How a Chronic Pain Condition Turned Me into a Startup Business Woman

by Tara Langdale-Schmidt

My problems started at age 11 with my first surgery. Doctors did not know what was causing my abdomen pain so they the scheduled exploratory surgery. They found a huge cyst which had cut off the blood supply to ovary and removed that ovary and tube. 

This was the first of many surgeries for cysts and endometriosis over the next 20 years. Endometriosis caused a pain during sex, it was an uncomfortable feeling deep inside that I became used to it. My sex life was normal besides this.  Penetration was never painful until I started to experience a different kind of pain, a very sharp pain I had never felt before.

My nightmare experience with sexual pain began mildly and I started going downhill in 2010. It began as mild pain during intercourse in my vulva. 

As time when on, the pain became worse, it felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife and burning me at the same time.  Intercourse would trigger the pain and it would still burn after having sex.  Nothing helped the pain or made it go away. I only told my best friends, and they had never heard of anything like what I was experiencing. Neither had my fiancé, Jason.

I didn’t know it then, but I was suffering from the excruciating pain of Vulvodynia. The pain, both physical, emotional and mental, was agonizing, made it impossible to enjoy sexual intimacy with my future husband and impacted my quality of life for four long years.

The burning and stabbing escalated and I would not have sex at all with Jason. We were getting married and probably not going to be able to have intercourse on our wedding night. I was becoming depressed over the thought of never being able to have enjoyable sex again.

My primary gynecologist told me if sex hurt to drink some wine and take Advil. That was in the beginning stages before the pain became worse. Then he realized it was serious, I still didn’t have a diagnosis and I was confused and worried about what was causing the pain. I actually asked my doctor if I had something called Vulvodynia because I found it on the internet. He agreed it probably was Vulvodynia. He wanted me to try the numbing creams and after that he called several doctors and told me none of them had a treatment plan for Vulvodynia. He stated doctors did not know what caused it and he was sorry he couldn’t help me.

I was given a prescription for Gabapentin cream and Ketamine creams. These are compounded creams, that might help the nerve pain, I was told to use twice a day. Both of these creams cost over $125 each and did not help at all. Also, I tried lidocaine injections which only lasted an hour and left me hurting from the needle. 

I had many surgeries for endometriosis and cysts, and one surgery they went in vaginally instead of through my abdomen. I thought that maybe the pain resulted from scar tissue. My doctor also thought it could be scar tissue as well.  After no relief with numbing creams, I decided to go to a pelvic pain specialist. He told me that I could take an antidepressant because it can help with nerve pain, do an injection or have a surgery to remove part of the vestibule that was hurting. I did not like these options. I do not like taking painkillers and especially not before sex.

After suffering for so long and getting no answers or solutions, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I had to take action. 

From my previous positive experience using magnets to reduce back and neck nerve pain after a car accident, I had a “lightbulb moment” idea to incorporate neodymium magnets into a dilator set for pelvic pain. I used the magnetic dilators for two weeks and then had sex with my husband for the first time in months with less pain than normal.

I had just starting using the dilator for the first time about three weeks prior to my wedding and I was actually able to enjoy my wedding night. I didn't think that was going to happen. My husband, who was so supportive, was as thrilled.  I was able to have sex without pain.

Due to my reduction in pain and positive feedback after speaking to doctors about my magnetic dilator treatment and pain reduction, I knew I had no option but to create a startup company dedicated to helping other women with pelvic pain.

With my personal pain issues resolved, and working with my good friend and business partner Robert Smithson, we together founded VuVatech, a company based in Sarasota, Fl. dedicated to helping the estimated one-in-seven women in the US who suffer from pelvic, vulvar pain. With the help of medical experts, we invented a medical device, the VuVa Magnetic Vaginal Dilator that has proven to relieve pelvic pain and sexual discomfort and has improved the lives of women seeking sexual normalcy.

VuVa Magnetic Vaginal Dilators are a new, non-surgical approach to helping millions of women suffering from multiple pelvic pain conditions and sexual comfort. The dilator therapy can also be incorporated into treatment plans for other conditions such as Vaginismus, Vulvar Vestibulitis, Dyspareunia, Menopause, Vaginal Stenosis, Vaginal Atrophy and Vaginal Dryness.

Many women suffering from these pelvic pain conditions have been placed on heavy pain medications, anti-depressants or have been advised to have invasive surgeries with low success rates.  Our VuVa Dilators offer a low cost, safe, non-invasive treatment option to renew the sexual desire and comfort women deserve.

Since VuVa Dilators became available on the market in late 2015, we have only used social media, google ads and pelvic pain forums to call attention to our product and website. After selling over one thousand dilators and receiving positive feedback, it validated our decision to perform clinical trials.  Clinical trials have provided beyond positive results by reducing nerve pain in subjects, so much so, that each subject purchased a set of VuVa dilators at the conclusion of the study.

Today, sex life with my husband is great. If I use the dilator twenty minutes before we have sex, I can have close to pain free intercourse. During my research I have found Vulvodynia can disappear or become less painful. I used to feel broken and now I am hopeful and thankful I have a device that allows me to have intercourse with less pain.

Using a vaginal dilator changed my sex life. But my overall message to women is pain: there is hope, there are answers, you do not have to suffer. I’m a perfect example.

About the Author: Tara Langdale-Schmidt of Sarasota, Fl. was a pelvic pain sufferer and is the co-founder of VuVa Tech ( ), a company that helps women with sexual pain.

Marilyn L. Weber, President & CEO of Deaf Interpreter Services on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Show #369

Marilyn L. Weber, president and CEO of Deaf Interpreter Services (DIS), is a certified sign language interpreter and has an adult daughter who is deaf. Marilyn has been working for more than 25 years promoting accessible communication, and advocating for the rights of the deaf community.

She has interpreted in hundreds of professional situations, and conducts deaf awareness workshops, cultural diversity training, and ADA Compliance Consulting. Marilyn has over 2,900 hours of related professional training.

Marilyn has received several awards from various organizations recognizing her work and dedication to the deaf community, including the National Innovation Award from the Women President’s Organization (WPO); Outstanding Philanthropic Small Corporation Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP); the San Antonio Ethics in Business Finalist Award from the City of San Antonio and the Ecumenical Center; Promoting Inclusion and Accessibility Award from the San Antonio Independent Living Services’ (SAILS) 24th Annual Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Celebration- San Antonio; and the ADA Employer of the Year award from the 18th Annual Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Celebration- San Antonio.

Marilyn has a pharmacy degree from the California Paramedical and Technical College where she graduated as salutatorian of her class.

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Financial Capability: The Secret to Achieving Your Financial Goals with Kim Harris on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Show #370

Topic: Financial Capability: The Secret to Achieving Your Financial Goals

Kim Harris of I AM Community Consulting & Training returns to the show for a timely discussion about finances and building wealth. April isn't just about tax season, it's also National Financial Capability Month.

Financial capability is more than about managing money. It's about understanding the relationship that you have with money, and how it's used to communicate a clear reflection of your ideals around money. It's about having a real plan for achieving your financial goals in business and personal life.

The conversation covers "T2.R.I.P.S." we encounter in aligning our money ideals (deep seated beliefs) with our money ideas (actually living without money stress).

As the Chief Visionary Officer of IAM-Community Consulting & Training, Kim is passionate about helping service organizations and businesses connect with resources, training, and consulting. Responsible for raising more than $2.5M in grants and sponsorships from companies such as Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Verizon Wireless, American Airlines, Office Depot and others.

Recipient of the SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year Award, featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, The Dallas Morning News, HERLIFE Magazine, The Chicago Woman Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, CBS Radio, Radio One, and her own talkshow, Dialogues w/Kim on UA Network.
@MSKHarris on Twitter

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Credit Card Processing Options for Business Owners

For anyone who is looking to run their own business, you will find that the function of selecting a credit card processor for your business's credit transactions can actually be quite difficult.

As it turns out, there are more than 115 different companies on the market that are willing to process your credit card transactions by clearing the transactions and then squaring things away with the card issuer and the card bank. However, after took a close look at each of them, it narrowed the playing field down to the five best for you to choose from.

These five companies--Payment Depot, Shopify Lite, Square, Paypal, and Dharma Merchant Services--were selected from the masses based on the following criteria:

1. Transparent pricing models

2. Ease of online AND offline transaction processing

3. Quality Customer Service

Why it Was so Difficult

The biggest problem with this industry is the lack of pricing transparency. In reality, most average business owners simply don't have the time to understand the pricing models of all of the different processors out there, and those who have the time will find it utterly difficult to find clear information for most of the companies on the market.

Basically, there are two main pricing methods at play: flat-rate and interchange pricing.

With flat-rate pricing, the payment is paid on a percentage + a few cents basis to the card processor itself. Usually, this would look like 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction, or something similar. Square, Shopify, and Paypal all operate on this payment method.

For the interchange method, processing fees for credit card transactions are based on a variety of different factors. Usually, each card company (i.e. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, etc.) charge their own fees, and then there is a fee for the type of card that is used by the consumer. On top of that, there is a fee based on the transaction type, as this is how card companies serve to pay cash-back to their users.

All of these fees are distributed to each party via the card processing company, who also takes a small percentage of each transaction. This method may seem more convoluted than flat rate processing, but it may actually be cheaper depending on the business that you run.

credit card processing for business owners

What You Need to Know

First, if you haven't already changed to a card terminal that accepts EMV chips, now is the time to do so. As of October 2015, merchants now assume the responsibility for any fraudulent charges made by swipe cards when an EMV-accepting terminal is not present. Otherwise, the card issuer is responsible.

Secondly, you should know that digital wallets are quickly gaining traction. According to market research, Apple Pay is the most highly used digital wallet by a long stretch, so it might be worth chipping up the extra cash to pay for a card terminal that can accept all transaction types, including digital wallets.

Finally, no matter what card processing company you go with, make sure that the fee pricing structure is utterly transparent, as the small losses that you can incur as a result turn into rather large amounts in the long run if you're being charged constantly by opaque, hidden fees.

Check out full research and guide on choosing the best credit card processor:

The Formula for Success = You + A Dream + A Decision

by Miata Edoga

I’ve written before that much of financial planning comes down to you. In my time working with people, I’m always sad when they want to talk about all of the reasons they can’t get ahead.

They worry about politics, the government in general, rules and regulations, the stock market and more…

Yet there’s also something very exciting to be found at the other end of the spectrum. It’s inspiring engaging with clients who are passionate about life and everything they are “up to” in the world. These are the people who rarely have much to say about the negative external forces. Rather, they focus first on their own actions.

If you really want something, including financial security, there’s a five step process to getting it:

1) Decide. I’m not talking about hoping or wishing. You have to actually decide what’s going to be in your future. Several years ago, I worked with an artist who decided she was going to stop talking about “one day selling her paintings,” and instead, was going to actually do it. In less than 2 months, she sold her first piece.

Making the decision to change your financial status means that you’re going to do something about it. We’ve all felt the difference between hoping and deciding in our own lives. When you first decided to shoot your short film, finish your script or stage your solo show; when you decided it was time to lose weight; when you put down the cigarette and said, “That’s my last one.” You have to decide. Without this step, no magic happens.

The rule = You have to ask for it before you have a chance of receiving it.

2) Plot a course and move. Create a plan of action that will deliver your results. For my client, she decided to ask one gallery owner per day to host her art until she heard a “yes.” (By the way, once she got the yes, which took less time than she’d thought, she went after the second and third “yesses” immediately). This is a key point because when you actually create motion, your brain begins figuring out the next step. If you think of opening a new checking account with lower fees nothing happens. The thought is fleeting and in a few minutes, or maybe an hour, it’s gone. However, if you drive to a bank or even open a browser and begin looking up bank rates online, you’ll find yourself following through.

The rule = Action creates follow up, which creates results.

3) Create systems to simplify your life. You should be able to focus all of your energy on the important points in life, not on the details. Rather than allowing money to be a constant distraction, find automatic ways to stay on top of your finances. We tip everyone around us…why don’t we create ways to pay ourselves first? If we’re going to give the waiter 15%, how come we can’t do that for our bank account? Use direct deposit, apps, and systems that make managing your money easy so you can focus on super sizing your results.

Too often we’re wrapped up in minutia. About an hour ago I spent forty-five minutes searching for a piece of paper I’d misfiled. We don’t “get organized” so things look pretty. We “get organized” so that we can reclaim that 45 minutes to spend on highlights, instead of in the trenches digging for items that aren’t worth the time we spent searching for them.

The rule = You don’t have time to think about both small and big things.  Focus on the big things and create systems for the small.

4) Embrace education. We are what we think about, which is a powerful message. If you’re committed to strengthening your craft, you’ll engage in the reading and classes that will allow you to improve. Rather than worrying about personal finance, commit to learning how to better manage your money. Read magazines or blogs like this one, listen to podcasts, enroll in classes, join online communities. By wrapping yourself in financial success talk, you’ll find yourself enjoying the topic more and becoming increasingly comfortable and familiar with some of the issues people struggle with – like banking, insurance and investments. You’ll also meet and be inspired by others who are on the same journey.

The rule = Create “surround sound” reflecting the life you wish to lead and you’ll soon find yourself leading it.

5) Reflect. If you realize from the outset that you won’t be perfect, you’ll be more open to correcting your course without completely throwing in the towel. A critical mistake you can make with personal finance is to decide midstream that you can’t learn…that it’s all too hard…that you should just give up. If you surrounded yourself with the right people and materials, and decided to move…now all that you have to do is to follow through and trust yourself. Too many people lose their dreams because they didn’t have the faith in their own abilities to realize that success was right around the corner. Have the strength to reflect and make adjustments, but never, ever second guess yourself.

The rule = You won’t make the perfect move the first time. Perfection comes with practice and experience.

Everything starts with a dream, but you can’t stop there. Success comes down to you making a decision, following through, surrounding yourself with support and inspiration, and then correcting your course. You can do it…if you just decide!

 © 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

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3 Ways Perfection is Blocking Your Success

by Chris Atley

As a recovering perfectionist myself, I have done a lot of studying on this topic. I am especially loving Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly.” She talks a lot about how we live in a “not enough” society. Everything from parenting to our professional lives, it’s all about being perfect. But, no matter how hard we try it’s never good enough. We constantly feel bad about ourselves because we never measure up. We’re never good enough.

First, I’ve come to learn that perfection is deeply rooted in our childhood and upbringing. Perfection is really about getting someone else’s approval and love. If you struggle from perfectionism and want to figure out whom you’re trying to get approval from, go with the first person that pops into your mind. Your intuition is never wrong.

Second, the issue is that we live in a society of being praised for our accomplishments and good behavior. We are rewarded with love when we’re good and achieving. It’s rare to be shown love for just BE-ing us. For who we are on the inside.  Now we might not always make the best choices, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough or worthy of love.

Third, in Brene’s book she talks a lot about shame and self-worth. Many of us don’t feel worthy enough unless we’re being perfect, therefore we never feel good enough because we are never perfect.  I have done a lot of work in the area of self-worth with my clients, and I can tell you it always stems back to being shamed into not feeling good enough or worthy of love. This explains the constant do-ing and over achieving. That feeling that we have to do everything ourselves and can’t accept help. The constant high expectations we put on ourselves. Operating from a state of lack rather than abundance.

So this week I invite you to think about it from this point of view; you are enough. I am going to repeat it.


What if you went through every moment of every day thinking that? You will probably feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders and can finally just start being You. The beautiful, real you!

Watch your world change.

Written by Success Speaker & Coach Chris Atley, CEO of Chris Atley LLC ~ Decisions by Design. For complimentary success tips for business and life, please visit

"How to Get Quality Referrals to Grow Your Business" with Kerry Heaps on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Show #368

Topic: How to Get Quality Referrals to Grow Your Business 

Co-host Kerry Heaps returns for this conversation about how to get quality leads for your business. Listen in to discover the the best way to get referrals, ways to increase your chances of getting better quality referrals, tips for networking and how to avoid mistakes people make when asking for referrals.

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. Ways to increase your chances of getting referrals or better quality referrals, tips to consider when networking and mistakes people make when asking for referrals.

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.

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Top Ten Tips for Mompreneurs

by Heather Stouffer, CEO of Mom Made Foods

Mom Made Foods has filled the void for healthy and convenient frozen meals and snacks that speak predominantly to health-conscious parents looking for an easy and nutritious way to feed their families.

As the founder and CEO, I created Mom Made Foods because I believe in convenient meals that don’t sacrifice quality or nutrition, and that kids should be able to eat delicious foods without the added junk.

In remaining true to my values as an entrepreneur, here are ten tips my fellow mompreneurs should consider:

1.      Hire experts and delegate. It’s both humbling and important to remember that you don’t know everything! You will not grow your business if you don’t surround yourself with the right individuals, whether they’re employees, consultants, board members or strategic partners.

2.      Balancing family and work while taking care of yourself will mean less time for work, which is all right! Your children are only kids once. Don’t miss a big event.

3.      The key to success doesn’t lie in the act of thinking about it. It lies in the execution. You need energy and momentum to bring your big ideas to life and sustain them.

4.      If you’re not failing every now and then, then you’re not taking the risks necessary to find success. Expect to have failures and learn to turn them into opportunities.

5.      Listen to your customers and react. It’s important that they know they can trust you and some of the best business strategies come from customer input.

6.      Find a purpose for your career that you believe in. Mom Made Foods was born out of my passion for feeding my family the healthy, convenient foods they need to thrive. What drives me to work hard and give so much of my life to this company is that I am passionate about the mission behind it.

7.      Prioritize and re-prioritize. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be disciplined but also flexible when needed. Every day is an adventure!

8.      In raising capital, always plan ahead, look to the future and raise more than you think you will need.

9.      Find the right customers and tune into their wants and needs. Just like no one type of food appeals to the masses, neither does one type of business. Cater to your customer and serve them while remaining true to your mission and values.

10.   Bring your kids along on your business journey. Whether it’s a snow day or a long school holiday, bringing your children to your office is a great way to show them what you do day in and day out while adding new life and energy to the office! At dinnertime, when they ask how your day was, answer truthfully. Children of entrepreneurs have a special appreciation for hard work and dedication.

Helping to feed America’s families is a responsibility that I am honored to have. The Mom Made Foods team has never taken that trust for granted and does what it can to continue to grow our relationship with today’s families. As a successful mompreneur, I am proud to have held onto this commitment to excellence, allowing it to guide me, my team and my family as we grow Mom Made Foods. 

*Listen to Heather Stouffer's interview on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™ to learn more about starting a business in the natural foods industry.  Listen online on Podomatic:
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Increasing Energy in a Stressful Work Environment

by Janet Gomez

"From the food we eat, the air we breathe, the things we see, feel, hear and touch, our environment is formed and this in turn profoundly influences and shapes out internal environment"
-Swami Vishni-devananda

A few years ago I offered a teleseminar to provide simple solutions on how to increase energy and to have better health. Some subscribers contacted me with specific questions and I've decided to share my response to a particular question that concerns us all.

The subscriber asked me how to increase her energy levels in a stressful work environment.

Our inner state depends on what happens outside. If we live in a stressful situation, all our body systems are affected.

There are three points I want to make to answer this question.

Firstly to increase energy levels in a stressful working environment it is important to be aware of how you eat. When you're under stress, the body does not direct energy towards the digestive system but rather outward to support the "fight or flight" response. Since the energy is not going to the digestive system, the conditions to promote healthy digestion are missing. The result - less energy.

    Proposed Action:
    Eat calmly, for example, stop for a moment before eating to think about what you are eating and create a calm environment within yourself. It takes a second. Chew your food slowly and pay attention to every bite.

    Follow a routine, regular hours, since routine offers balance and security. Since your body is prepared and able to digest more efficiently during these periods, you'll have more energy than normal after eating.

    To learn to breathe correctly. Correct breathing is important for physical and mental health. If you learn to breathe correctly, you can increase your strength and energy levels. If, for example, you are in a stressful situation and you get angry, breathing helps you to reduce acidity in you body and to focus emotional energy so that it has a more positive effect on the nervous system and your internal (and perhaps external) environment. So, breathing techniques can help you manage stress and bring more oxygen into the body for more energy  

    Proposed Action:
    Take yoga classes or other specialised courses because Yogis have know for a long time that we can get most of our energy from the air. They developed a system of breathing exercises called "pranayama" to control the "prana" or subtle energy

    To ensure that you drink enough water every day because even if you are 1% dehydrated your attention span and concentration can fall by 13% and cause dizziness, irritability, headaches and fatigue.

      Proposed Action:
      Drink a glass of (warm / hot) water instead of a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of wine. Caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic effect (increases urine production), and the body loses water accordingly.

      Drink a glass of water for every cup of tea or coffee or glass of wine you drink.

      Always have water with you during the day, e.g. on your desk, in your bag so you can take a sip whenever you want.

      Be regular in your water intake - the body likes regularity. For example, drink one glass an hour after breakfast, one glass an hour before lunch.

      Need further guidance because you are feeling tired or have a lingering cold you just can't shake? Drop by and see me in March for a by-donation session or email to arrange a short Skype call (also by donation). 

      Janet Gomez, ayurvedic practitioner & nutritional consultant, produces the "Nutri-Jyoti News", a free  e-newsletter for busy professionals. Feel ready to learn how to use nutritional strategies to manage your energy levels? Then sign up for her FREE e-course "5 Nutritional Keys to Vitality in your Life" on the Nutri-Jyoti home page now.

      Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved Janet Gomez
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