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New business owners just aren’t giving themselves enough cushion for time and money and they end up feeling overwhelmed without a back-up plan.

7 Ways To Gradually Get Serious About Your Side Business

Did you know that most new businesses fail? It’s some staggering number like 80%.

In fact, many fail within the first 6  to 12 months, and many times, the reason the businesses fail is because of a lack of planning and a lack of time. New business owners just aren’t giving themselves enough cushion for time and money and they end up feeling overwhelmed without a back-up plan.

New business owners just aren’t giving themselves enough cushion for time and money and they end up feeling overwhelmed without a back-up plan.



Having a business plan before you start your business is something you should do.

You might read from a lot of bloggers that they just sort of started their business and it was magically successful. Wow, wouldn’t that be great. It’s not true and should be considered the exception and not the rule. Building a business from a blog is not magic.

Having a plan and creating your map to business success will not only take the guess work out of it for you, but it will also make it easier to see the future, plan for potential market changes, and understand where your customers are.

Knowing these things and making them part of the business plan will help you know what type of content you should be creating, how much income you can possibly make, and allow you to swerve when things don’t go your way.

Doing your research prior to establishing your business plan is just plain smart.


Chances are that when you started your blog, you had no idea what you were doing. So, as a result, you have old content and blog posts that don’t match your future business goals.

Don’t delete your old blog posts until you’ve attempted to repurpose them.

By repurposed , I mean using the same blog post (link and all), but redoing the content and graphics within it. You’ll keep the same URL and Link but will change the published date too. You can do this in your blog posts by editing this box on the right of your wordpress posts:

This type of reposing works well if the blog post is at least somewhat related to your future business.

As an example, let’s say you used to blog about your family recipes  and now you want to start a business for coaching other bloggers. You can take your old recipe posts (with a link that is something like  and redate and repurpose the content to be geared more towards coaching tips for foodbloggers. You would change up the graphics and the content so that it aligns with something your target audience (like food bloggers?) might be searching for.

It takes some creativity, but you’ll thank yourself for not deleting old blog posts so that your website and blog feels more established and your links don’t get broken.


Once you establish your business plan and website, you should establish and register a business name, track your income and your expenses, and pay your taxes .

This is key to any business and if you want to be legal and legit, you should make sure you do your proper research on what’s required in your state. It doesn’t cost very much and it’s a fairly easy process…  you’ve just got to dive in and do it.



If you want to see success in your business, establishing a cohesive brand that people engage with and understand is going to be key. You’ll want to create a brand and a brand experience.

Part of that is establishing your target audience, but it’s also about having a logo, creating a mood board, using consistent colors, imagery, having a brand story on your about page, a brand message , so on and so forth. There is quite a lot to it, but taking it one thing at a time will make it easier.



New businesses are often a one-person show, and if you’re lucky, you might have a partner that you can trust like a spouse or friend, but sometimes those don’t go all that well.

So, chances are you’re a solo business owner / entrepreneur. That’s all good, but you’re can’t really do it all, right?

What every solo entrepreneur needs to figure out is what they’re good at and what they’re not good at! If you’re not good at writing for your blog, you may want out source a lot of that, and perhaps to a virtual assistant.

Other items you may want outsourced are images for your marketing by hiring a photographer or subscribing to a stock photo service, like mine.

Nevertheless, figure out what you’re good at, what you have time and passion for, and then outsource the rest.



Starting an online business and being successful means spending money and investing in your business. It’s important to realize that consistently trying to look for all the free options out there is only going to be a distraction.

Do your research and purchase tools that are going to help you grow, and grow properly. It’s not going to help you grow a business if you keep bouncing from one free product or trial to another free product that only gets you halfway there.

If it helps, go ahead and focus on one item at a time.

For instance, if you think your target audience is on Instagram, go ahead and upgrade your plan by getting an Instagram scheduling tool, or outsource your photos, and start paying for those tools that are going to help you grow your business where your target audience is.

Figure out what tools you need to grow, that other successful business are using for success, and start investing in those tools. Established the areas that you need to grow in and know that the best tools are probably not free.

Even though they may not be free, they might also not be expensive. You can always read my recent blog post about some of the cheapest tools that have the biggest impact.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Facebook groups for small businesses and bloggers is the best!

Networking is a key to business and brick and mortar business owners do it all the time. However, they do it in person and blogging is an online experience. So, you have to find people online to network with. The good news is that your network just got a whole lot bigger than any brick and mortar business because the people you’re going to network within a Facebook group, in some type of a forum, or on social media are across the country or across the world.


Now that we’ve covered nine different ways you can gradually get serious about your side business, where are you going to start?




There are a number of misconceptions about blogging for money. Better to be aware of them upfront so you have a realistic picture of the journey.

6 Myths About Making Money Online

There are a number of misconceptions about blogging for money. Better to be aware of them upfront so you have a realistic picture of the journey.

Myth: Blogging is a good way to make money fast

A lot of people think blogging has quick monetary returns. For most of us, it absolutely does not. Most of the people I know who are making a great part-time income have been at it for at least a year. Anyone who is making a full-time income has been at it for years. If anyone tells you differently, be very skeptical.

There are a number of misconceptions about blogging for money. Better to be aware of them upfront so you have a realistic picture of the journey.

Myth: Once it’s live on the internet, people will find your blog

There are millions and millions of blogs online. Unless you win the internet lottery (not likely), there’s no way people will find you unless you tell them. Thus the importance of actively building relationships (see above).


Myth: Making money online isn’t legitimate

This is just simply untrue. There are sketchy people in any industry, but not only is online entrepreneurialism legitimate, it’s fast becoming a preferred way to do business because there’s low overhead and low risk.

Myth: Blogging for money doesn’t work

It’s true, a lot of bloggers don’t make money even after working toward that end. However, the reason is not because it doesn’t work. From what I’ve observed, it usually results from lack of motivation, lack of creativity or originality, lack of patience or lack of hustle. It’s a hard gig!


Myth: Blogging is for business types

This is what I thought when I first started blogging in 2007. I thought it was for men who could devote themselves full time to their blogging endeavor.

But then I met a lot of moms and regular people like me who were making impressive incomes.


Myth: The average person can’t really make money blogging

This is simply not true. Just like any business it requires hustle – a lot of hustle – but the internet has provided opportunities in business unlike any other time in history.

There’s a very low barrier to entry, the playing field is leveled, it costs next to nothing to get started and the overhead and risk are minimal. I know this to be true because I’ve done it myself and I’ve watched countless others do the same.




How can you possibly start a small business and be the entrepreneur of your dreams whilst keeping a day job? Well, with these five easy steps.

How To Start A Business Without Quitting Your Day Job

It seems like in the last couple of years start-ups and entrepreneurs are everywhere. Every new business was started by an amazing, inspirational go-getter who risked it all and made it to the big leagues seemingly overnight. But the truth of the matter is, most small business and start-ups fail in the first four years. It’s not the best idea to follow in the footsteps of those “risk everything – win big” game changers like Elon Musk and Richard Branson.

Sometimes it’s best to play it safe when you’re starting your side hustle. But how can you possibly start a small business and be the entrepreneur of your dreams whilst keeping a day job? Easy!

How can you possibly start a small business and be the entrepreneur of your dreams whilst keeping a day job? Well, with these five easy steps.

#1 – Schedule Like A Boss

There’s a reason why the first chapter in almost every entrepreneur’s how-to book is about organization and scheduling. If you’re not organized you’ll barely succeed at your day job let alone your side hustle.

You simply have to make a schedule and, most importantly, stick to it. Make sure you’re getting all of your day job work done while you’re there so you can set aside after hours and weekends for your start-up without burning out. If it means shortening your lunch break from an hour to 30 minutes, it’s worth it in the long run.

#2 – Separate Your Tasks Into “Done” and “Not Done”

Ever get panic attacks just thinking about your To-Do List? You’re not alone. But it’s time to face the music. Figure out what is on that list and then prioritize. Then schedule. Trust me, To-Do Lists aren’t a panic attack on paper! You’ll get a serious thrill in no time whenever you get to cross a task off the list.

#3 – Revisit Your Reasons

Getting burned out and exhausted from working at your day job and being an entrepreneur? Revisit why you started in the first place. If it’s not getting you motivated, maybe it’s time to rethink your side hustle. If it is, then make sure you don’t get burned out again by taking a quick break to give your mind a rest and doing something creative.

Put together a vision board that spells out your reasons for starting in photographs to keep you going. A picture tells a thousand words so make sure your vision board is telling you countless words of motivation, determination, and drive.

#4 – Start Small

You’re not going to be opening a department store in your first five years so remember to start small. Of course, keep those amazing dreams of success but don’t overextend yourself immediately. If you’re having to take out huge loans to get the thing off the ground then it’s probably not getting off to a good start.

Instead of opening a bricks and mortar store, start an online shop. Even better, start a Shopify online store which takes the hard work out of setting up an e-commerce site.

#5 – Keep Your Supporters Close And Your Inspirations Closer

Got a strong support network? Great! Lean on them when times are tough. I don’t mean getting them to bail you out but simply have a drink and unwind with them when you’re feeling stressed out to the eyeballs. Even better – educate yourself.




Starting a business will completely change your life. That sounds scary right? when we hear the word change, we associated it with negativity and even fear.

How To Overcome Fear and Start Your Business

Starting a business will completely change your life.

That sounds scary right? Does it not also sound amazing? For many of us, when we hear the word change, we automatically associate it with negativity and maybe even fear. Change is bad, it is out of our comfort zone.

But just think of all the amazing things that have come with change in your life. All the amazing experiences you would never have had and people you wouldn’t have met if you just kept doing what you were doing.

And let’s be honest. Let’s remember all the things that didn’t work out. You still learned from that right? You became a new person, the person you are today. It was hard but it wasn’t worthless.

When I walked out of my legal career and announced I was going into design most of my family smiled indulgently and waited for the madness to subside. I’m happy to say it never did.

And I’m a planner. I am a Rory Gilmore disciple of the pro/con list, so believe me when I tell you that making that decision was terrifying. Even now I have occasional days where I think someone should have shaken me really hard and sent me back to the office.

But on the whole, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

I wanted to write this post today because I see so many amazing women in Facebook groups and across social media who are on the edge. They just want to stick a toe in the water. They are just curious about what the best way to do X is because they are thinking about starting their own blog.

And there is nothing wrong with research and preparation friends. But at some point it’s got to stop. At some point you’ve just got to dive in with both feet and commit.

But I see that a lot of you aren’t. That you are wondering, dreaming, planning, taking webinar notes and never taking a big, real, step. This makes me sad.

Starting a business will completely change your life. That sounds scary right? when we hear the word change, we associated it with negativity and even fear.
So, let me address some of the excuses I told myself and why you should kick your doubt to the curb.

If you want to work through your fears in a practical and purposeful way then you can download the guide to follow along with us as we go through. 

Help, I don’t know what I’m doing (Fear of the Unknown)

One of the amazing things about online businesses is that there are business owners of all shapes, sizes and ages. However, many of us are coming from backgrounds that are totally unrelated, or very tenuously linked, to our new business venture.

Even if you are starting something in the niche you have come up with, the online space offers a lot of new challenges, new technology and new ways of working.

Starting a new job is always nerve wracking. When I started my first legal job I had four years of legal education under my belt. I was nervous but fairly confident I knew, roughly, what I was doing.

Fast forward to when I started my design business. I had no formal training when I first started; I later went on to complete several different courses, including finally being to dominate as well as gaining my marketing diplomas. However, I learnt as I went.

I didn’t do all the courses and training and then start up my biz. I learnt enough to get me started and then I learnt on the go.

And let me tell you now, there is no better and faster way to learn then when you have to learn. Learn on the job. If you wait until you feel totally comfortable then you will never start.

And here’s a secret guys. Uncomfortable is good. It drives you; it motivates you to do better and learn more. Being comfortable in business means that you are going to be left behind real quick. So don’t fear the panic, use the panic to make sure your business is the absolute best you can make it.


Help, I don’t know what I want to do (Fear of Yourself)

This is where you know you have to get away from the crazy office environment. You know you want to work for yourself but you don’t quite know what to do.

I have some good and bad news on this front.

The good news is that many, many entrepreneurs have been there. I know I have and I know many people, friends, mentors and idols that have all been down the same path.

The bad news is that, the only sure fire way of finding out whether something is for you, is to just do it. I know that sounds kind of difficult and very daunting but let me say, even if you find out that biz isn’t for you, your time won’t be wasted. I went through quite a few blogs before I realized what my calling was. But when I did find my niche, I had already learnt what works through trial and error, from page layout design, to the technical aspect of managing an email list.

Get a FREE copy of our complete guide on How to Rise up When You Want to Give Up. >> HERE


Help, I’m broke as @#!* (Fear of Finances)

As someone who used to work for a charity, dealing with debt and benefits, I am so aware of how important every penny is, especially when you don’t have any. In some ways I think having a strict budget can be really beneficial for your business. There is always the temptation when you’ve got a reasonable amount of cash behind you that, when you run into a problem, you just throw cash at it to get it fixed. Not having that money means you’ve got to work it out for yourself.

And that knowledge is priceless.

Can’t afford a programmer? Teach yourself to make it from scratch. Can’t afford a program to schedule social media? Get in close and personal and figure out how it all works and meet the people behind it.

It also means that when you do need to buy something. You absolutely know that you are getting the best possible deal out there.

So, that’s why it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a fear of finances.


Money is a practical consideration, so the answer here is some practical advice.

Make three lists.

Write down all the expenses that you need to get your blog up and running right now. So for example, your website hosting is probably going to be included. When I calculated my start up expenses I calculated them for the year. Because in my mind, if I could afford all of them for the year right now and pay it all up front, then I was secure for 12 months.

Now, if you want to go further, write down all the expenses that your blog doesn’t vitally need but will absolutely help it grow. For example, a monthly subscription to BoardBoost for your Pinterest marketing. Or a budget for Facebook advertising. I put all these things down for review at the three month mark. If I could generate enough traffic and interest in three months, then I would get a good idea that people were interested enough that it would make a good investment.

Finally, write down the income that you need to generate from your blog. How much do you need to generate before you can leave your job? How much do you need to cover all your living expenses? Of course, you are not going to start making that kind of money straight away but I always find it useful to have a goal to work towards. And when you meet that goal? Move the goal posts!

If you have downloaded the guide, then you can go through and complete the sections that we’ve already drawn up for you.

Also, it feels kind of needless to say because you are all wonderful, smart business ladies but…budget. The new dress, the little sale purchases, the bottle of wine, they can all wait. Hoard your money for your business.


Help, I am not good enough and people will think I’m a fraud (Fear of Failure)

Ever tried? Ever Failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.1 –Samuel Beckett

Let me tell you now, I don’t have any statistics, but I know that there is no one in this world that hasn’t failed at something. Those massive, intimating bloggers and companies? They have all failed.

The only difference between them and you is that fear of failure didn’t stop them trying. Failure itself didn’t stop them from trying again.

That there may be many people who know more than you about a topic, but you only need to know more about something than the person you are teaching. And that there is possibly one of the most inspiring bits of advice I’ve heard about online business in a long while.

For example, I know much less about computing than Bill Gates. I know much less about being a programmer than a computer science major. But that didn’t mean that I couldn’t teach my friend how to code an image into the sidebar of her blog. She didn’t accuse me of being a fraud; she just thanked me for showing her how to do it and brought me a glass wine.



The very purpose of Rising Women Network is to help and inspire wonderful business women. And I very much hope that after reading this today that you will feel inspired to go out and create your own brand of awesomeness that we can all benefit from.

If you need some help getting there here are a few posts you might find useful at the start of your business journey:

  1. How To Start A Profitable Business
  2. How to Easily Evaluate a Business Idea
  3. 5 Steps to Find Your Niche
  4. How to Pick the Perfect Name For Your Business?


Don’t forget to download your guide before you go! 


If you would like to hear more inspirational and thoughtful advice, be sure to get on the pre-launch list for our upcoming Members’ Club, a community to make friends and learn.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard for overcoming your fear? Share it below!




I prefer to be intentional with every post, have confidence that my feed is cohesive, and I don’t spend more than 5 minutes posting, on Instagram.

6 Resources to Make Your Instagram Workflow Faster

As a small business I am 100% responsible for writing content, snapping pics, scheduling posts, and posting to our growing and profitable Instagram account, I cannot express the importance of using systems to make ALL of that a whole lot easier.

You know the feeling I’m trying to avoid!

That second you realize, “OMG, I should post something!” you run into a fury of finding or taking the perfect image, deciding what the heck to say, what hashtags to go with it, and asking yourself if right now is the right time to post for your audience members around the world. Thirty minutes later you miiiigght have something posted and you can actually, finally let out that breath.

I get it – sometimes those things are unavoidable, but I try to limit that frenzy feeling as much as I possibly can with my systems and workflow.

I prefer to be intentional with every post, have confidence that my feed is cohesive, and I don’t really like to spend more than 5 minutes posting, every single time I go on Instagram. So, how do I manage that?

By using apps, tools and workflows that makes my live easier. And, guess what?

I’ve compiled them all together along with an explanation of exactly how I use them for my own posting process.


So let’s get started!

I prefer to be intentional with every post, have confidence that my feed is cohesive, and I don’t spend more than 5 minutes posting, on Instagram.

In this episode I’m discussing 6 Resources to Make Your Instagram Workflow Faster.

When you begin to put systems in place for your Instagram workflow, you’re able to craft a better feed in far less time.

You won’t break out in hives the next time you need to post, and you won’t resent the platform for simply existing (without your success on it).

Download the 6 Resources to Make Your Instagram Workflow Faster Checklist here >>


Later to Plan – A really cool feature in Later is the ability to preview your feed. I do this right before I’m about to shoot and prep new content so I can get inspired by what my feed needs and to make sure I don’t repeat similar shots.

Google Drive – A great place to sit down and batch your writing is inside Google Drive using their Docs app. It’s great because you can access it on your desktop and smartphone so you can always tweak something on the road. One of our favorite ways to get batch writing down is by opening Google Docs on our phone in the car. Whenever you can give some undistracted time to work on your writing you’ll be able to curate an engaged description fit for your growing audience!


PicTapGo – In case you haven’t heard, PicTapGo is by far our favorite editing tool. In fact, it’s the only we use and recommend. By using an app that gives you true to life and consistent edits of your images you’re able to curate a feed that’s brand and cohesive which is one of the factors in getting noticed by influencers and your audience!


Dropbox – Once we’ve got our images edited and ready to go we upload them into our Dropbox. We’ve got a folder specifically for Instagram images so they’re easy to find later on. Having them in Dropbox allows us to access them from multiple devices so we’re not scrambling on-the-go to find that picture hidden on our desktop.


Hashtag Text Replacement – One of the biggest time sucks of posting on Instagram is writing out your hashtags over and over. If you’re like us and using 15-20 hashtags at one time this task can be truly annoying. This is a secret we learned from one of our tribe members and we can’t wait to let you in on it. Type all your hashtags as a “text replacement” in your keyboard settings on your smartphone.


Wordswag – We love using Word Swag (available in the app store) to make graphics for quotes, sayings, promotions, etc. They’ve got plenty of backgrounds for you to choose from or you can even upload your own image. Using quotes on Instagram is a unique way to engage, inspire or uplift your audience

If you’re not a subscriber and found this video valuable than make sure you sign up and I will see up next week for our next Rising Masterclass.





We know some of you want to know how to survive working in a male dominated field – it’s all about your mindset! Here are five tips to help you.

5 Ways To Succeed In A Male-Dominated Industry

It’s easy to think in terms of gender, but to do a great job it’s all about adapting and working smarter. It’d be nice to say that working with lots of guys is no different to working with girls, but it usually is. We know some of you want to know how to survive working in a male dominated field – it’s all about your mindset!

We know some of you want to know how to survive working in a male dominated field – it’s all about your mindset! Here are five tips to help you.

1. Know your worth

Embrace that you’re a woman and that you’re wired differently. Don’t allow yourself to feel inferior.

Play up to your strengths, when your boss is asking your opinion about how the intern is doing or asking you for ideas on decorating the office Christmas tree, use what you know.

2. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated 

You might feel a little awkward during the first few days but what you can do is be friendly and be competent at your job. If you can complete a task in less time and with minimal resources, do it. If you have some added knowledge to will contribute to the project, share it. Don’t hold back.

 Get a FREE copy of our complete guide on How to Rise up When You Want to Give Up. >> HERE 

3. Cultivate your confidence

Approach things with confidence and you’ll notice that you will gain respect from your male co-workers. You are part of the team and hired for a reason, so don’t shy away from giving ideas or hanging out with your colleagues for after-work drinks.

  1. Say no when you need to 

Don’t be a “yes” woman just because you want to be seen as a good employee. While it is important to be proactive and hardworking, knowing when to say “no” is essential. It’s important to take charge of projects and sometimes you might have to work overtime to complete a deadline, but knowing your limits and being confident to say no will put you in good stead for the future.

You can be pretty sure that they guys in your office say no – and you should too!

5. Don’t take things personally

There are gonna be times when silly jokes may erupt in the office or a male colleague might cut you off while you’re speaking. Watch this behavior, if he does it to everyone, you need to figure out how to deal with him, if it just happens to you – it’s another issue entirely, and one you should feel comfortable bringing up with your superiors, or speaking to him directly about!

Another point to consider in a male dominated industry is that some men tend to be direct and straightforward. Learn to tell the difference between constructive criticism and a snide remark.



The design of a website or advertisement impacts our initial impression of a business.In this episode I’m discussing the 5 common branding mistakes to avoid

5 Common Branding Mistakes To Avoid

Without consciously acknowledging it, the design of a website, business card or advertisement impacts our initial impression of a business.

For instance, when searching for a new dentist in my area, I subconsciously ruled out those dentists whose sites seemed very dated, or had poor functionality. This proves that industry-wide, the visual identity of your brand is significant.

In this episode I’m discussing the 5 common branding mistakes to avoid.



When it comes to your business, here are a few pitfalls you can easily avoid, in order to make your brand identity as quality as your business is!


One major mistake businesses make regarding branding, is undervaluing the impact of a quality brand identity. I am always shocked when businesses request design services such as a website, PDF worksheets/flyers, or any other promotional piece, when they do not have a brand identity established yet. I understand cutting costs when starting your business, however there is no way around producing marketing materials without a brand identity. Even if you only have a website, you still are required to establish a look + feel. What colors evoke your brand? What typefaces speak to your audience? Photography style? You get the gist. It is necessary and actually such a fun way to see your vision come to light.


There are several sites that offer logos as cheap as $50. While this may seem like a great way to save money up front, I urge you… don’t do it! You will be guaranteed to end up with a logo that does not reflect your vision, value or quality you deserve. Also, you are most likely going to replace this cheap logo down the road, so really you are spending more money by having to hire this service twice. You deserve quality, and it is best to establish a cohesive brand up front.


I totally understand wanting to have control over every aspect of your business, however it is best to stick with what you do best. Whether that is photography, event planning or creating products, you should spend your energy there. This is hired out  photography for my. Sure I could have tried to take some photos, however I know what skill sets I am best at, so I chose to let the professionals do what they do best.

Though you may know your way around Photoshop, brand identity designers are better suited to reflect your business in the best way possible. This will save you loads of time and grief.


If you are constantly revising your brand identity drastically, it is most likely due to the desire to conform to design trends. You want to build a timeless brand, rather than one that constantly shifts. Through sticking with one brand identity, you build a cohesive brand, that in turn reflects immediate recognition and trust among your followers and advocates.


Though you may feel overwhelmed with the growth you are seeing in your business, I urge you to not take the brand identity process lightly. Take time to invest in defining the vision behind your brand, and discover your business purpose. These details help your designer truly reflect your business, so that you are left with a brand that just fits you perfectly! By taking the time up front, you are less likely to re-brand in the future, or to despise your current brand.

If you went with a cheap logo option, as mentioned above, you as well as the designer most likely did not take the time to invest in your brand. You want to avoid being left with a brand identity that you’re embarrassed of, or feel doesn’t reflect your vision.


The best way to avoid these common mistakes in your brand is to invest the time up front. Try to understand what makes your business unique, as well as define your purpose. Once you have a good grasp of your vision, hire a quality designer to give a face to your brand, and help build a cohesive design. If you would like to work with me for your brand identity and needs, I have several options to help you get the ball rolling!




Some are simply born to be networkers; others see it as a chore. But networking, scary as it may sound, is simply a fancy word for meeting new people.

4 Habits of Highly Effective Networkers

Some are simply born to be networkers; others see it as a chore. But networking, scary as it may sound, is simply a fancy word for meeting new people. Conferences, cocktail parties, the office kitchen, and even airport lounges are all fair game for finding that captive audience to help with your next career move.

With a little practice, anyone can become a seasoned pro at rubbing elbows.

Some are simply born to be networkers; others see it as a chore. But networking, scary as it may sound, is simply a fancy word for meeting new people.

Habit 1: Make the most of travel time.

Most people cringe at making small talk on an airplane, but it is a great place for organic networking. I once sat next to a recruiter for a five-hour flight and left with a job offer!

Whether it be a train, plane, or an airport lounge, don’t dress down—it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t usually cross paths with.

Habit 2: Learn how to work a room.

I try to pick one to three people and make sure I know what they look like, and something about their recent work. If it’s a relationship I’m seeking, it’s better to think about what I can offer them. I’m a big fan of suggesting an email, book, or website for people—the more off-the-beaten track, the better.

I try to not have ‘event FOMO’ (fear of missing out) and instead try to have interesting conversations with whoever ends up near me. These serendipitous encounters usually lead to opportunities!

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Habit 3: Don’t underestimate the power of the follow-up.

“I find it difficult to carry around tons of business cards. I will usually email the person right when I meet them so they have my information. I find that if a person really wants to connect with you, they will email you back and set up a time to meet.

Follow the person on Twitter or LinkedIn, and give them a shout-out for the interesting conversation.

Habit 4: Seek connections at all levels.

“The most successful networking relationships are with those who are at your own or a similar level. Make authentic relationships—honestly, it looks more like friendships—with people. Go into any networking situation with the approach that this person will be a friend, rather than someone to check off a list.

Do not assume that you shouldn’t speak to someone because they don’t have a top-notch position or are at a company you have never heard of. Networking is about keeping an open mind and heart.



Financing a very young startup business can be a challenge. One of the things lenders consider when a business applies for a loan is its track record.

How to Make Your New Business Attractive to Lenders

Financing a very young startup business can be a challenge. One of the things lenders consider when a business applies for a loan is its track record—usually the longer the track record, the better.

Typically, traditional lenders like to see several years in business, so if your business is only one or two years old, it might be difficult to get a small business loan at the local bank or credit union. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but as a business owner, you’ll probably need a personal credit profile beyond reproach.

Most online lenders will work with a business with a year under its belt, but they’re not as likely to work with an early- or idea-stage startup. If the business is doing $100,000 in annual revenues and other business metrics are in place, an online lender could be a good choice for a small business loan.

The SBA can be an option for early-stage businesses, provided the owner has a good personal credit profile, and (for many SBA products) has collateral and can demonstrate the ability to make the periodic payments. Plus, the SBA will likely want to see that the business owner has made an investment in the new business. In other words, they want to see some skin in the game.

Financing a very young startup business can be a challenge. One of the things lenders consider when a business applies for a loan is its track record.

No Revenue and No Cash Flow Make Borrowing Difficult

Even those lenders who are willing to work with younger business, including the SBA and many online lenders, will want evidence that the business has the ability to repay a loan.

Unlike an investor who may be willing to wait for some kind of liquidity event (like the sale of the business or a public offering) that they anticipate will give them a substantial profit, lenders earn their profits through the periodic payments. In other words, lenders aren’t really investing in your business; they’re making a business decision based on your ability to make loan payments.

This is true regardless of how old your business may be. Demonstrating the ability to make the periodic payments is a central part of qualifying for a loan.

Money Isn’t Always the Answer

A popular myth today is that all a business needs is money to be successful. Yes, it’s true, it often takes money to make money, but an influx of cash doesn’t guarantee business success.

What’s more, there are many very well capitalized businesses that still tend to struggle—as demonstrated by all the venture-backed companies that never meet their growth objectives despite the millions of dollars invested in them.

Nevertheless, there are ways for very young businesses to access capital. Crowd funding is one example where a business’ credit profile, time in business, and annual revenue are less important than the idea or product the entrepreneur is pitching.

There are, however, other things a business owner can focus on in the first few years that could be time and energy well spent. While they might not guarantee a loan, they will likely create more options and improve the odds of success.

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Tips for Improving Your Credit

Become familiar with your business credit profile. According to Levi King, CEO and co-founder of  Nav, the biggest misconception business owners have about business credit is,

They don’t realize they have a business credit profile.

What’s more, this might sound like an oversimplification, but according to a recent survey conducted by Nav, those business owners who regularly monitored their credit profiles were 41 percent more likely to be approved when applying for a small business loan.

I think it’s human nature to make a difference in the places where you’re really paying attention. Basically, attention drives behavior, said King.

Spending the first year or two becoming familiar with your business credit and taking steps to build a strong profile can make a big difference a year or two down the road.

Take advantage of trade credit relationship. Most vendors and suppliers offer payment terms, or trade credit, to their good customers. This might not be a small business loan, but building one or two new trade credit relationships can be a powerful way to build a strong business credit history.

Once you open the doors, start looking for places where you can establish business credit accounts rather than relying on your personal credit.

New businesses might equal lower [business credit] scores, but the average small business owner is creating 1-1/2 trade credit relationships each year and using small loans to build their credit profiles over the first few years, ultimately indicating to us that many of these businesses are great borrowers, said Peter Bolin, Experian Director of Consulting and Analytics.

Fortunately, this type of credit is relatively easy to get when compared to a traditional small business loan. And, if your vendors report your good credit behavior to the business credit bureaus (this is important enough to ask about), it will help you establish a business credit history and build a strong business credit profile.

Apply for a business credit card. One of the most important steps you can take to build a strong business credit profile is to stop using your personal credit for business expenses.

In addition to establishing trade credit relationships, a business credit card could be a good first step to building your business credit profile. Using your personal credit doesn’t do anything to build your business credit profile. Make sure the card you apply for reports to the business credit bureaus because some don’t.

Apply for a business credit card and make sure you make those payments on time. This will dramatically increase the depth of your credit report so when you do need that $100,000 from the bank or another lender, you’ll be likely to get approved. Additionally, don’t use your personal credit for business expenses. Take the time to establish a strong business credit profile. Consider it an investment in the future of your business, says Bolin.


The age of your business can make a difference for young businesses trying to access business credit, particularly those under a year old, but there are things you can start doing today that will improve the odds as the business passes the one or two year mark.

Focusing on establishing a business credit profile and demonstrating that your business can manage credit is an important first step to accessing the capital you need to grow your business.




Summer Branding Boot-Camp

Four-part Summer Branding Series

Are you searching for your business identity? Are you unclear what branding really is but think you’re ready for it? Have you dipped your toe into branding and gotten scared and never returned?

Are you a seasoned pro-brander looking for a refresh or to continue in your branding evolution?

Then our summer branding series is for you! All of you! Limited to 12 participants, we’ll address the basics of branding, delve deeper into how to express your message and attract your ideal clients through your branding, and then finish strong learning about creating a business card that will get admired, then kept. Forever. Jump in for whatever session you want or maximize your potential and attend all three. These sessions are priced considerably below market value in our continual quest to serve our members.

Click on the picture to register for the workshop:

Brand Identity:Why Branding is more than Your Logo. The word branding is everywhere these days. But do you know what it really means?         Branding Essentials: Identifying who you are, what inspires you, who you seek and how to use this information to leverage business.


Social branding can increase your brand awareness and brand loyalty. It's about branding your social media in a consistent style people instantly recognize.         This is the final session we learn to design an unforgettable business card that captures our ideal clients or customers in a way they won’t forget us!