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Do You Want to be an Entrepreneur?

670px Motocross in Yyteri 2010   60 Do You Want to be an Entrepreneur?

English: Competitor in Yyteri SM Motocross 2010 -competition in Yyteri. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want to be an entrepreneur?  Do you want to start your own business?  Have you thought about it?  What kind of idea do you have for a business?  Here are some things to think about prior to stepping out on your own, to decide if maybe it is a good idea.

5 Questions to Ask if considering Entrepreneurship

  1. What is your tolerance for risk?  Are you able to go without pay for a while?  Are you able to afford the loss of your investment?
  2. What kind of market analysis have you done? Do you know what the market looks like for your product or service?
  3. How many other businesses like it are currently in the market?  Are there dozens of competitors, or would you be the first one to market?  It is worth considering how many other competitors you would face. Also consider whether there is a single very large competitor in the market.
  4. What regulatory hurdles do you face?  Can you even get into the market?  Is it easy or is it hard? Sometimes licensing regulations can prevent entry into a market altogether.  Sometimes other restrictions on market entry can make it prohibitively expensive.
  5. Can you live with this idea day and night for the next while?  How comfortable are you with this idea?  Can you live, eat, and breathe it for the next few years while you focus on getting the business of the ground?  The first year of my own businesses has been a whirlwind, with very little sleep.  I do get asked very regularly whenever I actually sleep.

What about you?  What questions do you think are most important to ask if someone is considering entrepreneurship and a new business?  How can you tell if it’s a good idea or not?  What sort of documentation and evidence would you want to see?

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Working Mom Interview – Alicia Krauss

  1. Alicia Working Mom Interview   Alicia KraussIn this blog post, I’d like to introduce my working mom Alicia.  We met online in a working mom group, that rocks my world.  They are one of my great support networks.  I thought that there are so many times where we really don’t talk about what real life women are like- and how they are such rock stars!  So, I’m introducing some of the women I respect tremendously, and hope that you’ll learn from all of our experiences!  I hope you will enjoy it!  Alicia is the first mom I’ve interviewed.  I hope you’ll show her some love. icon smile Working Mom Interview   Alicia Krauss

 

 

Introducing Working Mom- Alicia Krauss

  1. Do you stay at home, work at home, or work-outside the home? I work outside the home, but am currently laid off and looking for employment.
  2. How many kids do you have? 3, all girls
  3. What’s your go-to dinner during the week? Do you care to share a recipe? Anything that can be cooked in the crock-pot. Something super easy is pre-made meatballs and marinara. Then we make meatball sandwiches, or cook some pasta.
  4. What are your best tips for staying sane? Have the kids be responsible for their own laundry, picking out their clothes in advance, pack their own lunches, etc.
  5. What are your favorite tools for time/household management? My whiteboard calendar to keep track of all important activities/appointments
  6. Do you have pets? If so, what kind? Dog, cat, guinea pigs and a bunny.
  7. What are your hobbies? Reading, baking, driving the kids to their activities
  8. What’s on your bucket list? More traveling, get a Master’s degree
  9. If you work, what do you do? How did you decide? My last job was in regulatory science for an agricultural biotech company. I love science and have my Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I didn’t aspire to work in agricultural biotech, I just had the qualifications for the job.
  10. If you work, what’s the most rewarding part about it? Knowing that I could support myself if needed. Contributing financially to the household. Setting the example of being independent to my kids
  11. If you could choose any career, what would it be? I wish I would have thought this through better in college. Or that I could go back in time and impart my 40 year old wisdom on my 21 year old self. I would have either gone into teaching or a healthcare profession (physician assistant or physical therapy)
  12. If you could tell your younger self something, what would it be? There’s a lot I would tell my younger self, but mostly, I would tell my younger self to just enjoy my youth, don’t get so worked up over school work or anything like that.  Take advantage of opportunities to travel.  And most of all, you don’t need to have it all figured out when you graduate from college.  It’s ok to take a year or two (or more) to figure it out.

 

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Kitten Update

2014 09 25 08.12.51 1024x768 Kitten Update

I posted a few months ago about living my principles, and the kitten I had adopted.

Fifi is now 6 months old.  He had surgery in June to correct the vascular ring defect.   First, they performed a CT-Scan on him, and determined that he does, indeed have a defect in his heart, which is what caused the vascular ring defect.  Fortunately, nothing critical was near the area where they needed to do the surgery.  They performed surgery, which was major thoracic surgery, and we had to keep him quarantined, and away from his siblings for almost two weeks.  Feeding did not go smoothly at first, and we weren’t sure if he was going to need a feeding tube for the rest of his life.  Fortunately, he caught on to feeding, and while he boarded there in July due to a Trip I was on with the Girl Scouts, he started eating by mouth.

By the time I came home, he was receiving everything by mouth, but it was a liquid diet, consisting on pureed cat food, and a bunch of other stuff we had to whip up in the blender, until it was smooth.  He slowly started eating regular, moist cat food, because he liked the food that the other cats were eating better than his own.  In fact, it was a battle of wills at times!  We had to restrict his solid food intake, and he WANTED to eat it.  So we had feeding strikes, temper tantrums, and it was a lot like dealing with a toddler over the food.

Eventually, he was on an all-moist diet.  After about a week, we tried dried kibbles, and he was able to eat those, and keep them down.  It was right about that time, that he pulled out his feeding tube somehow.  We discovered it, and immediately took him to the vet school at NC State, where they decided that since he was able to eat, and keep it down, and had been for a while, that they were going to leave it out.  So, mid-august we had a kitten with no feeding tube!

Fifi continues to grow, and loves getting into mischief.  I’ve posted a couple of pictures here.  He also has his own Facebook group where I regularly post pictures of the little guy.  He and his brothers were neutered and microchipped in mid-September.  I joke that I have the most expensive “free” kitten ever!

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FifiUnderIsland Kitten Update

How Female Entrepreneurs are Different

Fotolia 34905989 XS 300x200 How Female Entrepreneurs are Different

People who get out there and make their own business from scratch are called Entrepreneurs and they can be male or female. However, male and female entrepreneurs do things way differently when it comes time to run a business.

Female entrepreneurs will be more sensitive to the clients needs and her employee needs than a male entrepreneur will tend to be. Female entrepreneurs want to make sure their employees are taken care of so they do not have a high turn over in workers. Not only do they want to take care of their workers but they will ensure their clients are satisfied and happy with the service they are receiving so they do not loose clients from poor service.

Not only will female entrepreneurs make sure their clients and employees are happy but they are hard workers because they have to prove they can do the job just a like a male can do it. They feel they have to prove they are capable of the work and handling the business they are in.

Female entrepreneurs are in general more serious, more likely to seek and listen to advice as well as being better at dealing with people than most male entrepreneurs are.

Male entrepreneurs are more interested in the growth of the business and the money side of things because they want to make a lot of money and make it quick. Males are more interested in the business side of the business rather than be there for the people that help run the business such as the employees. They will also be very interested in getting new clients however; they will not take as good care of these clients as the females will.

Both men and women have strengths and weakness when it comes to running a business however, they both can do the job and get it done. Women tend to be there for her employees and clients more then men and men tend to want to make more money and not worry about their employee’s happiness. Both men and women have to build off of their strengths and learn from the weakness to make the business last and keep on working for a long time to come.

Women have the strength of wanting to talk and deal with the people but they need more help on the business and money side of things so they are willing to ask for advice. This does not make them bad entrepreneurs; however, it makes them very good at what they do.

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The Value of People

670px Dan Ingalls The Value of People

English: , American programmer, pioneer of object-oriented computer programming. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most businesses that have grown past the point of having a single employee have been built with the people who work for the company.  Some people will have a positive effect on the corporate or company culture, and others will have a negative effect.   But every person will have an effect on the company.  That is especially true when a company is in the beginning stages and getting off the ground.  A single employee can literally make or break a new company.  Employees are the cornerstone of almost any business.  They are not cogs that can be replaced, or to be moved from one organization to another.  There is a huge value to the people in an organization, and really, the people make the organization.

Too often managers, especially in large groups, treat people as if they are replaceable, or certainly that they are interchangeable.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  The more highly skilled the workforce is within a company, the less interchangeable employees are.  That means high tech, or any STEM field.  It is also true in medicine, and medical research.  A programmer isn’t just a programmer.  Someone in IT could do about 10,000 different things, depending on what their specialty is.  Do they do Testing?  Quality Assurance?  Project planning?  Do they code?  If so, what kind of coding?  Is it in Java, Javascript?  Assembly?  The number of questions, that arise are almost limitless.  You can’t just take two engineers in the same organization and swap them for one another.  That would be a huge mistake, yet companies do this all the time, because they don’t recognize the value of people. They don’t recognize how difficult some of these skills are to find.

If a company finds itself in a situation where it is spending too much for too little return, the answer isn’t just to eliminate people, and pile more work on the remaining employees.  Too often that is the approach that companies take.  The real answer needs to be that the company needs to find a different way to do business, not just work the current workforce harder.  It may mean actually having to make difficult decisions about what the company will and won’t do, and how it will do the things that it decides are important.

The people are what made the company, and it’s important to recognize their value.

Leadership Has Different Meanings

Fotolia 60643710 XS 300x200 Leadership Has Different MeaningsIt is interesting to see how much the term “leadership” is used these days.  Eagle Scouts, and Girl Scout Gold Awards are leadership projects.  Clubs try to teach leadership, and Ravenscroft has started a phenomenal program to teach and instill leadership in the kids that go there.  But with all of that, I think that the term leadership has different meanings to different people.

For some people, leadership is about telling others what to do.  To me, that is more about management, than actual leadership.

True leadership is more of a question of influence, which is harder to teach.  Anyone can learn management techniques, but learning techniques on influencing others is much more difficult to do.  That’s because influence is much more complex, and is based on so many other factors like trust, a relationship, truth, someone being inspired to do what you need them to do, and more.  There are certainly aspects of this that are easier to teach than others.  You have to be real, authentic, genuine, and have a vision.  You also have to be able to communicate and sell that vision.

That means that leaders are essentially sales people for their vision.  To influence someone, also requires selling that idea. There is an idea, a vision, or a nugget of truth that others want to get behind.  A leader has an idea, or at least is able to fake it, so that people believe that they have an idea, and are willing to jump in and help the situation out.

That view of leadership, in my opinion, is much more difficult to teach than simply telling people how to do what they need to do, and managing them.  There are enough people who simply want to step in and be managers, but really aren’t capable of exerting that vision and influence that is so key and necessary.

 

You Are Super Mom

 

Fotolia 49988687 XS 300x165 You Are Super MomWhen we lived in Rochester I admired my new friend Mona. We both had young children, I had my two boys Abe my 5 year old and Sammy my hyperactive 18 month old. Mona had 4 children, she was very active at our place of worship. She was cheerful, always volunteering to teach, her dishes for potluck dinners were delicious, she ran the women’s study group, and was beautifully dressed.

 

I did my best to volunteer as much as I could, but it was a struggle. The process of getting the boys into snow boots, jackets, finding mittens, and securing car and booster seats was tedious and painful, particularly when it was 4 degrees out. We had a comfortable house, but I could never quite catch up with the laundry, Lego‘s, Magna doodles, and boys socks were usually all over the floor, and the elegant master bathtub was full of rubber toys.

 

We had a happy and full life, but I always felt I wasn’t doing enough, like the other moms, like my friend Mona. I thought she was some kind of Super Mom.

 

Mona invited me over with my boys for lunch and a play date. She said to follow her by car after a meeting at our place of worship. While I was buckling my boys into their car seats, Mona quickly finished settling her kids in her van and was waiting for me to follow her out of the parking lot. As I followed her to her house I noticed her daughter was walking around in Mona’s van. No wonder she got out of the parking lot so fast, she didn’t put her kids in a car seat! We entered Mona’s house, the walls were covered with crayon and pencil scribbles from her kids, it was horrible looking. We had lunch, and I tried to diplomatically tell Mona that she had to buckle her kids up in the car, when I was distracted by her son sticking a pencil into an electrical outlet that was not “baby proofed”.

 

After that visit, I decided to be happy with the amount of time I volunteered outside of my home. Mona was a nice lady, but she wasn’t living a balanced life. Even though I couldn’t donate as many hours as my friends I decided I am Super mom.

 

The Real Life of Comments on Social Media

IMG 9757 169x300 The Real Life of Comments on Social Media

I’ve seen so many trolls, and snarky comments online that I think I’m pretty immune to them at this point.  Some people are seriously emboldened by their anonymity, and that makes them say things online and on social media that they would never, ever say to someone face to face.  That can be a deadly mistake.  Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that once they post something online, it lives nearly forever.  People can take screen captures of what has been posted, and store those, and publicize them, but the websites themselves are legally bound to keep the data for a very, very long time.  So, a comment may be deleted, but it still exists in your user history.  Think you can delete your user ID and have the information go away?  Not so fast.  That information is kept as well.

That means that the stupid comment you made?  Oh, it just stays around forever.  The kid who told my daughter on Instagram “If you post about my man again, and I’ll gouge your eyes out”?  Well, even though he regretted that comment, and deleted, isn’t going to do him any good.  We’ve got screen captures of it, showing it came from his userid.  If it ever came down to a court case, then well, the police would simply subpoena the logs of what he’s posted anywhere.  Yes.  That stupid comment you made as a teenager, in the heat of the moment?  It lives on forever.  It can follow you forever.  Threatening my daughter for posting a picture of an idol?  Not so smart either.

Let me state that again.  Comments you make online, send via text, email, or other electronic means, live on for a very long time.  It doesn’t matter if you delete those comments, because the records and logs of those are there, forever.  It’s a federal law.  It also sucks, because when I was a teenager, stupid stuff we said maybe ended up in a fist fight.  Make a comment like that on social media, and you can land yourself in jail, with a record.  There is no margin for error.  For adults or for kids.

Watch what you say online.  Treat it all as public, because it might as well be.  Know that the stupid comment you make can and will live on forever.  Oh, and I might decide to use you as an example in my blog.

 

 

 

 

Restoring Order in the Post Baby Chaos

670px US Navy 050715 N 3136P 025 Aviation Boatswain%27s Mate 3rd Class Mary Lynch of Norwalk%2C Calif.%2C works out with fellow air department Sailors in the hangar bay Restoring Order in the Post Baby Chaos

English: Coral Sea (July 15, 2005) – Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Mary Lynch of Norwalk, Calif., works out with fellow air department Sailors in the hangar bay aboard the conventionally powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Group physical fitness training is conducted three times a week for Kitty Hawk Sailors to improve their physical fitness and quality of life. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Jimmy C. Pan (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My youngest is just about to turn 18 months.  18 long months after having a baby – and my life has not restored order.  But being number 4, this isn’t my first rodeo with restoring order after having a baby.  Here are some steps I find helpful in restoring order to my life post baby.

1) Don’t look down

Afraid of heights, I’m fine when I look up and take a step at a time.  But if I look down the entire task becomes overwhelming.

There were so many ways I spent my time before this last baby. I was running regularly (20-25 mi/wk).  I also attended exercise classes at work and even found time for additional workouts.  On top of all that physical fitness, I found time for pleasure reading and spending quiet time in the morning reading my Bible. I had a social life and friends.  I think about all the things I did and sometimes feel overwhelmed with finding time for all of this again.  That was 2 years ago.  This is now.  As with any monumental task, pick a place and work on that one thing.  Contemplating where I was will get me nowhere.  Contemplating where I need to be and how to get there (an actionable plan) absolutely will.

2) Follow-through

In high school I did archery. In fact, I was state champion two years running.  One of the mantras in archery was FOLLOW THROUGH!  If you lowered the bow immediately after shooting the arch of the arrow was affected and the mark was never hit.

Goals are great – but they certain do not happen by themselves.  What will it take to achieve them?  In my case, I really want to spend some quiet time in the morning.  This means setting my alarm earlier, going to bed earlier and giving up those snoozes.  Right now, I’m actually just showering earlier because I’m working on changing my natural body clock.  In order to have effective quiet time in the morning – I can’t be a zombie.  I felt like this morning was a win when I woke up a minute before my alarm. It has taken a lot of personal will power to not hit the snooze.  I’m following through by getting my tush out of bed.

3) Keep on keeping on

Be realistic.  In my case, I’ve got a baby.  I can’t expect life to be just exactly like it was in 2 months.  In fact, if I’m completely honest with myself I know that it takes a solid year to return to any kind of normalcy post baby.  It is one long year of life rebuilding, of adding things on a bit at a time.  Everything from figuring out how to eat or shower with a baby to going back to work. And LORD HELP US ALL if the house needs to be clean on top of it all.  It all takes time.  The only way to get there is to keep trying.  The best way to never get there is to quit or give up.

And in the spirit of being realistic – I also know that there are some things I probably will not accomplish for many years to come.  I’d love to learn to knit.  I want to make cute baby blankets and baby hats.  I have come to the conclusion there is a reason little old ladies make these things and not working mothers…some day, I will have time for these things.

This is the longest I’ve ever taken to get back to me.  This past year I haven’t even done simple hobbies like photographing my children with my beloved Cannon.  This latest baby has been my caboose.  And cherishing every minute of his babyhood was important to me.  But as we exit that babyhood – I’m finally feeling ready to begin tackling the subject of me.  My next goal (after restoring my morning quiet time) will be exercise.  I dearly miss running and have a Garmin watch that has been calling my name…

Seeking Bloggers

670px 0514 Seeking Shadow Kathmandu Bodnath 2006 Luca Galuzzi Seeking Bloggers

English: Two girls seeking shadow on Bodnath Temple. Bodnath is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the area of Kathmandu, Nepal. Français : Deux filles recherchent l’ombre au temple de Bodnath. Ce temple de la région de Katmandou, au Népal, est l’un des lieux les plus saints du bouddhisme. Italiano: Due ragazze cercano riparo all’ombra sul tempio di Bodnath. Bodnath è uno dei più sacri siti buddisti nell’area di Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re looking to grow Leadership Girl Blog.  We’re seeking bloggers, experts, writers, and others who can make a meaningful, and interesting contribution to our blog.  If you would please pass this along to your friends who are witty, fun, sarcastic, and a great leadership influence on those around them, we’d like to talk to them.  Please share this with your friends, and send them to us.  Please email resumes for anyone who is interested to haley@leadershipgirl.com