided to start and grow the Gina Signore business of art.

LJD: What made you start your artistry business and please describe what it's all about?

Gina: I have been interested in art all of my life. I can remember drawing and painting when I was five years old.

I attended Aquinas College in the seventies and graduated with a Fine Arts degree.

The pursuit of my art degree exposed me to a wide variety of artistic mediums, history and theory. I majored in printmaking and painting.

After graduating from college, I became a partner in a Framing and Art shop in Grand Rapids Michigan. The frame shop connected me directly to the art community of West Michigan.

I was able to exhibit my work in a wide range of national galleries and juried art shows.

After residing in Grand Rapids for several years, my husband and I decided that we wanted to raise our children in a smaller community. The trade off to living in a smaller town is that venues for selling my art became limited.

Over the last ten years my digital camera, I-Mac computer and my access to high-speed Internet has become a strategic key for me to grow my business. Digital photography has become a centerpiece of my current artwork and five years ago I discovered the potential of selling my art online. I now have successful on-line Galleries at three websites Art.com, Zazzle.com and Etsy.com.

This was a wonderful way to get my artwork in front of many new viewers. These on-line galleries have allowed me to live in rural southwest Michigan and ship to far away locations around the globe. I am thrilled to know that my artwork has sold to individuals living as far away as Portugal and Australia.

LJD: What advice (best kept secret) can you give others that will help them unleash their potential to start a business?

Gina: When considering your career or business be sure that you are doing what you enjoy and that your work is aligned with your personal values.

I work and think about my art everyday. My parents passed their passion for art and gardening to me at an early age.

My artwork is more than a job or career to me. It's my calling, my passion, and is an expression of who I am. When I am not actively working at my art, I spend a great deal of my time planning or working in my garden. Today, I plant my garden with the things I want to paint or photograph.

I value a degree of solitude in order to do my work and I find that my home is where I get most of my inspiration.

LJD: If we lived in a perfect world, what's the one thing you might do differently if you were 21 and starting all over with your business? In other words and in hindsight, what do you wish you would have known when you started your business that for sure, now that you do know, you would do differently to make things easier?

Gina: I think I would have benefited from taking a few basic business or computer classes.

I remember that as a young artist, the signals that I was receiving from the business world were not very positive. At that time, art and creativity were viewed as radical right-brain thinking that did not impact the bottom line.

I think I would have been more inspired if I had been exposed to the creative nature of entrepreneurial thinking at an earlier age. I am intrigued by the return of creative thinking that is now being embraced by business.

Looking back, I wish that I had embraced technology a littler earlier. Traditional art is about drawing, painting, and sculpture and was not as welcoming to computer design.

I am still working on my fear of technology; I just recently bought my first cell phone and can text my daughters but I am not sure how to make a call!

Find Gina's work at the following online places:

Etsy Site

Zazzle Site


And kick back, relax and enjoy ...
YouTube - Gina Signore Photography

Mixed media photography credit:

© 2009 Gina Signore, Winter Twilight (top)
© 2009 Gina Signore, In the Morning (middle)
© 2009 Gina Signore, Autumn Footbridge (bottom)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Push Yourself To Grow Your Business

Here's a look at Europe's perspective (from an expert -- Paula Fitzsimons, Irish national coordinator for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and director of Ireland-based Going for Growth, a business consultancy) on women, entrepreneurship, business ownership and growth.

An excerpt:
But if you want to make a significant contribution to economic growth, innovation and productivity, those [women-owned] businesses must become capable of growth. It's quite clear that Europe needs more 'gazelles' – i.e. companies capable of significant growth – and the point we're making is that we need to encourage women to not only be self-employed but to break the barrier to employing one or two people, or to move further if they're already significant employers.

In short, we should be pushing for them to have a growth aspiration at the earliest possible stage. They must have this initial strategic positioning.
Read the entire interview here.

Do you need to be pushed to grow your business? Do you think this is a trend indicative to the United States too?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't Sell Yourself Short: Break Out and Start a Business

Who are we kidding? If you act like an entrepreneur while employed at a large corporation, guess what happens? Your ideas are taken and the next thing you know, you're fired. Who needs that?

One of the single greatest lessons in life is to find out what makes you happy or come to life (passion) and oftentimes it starts with learning first what makes you miserable.

I agree with Janice Bryant Howroyd (pictured) at being the entrepreneur of your own career but if you are going to "be" than "do." Do the business. Start it.

Read more here. Within the article, be sure to focus on Ms. Howroyd's backstory:
Ms. Howroyd is an entrepreneur in the traditional sense. She said she left Tarboro, N.C., in 1976 to work for a brother-in-law’s talent agency in Los Angeles and two years later started her own small employment firm, ACT•1.At the beginning, she said, she played off the fact that “I was a minority-owned business in two ways, as an African-American and a woman.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Boost Your Business

One way to boost your business is to look for organizations, such as Gateways to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows, Inc. (GET), who help minorities start, run and grow businesses.

Take Mabel Lopez of Poughkeepsie who is a successful protege of GET's program. Lopez is an event planner whose business is Lasting Impressions by Mabel.

Mabel Roman-Lopez has been planning events for nearly a decade.

Lasting Impressions by Mabel opened as the result of an inner desire to help people bring to vision a special event they want to mark in their lives.

Mabel has planned many memorable events, from baby showers to bridal showers, birthday parties, to festivals and corporate luncheons. From the spectacular to the simple. Mabel has the creativity and personal service for anyone wanting to create a magical event.

She launched her own business with help from GET.

Learn more here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

From Singer to Producer of Flavored Vodkas

Thirty years ago when Miyoko Yamakawa traveled from Japan to America, her dreams of becoming a singer were put on hold when she married a top Japanese chef in New York City, and moved to Rockland County to raise a family.

A year after the move, the family -- the Yamakawas -- opened Maiko 2, a New City restaurant where her husband Jiro cooked and Miyoko sang for customers on Friday nights.

Jiro created a drink and customers loved it which was a strawberry vodka that people asked for and wanted to buy it.

Slow forward 20 years in the restaurant business, the family sold Maiko 2 and began bottling Jiro's creation.

Guess who is figuring things out at this stage? Miyoko Yamakawa is along with her husband and she is seeking help from a Small Business Center -- a great place to get free advice on how to start, run and grow a business.

Here's a quick look at some of the areas where Miyoko is getting assistance:

Read more here. Their launch site, Me Oko, appears to be here. Another iteration is here.

And as for help on your own business, you might check out whether you have a local Small Business Center in your area.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Official Escape From Corporate America Blog Has a New Look

We are pleased to unveil our re-design to the official Escape From Corporate America blog (www.EscapeFromCorporateAmerica.com). Let us know what you think of it. We welcome your feedback! And be sure to check out all the resources featured on the right sidebar.

ESCAPE From Corporate America!

Monday, October 12, 2009

What It Takes To Become a High Performance Leader

Wrote this article for American Express OPEN Forum to help folks fulfill their own version of the ideal, fully developed high-performance leader.

Here's the lead:
Achieving high performance in tough times is a serious challenge small business owners face. The ultimate goal may be extraordinary business performance, but you can still get comfortable and slip into mediocrity. To obliterate status quo, do you have what it takes to become a high-performance leader? Ten traits characterize the people who do.
See what you think. Hope you get some value out of it. We will add the feature to our blog's e-library on the right sidebar.

"10 Traits of High-Performance Leaders"

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Find Creative Deals To Start Your Business

This article is about how to launch a small business on a shoestring but the following excerpt particularly struck me:

Yafa Sakkejha (pictured) made a deal with her father that’s enabling her to get House of Verona, a summer health-retreat business, off the ground. He agreed to “incubate” her fledgling company by giving her rent-free use of Blue View Chalets, his winter ski-resort property in Canada’s Blue Mountains, for the first year and by fronting some of her larger initial expenses.

Ms. Sakkejha is using her savings to repay Blue View half of the expenses it incurs for her and hire health experts, a fitness trainer and caterers. If [Laurel here ... WHEN] her business takes off, both parties win. She begins to build her own business, and her father gains a summertime revenue stream from the property.

There's another example cited within the article about Christine Marchuska, who started an eco-friendly fashion label, cmarchuska LLC, in November, using $40,000 in savings and severance she got after being laid off from Wall Street.

Find out what she did along with other visionaries to strike creative deals in the rough and get their businesses going!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Making the World a Better Place

Turtle Wings is born. Let me give you the lowdown.
As senior vice president of international marketing for CitiFinancial, Elizabeth Wilmot (pictured) had traveled the world and had seen some of the huge used-electronics dumps that have been created in nations such as India. She also had experienced the difficulty of trying to recycle a computer herself. "I thought to myself, 'I would pay somebody to pick this up and recycle it and scrub my data off of it,' " she recalls. Thus the idea for her company, Turtle Wings, was born.
Back then, Elizabeth was a single mom, quit her job and used savings and home equity to start the business in 2004. The company, once run out of her kitchen, now occupies two warehouses and 12 employees serving households, corporations and government agencies.

Read more about Elizabeth's successful leap from Corporate America to business ownership here.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Don't you love words that catch your attention? You must read this entire article, "Feminine Mystique: Why More Women Are Applying For MBAs" to get the drift of how the ending from one of the graduates goes like this:

'What women want is to be treated equally'

Kuldeep Brar, 35, recently finished her executive MBA at Cass Business School. She is working in marketing at the school before setting up her own business.

"I come from a marketing and sales background in the City, so for me Cass was a natural fit. It was accessible – I could walk to it from my job at St Paul's – and its reputation for evening and weekend teaching attracted me. I wanted a flexible course.

There were quite a few women on my course, from a wide range of backgrounds. We had some pregnancies, so the flexibilities of managing work and home life mattered.

Earnings? The women on the course were just as hungry as the men. I didn't notice any difference in the calibre, and the expectations reflected that.

I think what women want more than anything else is to be treated equally.

I'm hoping to start a business in a completely different direction – home-cooked, healthy, delivered foods. I'm calling it 'yummynosh'. The MBA has given me the confidence to do that."

Although I had already started my business, that is exactly how I felt after I completed my MBA: loaded with confidence and lots of great ideas.

To Kuldeep Brar, I say: "You go girl!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

One Room, 40 Employees = Poised for Growth

After working public relations for Vera Wang and Ralph Lauren, 43-year-old Tory Burch launched her first store in New York in 2004 with her then-husband, venture capitalist Christopher Burch, who remains co-chairman.

"I worked out of my apartment for the first two years. Then we went to one room with about 40 employees." ~ Tory Burch, The Wall Street Journal (9/8/09)

Her small but growing firm -- sales topping $200 million a year! -- operates 20 boutiques and sells to 450 retail locations, such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Read more about what moves paid off for her this year and how the downturn has affected her business plans here. And don't miss the part on "Where do you see future opportunity?" (Hint: international expansion).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Being Yourself Is Back In Style

It's hard to equate music entertainers with entrepreneurship but there is a whole lot of similarity in that women entertainers, just like women entrepreneurs, are forever fighting for their right to be who they are and profit from their endeavors in the process.

Take Miranda Lambert (pictured), and the comment she made below in an interview with Whitney Pastorek, Entertainment Weekly that is oh-so-entrepreneurial:
You just rattled off the list of the men you hung out with at the ACM Honors. You seem to actually fit in pretty well with the Nashville boys’ club. How did that happen?

It is harder being a woman. This is a man’s business—it really is. Even just being the only girl on the bus. But I feel like it’s changing. We’re starting to show our colors, the girls are. I think a lot of the music I love is real music. It’s about real life. It’s about drinkin’ and cheatin’ and church—things that people really do. For a little while, I don’t know that a lot of women were singing about that. But that’s what I sing about—real life. Maybe that’s why I fit in. I think just being yourself is back in style, finally. I think Jamey Johnson’s a classic example of someone else who’s just saying, “Here I am. Like it or not, I don’t care. This is what I do.” I think it’s working because people are ready for it.
Read the entire interview here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paths to Success

Five successful women business leaders (not all business owners by the way) discuss their paths to success.

Eight (8) fabulous tips here:
1. "I've had to reinvent myself at my current position. Anytime you have to break out of your role, you reinvent yourself. In these economic times, reinvention is something we all have to become familiar with. As the market changes, the value we bring to the table changes as well."

2. "It's not about the degrees I have; it's about the skill set I have."

3. "Have an extensive peer network, what I call relationship capital.

4. "You have to connect with others. We spend a lot of time doing good work, but we need to take time to let others know you're doing good work. Get out of your comfort zone and get out there."

5. "Embrace your differences. We are not men -- we should celebrate that. We bring a lot of emotional intelligence."

6. "Don't be afraid to pick a field that's dominated by men."

7. "Is their balance in our life? There's no such thing."

8. "You can have it all -- just not all at the same time."
Read more here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beat the Recession: Do Your Own Thing

Our new economy is encouraging experimentation and the one thing (among many) that we've learned for sure when starting a business is the importance of being accessible.
Phoebe Howard (pictured), an interior designer in Atlanta and owner of four retail stores in the South, admits that clients are buying less these days, doing smaller jobs and taking their time with projects.

For Mrs. Howard, 51, that has necessitated being more aggressive and more creative, trying to make her work accessible to a larger range of people. She has started hosting more in-store parties and events and is writing a blog, www.mrshowardpersonalshopper.com, with the help of a young employee. She didn’t know what a blog was until a few months ago, but now, she says, she plans to get acquainted with Twitter and Facebook.
Read more here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Realize a Dream

Lee Anne Carmack is doing a job she loves.  She launched Yardsalefrog.com March 6th.
Giving her son’s eulogy and encouraging others to do something they always wanted to do gave Carmack the motivation and the focus to start her own business.
Read more here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Big Boost to Women Entrepreneurs in Technology

A nice boost from Lockheed Martin to the tune of U.S. $30,000 will help a new website, Multinational Development of Women in Technology (MDWIT), become the place for women entrepreneurs to communicate and share information. It plans to use social media tools to facilitate communication between entrepreneurs and sponsors or partners that can help them.

As the MDWIT CEO says, "We're looking at the latent potential in women."

Baltimore-based MDWIT has also received some funding from Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Maryland departments of education and business and economic development, and the governor's Work Force Investment Board.

Read more here.

Additional resources for women in technology:

Women In Technology

Women In Technology International

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Is Your Business Scalable?

Victoria Colligan (pictured), founder of Ladies Who Launch, argues that there is a difference between starting a "lifestyle business" and starting a business for "lifestyle reasons."

See whether you are agree or not here. And let us hear from you based on your own experience!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Recession-Proof Your Life: Start a Business

When things get tough, you don't have to stop living, rather, you can start a business and start planning -- for the future!

Read what creative and enterprising women are doing at, "Women Starting Recession Businesses."

Women entrepreneurs beating the recession and mentioned in the article referenced above:

Christina Catalano (GotSqueakers on Twitter)

Lolly O'Dorisio who plans to turn her living room into a boutique four times a year.

Mira Masukawa (her blog can be found here) with two patented products that can be found at her firm Mira Lucky.

Congratulations and best wishes to all!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Get Unstuck Program

Pursue what you are born for.

Our Get Unstuck program is off to a great start. The conference call on Friday, 8/28 at noon CDT was at maximum capacity so I tried my best to take a couple of you one-on-one to brainstorm about steps you might take to get you where you need to be with your life and your business.

For those who were on the call or a one-on-one with me, thank you for sharing. I truly enjoyed meeting you. I hope our connection was beneficial to you. I'll try to schedule a call like this once a month because I sense there is a real need amongst all our readers and, at the every least, it's a great way to realize that you are not alone with your ambitions.

Next call: September 28th at noon CDT. If you are interested in participating, email me early to ensure you make it in (ldelaney(at)laureldelaney.com). For now, happy Sunday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Get Unstuck

Stuck in a rut? Hate your boss? Hate your job? Hate your life? Every moment of being stuck is a lost opportunity.

Pursue what you are born for.

This blog serves as a resource to women who want to Escape From Corporate America and we always encourage you to move forward even when everything seems to be headed in reverse.

Need help? I am setting up a conference call for one-hour on Friday, August 28 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) CDT for the first 20 women who are interested in chatting about steps to take toward starting a business. We will discuss some of the challenges you face and how to overcome those obstacles in order to get unstuck.

If you are interested in participating (no cost to you other than the call), email me at ldelaney(at)laureldelaney.com and I will send you the call-in information. Look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Explore Other Options: Start a Business

Whether you are based in the United States or the UK, why bother waiting it out on a promotion?

Study: Women overlooked in the UK for promotion in recession.

Don't let it happen to you. Explore other options. Get going. Start a business. Promote yourself.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Does It Take a Man to Add Star Power to Fox Business?

Would one of my female entrepreneurial readers please step up to the plate and contact Fox Business to offer your talent to increase their viewership?

Will it really take Don Imus (pictured) -- Mr. Lovable I am sure to so many women -- to lift up Fox's ratings? Oh puh-leeze.

For those unfamiliar, back story on Imus:
The talks with Mr. Imus would have been inconceivable little more than two years ago, when he was fired from CBS Radio after he was widely criticized for joking about the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” on the air. MSNBC, which like CNBC is a unit of NBC Universal, also canceled its simulcast of the show, saying that Mr. Imus “went so far over the line that it was time.”

About six months later, he was hired by Citadel Broadcasting to resume his radio talk show.
How fast we forget and how desperate some can be. Read this to believe it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

In Pursuit of Happiness Minus Money

Keeping momentum when a business slows down is not easy, especially if cash flow starts to dwindle. Take Joanna D'Angelo, owner of Tea Together, she had this problem, but not because business was bad, rather, she merely needed a bridge loan until her next busy season.
While shopping for loans last month, Ms. D’Angelo walked into Chase, a preferred lender of loans backed by the federal Small Business Administration, and walked out a short time later — minus any money.

“We tried a few other banks, but they all had impossible conditions,” she said. “We did not qualify for an S.B.A. loan, something they were very adamant about.”

According to Ms. D’Angelo, Tea Together failed to qualify at Chase because the business was fewer than three years old, though she did not know if that was the Small Business Administration’s or Chase’s rule.

Ms. D’Angelo joins other owners of small local businesses who are finding credit hard to come by, even with the help of federal stimulus money directed to help.
Read more here.

Photo from Tea Together shop.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Official Escape From Corporate America Makes Top 30 List


We are delighted to announce that our official Escape From Corporate America (www.escapefromCorporateAmerica.com) blog is proudly featured on:

We are honored and humbled to be among so many gifted women entrepreneurial bloggers.

Thank you so much!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Open For Business Despite Awful Economy

What's it going to take to bring our economy back to full health? Hold up a mirror. Yes, it will be folks like us: entrepreneurs and small businesses. We are the lifeblood to innovation and getting things done.

But with the support of the Small Business Administration (SBA), things can only improve. Read more here.

Additional resources:

Women Entrepreneurs || SCORE

More inspiration here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Art of Bootstrapping

Sramana Mitra showcases a dozen entrepreneurs and the lessons they learned while bootstrapping their way to success in her latest book, "Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction."

Find out how bootstrapped entrepreneurship is truly the weapon of mass reconstruction and how the twelve profiled entrepreneurs did things on their own terms through lots of hard work.

In a world filled with fear and uncertainty, this is surely a book that brings hope to all who aspire to run a successful business. So buck the trend, back yourself (whatever venture it may be) and read this book.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Control Your Destiny

There's so much talk about work life balance choices and how it's nearly impossible for women to get ahead (break that glass ceiling) in Corporate America when they take time off to have a family.

I chose entrepreneurship because I wanted freedom, flexibility, a creative outlet without restrictions and total control over my destiny. Part of the control is to select the stress level I am willing to handle (if I must) and balance it with the positives in my life ... family, good health and a positive attitude.

Read what Jack Welch recently told the Society for Human Resource Management at its annual conference about why "There's no such thing as work-life balance." Why Jack is talking about this and not Suzy, I don't know.

Let's turn to you. Are you able to have work-life balance as an entrepreneur? Tell us about how you juggle running a business, managing a family and nurturing your happiness factor.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Get Into Your Creative Cave and Produce

Entrepreneur Christina Aguilera (pictured) will spin tunes on her very own radio station set to debut tomorrow, July 31. The 24-hour online channel will be distributed across Clear Channel Radio’s “iheartradio” network, and will feature interviews, news, personal commentary from Aguilera as well as her favorite tunes.

The Associated Press interviews Christina and here's how she addresses the first question of how does a radio channel fit you?

We moved into our new house about a year ago but since I started working on the record, I have a studio in the backyard … and it just has been so perfect for me to just wake up in the morning, put on my flip flops and sweat pants, and just go back in the studio and pretty much get into my creative cave and zone out that way, so it’s been really convenient. So the paparazzi have probably been upset with me. I know they told my husband, they’re like, “Is she every going to leave the house?”
You never know how creative entrepreneurial juices get flowing.

Read the entire article and interview here.