Monday, January 30, 2012

Grow Smart, Risk Less: A Franchising Success Story

I love to read. In fact, I wish there were more hours in the day to sit curled up with a cup of green tea and a good book. I like to mix it up between fiction like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series all the way to the Steve Jobs biography that I just started.  Whether it's a fictitious feminist with a photographic memory or a true American icon, we all need heroes to look up to.

I'd like to introduce you to a hero of franchising, Shelly Sun.  I just finished her book: Grow Smart, Risk Less: A Low-Capital Path to Multiplying Your Business Through Franchising.  Her resume is impressive: She's the owner of an Inc. 500 company, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners and the International Franchise Association and her company BrightStar Care® was named second in the top fifty fastest-growing women-led businesses by the Women Presidents' Organization.  Impressive indeed.

I connected right away with Shelly. A workaholic sentenced to bed rest by her doctor while pregnant with twins, Shelly started holding weekly staff meetings in her bedroom.  She also used her bed rest time productively by writing all of the company's operations manuals!  From this meager beginning, with a drive for success Shelly was able to grow her company from $1 million to $100 million in five years.

In today's economic climate, access to capital is limited, and that isn't likely to change. Shelly's book provides recommendations on how to propel a business with a solid foundation on a path to amazing growth while minimizing risk.

For those of my readers who enjoy local success but who have always dreamed about growing their business to one of a larger regional, national or even international success, this book will outline step-by-step the process to evaluate the opportunity and lay out a roadmap to reaching your goals.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Re-Energized for 2012

Good morning readers!  I hope you all had a great holiday break and have recharged for 2012!  December was a busy month for me personally and professionally.  I visited the offices of Home Shopping Network for training (more to come on that soon...), took a trip with some very special ladies to celebrate a big milestone and rounded out the year in warm and sunny Puerto Rico!

Although I'm still under piles of laundry, the travel was energizing.  Experiencing new people, places, foods, sights, sounds, smells... made me very thankful.  This year one of my goals is to focus on what I have rather than what I don't have.  We all fall victim to it- we start feeling down and out about goals we haven't achieved, or milestones we haven't reached.  Instead of expending energy on the negative, I urge you to focus on all the things you have to be grateful for.  I look forward to connecting with each and every one of you in 2012.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Amanda K. Haddaway

Think back to when you graduated from college. If you could go back and give yourself some sound advice that would have propelled your future professional career, what would you tell your wide-eyed self?  Over the years Amanda K. Haddaway has met and recruited many recent graduates.  What she began to discover was that there was a gap between what was being taught in the classroom and what were some soft skills that were critical to be successful on day one as a professional in the workplace.  Follow Amanda's career from Corporate America to successful writer and philanthropist.  She does it all! 

Amanda, you work full time as a Director of Human Resources, are a Corporate Trainer, freelance writer and have just published your first book. How do you successfully juggle so many aspects of your career?
I like to stay busy! I am, fortunately, one of those people that can balance a lot of projects at once. I feel very grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, so I try to take on as many projects as possible. I will admit, though, that I require a certain amount of downtime and seven to eight hours of sleep each night is a must!

When we spoke you mentioned your mentor. What is the most fulfilling part about working with a mentor?
No one knows everything. It's good to have someone in your same career field that can answer questions and be a sounding board on various topics. The old adage about two heads being better than one is certainly true and it's good to have one or more people that you can go to for advice.

Your book, Destination Real World:Success after Graduation provides critical tips that aren't being taught in the classroom to equip grads for the real world. What are some of the missteps that graduates make in 2012?
It's a really tough job market right now, but some candidates would get further along in the job search process if they knew the basics of constructing a resume, knowing how to interview and knowing how to act in the workplace once they secure that first job. My book provides 25 tips that coach new and soon-to-be college graduates on these topics and more.

You are very passionate about philanthropy. Can you tell us a little more about the two organizations that you work with, Cocktails for a Cause and The Maryland Sheriffs' Youth Ranch, and why they are important to you? 
Cocktails for a Cause is a new organization that I co-founded with two friends a few months ago. Our mission is to assist the fundraising efforts of area non-profits by (1) promoting awareness of the organizations that serve women and children and (2) hosting social events to procure monetary and product contributions for the partnering organizations. We believe that supporting local non-profit organizations through charitable giving enhances the overall quality of life for our entire community. It's a way for people to have fun with their friends and also assist great causes.

I'm also on the board of directors at the Maryland Sheriffs' Youth Ranch and a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Ranch. The Ranch is a 24-hour foster care facility for boys between the ages of 10 and 18. Our mission is to assist these youth in becoming productive members of society.

Many of the entrepreneurs we speak with have interest in sharing their knowledge with others. What is your number one piece of advice for a woman who is interested in writing and self-publishing?
Do it! You have nothing to lose and the process will test your perseverance, strength and patience. It's also such a rewarding feeling to complete a project of this scale. It all started with an idea that I was able to put on paper. Fast forward seven months and my book was published and available on

To connect with Amanda, link with her today!