The Entrepreneur Within Me May Be Crazy by M. Luchies
Apr30

The Entrepreneur Within Me May Be Crazy by M. Luchies

46578_851045984982_1735616_nThe Entrepreneur Within Me May Be Crazy

By Michael Luchies – Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization & PitchJam.com

I used to think that I was crazy.  After years of changing jobs, coming up with hundreds of odd business ideas, creating new websites and blogs, and wondering what in the world I was going to do with my life – I finally realized that I wasn’t crazy at all, but the entrepreneur within me is.

How crazy is the entrepreneur within me? 

I’ll let you be the judge of that, but here is the evidence. 

As of one month ago, I was working a full time 50-60 hour a week job, working 20-30 hours as the marketing director of a growing startup, and developing another startup with a partner.  Trying to do this while keeping my sanity and nurturing a marriage that is less than a year old was not an option.  I stepped down from my position as the marketing director and have thankfully been able to regain my overall sanity, but the crazy entrepreneur within me is still there and waiting to break free.

Coming up with an uncountable number of product ideas, websites, and businesses is nothing new to me.  Here are just some of the start-ups, websites or blogs that I have been involved in over the past decade:

  • Stubs4Sale
  • BringPacmanBack.com
  • RogerGoodell.com
  • WeWitnessed.com
  • SportsControversy.com
  • Toldmi
  • InGameExchange
  • PitchJam

The list above mentions only the ones that I can remember and the ideas that I followed through with enough to create a website.

Although I don’t have any wild successes to talk about and am not able to retire at the age of 28, I have been able to learn a lot from my endeavors and picked up some accolades along the way.  I have spoken at a National Summit in Las Vegas, been published in the #1 magazine for my field, won a business plan competition with $100,000 in prizes, competed in the National Elevator Pitch Competition, and more.  Without the crazy little entrepreneur within me, I would have not been able to experience any of those things.

Instead of fighting the crazy entrepreneur within me, I am going to embrace it…but try to keep him from getting overly excited.

Is the entrepreneur within you crazy?

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The JMH Leap of Faith…
Apr30

The JMH Leap of Faith…

meeeeee10.28.2011

The JMH Leap of Faith

Julie M. Holloway

 

Just last year, at age 34, I finally realized that my dreams for JMH Art + Design Studio were truly sheltered and locked within me. The ‘dream’ was slowly fading further and further away while my mental state was as well. Overly consumed by absolute dismay, fear of not having a ‘job’ and feelings of mental and physical unrest, I was finally at my wit’s end. I was brutally afraid to quit my full-time executive assistant job, a field I had worked in for fifteen years, to pursue my lifelong passion of fulfilling the life of the ‘artist’ within me.

The purpose of sharing this story is not to debilitate you by the experiences that I have gone through; but to share in that we can and must conquer anything in our way of pursuing our dreams and passions.

In this case, for years I blamed my boss at the horrible job for captivating my dream to become a designer full time. However, I finally came to truth and realization that it was me I was afraid of. I allowed myself to be stuck in that situation because I did not have the strength to take the plunge!  It is a process to become a self-made entrepreneur and even more so, to decide to leave a career behind you.

My goal is simply to share the experiences of how I overcame and to encourage others to follow suit. In other words, I have labeled myself the latest ‘quit coach,’ but I take no responsibility if it doesn’t work for you. I will gladly discuss my endeavor with anyone who has a dream, and when I say, “dream,” I really mean DREAM BIG.

 

God will not bless your dream until you help someone else birth forth their dream.

~ Dr. Bernada Nicole Baker

 

Rewind.

About four years ago I found myself unemployed due to layoffs, so I sat home and taught myself graphic design with a $50 piece of software purchased from Craigslist! Soon thereafter, I was offered a position once again as an administrative assistant. For the next three years, I was truly dragged and driven through a pile of mud. I stayed loyal and worked my tail off to collect a paycheck, ensure my family had insurance and for whatever other reasons, I do not know and do not wish to re-live. Although today I may often wish I had never taken that job, I am grateful because it ultimately led me to true entrepreneurship.

After a few years, (three to be exact) and just a few days passed, I found myself frozen in an absolute state of confusion. I could not believe that I allowed myself to be treated in such a way by an authority figure. My boss berated me on a regular and continual basis, he embarrassed me in staff meetings, he often called me out on having minimal amounts of common sense and he told me I hadn’t done a thing since I started there three years prior except design ‘pretty well.’ He also told me I was easily replaceable. He told me he would surely find someone that would do my job and do it better. He told me I helped others on my team too much, he told me I took on too many responsibilities and he told me I didn’t even deserve the ‘cost of living’ adjustment on my three year review. There were many more things he told me during my tenure, however, I feel this may be enough for you to get the picture.

Many of the situations in the aforementioned paragraph were things that occurred often, but many of those words were spoken to me on my three-year anniversary with the company. In fact, I entered the room for my review that day with an expectation of hopefully gaining some added responsibilities in the area of marketing and design, as one of my co-workers had ‘heard it through the grapevine.’ So that day, I was actually excited to hear about some changes to come within the organization. Instead, it was gravely the opposite.

All of those dreaded words were spoken to me as if I was a third-grader getting slapped with a detention when they didn’t even know what detention was. I was talked to like a principal would speak to a student getting expelled or a criminal getting detained. I sat there for an hour and a half and took the ‘beating.’ I literally threw up inside, I fainted without fainting, I was punched in the stomach by a ghost, I was kicked in the knees by an invisible bully and I was punished by my father when my father wasn’t even in the room.

This was the ultimate end of the road for what I had called my ‘job’ for three years. Not to mention, my ‘written review’ paper claimed that I had nearly failed in every area of my work except for ‘teamwork,’ where I was rated exceptional.  This made absolutely no sense.

 

Le sigh …
My Quit Day …

I raced home that day, not even knowing how I made it to five o’clock, sobbing and breathing so hard, you would have thought I smoked a pack of cigarettes. I am certain I was having a panic attack. Before I got home to see my hubby, I announced to myself that today was “Quit Day.”

Today was the day that I will come to terms that it was time to quit the day job. I flew in the house like a bat out of he## and gave him a five-minute, non-stop gut-wrenching overview of my review that day.  We had both eagerly waited on this day, thinking I would receive news that I would get a raise or a bump in expectations, only to find out that I was truly outdone by my so-called career. It was over. It had to be.

I told my husband that I was quitting and that I would be submitting six-week’s notice. Hubby agreed that I did not deserve to be treated in such a way and that we’d have to move on.


The Weekend After …

The weekend after the big ‘three-year review day’ situation, I could not explain to others why I had remained loyal to this situation for as long as I did. I talked to many friends and family re-visiting the situation over and over to seek their input on whether or not I was the crazy one. I repeatedly told friends that I could not envision one more day on earth if I had to go to that job one more time. I could not wait for my escape day and I decided that time would come very quickly. I was so happy that I finally realized that it was time to ‘unlock the treasure of my artistic gifts and become an entrepreneur full-time.’  I had heard it was the most amazing career anyone could ask for!

 

Later that afternoon, my children played the Wii downstairs with my husband laughing and giggling while I sat upstairs in the “office” of JMH Art + Design Studio and cried silently for hours. Puddles of tears watered my shirt and sweat from my hands rested frozen on my keyboard.

I needed someone to push me over the edge and say, “Go on, go forth with this decision that you have already made up in your mind.”

As I sat there debilitated for hours at my desk with the intent to write a 10-page paper for my marketing course, I asked myself these questions:

  • How did I get here?
  • How did I get this far off the artistic track?
  • Why is it that when I quit art school the year after high school, did I not pursue a career in ‘the arts.’
  • Why, for years was I able to sell my paintings to family and friends, but never step into an art gallery and have them peep my work?
  • Why have I designed hundreds of logos for ‘other people’s dreams,’ while not fully and wholeheartedly pursuing my own?
  • Why, after teaching myself graphic design four years ago while sitting on unemployment did I not pursue that business full time, instead of taking another dreaded administrative support role?
  • Why, while working a full time job, was I able to freelance as a designer and make a 50 percent increase in revenue for three years, yet not able to do this creative thing full time?
  • Why did I have to find ALL OF THIS OUT after nearly feeling ‘dead’ inside?

 

In the midst of yet again, another absolute panic attack, I was finally able to answer all those questions.

 

I was afraid. 

 

I realized at that very moment that the answer to all of these “why” questions was this:

“Only I have the key to unlock that treasure of mine called ‘The entrepreneur within.’” 

Don’t get me wrong, I had just re-read through for the third time “Unlock the Treasure and Discover the Princess Within,” by one of my BFF’s and life-coaching friends, Dr. Bernada Nicole Baker, however, that book is for young girls and teens! That book truly had an inspiring effect on my soul that morning. The moment I realized and truly understood this concept of ‘unlocking’ all that stuff inside of you that you were meant to be when one is born … well, I realized that it was finally “my time.”

So, what was next?

Prayer.

 

That day, I prayed …

I buckled down, listened to a few gospel songs and words of inspiration from TD Jakes and Pastor Sheryl Brady and found myself praying like a mad woman.  I hadn’t prayed much lately, but that day I begged for signs, for forgiveness, for resolution to my broken career-ridden heart, for my boss (for he will someday realize what he did), for my business to take off with wings larger than life, for my husband to believe in me 100 percent as I take this leap, I prayed for my colleagues who would remain in the dreadful company we worked at, for the beautiful soul we would hire to replace me in my position at work, for my inspiring and loving friends and co-entrepreneurs who support me day in and day out.

I prayed and gave thanks for my brother and sister in-law(s) who listened to my complaining for months; for my kids, the only little things that lead me to smile those days; to my mom and dad who sat with me at McDonald’s just a week before and gave me their ‘blessing’ that I should quit the hell hole and go after my dream. I prayed and gave thanks to my old art teacher from high school Craig Anderson (a.k.a. Mr. A) who taught me the art of an arts business before I even knew I would own a business. I was eternally grateful that day for the hundreds of clients that I carried through the part-time endeavor of my ‘wanna-be’ entrepreneur lifestyle when I worked 22 hours a day, seven days a week moonlighting as a fake entrepreneur who still had a corporate paycheck.

I was so thankful for the books and journals that Bernada Nicole Baker sent me on the regular so I could journal and display my creativity; and to my SereniGy® family who pushed me to continue the distribution network I started, because that stuff truly makes me more focused and creative and to so many more I am forgetting.

Lastly, I prayed and gave thanks to GOD for listening to my prayers that afternoon. He TRULY listened and showed me by moving through my body and soul until I found a peaceful moment to say —- I QUIT and it’s OK!

He told me, today you will stop seeking clarity or approval from others to quit working at a place that is making you – and has made you – sick for three years. He said, “I approve,” and that is all that matters.

That day, I experienced a feeling of inner peace that really was just a compilation of all the things I needed to believe would be ok if I took a stand.

It worked!

 

Read more in the book!

<3

 

Unleash the Entrepreneur Within YOU!

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The INTRAprenreur Within You
Apr25

The INTRAprenreur Within You

patrice18I know I’m not the only one who wishes they could simply walk away from their full-time employer and leap into the wonderful world of entrepreneurship. There are many who were able to take that risk, but there are also many who would feel a lot more comfortable if they had a little cushion before jumping.

I’m one of those who need a little cushion. The stress of not knowing if you’re able to pay your rent and car note next week can be crippling. So, if you’re like me, and need a little cushion, here are a few tips that I’m implementing personally to make the transition smooth:

DRAFT YOUR PLANS

Before you even think about putting in your 2-week notice, you better have a plan. If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail. Do not go into business blindly.  Be sure that you know what you’re offering and the value you offer. Know your competition, know your audience, and most importantly, spend as much time as possible knowing your business financials inside-out.

GET YOUR BRAND TOGETHER

Simply put, your brand is what you stand for in the business world; your reputation. Your brand is how you want others to perceive you. Make sure you know who you are and hire someone (like Julie of JMH Cre8ive) to create an image that is a strong representation of your brand.

NETWORK

Start building relationships with key people in and out of your industry. You’re going to need a strong network to be successful. Whether it’s a support system or someone who leads you to a potential client. Either way, your network is your net worth.

STAY LEARNING

Read blogs, magazines, and books. You want to get your hands on any reading material you can muster up to ensure that your brain is constantly learning and you’re staying up on industry-related news. Things are always changing. It wouldn’t do you any good if you were to quit your job and start a business offering a product or service that is no longer relevant. Also, workshops and seminars are a great way to keep up with the industry as well as meeting other like-minded individuals.

KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR SPENDING

If you truly want to make it as an entrepreneur someday, then you really need to start keeping an eye on your spending. You’re going to need money in order to make money. Rather than spend money on those daily coffee drinks from Starbucks, that money could be used towards a new set of business cards or some other form of marketing material. It would also help if you had a nice amount saved up for those slow months. I’ve read that having an amount saved that equals 3-6 months worth of expenses is ideal. It would also keep your stress levels down because you don’t want to be running a business and worrying about how you’re going to pay your child’s tuition next month.

Everything I’ve mentioned you can do while you’re still working at your full-time job. I know it’s going to be hard, I know that there’s a lot you’re trying to juggle, but have patience and know that it’s only temporary. Go into your job daily being thankful that you have at least one source of income while you actively work on generating another one.

 

Patrice K. Cokley, MBA

Brand & Social Media Consultant

www.PatriceCokley.com

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I am… an Entrepreneur by JMH
Apr21

I am… an Entrepreneur by JMH

616473_10151157322443733_1076697868_oI thrive on creativity.
I mingle with destiny.
I love to take a risk.
I can’t stand NOT to COLLABORATE!
I network with passionate people.
I am growing 2 mini-kidpreneurs!
I live for tomorrow as it’s such a blank canvas!
I give myself away…so you can use me {{make use of my creativity}}
I burn midnight oil.
I remain inspired by you!
I TELL people to quit their day job.
I am the dream ‘midwife’ . . .
I love my art.
I love to share my passion with my family.
I no longer FEAR.
I support you!
I wake up at the crack of dawn with butterflies, excited what today will hold.
I dream about marketing ideas.
I design from the <3
I am divinely content.
I took a LEAP of faith.
I learn from the BEST!
I think I’m on FIRE!
I never remain comfortable.
I live the dream.
I grind. They sleep.
I quit my job 1 and 1/2 years ago to pursue my dream.

I have UNLEASHED my entrepreneur within.
Have you?

<3 JMH

 

4.20.13

 

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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Attending Conferences
Apr18

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Attending Conferences

Leaving the office for several days to attend a conference can be a big undertaking. Some simple preparation will help you can take away more valuable info and really focus on the People on conferencemessage being delivered. Brush up on who will be attending and why they are relevant to the industry so you can identify targets for networking effectively.

Staying Offsite

Though it might be tempting to save some money by booking a hotel “just a little ways away” from the conference site, think twice. You might be saving money on the room but will ground transportation be reliable enough to get you where you need to go on time in the morning? What if you forget something in your room that you need for the afternoon? How late can you get a ride back to your hotel room if you stay for a networking event or evening session? Plus by staying offsite you have the potential to miss untold networking opportunities – whether it’s a gathering of industry folks in the lounge or an industry leader riding an elevator with you. Before you book, take advantage of cardholder benefits (like travel planning) from your American Express card or leverage other business partnerships to be sure you’re getting a great rate at the best location. You’d be surprised what vendors you work with everyday can offer you so brush up on your benefits before you hit the road.

Forgetting Business Cards

Don’t be the guy who has to scribble his name and phone number on a ratty cocktail napkin. You will meet people you want to keep in touch with whether for business or personal reasons. Colleen A. Rickenbacher of ReliablePlant.com recommends that networkers pack plenty of business cards and then grab another handful before you close your suitcase. It’s also a good idea to prepare a set of business cards with additional information like a cell phone number or linked in profile address. Don’t miss valuable opportunities because you don’t have a card, or a pen, or a stable surface to write on. A great first impression won’t last long if you can’t even deliver your contact information efficiently.

Dressing Inappropriately

Conferences are as much about networking and relationship-building as they are about learning. Don’t show up in a battered t-shirt and jeans if everyone else will be wearing polished polos. Wearing appropriate attire isn’t square or stuffy, it’s a sign of respect for all those you come in contact with.

Secondly: layer, layer, layer. Temperatures can fluctuate in meeting rooms and break areas. Being uncomfortable makes it hard to focus so don’t get into a situation where you are shivering instead of learning.

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Nothing will ruin your opportunities for networking and overall success faster than being overheard saying nasty, thoughtless or catty things about your colleagues. You never know who might overhear you trashing the last presenter while you get a refill on your coffee. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all – it’s the golden rule for a reason!

Social No-No’s

Same goes for social media, and doubly so since what you put online can be shared quickly and mercilessly. Don’t burn bridges with inane negative comments and be sure to share positive helpful ideas. Jodi Schaap of MyTurnstone.com says that it’s a good idea to share ideas and try to collaborate with other presenters whenever possible. The idea of a conference is to branch out and network, so remember that and avoid being tempted puff yourself up too much.

 

By: Ava Stevens

Ava is a freelance writer from Maine.

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