Over the last 9 years, I've been asked "Can I buy you a cup of coffee & pick your brain?" at least once a week. To celebrate my 9 year anniversary, I've dumped 9 years worth of entrepreneurial experience into a 1-hour podcast episode. (It was NOT easy and I talk really fast - so beware.)
Grab a notebook and your favorite pen - and feel free to pause as often as you need. I didn't structure it like a talk, so it's not a pretty account - it's my raw, real memory of everything I remember learning since becoming an entrepreneur. The good, the bad, the ugly, and why vacations are so dang important.
In this episode, you'll hear about: (in no particular order)
I am ONLY telling you this so you can take what you want and throw away the rest. Because, as you'll hear in this episode, YOU have to learn how to run YOUR own business for yourself. No book will teach you what you'll need to learn from experience. But I DO give book recommendations and resources to help you out.
Dive in - but beware. It's real, raw, and as usual, me. ENJOY!
TOP 3 BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ENTREPRENEURS:
TOP 3 RESOURCES FOR ENTREPRENEURS:
Production by Javy Espejo.
“You can’t schedule creativity.” I said this in a recent podcast episode. It's a phrase that's been haunting me lately. More like, forever.
Determination means nothing if you’re not in the right mindset. (I know, because I'm a REALLY determined woman.) You can’t force the creative process. You can't sit down and will it into being. You will end up getting up to do the laundry or clean floors before it shows up. And it will show up when you least expect it.
Read the FULL blog post and get the worksheet here.
Eli Natoli is a kickass marketing & growth coach and the humble powerhouse & project manager of the Natoli businesses. She and her husband, the UX specialist Joe Natoli, are a team that divides and conquers their business goals helping humans build businesses based on winning practices and strategies.
Before she started her own business, Eli realized how important it was to overcome the small business cycle of feast & famine. She even helped Joe pivot his business (listen in to find out what she did!)
Even after all of her success though, Eli Natoli is angry at the internet. And she decided to fight fire with fire. She is now a coach for small service-based businesses who want to reach the next level, yet are tired of fighting the deluge of bad advice and fake “webinars”. We also get to hear about keeping up with three teenagers at the same time, dogs that might drink wine & her ultimate not-so-secret recipe for your business.
Listen in to this wisdom-packed episode to hear Eli share her secret to figuring out what’s authentic & what’s fake when it comes to business info on the internet.
Do you know the feeling you have when you’re working on the right projects for the right people at the right time? Kia Weatherspoon knows exactly how that feels. The feeling of elation, excitement, enthusiasm - like you're doing it for the first time. If a project doesn’t feel like the first space she ever created - she knows she should be working somewhere else.
Kia Weatherspoon is one of those kickass humans who is using her superpower for good. She is the owner and lead designer of Determined by Design - AND an advocate for equality in design. She creates well-designed spaces for those who usually don’t have access to interior design services - humans living in low-income housing, disenfranchised women, and budding business owners who are making their first investment in their own space. She believes that no matter how big or small, everyone deserves to live in a space that is EPIC.
Listen in to hear how this ballet dancer ended up getting into interior design because of the Air Force.
Valentine's Day has been a REALLY hard day for me for the last 14 years. And I have a good reason why. But this year, it's changing. And it's because of something a woman said to me and my guy at a tea shop in DC when we first got together. It made me realize I had a decision to make - and that decision was not something based on anyone else. It was 100% my decision and no one else could change my mind.
Whether you love Valentine's Day or think it's just another Hallmark holiday, this episode is all about loving your life, yourself and everyone around you. It's your choice. Listen in to get inspired or don't listen and have a crappy Valentine's Day.
Also, I snuck in an easy way to understand how The DISH Method works. It's live! Go check it out at DISHmethod.com
How often do we find ourselves criticizing ourselves and/or work? Even to the point that we never share it with anyone without filtering it? Perfection is unattainable. We are perfectly imperfect human beings creating incredibly perfectly imperfect things. Why bother putting a filter on it when the world needs us unfiltered and real?
I recently went to Isla Mujeres on a personal development trip with 11 other ladies. We created visions for our lives, worked on big ideas, created steps to implement those ideas, and then wrote out exactly how we would manifest everything we wanted. This wasn't for little dreamers - this was for women with massive magical manifesting powers. And while we were there, I realized that what I wanted was already within me - EXPLOSIVE CREATIVITY!
As I sat at the table working on what was blocking me, I realized that you can't schedule creativity - and that my mind needed to be free so I could create. Which reminded me of why I have an enso tattooed on my shoulder. According to Wikipedia, an enso is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, but it also symbolizes the beauty of imperfection. Which is exactly why I wanted it.
Even this episode has SO much imperfection, yet I didn't want it edited out. Because who cares?! I'm a perfectly imperfect human - and you get to see me for who I really am - exploding with creativity without self-criticism.
You'll even find out why I'm launching a free mini-series The DISH Method this week! Behind-the-scenes info on where it came from and why I want to give it away for free instead of charging for it. And with all of its imperfections, I'm so excited to see what you think - so I can make it even better. Go sign up at dishmethod.com and you'll get to download the workbook & watch the mini-series as soon as it's ready!
Have you ever watched someone completely change their life in front of your very eyes? Meet Heidi Webb - non-profit fundraising consultant who has raised millions of dollars and taught hundreds of people how to raise even more.
Heidi is one of those ride-or-die friends who has shown that just because you've lived a certain life doesn't mean you have to keep living it. She is the brand NEW owner of Heidi Webb LLC, a nonprofit fundraising consultancy that focuses on supporting charities helping humans while also connecting donors to causes that they care about. She’s also a veteran Rock Your Talk Speaker (now SPEAK With Confidence - launching soon) who shared her story on stage about how a fight with a raccoon led her to refocus her life and finally accept that just working hard wasn’t the answer - she needed to follow her passion.
Just a few months ago, Heidi got her passport and traveled out of the country for the first time in her life. She was so inspired that she shared a new dream she had with her travel companion, only to meet the person she had to meet the day after she got home and get it. Want to know what her dream was? LISTEN TO THE EPISODE!
TEASER: As this episode is released, Heidi is in Kenya living the dream she shared with her friend.
How do you figure out where you want to be if you've never been there? How do you picture the life you want if you've never seen it?
Picture your perfect day. Picture what you'll do when you wake up. Explain everything around you. Share what and who is in your life and how it's better than ever. Every single moment of your perfect day - what are you seeing, smelling, doing, thinking about, wondering, enjoying, eating? Who are you with? What do you do for a living? Share every detail.
Now go ask someone else about theirs. I will bet you'll want to update yours.
I'm working on creating a bigger vision for myself because I was pushed to stretch. Listen in to find out what I'm working on in 2018 and how you can get in on the fun with me. Then download the Manifest That Shit workbook and start working on it for yourself.
I am going to look back on this year and say “I became the person I wanted to become.” I want this for you, too.
Beware: it's a short, fast-paced episode and there's a chance you'll change your resolutions or intentions for this year. I warned you.
If I asked everyone at your office your core values, could they recite them? Do you have them for yourself? Do you know what core values are? Core Values are the foundation of every brand - personal brands & business brands. When you create them effectively, you and your whole team can use them to filter every decision they need to make.
A year ago Alison McNeil, arts and culture advocate and head of MCEArts, was looking for podcasts that filled her soul and she stumbled upon my journey on Adventures in Branding. This year, she's a guest of the podcast! Alison & I dive deep into how core values drive her life AND her business. We even get a chance to talk about the power of having words to name your experiences & what it looks like to be breaking down barriers in the arts.
Listen in as the extroverted introvert and kickass creative entrepreneur teaches us what she looks for in every human interaction and how she organizes her work - creating roadmaps and removing roadblocks - to make arts and culture accessible to all.
Have you ever met someone who lives their brand so well that no matter when you catch up with them, you feel like you jumped in right where you left off and everything is just as wonderful as it's always been? That's how I feel with Kacy.
Kacy is the master organizer who focuses on all things paper - and she runs The Inspired Office. She’s been organizing since she was a kid but started a business instead of getting a job in 2001. She knows that organizing can change lives (truly) and bring calm in ways you wouldn’t expect - she's even done it for me.
In this week’s podcast episode, Kacy Paide let us in on her affinity for dusty hands, being covered in someone else's cat hair and why clients take photos of her while she's organizing their lives. Even though things have changed in her industry, she's really focused on the people she's helping and how to help them best.
Think you’re the only one who hasn’t gone digital with with your documents? Kacy has seen it all and has proof that humans of all ages and sizes collect paper - even in this digital age. We shouldn't have shame around our things - and there's a big loneliness of being trapped by our stuff. Kacy is ready to let you off the hook whenever you're ready to let go - without all the guilt that comes along with it.
I've known Kacy's love for Evernote for years and FINALLY got a chance to ask her how I can use it better - now that I have her captive on the podcast. Want Kacy's ten-minute organization method to determine how hectic your life really is? Press that play button and get inspired to pull your paper together!
Holly Gerberich is one of us.
She’s a Kickass Human who is ROCKING her brand, taking names, and leading a kickass life.
As the head of strategic marketing at Gerberich Growth Strategies, Holly is focused on helping businesses grow and creating tailor-made strategies to get them to the next level. A DCer of over 15 years, she connected marketing and growth before big brands like Coca-Cola even realized they were related.
In this week’s podcast episode, Holly Gerberich lets us in on working with crazy human beings who feel things, taking a step back to see where you are, and the importance of having business goals. Holly drops some truthbombs for business owners who are trying to grow and goes through how marketing can light a business on fire- or make it fizzle.
Listen in to find out the secret of Holly’s master growth strategy superpower, how she brainstorms crazy into tangible in her business, and where her ideas come to her. Also, Holly and I dig deep into how the universe can take charge - bring you to places that you never thought you would end up, and sometimes name your dog FOR you. Ernie and Bailey - thank you, Universe.
If you want to know how NINE dogs, meditation, and TEN Oscars events have changed Holly’s life, you’ve got to listen in. HINT: It’s the plot of a Seinfeld episode and a life exercise of knowing how to be in front of the right person at the right time.
You need this wisdom in your week today - your brain and your business will love you for it. Get her wisdom in your ears - HIT PLAY.
Strother Gaines is full of glitter and wisdom.
He’s the head unicorn of But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC, an entrepreneurial coaching company helping humans who want to build their next step. When I asked the Kickass Humans Club who should be on the podcast, Sarai Johnson, one of our recent Rock Your Talk-ers put her hand way up and suggested Strother saying “He’s AMAZING!” spoiler: she was right.
Strother is a Kentucky-born triple threat who is keeping busy as an entrepreneur, the artistic director for TBC immersive - a new theater company in DC, and the event director for “Network Under Forty”.
Oh - and one of his drag queen names is Joann Fabrics. (Like, the fabric store… Yeah, I love him.)
In this week’s podcast episode, Strother Gaines lets us in on the phone call from the IRS about his LLC’s name, “But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC” and how to network without being an asshole (this was fun). His bits about growing up in the rural south, coming into his own, and the glory of Southern Queens are what make Strother such a fabulous human being. He shares HIS story, which helps others share theirs. BRILLIANT!
Ever wonder what the difference is between jackhammer careers and hummingbird careers? Maybe you’ve wondered how a career trajectory of cross pollination led him from being segway tour guide to entrepreneurial coach? Well, you get all of that and more - right here on the podcast.
My favorite part? Strother brings Joann Fabrics to the podcast - including the family inspiration for her and how he gets himself into character. (HINT: It’s a very specific swear word with southern flair.)
Jennifer kills it on her FIRST TIME on a podcast.
Jennifer Vallina is a master of saying “sure” and jumping right in. She accidentally started a successful business, One Sock On Photography, from scratch in a brand new industry for her - in the most political city in America. It’s a photography studio that has been featured in the Hirshhorn Museum (her kickass cards were in the gift shop!) and grew from Jennifer’s passion for finding the beautiful essence of everything - especially the overlooked. Her business tagline is “Capturing the beauty of the world overlooked” and Jennifer does that through her lens.
This week, we hear how Jennifer’s life has been changed over and over again by just saying “Sure.” From her drive for accessible art to finding the arts scene in a city known for politicians. We also get to hear about how she found the love of her life at a bonfire on a cold night - right after she had given up on dating FOREVER. Jennifer gives some solid advice about humor in relationships and some rad fruit puns (This is a big deal, says the woman who is awful at being punny.)
We also get the inside scoop about the reason for her brand’s name (hint: it has to do with dressing for the East Coast winter.) Jennifer also shares about losing the job she loved most, her ongoing love of dance, and slowly building a business from nothing. Listen to hear her wisdom on trying to not give away all your secrets (another thing I’m terrible at doing.)
At the end, Jennifer speaks to knowing her brand down to the shade of green and how her business is built on being the photographer who won’t automatically airbrush the bumps and bruises of life.
Joe Natoli is the UX guy.
He’s done it all - from running a print design firm to jumping on the user interface design platform when the internet was small enough to start with a lowercase “i”. After 26 years of coaching clients and corporations on how to build stuff that humans can intuitively use, he’s written a book to complement his course - which has reached over 55,000 students. Joe also confessed he might move into my living room and never leave.
In this week’s podcast, Joe lets us in on his early adoption of the internet as more than just a “passing fad”, his definition of UX, and how communication is the heart of design. We also get to hear about his growth, riding the Dotcom boom, and how purpose should drive what creatives do. Joe also shares wisdom on how language can encourage listening - and when to pull a “Tom Hanks”. (Yeah, you’ll have to listen to find out.)
Joe found his calling while running a UX design firm. He watched the room light up as he got clarity on why humans get stuck at design roadblocks - including the frustration of an espresso machine.
At the end of the episode, we even get to listen in on his philosophy on the ups-and-downs of life - and the power of seeing value manifest itself. Listen in to get the whole conversation.
Borzou Azabdaftari is a design genius. He’s transformed his family’s business from an ‘80’s printing place into the modern marketing agency - The Falcon Lab, It’s a creative and digital print agency with the motto of “Make cool sh!t”.
This week, we dive into his recent lab move, how the “Make cool sh!t” tagline grew on him, and how his spouse uses crazy competition to drive ambition. We also get to hear about the new location, how he updated his family business, learned how to run a business from scratch , and what he would tell his 18-year-old self. Also, why he got married over Thanksgiving weekend.
Because of his recent office move, we even get the inside scoop from Borzou as he passes on some straightforward advice about construction projects, contracts, and leases. He learned a lot over the course of moving The Falcon Lab to its new home near Tyson’s Corner, fortunately for you..
At the end of the episode, we even get to listen in on his philosophy on how to live - AND figuring out how to find what you love. Because the secret is there are no secrets.
“I have a newfound passion for curiosity.” - KiKi L’Italien
KiKi L’Italian is a powerhouse. If you couldn’t tell by her amazing presence and bold lipstick, then you’d definitely understand who she is when she calls herself the “Oprah of the Association industry” and the curator of the curious. KiKi is CEO of the digital marketing agency, Amplified Growth, and founder/owner of Association Chat, which is a community for association members.
This week, we discuss how she turned her hobby into a business, why weird is better, and reframing what generosity means. We also talk about the tactics KiKi used to exercise her curiosity and you get to hear her seriously gush about her daughter, Margot, at the end.
We even find KiKi’s personal brand during this episode - and in case you didn’t already know: KiKi is larger than life. She loves music, is a runner, likes to cook, is curious, generous, and a very thoughtful human.
“When you get out of your comfort zone, that’s when great things happen.” - Ati Williams
There are so many great things I could say about my dear friend, Ati. The last time I saw her, she had just shown us The Poopy Dance in front of a live audience on the Rock Your Talk stage, which is absolutely as impactful as it sounds (scroll down for a piece of the action.) Ati is a mother and entrepreneur. She attributes a lot of the innovative solutions she has used to build her real estate company, DC HomeBuzz, with her Kenyan upbringing.
In this episode, we discuss rocking your personal brand, what motherhood has taught Ati about being a leader, and how to properly answer the dreaded: “So tell me about yourself.”
THEN, the tables turn and Ati surprises me with a few questions. Listen to this episode of Adventures in Branding to find out how I found my personal brand, what are some of hiring tactics, and what really happened in Bali.
Meet my neighbor, Michelle Lim Warner. Michelle owns DCanter Wine Boutique on Barracks Row here in DC with her husband. Together they are creating a powerhouse in the wine lifestyle market.
We hadn’t seen each other in awhile so it was great to do some catchup here on the podcast. She and her business have been undergoing some serious growth! Michelle has been branding her business like a branding pro - so much so that all of her new hires are so excited about the culture they have created together at DCanter - and the crazy part?! They were all customers FIRST!
This week, we talk about growing your team, using your growing team’s talent to help catapult your business, manifesting a work/life balance, and the commitment it takes to own a business with your spouse. First tip: take walking meetings! Listen in to find out why.
“I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and lit that bitch on fire.”
It’s my birthday today and I have to admit that I am enjoying the heck out of getting older. One year ago today I was preparing for a year of change. I was working out how to end a relationship, blow up my business, and unbeknownst to me, getting ready to dig deep into why I’m on this earth.
In celebration of this last year of blowing things up, here’s my birthday wish for you: I want YOU to light a huge blaze. I want you to make a decision to SHOW UP every day - beginning today.
My birthday wish is for you - the person who feels lost and empty, the human struggling to find out who you really are, the one who’s really trying to show up and show off. It’s time to light that shit on fire. My wish for you is to start showing up and showing off.
So, what are you waiting for? All it takes is one decision and one step.
“I want to build relationships and foster community - and I want to use stories to do that.” - Stuart Jones
This week, I’m talking to my good friend Stuart - a people person, videographer and photographer from Raleigh, North Carolina, and the current producer of this podcast. In this episode, we take some interesting turns - creating your own opportunities, being unconventional in the way we apply for jobs (and the way we post for them too) #noresumes, roadtrips to see Rob Bell, and the importance of sharing your story.
Each of us has a story. A lot of us just think that our story is insignificant. I’m here to let you know you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether you’ve been through the big things or the small things, it doesn’t matter. Someone else has gone through them as well. And some of us are going through them. And some things are still yet to come for some us. But you would never know who needed to hear exactly what you have to say until you say it.
It’s no secret - I’m a BIG fan of stories. I love sharing them and I love receiving them even more. The last couple of weeks have been amazing with 6 sets of women on HERadventures. Storytelling is one of the biggest drivers for why I do a lot of what I do, and the biggest inspiration for Rock Your Talk.
I can think of fewer things in life than helping someone organize their story and helping them get the hint of courage they need to be able to get on stage and tell it to the world! In honor of stories, being back to Adventures in Branding, and the launch of the second Rock Your Talk, I made a whole episode all about stories and the impact your story can have on someone else.
“The oral storytelling of our family is very rich.” - Louise
The bond between a mother and a daughter is a powerful bond. Especially in a big family filled with men.
In our final episode of this HERadventures series, Mary & I got a chance to sit in Baltimore with powerful mother-daughter duo, Louise and Paula. Louise is a mother of five children, is an attorney mediator, and the co-author of Being Relational: The Seven Ways to Quality Interaction and Lasting Change with her husband, William Senft. Her daughter, Paula grew up listening to her grandma sharing stories and is currently Associate Director of Admission at Friends School of Baltimore.
The stories of how the previous generations have influenced both women is astounding. Growing up in a sea of men has brought Louise and Paula closer - and allowed them to create a girl-gang within their own family - and made them stronger women together. It’s beautiful to listen to the emphasis they place on making sure their grandparents’ stories make it to the next generation and the work they do to keep their family’s history alive. Listen in to get inspired to start collecting your own family’s stories.
“Just do something every day.” - Caprece
How many of us have had friendships lasting more than 30 years?! Goodness, I hope to find that kind of bond. Hanging at Mary’s studio in Baltimore, Mary & I chatted with two icons of Baltimore’s artists scene: Caprece & Sehar.
Upon meeting, I told Caprece I wanted hair like hers - I had to stop her from taking it off and giving it to me. These women were creative forces and were wearing it - literally. Caprece shares stories of her world travels, ambitions for her family, and how she keeps herself motivated. Sehar is a designer who has been molding and creating textiles for years as founder of Urban Masala, a globally-inspired wearable art company, and is finally learning the value of taking care of herself.
Not only have these women seen each other grow and develop over 30 years of friendship, they still find ways to encourage each other to continue creating. They also make it a point to curate a thriving scene for other artists in their community and share a beautiful view of the future. Listen in to shut the door on fear & soar.
“We are natural born leaders.” - Felicia
I love Baltimore - it’s a city with grit, fierce determination, and a history of diversity. Just 45 minutes away from DC, it has its own character - including incredible women with the same grit and determination. Mary & I wandered the Great Blacks in Wax Museum and snapped photos in Graffiti Alley before meeting at her natural light studio in an old factory building near Druid Hill Park.
Much like Baltimore, the women we met had the same grit & determination. Our first set of women were two entrepreneurs and long-standing friends, Sarita and Felicia - what a way to kick off the conversations in this incredible city. Sarita is a owner of SparTea, a day spa for girls in Townsend, MD, mother of four, and breast cancer survivor. Felicia is a people-builder, public speaker, and entrepreneur coach.
Sarita and Felicia lift each other up both as mothers, women, and entrepreneurs. Both lost their mothers at young ages, and although that gave them a significant bond, we learned how Felicia pulled strength from Sarita’s battle with breast cancer and how they both became better women through the fight. Listen in for the laughter, tears, and love.
“Thank you is a powerful word.” - Maritza Lizama
Raise your hand if you have a friend because you’re from the same area of the world. Isn’t it amazing how we can bond because we understand each other’s culture and speak the same language - figuratively and literally? Similar backgrounds can give us a deeper understanding of another person while also learning more about ourselves.
Mary & I sat down in DC to chat with my dear friend, Maritza Lizama and her unstoppable friend, Pamela Nieto, to talk all things gratitude, relationships, and... retro phone bills?!
Maritza and Pam met five years ago as industry colleagues and quickly gravitated toward friendship. They found their similarities extended beyond similar cultural background and industry peers. Their drive, determination, and spirituality bonded these two in a way that makes you want to hug their faces. Maritza and Pam are the epitome of what it means to build your tribe. These women lean on each other, support each other professionally and personally, and even make time to get some serious booty-shaking in between their busy lives.
Listen in and get reaquainted with the power of gratitude, mentorship, and the love and strength of our mothers.