MergeLane Accelerator Announces First Class of Women-led Startups

MergeLane, an accelerator that targets women-led startups, announced their first cohort of eight exceptional startups today for the 2015 program beginning February 2nd.

Each participating company has at least one female founder, market traction, and a unique position in a significant sector. MergeLane companies were selected through an open application process that began in October. 

Last year Elizabeth Kraus, co-founder of MergeLane (along with CEO & Co-Founder, Sue Heilbronner) was featured here on the blog where she described the program. You can read that interview here.
The founders will join MergeLane in Boulder, Colorado for the first two weeks and the last week of the 12-week program. The early-stage companies will receive guidance and mentorship from more than 100 innovative business leaders as well as executive coaching to address the intrinsic issues founders often face in growing their businesses.

The Spring 2015 MergeLane class includes:

Havenly connects interior designers with consumers to create stunning spaces for a low flat fee. Located in Denver and New York. Co-founders: Lee Mayer, Emily Motayed and Jessie Dixon.

Idaciti is a platform that provides real-time access to global financial data for users to easily create, visualize, analyze, share and collaborate around "stories" about companies and trends. Located in Las Vegas. Founders: Emily Huang and Christine Tan.
Intelligent Eyes is a b2b Saas platform that enables companies to select the right business intelligence or data visualization tool to meet their needs. Located in Berkeley and Boulder.  Founders: Debbie Taylor and Mark Leffers.

Mapistry is a mapping tool for the entire workforce to view, update, and analyze spatial data on civil engineering and construction projects. Users can import existing data, connect to sensors and drones, annotate maps, and share with their team anywhere on any device. Located in Oakland. Founders: Allie Janoch and Ryan Janoch.
Sugarwish optimizes gift giving by allowing recipients to choose exactly what they want. Gift givers purchase a candy box of a certain size and recipients choose among 80 favorite candies. Located in Denver. Founders: Elisabeth Vezzani and Leslie Lyon.

TomboyX manufactures and sells clothing and accessories by and for "tomboys." Menswear-inspired, made for women. Located in Seattle, WA.  Founders: Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez.

The QuickZip Sheet Company sells the easy-change, zip-on fitted sheet, which relieves a pain point for changing sheets on cribs, bunk beds, beds of the elderly, and more. Located in Denver.  Founders: Elizabeth Sopher and Caroline Portis.

ZaZa makes unique nut-based treats that are gluten free, soy free, paleo, vegan and non-GMO verified. Located in Boulder.  Founder: Elisabeth Saucier.

MergeLane is a mentorship-driven investment program with a strong focus on promoting women-run startups.  Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, MergeLane is a 12-week program for a select group of high-growth businesses with at least one female in leadership.

Participating companies will each receive at least $20,000 in guaranteed funding and the opportunity to garner an additional $100,000 in funding at the end of the program. Participating firms receive executive coaching and mentorship.

Founded by Sue Heilbronner and Elizabeth Kraus, MergeLane is committed to discovering, accelerating and investing in exceptional women and the companies they run. To learn more, visit

Monique Rodriguez, CEO of Mielle Organics on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Show #328

Monique Rodriguez is the CEO of Mielle Organics , a hair and skin care company that uses all natural ingredients. As a mother and Registered Nurse, Monique developed a passion for healthy living and was determined to share her knowledge and enthusiasm about growing and maintaining healthy hair.

In May of 2014, founder, Monique Rodriguez, was inspired to share her regimen of healthy, tailbone-length hair with the masses. This was initially exercised with the creation of the first Mielle Organics product, the Advanced Hair Formula, a unique proprietary blend of herbs, amino acids and minerals to support healthy hair, skin and nails, and immune system.

After popular demand, Monique began to meet her customers with the products they demanded with the introduction of the Mint Almond Oil, acclaimed for its scalp sensation, root stimulation for hair growth and illustrious shine. Today, Monique’s products have welcomed a global and viral sensation, with orders from over 100,000 customers around the world in a seven month span.

The company has been endorsed by celebrities including: Rasheeda Frost (Love & Hip Hop), Demetria McKinney (Real Housewives of Atlanta and Tyler Perry’s House of Pain), Drew Sidora (BET’s The Game) and a host of naturalistas around the world.

Mielle Organics continues to be a market innovator in the natural hair care world and is excited to continue to meet the demands of healthy, natural hair by women and families worldwide.

Monique attended South Suburban College in Illinois and currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Listen on Podomatic:

Listen on Blog Talk Radio:


My #1 Secret to Productivity: Batching

by Ali Brown

One of the most exciting parts of starting and growing a business for most of us is the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur. No one else dictating our schedule, how we work, or even what we’re working on. I remember those first days after I walked out of my last real job in NYC, practically singing “Born Free”!

But then the following week, I was humming a different tune… something like “Freak Out”… I realized I had jumped from a predictable pool into a vast ocean of freedom, and I had no idea how to structure my time. Each day I’d wake up and go from task to task and not have any organized way to do it, or a way to rank my priorities.

The bottom line: Structure gives you more freedom… when you do it right.

And I desperately needed some structure. But how to set it up? And in what way?

As I committed to learn more about business and success, I was lucky enough to come across many good ideas I use and teach today. But the most powerful one I’ve used is the concept of “batching”.

Basically, batching is ploughing through a bunch of similar tasks at once… looking at all your tasks that you have during a certain week or span of time that are similar in nature and batching them altogether.

Have you ever noticed when you get into the groove with a certain task, you become more efficient as you go? But if you stop and start different things, you lose momentum by switching gears.

Once I learned about batching, I became enamored with it! And here are my five favorite tasks to batch:

1. Email. Instead of jumping like Pavlov’s dog every time your e-mail bell goes off, take care of email in batches. To ensure success with this, please (I beg you)… turn off e-mail notification on your computer and smart phone. You do not need to know instantly when an e-mail comes in. It’s not designed to be urgent communication. The e-mail will still be there later, and you can write back to them at that time.

I will note that while most productivity experts don’t recommend checking email first thing in the morning, I do. Why? I have several team members on the East Coast who, by the time I am out of my pre-coffee brain fog, are waiting for answers on things to allow them to move forward and have a productive day themselves. So I allow about an hour in the a.m. to address the quick answers, and then save emails that require more thought for later on.

2. Phone calls. If you need to schedule or make several calls this week, then set aside some time to do all your calls in one sitting. You may end up leaving a few messages, but as long as you’re in a phone-calling mindset and have all the numbers in front of you, you’ll ultimately save time.

In my Elevate online business training program, I teach members to batch their coaching calls with clients as well – condensing all calls into just two or three days a week frees up your other days for project work.

A few years ago I was managing a lot, so I had to be intense about this. When I was running my $100,000 Diamond group, each member had a monthly private 30-minute call with me, and I scheduled them all on one day a month. At the beginning of the year, we made clear to clients that our 1:1 coaching calls were always on the second Tuesday of the month, and to block it out for the entire year in their calendars.

Handling 8-10 focused calls into one day required some energy, but it freed up so much of my time otherwise, it was wonderful.

3. Out-of-office appointments. If I have to get dressed, do my hair and makeup, and get in my car here in L.A., you can be sure I’m not just going to run out for one appointment! (Ladies, you know how long it can take to get out of the house, especially when we’re more used to rolling out of bed and working at home in our Ugg boots.)

It could be a day of client meetings, a day of various doctor appointments, or a blitz beauty day where you get your hair, nails, and waxing done all over town in one fell swoop. For those of you with kids, this is also a great way to maximize your childcare as you get more done in less time. On a day you have a sitter, you should make the most of that time and get as much done out of the house as you can.

There have also been days where if I’m doing hair and makeup for some videos I’m shooting at home, I’ll also add on a meeting or dinner date after, while I’m looking great! See where I’m going with this? Start thinking this way and it will change your life.

4. Blogging and social media. If you use blogs and social media to promote your business (and I hope you do), then batching can be a huge help. Spend a few hours at the beginning of the week writing up several blog posts at once and schedule them to publish throughout the week. For Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, use apps like Hootsuite to pre-schedule updates to automatically publish for you throughout the week. I have my team do the business updates for me, and then jump in myself when I have time, peppering in personal updates and fun shares.

For maintaining social media, set aside some time to check in on your pages and responses instead of jumping in there every ten minutes. I usually like to do this in the morning, during or after lunch, and at the end of day, if I have time and feel like it. Otherwise I have my team help monitor whenever possible.

(And please stop getting instant Facebook updates on your phone like you’re in high school! You don’t need to know immediately that your colleague just posted a new video, Aunt Myrtle baked a fresh pie, or your old college friend just invited you to play FarmVille2. These stimulating bits of news will still be there later. You’re running a business, remember? Business… )

5. Other admin or housekeeping tasks. Consider batching your invoicing, bill paying, time with colleagues, organizing the office… the possibilities are endless! And don’t discount doing this for your personal life. For instance, if you need to write thank you notes, sit down with everything you need and write several at once. If you don’t have time to cook for your family each night, make a large batch of food on Sunday and reheat it (or re-disguise it ;)) throughout the week. If you miss your friends from back home, schedule a trip to see several at once.

By batching similar tasks together, you’ll be amazed by how much more you can accomplish without working longer hours. And that means more time for the important strategies. Or heck, how about just working less?

If you need some help with this, and want to dig a little deeper, I recommend you look at my bestselling program “Millionaire Time & Productivity Secrets”. It’s my radical approach for entrepreneurs to stay productive and focused. You’ll make more money and achieve your best results, while still having energy and a life!

QUESTION: Do you already use batching in your business? What about your personal life? Please share your best strategies in the comment section below.

© 2013 Ali International, LLC

Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at

Book Review: The Art of War for Small Business

The Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun TzuThe Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu by Becky Sheetz-Runkle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of advantages to running a small business over a larger one, though often small business owners may feel overwhelmed when they try to keep up with the big players. The Art of War for Small Business by Becky Sheetz-Runkle, uses "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu as its inspiration.

Sheetz-Runkle is experienced in martial arts and in business leadership, and she lends her expertise to this guide for the small business owner.

Included in her book are 12 lessons, which include directives on how to understand your market, how to understand your competition, how to build alliances and how to maintain your focus.

She's also added examples of various successful businesses such as Five Guys, Wegmans, Samuel Adams and Paychex.

At the conclusion she's listed key themes from The Art of War, and tied them back to actions the small business owners can take as they grow their companies. This is a reference book that readers will refer to over and over again, since these lessons are as timeless as Sun Tzu's classic. (Received a review copy.)

Amazon link:
The Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu

5 Creative Ways To Achieve Your Goals

by Miata Edoga

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the acronym SMART when referring to goals. That means that your goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Sensitive

Example: Instead of, I’d love to lose some weight this year, a SMART goal would be: I’ll lose 15 pounds by July 1st.

My Problem With SMART Goals

Really, I don’t have so much of a problem with them….as much as I think simply “SMARTing” your goals doesn’t necessarily fit our community. Don’t SMART goals sound—well, there’s no nice way to say this—boring? And as creatives, we want more than that from our goals, don’t we?

Here are five ways to create better goals in 2015 that’ll motivate you to get up and start moving!

Scare Yourself

Let’s start with this advice from Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer. In an interview recently, Mayer said that she liked goals that “scared her.” I love that idea. Scare yourself in 2015 by setting big, bold goals.

It’s easy to fall into the excuses trap:

  • I’ll do it when my kids leave the house, when I have more money, more time, etc…
  • I’ll be ready as soon as I “study/prepare” just a little bit more…
  • I’ll go after what I really want when I really feel up to the challenge…

But over the years, I’ve realized just how short life is, haven’t you? If you don’t challenge yourself to push the envelope right here and right now, when WILL you start moving?

Push For More

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -Michelangelo

Michelango warned that the problem with goals wasn’t in setting them too big, but in setting them too small. Think about it this way: if you follow Marissa Mayer’s lead and set a big, scary goal and you only reach 90% of it, you’ll most certainly beat 100% of the sure, safe goal. Reach for more.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to write down my initial goal, let it sit for 24 hours, and then come back and ask, “What would I do if I were really stretching?” Instead of completing a short story, what if I wrote my novel? Instead of reaching the goal by the end of the year, what if I accomplished it by September?



Succeed, even if you fail.

Add Through Subtraction

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” - Josh Billings

Often my clients forget a whole different set of goals: to shed unwanted activities. We’re so busy trying to add more that we end up with both a messy calendar and a deep seated depression because we’re trying to tackle everything.

Make your life easier by simplifying. Your money should be the first place you simplify. A few weeks ago I discovered a free tool called Finovera that will help you compile all of your bill statements in one place and set alerts to use them. Another hot app last year, Acorns, let’s you round up your bills to the nearest $1 or $5 and invest the change for your future. A third, Mint, will automate much of your budgeting.

Don’t fill up your phone with random apps. You and I both know that technology won’t solve your problems, but adding one or two automation tools can help you focus more on the big picture: how to expand in 2015.

Eliminate steps.

Simplify and streamline.


Focus On Strengths

“We don’t see the things the way they are. We see things the way WE are.” - Talmud

Let’s face it: we aren’t going to change our internal selves very much. If we’re night owls, we won’t become morning people overnight. Why fight your character?

One big frustration people have with resolutions is that after filling up a page with shortcomings they feel obligated to list goals that will “fix” them. Lose weight. Squeeze more work into a day. Become a better speaker. Why not acknowledge your faults but also create goals that play on your unique talent?

If possible, delegate the parts of your life that represent your weaknesses. You’re a wonderful painter but can’t clean? Find a student looking for a job who’d work as an inexpensive maid to free up more time with your brush instead of taking out the trash.

Too many people waste time trying to correct our own innate human nature. Working against the flow will only frustrate you!

Realize your strengths.

Spend your time exploiting your unique talents.

Set Milestones

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” - Christopher Reeve

Goal setting in January is nearly always marred by hurdles that don’t appear until later in the year. Why try to bite off a whole elephant at once? Instead, schedule milestones. If writing your novel seems like a huge job (and it is!), what if you commit to 30 pages every month? See how much easier that seems?

One of the reasons I really like milestones is human behavior. We don’t give up when we think we’re winning. If you schedule smaller, bite sized goals along the way, you’re more likely to stick with your plan than abandon it.

Your Homework

Get started! If you’d like, send me your goals and I’ll keep a copy. Together we’ll reach our most creative destinations in 2015.

© 2013 Abundance Bound, Inc.

Abundance Bound was created to support actors, artists and creative professionals in the development of financial stability and independence. To learn how to begin the journey towards prosperity, register for the free resources available at

Image courtesy of Chaiwat /

Martin Luther King Jr Day - A Day of Service

"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era and a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. His lectures and dialogues stirred the concern and sparked the conscience of a generation. His charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.

After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off."

It's part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."
- from

Selma Movie & Trailer Site

Newly Discovered 1964 MLK Speech on Civil Rights, Segregation & Apartheid South Africa

MLK biography on Nobel

The King Center

MLK Research and Education Institute

The "I Have a Dream" speech audio and video

The Corporation for National and Community Service

United We Serve

The Greatest MLK Speeches You Never Heard

The "Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence" Speech

"The Drum Major Instinct" Speech


How to Prioritize All the Stuff You Have to Do

by Christine Kane

When you start your business, you’ll eventually get overwhelmed by all there is to do. You’ll wonder how entrepreneurs get it all done. You’ll wonder if something is wrong with you.

If you’re jumping from a job to entrepreneurship? Well, then the overwhelm might be multiplied, especially if you had a job that allowed you to stay strictly in your skillset and “let marketing handle marketing, let HR handle HR” etc, etc.

Then you begin a business.

Good-bye departments. Hello you.

And hello to a boatload of stuff you CAN do… which — you will soon discover — is very different from the stuff you SHOULD do.

How do you determine the difference?

Well, that’s THE question. And the answer requires that you learn how to think about your business, and not just react to the unlimited options for activity.

Here’s a way to organize your ideas and to-do’s so you can prioritize all you have to do each day.

The types of activities you do each day can be divided into four areas:

 1. Income generation

2. Deliverables

3. Business Development

4. Total Wastes of Time

1. Income Generation

If you’re in start up, you’ll need to spend the bulk of your time each day in this area. I recommend that these are the tasks you tackle first, because often, these are the tasks you will most resist doing.

This can be anything from writing warm letters, creating referral systems, from networking to sales calls. HINT: This is often the stuff you avoid like the plague because it’s much more fun to sit around and play with logos.

The best way to discover your primary income generators is to ask yourself this question:

How did you get the clients you currently have?

Then, write down your answer… and do more of that. That is your primary income generator activity. Work on making it into a system or a habit.
2. Deliverables

Deliverables are the services you offer. This is the time you spend with the clients you already have. The people who have already paid you to do what you do for them.

If you sell your services in high-value packages (not hours for dollars), then your clients pay in advance – and you deliver the service. Deliverables do not generate the income, but they do serve the clients.

Typically, entrepreneurs don’t have a hard time following through on deliverables because we want to show up for the people who have appointments and are expecting us to deliver.

It’s most effective to batch your deliverables on certain days of the week so that you can give your full focus to this activity. That way you can batch at least one day a week to Business Development.

3. Business Development

As you make money in your business, you’ll continually have to focus on the future growth of your business. Otherwise, you will have strictly a transactional business with no space to expand into new services, offers, and branding.

So, the time you spend building into future business is key. But it is NOT the #1 priority. This is where many business owners get confused.

They confuse their love of bright shiny objects (new websites, logos, rebrands, product ideas) with an actual need. They end up making their task list way too complex. This is not necessary, especially when your business is in its first years of growth.

4. Total wastes of time

This is where many entrepreneurs lose hours of time. This tends to happen when they get scared of how much other stuff there is to do and how little of it is getting done.

This also tends to happen if they don’t know how to write a task list. See, if you’re like most entrepreneurs, your brain likes a good dopamine hit. This means your brain likes the activity of checking items off a list.

The worst thing you can do is set up your weekly priorities with no tasks. For instance, when you simply “know” that you have to “sell something.”

If you write your priorities list in this nebulous way, you will find yourself doing ANYTHING in order to feel like you’ve accomplished SOMETHING. And if your office is in your home, that will mean you spend way too much of your office hours time cleaning your oven, emptying the dishwasher, sorting out files, and picking out the very best letterpress holiday card to send out this year. Doing these things doesn’t mean you are distracted. It just means you are seeking out a dopamine hit. You want to get things done. Start breaking down your tasks lists into actual items you can check off.

What is your biggest challenge with getting stuff done? And where have you most improved in your productivity this year?

Christine Kane is the Mentor to People Who are Changing the World. She helps women and men Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly Uplevel You eZine goes out to over 37,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a FREE subscription at


Vanessa Simpkins Speaker, Author, Confidence & Cashflow Mentor on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Vanessa Simpkins, #1 Best Selling Author and sometimes called “The Bikini Business Coach” (because she loves to live in the tropics in her bikini and teach others how to create and ROCK a freedom based lifestyle and portable business), is a confidence & cash flow mentor, speaker and author of “From Bankrupt to $900 a Day Selling Mops”. Her latest book, called “Take Your Power Back Now! How to Overcome Your Resistance to Creating a Life You LOVE! The Ultimate Confidence Guide for Women!”, became a #1 best-seller on Amazon in less than a day.

In Vanessa’s “10k in 30 day Mentoring Program” she empowers women to take their power back and THRIVE! She teaches heart centered women entrepreneurs how to have confidence in sales and overcome sales objections, how to breakthrough their inner blocks, and put proven systems in place to attract more clients and make more money doing what they love!

Once a struggling holistic practitioner, stuck in a bad relationship declaring bankruptcy, she is now on a mission to help women break free from controlling situations, controlling relationships, and controlling self imposed limitations of the mind so they can create a Lifestyle and Business by Design Instead of by Default!

For more information on her Play & Prosper Ultimate Hawaiian Luxury Intensives and her Sky Rocket Your Confidence & Cash Flow programs (which help women OWN IT, have more confidence in business, more confidence in their relationships, and have more confidence ultimately in God or your higher power) visit her website

You can also pick up your own copy of “10k in 30 day Blueprint” Vanessa’s most popular FREE video training valued at $197 that teaches women how to CUT THE CRAP, stop the frustrating “learning without earning cycle”, and get into profitable action attracting high paying clients in their businesses. Go to TODAY and get instant access!

Date: Wednesday, January 14th
Time: 8:00 pm EST

Skip the Resolutions

by Alicia Forest, MBA
The Business Shifter™

Are you planning to take some time to write down your resolutions for 2015?

To be honest, I'm not exactly a fan of resolutions - really, what's so different about December 31 than January 1 that's going to make a dramatic difference in whether or not you keep your resolutions?

If you just have a list of things you'd like to accomplish, well, the answer is 'not much'. But if you have a PLAN to go along with your list, well, that can make ALL the difference.

What I've done for the past several years, as part of a much larger strategic planning process, is create what I call My Simple Business Plan. It includes just 4 goals that I want to achieve in my business within the next year. I review the previous year's goals before setting down the next set for the upcoming year, and what I've found from doing this process over and over is this: I've reached AT LEAST those 4 goals within the year (and usually quite a few more). How? Because those were the ones I created a plan around to achieve.

So even though 4 goals may not seem like a lot, if it's 4 more than you usually reach, wouldn't that feel great? :)

This year, instead of creating resolutions for your business, try the following steps to create your own Simple Business Plan:

1. Create your 1 year vision

One of my favorite exercises is creating a vivid vision of what I want my life to look like over the next year. I include anything and everything I can think of, letting my imagination run wild while my fingers try to keep up with my mind.

If you've done this or a similar exercise before, review what you've written previously. Acknowledge the progress you've made, but don't get stuck on the goals you didn't reach either. Move forward with your new or revised goals for the future.

2. Choose a theme

Usually from the 1-year vision exercise, a theme will emerge about what seems most right to focus on over the next year. It may be finances, relationship-building, or a specific piece of my marketing efforts that I want to implement or increase.

3. Choose 4 goals to focus on within that theme

Choose one goal that follows the overarching theme of your year to work on each quarter. For example, if your theme is 'increase market reach', your first quarter goal may be to get exposure in a media outlet you haven't tapped yet. Your second quarter goal may be to develop 3 new strategic alliances.

4. Break down each Quarterly Goal into monthly, weekly and daily tasks

Now that you know what you want to focus on each quarter, figure out what you need to do each month, week and day of that quarter to reach your goal. Then write down those tasks in your planner.

This step is huge - and it's also the step that most people skip. But I promise if you set aside the time to do this, you will reap the rewards. Doing this will almost effortlessly PULL you forward towards reaching your goals.

5. Get support

As entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to want to go-it-alone. But nothing will increase the likelihood of actually reaching your goals more quickly and easily than if you have someone else holding you accountable.

Buddy up with a colleague, or hire a coach, to keep you on track and moving forward. Check in at least once a week to ensure forward progress. And don't forget to celebrate your victories, whether they be big or small, along the way.

I know this sounds simple, but for some reason, we have a tendency to make everything much more difficult than it needs to be. If you follow the 5 steps I've given you, when this time comes next year, you'll be astounded that you actually reached, at the very least, your 4 goals of your Simple Business Plan.

© 2014 Alicia Forest International | All rights reserved.

Alicia Forest, MBA mentors women entrepreneurs on how to build a priority-based, highly profitable business, in less than part-time hours. Get her FREE series on how you can do this too at

Author Q&A: The Myth of Employee Burnout by Matt Heller

Matt Heller has spent 25 years in the amusement/theme park industry. Starting as a ride operator at Canobie Lake Park just out of high school, Matt has enjoyed a robust career around the industry with leadership positions at Canobie, Knott's Camp Snoopy, Valleyfair and Smiles Entertainment Center.

Pulling from his previous leadership experience, in 2003 Matt joined Universal Orlando Resort as the Senior Trainer of Leadership Development.

In 2011, Matt reduced his role at Universal to pursue additional independent training and consulting opportunities. He created Performance Optimist Consulting, and now helps leaders across the hospitality industry make sure they are getting the most out of themselves and their teams. In 2013, Matt released his first book, The Myth of Employee Burnout.

Deborah: You've been a guest on Women Entrepreneurs Radio, and now you're here to discuss your book. Glad you could join me again!

Matt: Great to be here, Deborah. 

Deborah: This is such an interesting topic. What prompted you to write this book?

Matt: It was a combination of seeing a problem and feeling like I had enough information about how to address it that I thought it would be helpful to people. Burnout, unfortunately, happens everywhere, yet we rarely take the time or are self-aware enough to get to the root cause of the problem.

Deborah: Could you describe the details you include in the book?

Matt: The Myth of Employee Burnout is about the phenomenon of employees starting a job off strong (productive, enthused, cooperative) but over time their motivation and engagement wanes. Burnout, unfortunately, happens everywhere, yet we rarely take the time or are self-aware enough to get to the root cause of the problem. In the workplace, when employees are burned out, a great deal of that scenario is determined by the leaders’ actions.

People rarely start a job burned out, so it was important to identify what was happening between their hire date and their “burnout” date. The book contains strategies for leaders to create engaging environments for their employees to minimize the risk of burnout setting in.

 Deborah: Who do you think will get the most out of your book?

Matt: Leaders with enough self-awareness to see that they are at least partially responsible if their employees have burned out. Those who continually blame outside forces or fail to take accountability might not be open minded enough to identify that they are doing some of the things described in the book.

Deborah: Why do you think your book is different from others that deal with workplace issues? 

Matt: It’s the only one written by me! It’s probably the only book that looks at employee engagement from an end point (burnout), which allows us to work backwards to find the root cause so we can proactively prevent it in the future.

It also deliberately defines the relationship between leadership engagement and employee engagement, and outlines specific (sometimes very simple) strategies that any leader can incorporate to have a positive impact on employee morale. 

Deborah: What do you want readers to come away with?

Matt: As much as we discuss how leaders contribute to employee burnout, that also means that they hold the key to preventing it. Sometimes it’s a change in focus or priorities, other times it’s about reallocating resources and developing new skills. No matter the cause, the solution generally falls with the leader, if they are willing to look for it.

Deborah: Good points. Tell me, what inspires you to do this work?

Matt: I love to help people, and it’s incredibly gratifying when someone “gets” the concepts you are teaching them about – which ultimately is going to help them do something better. As someone with an outsider’s perspective, it can be tough to build credibility. But, when a leader trusts you enough to apply what you have taught them (and they see that it makes things better), it’s incredibly inspiring and makes you want to continue to do it! 

Deborah: Sounds great, Matt. Thanks for sharing your book with us. Please let everyone know where to find it and connect with you online.

Matt: Thanks again for having me as a guest on your blog! Here are the links:




"Top 5 Marketing Tips to Boost Sales in 2015" with Kerry Heaps on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Kerry Heaps is the Founder and President of Kerry's Network, Inc., a membership-based organization that provides exposure for business owners with access to the media and association directories. She's also the publisher of Strictly Marketing Magazine and the host of Strictly Marketing Talk Radio.

Both media outlets are dedicated to providing excellent marketing advice from professionals nationwide. Kerry's passion is to help other business owners with their marketing efforts to continue their dream of Entrepreneurship.

Kerry has an extensive background in Sales, Networking, Recruiting, and Training. Her marketing development book, Marketing Ideas that Make Sen$e covers networking, cold calling, establishing yourself as an expert, creating your own media, marketing ideas and sample scripts.

Listen to the archived shows:


Everyone is a Teacher

by Jack Canfield

It’s rarely a surprise to learn that successful people are lifelong learners. The amount of information that’s available in our world is growing at a mind-numbing pace.

People who have more information gain a tremendous advantage over people who don’t.  What many people don’t realize is that successful people are also usually teachers, as well.

Forms of Teaching

There’s a saying that I share in my annual seminar, Breakthrough to Success: “Be a student to those above you, a fellow traveler to those at the same level, and a teacher to those below you.” In other words, everyone is a teacher.

Here are 4 common ways you can play the role of teacher.

BEing.   By simply BE-ing who you are, you can teach others by example. Whether it’s demonstrating grace under pressure, fearlessly pursuing your goals, or simply existing in a place of love and joy, being yourself can be one of the most powerful ways of teaching.

Sharing.   Even a simple conversation or passing comment can contain a nugget of wisdom that will profoundly change the life of someone else. People sometimes limit what they’ll share with others for fear of overstepping their bounds, being too personal, being ridiculed or other reasons. If you have an impulse to share something with another person, follow your instinct.

Success Principle #44 is “Find a Wing to Climb Under.” In other words, find a mentor with whom you can study. If you want to achieve a goal, it helps to learn from someone who has already navigated the journey you want to take. Recognize that as a successful person, you can mentor others as they pursue the goals you’ve already achieved.

Study groups. 
  The greatest gift you can give someone is a gift of empowerment and love. What could be more empowering than helping others get free of their limiting beliefs and giving them tools to create the life they truly want?

One way to facilitate this change in the world is to lead a Success Principles study group. You’d be amazed at how radically you can change a family, a team, or a business simply by having everyone use the same success principles at the same time. You don’t have to be a master of the principles; you merely need to be willing to facilitate the discussion. Click here to download free study guide to teaching the basic principles.

Formal teaching.   If you want to impact the world in a bigger way, if you have a body of knowledge to share and/or if you are truly passionate about a subject, you may feel called to offer seminars or workshops. Teaching is my core genius and one of my greatest joys, which is why I’ve been leading seminars since very early in my career.

When I recognized that I was ready to impact the world in a bigger way, I started a Train-the-Trainer program so I could personally teach and mentor a small number of people each year how to teach others the Success Principles. Students and graduates of this program include everyone from professional speakers and trainers to managers, business owners, and parents who want to share these valuable principles in more structured ways within their companies and homes.

A Key to Mastery

High achievers often teach from a place of service. They know that the information they have may be exactly what someone else needs to achieve a goal. Because they have an abundance mindset, they recognize that by freely sharing what they know, their generosity will be returned tenfold by the universe.

But teaching can also benefit you directly by helping you develop a deeper understanding and mastery of a topic. To share what you’ve learned, you must clarify your ideas, confront inconsistencies in your own thinking, and more closely walk your talk. Most importantly, teaching requires you to read, study and speak the information repeatedly, which reinforces your own learning.

 “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” ~ Yogi Bhajan    

The World Needs You

You are a unique individual, and the lessons you have learned over the course of your life make you a unique teacher. High achievers learn from every experience, not merely from formal learning opportunities, such as attending seminars or reading books.

The lessons you can synthesize from your many experiences are invaluable. By being willing to share what you have learned, whether through informal chats or more formal encounters, such as seminars, you’ll contribute greatly to the success of the people you touch and the world as a whole.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul®and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a happy & prosperous New Year!
Back to Top