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Business // April 22, 2013 

Whenever I work with clients, I’m a little bit of a party pooper. I’m always reminding them about CAN-SPAM laws and Facebook regulations. I’m not the cool consultant who lets you underage drink at my house and won’t tell your parents. Over here it’s lights out at 10 with a cup of warm milk.

That might not be for everyone, and I totally get that. But it’s my job as a professional to work ethically and keep my clients up-to-date.

And there’s a reason I really like following the rules – because as a consumer, it really irritates me when brands break them! Especially when it comes to email communications. Recently, I’ve received a few emails that I never opted in to receive and that have no way – that I can identify – to opt out. So, my only option would be to send an email directly to the person and hope that she removes me from her list. That’s not cool. It’s awkward and annoying. And, it’s against the rules.

Spamming people does not make them want to buy your product. It does not make people want to refer their colleagues to you. It just makes them mad and then, in turn, makes them passively aggressively write nasty articles about you.

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So, if you’re thinking about sending emails to your clients and prospects (which can be a very effective strategy for some businesses) here’s what you should do:

  • Set up an account with MailChimp. It’s free and very easy to use.
  • Create a list and opt-in form in your new account. You can even add a code on your website and Facebook page to capture addresses.
  • Promote your sign-up form. Publicize it on Twitter, Facebook and in your email signature line. Send personal emails to your contacts asking that they sign up and give them a great reason why (discounts, tips, VIP access…)
  • Generate great content and send it to the people that WANT it.

When you use a service like MailChimp, you are sure that everyone has opted in and that they can easily opt out if the information is no longer needed. It’s a simple and free process and it will actually help build your list beyond people you know personally or have met at a networking event.

Published in Business

Style // January 13, 2014

In dating, as in life, how you show up speaks volumes before you even get the chance to share how witty, smart and accomplished you are already.  So, you have to show up as the best version of you. How can your potential partner connect with you if you aren’t feeling like your most beautiful, confident self?

We may be talking dating and attraction and style here, but the first step for attracting your ideal guy is all about YOU. Your hopes, dreams, career ambitions, lifestyle wants, values, etc. You want a guy (or gal) who complements you, your goals and your lifestyle. Maybe they push you a bit outside of your comfort zone, but in a way that helps you grow.

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Style is not about frivolity. Great style means creating an outer presentation that reflects the inner you. So be clear on your values and WHO you are before you even start to incorporate the following hints and tips to put a little extra polish on your look.

Wear Color

Color influences your mood as well as how other people perceive you. How many times do you get complimented when you’re wearing your favorite hue?

People notice color. Especially in a sea of boring black and white.

Your favorite color actually speaks volumes about your personality. My website has a great, yet quick summary of the meaning of each shade.

Flattering Fit

This is the number one mistake women make. Either their clothes are too big or too tight. Neither is good. Usually, women who want to hide are wearing clothes that are too big so they don’t show their body. Well instead, you’re making yourself look bigger than you are! You want clothes to skim your body and show your shape. You shouldn’t have to tug at a dress to keep it in place, nor should it bunch up in a funny way because it’s too tight.

An easy go-to look if you want to cover a bit, but still look alluring? Skinny jeans + heels + flowing blouse + sexy accessories.

Now when I say flowing, I mean something that really flows. Not a potato sack. You should be able to see your waist and shape, but be forgiving.

Accentuate the Positive

If you’ve got a great bum, rock it by wearing blouses that hit at the hip bone. If you’ve got a great rack, flaunt it (tastefully)! If you’ve got strong legs or arms, show them off!

Dress to accentuate your assets. Every woman’s body is different and there is someone to love every body type. So stop trying to have the tiniest waist or the smallest thighs. Your body is perfect just as it is, to that perfect person. So, work it!

Wear skirts if your legs are your assets. If you’ve got killer curves, focus on fitted outfits that define your waist.


If you’ve got some rock n’ roll in you, let it rock. If you’re the girl who could spend a whole day reading, own your nerdy. If Saturday morning golf sounds perfect, then you may have a bit of prep in your style. Maybe you’ve got a blend of preppy-rock-nerd that is uniquely YOU.

The bottom line is that you can’t try to dress like anyone else. You can go outside of your comfort zone to grow to the next level in style, but do not go out of your comfort zone for the sake of a trend. You have to be you. Bring out the best version of yourself by wearing color, clothes that fit and adding a bit of personality to your style.

You can take these tips and apply them to dating, speaking on stage, showing up for work and in your everyday casual life.  Your personal style should translate across all of these different lifestyle needs. If you’re being true to you, your style can attract more than just love.

Published in Style
Monday, 16 December 2013 04:12

Relationships | How to Break Up

Relationships // December 16, 2013

When it comes to romantic relationships, almost nothing is more anxiety provoking than these two words: break up. It just sounds traumatic, doesn’t it? I guess that’s why we do crazy passive-aggressive things to end relationships instead of just confronting it head-on. Things like: 1. Not answer the phone as much (great idea: make him call you more) 2. Take hours to reply to text messages and hope he gets the hint (because text messages can transmit your internal motivations) 3. Be super busy at work (because it’s super realistic to be working 24/7/365 and never have time to eat or sleep, let alone reply to a text message). Stop the madness! I know this isn’t easy, but hopefully these tips can help you in this process.

  • It may sound trite, but think about how you would want to be treated if you were the one being broken up with. Seriously, though. Would you want someone screaming and yelling at you telling you all the reasons you are a terrible match for them? Or being mean and telling you why the way you chew food is annoying? I would imagine that you would want someone to talk to you and not play the blame game with you. If you feel that the person is not a good match for you, or the relationship is not working out, it is okay to say that. But, it is a good rule of thumb to be mindful of your delivery and tone. (Unless the guy was a raging jerk to you, then, I will gladly write another article on this topic from a different vantage point).
  • Think about what you are going to say. It seems counterintuitive, but you would be surprised how many people initiate a break-up while sputtering out sentence fragments and things that don’t make sense. If you have made the decision to break up with the person, you don’t want to leave room for them to say things like, “What? Can you explain yourself better?” This can open the door to an unintended argument or a conversation that will feel like it is never-ending.

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  • A break-up is not the appropriate time to initiate sex. No, it’s not “Goodbye sex.” It’s not “Well, this is the last time I will have sex with him!” Sex during a break up is confusing for both parties, and it makes things messy. It also makes you look very unsure of yourself and hard to take seriously. If you are so overwhelmed by his sexual prowess, call him rather than ending things face to face.
  • If you care at all about the person, allow them time to share their feelings on the matter. I am not saying let him talk you into anything, but provide some space for him to talk if he chooses to do so. Try not to make the break up a forum for all your reasons why “this isn’t working for me.” All break up’s don’t have to lead into oblivion and be contentious. I am not saying that either one of you will feel fantastic, but feeling not so great is a heck of a lot better than feeling awful and unresolved.

Yes, ending a relationship can be a difficult and delicate situation. But, it doesn’t have to result in you or your significant other throwing things. Good communication can help smooth over the conversation. Do this the right way and you may end up with a friend rather than just an ex.

Published in Relationships
Monday, 23 September 2013 02:16

Health | The Truth About Waxing

Health // September 23, 2013

Your best friend does it. Your little sister does it. Your next door neighbor probably does it, too.

We're talking bikini waxing -- arguably the second most painful thing to happen to our lady parts next to childbirth. Once considered taboo, pubic hair removal is now something we don’t need to "beat around the bush" about; women from all backgrounds are pouring into salons across the country to get their hair down there bikini-ready. However popular the service may be, some of us still have our doubts and haven't yet tried it out. Esthetician Heather Nelson, owner of WAX by Heather Nelson and creator of "The 7 Minute Brazilian Wax," has seen her fair share of inquisitive first-time waxers and answered their questions. In order to debunk the myths and help us to physically (and mentally) prepare for our debut wax, Heather breaks down the top 5 things we need to do before receiving the signature service:


Before you step foot into any waxing parlour, make sure you've taken a nice hot shower and exfoliated the area. "Get down there and scrub all the dead skin away," Nelson says. Warm water opens up pores and regular exfoliating can lessen the likelihood of ingrown hairs and promotes silky, smooth skin.

2. How long is TOO long?

Been a while since your last "haircut"? Don't be embarrassed ladies -- that's actually a good thing! "I get this all the time!” the wax guru says. "Ideally, hair should be between 1/4 of an inch to 3/8 of an inch long. The longer the hair, the easier it is to pull from the root -- as opposed to just ripping at the skin." Don't want to estimate what 3/8 of an inch looks like? Waxing generally lasts anywhere from three to five weeks, so schedule appointments anywhere from four to six weeks apart. Extra incentive: the longer the hair, the less tearing it out hurts!

3. AHA! So it does hurt! Anything I can do to make it less painful?

"Yes, waxing hurts. It's not the most comfortable feeling in the world, but like anything the more you do it, the more accustomed to the sensation you become," Heather states. Think taking a shot will help loosen you up and make the wax easier to deal with? Think again. Alcohol is dehydrating and makes skin more sensitive to pain. Nelson suggests avoiding caffeinated drinks and steering clear of direct sunlight for 48 hours pre wax appointment. She also recommends taking a pain reliever 30 minutes before your service to ease the discomfort of waxing.

4. Brazilian vs. Bikini - What's the Difference?

Brazil has birthed some pretty remarkable exports; supermodel Giselle Bundchen, the Brazilian butt lift workouts and of course, the Brazilian wax. In short, a bikini wax is removing all the hair that could potentially be seen whilst wearing a bikini and a Brazilian wax is umm....all the hair you can and can't see whilst in a bikini. Heather has perfected her waxing technique to accommodate a comprehensive Brazilian wax in seven minutes, so if you are bold enough to go completely bare down there, at least you aren't on the table for too long.

5. Don't DIY

Think you can do a little shaving or home waxing kit touch ups between appointments? It's best to leave the hair removal to the pros. Certified estheticians are well versed in the ways of what works for skin and the most effective ways to maintain it. Likewise, if you have any skin allergies, health conditions or are on any type of topical medications (Accutane, Retin - A, AHA's), let your waxologist know before you book your appointment; certain meds don’t go well with waxing services.

Now you should feel completely at ease about bikini waxing and know what to expect when you do decide to get your first wax. For more information about hair removal by waxing and more expert insight from Heather, click here.

Published in Health
Monday, 09 September 2013 05:24

Lifestyle | Quick & Dirty Guide To Football

Lifestyle // September 9, 2013

It happens on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights all across America. A typical scene of men staring at the TV, and only coming up for air to grab another plate of hot wings or high-five someone. Expletives get thrown across the room about a bad call from the referee, while you sit quietly pretending you knew that when the the commentator mentioned the “tight end” he wasn’t talking about #54 in those cute little pants. I’ve been in this position before, but fear not, ladies, we don’t have to fake it anymore. For those of us who need a little help, here’s a basic course in football lingo and understanding the game, so maybe next time we can actually join the conversation.

First things first, we have to “tackle” exactly what football is.  The game is played on a 120-yard field divided into 10-yard increments: 100 yards of playing field, and ten yards for each end zone that the players cross into in order to score points.  Football is broken into two sides - offense and defense. OK, class dismissed...yea right, there's more.

How To Score

The way to get the most points at one time is to score a touchdown. Touchdowns are worth six points and happen when the offensive team runs the ball or catches a pass into the defensive team’s end zone. After a touchdown is scored, the team gets to choose if they want to attempt a short kick between two goal posts from the two-yard line for one point (this is called a PAT, or point after conversion) or line up at the two-yard line to run or catch the ball in the end zone, again for two points. This is called a two-point conversion. A team can also score three points by kicking a field goal. This is similar to a “PAT”, but it can be attempted from anywhere on the field. This option is often chosen when it is fourth down and scoring a touchdown is unlikely.

4th & 10, come again? What’s a “down”?

Simply put, a down is a play. The team with the ball has four chances to move the ball ten yards. Sounds easy, but apparently it’s SUPER hard. Each time an attempt to run the ball ends, it’s called a down.  If they get ten yards, they start over with a first down and get another four chances to move the ball another ten yards. Occasionally, you’ll hear phrases like “2nd and 8” or “3rd and 1”.  The first number symbolizes what down they’re on and the second number indicates the number of yards they have left to go. If the team doesn't move ten yards in four downs, the other team gets the ball. If it’s starting to look tricky on the 4th down, the team then decides to either kick a field goal (if they’re close enough) or punt the ball down the field (so it’s farther from their own end zone when the other team gets it).

The Players

Although it looks like a small village, there are only 11 guys from each team allowed on the field at a time. Here are some of them and what their position means:

Offensive Players:

Center: the guy literally in the center of the offensive line. He starts the play by “hiking” (that little squat thing where they pass the ball between their legs) to the quarterback. The passing of the ball is called a “hike” or a “snap”.
Quarterback: If nothing else, we know who this guy is. He’s the one who receives the ball from the Center. Once he has it, he decides if he wants to hand off the ball to a running back, run the ball himself, throw it to another player further down the field or pass it off to someone closer. He’s also the ringleader of the team – he interprets the coach’s plays and can even call “audibles”; a verbal on-field edit to one of the coach’s plays.
Offensive guard: The two guys on either side of the Center.
Offensive tackle: The two guys on either side of the Guards.
Tight end: Plays next to the tackle. (The guards, tackles and tight ends make up    the “Offensive Line.”) Depending on the play called, they will block/protect the QB, block on a running play, or go out for a pass.
Wide receivers: Their job is to get open to receive a pass down the field; they also block on running plays.
Fullback: Primary role is to “lead” block for the running back or protect the QB on pass plays, will occasionally run or catch passes.
Running Back: They run, they block, they receive; they do it all.

Defensive Players

Nose guard: Parallel to the other team’s Center; his job is to rush, tackle the passer or QB and stop or tackle the ball carrier.
Defensive tackle: Linemen that rush the passer or tackle the ball carrier.
Defensive ends: Stops or contains plays that go outside of the defensive line.
Linebacker: Rush the passers, cover receivers, stop the runner, basically they do whatever needs to be done to stop a play.
Cornerback: Defend the wide receivers, tackle the ball carrier.
Safety: Safety position is divided into two categories. There’s the “strong safety” that lines up according to the offensive alignment (i.e. opposite the s tight end), and then there is the “free safety” that defends running and passing plays, generally “roaming” the field, going to where he is most needed (also called “playing center field”).

So there you have it; a girl’s guide to understanding the ins and outs (or x's and o's) of football. There’s always more to learn about the game, like statistics, penalties and play strategies, but that knowledge comes with years of following the game. For our basic understanding for the 2013-2014 football season, just know that the quarterback is the one most girls fawn over and nobody likes The Dallas Cowboys.

Published in Lifestyle
Friday, 09 August 2013 03:38

Style | Should You Hire A Stylist?

Style // August 12, 2013

Having a personal stylist isn’t just for celebrities. Any woman who wants to improve her quality of life personally and professionally should try working with a stylist.

Why? Let’s break it down.

Learning how to dress your body type -- and knowing what’s appropriate for different settings -- will help you dress to impress at any event. This will give you the kind of confidence that turns heads and allow you to be more visible both personally and professionally.

Think about it: if you’re in line for coffee behind a hottie but you feel frumpy in your outfit, would you have the confidence to start a little small talk conversation? Not likely. And who knows where that conversation could potentially lead…

It’s you, only better. If you’re working with the right stylist, they will bring out your inner style;  tweaking what you’ve already got so that it’s still authentic, but much more polished and pulled together.

Why does it matter if you’re more polished and pulled together? Because you lead with your look. Communication is 55% physical and, when you meet someone, you’re making a first impression before you even have a chance to speak your brilliant thoughts. You better take advantage of that 55% and comb your hair, define your waist, add some mascara and shine your shoes!

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Need more convincing? You can actually save time and money when you work with a stylist. Of course, you have to invest in the service. But what you spend on the service saves you time getting ready every morning and makes shopping a more streamlined and fun experience.

If you have a little extra money to invest in yourself, having a stylist shop for you is a transformative experience. Items selected just for you and your personal style are brought to you in the comfort of your own home.

In the long run, you save thousands by working with a stylist since you’ll have clothes you love, that fit better and allow you to create new outfits. Compare this to the clothes you have still sitting in your closet with the price tags on them and it’s a bargain!

To get the most out of working with a stylist, you need to keep in mind that you’re making an investment in your sanity as much as in your style and career (and love life!). Book an appointment or a “style session” first to purge and take stock of your wardrobe. Since many women are overwhelmed by the information they get in the first session, opt for 3 or more sessions over the course of the year. This way, you’re updating your looks seasonally and further integrating all the tools your genius stylist is giving you. Under the tutelage of your stylist, you’ll soon be able to create killer outfits on your own.

The bottom line: once you work with a stylist, you’ll be able to open your closet each morning and decide exactly what you want to wear in five minutes instead of twenty. And you’ll always have something ready for that last-minute special event. If you have the resources, investing in a stylist will take your wardrobe -- and your personal brand -- to the next level. Plus, it’s FUN!

Published in Fashion

Business // July 15, 2013

We are surrounded by managers. Managers are responsible for organizing and maintaining our organizations, teams, families and more. Managers are great, but there are important differences between managers and leaders -- and they should not be confused. The biggest difference lies in the fact that managers will never change the world.

Every once in awhile, you run into a leader. You can spot them because leaders always see the silver lining.  They’re the people who always see the glass as “half full,” not because they’re delusional, but because of how they seem to know where the water is. They don’t just see problems. They also see the opportunities and then they seize them. Instead of waiting for a big break, they create their own luck. Leaders are the ones with the power to change the world, and they are in high demand in every segment of our society.  

On the inside, many of us hear an inner voice telling us that it’s time to start making an impact -- to move to the front and lead. But how do you become a leader? Below are some principles of authentic leadership. Transforming yourself into a leader takes work. But if you start to take on the mindset of a leader, you will see your families, workplaces, and communities change.

Managers focus on systems and structure. Leaders focus on people.

Both managers and leaders can be identified by what they focus on. Managers obsess over protocol and rules, while leaders are more concerned with the individuals that make up the team. Leaders know that the potential of any organization lies within the individual.

The manager relies on control. The leader inspires action.

Some people try to “lead” by using manipulation or guilt to get things done. This type of control is not true leadership. It may be effective for a time, but soon burnout or resentment will set in. On the other hand, leaders inspire others to find motivation within themselves. The result is a person who has become a self-starter and no longer has to rely on the overbearing superior to spur them into productivity.

The manager always has his or her eye on the bottom line. The leader’s eye is on the horizon.

Managers are always focused on, and, in many cases, worried about money. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you are always focused on the bills or the overhead, you cannot look forward to new ideas and opportunities.  I believe that money should never be the goal of your efforts. The goal should be to contribute your best. Money is the result and product of your work.  

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The manager asks how and when. The leader asks what and why.

Managers are interested in fulfilling their duties and completing their objectives, and oftentimes they do this mindlessly. But leaders are interested in the purpose of their work and what they can bring to the table.  They’re after significance, and they want their work to matter.

Managers accept the status quo. Leaders challenge it.

Some people are afraid of change, and they get uncomfortable with anything that looks or feels different than the norm. These people can be good managers, but at this stage they are not leaders. Leaders embrace change, especially when change is needed. They push the boundaries of status quo, and because of their slightly rebellious nature, they are often the ones that find the new ideas first. These are the type of people who are sought after by companies like Apple and Google, because companies like that know that this mindset is the difference between stagnation and innovation.

As a word of warning, while you will find much success from following these principles, you may also experience criticism, obstacles, and all kinds of “player hating.”  It’s lonely at the top, and some people will take pleasure in sabotaging your progress. But you are too important to let them discourage you. We need leaders, and you might be the one destined to bring new life to your family, company, or the world.

Published in Business

Lifestyle // June 17, 2013

Each month this summer Lindsay Jones of will pick one ingredient that is usually overlooked and share her tips on how to use it. Spice up your dishes and your life by trying something new! Read the other entries here.

What exactly is that white and green, bulbous thing sitting on the produce shelf with celeryesque stalks decorated by fine, feathery fronds? Why, it’s FENNEL my friend—a refreshing and delicious vegetable. The flavor is slightly sweet, with notes of mellow black licorice and crisp texture.

I had my first “fennel flirtation” at a cozy little cafe in Laguna Beach. I was sitting at a tiny table in front of an open window facing the ocean, breathing in the damp sea and feeling the cool, salty breeze. I wanted a light snack with bright flavors. Always one to try something new, I ordered the shaved fennel salad with blood orange supremes, cracked black pepper and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The subtle hints of black licorice from the fennel danced beautifully with the sour lemon, spicy pepper and sweet, juicy orange pieces. I became a fennel fan right then and there. Now I pass along to you some fun fennel facts as well as my three favorite ways to enjoy fennel.

What is Fennel?

Fennel is used frequently in Mediterranean and Italian cooking, but there are endless ways to create edible delights with this member of the Umbelliferae family. Carrots, parsley, dill and coriander are all relatives of this versatile veggie. Some will tell you fennel is also called anise, but it’s not. They are two different plants (though related), and if you need proof, click here.

Eat This With That...

Fennel pairs well with the following: butter, celery root, cheese, chestnuts, citrus, coriander, cream, fruit, garlic, hearts of palm, lemon, mushrooms, olive oil, olives, onions, oranges, pancetta, peppers, Pernod, potatoes, sherry, thyme, tomatoes, truffles, and vinaigrette. The best part? Experimenting with these combinations may produce magical results! Fennel can be served raw, roasted, braised, grilled, deep fried, pureed, sautéed and in soups.

Fennel Facts

The bulb, stalks, and fronds are all edible parts of the fennel plant, but the bulb is the section most commonly used in cooking, while the stalks and fronds are generally used for garnish. To prepare fennel, cut off the stalks and fronds (perhaps save for garnish or stock). If the bulb is large, you might want to peel off the thicker outer layer. Next slice off the root end and shave it, slice it, dice it, cut it into wedges or roast it whole!

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3 Fabulous Fennel Recipes

Shaved Fennel Grapefruit Salad with Pea Shoots and Vodka Citrus Vinaigrette My favorite way to eat fennel is shaved-thin and raw in salads with a perfect amount of sea salt and citrus. This is when I can really taste the licorice flavor that I love!

Scallop Fennel Chowder {By Coconut & Lime} Fennel is delicious is many soups, but this chowder, made with sweet scallops, shallots, and bacon won my heart recently.

Pecorino-Roasted Fennel and Carrots {By Buff Chickpea} Roasting fennel is one rockin’ way to enjoy this unique vegetable. It brings out the sweetness and is an easy side dish to make that still brings a fair amount of flare to the table.

So, the next time you’re shopping, toss a few fennel bulbs in the basket and have fun flirting with this healthy, fabulous food.

Published in Lifestyle

Business // May 6, 2013 

Being an ambitious entrepreneur is a gift and a curse. On the one hand you get things done. You have a vision, you started a business and you’re making a difference in this world (and some money). On the other hand, your schedule is overflowing with client work, networking events and business opportunities. There is always something more you could be doing. The questions becomes: How do you fit it all in?

Here are some tips for managing your schedule as a busy entrepreneur:

Focus on the Big Rocks. Stephen Covey famously spoke about putting your “Big Rocks” first. Look at the mission of your business. What are you trying to accomplish? What is your purpose? Each day, think about the three most important things that will help you move forward on your business – your Big Rocks – and create a schedule to get them finished first. Once you’ve completed your Big Rocks for the day, you can move on to less important activities. And on those days that you’re only able to get one or two things accomplished – it happens to the best of us – at least you know you’ve tackled the most important things on your list.

Bucket Your Tasks. Set your schedule up so that you’re working on similar tasks all day. For example, I schedule all client meetings and coaching calls for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Mondays are reserved for writing and planning. Fridays are my admin day. Creating a solid schedule helps in two ways: 1) you’re not constantly bouncing from task to task and 2) you know exactly what you’ll be working on each day.

Get Rid of the Fluff. Let’s be honest. There are going to be things that just never get done. If you take an honest look at your day’s activities, you’ll see that there are some activities that you’ve picked up along the way that are no longer serving you. Maybe you had a problem saying “no” or maybe it’s something that seemed exciting when you first took it on. Either way, if it is not serving your bottom line, it needs to go. Does this activity align with your purpose and move you forward? If not, then it is time to place it on the back burner.

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Figure out Your Energy Zones. Take a look at your energy levels throughout the day and schedule high energy activities when you feel the most alive. Are you a morning person? Crank through your to-do list early on. Do you find your stride after lunch? Schedule your tough mental tasks then.

Take It Easy. Part of the fun of being an entrepreneur is making your own schedule. Make sure to schedule breaks and down time so that you can refresh. That might mean hitting up the gym during lunch or simply setting a timer so that you take periodic breaks throughout the day. Don’t get too down on yourself for having an off day – we all need a break sometimes.

Keep it Professional. Full time entrepreneurs can find themselves slacking on the rigid scheduling. Early morning meetings are replaced with nooners. Business professional clothes are replaced with PJ’s... all day long. It’s fine to make your own rules if you are running the show, but try not to let all of your professionalism go out the window. Keep a clear, daily schedule even if you don’t go into the office everyday.

Once you are able to lock in a solid schedule, you’ll be able to focus on your revenue generating activities and really grow your business. Get laser focused on the activities that will move you forward and let the rest fall to the wayside. And when in doubt, take a little break!

Published in Entrepreneurship
Monday, 25 February 2013 04:30

Entrepreneurship | Checklist for Start-Ups

Entrepreneurship // February 24, 2013

If you’ve decided to try your hand at running a start-up, you’re brave. It takes a lot of guts to make a go of it on your own. But you’re not alone. Over seven million people make the leap and start their own business each year. That’s a lot of new businesses!

One of the fastest growing sectors of new companies are tech start-ups, where we’re seeing more and more women in charge. While the numbers right now aren‘t great – currently fewer than five percent of tech start-ups are run by women – that number is climbing rapidly.

If you’re a woman thinking of becoming one of these pioneering tech bosses, kudos to you! But that doesn’t mean you can go out there without knowing what needs to be done. Once you decide to get into entrepreneurship, you need to assemble a Start-Up Checklist.

What’s the Start-up Checklist?

It’s every minor thing a woman must do if she is thinking of starting her own company. It’s easy to remember the Big Stuff: get an idea, get an office, get a loan. (Well, maybe not so easy. )

But what about the intangibles that aren’t required by law? Those are the ones  that entrepreneurs sadly overlook quite often. And it’s easy to do because you don’t often read about them.

Unless they’re on your checklist!

So what are these things that need to go on this list?

1. Decide what entity is best for you.

One of the most important decisions an entity can make is deciding how their company will be structured. Will you be an LLC? A corporation? Perhaps a partnership? Whichever one you pick, it will have serious consequences, both for how your business runs and how it is taxed.

Once it’s decided, then you need to draw up your governing document. For an LLC, this is called an OA. For a corporation, it’s called your bylaws. They’re essentially the laws of your company. And they are a necessity if you want to protect yourself.

Picking the best structure for your needs can be the difference between glory and ignominy. Once you organize, you need to get everything down in writing. Especially from your employees.

2. Get an NDA.

A non-disclosure agreement, colloquially known as an NDA, is possibly the most overlooked document that every start-up needs and so few have. It can save your company from losing what is often its most important aspects: that is, its ideas.

An NDA assures that employees can’t spill the beans concerning trade secrets and other sensitive information. But more than just making sure everyone keeps their trap shut, NDAs ensure that in the event that your intellectual property does get out there, you can be compensated for the damages. Otherwise, you might be left with a super unique, money making idea that everyone else has now too.

3. Draw up and employee handbook.

Employee handbooks don’t just tell employees what the policy  is for replacing the yogurt in the company fridge. Employee handbooks act as a way of ensuring there is zero confusion over what employees are allowed to do and what they are not. It clears the air concerning the rules and regulations in the business. And this can be invaluable if an employee ever sues you.

4. Draft an agreement for independent contractors.

The shift to using independent contractors is a trend that’s been sweeping the tech world for some time now. But the line between an employee and an independent contractor is often a thin one indeed. It’s not uncommon for workers classified as independent contractors to sue for the rights normally given to employees. If you haven’t had a worker sign something detailing what the arrangement is, you could be on the hook for providing all the perks to a contractor that an employee gets.

If you haven’t noticed, a lot of these tasks are in place to protect an entrepreneur from going into the courtroom. It’s because that’s the one thing start-ups never dream could happen but often does: legal trouble. Protecting yourself starts with getting it in writing. Of course there are a million things that a new entrepreneur needs to do before they reach success. But this checklist should help you have a smoother ride on the way there.

Published in Entrepreneurship
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