Saturday, July 20, 2019

Comfortable is Sexy

Two former Anthropologie buyers have created a lingerie store that celebrates all women.  The name of their company is Hidden Intimates and it operates under the mantra that "comfortable is sexy."  Agree?  I sure do.  You have to be who you are – and always, always be comfortable.

With a mission that focuses on telling stories instead of presenting a manufactured idea of beauty, Hidden Intimates channels the current thinking around undergarment fashion.

Read how two friends turned a dream into a reality but meanwhile, check this out:
But things are going well. Since launching three months ago, Hidden Intimates has sold about 50 pieces to people from all over North America, they said. One person ordered from Texas, and another from Canada. On trend, the most popular item is the “everyday lace bralette,” which has no wires and sells for $18. Each one gets shipped by hand from [Flo] Mcilwaine [co-founder's] house in Atlanta, where she still works a day job as a buyer for Home Depot.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Join Laurel Delaney in New York 7/18 to Learn How to Export Successfully in the Digital Age

The first in New York-based NEXCO's 2019 seminar series on what you need to know to sell your products in markets worldwide, this is where to start building your export sales strategy.

Lead presenter, Chicagoan Laurel Delaney, will discuss how to use the digital tools that level the field for small and mid-size businesses, launch and scale-up export sales, and avoid the 6 mistakes new exporters most often make.

Plan on joining in on the after-seminar reception for wine-tasting and networking with the NY metro exporting community.

To learn more and to register, visit here.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Happy 15-Year Anniversary to the Escape From Corporate America Blog!

©2019 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
For all of you who have been following our Escape From Corporate America (EFCA) adventures, you know it's been quite some time since we have been blogging -- some 15 years!  For the newcomers, can you believe it?  We can't because time flies when you are having fun, living your dream, and helping others live their dream too with starting a business.

We launched Escape From Corporate America officially on July 2, 2004 and since then, we have had more than 806,000 readers (not quite a million but we'll get there thanks to you).  We average about 10,000-15,000 readers a month now!  Take a look at our second post in 2004 talking about why EFCA was established.  It reads as follows:
This blog has been set up for businesswomen to voice their experiences working in Corporate America. Many women have expressed concern that Corporate America is actively pushing out its most talented women. Have you encountered something similar? What have you done about it?

Has the glass ceiling issue been a major reason for leaving your position? Are you thinking of striking out on your own to start your own business -- as a result of job dissatisfaction?

These are some of the kinds of issues that need to be openly discussed. If we do not challenge the system, no improvements will ever be made. Feel free to weigh-in with your comments. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!
So grab your tall glass filled with your favorite beverage and toast to the Escape From Corporate America blog:  "To many more blog posts about helping female entrepreneurs go from corporate America to starting their own business!"  And to you dear reader, I thank you for your readership and for starting a business.  Read on!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Podcasts for Female Entrepreneurs

Happy Sunday everyone!  As you kick back, soak in the sun or drive to your best secluded getaway, give these podcasts a listen.  ForbesWomen contributor Bianca Barratt says:
Podcasts, in my [Bianca Barratt's] opinion, remain one of the greatest resources for entrepreneurs, offering mentorship, guidance and expertise from successful businesswomen for free.
Learn more about some really good podcasts for female entrepreneurs.

Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Follow Your Heart on Innovation

Here's an article I wrote for Thrive Global, "Creating a Culture of Innovation:  Learning From the Best."  It's about following your heart and intuition on matters of innovation.  When you run a business, you must think about innovation!

In the article I focus on three people:  Walt Disney, Samuel Palmisano and Steve Jobs.  A snippet from Walt Disney:
Lesson: To create a culture of innovation, be straightforward. Listen. Simplify. Do things. Build things. Get something going.
Sound familiar?  Read the article here.

Photo by Taylor Rogers on Unsplash.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Grit is a Mindset for Women Entrepreneurs

Natalie James is a wife, mom of three, entrepreneur, owner and CEO of Toronto’s exclusive blow dry bar — Vent Blow Dry Bar. She believes grit – courage and resolve; strength of character – is a learned behavior.

“To develop grit, look to others who have demonstrated their ability to persevere through hardship and learn from them”


She goes on to say, "Ask them how to stay positive when faced with hardship or how to maintain focus when faced with distractions?"

Life is all about learning and growing.  Find out for yourself what else Natalie has to say

Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Women Entrepreneurs Shape Our Economy Yet Face Challenges As they Persist

Traditionally entrepreneurs have been viewed as innovators who come up with new ideas for the markets, products and various techniques. They have the capability to shape the economy by creating new wealth and jobs and inventing new products and services.

In the case of women entrepreneurs, they are no longer viewed as traditional resources confined to the household, however, despite being educated, knowledgeable and capable of contributing towards transforming economies, women face fundamental challenges trying to enter the entrepreneurial sector.  This is particularly true in India.

Read more about the fundamental challenges women entrepreneurs face and how to overcome them.

Photo courtesy CoWomen on Unsplash

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Women Entrepreneurs Whose Smarts Are Rattling Industries Worldwide

The Female Founders 100 are the entrepreneurs Inc. has been most intrigued by in the past year, whose smarts are rattling industries far and wide.  They are scientists, creatives, MBAs, data-nerds, and visionaries. For some, it's the first time they've ever started a company. Others have been at this for decades.

Explore when time permits.  How about now?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Pay Yourself What You are Worth

As more and more women take the leap from Corporate America to starting their own businesses, one of the key factors to ensure the leap goes well is to focus on having confidence.  Many women doubt themselves and their abilities.  Sometimes it just takes a couple of good pals around you to say "you can do it!" The next thing you know, you you can!

Another challenge for women who start businesses is determining what you should be paid.  Don't skimp.  If the money is there, take it, do good work, and be proud.  Here's what a SCORE volunteer mentor says:  
Simply put, women need to be paid what they are worth. A lot of times women feel like that they can’t charge enough. However, in order to be successful in business and remain profitable, a shift in thinking — and a boost in confidence — is necessary.
Read more about what is available to women-owned businesses and what is necessary to succeed in business ownership.

Photo courtesy:  Hust Wilson on Unsplash

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Women Leaders Tend to Collaborate Better than Men

Thanks to a new study conducted by Richard Devine, Gonzalo Molina-Sieiro, Michael Holmes and Siri Terjesen, we now have data that shows women-led businesses, in certain scenarios, do indeed perform better than those run by men.

In the research, the authors started by comparing how female-led companies performed in terms of employee growth versus those helmed by men.

The point of the study is not to show that female-led companies – high growth or not – perform better than men.
Rather, our [the author's] research suggests that women do bring valuable and unique skills and experience to the table that can make a significant difference to business success. Yet, given so few companies are run by women, their skills and experiences are not fully utilized.
Learn more about how women leaders tend to collaborate better than men.

Read the study:  Female-Led High-Growth:  Examining the Role of Human and Financial Resource Management

Photo courtesy:  CoWomen on Unsplash

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Surround Yourself With People Who Believe in You

Ever have a bad day?  Oh come on, who hasn't?  The important part of being faced with difficult, complicated and high-stake situations as a female entrepreneur is having the ability to face them, head on—and with strength and confidence.  Below, six brave leaders reveal the tumultuous points of their companies and how they were able to handle them and move forward.

One entrepreneur shared the following:
“Surround yourself with people who believe in you, because there will be so many times when you don’t believe in yourself.  Most of us have never started a company before, and most of us don’t come from a background where our parents can bankroll us until we figure it out,” she [co-founder  of Hu Kitchen, Jessica Karp] continued.
Read the article on how women dealt with the worst and came out stronger on the other side.

Photo courtesy Katrina on Unsplash.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Has the #MeToo Event Changed the Way You Run Your Business?

How have you changed the way you run your business since the #MeToo event?
It’s been more than a year and a half since the #MeToo hashtag took off on Twitter, and the movement that activist Tarana Burke started in 2006 became an unavoidable part of the national conversation. Since then, discussions around workplace sexual assault and harassment are being heard in a way they weren’t before. 
Many female entrepreneurs are taking the #MeToo seriously -- definitely not sweeping it under the rug.  Here's what 5 women entrepreneurs are doing and what you can do too to keep the #MeToo issue front and center as you run your business.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

After You Work for a Genius, Can You Go Off On Your Own?

Marilyn Van Alstyne (pictured) left working for P. Diddy and started her own business, EMVE Management.  Here's how her thinking went.
“After realizing that I worked alongside Puff for 20 years, I started to think to myself, if I worked for a genius and he has built all of this, what can I build on my own?” After long days of self-reflection, Van Alstyne did what millions of people yearn to find the courage to do: She quit her job.
Keep in mind that Marilyn started working for P. Diddy as an intern and felt she had landed her dream internship.
While still in high school, Van Alstyne traveled 1.5 hours each way to the Combs Office in Manhattan. Back then Uber did not exist, and taxi cabs didn’t come to her neighborhood, so she did what needed to be done.  While only being compensated with two tokens and $5 a day, Van Alstyne dedicated her life to being one of the most reliable and respected women at Combs Enterprises.
She did it all:  answered phones, reconciled accounts, everything to grow a business.  After 4 years, she became an employee. The rest is history.  Did she have doubts before she left?  You bet.
“For a while, I’d ask myself, what if I do not make it? Now that there is no Bad Boy or Puff to lean on, can I do this on my own?” pondered Van Alstyne. 
Read more to learn what happened with Marilyn and how she shares her top 3 money lessons.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Is Being Called a Female Entrepreneur a Label?

Being an entrepreneur is hard -- male or female.

Business owner Susan Guillory (pictured) says:
People like to create two categories for business owners: entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs. I have never understood why the two have to be separated. 
What about you?  Do you think there is or should be a distinction between male and female entrepreneurs?  Do you find that being called a female entrepreneur is a label?

To brush up, read an old EFCA blog post (9/14/07), "Are Male and Female Entrepreneurs Really That Different?"

Read on to learn additional thoughts from Guillory on this topic, including, how to come up with your own unique style.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Becoming Billionaires

The infographic featured in the article below shows how far women can reach with hard work and perseverance. Highlighting their accomplishments is especially important so it can inspire young girls to go after anything they put their minds to.

Read more about women becoming billionaires.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Truth About Women in International Trade

There are more than 163 million women entrepreneurs worldwide yet many of them are not global.  Why is that?  That is a question I asked myself many years ago and it troubled me so long that I decided to do something about it.

First, I started exporting products on my own and then, I launched wegg®.  That's when I discovered the real power and strength of taking a business global -- and  learned that women can do it just as easily as men.

Learn more about women in international trade and the birth of wegg®.

Photo courtesy:  CoWomen on Unsplash

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Journey for Women Entrepreneurs Is Challenging

The journey for women entrepreneurs is challenging and requires strength, grit and perseverance.  If it were easy, all women would be starting businesses.  The SBA knows this and wants to put the wind behind the sails of all women who aspire to take an idea and launch a business.  They work at leveling the playing field for women.

SBA says that knowing the right people can make a world of a difference.
We want to do everything we can to connect women entrepreneurs with the right people so they can spend less time trying to get a seat at the table and more time growing their business.
Learn more about the journey for women entrepreneurs.

Photo courtesy:  Andrew Nael on Unsplash

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Smile and Have Fun on St. Patrick's Day

©2019 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, don't take yourself too seriously.  Remember to smile and have fun, especially on St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Women-Owned Businesses Are the Growth Engine for the U.S. Economy

Happy day-after International Women's Day!  I hope you celebrated the successes of women entrepreneurs all over the world.

Women-owned businesses continue to be a growth engine for the U.S. economy.  The number of women-owned businesses that applied for funding in 2018 increased by 13 percent, according to an annual study of women-owned companies by Biz2Credit, a leading online credit marketplace for small companies.
But it revealed that loans for women entrepreneurs where nearly one third less than for their male counterparts.
The study also revealed that the average loan amount for women-owned companies was $48,341 last year. The most common type of funding was working capital for business expansion.

Learn more how the lending gap narrows for women business owners, but it's still 31% less than for men.

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Experience and Wisdom Matters When Starting a Business

There is no deadline for success, period. As the the Fast Company article says:
For some entrepreneurs, figuring out their ideal industry and starting their own gig didn’t happen until they had already blown out 40 (or more) candles on their birthday cake.
Yes, entrepreneurship can happen at any time.  Tune in to these 3 dynamic women entrepreneurs who launched their businesses after 40 to hear their stories.  Don't wait.  Be inspired.

Photo by rawpixel for Unsplash

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Women Run the World

I don't care what this article below says; women still and will continue to run the world.  We have our challenges but we know how to overcome them and excel.  Lindsay Tigar, at Fast Company, may not agree with my lead statement but she at least believes the following:
But gradually and strategically—women, if you pay attention to statistics. Over the past two decades, the number of women-owned businesses has grown 114%, compared to the 44% national growth rate for all new companies. As more women venture into entrepreneurship, they will tackle the laundry list of gaps women are continuing to change.
Heck, even the great management guru Tom Peters knows that women rule.

But back to Lindsay.  Read her article on 8 predictions for the state of women entrepreneurship this year.


Saturday, February 09, 2019

Sometimes You Just Have to Chill

©2019 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
With Chicago's record-breaking low temperatures, it's a good time to hunker down and just think about what's next for a business.  New ideas.  New products.  New partnerships.  New markets.  New hires.

Then when the great thaw begins, execute on all the things you have been thinking about.  What about for you?  What are you working on?  What's next? 

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Let's Put Power in the Hands of Female Entrepreneurs

According to Mr. Robert Sauer, a professor at University of London, Royal Holloway and Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, and written for the Jerusalem Post, when women are business owners, their firms are generally smaller and are less valuable than those owned by men.
Researchers have considered a number of factors that might help explain why a gender gap in entrepreneurship might emerge. The possible explanations include gender-specific approaches to balancing career and family, different choices of business sector in which to operate, a differential aversion to financing one’s business through debt, and greater obstacles for women to access business funding in general.
The article goes on to say that a number of initiatives by policymakers and practitioners have already been introduced to try and promote female entrepreneurship. They include training programs, counseling, mentoring, and access to finance on favorable terms.

I vote that we put power in the hands of female entrepreneurs. What's your vote?

Read more about a better way forward for female entrepreneurs.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Which Countries Are Leading the Way with Female Entrepreneurs?

To create a list of the countries with the most female business owners, the CEOWORLD magazine reviewed the data from Mastercard’s Index of Women Entrepreneurs to find out which countries are leading the way when it comes to women-owned businesses.
The findings show that while the U.S. has the right conditions for female-owned businesses to thrive, women in America’s motivation to start and run a business is low as compared to the countries with high index score.
Interestingly enough, Ghana is top on the list.  The United States placed 23 out of 57 countries studied.  About a quarter of America's entrepreneurs are women.

Visit here to view the entire list.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sometimes You Just Have to Declare a Snow Day and Rest

Instead of working nonstop, sometimes you just need to declare a snow day.  That's what I did this morning in Chicago.  Here are some photos I took while hanging out downtown.  Wherever you are, enjoy your day!

All photos courtesy @2019 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Online Business Tools to Simplify and Innovate More Efficiently

Finding tools and resources specific to small business owners helps simplify and innovate more efficiently.  Here are a few, including this blog :-).

Read ... online business tools for women business owners.

Oh, and one more good list and don't forget about wegg®, which help women business owners go global.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Lessons From 4 Insanely Great and Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Below is an interview I conducted for Enterprising Women Magazine featuring [photo L-R] AJ Goehle, Kim Robinson, Sandy Marsico and Chaoran Jin -- four insanely great and successful women entrepreneurs.  I asked each entrepreneur about disruption, what they never worry about in business and what they know for sure that promises success in business.

Read the interview, "Windy City Disruptors:  Success Strategies From Women Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the Game of Business" at Enterprising Women or here (PDF).

Note:  "This content first appeared in Vol. 19, No. 3 of Enterprising Women magazine (www.enterprisingwomen.com) and is being reprinted with permission from the publisher.  All rights reserved."