February Favorites

Whoa, folks, it’s the end of February AND it’s Leap Day!

And you wanna know something? I have barely read ANY business articles all month. Instead I’ve found myself captivated by two books:  Just My Type by Simon Garfield and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I am almost done with Madame Bovary, which means I will promptly return to Just My Type, like by tomorrow, but I found myself craving literature and books, not magazines, and most definitely not web articles about business and other people’s businesses.

So where does that leave the monthly article round up?

Well, I do have an article to share.  Actually, I have two!

Michelle, the When I Grow Up Coach, is awesome. I have seen her in-action and watched her heart breaking, but hopeful boob cancer ukelele video to announce her diagnosis of breast cancer. She is one of my favorite people in this crazy big bubble of entrepreneurship and on February 2nd she shared this gem of an article from Jacob Crawley, The Beer Tool Man. His philosophy on “perfect” I need to stick on a wall to remember every day.  http://whenigrowupcoach.com/2012/02/02/perfection-the-unknown-and-taking-the-first-step-along-with-a-great-giveaway/

I came across “The Better Man Project” a few weeks ago thanks to his coming across my blog and well, what he wrote about that particular day that he liked my posting resonated. I’m not one to really follow blogs and I’m quite selective about which I chose to read-there is a lot out there and it’s easy to become swamped and unproductive by reading everything on the internet- but I started following Evan’s blog and I’m glad I did. Last weekend I had a lot of time to reflect and then I read one of Evan’s posts about courage and facing fear head on and well, I think that’s a great way to add and end this month’s article round up. The reality is it takes courage not to follow everyone else. http://thebettermanprojects.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/day-161-courage-ii/

I won’t promise that next month I’ll have more than two articles for you-who knows what classic novel I may find myself reading!- but I do have a new Inc Magazine waiting to be opened and so you may just some articles. We’ll see.


September Favorites

September ends today. October, well, I’m not quite ready for you, yet. But I’m excited that Fall is here and that pumpkins and squashes are making an appearance. I’m also really excited for what the remaining three months of the year mean for me, personally, and S2 Stationery and Design.

This month, I start out with a great article from the Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” issue. The article is actually an interview with Anne Sweeney from Disney. She starts off by answering the question, “How do you define power and influence?” with, “I look at power and influence differently. I look at power as the ability to get people motivated and to get them to do things that maybe they don’t think are important but, in the end, are in pursuit of something greater than themselves. But influence, as distinct from power, is really something quite different. To have influence, you really don’t need to have power. But what you need more than anything else is to have that almost uncanny understanding of what matters to people.”  That pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the article. I think her answer is great and I agree with her 115%! Power and influence are two very different things. I’d rather have influence than power any day.  Read on here:  http://www.forbes.com/2011/08/30/powerful-women-interview-disney-ann-sweeney-moira-forbes.html


I’ve mentioned Sherry Ott before on this blog. She’s an inspiration! She is a freelancer, photographer, blog and travel writer, adventurer, do-gooder, and many, many other things. On the last day of August, she posted the following article about Career Breaks and I loved it so much, I have to share. I am eyeing a career break at some point in my future. Whenever I’m down about not being able to take a break now, I look at this article and feel renewed with hope about when I do take it. Life is amazing and we get from it what we want and by what we give: http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/how-a-career-break-changed-my-life/

Chris Guillebeau strikes again! This article is BOMB.COM. Seriously. I want to share this article with everyone. Even more importantly, I want to print copies of it and give it to people on the streets, I want to turn it into a Christmas card (hmmm..maybe I will!) You’ll have to read to find out why, but the premise is simple and while he’s speaking about writing, it is easy to adopt for whatever is your passion/art. Enjoy!  http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/how-to-write-300000-words-in-1-year/


I really enjoyed this article! It’s a great read on the men (yes, they’re all men) who are well-known in history for being sharp, successful, and victorious when it mattered most (history dictates this). I especially love that the author, Paul Johnson, points to learning from history (something I wholeheartedly believe in) and to having a vast network of people to learn from as tools for success.  http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0822/opinions-paul-johnson-current-events-lessons-from-great.html

What is an entrepreneur? I like Craig Dwyer’s answer: “Two words: action people” in the article “Our Startup Summit With Michael Dell” in an August issue of Forbes Magazine (I know, I read a lot of issues of Forbes this month!).  I think the open communication approach between Michael Dell and this young group of entrepreneurs is insightful and inspiring. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0822/best-colleges-11-dell-noer-hamilton-dwyer-fu-startup-summit.html


I think this article is extremely important. Why? Because I’ve learned recently that being happy matters. Not just for your personal life, but for your work life. After all, many of us spend 8+ hours a day in offices, so we should be happy about that time. When we’re not, it’s often a sign that we need to move on and in a new direction. This article just confirms it, but I think it shows more of what is necessary for companies with unhappy employees than employees themselves. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/opinion/sunday/do-happier-people-work-harder.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

What do companies that have the happiest employees have? They have great working environments! This article on Harvard Business Review does a great job of pointing out the 12 attributes of a great working place. I realize that a lot of companies aren’t going to go this road, especially if they are steeped in “old” ways, which is why it’s so important that entrepreneurs and individuals opening small businesses that they hope to expand in the future, take heed and figure these details out at the very beginning: http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2011/09/the-twelve-attributes-of-a-tru.html


I put this one under words because it has a lot to do with the language we use and how it affects our thoughts and actions. http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/this-time-its-different/

Following up on the post by Chris is this post on American Express Open Forum. Talk about the power of words! I think you should all read this and adopt the practice in everyday life. I know I definitely have used these words when I meant to have more action behind them and I know I need to stop. Good luck changing your tone and creating action! http://www.openforum.com/articles/the-power-of-language-5-wicked-words-that-are-sabotaging-your-success?extlink=em-openf-SBdaily


What is an “a-ha!” moment? I know I’ve had one, maybe even a few. The one that broke everything has me in my current position – as an entrepreneur, business owner, stationer, designer and artist. Yep. Incredible isn’t it? I think my experience was a bit different and my “a-ha” moment was definitely a dream, but I think that I was open to the three ways that the author suggests in this article. Be curious and open, that’s my take! http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-get-insights-and-why-its-important-that-you-do?extlink=sm-openforum-tw

Speaking of “a-ha” moments, the October issue of O Magazine is about changing old patterns and finding breakthroughs to make your goal and dreams  a reality. The first article that definitely inspired me was the list of 15 people who O Magazine has been wowed by and has labeled them “Thinkers, Dreamers and Doers”. Maybe it’s because I see all three of those in me. Regardless I hope they inspire you, too. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-2011-O-Wow-List

The second article from the October issue that I think is worth reading is titled, “How to Spark a Breakthrough”. It’s 9 tips to help. I’ve earmarked the pages in the magazine to review them time and time again, but also to share with friends of my own who are stuck and unsure. This IS a must read and I’m including it in the September issue of my favorite articles from the month because you shouldn’t wait to be inspired.  Get going! http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Making-Your-Ideas-a-Reality-Whats-Holding-You-Back


I read this article this morning on the bus (9/21/11) and got REALLY excited. It’s not that amazing of an article, but I really like it’s points and I think they’re helpful to the small business owner who is still scratching their head about social media. The Forbes site for the article isn’t that friendly and I was a bit confused by the layout, but just click to be taken to the second, third, etc pages and you’ll see the five points the author is making. You’ll be glad you did, even if you’re whispering under your breath how Forbes.com should get a better web design/layout. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0926/entrepreneurs-social-media-myths-expert-rodriguez.html


I love DailyWorth! They give some great concrete tips and I love that they are open to sharing money stories between women. It is important that women  talk money and talk about it honestly, so I’m glad that they are building a community of sharers and of action.  This post on the other hand is more about helping you find ways to make your business aspirations happen. Quirky, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are all platforms I’ve heard of recently and I’m excited that they help entrepreneurs and artists make things happen. Check out the DailyWorth posting and the sites after. http://dailyworth.com/posts/909-Monetizing-Your-Big-Ideas

Ah, Steve Jobs. His leaving Apple has left a lot of speculation and a lot of people wondering what is next for the company. I’ll have to say that I’m not sure what to expect from Apple in the coming months. I hope that the legacy of Steve Jobs does continue to push the company in a creative and innovative direction, but I, too, am wondering what the future holds for a company I regard highly.  While this article is about Steve Jobs, it is also about the role of the creator and founder of a company, which is why I’m marking it as a top article for the month. Yes, I believe that serial entrepreneurs should walk away from projects as they both grow, but maybe that’s also a sign that the time for that company and idea have ended and maybe it’s time to move on completely rather than bring in a new CEO? Not sure. I just know I’m glad I’ve got a small business that I hope grows, but never at the expense of its founder and/or future employees. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/09/steve-jobss-law-why-founders-make-better-leaders/244439/


For every good thing I said above about Forbes Magazine, I have one article that I read and it really made me mad – Drilling Into Eden. It’s about Chevron drilling off of Barrow Island off of Australia. They claim to be taking all the precautionary measures, but forgive me if I don’t believe them or any BIG OIL company. At the end of the day, they want money and nothing is going to stop these companies from going after it, even if it is the possibility that an entire ecosystem could die thanks to their greed. However, I’ll let you read the article and make your own decision. Just know that we have a responsibility to this planet NOW, not later when the damage is done.  http://www.forbes.com/global/2011/0912/barrow-island-drilling-into-eden.html

There you have it-September in a nutshell! I wish you the very best and most awesome October. Trick and Treat your loved ones and get ready for an awesome fall!

Until next month, be inspired and do great things!

June Favorites

“My dad’s advice was very helpful: Be good at something. Add value to that. Don’t get distracted.” – Scott Malkin, Forbes Magazine.

This past month, I read a lot. I wish I could say I read more personal interest books, but I did not. Instead, I read both the May 23rd issue of Forbes Magazine and the June issue of Inc. Magazine from cover to cover and a ton of blog postings (see below).  Under the Success category, I discuss the article in Forbes that roped me in: ” Like Father, Like Child: Is Entrepreneurial Success Inherited.” As I continued to read the magazine I became more and more enthralled with families of entrepreneurs and I discovered that my streak comes from my dad. I think. It makes sense. He opened his own trucking company and was successful until he got ill.

I followed that read up with Inc’s June issue which boldly states, “How To Be An Extraordinary Leader.” I recommend that you read the entire issue if you can get your hands on it. If you can’t, you can read the articles online. I highly recommend the cover article:  “Core Values of the Top Small Company Workplaces.”  I know as I start to develop my long-term business plans, the first thing is the core values of S2 Stationery and Design. After all, the values that I’ve kept to myself so far, are the reasons behind me moving in the direction I have followed and continue to follow.

With that, I leave you with the rest of my suggested reads for June.  Enjoy!


I really should just have a section that is dedicated to Chris’s articles because I post at least two every month. Here is the first one. He’s talking about his World Domination Summit that I chose NOT to attend because I thought I was going to Japan (oh Universe, how unfair you can be sometimes!), but I’m excited to see how it goes for him and everyone else who attends and maybe I can go next year? We’ll see. Maybe I should schedule it now. Alas, my favorite part is his comment at the end: “Whatever your own venture / adventure is, don’t hold back! Don’t wait until you’re completely certain. It usually works out in the end.” That’s exactly how I feel!

Now, read Sherry’s take on the event. I love that she wrote her favorite statements down. That’s something I’d do, too. Also, most of them are great. So great, I printed a copy of the article to have in my journal/planner. http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/finding-inspiration-in-others/

EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS ARTICLE! I know I’ve fallen into this trap in my younger days, but not anymore. Now I can accept when I should step out of the trap and I do so happily. I know so many people who could benefit from doing the same thing. http://zenhabits.net/trap/


THIS is an argument I’ve heard a lot about in the crafting community. I’ll write a posting about it another day, but for now, I think it’s really important to think about copying and theft of art and what it means for the art world and the artist. http://www.scoutiegirl.com/2011/06/bad-artists-copy-great-artists-steal.html


I mentioned Sherry Ott two months ago, I believe, and she’s back on this month’s list thanks to a SPECTACULAR article about your personal tipping point. I read it and completely understood where she was coming from and appreciated her experience and how it will inspire my experience. Good stuff! http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/the-career-break-tipping-point/


I finished my Forbes Magazine dated May 23rd and loved it! There is this great article about entrepreneurial success highlighting Ralph Lauren and Dylan Lauren called, “Like Father, Like Child: Is Entrepreneurial Success Inherited,” but then continues in sharing father/son and father/daughter accounts of entrepreneurship. It’s a great read! It also made me wonder about my own entrepreneurship. My Dad started his own company after years of working as a dispatcher for a trucking company and this was years after working as a bus and truck driver. He drove constantly and to the point of unhealthiness, but he did not like working for anyone, listening to anyone’s rules and restrictions, and thrived on being his own boss. Years later, I find myself in the same shoes. So maybe entrepreneurship is genetic after all? Or maybe it’s just learned behavior, but we learn to take and enjoy the risks, from the people who create our foundation, after all. Makes total sense.

I ask for feedback. I rarely ever ask for validation. This is an important article to read if you always feel the need to ask for other’s opinions about things. Yes, it’s a good idea to see how other people can help, but it’s always more important to follow with your own feelings and thoughts. It is your life after all. http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/an-important-thing-no-one-will-tell-you/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=1bO25YlBksnt7W

I hate having too many choices. Ms. Megan sums it up quite nicely here on what it takes to be a successful sales person and offer choices. http://www.craftmba.com/2011/06/09/the-paradox-of-choice-and-the-powers-of-mind-control/

This article can also fit below in Business Development, but I’ve chosen Success instead, because collaboration is key especially when you’re building yourself and your company.  http://mashable.com/2011/06/23/small-business-collaboration-economy/


I’m so glad Megan wrote this article! Here I am expanding and creating lines with all of these questions in my mind. I realize I’m a bit different as I’ve never had collections to expand upon before, but it was nice to read that I was headed in the right direction after all. http://www.craftmba.com/2011/06/08/5-questions-to-ask-when-expanding-your-product-line/

This is a long article, but I had a conversation on this topic last night. At the end, I was told by a fellow documentary loving woman, “stay idealistic.” Lets hope I do. I hope you make the right choice for your business, too! http://www.jonathanfields.com/blog/build-company-sell/


If you’re ever on the market for rubber stamps and what to do with them, check out this list courtesy of Paper Source. Some great ideas here! http://www.paper-source.com/cgi-bin/paper/howto/rubber-stamping-recipes.html


Very good article about using Twitter, which I recently signed up to use and am loving! http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-ways-to-monitor-your-brand-on-twitter?utm_source=The+Mogul+Mom+Subscribers&utm_campaign=f6ce762634-6_Ways_To_Monitor_Your_Brand_On_Twitter6_20_2011&utm_medium=email


Another amazing article from Ms. Tara Gentile from Scoutie Girl about the whys behind using social media. It’s a good read and one I encourage everyone who spends time and effort developing and cultivating a social media presence and plan to look into.  http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/06/why-are-you-using-social-media/?utm_source=The+Mogul+Mom+Subscribers&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=13570fef9d-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN


I most definitely found my passion, when I wasn’t expecting it. Which I think is how things tend to happen, but in the case that you are trying to find it, you may want to read this article. http://zenhabits.net/the-short-but-powerful-guide-to-finding-your-passion/?utm_source=The+Mogul+Mom+Subscribers&utm_campaign=c31e38442d-Cash_In_On_Yo_Passion6_10_2011&utm_medium=email

Not a recent grad, but this article rings true for anyone of any age seeking for their next steps. http://www.openforum.com/articles/for-recent-graduates-many-paths-to-a-career?extlink=sm-openforum-tw

I am putting this under passion because I think what Sherry is getting at is the pros and cons to following your passion and dreams. Yes, there are success stories, but as a good friend told me the other day, it takes a truly special person to really follow your dreams and make things happen. I also add this posting in this section because I really believe that Sherry hits upon areas that sum up how I feel as well. http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/blogging-i-love-it-and-hate-it/

Following the same thread as above, here’s an article about what to do once you’ve found YOUR passion: http://zenhabits.net/passionguide/?utm_source=The+Mogul+Mom+Subscribers&utm_campaign=c31e38442d-Cash_In_On_Yo_Passion6_10_2011&utm_medium=email

That’s all for June. See you in July! Oh and have a happy and safe Independence Day weekend!






May Favorites

Hi Readers!

This post was meant to go out yesterday, but in the flurry of, “WHAT?! It’s already May 31st?!” and my cousin graduating high school, I got a bit behind. Regardless, May was a doozy and you’ll soon find out! I can honestly say that all the printing, cutting (I don’t have cuts on my hands to show how much I’ve been cutting, but I did grow tired of the cutting machine soon after beginning), I am seeing the fruit of my labor.

Between Sunday and Monday morning/afternoon/evenings I found myself wrapping some stationery product in the wrappers I’ve created and sealing with my new labels. All I can say is that it was/is one of the most gratifying and exciting feelings EVER! Well, one of them.  See, I often feel this way after completing a customized stationery order. The difference here is that these products haven’t been tested. I’m taking a risk and accepting my love for them and hoping that people, especially people who attend the concerts at Celebrate Brooklyn!, will love them, too, or at the very least like them a bit more than just like and a little less under love (I think that’s a happy medium!), to buy them.

Anyhow, in the mix that was, and still is Celebrate Brooklyn! production and completion (I have less than a week! Eeps!), I have done some great reading and the links are all below. There should be more, but I’m running a bit behind on my reading schedule and so c’est la vie, until I change that. Until then, enjoy the following. Oh and happy June!


I LOVE to knit! I’m currently knitting right now. I think this is a great idea for anyone who knits and loves to throw parties. Fun, fun! http://www.designspongeonline.com/2011/03/hunt-gather-and-host-a-knitting-party.html

I LOVE this idea! What if I made you a recycled newspaper scarf (there goes that knitting again!)? http://greenupgrader.com/2138/handspun-recycled-newspaper-yarn/


Funny isn’t it how when you’re feeling a certain way things have a knack for finding you. Or better yet, the way you feel brings you the things you need the most? This section is all about dealing with what I experienced earlier this month. I didn’t feel like a failure as much as things aren’t happening as fast as I want them. Alas, I got things under control and reigned in my emotions, but the day I decided to man up, I read these articles and was wowed at how timely they were.

I don’t know that I suffer from these three obstacles, but I can see how anyone can and it’s important to know that there are out there and that you can stop them. http://handmadesuccess.com/2011/05/the-three-obstacles-in-your-way-to-success/

I need to print this and carry it around with me always. Some great tips! http://zenhabits.net/small-scale/

ANY article that starts off with, “Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be—and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway.” has my vote from the beginning. My other favorite, “Fear saps passion.” Don’t let it sap yours! Keep reading!  http://the99percent.com/tips/7017/Overcome-Resistance-and-Get-Out-of-Your-Own-Way

I am a loyalist to Chris’s thoughts and philosophies. Maybe because they are like mine. Either way, this article is for everyone struggling like me to get out of bed and do a job that you’re not so passionate about. http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/the-good-job/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=1gDDRXsrPsnt7W

This article is SO SPOT ON! READ IT! http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/redefining-risk/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=1gFN.uLhPsnt7W

Practice, Practice, Practice and wake up loving it! http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/rain-running/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=1fnpF3zDjsnt7W

This one goes under success because it’s about how we place value on what we’re selling. Very important. http://www.craftmba.com/2011/05/25/what-are-you-really-selling/#comment-28538

Megan is just spot on. Really, I just just make my monthly favorite’s a dedicated spot for Megan because I post a lot of her articles. This one is just as true as the above. As someone who is in the “stationery/paper” industry, I know how easy it is to do what other people are doing, which is why I try not to. I know it’s not just my industry either, I know it happens in jewelry and clothes. So ask why and then stay focused on that way. I know that’s what I’m doing! http://www.craftmba.com/2011/05/17/standing-out-by-starting-with-why/


Oh, Irony. Do you know how to use it? http://www.prdaily.com/writingandediting/Articles/8206.aspx


I definitely over think. It’s not good. However, I also know that without overthinking about somethings, I would not have grown as exponentially as I have in the last year. It’s a give/take. Some things definitely need to be overthought, most does not. The question is how do you figure out which do and don’t and how do you stop it from taking over? This is powerful! http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2011/05/do-you-fall-into-the-trap-of-overthinking.html

I have always been 100% behind being Sara. Always. I hate being grouped. I hate being asked what where I come from. I really dislike when people label me in general. Which is why I’m adding this article by Chris Guillbeau, of course, to the list this month. When you’re an entrepreneur, you are different and it is a good idea to come to terms and accept that you’re not going to fit into any one particular box. http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/hello-my-name-is/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=1dQ9gJL1Msnt7W

And just when I wanted to go out and buy something pricey, I read this and remembered why I love, and have always loved, that full-of-himself man named Thoreau. http://www.dumblittleman.com/2011/05/thoreaus-guide-to-living-more-by.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DumbLittleMan+%28Dumb+Little+Man+-+tips+for+life%29&utm_content=Google+International


I didn’t graduate from Syracuse, or in May of 2011, but I swear he was talking to me! http://mashable.com/2011/05/16/dennis-crowley-syracuse-graduation/

I tell myself “Sara, YOU are an artist” almost every day. It’s worth it and it reminds me why I love doing what I do. http://www.artbizblog.com/2011/03/art-has-value.html

I’m always thinking about sustainability and business and how S2 is going to be a sustainable business. I love articles that show how you can keep being sustainable, doing good and make profits. THIS is the area all businesses should REALLY be looking into. http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/how-many-business-models-can-one-company-have/

This posting is so good! I am a knitter by hobby, which means I enjoy the entire creative process involved and end up making blankets and scarves and the like for friends and loved ones, but more than just enjoying knitting, I love how Tammy writes about the lessons behind knitting. As I read this posting, I definitely agreed with what she has learned and realized that I’ve never truly explored all then ways and things you can learn from knitting. Often times, I talk about lessons I’ve learned from running, etc, but there are lessons to behold in everything we spend our time exploring.  http://rowdykittens.com/2011/04/knitting/

This one is GOOD! So good! When I read it early in the month, I was struck at how timely Megan is with the two ceilings that an entrepreneur can hit. The question is how will I tackle this? Working on a strategy! http://www.craftmba.com/2011/05/04/growth-ceilings-and-scalability/

Do you sell on Etsy? Are you curious about finding certain data in your analytics? READ THIS! http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/web-analytics-whos-found-you-through-the-taste-test-12747/#comment-507008

I wrote a blog last week about scarcity and the implications of it and then Ms. Megan went and wrote about making one-of-a-kind products. Go figure! She’s right, though! http://www.craftmba.com/2011/05/18/turn-your-liability-into-an-asset-or-how-to-wholesale-limited-edition-products/

To trade show or not? I’m not nearly trade show ready, BUT I really enjoyed reading Megan’s (yes, another article by her) take on this and I also really loved her comment, “Despite all our reliance on technology and social media, we still crave physical connections with people and objects. ” Read the full article and watch the video response: http://www.craftmba.com/2011/05/20/icff-innovation-and-the-future-of-trade-shows/


Yeah, what does it mean to have money? I’ve never really had money, just enough to keep paying debt. But what about when I do (because I will!)? What then? Tara Gentile, gives a great thought about this on Daily Worth. http://dailyworth.com/posts/756-What-Does-It-Mean-to-Have-Money-#articlejump


I came across this article on The Atlantic on May 12th and understood it immediately. I have used Groupon and I’ve definitely overspent in the case of restaurant coupons, but I’ve often wondered how exactly do both parties benefit from the program. I’ve also noticed that the deal that roped me in is not the same caliber of deals that are being offered currently and so I end up deleting the emails and paying less and less attention to the whole online discount coupon programs that seem to be popping up every way you turn. Needless to say, I think this is a great way to begin really looking in-depth at the cases of these programs, especially for small and new business owners.  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/why-does-groupon-work/238706/

Following the article above, I present this article, which you can find in the above article. This is a first hand account of a business owner who used Groupon last year and lost big time. Sometimes it’s important to hear about experiences especially when they are open and honest. It’s also a great way to learn that somethings are not always what they seem. I’m curious to know how many other businesses have stories like this and if they’d be willing to share them. http://posiescafe.com/wp/?p=316

Just 29 days until the next list of articles!

March Favorites

Hi readers!

It is the end of the month. Holy crap, I can’t believe it! I have been scratching my head the past four days trying to figure out where January and February went.  Time IS flying by.  The good news is that I at least know that ups and downs aside, I have had fun. Hooray!

Now, the end of the month has come to mean that my last posting of the month is dedicated to my favorite reads from said month. The articles are all over the place: social media, entrepreneurship, time management, crafting, artistry and more.  I’ve tried to separate them based on their topic, but they all kind of blend together after a while. (BTW, please let me know if you find this topic separation helpful. I will really appreciate the feedback!) Here goes…

Business, Social Media, Entrepreneurship and Tools:

“Then I realized over the years that it’s actually more about right time than real-time. In fact, when information comes through, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the right time to engage, capture it, and share it. I’m more successful now creating a list of information, relevant information, and then repackaging, repurposing, and broadcasting that information at the right time.” -Brian Solis, author of Engage

  • The quote above is one of my favorite that I’ve read this month! I believe wholeheartedly in timing, even though I also believe in moments and living in the moment (real-time).  However, what is most important between the two is knowing when the timing is right.  (Sara, you impatient, spontaneous, woman you, pay attention to your own words here for everything.)  In social media, it’s even more important to know your timing, especially when writing and editing  your own content vs. sharing the content of others. Read the wise words about the importance of curation and creation in this article courtesy of Mashable: http://mashable.com/2011/03/17/curation-importance/
  • Has social media hit a plateau? Good food for thought! This article on Mashable asks the question and follows up with some insight: http://mashable.com/2011/03/16/social-media-innovation-plateau/
  • I am so anti-twitter, but so many love it. I am also trying to balance my social media presence (or lack there of) with real tangible contact and connection. This worksheet is a must for those of you like me, trying to figure out which social media routes to take to help build a better, stronger, and more tangible communication platform. Thanks Mashable, again: http://mashable.com/2011/03/11/social-media-marketing-chart/
  • Last one from Mashable, I promise.  This gem is about brand consistency. For new entrepreneurs (myself, included) this article is a must read. You want to make sure you’re brand is strong and sings, yet rolls with the punches. Here’s some great tips: http://mashable.com/2011/03/22/brand-consistency-social-media/
  • Ah, Chris Guillebeau. You shouldn’t be surprised to see an article about him because I’ve written about him before. Either way, this article is fantastic! Not only does he offer tips on business planning and development, customer service, communication, but most importantly, shares a moment he had with someone he connected with randomly and made a huge impression.  Enough for Chris to promote his business. Articles like this, I appreciate when ruminating on my business. Maybe you will to:  http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/business-secrets-from-a-cambodian-tuk-tuk/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=1ewVoV.mvsnt7W
  • What is enchantment? What can enchantment mean to you, your business, your clients? Well, Guy Kawasaki kind of has it figured out. And I’m kind of in love with Guy Kawasaki because of this interview. Now, I want to read his book.  Check out this well done interview and let me know if you have, plan to or don’t want to read his book: http://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/2011/03/17/interview-guy-kawasaki-on-reciprocity-influencers-ecosystems-and-the-art-of-enchantment/
  • This one is a bit tough because I think it can go under the money topic as well, but what it really gets to is pricing. I know I need help with pricing. Always. If you’re like me  (I’m sure you are), you’ll want to check it out: http://www.artsyshark.com/2011/03/26/are-your-prices-unrealistic/
  • Finding your niche is something people desperately look for. I know I’ve been wondering about myself and in discovering what my niche and who my target is, I’ve restructured and tweaked my branding quite a bit. This article by Ms. Megan Auman for Craft MBA is definitely worth the read:  http://www.craftmba.com/2011/03/22/niche-products/
  • Last, but not least in his category is another article from Ms. Auman that talks about our creative vs. business brains. This is a GREAT read, especially for crafters who make things and think they all have to be favorites and sell:  http://www.craftmba.com/2011/03/28/balancing-the-creative-brain-with-the-business-brain/

Time Management, Self Development:



  • My dear friend, Jolie Guillebeau, is still a new friend, but I love her art, passion, talent and most importantly how sincere and heartfelt she is as a human being. I had the pleasure of meeting her several months ago and I knew that I liked her immediately.  I signed up to receive her newsletters shortly after our meeting and I love reading her words and seeing her work.  Earlier this month, she wrote a wonderful intro to go with a painting that she  recently worked on and it really resonated. She’s right–I’m tired of hearing people make excuses for how they think they’re perceived. Whether we are “beautiful” or not, we all have something to offer and the least important part of it is our looks. I suggest you check out Jolie’s work and read the blog posting called “Forty-seventh. Tired.” from March 17th: http://artbyjolie.com/stories/
  • Ah, the age-old question of should you quit your job before you’re ready? I don’t know that this article answers the question completely, but being that I’ve been debating this myself, I thought I’d share it with all the others in the same shoes: http://www.womeninbusiness.com.au/_blog/Style_and_Substance/post/Should_you_quit_your_job/
  • This article should be listed under “business,” but you know, I read it and wondered about losing my interest in my craft, not my business. I know that many people may have experienced this, or may be on the cusp of experiencing it, which is why I am listing it under “you”. As a crafter, you have to remember what you love about what you’re doing before you wonder about building a business empire. The minute that the flicker of light is gone, you’re in trouble: http://www.thebusinessofbeingcreative.com/2011/03/22/beginners-enthusiasm/

That’s all, friends-happy reading!  I hope you all find these as useful as I did/do. Please feel free to share any articles you love with me. I’m always looking for new perspectives.

Oh and happy last day of March!

Disruptive Ideas + Social Responsible Business

This may seem a bit premature, since my favorite articles of February is due out soon, but the two articles below really struck a chord a few weeks ago when I read them. They relate to social good, which is an important thing to me when it comes to business.

I suppose I should share why I feel social responsibility is important. It stems from having a wide variety of jobs in non-profit and for-profit organizations. My first job was for a smallish for-profit. My next two jobs were with non-profits, both heavy in education, but one for the arts and the other for cancer prevention and nutrition. And my last/current job is for a large corporation. Names will be left out, but what each of these jobs has taught me is that it’s not just about the money, regardless if that’s what the company cares about most. What matters most is that businesses engage in healthy business practices in order to create trust with their customers, continue to stay relevant and in business and finally to make money.

A lot of the time, people will hear about the shareholders of a company and how it’s the company’s responsibility to keep the shareholders happy, i.e., make them money. And while that is the case because they do have an interest in the company, they are not the only shareholder.  Think about it this way…if a company makes money off of the earth, their greatest shareholder is the EARTH. They owe it to the source of their income to be fair and to be respectful. This makes complete and total sense to me.  In many cases, the real shareholder is not the top priority and that’s when companies end up in trouble with their other shareholders…their clients.

When a client buys into a brand, a client is trusting that brand. They’re trusting that they aren’t being deceived, or lied to. In the past couple of years, a lot of information has come out showing that brands that I’ve trusted and known my entire 30 years have duped me. They’ve duped me in ways that can be detrimental to me and my health, not to mention the health of the future. In the past two years, I’ve stopped shopping at traditional grocery stores because I can’t trust “regular” brands. I’ve also stopped using many over-the-counter bath products in favor for aluminum-free deodorants, fragrance and phosphate free shampoos, soaps, mousse, creams, etc. My concern is my health. And the fact that these companies choose to overlook the greater health of their clients for the sake of their “stakeholders” and money.

Now this post isn’t to be a rant, or to try to convince you that my way of living is the right and only way because it’s not. My way is only good for my way, but when it comes down to business and how I want to conduct MY business, it’s important to me that I adhere to my personal values and my business practices must reflect that.  It’s also one of the reasons why I’ve become loyal to brands that actually make a difference, or in rooted in practices that help make a difference.

For example, my first article is actually a blog posting by the creator/owner, Blake Mycoskie, of the shoe company TOMS. If you don’t know about TOMS, well now you’re about to find out…I first heard about TOMS thanks to a coworker who had a pair on. I complimented her and all she said was, “they’re expensive.” So I got curious. That curiosity led me to the TOMS website and then the purchase of my first pair and then the subsequent noticing of everyone in the LES of NYC wearing the brand.  Now, normally, I would be against being part of a movement, or rather owning the same thing that so many other people own. I like being a bit unique (okay, maybe a lot unique), but either way, wearing my pair of TOMS, I experience the same feeling I get when I go to a concert…the awareness that we’re all connected for a brief moment/period in a love of something. TOMS is ALL about the love of a greater good. That greater good being humanity.

The concept of TOMS is simple…you buy a pair of shoes and a poor child in a third-world country gets a pair of shoes. With your $60 pair of shoes, you are giving a child the opportunity to be disease free. Every time I put on my gold sparkly TOMS shoes, I know that a child has a pair of shoes in another part of the world and that makes me feel like I’m doing something good, not just being your average American over-consuming person buying another pair of shoes.

What really struck me about this blog posting is that I completely understand what he’s talking about as a socially aware entrepreneur. My two favorite sentences are, ” What I love about being an entrepreneur are the beginnings of things. I love the act of creating, of figuring things out, and of turning nothing into something.” and “And all the while, we were figuring things out… always asking questions and challenging ourselves to think of a better way.”

Days when I think about not having a business plan, I go back to those two sentences. Sometimes it’s about figuring things out and not always about planning things out.  And so Blake Mycoskie’s posting, “Finding Joy and Inspiration in Ethiopia,” really struck home in more ways than I thought possible. Which is why I’m sharing this now, early, today. I think every budding entrepreneur should read this and hopefully will feel as inspired and ready to do something as I did/do.

The second article, “How To: Develop Ideas That Will Disrupt Your Industry” comes from Mashable.com. Another favorite website of mine. It’s an article that connects to this posting in the way of doing something different to upset your “industry.” In my case, it would be cards/invitations/personalized stationery. So what can I do different to set the industry spin? Of course I’m still thinking about this article, but when I think about it in conjunction to TOMS, I conjure thoughts of a large-scale. I mean, how disruptive is TOMS to the shoe industry? I think very. Some may not agree, but I think they may just be in denial.

This article is a must read because I often times think that people create a business without always thinking outside the box. I’ll take myself for example. I make cards and invitations and personalized stationery. I don’t know that there’s anything innovative about this industry. If anything, the more designers that graduate, the more saturated the industry becomes with cards that are luke-warm funny and warming.

My take, and I’m still building on this, is that I’m out to take cards back to a place where they’re not so heavy on dripping sentiment or witty one-liners/phrases and curse words. They are to focus on YOU, the writer and communicator. Again, not too far-fetched, but this allows me to build on design strategies that are different and unique. And it allows the buyer to think differently about how and what they are willing to purchase to share their feelings.  This article helps to ignite my passion in another direction, in a way, where I need to think outside the box, be creative, and set the industry on its tail. Wish me luck! I’m wishing you luck, too, if you’re out to make a positive change and set the world on fire.

So read both articles, carefully and as many times as you must to let it sink in and inspire you.  The rest of the articles will be out by next Monday.

January Articles

Last month, I did a round up of the articles I found most helpful to me through the year.  I’ll be the first to admit that it was kind of shoddy. Mostly because I wanted in some way to spread a bit of the people who have helped me in the past couple of months.  While I think that was a good thing, one of my goals for this blog and for potential readers moving through the new year is to instead space the helpful articles out a bit more.

So, having said that, sometime within the last two weeks of each month I will post the articles that came out in the month that I found the most helpful, complete with links. Should you choose to read them, you can.  And this way, I’ll be better at organizing the many thoughts that get sent my way without scrambling to find where I read that one really great article.

Here my friends and readers is my January listing:

Seven Steps to Understanding Online Advertising, The Mogul Mom:om: http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/01/understanding-advertising/

Build a Community with Social Media: 3 Things You Must Know, The Mogul Mom: http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/01/building-a-community-with-social-media-3-things-you-must-know/

I just can’t get ENOUGH of The Mogul Mom!

**How to Manifest Money, Steve Paulina: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2010/11/how-to-manifest-money/

Will come back to this one a few times, I think.

20 Personal Money Practices that Got me to a Place of Grooving Prosperity. (Part 1), White Hot Truth: http://whitehottruth.com/business-wealth-articles/20-personal-money-practices-that-got-me-to-a-place-of-grooving-prosperity-part-1/

17 Money Practices for Business that Cost Me A Lot to Learn. (Part 2), White Hot Truth:

The Declaration of Deserving, White Hot Truth: http://whitehottruth.com/white-hot/the-declaration-of-deserving-just-because-youre-here/

Qualified Requests: How to Ask for Stuff, White Hot Truth: http://whitehottruth.com/business-wealth-articles/qualified-requests-how-to-ask-for-stuff/

Um, Danielle is on FIRE!

Bullet Proof Your Goals, Heartmade Blog: http://www.heartmadeblog.com/blog/bullet-proof-your-goals

How to Keep Your Creative Space Inspiring, Mayi Carles of Heartmade: http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/2011/contributors/how-to-keep-your-creative-space-inspiring/

Mayi is awesome!

That is it. I think. Any articles/links that come my way in the next two weeks will be included in the Feb list.  Please let me know if there are any articles YOU think I should read. I’m open!