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Archive for the ‘entrepreneur in training’ Category

Screw Birthday Gifts; Let’s Start a Business Instead

Happy to report that Shanley’s campaign was fully funded! Thank you for all of your help!

When your friends are bloggers located on the other side of the country, buying drinks to catch up after a hard day or to celebrate a monumental victory can be, well, impossible. And sending them birthday wishes after Facebook reminds you of their special day is so passé.

Let’s be real, thirty seconds of your time typing out “happy birthday” on Facebook is not meaningful.

A New Kind of Birthday Gift

Shanley Knox and Florence Okun

Meet my friend Shanley KnoxShanley is a writer and social entrepreneur. At 20, she launched her first social enterprise. And this year for her 25th birthday, she’s doing what other 25-year-olds are not: trading in her birthday drinks to raise money for her second social enterprise. This time, it’s to launch Olivia Knox, which aims to change the face of manufacturing through refined East African craftsmanship that will supply luxury and lifestyle designers globally.

Through Olivia Knox, Shanley plans to raise labor standards and provide regular wages for a group of 40 female workers in Uganda, an area of the world where women are often marginalized and abused in professional working environments. Not just one or two, 40.

In her words:

She’s less than $700 away from reaching her goal and has less than four days to reach it; her campaign ends on Friday, January 31st, 2014 at 11:59 PT.

I already bought a round of drinks.  Want to grab the next birthday cocktail or birthday beer

Shanley Knox of Nakate Project

What do you say, shall we contribute a few birthday drinks to Shanley’s campaign?

You can make your donation through her campaign on Indiegogo, here: Have Birthday Drinks with Shanley for Uganda.

Photos courtesy of Shanley Knox 

The Tasty Story of Very Sheri Hauser

When I started working in book publishing, every week we’d hear about a local brick-and-mortar bookstore that was closing it’s doors due to the rise of Internet resellers and big box stores (RIP Borders) that were killing off our local independents. (Watch You’ve Got Mail if you missed this part of recent history.)

We aren’t naive any more. We learned through the grassroots “shop local” campaigns that gained momentum in 2007 and went mainstream when American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010. We know that if we want our favorite independent retailers to stick around, we have to put our money where our mouths are or these stores will disappear.

Sheri Hauser

Meet Sheri Hauser, the owner of Tasty, an art and gift shop specializing in homemade, eclectic, and colorful collectibles located between the Greenwood and Phinney Ridge neighborhoods in Seattle.

When you walk into her shop, you’re greeted by bright green and pink walls and artwork from familiar faces like Justin Hillgrove’s Imps & Monsters intermixed with sculptures created from found objects. There are necklaces made with the most divine gemstones and handmade patchwork pillows that you wish your grandma knew how to make. As you move through the store, the walls are adorned from top-to-bottom with a mix of vintage, retro, and rockabilly artwork and style. It’s like you walk into a classic 1950s neighborhood shop but with 1990s edge.

On the last weekend before Christmas, I walked into Tasty for the first time. But before I could peek through the picture windows I saw the sign in big bold letters: CLOSING JANUARY 31, 2014. TASTY LOVES YOU, PHINNEYWOOD.

As I shopped, a regular popped into the store and greeted Sheri with open arms and asked, “Aren’t you sad that you’re closing?”

And Sheri answered with a smile: “What are you talking about? I’ve been living my dream and now I get to start a new career!”

Sheri’s optimism at a time of change confused me. I have so many friends that have poured their hearts and souls into building their own businesses and the collapse of which would not leave them facing their customers with a smile. I needed to know more about this – about Tasty, Sheri, and the arts scene in Seattle. So I sat down to interview Sheri and learn more about the story of Tasty. (more…)

Musings on Adulthood and Ambition

Lazy Sunday: bed, newspaper, cherry-cheesecake

You wake up one morning to the sound of birds chirping outside of your window at 4:45am, roll over for a few more hours, then decide to get out of bed because you can’t sleep anymore and it’s barely 8am on a Sunday morning.

This, my friends, is a sign that you’re an adult.

My husband and I progress through life at lightning speed. Rarely is there an evening or a weekend when we aren’t playing, hustling, or catching up on housework so that our neighbors don’t hate us. There’s a word I like to use to describe our life, and it’s a word that’s somewhere between the sound of a 20-something treading water and ambitious, driven, have-it-all-figured-out adults. And lately I’ve been more of the first one than the latter.

But what does ambition look like?

Ambition is…

Over the past few weeks, there have been three blog posts and articles that I’ve read that are musings around the word “ambition” and what it looks like for different people.

The first by Deena Varshavskaya, the founder and CEO of Wanelo. In her post, Startup CEOs, Stop Acting Like Victims, she is shouting at all of the other startup CEOs who to stop looking for pity about the journey that they have chosen. Let’s face it, if you’ve chosen to have an idea and bring it to life, you’ve chosen a very risky, hard life because you can’t see yourself doing anything but chasing that dream. Get on the ambition train or get off of it.

The second two articles were lists of rules about things to do and not to do, courtesy of what each author has learned in the past. The first list, 27 Dos and Don’ts for Being a Badass Woman, is by Justine Musk, a writer who blogs for creatives. And the second list, 20 Things I Should Have Known at 20, is by Julien Smith, a bestselling author who writes about the digital space. Both lists are rules that have a lot to do with looking back, reflecting, and moving forward. (more…)

The Side Project: All You Need is One

what you really look like when you multitask by ryan ritchie

In college, my screenwriting professor said that down in LA, every other person has a screen play in their back pocket. In these days of the hipster generation, I’d say that every other person has a startup, a side-project, or even a business that they’re working on in their spare time. And in tech communities like Seattle, I’d say that’s every person.

Ideas are everywhere. And the Internet makes it so easy to turn a ‘hobby’ into a business.

Are you a habitual side project starter?

You are full of ideas. You look at the world and problems that need fixing. And you know exactly how to do it.

You think up new projects and jump on them.  When you start, it’s like you’ve caught a fever — you brainstorm, purchase the domain name, snag the Twitter handle, and tell everyone you know about what you’re working on. You can’t be stopped.

But then it happens again. You get a new idea and it’s better than the one before.  You place your current project on hold or abandon it entirely.

The cycle repeats itself.

Question, are you jumping from project to project, because:

  1. You haven’t found that ‘one’ project that you really, really, really want to focus on?
  2. You believe that you can work on every single project at the same time (or switch as you follow your folly)?
  3. You don’t have the confidence that any of your ideas are ‘good enough’ to succeed?

Stop juggling side projects. Commit.

Projects, like goals, are most successful when you focus on one or two at a time. That way you can make an honest, full-blown effort at seeing one of those ideas through before choosing to go all the way or jump ship.

You need to specialize and focus on one project at a time. It’s why top companies focus their entire business on one thing, either having the best price, the best quality product, or the best service than anyone else in their industry. It’s why Zappos is known for great customer service, Southwest Airlines for price, and Apple for product (though the fan boys do help).

If you juggle too many projects at one time, you’re bound to drop one or keep them in the air at half mast. And multitasking may be bad for your brain.

If you’re constantly starting new projects, stop. Pick one and start working on it. Follow your curiosity and see where it goes. It might be everything you hoped it would be or it might be an utter failure. If it’s the latter, then scrap it and move on to the next one.

You may be surprised by what happens when you focus.

Photo credit: ryantron.

Hipster Entrepreneurs Have Taken Over GeekWire

Every once in a while you get a tweet from someone in response to something you wrote – and then they write about it.

Remember Sunday’s post, How to be a Hipster, in response to the New York Times article, ‘Generation Sells’? Today, Monica Guzman published an article on GeekWire and yours truly was quoted. (Yippee!)

The article is awesome as it carries the conversation about the ‘entrepreneurial generation’ one step further as Monica interviewed a number of startup founders and small business owners about how they have used social media to build an “one giant cocktail party” that’s helped them build a community of people who will help them launch their business by evangelizing their product.

That’s one party I’m excited to attend. Every single day.

You should read Monica’s article: You’re selling yourself, and that’s OK: Welcome to the entrepreneurial generation.

You’re selling yourself, and that’s OK: Welcome to the entrepreneurial generation

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