Monday, October 17, 2011

2011: In the Home Stretch

It's been a great year for SleeveShirt Consulting. Two years ago this October we launched our consulting business and as they say: Time flies when you're having fun!

One of the highlight this year has been meeting all the amazing entrepreneurs who have shared their stories in our Spotlight Entrepreneur series.

  • Lydia Andrews of Being Well + Living Healthy inspired us to take a holistic approach to our health.
  • Lynda Stenge of Blanche Agency reminded us that "We are only limited by our imagination!"
  • Nadia Gray of Boxing4Fitness explained her love for connecting with her clients and community through her unique fitness program.
  • Shannon Gevero of See Baby Grow inspired us with her solution to a challenge many mothers face. And her product was born!
  • Rochelle Drumm of BabyChix outlined her 5 points of advice for women who are thinking about launching their own business.
  • Antoinette Robinson of After All Is Said And Done by Antoinette reminded us that sometimes you need to tap into the passion you had as a child to know where your Aha! business moment is going to come from!

We still have two more insightful women to unveil in November and December and we can't wait for you to meet them!

We've received such great feedback on the series, that we would like to continue it for 2012. Who do you want us to feature?  Do you know an inspiring woman who has overcome adversity to launch a business?  Do you work for a woman-owned small business and does your boss motivate and inspire you?   Are you that woman?  

In December I'll be scheduling interviews, and I look forward to being motivated and inspired all through the next year. We are looking at every industry- just as long as she is self-employed and has a story to tell.

Start sending in those nominations!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When your business cuts it's first tooth

As entrepreneurs, our businesses are our babies.  The business needs to be nurtured.  Needs to be cared for morning, noon and night.  Sometimes you're even woken at 3am with a spark of genius, nerves about an upcoming presentation, or a client who needs you desperately.

This morning I got a phone call from my husband who had just wrapped up an early morning chiropractor appointment.  The recently hired receptionist was obviously still learning the ropes, but openly reprimanded for a mistake in front of my husband.  Can you say 'Uncomfortable!"?

When business grows large enough to hire your first employee, it's kind of like your baby cutting its first tooth.  There's some redness, soreness, general irritation, but in the end, it's an exciting milestone.  Pediatricians and dentists will tell you to start caring for those teeth immediately.  Be gentle, but ensure to brush that itty-bitty white chicklet twice a day and watch it grow strong and be joined by others.

As a parent and a small business owner, communication and patience are keys to success. Correcting improper behavior immediately is a good rule of thumb, but exercising discretion so as not to embarrass your staff in front of clients is just good tact.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Antoinette Robinson, After All is Said and Done by Antoinette

Many women sit at their desks in Corporate America and daydream about being their own boss. Our spotlight this month focuses on Antoinette Robinson, a full service event planner who broke out of traditional employment to harness her dreams of entrepreneurship.  Antoinette shares some fantastic advice for fellow women business-owners and inspiration for those who haven't quite taken the leap yet.  Be sure to also visit Antoinette's new blog!

Have you always had aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur? 
For as long as I can remember, I've had aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur. I dreamed about it. I spoke of it all the time while working in the corporate world. When I was a child, I would spend time thinking of business ideas. You know the old lemonade stand idea, as well as selling baked goods like cookies and cakes to family and friends. I'd jump at the opportunity to participate in school fund-raising projects. I just loved it.  Even today, I still make a good cake sale every now and then.  LOL!

What is the #1 most common request you receive from couples when planning their wedding?  
As a wedding and event planner, I will tell you that couples have various requests. Some requests are new, unique, fun and things I've never heard of and others are general requests. Each couple is unique and therefore the request can be as well. Some of the general requests and questions that I receive from couples are: Can you assist us with location selection, will you attend the wedding dress fitting, will you assist with mailing of the invites, should the food for the reception be catered, will the ring bearer pillow have the actual wedding rings attached and various other questions related to the event itself and budget. Of course, we make it our goal to fulfill all or as many of the couples requests as possible.     

What would you like for clients to take away from the experience of working with After all Is Said And Done By Antoinette?
I personally would like for each client, no matter what the event, to walk away knowing that we love what we do. They can dream BIG without hesitation because we have a goal of making every one of their dreams come true. At After All Is Said And Done By Antoinette, we are very passionate about satisfying each client that we work with. We want the client to receive exactly what they expected and more. Recently, we did a wedding where several of the guests expressed how much passion went into the event. They stated that they would love to work with After All Is Said And Done By Antoinette for their events not only because they liked our work but also they noticed how passionate the team was about making the event a success. The couple stated that they were extremely satisfied with our work and the outcome of the event. At the end of an event, those words are music to our ears.

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? 
Wow! I enjoy everything about being an entrepreneur. Don't get me wrong. Being an entrepreneur is hard work but extremely rewarding. As an entrepreneur, I determine the work schedule, the goals and direction of the business. The unlimited income potential, independence, recognition and self-fulfillment are all benefits.  In addition, the freedom in the area of decision-making is a huge plus. I love the fact that you learn something new everyday.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated simply by being thankful that I'm doing what I love each day. That alone has been a motivator for me. Each day is a new opportunity to accomplish the mission of the business. One of my personal mantras is : "new day; new opportunity". I am a very spiritual person. My relationship with God helps me face and overcome challenges daily. Other motivating factors are: The internal drive and desire to be successful at what I do to help the business thrive. I view each day as an opportunity to make a difference in a client or someone's life. Finally, my hubby and family are great motivation for me, as well as super support.

What is your advice for females who are thinking about starting their own business? 
Go for it! Don't let fear hold you back. Make sure that you have a drive to be an entrepreneur. It's not all glitz and glamour but if you have drive that's a start. You also need a business plan, financial stability and resources. Self-motivation, leadership skills, people skills, knowledge/experience in your industry, problem solving and decision-making skills are among the other skills that are helpful in making your transition to entrepreneurship.  Make it a priority to learn to balance work and family life. If you work from home, it can be difficult to separate what I call "CEO time" and mommy/wife time.  Set work hours for yourself. If you are like me and enjoy what you do, you may work, work and work unless you set specific work hours. Create a separate workspace in your home if possible. It helps the family know that when mommy/wife is in that space, it is still "CEO time". Finally, don't give up. Do what it takes to become the entrepreneur that you'd like to be.

I wish all existing and future female entrepreneurs the best on their journey of fulfilling their entrepreneurial goals. 

If you have a special event coming up, Antoinette recommends hiring a planner as soon as your date is set.  Don't hesitate, reach out to After All Is Said and Done by Antoinette today!

Twitter: @AfterAllIsDone