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Entrepreneurs in the QB Community share their favorite and least favorite aspects of going solo in this series Worst Part/Best Part. Can you relate?

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Some of Tyra Lovato’s clients know her as trusted, reliable, number-crunching accountant. Others know the New Orleans-native as the rockin’, shakin’ leader of dance classes like My People’s Cardio and the always-smiling Restorative Pilates instructor. No matter which “hat” Tyra is wearing, her desire to help people do better and live life to the fullest fuels her entrepreneurial drive. Motivated by a personal commitment to bring out the best in everyone she meets, Tyra is a certified fitness and nutrition coach who has built her business around an inclusive, holistic approach to wellness that’s energizing, inspiring – and incredibly fun.

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Longtime L.A. cyclist Gloria Hwang rarely used to wear a helmet, but she got her wake-up call when a close friend died in a cycling accident. Soon after she started Thousand, maker of sleek, stylish bicycle helmets that look cool enough for its fashionista founder to wear. gloriahwang.png

 

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Personal trainer Kristin Jackson had spent more than two decades exploring and teaching different kinds of exercise including Pilates, yoga, water aerobics and even hula hoop. For herself and for her clients, Kristin focused on “typical” training goals like building a strong core, keeping shoulders back and maintaining excellent posture. But when she was hit by a car in 2011, Kristin discovered the muscles and muscle patterns she’d worked so hard for were hindering her recovery. In her quest for healing, Kristin turned to somatics, a gentle neuromuscular practice that helps people regain flexibility, get rid of pain and move with ease – and with joy.  

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oops_sign copy.jpgEntrepreneurs in your QB Community share what they would have done differently when they first started up their businesses.

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Muriel Bartol and her husband, Matt Rolletta, have always loved biking for recreation, for transportation and to get to know their surroundings at a slower-than-a-car pace. But a few years back, Matt was struggling to find a single pair of pants that he could wear throughout his typically active day when he cycled to school, to work and out to meet friends. So Muriel and Matt designed a pair of functional, durable, stylish “knickers,” imagining they might one day sell a few pairs to friends. Instead, thanks to a mention in the New York Times, they were suddenly swamped with orders. Today, Muriel and Matt are still basking in the entrepreneurial glow of unexpectedly launching a successful outdoor apparel business. 

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When you’re starting out in business, there’s just so much to learn -- including all the things you don’t yet know you don’t know! We believe a great way to save time, reduce stress, make smart decisions and avoid costly mistakes is by learning from others who have been there, done that. So here are some valuable insights from entrepreneurs in our QB Community who have already experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of starting a small business -- and who are happy to share what they’ve learned.

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Kelly Watters is a 4th-generation entrepreneur, and her husband, Will, comes from three generations of business self-starters. So when they decided to start a sustainable technical-apparel business together, Kelly and Will knew they’d be working long hours, juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, solving unexpected problems and trying to stay positive along the way. Turns out, everything they anticipated about launching, running and growing Western Rise has come true. Also true? Kelly and Will love building an outdoor-retailing business together. As Kelly explains, “I’m the CEO, CFO and COO. Will is the creative director, and he manages all the product and works directly with the marketing team. We get more efficient at what we do every year – so we just keep taking on more projects! We love building something we believe is amazing.”

 

 

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Gwen Sullivan has spent years working in the sports and fitness industry, but she’s spent far longer feeling like she was a “fitness misfit.” As a kid, she played sports but always preferred the team element to the workout itself. Later, as a busy adult juggling working and parenting, fitness felt like a chore. When Gwen discovered she wasn’t the only one feeling resentful in the gym, she decided it was time to make a change. She’d stop focusing on reps and steps or minutes and miles and start finding activities that she simply enjoyed. This shift in thinking inspired Gwen to create Joyn, a website that curates community-oriented, inclusive group classes designed for fitness – but far more importantly, to promote movement and joy.

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Ben Gucciardi was earning his M.A. in global educational leadership, working in youth development for underserved families and playing a lot of soccer when he had an idea. The California native realized soccer could be a tool to help struggling kids learn to better communicate, connect and collaborate with their peers, parents and teachers. Could he build a program around his favorite sport (at one point, Ben played soccer semi-pro) to help disadvantaged youth?

 

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Diana Marie Estey has long been an outdoor enthusiast and a health and wellness buff, and she’s always relished having the freedom and creativity to do her own thing, too. Years ago, when she was working as an outdoor educator in three different states, Diana started running her own weekend trips on the side. She loved offering clients thoughtfully planned excursions for cross-country skiing, kayaking, yoga and more. Eventually, Diana opened her own business, Alive Anew, offering instruction for individuals and groups in outdoor fitness, yoga, meditation and mindfulness. In addition, Diana began leading weekend retreats in New England and Northern California and longer hiking and yoga retreats in Baja and the mountains of Europe.

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Lucas Zhao skated into the photography business - literally. Inspired by the great outdoors and his love of skateboarding, he's turned his passion into his profession.

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In 2006, Ryan Loften was working as a bike mechanic, a waiter and a “manny.” Juggling all these roles wasn’t easy, but Ryan decided to add “entrepreneur” to the mix. Inspired by his year of mountain biking solo through Nepal, India and Southeast Asia, Ryan wanted to share his love of biking and exploring the great outdoors with kids in his own Northern California community. (Marin County’s Mount Tamalpais is the birthplace of mountain biking.) His plan? To run week-long summer mountain biking camps for kids ages 8-14. The first season, Ryan rode with 50 kids throughout the summer. Now he and his coaches ride the rocky trails with more than 300 sweaty, dusty, tired and very happy campers.

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For me, June is all about open-air markets - the perfect time for local farmers, artists, and artisans to get outside and meet their customers face to face. 

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Elisabeth opens up about her struggles with depression and anxiety during her first year of business and how she learned to cope and to heal. We appreciate her candid conversation about a sensitive topic. We hope others in our QB Community read this post and remember that they, like Elisabeth, are not alone in experiencing the ups and downs of running a business.

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Stocksy_txpbe95edb6zix100_Small_482094.jpgNani Waddoups has more than two-decades experience as an entrepreneur, and that doesn’t even include her past six years running a private therapy practice in Portland, OR. As a seasoned small business owner and a professional counselor, Nani is uniquely positioned to offer up self-care strategies for staying centered and grounded -- something particularly important for entrepreneurs working around the clock to build a successful business.

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Nani Waddoups has a long and remarkably varied history as an entrepreneur. Although she went to college intending to become a psychologist, after graduation, Nani instead ended up working for herself in the design industry. For more than 20 years, she worked as a self-employed florist, importer, specialty contractor, interior designer, garden designer and house stager --  the list goes on. In 2008, however, Nani realized she’d never forgotten her dream of becoming a professional counselor.

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We’re exploring shifts and trends in the culinary-industry that entrepreneurs like you can apply to your own small business.  

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countingmoneyheader.stocksy.jpgMaybe it was the day you ordered your first batch of business cards. Or the first referral you ever received.

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Have you checked the weather forecast today? Depending what product or service you offer, the weather – and, to put it more broadly, the seasons – may be a significant factor in your overall business strategy.  

 

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In fashion, it’s not just the styles that are evolving -- the way we shop has fundamentally shifted, too. Let’s take a look at what’s hip for today’s mass consumer fashion industry and what the takeaway could be for the small business owner (SBO).

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Doug Tarr was a seasoned software developer who had spent many years working at startups and large companies, as well as co-founding a tech startup in Seattle called PayScale. After moving with his family to Mill Valley, CA, Doug was approached by some fellow parents who wondered if he’d be willing to teach their kids to code. Doug agreed, so he invited a dozen 4th graders to squeeze into his living room for a weekly coding session. Word spread about how much the kids were learning and how much they were enjoying it, too. Eventually, Doug decided to move his unofficial club into an official downtown location. Now MVCode had a name, an address and a mission: to create a sustainable, local community business that teaches 1st through 10th graders to master the basics -- and beyond -- of coding.  

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Here in QB Community, we love learning from business coach Julie Gordon White. If you’ve spent any time with Julie, you’ll know one of her (many) superpowers is her ability to turn thoughts and ideas into actionable, step-by-step systems.

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Diggi Thomson spent 15 successful years at corporate giant Unilever, working in both Europe and North American on leading brands including Axe deodorant. But in 2008, after some deep introspection, Diggi decided he was ready to strike out on his own. For nearly a decade, he single-handedly built and ran every aspect of his marketing and branding company. Eventually, however, he faced a challenge many entrepreneurs can relate to: Diggi wanted to grow The Dot Connectors, but he knew he couldn’t realize his vision alone. He decided it was time to bring in a business partner with a skill set that would complement his own.  

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Plenty of entrepreneurs have seasonal (and, hopefully, predictable) highs and lows throughout every business year. For example, if you own a construction, lawncare or landscaping business or you run a beachside restaurant, an ice cream shop or a summer camp for kids, the warm summer months are typically your busiest. When the weather cools down, so, too, does your revenue stream.

 

 

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Chris Rhodes has run his own construction company in Santa Rosa, CA, for more than 30 years. In October 2017, wildfires tore through Santa Rosa, destroying 5,000 homes. Chris lost both his home and his business, and more than half a dozen houses Chris had built over the years were burned to the ground.

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From woodworking to winemaking, hair salons to Heidi's salsa - QB Community has been celebrating National Small Business Week by highlighting amazing small business owners from a wide variety of sectors. Here they are rocking it, in case you missed them.

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Chris Rhodes has run his own construction company in Santa Rosa, CA for more than 30 years. A respected small business owner and community member, Chris remodeled existing houses and built new homes, including his own, all over the area. But in October 2017, wildfires tore through Santa Rosa, completely destroying entire suburban neighborhoods. Chris and his wife, Liz, fled for their lives. When the smoke finally began to clear and the embers cooled, Chris learned he’d lost his home -- and seven others he’d built nearby were gone, too.

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Diane Weiss is an Intuit executive by day. By night (well, at least for a few evenings a week), she’s an active member of the Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI). For Diane, “active” means more than just practicing her mesmerizing art of blowing glass. It also means teaming up with other dedicated BAGI members to keep the only glass-arts “hot shop” in the area open for business. That’s been particularly challenging since the institute lost its lease two years ago after 15 years in the same spot in downtown San Jose.

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QuickBooks celebrates Heidi! In honor of Small Business Week, QuickBooks wanted to lend a hand driving new customers to stores that sell Heidi’s delicious salsa. By providing new engaging social and digital content so more people than ever will be able to dip into Heidi’s treasured family recipe.

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