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Hey all! Today in JMH ‘news’ I’d like to invite you to a wonderful afternoon of inspiration on Saturday, November 14th in the lovely Downtown Elgin!

The BEYOND THE VISION TOUR with Life Coach Renee Jefferson Smith (from Houston)

Grab your ticket today for one of the most special events of this new season we are in (open to male and female participants):renee2c2

Why Chicago? – Renee was one of my very first graphic design clients 8 years ago. She’s been there for me, and me here through so many business experiences, family changes and life-changing moments. It’s time for us to meet!

Why the Tour? – Renee has a very valuable career and business background. It’s time for her to go on the road and share with ladies, and girls what has led her to her success today.

Why Downtown Elgin? – I am absolutely in love with the community and small business atmosphere that is live and well in Elgin. It is close to my hometown of Hanover Park, where I am trying to work with the village to create that same feel. The studio in which we will host this event is absolutely epic, and is owned by a wonderful woman, Ola.

Why Honor Dr. Bernada? – The tour would not be possible, if I did not have one of my number one mentors, cheerleaders, and supporters right there with me. It is on this day, I will give thanks and praise to a woman who has taught me about self love, courage, faith, relationships and the act of serving God and the community. This day will allow me to give back to her organization with a financial blessing, as well as a blessing from deep within my heart. She has climbed mountains to achieve many degrees and start a wonderful foundation, which my daughter was recipient of many blessings at a young age – The Princess Within Foundation.

Dr. Bernada has truly inspired me to live beyond my vision, and with that, I wish to invite you to do the same!

We hope you can join us – tickets are required!
Learn more as we approach this very special event!

See you soon!

Grab your ticket today for one of the most special events of this new season we are in:

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The Entrepreneur Within

The Entrepreneur Within

by Julie M. Holloway

· · ·

This year I set out to discover my “true” WHY. After much artistic and internal exploration, I found these simple words lit up my every day “let your soul sparkle.”                   

I am Julie Holloway (best known as JMH). I am an artist, author and graphic designer. For 16 years I worked in corporate America only to realize I did not quite fit in. My calling has always been my art and living a colorful lifestyle. I can finally say that after 38 years on earth, I am able to do that. I live and work from my home in Hanover Park, IL and I am on a continual journey of making sure that the work I am doing aligns with my “WHY”.  11760132_403559593185338_8418241033455689884_n (1)

A few years ago, I went through a tumultuous journey of being slightly abused by my last boss. He was very controlling, rude, argumentative and demanding. I could not thrive while working for him no matter how hard I tried. Out of the sheer need to voice my experiences of wanting so badly to be a full-time entrepreneur, to ultimately wanting to bless others with my “quit story,” I began to write my first book, an inspirational business anthology titled The Entrepreneur Within You (TEW), and we just launched the third volume!  I want people to know that, “Dreams are REAL, and that sometimes, success is the best REVENGE for the ultimate challenge.”

I went to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago for one year, quit, and never jumped into the art industry as a career.  About seven years ago, I finally made the jump back into my passion for art and design. A cousin in Chicago asked me to design a logo, so I bought a program off of Craigslist for $50 and taught myself graphic design. I started freelancing, and my business grew from the ground up. I’ve now been able to include my other artistic talents, drawing and painting, into my design business. I do get burned out from time to time because being an entrepreneur is hard work, but I’m learning daily how to be better at what I do and I’m working to become an even better mother and wife. 

After leaving a corporate job to start my business, I had to become a salesman, bill collector, accountant, financial planner, and marketer, when I really just wanted to focus on my artwork and graphic design. As entrepreneurs, we want to do it all, but sometimes that isn’t possible. I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of positive and influential mentors, friends and family members. I’m very thankful, and I try to repay the support they’ve given me by creating a strong entrepreneurial community with my book series, TEW. Aside from coffee, I need a strong network and the support of my family, which I’ve been lucky to have. 


Julie M. Holloway is an artist based in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She is the founder of JMH Cre8ive Solutions, a boutique graphic design agency and is the curator of a book series titled The Entrepreneur Within You. She loves coffee, collaborating and hanging with family and friends. Learn more about her creative endeavors at, and or contact her at or by phone at (630) 855-3351.



“If the creative artist worries if he will still be free tomorrow, then he will not be free today.”                       

 – Salman Rushdie

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TEW #MeetUp this Weekend!

TEW #MeetUp this Weekend!

Join the TEW Crew
for a Weekend Round Up Meet Up
this Saturday morning!
@ the Blue Box Cafe
176 E. Chicago Street
Feel free to pass it on!
(stop for a few minutes
or stay for a while!)
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Creative Holiday Ideas for Small Biz from SBA

Creative Holiday Ideas for Small Biz from SBA

[repost from SBA]


33 Creative Ideas for Small Business Holiday Marketing

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: October 7, 2014

The holidays are coming, and we all know what that means for retailers. But retailers aren’t the only ones who can get in on the holiday shopping game. Whether you own a store, restaurant, service provider or even a B2B company, smart marketing can boost your holiday sales, too. Here are 33 marketing ideas to get your holiday sales sizzling.

  1. Invite B2B customers to a thank-you dinner or other special event.
  2. Invite B2B prospects to a “getting to know you” party.
  3. Stand out by holding your holiday party before Thanksgiving, or after the New Year when customers are more business-minded and thinking ahead to 2015 budgets.
  4. Stand out (and save money) by holding a holiday breakfast or luncheon instead of a full-scale evening party.
  5. Join forces with other small business owners in the area to hold a weekend “sidewalk sale.”
  6. Cross-promote your business with cards, brochures and flyers in complementary businesses’ locations.
  7. Put discounts or coupons for other nearby businesses’ products or services in customers’ shopping bags, and have them do the same for you.
  8. Hold a special sale for your best customers only, at a time when you’re normally closed.
  9. Choose a charity to get involved with, and get customers involved too. Offer a discount or free gift card for customers who volunteer a certain amount of time to the charity or donate a certain amount.
  10. Join other businesses to host a gift-giving tree. Find a local charity, put a tree in the business district or shopping area, post Christmas wishes on the tree, and have customers pick a wish and buy the desired gift.
  11. Exhibit at holiday shows. See if local crafts fairs or gift shows accept commercial vendors and, if so, rent a booth.
  12. Hold a Black Friday sale for your B2B business. (It doesn’t have to be on the real “Black Friday”—pick another Friday during the holiday season.)
  13. Send real holiday cards, not e-cards. They’re more likely to get noticed.
  14. Send Thanksgiving or New Year’s cards. They’re also more likely to get noticed than cards sent during the Christmas season.
  15. Hold a holiday open house for prospects. More relaxed than a regular party, it offers an opportunity for them to drop by at their convenience and learn more about your business.
  16. Capture customers through their kids. Hold a kids’ contest like a make-your-own-ornament contest or holiday coloring contest. Give a big prize or just give everyone small prizes, like candy canes.
  17. Make any business kid-friendly by providing a kids’ space with toys or books to keep tired, fussy children occupied while parents shop.
  18. Get listed in local bloggers’ holiday gift guides. It’s too late for most print gift guides, but there’s still time to get your products or services spotlighted by relevant bloggers. Reach out with a free sample.
  19. Feed the crowd. Hand out free cookies or beverages to energize tired shoppers.
  20. Make them comfy. Provide seating so shoppers’ companions can sit down if they don’t want to shop.
  21. Give it away. If your business is located in a mall or shopping area, station an employee outside to give away free samples of your product or service to passersby.
  22. Hire masseuses to give shoppers free foot or shoulder rubs in your store if they buy something.
  23. Have Santa come to your business. If you’re in a shopping district, join with other businesses to hire a Santa. You can even set up a photo booth and have photos taken with Santa and ask for donations.
  24. Hold a “12 Days of…” sale, event or contest. Give away a different prize every day, offer a different discount every day or spotlight a different product every day.
  25. Give away useful items with each purchase, like good-quality tissue paper or ribbons for gift-wrapping. Put your business’s name on it and you’ve got a marketing tool, too.
  26. Give away gifts with purchase. Offering items that can serve as stocking stuffers makes customers more likely to buy so they can get the gift.
  27. Try a two-for-one sale. This works great for subscription items; offer customers a free gift subscription or half-price gift subscription when they renew their own membership or subscription.
  28. Get personal. Instead of holding a big party for clients, take them out to lunch individually during the holidays (or early in the New Year if they’re too busy).
  29. Provide entertainment. Hire musicians to play in your store or restaurant, or right outside to attract customers in.
  30. Display holiday-themed art by local artists in your restaurant, coffee shop or bar and offer it for sale.
  31. Sell gift cards for shoppers who can’t make up their minds. Be sure to keep them by the point-of-sale as a last minute impulse buy.
  32. Create personalized food gifts by printing your business logo on M&Ms, candy bars, cookies or candy wrappers.
  33. Print a personalized 2015 calendar to give out to your clients. A restaurant could include photos of popular dishes; a dog wash could showcase cute dog breeds.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She’s been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades
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How 3 Awesome Jobs Sent Me Right Back to College

I’m sort of a career-a-holic. My last three jobs were in no way interconnected. I mean, I wasn’t a loan officer that went from one bank to the next. All three jobs were completely unrelated – at least on the surface – but they all brought me to where I am today.

Where am I today? College… again. It seems that most of us just aren’t very good at picking out a lifelong career in our late teens or early 20’s.

I mean, this is about as eclectic as it gets, right? Here is a look at my last three jobs, and what I learned from each. Each job got me to where I am today, and for that I’m grateful.

Server & Bartender

These jobs were your typical “I’m going to school” sort of jobs, and I didn’t expect either of them to wow me to the point where I wanted to stay long after graduation. In fact, I didn’t expect to stay nearly as long as I did, but I found that the job was easy, it paid well, and other than long hours on my feet or the occasional drunk that decided he wasn’t going to be taking the fact that I just cut him off and asked him to leave, lightly… it was okay.

What I learned. I learned how to deal with the public. I learned how to handle awkward situations that I truly didn’t want to be in (asking drunks to leave was particularly horrifying at first).

Social Media Marketing Specialist

My degree was in marketing, and it was only natural that after I graduated I should seek employment in what was supposed to be my forte, right? I worked this job for just over two years, and besides the awful pay and thankless work, I did learn a lot. I also learned that even though my degree was in marketing, I didn’t necessarily want to spend my life in this sort of environment.

What I learned. I learned how to formulate a plan and execute it. I learned how to deal with corporate hierarchy with a smile on my face. I learned that the office environment certainly wasn’t for everyone, and it seems that I was part of that group that wasn’t really quite right for an office.

Massage Therapist

It sounded interesting. I’ve always been into natural and alternative medicine, so one day I answered a help wanted ad at a local massage parlor. I started out answering phones, but over the next few months, I was trained in the art of massage and I really started to love it. After the parlor I was working for closed down six months later, I had to buy my own body massage oil and massage table. Eventually, I moved my business into my apartment . But what can I say, I was hooked. It seems that I had finally found my calling, and it was something that I was not only good at, but really loved doing.

What I learned. I learned that your degree doesn’t define you, and it shouldn’t be something that confines you to a particular career path that you are unhappy with. I learned that even when dealing with adversity, sometimes you can make the best out of it. That’s exactly what happened to me. My place of employment went belly up, and I snagged as many clients as I could and started my own traveling (or in-home) massage business.

So, why am I back in school? Well, I love the art of massage, and I think my marketing degree can help me to promote myself and attract new clientele. I’ve truly found something I good at, and something that I love doing so I thought it might be best to take a few business classes to fill in the gaps between alternative medicine and modern marketing.

I thought it was important to share this story because I’m just one of many that has passions outside of my chosen degree. The overwhelming theme for most of us should be to seek out our passions, find what makes us tick, and then find a way to make that work for us. Take what you learn from life, whether it be jobs, schooling, or just socializing, and apply it to how you want your life to look in the future. You can’t go wrong when you find ways to get paid doing what you love.

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