Spark To Our Hustle

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Yesterday, Linda and I attended Tory Johnson's Spark and Hustle event in So. San Francisco.  Tory has been leading the charge for women in business for over a decade after she herself had the painful experience of being "pink slipped" from a job she loved.

If you've watched her segments on Good Morning America you get a sense of her but she is so much more than that in person.  She is real and she cares, enough so that at the end of the day she invited every attendee to use her personal email to keep in touch with questions and to share challenges and successes.  Tory emceed the whole event in seamless fashion and made sure that all participants had the opportunity to ask questions, even when they really didn't know what questions to ask.

So this is not our typical blog post on design or events but it is equally important because we are small business owners and we need help running our small business...to keep up with all that is out there (and it can be overwhelming how much is out there) and to see and hear in person how other successful entrepreneurs have made and are making it work.

So for our fellow small business peeps, here is a little smidget of what we learned...there were literally thirteen speakers, so we will just highlight a few.

The morning was kicked off by Gina Bianchini, who co-founded Ning and has just launched a new social platform called Mightybell. 

 This video gives you a little taste of what Mightybell is and how it can be used.  I think this will be valuable for us in sharing design projects.

Gina sold Ning for 150 million dollars and offered these insights...

1.  Operate with integrity; give honest feedback and get honest feedback.

2.  Learn from each situation; be a better negotiator and public speaker (aarggh..not easy)

Lastly,  "EVERY DAY IS DAY ONE 1!"  This can apply to any aspect of your life...

Cindy Morrison is a social media strategist and also had A LOT of information to share.

She is a guru of how to use social media to build brand loyalty with SocialVention.com and one takeaway from yesterday was Linda and I have got to be on Twitter.  We have resisted because it can be overwhelming with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, etc. etc. etc. but I think we can resist no more!

Check out her sight for some great info...and she had great shoes!

Danae Ringelmann, is a co-founder of indiegogo.com.  She started out on Wall Street at a bank, became disillusioned when she couldn't help people who actually needed loans for good reasons but traditional banking said "no, never gonna happen".  Indiegogo is a crowdfunding site where anyone can create an account and have the opportunity to raise money.  Remember the bus monitor who was bullied by some middleschoolers that was posted on YouTube...Max Sidurov started a campaign on indiegogo to raise $5,000 to send Karen Huff, the bus monitor on vacation.  They have now raised $682,000!  This is just one application but if you need some $$$ to take your business to the next level, this could be the option for you.  A helpful hint from Danae is that campaigns with videos attached are 120% more successful in getting funding.

We could go on and on, there were so many amazing speakers but we'll finish up with Jessica Herrin, co-founder of Stella & Dot.  Ok, can I just tell you that I wish I could be that kind of speaker.  She was cute and engaging, inspirational, funny and smart.  She started as the co-founder of the WeddingChannel.com, which was sold to The Knot.  And as she told us, "frankly, she was a little tired of weddings."  She had been marinating on a new business model for women entrepreneurs and Stella & Dot was born.  A jewelry and accessory business that has product featured in Elle, Lucky, Vogue and InStyle, not to mention favorites of celebrities. 

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We laughed when she said "your goals should scare you, and if they don't, you need new goals." And another great tidbit came about after she was on a talk show with Tyra Banks.  They walked offstage to the Green Room where there was a photographer waiting.  He finished Tyra's photos and then took hers.  He kept trying to get her to pose and look like Tyra, well there's not many people who could pull that off so don't get hung up on comparing yourself to anyone else. 

"Comparision is the thief of joy!"

Ssooo, a lot of information right and this is just a morsel.  Here is a list of some tools to help up your productivity and keep your mojo going:

Evernote

Hojoki

Hootsuite

Some other sites to check out:

thedailymuse.com

lifetimemoms.com

escapefromcubiclenation.com  (great branding info)

customlivingsolutions.com  (one of the few men in the room but check out the productivity tips)

Whew...brain overload.  We talked all the way home, thru $#&*ing commute traffic about how to use some of these amazing ideas in our business.  We got the spark, now we just have to hustle.

Elementally,

Michele & Linda