Tag Archives: women entrepreneurs

5 Keys to Success for Women Entrepreneurs

30 Apr

Women entrepreneurs in Botucatu, BrazilI had the honor of traveling to Brazil to speak to women entrepreneurs who live in Botucatu, a city that is a three hour drive from Sao Paolo. Silvia Sasaoka, founded Instituto Botucatu a place where women can learn design skills and gain business acumen. The women in this training program were chosen because they are serious about the success of their endeavors and came eagerly to learn and network with potential mentors. They enthusiastically embraced the following keys to success:

 

Believe in your dreams

You start a business because you have a dream that excites and motivates you. Too many women tell everyone in the early stages about their dreams. Many do not understand and may even try to talk you out of your idea. There is a time to get realistic input about the challenges ahead and we will address that in a moment. Now is the time to believe in yourself and what you want to accomplish.

Write down a clear vision

This is the stage where you gain clarity around the implementation of your dream. What does it look like in the near future? What does it look three years from now? What are the next steps that you need to take to get traction and movement in the right direction? In a sense you put feet to your ideas and begin to work it out.

Take risks

Too many women hesitate when it comes to taking calculated risks in their businesses. Often there is the fear that the risk will be too high. To succeed you need to be willing to move forward consistently. Don’t let your business take the back seat in your life. Get the funding you need to take your venture to the next level. Begin to look at risks as opportunities to expand and grow your business.

Ask for help

One of the greatest hindrances that women face as entrepreneurs is the lack of examples and mentors. One of the exciting part of the session in Brazil is that potential mentors attended the networking breakfast and the keynote. During the workshop that afternoon, I had the women who are starting the training program think about specific areas where they needed help. A strong network is essential to growing a thriving business endeavor. You need to reach out of your comfortable network to expand and grow connections.

Own your future

Ultimately, you need to own your future and how you implement your dream. Taking full responsibility to move forward consistently empowers you to overcome barriers and view them as challenges. This is no time to put your plans on the back burner. Take steps every day toward making the vision of your dream a reality. Ask for help as you take calculated risks. If you don’t believe in your dream, who will?

Author, speaker, corporate trainer and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. To increase hope and make difference in your business, click here.

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Overcoming 3 Barriers to Success

4 Sep

Learn as you go - make progressIt’s hard to reach new levels of accomplishment both as an individual and as an entrepreneur. As we expand out of our self-imposed ‘comfort zone’ we can often find the greatest resistance in our minds. Recently, I took a challenge to record and post a video every day for 30 days.  I’m thrilled to have made several videos despite the following three barriers that threatened to hold me back. Any one of these can slow you down and, when stuck in all three, you become paralyzed.

  • Procrastination – putting off critical decisions until later
  • People pleasing – looking for the approval of others
  • Perfectionism – waiting until everything is perfect before taking another step

Procrastination

I immediately started researching and looking for the best practices of producing videos. I started asking others for advice and planning what I would put together. My form of procrastination is not about being unwilling to work because I can get incredibly busy with a flurry of unproductive activities. Instead, it’s in planning and talking about what I want to do. And that’s where it can stop with no forward progress.

Hope Antidote

I overcome my fear of making critical decisions by moving forward and not waiting. I learn as I go because I make good decisions. Confidence in taking the next step eliminates procrastination and encourages others to come along.

Pleasing People

It’s important to be aware of others. At the same time, it’s impossible to please everyone. In fact, if I’m not careful that can become my full-time job. When it came to recording the videos, I took the equipment that I had and started. The great part was I actually got great advice from others and most of it was positive.

Hope Antidote

I care about what others think, yet do not let their opinions paralyze me and keep me from moving forward. Feedback from others helps to guide me in the right direction but does not set my course.

Perfectionism

Perfection is overrated. It’s a fictional state of being that can never be found because you can always find another reason why the project is not perfect.

Hope Antidote

My satisfaction comes from progress and I learn as I go.

I posted seven videos on my 30-day video challenge. That’s seven more than I would have created before I started. I had fun! I met some wonderful people who inspired and encouraged me. I’m glad I set aside my pathological procrastination, people-pleasing perfectionism. It’s thrilling to make progress.

How about you? What project is laying on the side of the road due to this trilogy of barriers to your success? Go back and pick it up again. Dust it off and start heading in the right direction.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. She is a certified facilitator with Kauffman Foundation’sFastTrac. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to book her as a speaker or want one-on-one coaching to accelerate your personal and professional growth.

How to Succeed in a Niche Market

31 Jan

Shirley Fisher entrepreneur with successful handpainted cards

Shirley Fisher is our guest blogger. She shares how she found the niche for her beautiful hand painted inspirational cards that are available at www.fishprintgifts.info .

What inspired you to start your business?

In a nutshell, it was my passion to find a unique platform to share the heart of God. I found this outlet as I began to write phrases and words of encouragement. Before long, I realized that I was writing poetry. I wanted to find a way to share what I had written so others could be blessed by it.
My husband and I had already started a printing and publishing company called Accent Digital Publishing. I started putting all the poetry in greeting card form. I wanted to paint even though I had never done it before. It looked so easy, yet I wasn’t sure how to do it. One night, in a dream, the Lord showed me the exact strokes I needed to use. I have been painting flowers and writing poetry ever since.

What did you do to market your cards?

I found the first opportunity I could, which at that time was our local farmer’s market. I simply started painting the cards and discovered that people were fascinated and wanted to watch me paint them.  People were very receptive to a hand painted card. Some wanted specific poems for encouragement and some just wanted blank cards so they could to put their own words in. The fact remains that in some special way, people are being touched by the love of God.

How do you generate income?

I make my money through the custom work I do for weddings or special occasions, the original design cards, hand painted book marks, custom book marks and other specialty custom designs. You can see many other gift ideas on my website www.fishprintgifts.info.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a business like yours?

Dream bigger, because you can. We all have a voice. Start with what is in your hand to do. Influence the ONE first.

What pitfalls should those looking for a niche market avoid?

Getting too busy. When that happens I lose the focus of my original dream or the original intent.

How do you handle discouragement?

Recognize it for what it is and where it came from.  Be honest with myself and God. It’s okay to let Him  know you’re discouraged. I think He already knows anyway. After I pour my heart out to Him, I close the door to any other discouraging thoughts that may come and then I do the right thing. If I rest in His presence and read His Word I can enjoy peace.

What inspires you to keep going?

That’s easy to answer. When I see the smiles on people’s faces as they receive the hand painted greeting card I am motivated to keep going.

How do you keep the passion alive?

Ten years have now passed and the passion is still very much alive. I could not stop if I wanted to. I have painted and given away so many cards I have lost count. The opportunities are endless. One of my latest pleasures was to paint cards for the staff at our local women’s refuge facility. Other ministries have asked me to do the same for them also. This is a gift from the heart. Very few people will turn away a free hand painted greeting card.  The heart of giving is one of the ways God shows His love.

Like the motto on the back of my cards says:
 Fishprint – A Lasting Impression Through Art & Poetry
Each day we have the opportunity to make an impression on someone; my prayer is that I make it count. Whether it’s painting flowers in a decorative style, writing poetry or speaking, my focus is the same:
To reflect God’s glory in all that I do.
“Let me be a flower in Your Garden of Worship.”
Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Please email her at hopepreneurs@gmail.com if you would like to receive one-on-one coaching. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Seven Creative Ways to Stay Motivated

9 Jan

Discover your passion and you will always be motivated - quote from Karen Sebastian of HOPEpreneurs.What’s your motivation quotient? Was it a great week full of accomplishments or were you struggling to get through the days? Did you take on too much as you started the new year?

For the sake of this topic, I would like to give the HOPEpreneur definition of the word motivation: the internal drive to carry out what is important to us. It is closely aligned to what motivates us and what we are passionate about. It is personal and will grow when shared with others who share our passion.

Here are seven creative ways to keep the motivational flame burning brightly to do keep moving forward toward success (For sake of a practical example, I will be talking about find the motivation to write the HOPEpreneur blog that you are reading):

1. Tap into your true motivation.

When we align our goals with what truly motivates us, we will find the stamina to follow through with them. For example, my passion is to make a difference in the lives of women entrepreneurs. As a result, I have found increased my motivation to write this blog as I hear back from readers who find it helpful. What motivates you?

2. Celebrate every step in the right direction.

Set small goals that keep you moving forward. I set a goal of ten blogs and you are reading the eleventh one.  Now I am going to write some blogs to have ready to go for when my travel schedule picks up next year. What’s a small goal you can set that you will celebrate when you accomplish it?

3. Accept setbacks as reality check points.

Initially, I set my goal to write three blogs a week to get me established and build up my mailing list. I still want to do that but am happy when I can get two blogs out there. If I re-frame the setback, I see that this is not a failure but rather a reality check depending on my schedule. What milestones have you set in place to mark your progress?

4. Acquire an accountability partner.

Find someone who will check back with you to see if you completed what you set out to do. This is the reason that organizations like Weight Watchers are so successful. Pick someone you trust and who will urge you to keep going if you get derailed. Who will you ask to celebrate your next accomplishment with you?

5. Get moving.

Literally, get up and walk around when ready to stop. Avoid the temptation to go online because you can burn up time very quickly in that venue. Set your timer and go for a walk around the block. Put some music on and dance to your favorite tune. Moving releases endorphins which help the creative process. What’s your plan when you want to stop? Where are you going to walk?

6. Believe you can.

This sounds like such a ‘no brainer’ doesn’t it? When it comes to our stretch goals, most of us talk ourselves out of what we want to accomplish long before we give it a chance to succeed. I meet people every day who tell me that they are terrible writers. Start small and persist. Follow through and improve your writing every day. The best way to do that is to write. What do you tell others about that stretch goal you’ve set for this year?

7. Have fun.

Read the comics or watch a funny movie. Go spend time with friends that share your sense of humor. The more you laugh, the more creative you will be. What helps you laugh? I, for one, have learned to laugh at myself and find many opportunities every day to laugh.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Copyright © 2012 Picture Hope International, Inc.

Should I join a networking group?

14 Dec

Karen Sebastian and Janet Uszynski at Orchid Christmas luncheonA great way to quickly increase your number of qualified contacts for your business is to join a networking group. There are many groups out there and it’s important to find one that will work for you. A great way to do that is to find out about how it got started. Our guest blogger today is Janet Uszynski who is the founder and director of Orchid a Faith – based networking group for women in North Texas. I met her a few months back and appreciate her follow-through and commitment to help women succeed.

HOPEpreneurs: When did you discover that you were a good networker?

Janet:

Looking back on my childhood I was what some would call a “social butterfly.” One day my Mom summoned me and sternly said, “Janet, I think you’re going to have to go work for the phone company in order to pay for this high phone bill. All you ever do is talk and talk and talk to your friends.”

She was right. I love sharing ideas and hearing that others are thinking. I want to be involved with others and help when I can. As I got older one of my favorite things to do was have dinner parties and BBQ’s to introduce and connect all my friends. I was the one who would invite that person others might exclude and I would make sure they felt welcome and accepted.

HOPEpreneurs: Why did you start Orchid?

Janet: 

I started Orchid because I wanted to offer a vehicle for Christian women to connect to learn from each other, share ideas, request prayer support and use their God-given gifts to help others.

HOPEpreneurs: Why would a woman want to join Orchid?

There is a powerful energy when women connect with other like-minded, goal-oriented women who share the desire to excel at what they are doing. Orchid is non-competitive and puts no limits on categories or professions like most other networking groups. We offer many opportunities for women to promote their Product, Passion or Self in a safe networking environment. We are seeing incredible connections in this diverse group. Ministries and businesses are helping each other along with many other great opportunities.

HOPEpreneurs: What do you want to see happen?

Janet: 

I want to help other women understand that to give is more powerful then to receive.  An amazing circle of giving starts when we give freely to others with no strings attached. God wants everyone to succeed, make money and achieve their dreams. My goal is to set an atmosphere where this can happen.

You may contact Janet at: info@itsorchid.com. Visit Orchid’s website at: http://www.itsorchid.com.

Takeaways from this interview:

  1. Find a networking group where you feel comfortable. Visit several before you commit to becoming a member. Orchid is a great example of a faith-based group that strives to make others feel comfortable and gives opportunities to flourish.
  2. Learn from great networkers. One of the reasons I asked Janet for this interview is that she is truly a gifted networker. At the root of her success is her sincere desire to help others. She is happiest promoting and connecting others. The next time you go to a networking event, reach out to help someone else. It will come back to you multiplied many times over.
  3. Be interested in others. When you go to a networking event, make sure you meet at least one new person. Follow up with them and establish a strong connection. Janet will share more of her tips for networking success in the next blog.

Karen Sebastian is a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed in your business. Subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to become a HOPEpreneur.

Why should I spend time networking?

1 Dec

I had the privilege of meeting a fantastic group of women today who are part of the Orchid women-to-women networking group. This is a very warm faith-based networking group that meets several times of month. By joining this networking group I gain the following benefits (ROI) from networking:

  1. Relationships. One of the things that this networking group does well is give time for those attending to get to know the people at our tables. One of the fallacies about networking is that it is enough to pass out  your business cards. The key is to connect and be memorable. I feel confident that the ones that I connected with today will become friends as I follow-up with them.
  2. Opportunities to learn. Another favorable component was a speaker who provided timely information on SEO and Social Media. I gained helpful information that will help me immediately. It makes me want to go back.
  3. Informal network. It takes time and effort to build a strong network that will benefit you whether you are looking for a job or building a business.  It’s also easy to get so busy that we neglect this process. Be willing to give and share your expertise with others. This will build your credibility and move you toward continued success.

Solid networking takes time but the Return on Investment is well worth the effort. Make joining a networking group one of the key steps in your strategy to build your business. There are many different groups out there. If you live in the Dallas area, I recommend you check out Orchid.

What is a HOPEpreneur?

25 Nov

I’ve coined a new word – HOPEpreneurs – – the fusion of passion and purpose.

An entrepreneur dreams of a successful venture and changes her world to make it happen taking full responsibility for the outcome.

Currently, hope seems to be in short supply due to financial constraints and an overall negative environment. The ‘HOPEpreneur’ sees the opportunity to solve the issues about which others complain.

There are many who have an idea of something they want to do some day. The problem is that they are waiting for the perfect time to do it. The time to start it is NOW!

I’m excited about the opportunity to meet other HOPEpreneurs. Let me know of your struggles and your success so I can publish it to others and inspire them to make their dreams come true.

Karen

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