For the past 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has recognized a select group of entrepreneurs from all across the country to be honored for their awesome achievements. The celebration is part of National Small Business Week, which this year happens from April 29 through May 5.
Three cheers for Kat Gordon! Kat is an ad woman, a rock-star entrepreneur and the visionary behind the 3% Conference aimed at moving the needle for women in advertising. Kat’s commitment to bringing in more female creative directors has now earned her the prestigious 2018 Visionary/Founder of the Year award from Ad Age. Specifically, Kat has been recognized for introducing “3% Certification,” a program to help advertising agencies assess and improve their own “gender friendliness.”
Maggie Simpkins grew up making jewelry as a hobby, but she never imagined doing it to earn a living. A decade ago, however, while Maggi was doing quality control for an online boutique, she vented her creative frustrations by one day whipping up a collection of feather earrings. Her boss loved them. Within a week, Maggi was designing full-time for the private label. Over the next few years, other jewelry-related jobs followed. Maggi was determined to learn everything she could about merchandising, designing, production, materials, diamonds and more.
Going green in business may be trendy, but it’s also smart. Research shows thatconsumers will pay more for eco-branded productsand creative entrepreneurs are taking note. In fact, quite a few of our QB Community members have businesses that are friendly to the environment! Here are seven self-employed folks who prove that sustainability is both good for the planet, as well as their bottom lines.
Crowdfundingsites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter can help launch new products with the help of a few (or a few thousand) investors. Some enterprising entrepreneurs, like the ones featured below, rely on crowdsourced money to bring to market eco-friendly products designed to generate profitsandhelp make the world a better place.
All of the following campaigns were successfully funded between 2012 and 2017. We checked in on them to see where they are today. Read on -- and get ready to be amazed!
When Fabienne Wente was a kid, her mom encouraged her to “get her hands dirty” by trying all manner of creative endeavors, from art classes and crafting workshops to computer science and technology courses. At the same time, Fab (her preferred nickname) was an active member of the Girl Scouts learning all sorts of do-it-yourself (DIY) skills -- including how to tie some really excellent knots.
Right now, women are making their voices heard like never before. But women have always been making history, chipping away at the glass ceiling, proving they belong anywhere they choose to be. While we love to look forward, where would we be if we didn’t recognize those who came before us? Read about these inspiring way-pavers (all from the U.S.), and then tell us: who inspires you?
Pauline Leong, O.D., is a self-professed non-conformist. Admitting she craves “freedom on all fronts,” Pauline likes setting her own schedule and her own priorities, both at work and during her off hours. Fortunately, Pauline has always had 20/20 vision about her desire for independence, which explains why, after earning her degree, she opted for self-employment. As an independent contractor at various practices for nine years, Pauline conducted vision screenings for kids, co-managed LASIK surgery clients and worked with patients suffering from serious eye disease. Eventually, Pauline realized opening her own practice was the best way for her to keep on doing things her way. The one thing she didn’t see coming? Opening a business in Long Island City, in the heart of own her hometown borough of Queens, New York.
Jamaican-born Dawnet Beverley (@DBeverley) once dreamed of being a lawyer. But, after studying business education at Jamaica’s University of Technology and then teaching high school, Dawnet left her island homeland for the United States. Here, she earned a degree in sociology and economics and then worked in various industries including education, banking and financial services. Eventually, Dawnet earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Development. Today, she channels her expertise and insights as a senior executive at Donnelley Financial Solutions, a global financial software and services company.
Scott Beylik was just a toddler when his dad and his grandfather built their hydroponic tomato farm in Fillmore, CA. Although farming was practically in Scott’s DNA, he wasn’t always keen to join the family business. When he graduated from college, Scott headed overseas to Hungary. But after spending two years in bustling Budapest working a 9-5 job, Scott returned home to the farm. He was ready to dig in – literally – to the 24/7 work of running the family business. In 1990, Scott’s grandfather retired after a 20-year career. Fifteen years later, Scott’s dad followed suit. Now it was Scott turn to run, manage and grow this three-generation legacy business.
Stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) are half as likely to score a job interview compared to moms who’ve been recently laid off, according to anew study. But there’s a very strong argument to be made that the experience of Chief Mommy Officer better prepares women to tackle new business challenges.
Sometimes we could really use a little help from our friends. Would you love some help thinkingbig? Julie Gordon White and the QB Community are here for you. Join the Momentum to $1 Million Group launching on Monday, April 2! Click here to join now!
A couple of years ago, on an otherwise ordinary day, Ana Rivera was working as a property manager in La Habra, CA, when her husband came home from work unhappy. Luis worked for a large heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company, and he was frustrated by the pressure to replace, rather than fix, HVAC systems in order to meet certain quotas. “It just didn’t sit right with him,” recalls Ana. Within a week, the couple, who are parents to five kids, had made the momentous decision to open their own business.
Leane Reelfs never imagined she’d one day own an auto repair shop. Sure, her husband, Mike, had worked for the original owner for a decade. But Leane, who’d previously worked in food service and in publishing, knew making the transition from employee (and employee’s wife) to small business owners could be tricky. Turns out, they were up for the challenge.
Film award season is upon us, which inspired our QB Community team to think about some memorable self-employed characters from our favorite films. From chocolatiers, fashion designers and pirates to circus-runners, sports agents and working girls, we came up with a wide variety of cinematic go-getters.
Julie Ball is the owner and “Chief Sparkler” of a booming subscription box company, Sparkle Hustle Grow. She is dedicated to inspiring women entrepreneurs to grow not just in their businesses, but in their personal lives, too.
Personal trainer Gregg Miele knows what it means to hustle. When the New York-native landed a job as a trainer at a high-profile Manhattan gym, he wasn’t fazed by his four-hour round-trip commute, even when those long days were followed by night classes in science and nutrition at a community college. Gregg says he was “young and hungry” – and determined to build his name as a training pro.
Quick -- do you know what you were doing on Sunday February 26th, 2017? Odds are pretty good that one year ago, you were cozied up on a couch or in comfy chair watching the 89th Academy Awards. Nearly 33 million folks tuned in to watch last year’s Oscars, and this year, on Sunday, March 4th, multiple millions will cheer as their favorite movies and celebrities are honored in the 90th glittery, glitzy celebration.
For Sonja Robinson and Meeka Davis, co-owners of One of a Kind Hats, the key to small business success is finding the "nerves, guts and grit" to follow your own star. Here's how this powerhouse mother-daughter duo have built a small empire as "milliners to the stars.