Small Business Saturdays: Shana Yao

Shana Yao: Small Business Saturdays

 

 

Today’s small business owner is Shana Yao, the owner of Your Marketing Mastermind. She’s a biz strategist/mentor with a unique perspective on creative businesses (I should know – I’ll be working with her next year!). Take it away, Shana!

Tell me what you do!

I’m a business and marketing strategist and CEO and Founder of Your Marketing Mastermind. I work with people to design their business based on their strengths, talents, and life experience and put it into a long term, profit-generating business model. :)

Why did you choose to create your own path instead of having a traditional career?

I actually didn’t do it on purpose. I had gotten laid off in 2009 due to the economy, and because my background was so shopping center specific (I was a shopping center marketing director for 15 years) I couldn’t get a job.

I did contract work but continued looking for full time employment making 6 figures like I was when I was laid off. But I couldn’t get hired. After many years, I think I became irrelevant to the traditional work environment.

Then I got a chronic illness – connective tissue disorder that caused me to develop a colorectal problem, causing me to be in the bathroom for up to 6 hours a day. It became clear I couldn’t even take a job if I did get one. So I had no other choice but to start a business.

Have any of your previous jobs or experiences prepared you for running your current business?

I have been in business and marketing for 25 years – specifically retail and shopping center marketing. I have worked with thousands of businesses and many different business models and it was my life to understand consumer behavior in addition to designing marketing programs to not only attract people but to authentically engage them.

I was responsible for million dollar marketing budgets, operations, managing a staff, connecting to the community, and individual store owners.

What inspires you to keep going when it comes to your business?

The people I meet who are just like me – brilliant minded people with incredible lives – stuck in the thinking they have to do everything “Right”. They never knew they had a choice to choose their identity, and they don’t know how to get that brilliance out into a profitable and authentic business.

What do you do when you doubt yourself?

I move past the emotion and focus on the people I help, and on my dog Harlow. They move me past self-sabotage.

Could you give me a glimpse into your daily schedule?
I’m OCD (literally) so I live this everyday –
Up at 6
Bathroom
7:30: Running with Harlow
8:30: Laundry, connection to my private community and online, breakfast, then bathroom, shower
(this is where my main intensive audio training happens)
12 – 4: Work
4 – 7: Dog park
7-10: Work and eat
10: Walk with Harlow
11: Shower/work
1: Bed

How do you get productive?

I have a schedule that works with my life and I stick to it.

What is your favorite business tool? Why?

My laptop. Because I wouldn’t have a business without it.

What are three items that are currently on your to do list?

  • Finish my Beyond the Mastermind program (I already have people that want to do it!) (Editor’s note: me included!)
  • Finish my Beyond the Mastermind content
  • Order another pair of jeans because my current ones are so old they are ripping :) Can’t seem to get to shopping!

When you aren’t working your butt off, what do you like to do?

Work IS fun! And walking with Harlow.

Tell me something unusual about you.

I have 2 dislocated thumbs (from my condition), I really believe your real job in life is to become the person you are meant to be, and I shed tears in private when I think about how wonderful my clients are.

Give a short, actionable tip to help others build a life that they love.

Move toward what inspires you. It will always lead you to the next thing you are meant to do.

 

Thanks, Shana! Check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


Small Business Saturdays: Jessica Lawlor

Small Business Saturdays: Jessica Lawlor
Photo credit: Stephanie L. McNeil

Hey everybody! Today I’m featuring Jessica Lawlor, a PR professional by day and freelance writer by night. She’s always finding new ways to Get Gutsy, starting with her blog. Take it away, Jess!

Tell me what you do!

I help others get gutsy to reach their goals to live a life that makes them truly happy.

By day, I’m a public relations professional and by early mornings, nights and weekends, I run the Get Gutsy blog and manage my side hustle- freelance writing, blog management and personal branding consulting.

Why did you choose to create your own path instead of having a traditional career?

I do a little bit of both! I have a full-time job working in public relations and manage my blog/business on the side. I actually believe doing both has benefitted me!

Maintaining a full-time job while pursuing a passion on the side provides solopreneurs the best of both worlds: the comfort and security of a steady paycheck and benefits, along with the excitement and endless opportunity to do what you love and make extra money on the side.

Have any of your previous jobs or experiences prepared you for running your current business?

Absolutely! Being a side-hustler and managing what is essentially two full-time jobs has taught me a ton about time management, but more importantly, energy management.

To me, energy management means maximizing my energy and the times of the day I am most alert and creative to get my most pressing work done. It means prioritizing my day based on when my body and mind work best. That’s why I wake up at 5 a.m. every day- to focus on my most important writing projects for the day before I let anything else distract me.

Also, my day job in public relations has taught me a ton of skills that I bring to my side hustle from pitching the media to email marketing to community management. I

What inspires you to keep going when it comes to your business?

Hands down, the amazing go-getters in the Get Gutsy community.

I’m really excited right now because we just launched the Second Annual Get Gutsy Essay Contest where members of the community share their own gutsy stories. I love this time of year because it allows me the opportunity to hear from the amazing people who read my blog and gives me the chance to celebrate in their gutsy successes!

What do you do when you doubt yourself?

When I start to doubt myself, I try to remember why I started. I remind myself of why the Get Gutsy community is so important to me and how my work can impact those around me. Taking the focus off of myself and back onto the community has been pivotal in keeping me focused and motivated.

For a more tactical tip, I also keep a folder in my email titled “Warm-Fuzzies” where I save nice notes and compliments people have sent me. It’s a positive place to go to be reminded of why I do what I do when I’m feeling down or discouraged.

Could you give me a glimpse into your daily schedule?

Sure! I actually wrote a post detailing a day in my side-hustling life, so those interested in the full breakdown can feel free to check that out.

My days start around 4:45 a.m. I’m most productive in the early mornings, so I do my best to cram in as much creative work for my blog/side hustle as possible early in the mornings. Around 8 a.m. I leave for my full-time job where I manage public relations for a destination until around 5 p.m. After work, I usually head home for dinner and end my nights with a 90-minute hot yoga class or by going for a run.

How do you get productive?

By waking up earlier! I was never a morning person until I launched my side hustle, but I quickly learned that the best way to get things done is by waking up before the rest of the world to minimize distractions and maximize creativity.

What is your favorite business tool? Why?

Mailchimp. Growing my email community has been a priority since I launched the Get Gutsy blog two years ago and Mailchimp has been an amazing (and FREE!) tool to help me do that and stay in touch with twice-monthly emails to those who subscribe. It has also helped me to get to know members of my community on a more personal level.

I recently discovered three new tools that I’m really loving right now- Postable, Refresh and Bio is Changed.

What are three items that are currently on your to do list?

  1. Prepare to launch my brand new 30 Days of Gutsy course in the new year. I’m just wrapping up running the course with a beta group and I can’t wait to share it publicly!
  2. Create a plan for 2015- I have a ton of ideas and want to really figure out what I’m going to focus on so I can stay energized and excited about my business.
  3. Pitch a couple of guest posts that I’ve been brainstorming for some time now to blogs/websites I’d love to have my work published by.

When you aren’t working your butt off, what do you like to do?
I absolutely love hot yoga! In 2015, I’m beginning my journey to become a yoga teacher through teacher training and I’m really looking forward to deepening my practice and learning more about yoga. If you’re thinking about trying yoga, I highly recommend it! Here are some of the many reasons why.

Tell me something unusual about you.

Unusual? Hmmm. Let’s see. Back in my middle school days, I was a major theater geek. My biggest roles were Glinda in The Wizard of Oz (I’ll forever hold a grudge that I didn’t land the part of Dorothy!) and Miss Hannigan in Annie. These days, I don’t sing or dance much anymore, but I still have a special place in my heart for all things musical theater.

Give a short, actionable tip to help others build a life that they love.

Start now. Many people wait for the *perfect* time to get started on the projects they are passionate about, but in reality, there is no perfect time. If you start now, you will reap the benefits much faster.

 

Thanks Jess! Check out her website, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!


Small Business Saturdays: Kasia Zukowska

Small Business Saturdays: Kasia Zukowska

Today I’m featuring Kasia Zukowska, a WordPress superstar with a powerful story. Take it away, Kasia!

Tell me what you do!

I’m a WordPress Consultant & Web Designer. I’ve recently been working with Yoga/Dance/Fitness Professionals to bring their business online with a Video Membership Site. I also provide Maintenance & Support for my clients and free hosting.

Why did you choose to create your own path instead of having a traditional career?

I was always a misfit and never really followed the “traditional” path. I love to be free to do what I want when I want, travel and help others do the same. I knew a “traditional” job wouldn’t allow me to do that.

Have any of your previous jobs or experiences prepared you for running your current business?

Working at corporate has thought me a lot, mainly what not to do when it comes to managing your team.

What inspires you to keep going when it comes to your business?

Passion for what I do and for helping others. I want to provide the best service possible for my clients. I always have their best interest in mine and follow the golden rule. My integrity is all I have.

What do you do when you doubt yourself?

I remind myself how far I’ve already come. I never had anything handed to me, my family was poor and at one point we lived in a tent (during winter). Thinking back on those times reminds me about all the obstacles I overcame. A support network is also very important at hard times, and I am lucky to have great family and friends who are always there for me.

Could you give me a glimpse into your daily schedule?

A typical day looks something like this: get up at 6:30 run some errands, do some exercise and start my work day which changes a lot but usually it is a combination of client website design, website maintenance, answering emails, marketing my services, social media engagement, meeting with clients. I usually work all day until evening 6-7.

How do you get productive?

I plan and more specifically I use Asana to organize everything and keep on track with my to-do-list. Love Asana!

What is your favorite business tool? Why?

I love a lot of tools but if I had to pick one I would say WordPress. My business wouldn’t exist without it ;)

Do you have any funny client/customer stories to share?

I had a potential client who thought “freelancer” meant doing work for free. She said that’s why she contacted me, after I explained that is not what it meant and gave her my prices she decided to look for someone on Fivver. I thought that was funny.

What are three items that are currently on your to do list?

  1. Working on a client website
  2. Migrating a website to my server for another client
  3. Putting together a special offering for the new year (shhh it’s still a secret)

When you aren’t working your butt off, what do you like to do?

Travel, hangout with my friends and take pictures. I love to later Photoshop my photos while listening to my favorite music.

Tell me something unusual about you.

After a while living somewhere I feel a strong need to move. I am actually currently in the process of moving to Boston in the next month or two.

Give a short, actionable tip to help others build a life that they love.

Find a great mentor, someone you look up to and take action before you feel ready.

Thanks Kasia! Check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.



How to Deliver Excellent Client Service in Your Creative Business

Client-ServiceWithout clients, you won’t be in business for very long, especially when it comes to a service based business. When they’re happy, clients will give you quality referrals, raving testimonials, and maybe even a social media shout out or two. But if they aren’t happy, they’ll most likely tell their friends about why they shouldn’t work with you and talk smack on social media. And you know what?

Chances are you deserve it.

Seriously, it’s not that hard to consistently deliver amazing client service. In fact, there are just two really simple + intertwined principles you need to follow. Don’t believe me? Read on.

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5 Easy Ways to Get Productive NOW (Hint: You Don’t Have to Exercise)

Five easy ways to keep blogs, email, and social media from controlling your life from 13 Elm Streets.

I, Sierra Elmore, am a master procrastinator. I give myself a seemingly easy and fun schedule every day with plenty of breaks, an hour to fully “wake up”, and ample time to play around on my laptop.

And guess what? I hardly ever finish the schedule as planned. I get distracted by whatever book I’m devouring at the moment, blogs, and social media. Honestly, if I had any self-discipline and didn’t need them for business, I would delete my Pinterest and Facebook accounts immediately.
But I don’t have self-discipline. I have tried and worked, toiled and tottered, but I can’t seem to get my butt to my desk and WORK half the time. Although things get done eventually, and usually at the last minute, I always end up feeling majorly stressed out.

I’m going to try to stop that.

I know that I’m not the only one. Here’s how to stop procrastination in its tracks and get to work.

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Behind the Scenes of My Business Blog Tag!

Question 1: What’s your two to three sentence bio? (You know, what the heck do you do?)

Sierra Elmore is a graphic designer, high school student, and entrepreneur. She owns 13 Elm Streets, a graphic design studio, shop, and blog. She designs quirky yet professional PDFs, social media graphics, and branding elements for creative entrepreneurs.

Question 2: What’s your favorite part of your job?

When a graphic design client says I’ve taken their thoughts and translated them into a stunning design.

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17 Creative Business Lessons I Learned by 17

When I was eight years old, I declared that I would be a millionaire by the time I turned seventeen. For a while, I thought that I would be. I owned a handmade bookmark business in elementary school, created an online magazine in 9th grade, and in March, during my junior year of high school, started 13 Elm Streets.

Still not a millionaire. But that’s okay because I’ve learned a wealth of information over my approximately ten years of entrepreneurship that’ll get me there someday…maybe ;)

So without further ado, here are seventeen things that I learned about running a creative business by the time I turned seventeen today!

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