In 2018, we’re all looking to bring a little bit of newness into our lives. We want change. We want productivity. And most of all, we want business success. Sometimes, reading a great book really helps the things that need shifted in your life stand out and a whole new sense of motivation wash over you. These books are an amazing resource to kick your productivity into gear.
Impactivity: How to Set the World on Fire without Burning Out, Tracy Higley
If you’re dealing with the horrible “crashing and burning” feeling that can often come with owning your own business, keeping up with contracts and managing family, then this one is for you. Bestselling author and entrepreneur herself, Higley shares her guidance, inspiration and truly teaches the art of productivity. This book was re-released in January 2017 with 6 workbooks to go along with it.
“The fear of the unknown was eclipsed by the gladness that came of taking action, of doing something rather than waiting, of following what seemed to be the call of my life."
The Power of Broke, Daymond John
Launching and keeping a business afloat is both time consuming and incredibly expensive. Shark Tank’s Daymond John and business mogul himself shares how he started his business with only $40. In fact, he thinks that starting a business with a very limited budget can be every entrepreneurs creative advantage. His book will teach companies, brands and solopreneurs alike how to leverage this skill for business success.
Own It: The Power of Women at Work, Sallie Krawcheck
Author and Wall Street powerhouse turn entrepreneur, Sallie Krawcheck will get you excited again for your role as a woman in the workplace and playing the man’s game on our own terms. She believes that the business world is changing fast and there are so many reasons that female business owners need to get excited about the future. The change is coming – fast – and as women we need to own that to take control of our careers and businesses to get to the next level.
Women Who Work: Rewriting The Goals of Success, Ivanka Trump
The first daughter to be has truly hit the nail on the head with her recent book, released in March of 2017. Her belief is simple: there is no one right answer, every woman must create the life in business that they love that works for them. She shares the best skills and advice coming from all the women who work in her life and essentially rewrites the rules to help everyone redefine success and supports living out your individual passions every day.
Courtesy of Fortune
"I try to live in the present. I learn from my mistakes in an effort not to repeat them, but I remain totally focused on today and tomorrow. Many of my mistakes turned out to be incredible opportunities for growth, both professionally and personally, and therefore, in hindsight, they were deeply valuable."
She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur, Carrie Green
Released in February of 2017, this book is aimed at women in business and sharing a step by step guide to making their business dreams a reality. The focus is on achievable techniques and helping women feel empowered and fired up about their ideas. Green shares numerous personal stories that will help put women everywhere on the right path by making the process of harnessing their amazing ideas and bringing them to life easier than they think it ever could be.
"Success is not an accident, it's something we have to create on purpose. And we can all do it, every single one of us. We have to be prepared to move past the resistance that get in our way... to make the commitment to show up of our dreams, get our ideas out there, and become unstoppable. So move out of your own way, discover what you are capable of, become a wildly successful entrepreneur and then watch as people say: She means business "
"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.
It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.
My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.
Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.
I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.
My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.
Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).
They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).
Fast forward to 2018...
While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.
In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.
Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.