The Power of Eye Contact

Humans are social animals, and we can tell a lot about what another person is thinking and feeling based solely on the way they meet our gaze. Learning how to make strong eye contact with others is one of the most important personal development skills we can cultivate. People who are able to make lots of eye contact are generally viewed as confident and friendly, while those who struggle to meet the gaze of others are seen as shy and nervous. Luckily, eye contact is a skill that you can work on and get better at over time! Take a look at the guide from Rory below for tips for improving and harnessing the power of eye contact.

Everything You Need to Know About the Power of Eye Contact

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Small Business Finance: What You Need To Know

picture of a cluttered desk
by Jon Zacharias

Starting and running a small business without having some form of credit is nearly impossible. Many small businesses do not make it simply because they’re under-capitalized. One month where sales and expenses budgets cannot be met could signal the end for business that could otherwise have succeeded.

Others find themselves unable to grow their operations owing to insufficient access to the necessary funds. The answer may appear to be simple: get a loan and grow your business. However, getting a small business loan isn’t always easy.

Getting a Bank Loan

Since the recession, the FIDC has ensured that small businesses who apply for loans are subjected to very close scrutiny. The Dodd-Frank act of 2010 has effectively limited the possible sources of funding for small business. Many analysts feel that in doing so, economic recovery was slowed. Whether this is true or not, small businesses in need of additional capital often find themselves unable to secure conventional bank loans.

But is a conventional loan best for your business? The convoluted application process takes a great deal of time and effort and few loans are granted. In addition, repayment terms are highly inflexible. Small businesses are increasingly turning towards alternative lenders in order to get the business finance they need quickly, successfully and under less onerous repayment terms than banks allow.

The SBA 7A Program

Getting the Small Business Administration to guarantee all or part of a bank loan might sound like a great idea in theory, but the program has been widely criticized for its limitations. Once again the application process is complex and lengthy and not all businesses can afford to wait up to three months to get finance approved — if it’s approved at all.

Then too, the SBA isn’t actually offering the finance itself. The small business entrepreneur still has to work through a conventional bank and banks remain reluctant to supply credit to small businesses. By 2011 a Gallup survey found that although 88% of businesses had access to credit, only 29% were lending from banks despite the SBA program.

What Banks Don’t Take Into Account

The main problem with getting bank loans is that banks want to see guarantees that you’ll be able to pay back the money. That’s fair enough, but instead of looking at how good your business’ chances of success are, they look at financial history. That makes things difficult for a newer business that doesn’t have the track record banks are looking for.

Remember, banks aren’t investors, they’re lenders. If the business or its owners don’t have the kind of credit history they’re looking for, they won’t issue the loan. Nowadays, financiers can use algorithms to project business income, but banks don’t use these tools when deciding whether you’ll get a loan.

Other Financing Options

Getting finance fast, especially startup business loans, can be crucial to the survival and growth of small businesses, especially startup business loans. Since the banking sector isn’t making things easy for them, small business owners are increasingly turning to alternative sources of finance that offer them faster turnaround time, rate their creditworthiness based on the business itself and offer plans with flexible repayment options.

Merchant Cash Advances

Businesses that handle a volume of over $5000 in monthly credit card transactions often choose the merchant cash advance as a source of funding that offers them easy repayments. A funding company advances cash to the lender at a pre-arranged fixed cost, allowing the lender to have a clear picture of the extent of the commitment in advance.

Repayments are calculated as a portion of credit card sales and are deducted automatically from the lender’s account. Thus, if the business is experiencing an unexpected quiet period, the repayment is lower without the lender falling into arrears with repayments. Obviously, this form of financing would not be available to a brand new business, but as little as three months of transaction history can secure your business this type of financing.

Business Cash Advance

This model is similar to the merchant cash advance, but repayment is handled through pre-determined daily deductions from the business bank account. Once again, the lender knows the exact cost of the credit in advance and need not make allowance for large monthly repayments that would impact heavily on cash flow.

Unsecured line of credit

One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in obtaining a business loan is the requirement for collateral. By working through agencies, lenders can obtain an unsecured line of credit that does not require asset collaterals. A maximum credit limit is set, and the business is able to use as much or as little of the line of credit as it needs to at any given time. Interest is only levied on the amount of credit actually used. A minimum monthly repayment value is agreed in advance. Unsecured lines of credit is a type of financing that is particularly helpful to businesses that need credit to cover shorter-term expenses.

The Bottom Line

Obtaining small business finance through a bank is still very difficult in the US. Many small businesses are turning to other sources of finance that offer them easy and quick access to funds based on their business health and future outlook rather than the personal creditworthiness of the business owner.

When investigating funding options, small business entrepreneurs would be well-advised to discuss various options with funding specialists in order to determine what kind of funding would be most suitable for their business rather than relying on the traditional bank loan.

This article originally appeared on

"Manage Your Mindset & Release the Struggle" with Certified Life Coach Nancy McKay on Women Entrepreneurs Radio

Certified Life Coach Nancy McKay
Show #502

Certified Life Coach Nancy McKay shares:

  • What role the mind plays in creating & managing these struggles
  • Why is it so hard for most people to overcome fear & self-doubt?
  • How can women best deal with mindset hurdles?

Nancy McKay lives in Lakewood, Colorado with her husband Jimmy and her two rescued Westies, Maggie and Tommy.

Nancy’s life experiences of growing up in an alcoholic household, being sober for over ten years herself and an ovarian cancer survivor give her a unique perspective on becoming empowered to heal later in life. Nancy has earned her certification as a Wayfinder Life Coach from Martha Beck, Inc. as well as a Mind-Body-Eating Coach from The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Nancy also spends a great deal of time working with horses honing her skills while she is in training to become a Certified Equus Coach through the Koelle Institute for Equus Coaching. This diverse background in experience and training provides her clients multiple resources for healing and growth.

Nancy's clients are women who are looking for a confidential, safe space to share their stories, struggles, challenges and desires. Clients want to gain clarity, perspective and to build their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, Nancy is a supportive and compassionate coach who has faced challenges and knows first-hand what it takes to come out on the other side with heart and soul intact.

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Certified Life Coach Nancy McKay


Top 7 Reasons Women Should Start Their Own Business Today

woman working on iphone
by Madison Crader

There’s never a perfect time to start your own business. But there are plenty of reasons why taking the plunge today is a good move.

According to the Eighth Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report by American Express, on average, women are starting over 1,800 new businesses every day.

This rapid growth in women-run businesses outpaces the rate of new business ventures in previous years—including both before and after the recession and recovery period from 2007-2012.

In other words, more women are diving into the world of entrepreneurship than ever before. And for good reason.

Here’s why you should too.

1. More flexibility

Being your own boss has its perks. One of which is the ability to control your time. While you may still face long hours at work (especially during the early bootstrapping phase), your time is yours to manage and dedicate as you choose.

This is appealing to many people but, for women in particular, who still tend to be the primary caregivers in their families, this flexibility can be a game changer. Parents and caregivers who run their own businesses can more easily prioritize their families and schedule time for the things that matter most to them.

2. Better pay

Starting your own business also gives you the chance to improve your income and eliminate the gender pay gap in your own life.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, full-time working women still earned only 80 percent of what their male counterparts did in 2016. Running your own business means you can call the shots on your salary opportunities by charging what you’re really worth.

3. Personal and professional growth

Starting a business is a big endeavor. There will be challenges that stretch you and opportunities for growth you won’t find in a regular 9 to 5 job.

As the founder of a business, you will wear many hats—especially in the beginning when you may be the one and only employee of your company. You will be responsible for handling all parts of the business, including product, accounting, customer service, and marketing.

Although it may feel like barely-controlled chaos some days, running your own business will give you valuable experience and many opportunities for growth. This personal and professional development will serve you well as head of your company and give you greater confidence and self-fulfillment in life.

4. Opportunities to make an impact

One of the main reasons people choose to start a business is to make an impact. Some people see a problem they want to fix through their products or services; others hope to make a difference through their company’s culture or mission.

Whatever your goal, starting your own business is a great way to make a difference.

5. More mentorship opportunities

Mentorships are valuable ways for professionals to further their careers and gain insight into their industry. Unfortunately, women often get left behind with fewer mentor opportunities than men.

Entering the world of entrepreneurship can unlock more mentoring opportunities—both for you to connect with other business leaders and role models, and to become a mentor yourself.

For instance, women-owned businesses are a rapidly growing group. When you start your own business, you can dive into female entrepreneur networks and build your connections with strong role models.

6. Easier access to funding

One of the biggest challenges to starting a business is funding it. Since most people don’t have millions of dollars laying around to invest in their next Big Idea, coming up with the cash to finance their business can seem daunting.

Luckily, funding your business is easier than you might think. There are many business loan options for small businesses—and even some specifically for women. With so many choices, you’re sure to find a loan that fits your financial and business needs.

7. Increased health and happiness

Starting your own business can make you happier and healthier than you ever were in your day job. That’s right. Despite the new or added stressors of running your own business, research has found that overall, entrepreneurs report greater mental well being than full-time employees.

Turns out, having greater flexibility, autonomy, and earning potential (along with the confidence and empowerment that comes with running your own business), is a recipe for happiness.

While there are always reasons to delay your business dream, now is the best time to start. Don’t put off greater happiness, health, and opportunities. Take the chance and dive in today. You’ll be glad you did.

About the Author: Madison specializes in content related to small business building brand awareness and gaining access to capital to grow their business. She has a passion for helping entrepreneurs grow their business and set long-term goals by sharing tips and tricks.

Picture credit: Illumination Marketing on Unsplash


The Myth of the Overnight Success

The road to success is a long and winding journey. Many people view it as a sprint rather than a marathon, wrongly assuming that overnight success is attainable. However, the journey is where we learn the most valuable lessons, hone our skills, and grow into leaders. Anything that’s worth doing takes time, so remember to be patient with your passion project instead of expecting immediate gratification.

When we see successful people in the media or in our own lives, we’re usually not given the full story — we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Behind every successful entrepreneur is doubt, failure, and struggle. But rather than viewing this as a bad thing, remember that it’s all part of the journey.

Need some more inspiration? Check out the infographic below on eight famous entrepreneurs and their not-so-overnight success stories.


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Social Entrepreneurship & Building Community with Founder Theresa Siaw on Women Entrepreneurs Radio

Theresa Siaw is a social entrepreneur and founder of the OMNI Medical Student Training Program
Show #501

Theresa Siaw is a social entrepreneur and founder of the OMNI Medical Student Training Program, which helps students who have trained at foreign medical schools to prepare for their first job in the United States. It is her passion to improve not just the physical health but also the whole life of the community.

Through her philanthropic work, Theresa has been able to help a multitude of people; everyone from children, the elderly, domestic violence victims and the homeless. She has created a number of different programs that offer not just support to these groups of people but also directly delivers necessities to those in need. 

Theresa does not just stop in her own community, she has helped aid international relief efforts after natural disasters, including being a first responder in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. In addition to being a first responder for Hurricane Maria, Theresa also hosts an annual Backpack Give Away to underserved children, and a Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway to ensure everyone is able to celebrate Thanksgiving, sponsored single mothers in need of uniforms to stay in school and feeds the homeless every Thursday.  

Theresa believes that a leader should be an advocate for the people in its neighborhoods, not a celebrity. She strives to be available to the community and seek their input on ways to reduce crime, improve education and access to healthcare, and enhance the overall well-being of Chicago.

Theresa was born on the southeast side of Chicago; both her parents were African immigrants from Ghana and continuously expressed that education was the most important achievement. Theresa earned a B.A. in Multicultural Marketing from DePaul University in 2010. Immediately after school, she began working in community healthcare at the Humboldt Park location of San Pablo Medical Center. With the encouragement of her mentors, Amer Rustom, MD, Eric Mizuno, MD, and Anthony Tedeschi, MD, former CEO of Weiss Memorial Hospital, she went on to found her own medical student training program.

Facebook: Theresa Siaw 
Twitter: @TheresaSiaw
Instagram: @TheresaSiaw 

Theresa Siaw is a social entrepreneur and founder of the OMNI Medical Student Training Program

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