In 2000, Roger was hired as a guide for Silver Lining Tours, one of only two storm chasing companies in existence at the time. He loved the work and decided he wanted to do it full-time. When he gave notice at the engineering firm, his boss said, “If you can make a living doing something you enjoy, by all means, do it!”
We spoke with QB Community member@CaronsBeach about how she attracts high-end customers at her coastal decor shop, competes with big box stores and why there’s no going back for her after going online with her business.
A schoolteacher turned actor, musician, two-time national poetry slam champion, entrepreneur, and award-winning poetic voice, any given day may findSekou Andrewskeynoting at a leadership conference, helping a Fortune 500 company with brand messaging, or even performing pieces for Barack Obama in Oprah’s backyard. Sekou is the creator of Poetic Voice, a new, cutting-edge speaking category that seamlessly fuses inspirational speaking with spoken word poetry to make messages more moving and memorable.
Here's Sekou inspiring the attendees at 2014 QB Connect to take their business to the Next Level!
Andrew Evans officially became an entrepreneur when he was 12 years old. That’s when he performed a magic show at his sister’s best friend’s birthday party. Afterward, the friend’s dad slipped Andrew $20. “I thought, whoa,” recalls Andrew, who went on to perform throughout middle school and high school at parties, picnics and festivals. “Getting paid to do what I love was a really big moment.”
Grace Kraaijvanger spent years juggling her passion – performing and choreographing ballet and modern dance – with her work as an independent marketing consultant. After having two kids and “accidentally retiring” as a professional dancer, Grace planned to build up her marketing business. Problem was, she says, “I’d already been part of a passionate, creative arts community. Now I was working at home and feeling very lonely. I missed being part of a supportive, like-minded community.”
More than 30 years ago, Veronica Champion left a career teaching competitive ice skating and set out to become a professional balloon artist. She tells us she loves most about her unusual business and what she finds most challenging – besides learning how to tie a balloon.
Did you know that the number of African-American businesses is growing by leaps and bounds? Women are seriously leading the charge, with awhopping 605%increase over the last two decades in businesses owned by black women. Wow! That amazing effort is of the reasons we are celebrating Black Business Month this August. Let’s meet some of the African-American entrepreneurs who are rocking it in our community -- and in the small business world!
When you hear the name “Maxie McCoy,” words like “courageous,” “bold,” “motivating” and “inspiring” may come to mind. If they do, then Maxie is succeeding in her goal of turning her namesake business into a widely recognized brand. Three years ago, this award-winning author, speaker and coach set a lofty goal for herself: to help billions (with a b!) of women boost their productivity, turn their dreams into a reality and believe more deeply in themselves.
Co-founders Marty McDonald and Rich DeMatteo of Bad Rhino, a social media marketing agency, saw the power of peer-to-peer connection long before Facebook and Instagram were household staples. In 2008, Rich leveraged social media to launch and grow an online career blog, Corn on the Job. Marty began dabbling in online marketing in 2002 as a side gig while working in staffing and talent acquisition.
The two brought their skills and passion for online marketing together in 2011 to form Bad Rhino, a small business helping other small businesses put their best marketing foot forward with savvy social media strategies. We spoke with Marty about the link between a killer social media presence and increased sales.
A couple decades ago, when Julie Goldman was planning her wedding, she wanted to walk down the aisle on a beautiful runner. She needed something that suited a Victorian mansion and complemented the autumnal colors she loved. Julie quickly discovered her only options were plastic tablecloths made for kids’ birthday parties or flimsy paper that could easily rip or wrinkle. So Julie made her own runner, painstakingly designing, painting, tea-staining and decorating every inch of it by hand.
My oratory muscle is soft and flabby. As the owner of my own editorial services business, I know I need to be able to share my expertise with existing or prospective clients without my voice quavering or my heart pounding. I decided a "Speaking Circle" was just the “workout” my public-speaking muscle needed.
Bethany and Otto in his workshop in GuatemalaAfter returning home from a trip to Guatemala where she witnessed extreme poverty, Bethany Tran couldn’t get the great people she’d met out of her mind. So she dreamed up a business model that created jobs for skilled Guatemalan workers and textile weavers manufacturing super cute shoes for women.
Lee Glickstein has spent most of his life afflicted by extreme public speaking anxiety. He traced his own anxiety back to childhood when he felt judged, mocked or simply ignored by his family during their nightly dinner conversations. His desire to help others overcome stage fright and live a richer, more rewarding life as a result, inspired Lee to launch his own business called Speaking Circles International. Here, Lee explains the Pleasure Principle of Public Speaking and his unique approach to helping people become confident on a stage, behind a podium or simply during a dinner-time discussion.
Caroline McAbee was used to incredibly long days and a tedious a commute as director of operations in both the high-tech and non-profit industries. Eventually, she burned out. Caroline decided to quit her job and take the summer off. During that “wonderful” period, several different friends asked if Caroline would help them launch their new businesses. She did -- and realized financial and business consulting was her true calling.
When helping others is the inspiration for starting a business, the motivation to succeed is huge. Not only are these entrepreneurs in business for themselves, they're alsoIn It for Good.In this series we'll meet social entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders and global thinkers who are working to make the world a better place.
Like many web-based business owners, Taughnee loved the freedom to travel and work wherever she chose, so when she met the love of her life -- who happened to live in Croatia -- she took her biz overseas in 2015. We spoke with her about the reality versus the dream of working anywhere in the world and how she’s dealt with the global transition while also making her brand more relevant in today’s business landscape.
As temperatures rise, so do opportunities for creative, summer-themed marketing. There are so many fun ways to celebrate the season by while also bringing in the cash. Here are some ideas that can help heat up your summer sales.
As we join the celebration of July’sNational Independent Retailers Month, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak with Meaghan Brophy, the editor of Independent Retailer (IR) magazine. Meaghan keeps indie retailers in the know about current market and demographic trends. She understands what matters to them because she’s often out and about on Main Street, U.S.A. talking to small store owners about their struggles and their wins.
Your mind is your most important asset, by far -- inspiration comes from many fountains, inc. the world of podcasting, where many thought leaders share their accumulated, or in progress, stories, states, & strategies!
Here's the Top 10 that SBSL & its founder, me ( SJ ) subscribe to & learn from often.
Feedback welcome -- what are yours? And if you've not yet heard of any of these, thoughtful insights welcome on what you learned after doing so
Book, check. Sunglasses, check. Whole uncut pineapple, what?!Here’s a roundup of all the great people we met and things we learned during June’s “outdoorsy” month. Check it out and then tell us: what are you doing outside this summer?
Meet Matthew Jensen, his family owns The Electric Boat Company, a thriving business in Seattle that lets customers toodle around Lake Union with a boatload of friends, family or with business colleagues.
Some of Tyra Lovato’s clients know her as trusted, reliable, number-crunching accountant. Others know the New Orleans-native as the rockin’, shakin’ leader of dance classes like My People’s Cardio and the always-smiling Restorative Pilates instructor. No matter which “hat” Tyra is wearing, her desire to help people do better and live life to the fullest fuels her entrepreneurial drive. Motivated by a personal commitment to bring out the best in everyone she meets, Tyra is a certified fitness and nutrition coach who has built her business around an inclusive, holistic approach to wellness that’s energizing, inspiring – and incredibly fun.
Longtime L.A. cyclist Gloria Hwang rarely used to wear a helmet, but she got her wake-up call when a close friend died in a cycling accident. Soon after she started Thousand, maker of sleek, stylish bicycle helmets that look cool enough for its fashionista founder to wear.
Personal trainer Kristin Jackson had spent more than two decades exploring and teaching different kinds of exercise including Pilates, yoga, water aerobics and even hula hoop. For herself and for her clients, Kristin focused on “typical” training goals like building a strong core, keeping shoulders back and maintaining excellent posture. But when she was hit by a car in 2011, Kristin discovered the muscles and muscle patterns she’d worked so hard for were hindering her recovery. In her quest for healing, Kristin turned to somatics, a gentle neuromuscular practice that helps people regain flexibility, get rid of pain and move with ease – and with joy.
Muriel Bartol and her husband, Matt Rolletta, have always loved biking for recreation, for transportation and to get to know their surroundings at a slower-than-a-car pace. But a few years back, Matt was struggling to find a single pair of pants that he could wear throughout his typically active day when he cycled to school, to work and out to meet friends. So Muriel and Matt designed a pair of functional, durable, stylish “knickers,” imagining they might one day sell a few pairs to friends. Instead, thanks to a mention in the New York Times, they were suddenly swamped with orders. Today, Muriel and Matt are still basking in the entrepreneurial glow of unexpectedly launching a successful outdoor apparel business.
Kelly Watters is a 4th-generation entrepreneur, and her husband, Will, comes from three generations of business self-starters. So when they decided to start a sustainable technical-apparel business together, Kelly and Will knew they’d be working long hours, juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, solving unexpected problems and trying to stay positive along the way. Turns out, everything they anticipated about launching, running and growing Western Rise has come true. Also true? Kelly and Will love building an outdoor-retailing business together. As Kelly explains, “I’m the CEO, CFO and COO. Will is the creative director, and he manages all the product and works directly with the marketing team. We get more efficient at what we do every year – so we just keep taking on more projects! We love building something we believe is amazing.”
Gwen Sullivan has spent years working in the sports and fitness industry, but she’s spent far longer feeling like she was a “fitness misfit.” As a kid, she played sports but always preferred the team element to the workout itself. Later, as a busy adult juggling working and parenting, fitness felt like a chore. When Gwen discovered she wasn’t the only one feeling resentful in the gym, she decided it was time to make a change. She’d stop focusing on reps and steps or minutes and miles and start finding activities that she simply enjoyed. This shift in thinking inspired Gwen to create Joyn, a website that curates community-oriented, inclusive group classes designed for fitness – but far more importantly, to promote movement and joy.
Ben Gucciardi was earning his M.A. in global educational leadership, working in youth development for underserved families and playing a lot of soccer when he had an idea. The California native realized soccer could be a tool to help struggling kids learn to better communicate, connect and collaborate with their peers, parentsandteachers. Could he build a program around his favorite sport (at one point, Ben played soccer semi-pro) to help disadvantaged youth?