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Entrepreneur In The Spotlight: Get To Know The Amazingly Talented Julie Dugoff Waxman

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Julie Dugoff Waxman is the founder and CEO of Baked in Color, a rainbow and custom colored chocolate chip cookies company. Launched in May 2016, Baked in Color now operates a New York City location and they ship their cookies nationwide. Their customers love their cookies and they are positioned for further growth to keep up with the demand.

StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Julie to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

My name is Julie Dugoff Waxman and I am the founder and CEO of Baked in Color, a rainbow, and custom colored chocolate chip cookies company. Launched in May 2016, Baked in Color now operates a New York City location and we ship our cookies nationwide. Baked in Color offers the first rainbow and custom colored chocolate chip cookies. Happy, fun and delicious, these cookies can be customized by color for all of life’s special occasions: holidays, mitzvahs, corporate events, college acceptance, school spirit, sports events, birthday parties, you name it!

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Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

As a student at Cornell, I founded and ran a cookie delivery business, Quickie Cookie. We baked, packaged and delivered fresh cookies, with a quart of milk (think Insomnia cookies). I sold the company and spent the next several years working in Corporate Retail at Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s. While working for these companies, I developed my skills in business development, strategic and financial planning, merchandising, team building, negotiation, and marketing. After twenty years in corporate retail, I was excited to launch my own business.

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? How did you get the idea to start Baked in Color?

Chocolate chip cookies are America’s #1 dessert and colorfulrainbow desserts are the #1 social media dessert trend. I was inspired most by the rainbow bagel. Rainbow bagels look incredibly cool but don’t taste great. I had a delicious recipe for chocolate chip cookies and knew that if I could figure out how to execute color, I would have something very trend right and extremely marketable. Thousands of test batches later, Baked in Color was born.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Social media has been the big driver for Baked in Color. We started posting our cookies on Instagram and were quickly noticed by food influencers who posted the cookies on their Instagram and Facebook feeds. Six months after our launch, INSIDER took notice and shot a feature for their INSIDER FOOD and INSIDER DESSERT platforms. The video went viral, receiving over 7 Million views on Facebook, in addition to millions of views on Instagram. Baked in Color was also featured by Today.Com, Huffington Post and Spoon University. The media exposure drove our sales tenfold, putting our brand on the map and driving corporate business, such as Goldman Sachs, Barney’s NY, and Time Inc.

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Where/how can we get our hands on your cookies?

Baked in Color has a New York City location at TurnstyleNYC, the underground market at Columbus Circle, at 58th street and Broadway. We deliver throughout Westchester County and NYC and ship nationwide. We specialize in both personal and corporate events. Orders can be placed online at www.bakedincolor.com. In addition to our online offering, we customize cookie colors and packaging to make the perfect dessert or party favor for your special occasion or event.

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What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

GO FOR IT! Be patient and stay positive. Work hard and move forward each day. Things will not always go well but don’t get discouraged. Some days will bring opportunities and others will bring knocks. Hang in there. It’s a long haul. Don’t take rejection personally just move on to the next opportunity, of which there are countless. Be aware of the competition but don’t get bogged down by it. Network, network, network. It’s free to ask so ask others for help; people are generally happy to help. You can learn from most people and often each meeting leads to another opportunity. Follow your instincts but pivot when things aren’t going well; cut your losses and move on.

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How This Man Made The Leap From Trainee To Becoming A Successful Celebrity Designer

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Kosh Veneficae Himal started his fashion journey with his mother when he was just 13 years old, she used to be a bridal designer/fashion stylist/ hair and makeup artist, and they used to work together a lot with her clients. Years later he started volunteering for the Colombo Fashion Week helping models to change and get them ready for the show, and that’s when Adam Flamer-Caldera scouted him and introduced him to his sister Anjuli Flamer Caldera. Eventually, he was hired as a model scout/model agent at a leading model agency in Sri Lanka. Fast forward to today and he’s now the talent manager of the agency in Sri Lanka and a proud owner of three successful brands – KOSHE , KALON, and KH2.

We recently caught up with Kosh Veneficae Himal to talk about his journey in the fashion industry and here’s what went down:

Tell us your full name and something about yourself.

I started my Fashion journey with my mother when I was 13 years old, she used to be a bridal designer/fashion stylist/ hair and makeup artist, and we used to work together a lot with her clients. Since my childhood, I was very excited and curious about this industry and mostly I was very fond of fabrics and colors. After my high school education, I managed to do my higher studies at Plymouth University and I was majoring in events, tourism, and hospitality BSc. Meanwhile, during my vacation time, I started to follow my heart and launched my red carpet couture clothing line under the brand name of KOSHE. Most of the celebrities pageant queens and models loved my work and started to buy my designs (that’s how I became a celebrity designer), My very first celebrity actress was Nipunika Hewagamage and she’s one of the reasons why I am here today.

Back in 2015, I was awarded as the best designer of the year and then got the opportunity to showcase my designs at the Asian European Fashion Week in Paris – I was the youngest fashion designer in Sri Lanka who got the opportunity to showcase in an international platform and then I signed a contract with them as a spokesperson. Ever since then I find new talents from around the world so I can give them the opportunity to shine.

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How did you get into the fashion industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?

I used to volunteer for the Colombo Fashion Week backstage – I was helping models to change and get them ready for the show. The atmosphere in that place was wonderful and I was in love with that story. During one of those days, Adam Flamer-Caldera scouted me and introduced me to his sister Anjuli Flamer Caldera who is one of my good friends and she hired me as a model scout/model agent at the leading model agency in Sri Lanka (The Agency Sri Lanka). Working with them was amazing and from that day on I started a new page in my fashion diary. Now I am the Talent manager of The Agency Sri Lanka and a proud owner of three successful brands – KOSHE , KALON and KH2.

My best friend Manasha and I started to style for many clients under the brand name of two broke stylists. I have to say we have styled for several big campaigns and big celebrities such as Brett Lee, Nick Saglimbeni ( A photographer from the Keeping up with the Kardashians) as well as many music videos for leading artists in Sri Lanka as well,
So my fashion journey is still going on.

What do you like most about being a designer?

The most amazing thing about being a designer /stylist is that I get to create new looks, new trends, and new dreams. That’s one of the most awesome things about being a part of this industry. I also get to work with different people all the time, one of my favorite parts of being a designer/stylist is that I get to meet new friends, clients, working partners.

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The downside to being a fashion designer?

The stress and workload! Managing an international talent management firm, styling, lecturing and designing is very hard to manage at the same time, so the level of stress is super high.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

Well, this is a good question, From the day I step into this industry, the entire journey has been a magical and memorable one. I can’t pick one specific experience though!

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Adam Flamer Caldera – Male supermodel in Sri Lanka and the USA, my best friends – Manasha ( Stylist and a Fashion designer ) and Riaan George ( Luxury blogger and Social media influencer).

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry.

Follow your dream and focus on your success, Earn people more than money. Do not let others get credit for your fame and your achievements.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

They are very supportive and my mother and father are the reason for all my success.

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What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

Well, I took a big step as the manager of The Agency Sri Lanka, I believe that is a big progression in my career and I started new project called TAS WORKSHOP 101 with our very own Male Top Model Tymo – my new business partner along with The Agency Sri Lanka – a training program for models and anyone interested in this industry, this platform is a proper finishing course.

Currently, I’, working on my own YouTube Talk show, we are still planning and working on the concept of the show, I want it to be different and a special show that helps the community and the film, Fashion, Drama and music industry of Sri Lanka. I also have a plan to move to India to explore more opportunities.

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The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: 6 UNDERGROUND
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Beauty means everything around us, but only the unique eye can catch the real beauty.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Have my own studio / Style house ( Retail, Styling, Photography, Runway rehearsing ) a complete fashion style house / Studio
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” be more open about my opinion regarding some of these local Instagram influencers and models.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? I actually love everything about myself, so I don’t know how to answer that question, (laughs) but I would like to say it’s my skin color.

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How This Woman Made The Leap From Architecture To Becoming A Digital Dating Disruptor

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Lori Cheek is an NYC based architect turned entrepreneur, Founder, and CEO of Cheekd that removes the “missed” from “missed connections.” After working in architecture, furniture, and design for 15 years, she came up with an idea that lead her into the NYC world of technology and dating. She has been coined “the Digital Dating Disruptor,” listed as one of 12 “Inspirational Women in Tech to Follow and as one of AlleyWatch’s 20 most awesome people to know in the NYC tech scene. She’s also a Shark Tank Vet, a TEDx Speaker and has been featured in Forbes, The NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, The NY Observer, Entrepreneur Mag, Fast Company, Inc Magazine and so much more.

When most people would have quit years ago, she only hustled harder to keep her dream alive! She could be the walking poster child for the age-old phrase, “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” It wasn’t an easy ride but she’s never been happier in her life. A lightbulb moment 9 years ago changed her life forever, she left her $120K a year (60 hour work week) design job and now she owns a business that Wired Magazine recently questioned, “Is this the future of online dating?” She has gone from 15 years of helping others build their dreams to a life finally dedicated to building her own.

StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Lori Cheek and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

I’m Lori Cheek, an NYC based architect turned entrepreneur, Founder, and CEO of Cheekd that removes the “missed” from “missed connections.” After working in architecture, furniture, and design for 15 years, I came up with an idea that led me into the NYC world of technology and dating. I completely threw away my design career and I’m no longer building structures, I’m now building relationships.

In February of 2008, I was out to dinner with an architectural colleague. He’d spotted an attractive woman at a nearby table and scribbled, “Want to have dinner?” on the back of his business card and slipped it to her as we were leaving the restaurant. He left with a date. I left with an idea. After over two years of brainstorming how to remove the “business” out of the business card, I launched Cheekd– a deck of ice-breaking dating cards with a unique code that lead the recipient to the privacy protected online dating profile of the mysterious stranger who slipped them the card where the two could start communicating online. It was like online dating but backward. We’ve since pivoted Cheekd into a hyper-speed mobile dating app that gives users the ability to never miss a real-life potential “love connection” thanks to a cross-platform low energy Bluetooth technology, which sends users an immediate notification when someone (within their criteria) comes within a 30-foot radius of them. It’s real-time and works on a subway or a plane without any cellular connection.

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?

I’ve got a laser-focused vision to succeed and will do almost anything to keep this business flourishing. I’m actually not surprised by my determination because as long as I can remember, I’ve been extremely stubborn. When most people would have quit, I only hustled harder. I think my personal approach, passion, and dedication mixed with my relentless conviction that failure is not an option has been the recipe that has lead to my current success. I could be the poster child for the age-old phrase “what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger.” No matter what… in the end, I’m going to have a magical story to tell.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

Social media and international PR coverage have both been our strongest tool for growth other than our epic brutal bloodbath on ABC’s prime time reality show, Shark Tank, over four years ago. It’s one of the most-watched television shows in America and not only did we gain an outrageous number of customers after it aired but our episode re-airs on CNBC all the time. We always get a blast of users downloading our app all over the world after it airs.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

We’re on all of them but mainly use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Instagram.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

Over the past eight years, our business has been featured in dozens of the most prominent news and technology websites including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Tech Crunch, Inc, Fast Company, Wired Magazine, and countless others.” We’ve been very fortunate to have the press on our side. We’ve built a unique way for singles to break the ice. We’re giving our members a new real-life tool to use as an alternative to missed connections taking place every day.

While there are over 102 million single adults above the age of 18 in America alone, a 25-year-old online dating industry is experiencing serious fatigue and has failed to create a viable alternative to the existing online model. People want to make connections in the real world. We are doing our best to give our customers the most organic, unique real-life experience based on initial chemistry and that’s what has consistently made us stand out above the others.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

I discovered early on that in a very saturated startup space, it’s crucial to make a splash. Creative marketing quickly became my forte. Not only has it paid off in so many amazing ways, but it’s also been loads of fun. I’ve managed to land myself in The New York Times, The Washington Post, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Inc., Shark Tank, Forbes and many many more publications all over the world. One of my favorite stories was from Dublin’s Web Summit when over 800 startups were exhibiting (90% of them were men) and I decided to stand out by wearing Angel Wings throughout the conference (I have a dating business). When I was checking out of my hotel, I looked down at Judy Dench on the cover of the Irish Times and there I was right next to her (me on my laptop with my Angel Wings— inside there was another 1/4 page picture mentioning my business). Ireland knew about Cheekd.com.

How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

Our dating app sets itself apart from our competing billion-dollar companies because it gives you the option to interact with a match before starting a virtual relationship with the compatible user. After setting up your profile and desired filters, Cheekd will then send you notifications when a potential match is nearby. Instead of encouraging users to continue to hide behind a screen, Cheekd pushes you to engage in social settings while paying attention to potential matches in the area. Our new dating app gives us the power to light the spark face-to-face first and leave the talking for later. And because Cheekd uses Bluetooth, it doesn’t require an Internet connection to function so connections can be made on the subway, a plane… anywhere— You’ll get a notification if someone who meets your criteria is within 30 feet of you. If you’re near a potential spark, Cheekd makes sure you know about it. It’s like online dating but it starts in the real world.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

When we got covered in the New York Times nearly eight years ago, our site got traffic from all over the world until Cheekd.com crashed. Once the site came back to life, we got orders all over the country. The Cheekd business model was based on a recurring subscription model once users made their initial purchase. Soon after, we realized that our web developer (based in London) had the button ticked “OFF” that captured our user’s credit card information and was unable to enroll them into our recurring subscription. With hundreds of new signups, we lost nearly $30,000 from this simple mistake. I joke now that our London based web developer is lucky that he didn’t live in America at the time. We immediately got that button fixed.

What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?

My definition of wealth has changed drastically since I started my business in 2010. Cheekd has been the most powerful thing that’s ever happened to me. Building this business has been an incredible learning experience. I’ve taken a major risk (both financially & mentally) and surrendered my career in architecture & design, but my heart and mind are in this project every waking moment. I’ve never been more dedicated to anything. Despite the occasional overwhelming stress, it’s been loads of fun. I feel like I’m living the American Dream. I’ve gone from 15 years of helping build someone else’s dream to a life dedicated to building my own– Success to me is to be able to spend your life in your own way. I no longer have a job, I have a lifestyle and am miraculously always working but I’ve never been happier because I love what I do.

What new business would you love to start?

Aside from my mission in hopes of connecting people in the real world, my other passion is fitness. I, personally, am always looking to make workout buddies and can rarely get my own network to join me. My new app idea is to connect like-minded people that can connect to work out together. I think it’ll be such an amazing motivation for everyone to stay committed while making friends at the same time.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

Having brought the wrong team on board when I first started building my business nearly five years ago. If I’d known what I know now… I wish someone had told me the importance of having a technical co-founder on board when I started out. I had a team, but the two gentlemen I brought on had the same exact background. I didn’t need two of the same skill sets. The technical aspect of my business has been one of the bigger challenges I’ve faced and it’s the one thing I definitely would have approached differently from day one.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?

I wish I’d been able to tell myself that building a business doesn’t make for an overnight success. I believed so much in my idea that after our launch, I thought I was going to be a billionaire by the end of the year! Eight years into the entrepreneurial hustle, I’ve learned that entrepreneurship is being on a mission where nothing can stop you. It will take twice as long as you’d hoped, cost exceedingly more than you’d ever budgeted and will be more challenging than anything you’ll ever try but if you give it your all and refuse to give up, you can trust it will be the ride of a lifetime. No matter what… this has been the most rewarding journey of my life. My advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to be brave and follow your instincts. You can’t cheat the grind, but if you give it your all, you can trust that the payoff will be worth it.

Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?

My favorite brain fuel right now is Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg— an engaging read where the author shares all sorts of fascinating secrets of being productive in both life and business. He explains how in today’s world, managing how you think rather than what you think can transform your life. Not only has the book helped me reassess my daily motivation and goals, but it’s also helped me create some interesting new productivity hacks to allow me to get things accomplished smarter, faster and better.

As an avid guerrilla and creative startup marketer/ tech startup founder, another one of my favorite business books is The Purple Cow by Seth Godin. It’s all about standing out from the masses and transforming your business by being remarkable.

One of my favorite quotes out of this book::: “You must design a product that is remarkable enough to attract the early adopters – but is flexible enough and attractive enough that those adopters will have an easy time spreading the idea.”

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Surround yourself with the people you want to become.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

My strongest advice for others considering taking the leap is if you truly believe in your idea, give up excuses and doubt, surround yourself by a trusted and talented team, bulldoze forward and DON’T. LOOK. BACK.

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Rising Entrepreneur Spotlight: Get To Know Noel And Waseem Ballou

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Foodeez is a boutique creative digital agency focused exclusively on creating content for food and beverage brands. The co-founders, Noel and Waseem Ballou, are brothers who have invested their own resources and bootstrapped their way to creating this full-service agency, without a single investor.

StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with these inspiring entrepreneurs and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

I came from a business management background. I started this business with my brother when we saw a need with brands lacking social marketing services and felt it was something we both truly understood. Together we both started this agency with the main focus in creating high-quality content with the appropriate brand direction.

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?

I still don’t feel we’ve reached “success.” I always hit a milestone and feel I need to set a bigger and harder one to chase and set that as the new standard of success. It continues to push my brother, my team, and myself. Starting this company fresh out college, I had 0 income and felt that it’s now or never if I want to start a company and dove straight in – and there was no looking back. I never imagined the company to get to this size, I always envisioned it to be about 5-10 people, but we are at 30 people and working with over 75 clients every month.

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What is your main source of income?

Our main sources of income come from our content creation and production departments.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

I am always looking for new strategies to maintain lean operations yet maintain the high-quality output we stand-by. Aside from internal strategizes, we are always looking for new services we can provide to our current/potential clients as well as new avenues we can take the direction of the company that may have strong long term benefits.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

High-quality content with a fast turnaround!

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Word of mouth. Ever since we’ve started our business has been driven by cold calls and referral business. Only recently have we got aggressive with our PR and digital marketing. But moving forward we are focusing our efforts on traditional PR and digital marketing.

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How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

We solely do Food & Beverage and nothing else. A lot of other businesses who do production and content creation don’t specialize in it (they other their services to other industries i.e. fashion, lifestyle, fitness, etc). We have a team of true foodies that are the best in their fields.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Expanding our office and scaling the team. As owners, we’ve really had to tighten our belts and make sure we can afford such a move. We’ve not only doubled our office space but have doubled the team to gear us towards an influx of work.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

Budgeting and sticking tight to your budget. It’s so easy to swipe your credit card and get carried away. But budgeting is crucial. Oh, and save. There is nothing better than having cash on hand especially when you need it!

What have you learned in the process of becoming successful that others can learn from?

There is no such thing as an overnight success. I read a quote that goes “An overnight success usually takes 10 years”. Don’t expect to start a company and be successful tomorrow. It’s a lot of hustling & grinding, but the return of seeing the product you built is significantly rewarding.

What new business would you love to start?

Our own line of products… Which are actually in the works! Being in the food and beverage industry we’ve been able to partner with some of our clients in creating new private-label brands that will focus strictly online vs the traditional retailer route.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

Save, save, and budget! The saying money doesn’t grow on trees is 100% true! Being a small company we’ve invested in foolish items. Looking back at it, if we saved that money and invested it in other avenues we could have been in a different place.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?

Stay focused and don’t try to do too much at one time. Organize your tasks and projects and put 101% into each and everything you do. Don’t stress yourself over the little things, just develop a checklist and knock things off 1 by 1.

Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?

Sell or be sold by Grant Cardone. Everything in business and life is sales, make sure you’re always ready and looking for the right opportunity. If you don’t reach for it, someone else will.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Keep your head up and stay humble.

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What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

When you start hiring people, make sure you hire people that truly believe in your vision and have a passion for what you believe in as well. There is a lot of speed bumps in the beginning and you want them to be there with you helping push through the early barriers.

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Here Are The 4 Most Common Mistakes Successful Leaders Know to Avoid

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Becoming a successful leader is the aspiration of many ambitious and entrepreneurial individuals; The number of books tackling the issue of leadership is many, with lots of successful leaders looking to monetize their own success by writing guidebooks, the wealth of information is substantial. However, the tips and guidance on offer cannot be fully realized if the following common mistakes are being made…

1. Lack of communication

 Whilst some leaders may have all the needed and desirable traits to progressively manage a business and guide their team, being unable to listen and appreciate the importance of communication can be a major factor in restricted development, not only in yourself but the company as a whole too. It can also be discouraging for your employees if they do not feel that their suggestions and opinions are being listened to or understood.

 You could be missing out on a plethora of insightful information and interesting notes that could help to improve and develop the company, from the gardener mowing the lawn of your premises to the bookkeeper in your accounts department, you never know what gem of information you could be missing out on.

2. Micromanaging

 A rather common complaint from employees in reference to their team leaders, supervisors or managers is their lack of trust to let employees perform their own tasks without interference or micromanaging. The term is defined as controlling every part of a business or process. Instead of delegating, a manager will ‘look over the shoulder’ at each stage of an employee’s responsibility or job process and provide advice and guidance that could be largely necessary.

 Employees are hired for their ability and competence to perform certain tasks within a business, if the manager begins doing these tasks for them, instead of providing instructions only, they are not only wasting their time (that could be better spent on higher-level tasks) they are potentially aggravating an employee who may end up feeling restricted and under-appreciated.

3. Not setting a good example

 Holding onto unnecessary anger, wanting to gain revenge on competitors or other employees, cheating and gossiping are all traits that have no place in a leadership role. One particularly bad trait is not being able to admit when you are wrong; Perfectionism is unobtainable, no one is perfect, so do not shy away from your mistakes. Employees will learn a valuable lesson from your ability to own your mistakes, it promotes honesty and learning in the workplace.

4. Lack of forward-thinking

 Being a successful leader is not just about enduring through the day or week, successful leaders are proactive and they plan ahead. They look to the future and prepare for it with small and decisive changes that will better the company, whether that be in increasing revenue or a thriving and happy workplace environment

To conclude, leadership is not just about bettering yourself, but your employees, strategies, future planning and the business as a whole. Your actions and reactions have a direct, if subtle, effect on every aspect of the business. To be successful you must present yourself in a way that reflects what you believe to be the core values of your business.

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4 Essential Characteristics Of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

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Millionaires, billionaires, successful entrepreneurs and CEOs. What do they all have in common? Are there any particular characteristics that they possess that helps to define a successful entrepreneur? Below are 4 of the most common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

1. Excellent Communication and People Skills

A successful entrepreneur is highly confident in their ability to communicate with different groups of people, from all walks of life, from the factory workers who may create their product to their potential investors and peers. They are usually excellent at sparking motivation and enthusiasm in their workers and their excitement is contagious.

 Their confidence in talking to people is of paramount importance to their success, as businesses develop more efficiently when the entrepreneur or owner engages in networking and communication with others who will help to advance the business. Successful conversations with manufacturers and a good rapport with their staff help them to stand apart from their competitors.

2.  Self-Motivated and Determined

 A successful entrepreneur does not need their motivation to come from an external source, they are determined to succeed and will always be moving forward to realize their goals. Whenever they hit a bump in the road or become discouraged their determination is the force that drives them to keep moving and seek an alternative path to solve the problems they may be facing.

3. Passion and Belief

 We are not talking about passion in the romantic sense. Successful entrepreneurs are highly excited and motivated by their goals. The care and attention they provide to their business almost never switches off, they pour their heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears into their business and they love their work; The joy they receive from their daily work goes beyond the salary they seek to earn.

4. Forward-thinking and willing to take risks

 Looking to the future (and sometimes the past) is an important approach for a successful entrepreneur. Planning ahead and making decisions today that affect tomorrow can be a hard weight to bear. These types of individuals will usually possess some form of schedule or timeline that maps out the success they wish to achieve, this can be in the form of a 5 year or 10-year plan. Do they plan to branch out into a new market, outsource their manufacturing or they may even wish to sell the company at some stage, these decisions must be considered well in advance of their execution.

 Every successful entrepreneur has to possess the ability to make hard decisions and potentially take risks. It is hard to conduct business without the possibility of any risk, small or large, a decision must be reached, and a successful entrepreneur will not look to others for action, they must provide the action themselves.

Confidence, motivation, passion and forward-thinking, these characteristics amalgamated together create one potent mix for an incredibly successful entrepreneur. When you possess an idea or concept that you know you must realize, these traits will come to you naturally as you strive to make your idea a reality.

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4 Ways To Think Like A Self-Made Millionaire

A lot of people think that becoming a millionaire is simply a matter of coming up with a great business idea or working your way to the top of a Fortune 500 company.

What they don’t realize is that many people who earn upwards of 100k per year are still living paycheck to paycheck.

The road to financial independence is not based entirely on your income, it has more to do with how you think about money. This article lists four key components very necessary for the millionaire mindset.

Mastering them isn’t guaranteed to make you rich, but it is certainly going to get you on the right path.

Differentiate Between Profits and Losses

We as a whole know the customary meaning of assets. Things like homes, speculations, and money all include a huge in addition to sign to your total assets. In any case, a benefit is not simply something that has value. It’s something that includes value.

Identify Avenues for Additional Income

The vast majority gain their living by working an occupation. This is a case of an active income. You need to go to work each weekday, on the off chance that you need to keep on earning. In case you decide to quit going to work, you quit the flow of income. Your wages are constrained by the amount you can work. For the vast majority, creating automated revenue is a basic matter of making some monetary ventures. Putting resources into the right stocks or bonds can gain you profit each month, without requiring any immediate association on your part. Numerous businessmen search for different avenues of easy revenue, for instance, venture properties that are leased through an administration organization.

Don’t Fear

Fear can kill a person. No successful businessman ever became a millionaire or billionaire with fear in their minds. Risky investments and executive decisions have to be made in order to guarantee success. Yes, going over the board and making illogical decisions is absolutely not preferred but this does not mean one cannot think out of the box.

Live Below Your Means

It doesn’t make a difference in the case that you make $20 thousand every year or $200 thousand, it’s vital that you live beneath your means. Individuals have a characteristic propensity to begin spending when their wage increments, however, you need to spare whatever cash you can. Begin today. Regardless of the possibility that you can just spare $10 every month, it will be a start. Next time your wage expands, whether it’s a raise or one of your ventures, attempt to add this cash to your reserve funds, rather than spending it updating your way of life.

To conclude, the following steps are not guaranteed to make one an instant millionaire but if followed consistently and with diligence, can become the basis or platform for success down the road.

One has to evaluate and identify their decisions in order to be successful and make the most of the knowledge and resources available to them.

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You Deserve To Be Rich! You Can Follow These 3 Simple Tips To Help You Eventually Get There

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Image via Shutterstock / Syda Productions

There are plenty of ways to accumulate wealth. However, the first thing that you need to know is that winning a huge lottery does not make you a millionaire – it makes you the same regular person with a lot of money. The difference is sky-high. Being a self-made millionaire is something which is going to give you confidence, power, respect, reputation, influence and a sense of accomplishment. You don’t get that by accidentally winning a large pile of cash just because you scratched a few lucky numbers. If you truly want to know how to be rich one day, here are a few helpful tips.

Get Rid of the Misconceptions

Clear your mind. That’s the first thing you need to do. There are no such things as getting rich overnight. Every dollar that you earn comes with sweat on your forehead and loads of effort carried on your back. It comes with a lot of work and dedication. Being a millionaire is not just a state of economic wealth – it’s a state of mind. If you keep finding for that magic trick that’s going to make you millions in a day, you are just wasting your time, and you would never become an actual millionaire.

Set Achievable Goals

Baby steps – that’s the way to do it if you don’t have tremendous amounts of support, of course. Sure, it’s hard, but it definitely isn’t impossible. However, you need to identify your goal and reach for it. In order to do so, you need to make sure that you set achievable goals, not easy ones – achievable ones. There is a huge difference. Learning how to be a millionaire will show you that you need motivation – lots of it. And, there is nothing more motivating than accomplishing a goal.

Don’t Quit

Don’t quite on anything or on anyone unless there is absolutely no other way or you see that it brings in more harm than potential good. When you set your mind to something, just do it. Don’t look for excuses. Every failure is your fault, regardless of what happens. If an earthquake hits and destroys your building – you should have built it better. Of course, there are things that you can’t prevent, but you shouldn’t use them as an excuse. Instead, try to seek out motivation in every single thing. Isolate actionable consequences and make sure to act upon them – thrive, change, fail and try again – this is the only way to get where you truly want to be.

As we approach the end of 2016, I would like to send my thanks to all of our readers and staff for what has been another great year for us. I am aware of the amazing work that is being done across all areas of our company so I’m very proud of what we have accomplished and delivered as a team this year. The end of this year also marks StarCentral Magazine’s 10 year anniversary and I would like to thank God for keeping us alive throughout the years. My best wishes to all of you for the holiday season and I hope you all have an enjoyable time with your family and friends. God bless.

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Want To Become A Multi-Millionaire?? Follow These 3 Steps

Building wealth is probably the most spoken about topic across the world and will be for years to come. How to make money is the 24th most Googled question in the world that’s 246,000 individuals per month hoping to find answers.

You can earn more and save for your future easily, but many people get caught up in the old saying “You have to have money to make money.” If you have this mindset, you have already set yourself up for failure. The truth is you have to be driven, be willing to work hard now and invest so you see a return on capital.

Property won’t make you wealthy overnight, but it is a great first step to financial freedom – a great form of income for you and your family in the future. The Sydney residential property market alone has increased by 74% since 2012[1]. Sydney offers promising returns for investors and the long-term outlook for this market is positive.

Follow our three simple steps to wealth and find out just how easy it can be to build your wealth.

1. Using the family home to build a property portfolio

If you have equity in your own home, do you know that you’ve already taken the important first step in your property journey? That’s because the family home can be more than a great place to raise your children. It can be a powerful tool for growing your wealth and setting up your financial future.

After all, a lender may let you use the equity you already have in your home to fund the purchase of an investment property. That means you may not need any further deposit. Meanwhile, the rent your tenant pays should help you meet the cost of taking out your new loan.

2. Renting and buying simultaneously

Think you can’t afford to buy where you want to live but still want to get a foot on the property ladder? Try the ‘Buy and Rent’, model. Under this strategy, which PIA pioneered back in 2005, you can rent where you’d prefer to be based on your lifestyle, study or work. If you earn $70,000 annually, you could buy an investment property worth $650,000 for as little as $42 a week, out of pocket.

3. Helping the children

Worried your children will never be able to afford to buy a property? By using the equity in your own home, you may be able to get into a property without the need to save a deposit. If they’re not ready to leave home just yet, you can secure and manage a tenant who’ll help pay off your loan until they do.

It’s never to later or early to start thinking about the future and making a plan, invest in property to secure a comfortable, stress-free future for you and your family, build your property portfolio and build your wealth.

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Introducing Melissa Dumaz – The CEO Of U Help You

MelMelissa Dumaz is a licensed marriage and family therapist in a private practice in Torrance, CA. Her business is called “U Help You,” where she strongly believes that we all have the capacity to heal and get from point A to point B; we just sometimes need someone to help us discover and use the tools that are within us.

She originally began her Private Practice in 2010 and then took a break once she became pregnant with her first son in 2012. She focused on motherhood with her three children for 5 years. In 2017 she relaunched her private practice where she saw clients for counseling sessions, speaking engagements, and provide consultations. She predominately works with women that are processing and healing from past and recent traumas and grief & loss. She also works with moms and moms-to-be on supporting their motherhood journey and finding a balance between who they are as women and mothers. She is passionate about helping others to live their best life, Her goal for her business is to reach more women by way of individual sessions, group therapy, support groups, speaking platforms, and book releases.

We recently caught up with Melissa to talk about her company and her entrepreneurial journey and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist in a private practice in Torrance, CA. My business is called U Help You, where I strongly believe that we have the capacity to heal and get from point A to point B; we just sometimes need someone to help us discover and use the tools that are within us. We are the expert of us and one of the strongest things we can do is to ask for help when we need it.

In 2017 I relaunched my Private Practice where I see clients for counseling sessions, speaking engagements, and provide consultations. I predominately work with women that are processing and healing from past and recent traumas and grief & loss. I also work with moms and moms-to-be on supporting their motherhood journey and finding a balance between who they are as women and mothers. I am passionate about helping others to live their best life!

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start?

I originally began my private practice in 2010 and then took a break once I became pregnant with my first son in 2012. I focused on motherhood with my three children for 5 years.

What is your main source of income?

My main source of income is through private clients, speaking engagements, and therapy groups.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

Marketing and building relationships with other professionals in my field. My goal for my business is to reach more women by way of individual sessions, group therapy, support groups, speaking platforms, and book releases. My business is still considered a small business, however, it is growing. I want others to know that their goals and business visions can come to life with dedication, discipline, belief, and a positive attitude. I especially want moms to know that their life as women continue after we birth our children and that if we decide to we can return to the workforce and even be our own boss.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

I use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?

I use it periodically and have a monthly budget for it. I believe it works, but it’s all in the timing.

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What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

I use social media marketing and speaking engagements.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Online Therapy directories.

How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

I promote therapy as a form of self-care and as a rams of exerting strength by seeking help.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

How much to include in my marketing budget and where to spend my marketing dollars.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

I would focus on a specific niche and areas specific to your exact clientele instead of grabbing everything that comes your way just for the money.

What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?

Always remember your why and stick to that. Be honest, keep customer service first, and build the dream that was placed in your heart and the money will flow from that.

What new business would you love to start?

A Wellness Center that encompasses mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would put more focus on my individual clients and not on contracts with mental health agencies and I would have invested earlier in my niche market.

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If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?

I would encourage myself to be clear in my message and my vision.

Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Gentlewoman by Enitan Bereola
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by David Covey
The Power of the Now by Eckart Toole
The Millionaire Mind
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

I was reminded that I am building a business. Yes, I’m a therapist, but my Private Practice is a business.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

Brainstorm the type of business you want to have, what are your business goals, and then build from that. The foundation of your business, just as the foundation of your house is what you want to build upon. Being an entrepreneur comes with a new level of responsibility, however, it also comes with a new level of freedom that is priceless.

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How To Be A Smart Entrepreneur And Actually Succeed In Business

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image via Shutterstock / Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

A lot of write-ups and books are available on topics about entrepreneurship, tips to become a successful entrepreneur and testimonials of successful entrepreneurs, among others. For some, there’s an impression that entrepreneurship is such a big word and an insurmountable ordeal. That it entails huge capital and a lot of machinery for one to become a successful entrepreneur. As explained well in books and write-ups, it is not a big word and only need simple elements to become a successful one. As being said, entrepreneurship is not a difficult ordeal to achieve. My take on this is every person can be an entrepreneur and a successful one in his own right. Having one’s own business even with a very small capital is already entrepreneurship. This last part is what I want to share as a successful entrepreneurship story of my close female friend.

My friend whose parents refused to support her college education made her way through college by putting a very low budgeted small eatery with some school supplies for sale with the help of some loan assistance and with the guidance of a business-minded friend. Her small eatery’s income was her main, and most of the time her only sole source of funds, that she used to pay for her tuition and other school fees. It also supported some of her family’s daily needs. There were also some desperate times where she needed to avail herself of small loans from loan sharks just so she can adequately finance her business and pay her tuition fees when her business income was not sufficient. Her limited finances and her being a self-supporting student did not discourage her a bit to pursue her college degree.

After she graduated from college with a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree, she decided to concentrate on her small business rather than become a mere employee to companies, big or small. With sheer hard work, love, and passion, she has now opened a new branch and so she is now operating two eateries that just started as a low budgeted business! Now, she is enjoying running her eateries and is now able to buy things with her business income which she could not afford during her college days. She is now so able to support her family’s needs and contribute to paying the bills.

My friend’s story tells that one need not have a huge capital to be an entrepreneur and be successful at it. I am truly proud of what my friend has achieved after all the obstacles and hardships that she had to undergo which others may not be able to surmount. Based on her story, it just needs guts, determination, passion, a sense of purpose and refusal to succumb to mediocrity to flourish into becoming your own boss and not just having a boss. Of course, hard work takes a big portion of the success pie. She is an example of a successful entrepreneur in its simplest and truest sense.

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Multimillionaires Have 4 Habits That Help Them Build Wealth

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Do you want to know how to be a multimillionaire? One thing that you need to know is that multimillionaires don’t follow the same path towards their success. However, it is easy to decipher their financial success because there are several habits that they have in common. Below are some of the habits of financially successful individuals that you should emulate.

Optimizer

One of the traits that multimillionaires have in common is that they employ an efficient financial system. They put their bills on auto-payment to make sure that they are paid on time. They do this to avoid paying late fees.

They also invest money on a regular basis by deducting the amount from their paycheck, or from their checking account. Automating their investments each month is one step on how to be rich.

Pay Attention to Details

A multimillionaire pays close attention to all the details. One knows the amount of cash that’s sitting idle in a savings account and will invest them for a higher rate of return such as the right property. One will also notice when the phone bill or utility bill is higher than usual. One will find out why the bills are higher, especially if the consumption or level of service is the same. Another thing that a multimillionaire does is look at the terms and conditions before signing any contract. This will ensure that they get what they expect, and will not get any surprise expense in the future.

Continuous Learner

More often than not, successful people get a good education. They have a degree in a field that provides a high chance of earning big. Doctors, attorneys, and engineers earn more compared to teachers.

One can easily see the benefits of education are in the workplace. Engineers with four-year degrees often make more money compared to drafters and technicians who only have an associate’s degree or a high school diploma.

However, it should be noted that education is not always about making more money. Learning new skills can also save you money in the long run. Some skills that can be helpful include troubleshooting a computer, fixing stuff at home, and managing one’s investments, just to name a few.

Take Risks

If you ask a multimillionaire how to be rich, one will tell you to take calculated risks. Whether it is the stock market or real estate, there are some risks involved, but that didn’t stop them from investing. A lot of people fail to become rich because they fear the possibility of losing money. While becoming a multimillionaire is never a guarantee, exposing oneself to more opportunities can improve the chances of financial success.

These are some of the tips on how to be a multimillionaire. You can try to become rich by following what the multimillionaires do.

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The Life Of An Entrepreneur: Find Out More About The Stunning Meghan Laurie

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Meghan Laurie was originally on a path to becoming an engineer, but then eventually she realized that she just couldn’t see herself enjoying every single day once she started working in that field and that was the most important thing to her.

So she decided to follow a road less traveled – that of an online entrepreneur. She now has a successful business via her Instagram account as an influencer. She has also moved into blogging and created her website, www.meghanlaurie.com. She has two other businesses as well, a boutique called Laurel & Lace (www.instagram.com/shoplaurelandlace, www.laurellace.com) and a social growth agency called SocialHackHub (www.socialhackhub.com).

StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with this inspiring entrepreneur and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

I started college as an engineer, but I just couldn’t see myself enjoying every day once I started working as an engineer and that was the most important thing to me. As I was about to transfer schools (and go into engineering again) I spoke to my mom over the phone and she somehow brought up how creative I was, and how much I loved to go over the top with school projects. She thought that I should try to pursue something in that arena, which is how I got into advertising.

I really think my marketing mindset and creativity is why I am where I am today. For my influencer business, I originally started by taking pictures of my travels and my favorite outfits just for fun. I loved finally having good quality pictures! Then all of a sudden it started to grow.

Because of my success there, I decided that I wanted to start an online women’s clothing boutique, Laurel and Lace, with a friend. All of my social media knowledge really helped here.

And finally, I get so many questions about how to grow a following like mine, so I started a social media growth and consulting company, SocialHackHub.

Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?

I started down the influencer road, the path to all of this, in late 2015. I never imagined I would get to where I am today at all. It all started just for fun, but then it became my fulltime job… which is something I still can’t believe to this day.

What is your main source of income?

Out of the three businesses, I actually make the most from being a social media influencer!

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What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

I constantly try to engage with my audience on all three businesses. I focus solely on organic social media for my businesses, so no paid advertising at all.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

Instagram is the best platform for all three by FAR! I also use Facebook and Twitter.

What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?

I have tried this and while it has given results, I found I can produce similar results organically through hard work, so I like to focus on that.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

My main tactic to gain awareness was to find people I thought would like my brand and engage with them. Show them that I am interested in them and I think they would be interested in me, as well.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Social, social, social!

How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?

As an influencer, I stood out because of a unique social media theme (which is huge these days) and for being open and honest with my followers. I will talk to them about the happiest things in my life and talk about depression and anxiety. I want to promote a healthier social media for everyone.

For my boutique, we are similar to a brick-and-mortar boutique in that we have only a few of each item which makes us an interesting twist on the typical online store.

And for my social growth agency, I stand out because I am living proof that I know what I’m doing!

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What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

The hardest decisions I’ve had to make are who to work with and who to say no to. While I know which brands just won’t fit with my lifestyle and/or my followers, sometimes they do fit but won’t work for some other reason. It can be hard to pass on a brand that I actually do enjoy.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

The biggest money mistakes I made were at the beginning of starting my boutique. We bought a lot of items that did not sell well and tried various unsuccessful marketing tactics, but that experience taught us a LOT. While there was a lot of money lost, it helped us drastically improve.

What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?

I learned that it takes a specific type of personality to be successful as an entrepreneur. You need to always be hungry for more. Always want to achieve more. If you ever feel content with what you have, being truly successful as an entrepreneur isn’t in the cards for you.

What new business would you love to start?

I am always thinking of new business opportunities, but for now, I think what I have is enough.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would have slowed down. I always want things done quickly and that led to mistakes that didn’t need to be made. I would have taken time to do more research, network with experts and taken other opportunities to learn rather than get started right away because of my excitement.

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If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself that any friends lost along the way weren’t true friends, to begin with. I lost a decent amount of friends and started to see people dislike me because they thought I was doing all of this for the wrong reasons. My businesses were not to be in the spotlight, it was to take something I loved and make an income from it. I would get very upset each time this happened, but my life is so much better off now.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I got was from my husband. Every time I wanted to give up due to lack of success, he told me it would pay off eventually. He always pushed me and it is the reason I am where I am today.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

There will be a lot of lows no matter who you are or how much experience you have. But the only way to be successful is to push through. The lows are when you need to put in the most effort rather than backing off.