4 Wardrobe Hacks for Female Entrepreneurs

When you work in a large corporation you’ll likely follow a dress code, so a few variations on classic outfits can keep you looking professional for years. But when you leave this world behind to go self-employed, a sudden fashion crisis often accompanies the many other challenges of working for yourself. So here are four wardrobe hacks for female entrepreneurs that will restore your sense of style. Continue reading

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When My Personal Finances Almost Ruined My Dream Job By Avery Taylor Phillips


I have always been a spendy person. I love to shop (who doesn’t?), and I love to pretend like I can afford that $800 couch I saw on Apartment Therapy. If you give me a credit card, it doesn’t take long for me to fill it up.

Well, when my side-hustle started to pick up steam, I thought I was well on my way to being a professional artist. Sales were increasing, profits were almost matching the income I was making at my day job, and it seemed like my ideal job working for myself was just over the horizon.

Unfortunately, my habits soon caught up with me. This is the story of how I found out (the hard way) that my personal finances ruined my dream job.

The Call to Adventure

I’ve always wanted to be a comic book artist. Ever since I was a little kid and picked up my first copy of Spider Man, I knew that my calling was in the nerd community. Of course, being an artist is extremely difficult. It’s impossible to “get rich quick,” no matter how good you are.

But that didn’t stop me from doing commissions and slowly building up a small fan base. While I was working my day job in retail — following the typical “adulting” trajectory with a 401(k), insurance, and paid vacation — I was also working on the side, creating a small but steady side-hustle business. My best sales always happened at conventions: where fellow nerds could come across my booth and “ooo” and “ahh” over my fan art. Sometimes I would walk away with a couple hundred dollars, if I was lucky.

However, I was also buying goodies at these conventions. It’s hard to remember that you’re there to make money and not there to stock up on more art, comics, and memorabilia. Sometimes those hundred dollar sales turned into $20 in take-home pay. Yikes.

Luckily my side business was doing well, for a time. I was starting to get commissions on a regular basis, and conventions were turning into fruitful weekends. I got to the point where it felt like my day job was really holding me back from my dream job. If I can make this much money on a regular basis, I sure didn’t need to waste my time working for a big corporation anymore!

Unfortunately for me, that didn’t last very long.

The Road of Trials

So it was that one fateful rainy day in September, when my car slid off the road on the way to a convention in Salt Lake City and hit a pole. Luckily, I only had a few scratches and bruises, but my trusty vehicle (the very thing I relied on to get to-and-from conventions) was totaled.

Once I was able to get back home, I had to consider my options. This car was my first, so it was gifted to me by my parents. It was probably about time I got a new one, anyways, but I had never gone through the process before. A friend drove me to a dealer in the area, and we discussed options.

I didn’t have the cash upfront to buy a car outright (my savings were limited due to my penchant for overspending), so I asked about a car loan. After a very stressful hour, the verdict came back: rejected. Turns out my lack of on-time credit card payments, as well as a couple of delinquent student loan payments, had ultimately tanked my credit score.

My spending and lack of savings had caught up to me. I needed to do a serious re-evaluation of my financial life.

Apotheosis

Things were falling apart, but I didn’t need to let that get the better of me. I just needed to budget better and work on saving money instead of spending it all. Unfortunately, my convention gigs would have to be put on hold, but I still had my day job, a coworker who was willing to carpool, and a decent Etsy shop following.

First, I looked into ways I could repair my credit by myself. I researched my options, found a great secured credit card to help build up my low score, and worked on planning out a more steady budget. My student loans also needed some help, so I researched if refinancing was a viable option. Turns out with my low credit score, refinancing wasn’t a good option at the time, but I knew that I would do it once my score was in a higher bracket.

Next, I needed to calculate my take home pay from my day job, and I needed to put a complete stop to my unnecessary spending. That was certainly the hardest task to tackle, but my entire dream job was at stake. If I wanted a car, I needed to stop buying every cute little thing I came across. I looked into some online apps and settled for Mint to help me budget. I should have started using that app much earlier!

I was able to halt my spending and start saving money. Within a few months, I was surprised and baffled to find that I could easily save up $1,000 a month if I was just smart about my money. Within a few months, I was able to buy an old used car. Within a year, I was able to trade it in for an even newer car, and my credit score had miraculously increased by almost 100 points.

Things were really looking up, but I needed to stay vigilant. Who knew when another emergency would happen?

The Freedom to Live

Fortunately for me, this sudden emergency situation helped me reorient myself on my goals. I was lucky that I hadn’t left my retail day job yet, because without it I would have gone bankrupt. However, it was through vigilant savings and through saving my credit score that I was finally able to come out of this a better person: more financially conscious, a novice saving guru, and more eager than ever to turn my side-hustle into a real business.

I’m still working on my goals of making a living doing art, but it was through this that I was able to develop healthy saving habits. This tough situation taught me how important it is to build a more financially stable ground for my potential small business. The only thing standing in the way of my dream job was my personal finances. I’m glad I learned my lesson when I did.

If you ever get to the point where you’re thinking of starting your own business, take a step back and evaluate your finances. Are you spending a lot on frivolous things? Are you spending most of your extra money instead of saving it up? Are you struggling to make payments on time and have a low credit score as a result?

Take my story as a cautionary tale and work on building up better habits for yourself so your business can succeed. The sooner you make the switch to savings, the better and more successful you will be in the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Avery Taylor Phillips – Avery is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.  Check out her blog on https://www.equities.com/user/AveryTaylorPhillips

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A Book to Restore Hope . . .

Hi! I am Shalini Trefzer, the (first-time) dreamer, writer, and author of The broken gods, now available on Amazon Kindle. Many, many years ago, this book started off as a collection of poems I wrote during a challenging period. Then, the more I wrote, the more I realized that stories are a powerful way to help us identify with people and circumstances very different from us and ours. Which seems like a good thing for the world and times in which we live. Even though the genre I chose was fiction, I have written the book from the perspective of technologists, of whom, I am one. The journey of the characters starts in the Silicon Valley and the rest, I invite you to explore for yourself!

In the book are many projects and initiatives which can be (and in some cases, are being) run to help our world. If one of them grabs your fancy, please reach out to me to explore potential collaborations.

With love and gratitude, from Basel, Switzerland. – Shalini Trefzer

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A New Era of Corporate Social Responisibility

Today, socially responsible companies tend to attract more consumers as well as the best talent, according to a 2015 global corporate social responsibility (CSR) study by Cone communications, a public relations and marketing company headquartered in Boston, NY. The study revealed that consumers are increasingly demanding companies do more to address global social issues (including gender and other diversity inequities), as well as environmental issues. Specifically, 90% of the consumers who took part in the study said they have come to expect companies to participate actively in CSR activities while 84% said they actively seek out responsible products. See the infographic below for all of the details.

To learn more, check out the infographic above created by Norwich University’s Online MBA program.

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How Female Entrepreneurs Can up Their Game With Tech Skills By Avery Taylor Phillips


If you’re not learning, you’re already falling behind. Being an entrepreneur is no walk in the park, especially if you’re a woman. The need for more entrepreneurs in the U.S. is undisputed, and though the rewards and benefits of entrepreneurship are enough to put in the effort, you need an extra edge if you want to be successful.

That’s where the tech industry comes in. Technology is everywhere; there’s no escaping it. Instead of fighting it or just learning the bare minimum, why not embrace this field and go all out? This male-dominated industry is ripe for the influence and innovation only a woman’s perspective can bring.

Tech jobs cannot be filled fast enough and many companies bemoan not being able to find enough qualified workers. Through technology, your entrepreneurial options become endless. All you have to do is take advantage of them.

Beauty and the Tech

Believe it or not, women were the pioneers of the tech industry. At one time, they even outnumbered men in this field. In the past, many women gravitated towards majoring in math, giving them the knowledge and skills that were necessary for computer science.

Women such as Jean Jennings Bartik and Grace Hopper made great advancements in this field, though they weren’t given much credit. Perhaps the lack of known female role models in technology was what led to the eventual decline of women in computer science occupations.

Many tech firms now only sport a 30 percent female employment rate. It was around the late 1980s when female computer science majors dropped below 20 percent. Before that, 40 percent of computer science majors were women.

What caused this decline? During this time, personal computers were on the rise. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were all over the news, and people took notice. Soon, computers were associated solely with boys and men.

Male students became the top picks of schools with technology programs, and women were left to pursue other degrees. However, things are changing now that the gender gap is becoming a more recognized issue in public discourse.

Tech 101

So now you have an interest in tech, but what exactly do you focus on? There are so many fields in technology to explore, and although you can’t really go wrong with any of them, here are some tech skills entrepreneurs must have to succeed:

  • Coding: learning some coding basics can do wonders for your website. HTML and CSS dictate how your site looks and works. Java and Python are other options to look into as well.
  • Big Data: Being able to analyze large sets of data and derive patterns from that data is an incredibly useful skill to have. Big data analysis can help you narrow down a target audience and inform business decisions, not to mention getting a leg up on the competition.
  • Online Accounting: Every business needs to keep their finances in order, including yours. Find an accounting software that offer billing and receipt tracking features and anything else your specific business requires.
  • The Cloud: As technology advances, more and more signs are pointing towards data storage in the cloud. That being said, you’re gonna need to learn how to use Google Drive and Dropbox (both are great timesavers and lifesavers). It makes sharing and storing content much easier.
  • Graphic Design: The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” definitely does not apply to the website of a new business. How your website looks design-wise can be as important as the business itself. Bad website and logo design can be enough to deter many potential customers. So effective content marketing graphics with Photoshop and Illustrator is a must.
  • Mobile: More likely than not, there’s probably a cellphone on your person right now. That being said, you need to make sure your business is easily accessible on peoples’ phones. Once your website is optimized for mobile users, your business will be accessible to a much wider audience.
  • Email: Email is one of the most important tech skills you can have. It is one of the quickest and easiest ways of communication and can be made even more efficient by learning shortcuts and employing automated emails.
  • Social Media: Social media skills are also a necessity to have when trying to get the word out about your business. The benefits of sharing media (such as video) for your business are numerous. You can gather a multitude of useful information from social media free of charge. Plus, it’s a way to better connect with your customers as well.

Tech Savvy Education

As mentioned before, a career in tech entails a lifetime of learning. Fortunately, there are many routes one can take to gain a better understanding of computer science. There are plenty of free resources, such as tutorials, blogs, ebooks and workshops, that are available to gain a basic understanding of a particular subject.

To get a more in-depth education, it’s best to go to school and major in a degree such as computer science. Whichever path you decide to take, it’s best to set some goals for yourself. It’s important to reach the goals you set to not only boost your confidence, but also to grow personally.

The opportunities for entrepreneurial growth are at its peak, especially if you are a woman. A female perspective is much needed and desired in this industry. Instead of waiting and letting this opportunity pass you by, take the initiative and become the newest pioneer in tech.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Avery Taylor Phillips – Avery is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.  Check out her blog on https://www.equities.com/user/AveryTaylorPhillips

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5 Online Resources to Help You Save Money

Written by Sarah Jacobs of Leap.

Quote: Imagination creates a dream, faith turns it into a reality

Story: Saving money and controlling your expenses can be a difficult thing to do if you don’t have a system for planning and documenting how much money comes in to you and what you need to spend it on. To help you in keeping track of your finances, here are five online resources that you can use. These apps can be downloaded to your smartphone and tablet for easy and regular access. Continue reading

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Simple Tweaks That Will Boost Your Productivity When Working from Home

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Whether it is running your own home business or working remotely for a large corporation, working from home is almost always a great thing. I say almost because it can also be very challenging. There are more distractions to deal with when you’re working from home. Remaining productive can also be difficult with the temptations you have around you.

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Worry not, because these challenges are easy to deal with. You can stay productive and enjoy the perks of working from home with these simple tweaks. Let’s have a look, shall we? Continue reading

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Time Management Quiz: Do You Have Time for This? Rate Yourself by Kathryn McKinnon

Time Management Quiz: Do You Have Time for This?
Rate yourself on your ability to accomplish the following:

I have time for creative or strategic thinking.
I stay focused on one thing at a time.
I have time to do what I enjoy most.
There is meaning and significance to my work and my life.

I feel connected to my company’s mission and purpose.
I am connected to my own life’s purpose.
I have opportunities for learning and growth.
I have time to do my best work.
I minimize interruptions and distractions.
I schedule time for my highest priorities.
I have systems in place to manage my time successfully.
I stay positive throughout the day.
I maintain a sense of energy throughout the day.
I understand what it takes to be successful at my job.
I balance my work and personal life.
I disengage from work.
I build healthy boundaries with my time.
I manage perfectionism and minimize procrastination.

If you don’t have the ability to accomplish the items from this Quiz, then what do you have time for and how do you spend your time?

Demand for our time is exceeding our capacity, draining us of the energy we need to bring our skills, talents and sense of purpose to our lives. Increased competitiveness, a leaner work force and a requirement to do more with less are adding to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests we feel compelled to respond to 24/7.

The truth is that we always have time for what’s most important to us. How do you  prioritize your day?

If you can’t accomplish as much as you want, especially when time and quality are of the essence, begin by tracking your time to notice how you’re prioritizing your work and tasks. You’ll start to notice patterns and unproductive habits, what distracts you, what interrupts you, the choices you’re making with your time and what gets you off track. Once you know this, you can begin to make better choices with your time. If you don’t track your time, you’ll never know what’s getting in the way of your productivity.

Or if you’re Stressed, Frustrated and Overwhelmed…

…You’re not sure how to get started, and you’re ready for executive coaching, I’d love to be the one you reach out to for help solving your time management issues and challenges.

Contact me at support@Kathryn-McKinnon.com for a complimentary Discovery Session to identify your biggest time management issue and uncover steps you can take to solve your issue.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathryn McKinnon, a Harvard Business School and Fortune 500 Executive Coach, Time Management Expert, Bestselling Author of Triple Your Time Today on Amazon, Speaker, Seminar Leader and CEO of McKinnon & Company dedicated to helping executives, professionals and business owners reduce the chaos and stress, add order and structure to the day, boost energy and explode productivity to achieve the best results with your time. https://www.Kathryn-McKinnon.com

 

 

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7 Side Hustles for Busy People Who Want to Earn Extra Cash

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

To some people, this is referred to as “moonlighting”. Other people tend to call it their “hobby that pays”. It doesn’t matter what you happen to call your side hustle, it isn’t simply something that will allow you to bring in a bit more cash. Your side hustle can actually be a quite valuable addition to your current career. It can give you the connections and skills that otherwise, you would never acquire. Let’s take a quick peek at some of the side hustles you can do that can earn you that extra money you need.  Continue reading

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Women in Business – The Legal Art of Self-Defense

Contributed article in our Women’s Health series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

There was a time when women were called the “weaker sex” or the “fairer sex,” both implying that she was too weak to do much about defending herself if the need should arise.

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Things have changed greatly in the past few decades and women are now better armed than many men and can fend for themselves with the right set of ‘tools.’ If you are a woman in business, chances are at some point in your career some ill-advised robber will try to attack you for perceived money or goods they think you might be carrying. Why not focus on learning the totally legal art of self-defense? Continue reading

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