Saturday, July 02, 2022

Escape From Corporate America Blog Celebrates Its 18th Anniversary!

©2022 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Eighteen (18) years ago today – July 2, 2004 – I [Laurel J. Delaney] started this blog, Escape From Corporate America.

Thank you for your engagement and readership all these years. We have more than 20,000 visitors a month who want to know more about breaking away from Corporate America and starting a business.  I look forward to many more years together.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Women Entrepreneurs At Their Best

Some of these women entrepreneurs are driven by a passion for their idea and moral imperatives rather than pure profit, and they keep their community, economy, and environment in mind.

In this article, you'll find women entrepreneurs who encourage more cultural and systemic changes to support other women entrepreneurs.  One gives a voice and platform to those with disabilities, another sells gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO cookies free of the top allergens, and still another makes fragrant and colorful hand-crafted soaps with whimsical names like unicorn frappuccino and pineapple flamingo.  And there are more.

Variety is the spice of life.  These women entrepreneurs know how to spice it up, go after their passion in life, and make a business out of it.  Resilience.  Tenacity.  Impact.  Women entrepreneurs at their best.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Accept Personal Responsibility

Daniel Mangena says that unless you accept full, personal responsibility for everything in your life; you're giving away your power to change it. This is where so many people go wrong when they set out to change their lives.

They sign up for a course. They change their hair color. Maybe they take up a hobby or start jogging. At some point though, the train runs into the buffers. Reality kicks in, and something goes "wrong."

So, what do you do?  Find out.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Impactful Women Entrepreneurs Should Apply: Cartier Women's Initiative

The Cartier Women’s Initiative launches applications for its 2023 edition with sustainability at the forefront may apply to receive support for their business growth.

Applications opened May 16, 2022 and remain so until June 30.

Learn more and apply.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Therapeutic Work: Helping Horses and People

Rainhorse Founder and Executive Director Maria Eastman has always had a passion for horses. She has been around horses all of her life and used to show, train and rehabilitate ex-race horses.

The mission of Rainhorse is to offer equine-assisted activities and therapies and bring the remarkable healing help of horses to people from all walks of life. Rainhorse offers equine-assisted counseling and equine-assisted learning. 

“Horses and humans are both creatures who live in communities, and we are both very sensitive to the emotional states of others in our community,” Ms. Eastman concludes. “Although, we humans often lose some of this sensitivity. At Rainhorse, clients can work to regain some of this lost connection.” 

In the aftermath of the Texas tragedy, this sounds like something many can use.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Healthy Homegrown Company Culture: 16 Ideas

Below, experts from Fast Company Executive Board share 16 practical ideas that continue to foster inclusiveness and team building at work.

Hat tip to Michelle Hayward, CEO, Bluedog for turning us on to this fantastic piece in Fast Company: "16 ideas to lead to a healthier homegrown company culture.  Her contribution is #1 (usual for her in many respects). 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Build Relationships With People You Can Help and With People Who Can Help You

This is not networking because networking is merely the process of exchanging information and developing professional contacts. Relationship building is different.  

Build the relationships – and go deep – before you need to ask for help.  By the time you need to make the ask, you have already established trust, reliability and familiarity — all the things needed to ask and receive. 

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Celebrate Your Achievements With Other Women

When you travel alone it can be scary and liberating at the same time. It pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Here are some takeaways for female business leaders and entrepreneurs from one woman who recently returned from a business trip.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Entrepreneurial Obsession by Laurel J. Delaney

Enjoy a free download of my ebook, "Entrepreneurial Obsession: 13 ways to create a brighter future for your business" – one of the most important books you'll ever read. Discover how to do something different now in order to build a successful business. Learn how to weather economic storms, live loud, and sleep like a baby during tough times.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Why It Is Necessary to Support Women Entrepreneurs Around the World

The question that all forward-looking entrepreneurs should be asking themselves as the global economy continues to develop and diversify is: what can be done to support women entrepreneurs around the world? 

According to this article, women face three specific obstacles: funding, mentorship, and experience.

By supporting programs that help women learn about the world of entrepreneurship, such as Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global's offerings, women can build strong borderless businesses faster, solidify their position in the global economy, and stay competitive in the world marketplace.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Amsterdam-Based Women Entrepreneurs Are a Force to Reckon With

Women across the globe are starting businesses in record numbers. They have busted borders, broken through stereotypes and are bringing about progressive changes in the business ecosystem.

According to data released late last year (2021) by the Dutch chamber of commerce – KVK, the number of female entrepreneurs in the Netherlands increased by 29 per cent in the past five years.

However, women are still facing challenges on their way to entrepreneurship, but their hunger for success has made them cross all roadblocks and lead their businesses.

Here are 9 Amsterdam-based female founders that are running their startups solo. 

Saturday, April 09, 2022

What Are Your Rules of Thumb?

Alan Webber is the founder of the technology business magazine Fast Company and has gone on to become Mayor of the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Many years ago I interviewed him after he wrote, “Rules of Thumb:  52 Truths For Winning At Business Without Losing Your Self."

I still love this book for all the rich insights that are straightforward and moving.  Alan was always so ahead of his time and continues to be.

Some of the answers he gave during our interview are more than ever relevant to our times.

For example, when I asked him what the gist of "Rules of Thumb" was about:

I suppose the gist of it is that we all need to pay attention to the new rules of work and life; that the world is changing and we are all responsible for how it changes — and to guide our own lives, our companies, our families, and our communities in a direction that makes sense, that works, that has positive results, and that is sustainable.

Perfect response.  But that's so Alan.  Read the entire interview here.

Saturday, April 02, 2022

Entrepreneurs Always Spot Opportunity, Especially In Times of Disruption

The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has presented both dramatic disruption and unique opportunities. In fact, more American entrepreneurs report seeing increasingly more business opportunities despite the economic challenges of the pandemic, according to research from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).

Read on to examine entrepreneurship – positive perceptions of starting a business and a world still rich with opportunities.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

The Power of Entrepreneurship, Importance of a Supportive Network and the Real Value of Education

Shakenna Williams '94, Babson College, learned the power of entrepreneurship.  She learned the importance of a supportive network.  She learned the real value of education.

Her parents owned a large beauty supply distribution company, supplying all of the Northeast, and as Williams and her brother grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, they spent every summer working in the business.

The lessons of her father and the experiences that followed now impact her work as the founder of Babson’s Black Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (BWEL) program and as the executive director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College.

Read on to discover more.  To uplift your spirits.  To get inspired.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Did These 18 Women Change the World?

Who are the most successful female entrepreneurs in America? There are too many to list, but these 18 businesswoman were chosen by Small Business Trends because they forged their own entrepreneurial journey.

From an executive chairman to world-famous recording artists, these female entrepreneurs continue to make waves throughout the business world.

The question becomes:  Did these women change or revolutionize the world with ground-breaking innovations?

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Find Ways to Support and Encourage Other Women Entrepreneurs

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself that the author [Tanya Dalton for Entrepreneur] hopes will prompt you to be part of the solution of helping more women entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Answering the 3 questions allows you to find ways to support and encourage other women business owners so we can all collectively grow.

What will you do today to support another female entrepreneur?

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Women Entrepreneurs Are On the Rise

International Women's Day (IWD), coming up on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, has been a time to recognize achievements made by women and to recommit to the fight for equality — socially, politically, and economically. 

There have been slow and steady gains in the workplace. But during the pandemic, it appears to be accelerating a generational mind shift for women.  Greater work-life flexibility and personal control of their career has become the No. 1 issue for today’s working women.

Here's what that means:  Out with Corporate America and in with entrepreneurship, which allows us to do what we love, generate revenue, care for and spend time with our families, and contribute to the health and well-being of our communities.

Read on about the wave of women entrepreneurs arising during the pandemic.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Ensuring Productivity Is the Key to Going Forward

Theo Paphitis, Chairman at Theo Paphitis Retail Group and Dragon from BBC's Dragons' Den, writes "Things I have Learnt in 2020," and little did he know at the time that the worst was not over yet on the global pandemic.  Still, his insights apply even more to our current times.  Paphitis emphasizes that ensuring productivity is the key to going forward – no matter where anyone is located or how the work gets done.

Another futuristic thought leader is Michelle Hayward, founder and CEO, Bluedog. In her article, "Let's not go back!," she talks about how now is the time for people to propel themselves into futures they've been too tired and stressed to imagine.  "Let's hold space for the possibility of a new future by limiting language that speaks to the prospect of reliving the past," she says.

Two entirely different thought leaders from different parts of the world yet they meet at the same point:  We can't go back and we must create a new future.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Be Interesting But Not Complicated

"My father was not a complicated man.” ~ Diane Disney Miller (daughter of Walt Disney)

Innovation is such a personal, creative endeavor, but the influence of others plays a big role in helping us succeed. 

Here I share insights from some of those who’ve inspired me when it comes to developing innovative practices in my business. Perhaps they will have the same effect on you.  At the end of each passage, there’s a lesson learned along with a big question to get a conversation going. 

If nothing else, this article will encourage you to take time out to reflect and work a little magic on the innovation front.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Power of Networking to Build Confidence, Create Connections and Accelerate Opportunities

To understand what helps female entrepreneurs thrive at a higher level, Forbes contributor Kathy Caprino interviews Pat Hedley, investor, advisor and author of Meet 100 People: A How-To Guide to the Career and Life Edge Everyone’s Missing. After a nearly 30-year career with global growth investor General Atlantic, Hedley is now a private investor and advisor to growth companies and a passionate advocate for intentional and generous relationship building. 

Here's what she had to say, oh, and one quick snippet from when Pat was asked why networking is so important for entrepreneurs generally, but especially for female entrepreneurs.

Networking is essential for entrepreneurs because founders are highly reliant on accessing resources and information they don’t already have to start and build a business. Even if one has a great idea, executing on that idea requires an extensive network of individuals including employees, customers/clients, investors, advisors and influencers.

Read on for the full interview.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Women Entrepreneurs Tackle BIG Ideas

Female entrepreneurs are still receiving little capital.  Wired reports:

“Startups with a woman founder raised $25 billion in the first half of 2021—more than the total amount raised by women any full year prior.”

While the incremental changes are noticeable, we aren’t close to where we need to be.

After years of witnessing these founders' struggles and limited access to capital, Dr. Silvia Mah, partner at Ad Astra Ventures, who helps women founders grow innovative startups tackling big ideas, is determined that there are certain things the VC industry can do to level the playing field.

Here are three

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Helping Black Women Entrepreneurs Start and Expand a Business

A growing number of firms have opened their treasure chests to Black woman entrepreneurs. They, in turn, are often using the financing to help other Black women start or expand a business.

The median seed funding raised by a Black woman founder is $125,000, nowhere near the national median of $2.5 million in 2020, according to ProjectDiane. In the first half of 2021, Crunchbase data revealed that only 0.34% of capital went to businesses run by Black women.

The article for Black Enterprise Magazine goes on to say that more efforts are surfacing to provide funding to Black women, or people of color in general, such as the Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women initiative, Fortune reported. One firm that is seeing the capital flowing steadily is the Fearless Fund, which works to increase Black representation in venture capital and support women of color.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Learn to Love Uncertainty

What’s keeping you up at night?  That's a key question to ask a business owner or top level executive if you want to find out what's really going on with them.

Being a small business owner myself and a formally trained facilitator, I decided to take a different approach and asked 20 presidents of small businesses in marketing, interior design, insurance and a variety of other industries what’s allowing them to get a good night’s rest.

Here are the highlights of what they shared, one being "Learn to not just live with but love uncertainty."

How a Business Owner Can Sleep Like a Baby During Tough Times, by Laurel J. Delaney for American Express.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) Provide Affordable Financing to Women

Congress created Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in 1994 to provide affordable financing to women, minority, and other underestimated entrepreneurs.

CDFIs hope, through financing, is to help women entrepreneurs rebound faster and grow stronger, healthier businesses despite the pandemic.

CDFIs are mission, not profit-driven. They have lower requirements regarding years in business, credit score (or no credit score), and collateral. Entrepreneurs still have to prove that they're creditworthy, but CDFIs work with entrepreneurs whom banks typically turn away. CDFIs have proven that financing women- and minority-business owners are NOT risky.

Think of them as first responders for women entrepreneurs.  How will you use a CDFI loan to become a healthier, stronger business in 2022?

Source:  Our esteemed colleague and friend, Geri Stengel, who contributes to Forbes on a regular basis.  She is a big supporter of women business owners.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Begin Again

©2022 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again." – Buddha