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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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At some point, small business owners will have to navigate a sticky customer service situation due to a missed delivery date, a broken item or some other shipping-related snafu. How you handle it can make or break your business reputation, especially during the high-pressure, high volume holiday shopping season. 

 

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During the crazy holiday season, it’s easy to prioritize your business over well, everything. We’re here to remind you that losing sleep, eating poorly, staying Superglued to a screen or otherwise connected to your work 24/7 is not in your best interest. Remember, when your mental, physical and emotional health suffers, so, too, does your business.  

 

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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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Sometimes we think we should rename QB Community “Epiphanies R Us!” As countless community members have told us, you just never know when an idea will pop into your head and BOOM! A seed of an idea grows and blossoms into a successful business. Of course, that flash of inspiration is just the first tiny step on any entrepreneurial journey – but without it, you might not be taking a journey at all.

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We hear all the time in this community about the mindset that helps entrepreneurs succeed in business. One thing is clear: Working for yourself means thinking differently about every aspect of, well, “work” – what it means to you (everything), when you do it (always), when you put it aside (rarely). Below are some of the insights you’ve shared. Do you recognize yourself in any of these hard-working entrepreneurs? Of course, you do!

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Technically speaking, doing research and development or R&D means officially allocating time and resources to a team of inventors or product manufacturers who think of and develop product ideas. This crack team will make prototypes and conduct formal trials with prospective customers to see if a product will fly. If this sounds like it’s well beyond the scope of your budget and resources (both financial and human), you might be right.  

 

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We'll kick off World Gratitude Day by telling you what we on this QB Community team are grateful for. Spoiler alert: We’re all pretty darn delighted to be working with entrepreneurs like you!

 

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All small businesses have a couple of things in common. First, they’re run by a dedicated, determined, passionate entrepreneur. Second, each one of those inspiring self-employed folks had an idea for a product (or a service) and figured how to transform it into something they could sell. We know – and you do, too -- the process of turning an epiphany into a business is never easy. Here’s how some folks in QB Community have managed to do it.

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Here’s a question you’ll get asked all the time as an entrepreneur: Why did you decide to start your own business? (Thankfully, the other part of the question – what made you crazy enough to think you could start your own business? – is usually just implied!) We’ll help you home in on your answer by sharing some of the top reasons folks in this awesome community have chosen to do their own business thing. Did we omit what motivates you to work for yourself? In the comments below, tell us what inspires you to take the entrepreneurial leap!

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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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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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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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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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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.

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good_bethanytran.jpg 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.

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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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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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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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