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Community Manager
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If your business booms during the holiday shopping season, you’ve no doubt been getting ready for your busiest months for weeks, if not longer. We asked eight hard-working entrepreneurs to tell us what they are doing right now to gear up for the holiday crush ahead. In a word: They’re on it!

 

(By the way, all of these business owners will be selling their wares at QB Connect 2018 in San Jose (November 5-7th). If you’re there, be sure to stop by and say hi! (Want to attend QB Connect but haven’t registered yet? Click here.)

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Community Manager
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You probably know that QuickBooks Connect is an exciting, inspiring conference packed with entrepreneurs eager to learn about growing a successful business. And you know what makes QB Connect even better? All the amazing shopping opportunities that let you support small businesses -- and cross some items off you holiday gift list!

 

QuickBooks Connect 2018 in San Jose, CA (November 5-7) will play host to some superstar entrepreneurs at the Connect Bazaar. Stop by their booths and support your fellow small-business owners who will be selling their goods during the conference. Each of these smart, motivated entrepreneurs has a fascinating small business story to share. See for yourself in the profiles below.

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Built Oregon has shone the spotlight on many of Oregon’s small consumer-product businesses (think: chocolate, kombucha, beer, coffee, hot sauce, jewelry and more) by offering an accelerator program and an annual festival. Another key promotional event is Little Boxes, a three-day, post-Thanksgiving shopping scavenger hunt where shoppers collect codes by visiting and purchasing from participating (small, of course) retailers. Then they enter the codes in the Little Boxes app for a chance to win prizes.

 

We spoke with Mitch Daugherty about why shopping local really matters and how he and Terry take an entrepreneurial approach to running their nonprofit: They learn what their target market wants and needs and then provide it.

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In September we got inside your head! We explored how entrepreneurs, small business owners and freelance workers approach all things business, from creatively solving problems and staying motivated 24/7 to turning an epiphany into action and an idea into a product. Read on -- and be prepared to be impressed.

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When Erica decided to sell the “clean,” healthful granola she regularly baked for family and friends, she wasn’t planning to turn her side-hustle into a full-fledged business. But three months after attending her first farmer’s market, Erica was selected as a food vendor for Google. Suddenly, she needed to make gr8nola on a whole new scale.

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"As a two-time cancer survivor, I knew all-too-well going through chemo can be grueling and scary and lead to all sorts of unpleasant side-effects like nausea and mouth sores. I wanted to help others as they go through chemo by sharing carefully curated gift boxes lovingly packed with helpful, purposeful products."

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Meta Mesdag is a mom of three in Juneau, Alaska. Wanting to be available to her kids, Meta has opened two successful small businesses out of her home. Although both ventures have kept super busy, Meta decided earlier this year to start a family “mariculture” business -- an ocean farm where she, her husband and kids will grow (and then sell) oysters, clams, mussels and kelp.

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Seven years ago, professional voice actor Sharon Coleman was diagnosed with colon cancer. Two years later, the cancer returned, and Sharon once again endured surgery, radiation and chemo. Thankfully, today Sharon is five years cancer-free. She’s also celebrating another significant milestone: This month, she launched an online business that’s directly inspired by her own harrowing experience with cancer. Sharon has founded Lemon and Honey Gifts which offers a carefully curated selection of gift boxes for men, women and kids going through chemo. 

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Sandra Zhao was running a bakery in Kenya when she met her future business partner Ashleigh Miller, a Persian rug dealer in New York City, at a wedding in Nairobi. Sandra was wearing a stunning dress she’d made from colorful handmade fabric. Her sartorial decision was fortuitous, to say the least: The dress became the inspiration behind Sandra and Ashleigh’s joint business venture, Zuri. Inspired by the bold and beautiful textile prints in western Africa, they set out to sell a single style of dress in an array of ever-changing patterns. The dresses are made at a sustainable, carbon-neutral factory in Kenya that supports wildlife conservation and provides jobs to the community. The dresses are exported to and sold in the U.S.

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Mind over matter, positive thinking, growth mindset, mental attitude -- these are all phrases we hear about as students, athletes and as business owners looking for a leg-up on the competition. What does having the right “mindset” truly mean for entrepreneurs and what does it actually look like in the real world? These 12 entrepreneurs tell us about the mindset that keeps them motivated and helps them muscle through the ups and downs of being self-employed.

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top10.jpg The 10 most read posts this month in QuickBooks Community. 

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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!”

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Natalie Cofield founded Walker’s Legacy, a digital platform for young, multicultural women to find mentors and access the resources needed to help them succeed in business.

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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.

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 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.”

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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.”

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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.

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Did you know that the number of African-American businesses is growing by leaps and bounds? Women are seriously leading the charge, with a whopping 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!

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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.

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martyrich_pic.jpg 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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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 also In 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. 

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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.

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As we join the celebration of July’s National 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.

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beachread.jpg 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?

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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