KNOTEWORTHY: Kristie Dean, The Soul Project

Kristie Dean

Kristie Dean is a Professional Photographer, Mom, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Founder of The Soul Project - a multifaceted mission anchored in Kristie’s desire to use her passion for photography and connection to support women. Her latest launch Soulful Branding provides beautiful lifestyle photography for female owned brands while The Soul Project, her ongoing documentary aims to use vulnerability and storytelling to help women find power in their voices. Kristie is on a mission to promote compassion, self love and tribe while creating images that empower and support women both personally and professionally. We talked to Kristie about how she defines success and more…

What is your mission statement and overall goal for your business?

Our mission at The Soul Project  is to foster emotional growth and wellness for all women. Our supportive community provides a safe platform for women to share and own their story. We promote compassion, self love and tribe by embracing vulnerability and finding our power in it. We believe in always moving toward a better version of ourselves and in fully supporting other women in their journey to do the same.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

I was sick of scrolling social media and feeling like crap - always comparing, judging and finding myself feeling inadequate . I knew I was not alone. As a professional photographer and lover of storytelling, I  wanted to pair my gifts and passions with this mission to create a space for women to lift each other up and inspire one another instead of tearing one another down. I wanted to create a community that was more honest about the real stuff and loved each other because of it. We all have a story. The project was built with the goal of providing women with a space to be vulnerable, to find power in their voice and a space to connect over something real.

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

The women that share their stories each week motivate me to keep going. I have many moments where I feel overwhelmed and like I want to quit. But each week I get messages of how women are healing and connecting through our community and that keeps me motivated to not only keep this going, but keep it growing.

How do you define success?

To me, success is finding happiness living the life you want regardless of what others think. Putting your head down and pushing through obstacles and critics to find yourself on the other side of your goals - no matter how long that may take. Financially speaking I think success is reached when you're able to create the lifestyle and experiences that make you feel content and full-hearted - what that looks like varies from person to person. Success is subjective, but I think the feeling you have when you're truly successful is universal - it’s a feeling of gratitude, fulfillment, connection and pride.

CONNECT WITH KRISTIE:

Website: https://soul-project.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesoulprojectstories/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesoulprojectstories/

KNOTEWORTHY: Michelle Mercier, Create Honesty

DSC_7997-Edit.jpg

Michelle Mercier is an international best-selling author, engaging speaker, passionate coach, and experienced business consultant.  Her mission is to help individuals and organizations develop a vision and successfully execute the steps necessary to make that vision a reality. 

Michelle has 15+ years of corporate and professional experience.  She has worked with a wide range of different businesses – from nationally acclaimed nonprofits to Fortune 500 corporations.  This wide range of experience has enabled her to become an expert in leadership, change management, scalability, marketing, and technology.  She also possesses an expertise in training and professional development. 

In addition to her coaching/consulting practice, Michelle is the CEO/Founder of Create Honesty, as well as the Managing Director of the Worcester Area Chapter of Polka Dot Powerhouse.

We talked to Michelle about her favorite productivity tips and more…


Can you share with us any information about your business that you would want other entrepreneurs to know?

My mantra for working with clients is “organize, strategize, and monetize.”  Each of those categories can be applied to your business and there should always be a synergy between them.  Whether it’s streamlining your client on-boarding process, setting strategic goals, or pricing your services or products appropriately - they are all equally important to one another and the success of your business.

What's your top productivity secret?

Maintaining a set of habits that set me up for success.  My favorite habit is to “bookend” my day.  The day begins with exercise, meditation and education.  I end my day with a gratitude practice and reading for pleasure.  I may only be able to dedicate 5 minutes to each of these bookends but there’s something very grounding in having them in place.

 How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

I don’t.  I had been trying for years to “balance” everything but it always felt like I failing.  I had to work hard to shift my thinking to work-life integration instead of balance.  I look holistically at my world whether it's parenting, entrepreneurship, self-care, etc.  Some days the lines get blurred between all my aspects and that’s OK.  I’ve also learned to allow myself the grace and space to be imperfect!

CONNECT WITH MICHELLE:

Website: https://www.createhonesty.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/createhonesty

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/createhonesty/

KNOTEWORTHY: Robyn Parets, Pretzel Kids

Robyn (3).jpg

Robyn Parets is the founder and CEO of Pretzel Kids and The Write Move.

Robyn started her career as a journalist with the Los Angeles Times and Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) and parlayed her skills writing about finance, travel and entrepreneurship to starting her own ventures - first a yoga studio and now The Write Move and Pretzel Kids, a nationwide kids yoga company offering classes, trainings, merchandise and a branded licensing program. Under The Write Move umbrella, she works with companies to craft stellar content that helps drive traffic back to their websites. She is also a funding coach at iFundWomen and a yoga teacher.

We talked to Robyn about how she maintains work-life balance as a business owner and here’s what she had to say…

Can you share with us any information about your business that you would want other entrepreneurs to know?

Pretzel Kids is a nationwide kids yoga and mindfulness company and brand offering trainings, classes and branded products. Our proprietary training course is now offered online, giving those who wish to start a side hustle or business teaching Pretzel Kids yoga an affordable, accessible and easy way to get started right away. In 2019 - after successfully training hundreds via our online Pretzel Kids Teacher Certification Course - we launched our Pretzel Kids licensing program. Think of this like a business-in-a-box, giving our teachers ongoing resources and the ability to instantly list and market their Pretzel Kids classes and events.

Pretzel Kids is more than a training program. It is a business opportunity in the rapidly growing kids mindfulness and yoga industry. For entrepreneurs, Pretzel Kids is a great way to launch a new career or simply earn extra money doing something awesome: Helping kids get fit, live healthy lives and be less-stressed.

How do you define success?

That’s easy: success to me means loving what you do every day, whether that is raising a family, working, running your own business, taking a walk in the woods etc. At the same time, you need to have enough money to pay your bills and live a comfortable life. This is a totally different concept than “being rich.” If you can live a happy personal life and achieve financial freedom - meaning you can pay for your needs and most of your wants, within reason - this is my recipe for success.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

For me, this means building in time for exercise, yoga, meditation and taking vacations! Those are my top four. Of course, I love spending time with family, friends and I also go on a personal retreat at least once a year (I aim for twice!) This brings balance back to my work life. I get super busy at times and something falls by the wayside. It takes practice for me to maintain self-care but it’s important for balance in my work and life.

CONNECT WITH ROBYN:

Website: https://www.pretzelkids.com/

Instagram: @pretzelkidsyoga

Facebook: Pretzel Kids

KNOTEWORTHY: Kerry Railey, Irish Eyes Photography

Kerry.jpg

Kerry Railey owns Irish Eyes Photography, a boutique portrait photography studio located in Downtown Hingham, MA.  Kerry's goal as a photographer is to capture her subjects as themselves, cheese-filled smiles be damned.  She is also known to be spreading kindness in the world through her summertime kindness challenges or teaching beginner photography to anyone who wants to take their camera off the auto setting.  When Kerry's not behind the camera you can find her trying very earnestly not to yell at her two kids (and often failing) while simultaneously loving them fiercely.  And if she's not doing any of the above things, she's probably performing on stage somewhere.  Seriously if she goes missing that's probably the first place you should check.  

We asked her to share some insight into her journey to entrepreneurship, and here’s what she said…

How do you define success?

Success is obviously different to everyone.  There are people out there working their behinds off to become the next “it” photographer or to have huge amounts of followers on social media.  I realized a long time ago that’s not my style. Naturally, I want to have a large following because not only is it more fun to engage with lots of people, but I’m also a Leo, and deep in my core I need all the attention.  All of it!

But, truthfully, as I get older anyway, I’d rather have the attention and respect of a small group of people that engage with me and care about what I’m doing, versus thousands of followers who don’t.  My approach to life, and therefore my business, is very organic. Do I feel like posting something to social media right now? Yes? Than I post it. I don’t generally schedule things for peak times or try to do all sorts of flashy things. If I feel like it, I add some hashtags.  If I don’t, I don’t. Sometimes, dare I say it, I even post to Facebook without a picture. Just words! Not even a link! Because that’s all I have to say in that moment. It’s real. It’s authentic. Even if it doesn’t give me a boost in followers. I’m fine with that. I’m talking about social media here but it’s a great analogy for all parts of my business.  

I try to truly connect with my clients - and even other business owners and community members.  I meet with clients in person to guide them through the ordering process instead of just emailing them a gallery link.  I leave my studio door open when it’s warm out and I put out signs that start conversations with passersby.

Success to me is when Judy, a woman who walks by every day, knocks on the window to wave to me because I didn’t happen to notice her that day.  Success to me is when my clients reach out and ask me to capture family portraits for a young mother who was given a very scary diagnosis and may not live to see the end of the month. Success to me is when I get an autistic child who is terrified of Santa, to sit, talk, and calmly play with The Big Guy.  I will probably never buy a yacht with the money I make as a photographer. I will probably never win any photography awards (if for no other reason than I never submit anything to any contests!), and I will probably never have thousands of followers in the world of social media (or any other world for that matter).  But when I get real, authentic smiles from my clients, and when they come back time after time after time….That’s my definition of success. And when my own kids tell me they’re proud of me. That of course, beats all.

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

When it comes to being motivated as a business owner, I am driven by my desire to be treated well.  If *I* have high expectations when I work with a business, I can only expect my clients to have the same expectations.  And just like I don’t like to be let down, I don’t ever want to let my clients down. I strive to always be open and honest with my clients so they always know what to expect and give them my very best.  

I get my motivation both from experiences I have that show me what greatness can be - and what the opposite can be. When I have an amazing experience, I process all the reasons why it was amazing, and vow to do the same for my own clients.  When I have a bad experience, it motivates me to make sure I never do whatever it is that caused the issue. So I suppose it's my own expectations in life that drive my need to run a business that people can rely on and enjoy.

Of course, creative motivation is an entirely different thing.  As a creative, I will flop and fail completely if I am not inspired and motivated.  I definitely have times when I flounder - either from burnout or from just needing to add a new twist to keep things different.  Luckily what inspires me most is people, and that’s why I photograph them.

I am a horrible landscape photographer. While I can see and love and appreciate a beautiful scene, I can never capture it in an interesting way, because that’s not what gets my boat floating.  For me, I’ve always been in love with the stories people tell - of who they are. It stems from my career in theatre. I love telling stories. And now I love telling the stories of my clients through images and portraits. I try to come up with new ways of capturing my clients to keep things interesting, but what’s truly captivating to me are the images that don’t have any frills and props - they’re simply portraits that show WHO that person is. And that keeps me going.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

This is a great question because I recognize that so many of us struggle with the concept of balance. My personal goal this year is to find more tranquility in all that I do - which just goes to show that balance is something I’m still trying to perfect (currently working on this interview at 2am!).

Tip #1: Segregate Your Work & Your Personal Life.

In the beginning, I ran Irish Eyes Photography out of my home while working an insurance job, so I myself could have insurance, which meant evening and weekend hours.   When I married my husband and was able to leverage his benefits, I gave my notice. Then I worked full time on the business until our daughter was born 9 months later. From that point on, I was working both as a mother and a photographer, and both full time.  

Because I worked out of my home, there was no escaping either role, and thus was barely accomplishing anything. Still, I plugged along tirelessly working late nights, then had my second child, while still running a growing business. As my family and brand grew simultaneously, it became clear that it was time for me to move the business out of my home and into a storefront studio location.

Even if you can’t manage to have a separate space that’s outside of your home, give your work a designated place and when your work hours are done, shut the door. At my studio, I purposely have all my editing software on my desktop computer and not my laptop so that I CANNOT edit at home. I allow myself time to answer emails and take phone calls outside of my studio hours, but everything else stays within those hours.  It has made ALL the difference. So shut the door to your office - lock it if you need to feel like it’s really closed off - and make sure you get as much sleep as possible. Do your best to adhere to your schedule so you can feel good about your time away from work being YOUR time, but if life happens, then it’s okay to break that rule every so often.  

TIP #2: ENJOY YOUR LIFE!

Make sure your life is worth living and taking time away from your job. Sometimes I never want to leave the studio because it makes me so happy to be here doing what I love in my gorgeous and cozy space.  But then I think about what I’m leaving the studio to do and it brings me joy (most days anyway; let’s be realistic and remember I have two kids) and so I’m happy to walk away from my work to enjoy my personal life.  So fill your life with the people, activities, and things you love, and you’ll reap the benefits on the daily.

CONNECT WITH IRISH EYES PHOTOGRAPHY







KNOTEWORTHY: Kaitlyn Litchfield, Founder of Lamb & Lou

Kaitlyn Litchfield, a mom and entrepreneur, started Lamb & Lou in 2018 out of a basic need to shop safely with her children. The idea was born a few years ago after a stressful and unsuccessful shopping trip where her oldest child climbed out of the cart and nearly fell. There wasn't a product on the market so she invented one. Kaitlyn is from Massachusetts, an avid photographer, wife, and mom to two amazing boys and was just named an "Entrepreneur to Watch in 2019"!

We asked Kaitlyn about where the inspiration for her product and business came from, and here's what she had to say...

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

The idea for The Original Shopping Cart Vest came to me out a basic need to shop and run errands with my children. We all know the struggles of trying to keep our children safe in the shopping cart while we pick up the necessities like diapers and laundry detergent and we have all been that person or have seen that person who is begging and bribing their child to stay seated for “just a few more minutes.” This was me, I came home in tears, I couldn’t get the shopping done, and my child had nearly fallen out of the cart because the strap that is suppose to keep them secure didn’t work. I immediately went online to buy something, anything, to keep him seated and I couldn’t find it. It didn’t exist so I told my husband I was going to invent it… and I did!

Can you share with us any information about your business that you would want other entrepreneurs to know?

I love this question because pretty much every step along the way for me has been a new adventure or a new challenge and I feel like this is every entrepreneurs journey. I’ve started a business before but nothing like this. This is my first invention (of many, I hope!) so I had no idea where to start, what do I Google?

I think the most important thing I did was find colleagues I trusted to guide me. I bounced ideas off of them, asked for direction, and ultimately used my network to design my logo, get my accounting in order, and open a business banking account.

Another accidental piece of advice is if you’re working on a patent, take meticulous notes and keep your ideas within your trusted tight circle. When I was seeking a patent, the lawyer reviewed my notes, asked who knew about my idea, and even if I had used any specific words about my product in social media posts. Any of these could have jeopardized my patent. I’m not sure why I took detailed notes or kept my idea somewhat of a secret but it paid off!

How do you use social media for growth?

Speaking of using social media appropriately! I am not an open book on my personal social media pages, I don’t share much about my life, I rarely update my profile picture, and I never show my children and because of that when I do post my network pays attention. I have reached out to my friends to like Lamb & Lou, I have asked for their votes to help me win grant money, and I have asked them to spread the word about my product and they have!

I once read that your social media should be a balanced combination of pushing your product, personal story, and relatable content like words of wisdom or funny memes. You want people to feel connected to your business by knowing there is a human, a mother, a friend, behind all of it. This has been a piece of the success for me. 

GET IN TOUCH WITH KAITLYN

Websitehttps://lambandlou.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lambandlou/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lambandlou

KNOTEWORTHY: Video Marketing Speaker Meaghan Corson

Meaghan is truly passionate about storytelling, so it’s no surprise she started her career off as a CBS news reporter. You name it, she’s covered it, from the county fair and government to shootings and train explosions. Her super power is helping people feel comfortable on camera and share their message. She took these skills and built video programs for various industries including software, medical, and startups. Now Meaghan works with executives and professionals to map out their video strategy and to be great on camera so they can connect with the masses.

Audiences describe her interactive presentations as “eye opening and inspiring” and say she has “a powerful inner light." Meaghan grew up on Cape Cod, and now lives near Boston. She and her husband, Tim, enjoy traveling the world especially when it takes them near the ocean. Meaghan truly loves trying unique and sometimes wild things - from zip-lining in glowworm caves in New Zealand or even eating octopus in Greece.

We asked Megan about how she got to where she is today, and here's what she shared...

Can you share with us any information about your business that you would want other entrepreneurs to know?

Many entrepreneurs understand the need of using video for their businesses, but sometimes we don’t use videos because we don’t know where to start or the idea of going on camera is scary. If you feel stuck or you’re not getting the results you want from your videos, then I’m here to help. My focus is to help you achieve your business goals using video, whether you bring me in as a consultant, trainer for your team, or speaker for your event. With my background as a former CBS news reporter and building video programs for large and small companies in various industries, I’m confident I can help you maximize video. Feel free to check our my website for more information and even get great, free information from my vlog: www.meaghancorson.com.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

I create as much work-life balance as I can by keeping track of my goals and knowing what my priorities are. Every year I layout my business and personal goals and then break them down month by month. From there I map out my schedule each week using Google Calendar. I love how this tool is connected to my computer and my phone, and I schedule practically everything with it even time for brainstorming, exercising, and cooking dinner. From there I have three daily goals and one of them has to be non work related such as going for a long walk or finishing a house project.

Having tasks and goals laid out helps me stay focused and reduce stress of forgetting something. I also have a few rules for drawing the line between work and my personal life. A couple ones that stand out are not working or answering emails after 6PM and not working on the weekends. Having clear boundaries really helps me avoid burnout and enjoy other parts of my life more. Of course, I may stray away from my calendar or break one of my rules here and there but then I remind myself that we have to give ourselves a break sometimes and remember I’m only human and no one is perfect.

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

It may seem odd but I’d say what’s helped me most along the way are the challenges I faced in my career because they forced me to grow and get to where I am today. Everyone has their own challenges when pursuing their business and personal dreams, and I'm no different. I'll share with you three main challenges I've handled thus far.

When I was a news reporter I loved what I did and was good at it but over time I felt more and more out of balance. I have workaholic tendencies and given the nature of the TV news world that was magnified to the point of affecting my health and happiness. I naturally have a energetic and bubbly personality and I like that about me, so once I realized my positive energy was going down and I wasn't as excited about my job I knew something had to change. For me, it was leaving the news world and exploring other ways to help people share stories in another way. This first brought me to the corporate world and now I've found that being an entrepreneur is my true calling to help people and feel fulfilled.

Right before I started my own business I worked for a startup of an online community for service members and Veterans. Initially I entered this marketing position because I wanted to be challenged more and make a bigger impact on the company as a whole and help with a wonderful cause. I felt energized taking the lead on marketing initiatives and seeing the online community grow and strengthen with content and engagement for the members. Yet over time I fell into the same issue from when I was a reporter... no proper work-life balance. There were other challenges with organization management and delegation, but long story short I was let go with no notice. I was truly shocked and sad when this happened as I poured all of my efforts into the startup, yet now I see it as an amazing push I needed to finally start my own business. This gave me the opportunity to focus on my life goals and take the exciting risk of starting my own business, and I've never looked back.

This next challenge I'll share doesn't pinpoint on one moment but there was a distinct turning point for me. Once I newly started my business I lined up my first video client right away and was grateful to find more video clients for smaller projects and eventually grew to have my first regular consulting client (one I've worked with for over three years now). Yet I didn't have the flow of income I was looking for and I didn't feel like I was truly fulfilled by my work to its fullest extent. The turning point for me was discovering professional speaking. I didn't realize that people got paid to speak at conferences and events and I had been told by multiple business people that I should speak and share my knowledge. When I had set in my mind that I wanted to pursue this shortly after I was asked to speak at an entrepreneur event in Texas. I took the opportunity and spoke to an audience of over 300 entrepreneurs and loved it! Not a bad way to start off my speaking career, right? With practically no experience presenting to large groups in this way and minor preparation, the audience enjoyed the information and stories I shared and it felt so natural to me. I knew this was my way to really help people, achieve fulfillment in what I do, and bring in the income I was looking for. Now I primarily serve as a professional speaker and video consultant.

CONNECT WITH MEAGHAN:

Website: http://www.MeaghanCorson.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/speakermeaghancorson/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meaghancorson/

KNOTEWORTHY: Elis Mimmo, Owner/Instructor, Fit4Mom North Shore

Elis Mimmo is a mother of three (Emma 11, Ava 6, Dante 2) and the proud franchise owner of Fit4Mom North Shore. Born and raised in Brazil Elis came to the USA in December of 2003 and had her first daughter Emma in 2007. Soon after baby girl Emma was born, new mom Elis was looking for a mothers group in the North Shore area, and that was when she discovered Fit4Mom. After falling in love with the program and discovering her passion for fitness there was a desire to influence, support and impact other moms in the area. Her favorite part about Fit4Mom classes is seeing moms being their kid's role model in class every day, showing our little ones that exercise can be fun and will definitely make you happy and healthy. 

We talked to Elis about where she finds inspiration to stay motivated, and this is what she shared... 

What is your mission statement and overall goal for your business?

I want to empower moms to live healthy and happy lives and reach out to new moms across North Shore. 

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?
My family, especially my kids. They are definitely my reason to stay on my toes and focus on my goals.

How do you define success?
Success is waking up every day doing what makes you happy, it is helping others to live a healthier and happier life and most of all to inspire the ones who don't believe on their own power.  

What do you wish you knew before you started your business?
Delegate more, stay true to your values and master time management. 

CONNECT WITH ELIS:
Website:
 https://northshore.fit4mom.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fit4MomNorthShore/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fit4momnorthshore/

KNOTEWORTHY: Allegra Murray of The Petal Peddler’s Shop

Allegra Murray grew up in Smithtown, New York, and expressed her passion for the arts through studies in opera, musical theater, and dance. She received a Bachelor of Music from Manhattan School of Music, majoring in Classical Vocal Performance. After graduation, Allegra changed her career trajectory and moved to Boston. She attended Boston University, achieving a Master of Science in Arts Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Fundraising Management, while simultaneously working in the development department of an orchestra.

In 2015, Allegra transitioned to a career in the financial services industry and opened The Petal Peddler’s Shop in early 2017, with a workshop in Milton, Massachusetts. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 5-year-old son, volunteering in her community, and reading.

We talked to Allegra about how she made her entrepreneurial dream a reality...

What is your mission statement and overall goal for your business?

The Petal Peddler’s Shop specializes in handcrafting gorgeous flowers from unique papers. Clients are able to select from The Shop’s inventory, including book pages, sheet music, and maps, or provide their own paper to be transformed into timeless keepsakes. My goal is to give clients a new way to preserve the beauty of their memories and cherish them every day.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

During my free time, I volunteer with several local nonprofits, including the Milton Cultural Council, Forbes House Museum, and the Friends of the Milton Public Library. In Fall 2017, I helped organize a Jane Austen Tea at the library and created book page roses as centerpieces. The roses were so well received that I expanded the concept into a business. One year later, The Petal Peddler’s Shop continues to grow and now offers ornaments, jewelry, home decor, bridal florals, and gift bouquets.

How do you use social media for growth?

The diverse types of paper I use appeal to different people with a wide variety of interests. The audience for a sheet music bouquet may be different than those who appreciate the creations made from book pages. Through social media, I can reach new and existing clients from across the globe by changing a hashtag or a photo. It also provides me with a platform to expand my network and discover new opportunities for growth.

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

Every order I create holds a special meaning for the recipient. Whether it’s a necklace created from a crossword puzzle completed by a client’s father, a bridal bouquet handcrafted from the pages of a favorite book, or roses made from Massachusetts maps for a new resident, each order has sentimental importance. Knowing that my flowers will be a treasured keepsake motivates me to create something uniquely beautiful.

CONNECT WITH ALLEGRA:
Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/thepetalpeddlersshop/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thepetalpeddlersshop/

KNOTEWORTHY: Johanna Skouras, Psychotherapist and Author

Johanna Skouras is a psychotherapist, Life Coach and author of a self-help book entitled Standing Up for Yourself. She is also a workshop leader offering Time Management/Assertiveness Training workshops to local businesses, schools and hospitals.

We asked Joanna about how she balances work life and personal life and here's what she shared... 

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

In my role as a therapist, life coach and writer, the key to motivation is nurturing hope, learning from mistakes and persevering. I’m never self-critical; I always question possible mistakes in judgment or perception and reroute strategy. I use rewards when facing uncertain outcomes because fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. Self-praise keeps self-esteem up there and promotes courage and determination. I tell clients for whom the word “stupid” is often used to describe themselves NEVER say “I’m so stupid”; change it to, "what-I-did-was-stupid". Basically, it’s about faith in what I’m trying to achieve. Belief in the purpose behind the goal is what fuels motivation. That carrot keeps me going!

How do you define success?

Pretty simple: I achieved what I was running after. The simplest achievements still need to be reinforced because reinforcement strengthens determination and perseverance. Feeling satisfied is the sought-for outcome.

I row in the ocean all year aware ocean rowing is “by invitation only”. If there’s a frisky chop to the sea, I still may give it a shot. If Mother Nature, however, keeps me struggling to stay upright, I’ll concede but mutter to myself, “well, at least I gave it a shot”.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

The way I live my personal life is also how I promote my values professionally. If life loses that work-life balance, there is danger of a depression silently creeping in or maybe I need a few nights with Jack Daniels, so to speak, or I start to overeat… our bodies pay a high price when we ignore signs that imbalance is taking place. I know how very difficult it can be for two working parents to balance time with their children and parents and still yearn to have time for their own personal needs. Compromise often becomes the only solution when time seems totally unavailable. For me, a half-hour row is still better than no row. It’s about being willing to take a piece of the pie even if you’d prefer the whole pie.

CONNECT WITH JOHANNA: 
Bookhttps://www.amazon.com/Standing-Up-Yourself-Art-Self-Assertion/dp/097177160X

KNOTEWORTHY: Kate Brandy of Harbor Hood

Kate Brandy, is a UX designer and founder of Harbor Hood. She has background in healthcare architecture and holds a masters of industrial design where she focused on patient experience in healthcare.

We talked to Kate about what inspired her to start her own business. Here's what she shared...

What is your mission statement and overall goal for your business?

Harbor Hood aims to create a quiet, supportive, and comfy environment to help patients get better rest.

My overall goal for Harbor Hood is to be able to help people feel better in moments where they wouldn’t have otherwise. Harbor Hood is different from other pillow products because it focuses on patients’ micro-environments within healthcare. It’s a niche market people get excited about. Everyone knows someone who could benefit from a Harbor Hood. Especially when they have a loved one they feel powerless to comfort. Harbor Hood helps them help someone they care about. That all the motivation I need to keep working towards my goal.  

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

Imagine you are in a hospital, treatment center, or nursing home for a health condition that you are very concerned about. Beyond that, there are noisy people, staring people, constant beeping of monitors, chilly AC, bright florescent lights in your face, relentless neck pain from flat pillows, hard pillows, or “sorry we ran out pillows”. And to top it off a total lack of control of what is going on with your body. Put yourself in the shoes of a medical patient today. Waiting for treatment, waiting during administration of involved treatment or passing time in a nursing home where it is difficult to escape from “company”. You know none of the annoyances are the end of the world, but you would appreciate being able to make your environment better. That’s why I created the Harbor Hood. A pillowed hood that shields you from all of these things so you can find some serenity.

My research began when I worked in healthcare architecture and continued for my master’s thesis industrial design. Including, countless hours of interviewing experts and observing in different medical settings at all different hours to get a sense of what was creating a less than ideal environment. And I found a pattern. People who worked there were doing everything in their power to help and add comfort. I met some incredible people who dedicate their careers and lives to helping others feel better. So what was it then? In fact, it is the physical environment and the people walking by that are making it hard for the patient to rest. And so the idea was born.

What habits have helped make you successful?

My habits to continue: talking with people about my product and deliberately not thinking or talking about my product.

First you listen. You never know when you are going to meet someone who could benefit or have advice that could improve your product. Some of my most meaningful conversations are [randomly] in Lyft rides with drivers who happen to work at a hospital or has a loved one who they are caring for. I listen to their stories and their experiences and they end up telling me what would be really helpful to them.  

Then take a break. While I work full time and work on Harbor Hood I still find time to take care of my mind and body. That’s where the “not thinking comes in”. I workout in the morning about 3 days a week and I play soccer or go outdoors on the weekends. Both of these these activities have made a significant difference in my ability to focus and not get overly stressed. It gives me an outlet to release and reset so that I can take on each day. I have loved taking classes at my near by gym so that I don’t have to think about what exercise to do next, I’m just told to. When you are an entrepreneur starting out many decisions fall on your shoulders. Having that responsibility handed to someone else for that 45 min workout is strangely therapeutic. And the weekend soccer is a great way to do something social while getting a great workout in, GOOOOOALLLLL!

CONNECT WITH KATE:
Website:
 https://www.katebrandy.com/

KNOTEWORTHY: Ali Singer, Yoga Instructor and Founder of YogaHub

Founder and CEO of YogaHub and 500hr certified yoga instructor, Ali Singer is ranked as the number one yoga coach in Massachusetts. With a background in synchronized skating and dance, Ali started practicing yoga out of a love for movement and fitness. Through regular practice, she experienced a tremendous emotional shift, and sought to learn more about how and why yoga works. Ali parted from a promising bartending career to quench her thirst for enlightenment.

She earned her 200-hour certification and began teaching in 2013. She thrived in leading power vinyasa classes and working with students one-on-one.

An entrepreneurial spirit, Ali was always looking for ways to solve problems and build a company from the ground up. Upon entry into the yoga industry, she saw how much it was growing, along with corporate wellness. She envisioned serving these markets through a multifaceted enterprise that would bring yoga to people to where they lived, traveled, and worked. With this vision, YogaHub was born. Along with teaching private lessons and studio classes, Ali started to create and manage yoga programs for hotels, offices, and residential apartment complexes.

In 2017, Ali traveled to India for two months, and completed a 300-hour teacher training course in the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh. In India, what began as a purely physical practice, took deep root as a lifestyle philosophy that would influence every aspect of her being. The spiritual side of yoga taught Ali how to navigate the stressful turmoil of starting and running a business, and how to manage a chaotic schedule. She adopted ideas and techniques that enabled her to overcome challenges and keep a positive mindset, no matter what. Ali aims to impart this knowledge upon students and business professionals so that they may experience peace, happiness, and fulfillment on a day-to-day basis.

We asked Ali about the path that led her to entrepreneurship, and here's what she shared...

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mind, looking for ways to solve problems, meet people’s needs, and generate a profit. I started thinking about a yoga business while in my first teacher training. I evaluated the yoga studio model and determined that it had high competition and low profitability, and I knew I needed to innovate. I saw how there was a growing number of yoga teachers, but they lacked professional opportunities and ongoing education. I also saw how companies had an increasing need for wellness programs, in which yoga would be an integral component. The YogaHub business model continues to evolve out of efforts to solve problems, meet people’s needs, and generate a profit.

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

My motivation is YogaHub International. I have this monumental vision for my business, and who knows if I’ll get there in this lifetime, but I believe that the world will truly benefit from the widespread practice of yoga. It’s created such positive transformation in my life, and my mission is to help others experience the benefits. There are certainly times when I feel frustrated or defeated, and at those times, yoga is my inspiration, of course! I’ve learned to practice “abhyasa vairagya,” which is is full effort with zero attachment to the results. I’m doing what I want to do with my life; my off-the-mat practice is to love the process while not getting hung up on how things unfold.

What habits have helped make you successful?

It’s true that never giving up is what breeds success, and I’ve found that a positive mindset is the fundamental requirement to overcome all obstacles. To cultivate a positive mindset, I write a list of favorable circumstances around me and meditate on how thankful I am for them. What works is more than the list- it’s the feeling of gratitude and letting it permeate throughout my heart so much that I can’t help but smile. I always focus more on being happy with what I have than being unhappy with what has not yet manifested :)

CONNECT WITH ALI:

Websitehttps://www.yogahub.life/
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/yogahub.life/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/YogaHub.Life/

KNOTEWORTHY: Kristen Phelps, Owner/Designer of Fishy Face Creations

Kristen Phelps is the owner and designer behind Fishy Face Creations - a boutique featuring 100% handmade hair accessories, bow ties and custom shirts for children and adults. Kristen has a background in dance and grew up surrounded by crafters. 

 After earning a masters degree in education and then spending half a decade as a stay at home mom, she decided to embrace her creative side once again and dive head first into all things Etsy. When Kristen isn't experimenting with the latest in fabrics and designs, you can find her at the gym or cheering her kids on at one of their many activities.

We asked Kristen about motivation, work-life balance and more. Here's what she shared... 

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

My family has always been and will always be my inspiration and motivation. I am a stay at home mom, but I never intended to be one. I love being able to stay at home with my children and wouldn’t change it for the world, but I also enjoy working and having something to do outside of parenting. My small business allows me to do both of those things. I love that I get to show my children that you can be successful in a non-traditional field and that they actually get to see me work and be creative. I think it inspires their creativity, which is so motivating because the arts are so important and  remind me of the best parts of my childhood.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

That’s always a struggle. I have two young children - a kindergartner and a two year old and a husband who works full time in Boston. I am primarily a stay at home mom, so my kids’ needs have always and will always come first, but I still manage to make time for work.  Because creating inventory takes so much focus and attention to detail, I tend to design and build inventory when my children are sleeping. But, I don’t let myself work past 9 pm. It helps me ensure that I get to spend time with my husband, relax a little and make sure I get to bed at a normal hour. 

When my children are awake, I’m usually doing mom and wife things - school drop off and pick up, gymnastics, dance and music classes, play dates, grocery stopping, etc. Sometimes we may sit in the car a few extra minutes so I can answer a customer’s inquiry on Etsy, or we may have to swing by the post office or make an extra stop at the craft store or I may be posting to social media during gymnastics classes, but it all works out. Juggling so much can be difficult and the mental load is no joke, but I really love what I do and it’s nice to be able to provide my family a little extra money for fun activities together.

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

I come from a really long line of crafty and artistic types. I always knew I’d end up in a creative field. My mother sewed most of my clothing for me when I was young and my grandmother knitted me hats but my Nana was probably the biggest influence on me. She taught me to sew when I was young. She used to sew all the time. I loved sitting in her craft room at her house, playing with her pincushions and just watching her do her thing. I remember visiting her at craft fairs too. She made me a teddy bear when I was born that I have since passed on to my five year old. (There’s another one from college graduation in queue to pass down to my daughter!) Nana also sewed me endless quilts and the most beautiful wedding quilt I’ve ever seen. We even decorated a dollhouse together with real tile and wallpaper.

I took dance lessons as a child and that was my biggest creative outlet. When I stopped dancing in my twenties there was definitely a void. That creative void didn’t get filled until after my daughter was born. I was searching high and low for the perfect headband to match her first birthday outfit and I just couldn’t find it. My sister in law (a very crafty woman herself)  encouraged me to make my own, so I went for it! The joy I felt creating and color matching and coming up with new designs was instantly satisfying. My husband has also been a huge help. He’s very supportive and is an extremely talented artist with a degree in illustration from Mass Art. He’s great with giving me design advice and helping me color match. I couldn’t do it without him.

CONNECT WITH KRISTEN PHELPS:

Etsyhttps://www.etsy.com/shop/FishyFaceShop

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/fishyfacecreations/ 

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/fishyfacecreations/

 

KNOTEWORTHY: Boston Women's Market

We had the wonderful opportunity to interview the amazing ladies who are leading the charge at the Boston Women's Market, with questions regarding their journey to entrepreneurship, who they are as a brand, who they serve, and how they spread the good news around town...here's what they shared!

What is your mission statement and overall goal for your business?

We promote the work of and preserve a space for Womxn entrepreneurs and artists in the New England area.

We foster an environment of support and innovation for our community by hosting Marketplaces throughout the Boston area, telling the stories of inspirational Womxn, and providing tools to help Womxn-owned businesses succeed. In doing so, we endeavor to build and knit closer the community around us; fostering a celebration of shopping and supporting local.

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

Boston Women’s Market is organized by a team of four women all with different backgrounds and personal experiences that have inspired and strengthened the vision of Boston Women’s Market.

Molly Leger, Founder
“Over the last year, our steady and sustainable growth has been a function of the incredible team that helms BWM, and the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response of the community around us.”

Taylor Borowiec, Organizer & Editorial Lead

“I am very lucky to have had such a strong support system growing up. My parents gave me every opportunity and helped to show me how to work hard and keep going, no matter the obstacles or failures in my way.”

Africa Rubio, Organizer & Social Media Guru

“The team of Boston Women’s Market has allowed me to meet amazing women from all around the New England area and to be part of something that I believe in. I moved to Boston four years ago from Madrid, Spain. I was looking to be part of the community and to meet great people. I ended up meeting Molly soon after the first Market in September, 2017, and since then have been working together with Molly, Taylor, and Cara.”

Cara Loffredo, Organizer & Marketing and Website Go-To

“I always say I have entrepreneurship in my blood. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs on both my mother’s and father’s side. This engrained a passion for small business in me from the start. I’m a huge advocate for starting your career in small business or non-profit. I’ve gotten to do things and grow professionally in ways I never would have been able to in a traditional corporate environment. I also love mentoring and passing that knowledge onto the Boston Women’s Market network.” 

How do you use social media for growth? 

Boston Women’s Market uses social media to foster a greater awareness for the many local small businesses in the New England area. We promote and support our incredible vendors and their businesses throughout our online channels, in addition to promoting our events. Our goal is to always create an environment that people love to be a part of.  

Social media can be a very positive way to spread ideas and is something that, when used correctly, can have a positive impact on a person's day.

KNOTEWORTHY: Naomi Westwater, Singer & Songwriter

Naomi Westwater is a powerhouse, indie singer-songwriter, and producer from MA, USA. Mixing organic Americana and electronic indie, her imaginative stage presence, intimate lyrics, and emotive voice inspire and provoke audiences. Like a rose with many petals, Naomi’s music is layered, striking, and tender, mixing organic Americana and electronic indie. 

Naomi is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with her Master’s degree in Contemporary Performance Production Concentration, and has been working in entertainment and music industry since 2011. She started as a program coordinator at The Gopher Hole in Baltimore, MD she then worked for The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, MA on their Summer Concert Series, Pops in The Park, and Pop's by The Sea, which is Cape Cod's largest cultural event.

In 2013, Naomi released the Americana EP, Coyote Love, about love and pining in a long distance relationship. Starting in 2015, Naomi was an Associate Producer at the comedy production company Pretty Good Friends. She produced live shows, podcasts, and festivals including the comedy stage at Wilco’s Solid Sound, StarTalk Live! with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye The Science Guy, the annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, and Modern Love Live for 90.9 WBUR (Boston’s NPR Station) and The New York Times. 

She has produced sold out shows at famous theaters and festivals around the US including The Apollo Theatre (NYC), The Bellhouse (Brooklyn), The Beacon Theatre (NYC), Fun, Fun, Fun Fest (Austin), Sketchfest (San Francisco), and she's had the honor of working with great bands, comedians, and public figures like Sen. Cory Booker, Michelle Buteau, Michael Che, David Harbour, Hari Kondabolu, Lucius, John Mulaney, Aparna Nancherla, Roy Wood Jr., and many more!

As a queer, woman of color and a modern day mystic, Naomi incorporates empowerment, nature, and magic into her music and artistry. 

We asked Naomi about her journey to entrepreneurship, and here's what she shared...

What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?

People don’t convey to artists that being a musician is 50% talent and music skills and 50% business and networking. For most of my life, my teachers really focused on the talent side and me working on my voice and my artistry. 

 But, being a successful musician is so much more than that. You need to have a good network and community behind you to help and you need to understand business. Because as soon as you start selling music, tickets, or merch, you become a sole proprietor, whether your realize it or not.

How do you use social media for growth?

A lot of artists I know are still hesitant to use social media, but I love it! It’s a great way for me to interact with my fans in a formal or casual way. I’ve been able to grow my socials with the following rules I made for myself:

1. I’m consistent: I post often and I post content that is relevant to my brand and to my followers. I’m an artist, I am the brand, so I post a lot of pictures of myself and music clips. And when I have something off brand, like a cute dog photo or a joke, I post that in my Insta Stories or on Twitter.

2. I use hashtags that are relevant to me. Hashtags help me connect to new followers. I’ve even made friends via hashtags!

3. I post high quality content. What I post it is thoughtful and intentional. When I’m taking or selecting a picture to post, I always want it to be visually pleasing: good lighting, interesting concept, some kind of emotions. There’s nothing worse than a blurry picture that’s boring. Social media is inherently visual, everyone wants to see beauty in their feed.

4. I use advertisements sparingly. Nothing is better than organic growth, but sometimes when I have a new release, I do like to use ads. So I always make sure my social ads are good quality, but not too flashy, or it will look like an ad. I also never throw down too much money on an ad. With FB Business, if an ad is doing well, I can always add more money too it.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

I schedule everything. Between being a graduate fellow, being a wife, owning my own business, and being a super social person, my life would be very unbalanced if I didn’t schedule things on my Google Calendar. 

 I use scheduling not just for important meetings or lunches with friends, but I use it like a budget. I know I need at least 10 hours a week to practice my voice, another 10 hours for homework, 25 hours to dedicate to my fellowship, etc. so I carve out chunks of time to make sure I’m getting everything I need done. There’s even a calendar event for Friday night dates with my husband.

 CONNECT WITH NAOMI:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Naomi-Westwater-908106642663736/

  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/naomiwestwater/

  • Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4pQ6EIVS2gOPLR5yx3bt6f

  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/naomiwestwater

  • Website: https://www.naomiwestwater.com

KNOTEWORTHY: Ashley Clay, Eventfully Yours

Originally from Vermont, Ashley Clay is the owner and lead planner of Eventfully Yours, a local event company that offers full hospitality service for any size event. After spending over a decade working in the hospitality industry, this softball star turned event planner comes fully equipped with all the necessary tools for any situation. 

Not only is Ashley dedicated on and off the field, she is also an award winning artist, bringing both vision and craft to play together. In her (limited!) downtime, Ashley likes to travel throughout New England, watch horror movies and and enjoys sleeping in!

Where did your business concept of Eventfully Yours originate from?

I have always known I was meant to work with people in a creative way.  Watching my mom regularly engage and entertain the community as Recreation Director, I gathered my sense of hospitality from home.  

I knew food and smiles were connected, and that I enjoyed everything good that came from sharing it. But how did that tie to how I would make money? All the hospitality related jobs I had along the way allowed to me have a diverse range of knowledge, from making coffee to management style, and I took notes along the way.  

Now I am able to coach our staff from a hands-on perspective that one wouldn't have without professional industry experience. It took the years of learning to really direct me into my goals, that now I could describe my event planning style as energetic & creative with an emphasis on taking care of each and every guest.

What sacrifices have you made that have led to your success thus far as an Entrepreneur?   

For many years, I have had to sacrifice nights, weekends and holidays to make sure that my clients are being cared for.  

I wanted to be the face behind the name, to really put a personal touch on every event we are a part of. I am very lucky to have a spouse who is also in business, and understands when the phone rings in the middle of dinner, that I get up to take a call.  It is a two-way street in our household, and I am very lucky for that level of understanding and support.

Where do you seek and find inspiration as a business owner?

I know the classic answer of "everywhere" is very overused, but it is so true! I really like to learn about my clients as people before I am able to deliver top notch service to them.  From the normal coffee date to cocktail meeting, I am able to gather the knowledge and inspiration I need to operate at a high level. 

I feel like asking the right questions via open conversation is extremely important.  After truly listen to the responses, I allow my inner child to run free. Creativity is something I have always enjoyed and have been encouraged to explore.  

Where there is a vision, there is an event planner with a trick up her sleeve! 

CONNECT WITH EVENTFULLY YOURS:

  • Website: https://www.eventfullyyoursnh.com

  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eventfullyyoursnh/

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eventfullyyoursNH/

KNOTEWORTHY: Dr. Daryl Cioffi, Polaris Counseling & Consulting

Dr. Daryl Cioffi, LMHC, Ed.D is the innovative and modern-day wellness doyenne who is reshaping corporate and institutional visions of wellness. As co-founder of her private practice, Polaris Counseling & Consulting, Dr. Cioffi has harnessed the vision to empower individuals in becoming “well beings” into a practice and company that inspires purposeful changes in revolutionary ways. 

In her consulting work Dr. Cioffi specializes in challenging leaders, audiences, and organizations to redefine their values and views of success, wellness, and work-life balance. Her viewpoints and teachings on wellness have reshaped the way we think and practice well-being both in and out of work.

Dr. Cioffi has undoubtedly made her mark, appearing on national radio and print as an expert on wellness in the Huffington Post, Medical Daily and Social Work Today. Her first book "Be Freud" made the Amazon bestsellers list in 2016. A professor of neuropsychology and psychotherapy, Dr. Cioffi teaches and special lectures at many colleges in the New England area when she is not counseling and consulting across the country.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

I’ve worked in the field of mental health for over 10 years and have found that while there are an abundance of resources available for individuals in crisis, the same often cannot be said for individuals who fall under the umbrella of something I call “well-ish”. The “well-ish” person is perceivably OK - that is, they don’t have any glaring issues, and they are able to function normally for all intents and purposes. But they aren’t fully satisfied; they possess a deep desire to better themselves and, in a sense, “elevate” their lives. Psychotherapy is often a wonderful option for these individuals, as it is a safe and supportive environment which lends itself to self-reflection, unexpected challenges and important insights. 

My business partner and I designed POLARIS (www.polarisri.com) as a boutique private practice with the vision of creating a haven for the “well-ish” to become whole. By seamlessly combining innovative clinical treatments with the ideals and values of holistic healthcare, we are proud to have cultivated an environment where unbridled wellness is becoming a reality in our client’s lives each and every day. 

As I grow and change, the work that I do is always evolving with me. As part of my doctoral thesis I conducted research on perceptions and practices of wellness among high-ranking executives. It immediately became clear to me that the relationship between wellness and success is a complex one, which is how I started my consulting firm (www.drdarylcioffi.com). It is my hope that by being a strong and steadfast advocate for integrating the concepts of wellness and success, leadership development as a whole will be redefined.

How do you define success? 

Success for me is so multifaceted. For one, it is rooted in wellbeing, in the sense that I would not consider myself successful if my mental, spiritual or physical health were in a state of neglect. It is also freedom - the freedom to create, and plan, and make something happen without restraints. Perhaps most importantly, it is happiness and fulfillment. The second anything starts to feel like work, I know I need to re-evaluate what I am doing because I am not necessarily successful anymore.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

I’ve always thought work-life balance was a strange paradox, especially for women. We instinctively want to problem solve, nurture, and see something succeed, yet eventually we end up resent having to give up our personal time (or at time work) to do so. So I am not sure there IS such a thing as work-life balance, especially as a business owner. For me, the goal is trying to master a work-life “sway”. I know that there will be times when my business demands more of my energy and attention, and others when I need to take a step back and dedicate myself to other aspects of my life. When I have a lot on my plate at work, establishing a concrete plan allows me to visualize my workflow and keeps the tasks from getting out of hand. It also helps me organize my time, and allows me to clearly communicate expectations to my family and loved ones. When I do take a break from business mode, I need to trust that my employees and partner can handle things in my absence. To be honest, this was extremely difficult for me at first but over the years I’ve come to realize that it is something that is essential to my own wellness and sanity. Other times, I need to devote my efforts to myself and own personal development. In these times work, family, and even just “life” in general have no place. This time for me is sacred- it’s reading a book, traveling, reflecting quietly, working out (also known as shopping), or taking time out to “recharge” myself. If I can’t be good to myself I can be good to anyone else at my office or in my home.

CONNECT WITH DR. DARYL CIOFFI:

Website: www.drdarylcioffi.com

Instagram: @drdarylcioffi

Facebook: www.facebook.com/daryljcioffi

KNOTEWORTHY: Amy Larson, Overseasoned Amy

Amy is the Founder of Overseasoned, a multifaceted food venture with a fixation on seasonality. 

Overseasoned began as a monthly publication of handmade miniature cookbooks and has grown to include an online store of rad kitchen accessories as well as catering services. 

Amy is obsessed with orienting life around seasonal food, the British Baking Show and her adorable dog Chowder.

She is a self-declared “pasta making queen” and enjoys tasting her way around the Boston food scene with her fiance Dek.

We asked Amy to share with us some insight into her journey to Entrepreneurship, along with some best practices that we hope you'll find valuable! Here's what she said...

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

I’ve always been completely food obsessed. I spend a great deal of my free time cooking, baking, reading about food or adventuring to new restaurants. So a few years ago, I wanted to find a creative way to share this passion and the recipes I was writing with my friends and family so I began publishing my recipes in the format of a handwritten, mini cookbook (or zine).

I shared 8 - 10 recipes per month that featured a few ingredients that were particularly seasonal during that time for example, strawberries during June, zucchini during August. I accompanied the recipes with watercolor illustrations and, as the project evolved, color photos. My subscribers really enjoyed being able to physically read the recipes in person and have the mini cookbooks out on their kitchen counter to reference or just for display. 

The recipes and aesthetic for the project were inspired by my childhood growing up with an enormous backyard vegetable garden which yielded so much at times that it was overwhelming to attempt to eat everything. (Think attack of the zucchini vibes). So my mom was always getting creative with her preparations of these fresh veggies. I adopted that same creative and fun-loving mentality towards seasonal cooking and I strove to emphasize it in each monthly issue of Overseasoned. My goal was to show my readers how they can celebrate whatever fruit, vegetable or herb is ripe at the moment through simple recipes.  

I published 18 monthly editions of Overseasoned and have since paused production because I’ve now amassed a collection of recipes which I plan to publish in a long form cookbook. 

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

For recipe creation, I’m constantly inspired by ingredients, particularly fruits and vegetables. Everytime I go to the produce section in the grocery store and I see something that’s newly available like fresh figs or garlic scapes or a simple, perfect peach, I am motivated to get to work creating a recipe that will celebrate it. I’m actually over-motivated by produce and my imagination runs wild when I am shopping. I frequently return home with an ambitious list of things to make before my haul goes bad.

I also have a retail component to my Overseasoned business. I designed a collection of kitchen-wares such as tea towels and aprons with my slogan Smash the Garlic and the Patriarchy which I sell and distribute online and in stores across the country from Provincetown  to Chicago to San Francisco. Whenever someone posts a photo of one of my products online, that is so inspiring and motivating to me. I can instantly feel how it resonated with them and touched their life and that gets me so excited. 

What habits have helped make you successful?

Because there are many facets to my business- writing recipes, selling products, catering events- there is a huge variety of tasks that need to get done at any time. I know that I am not always in the mood to take food photos for recipes or assess the analytics of my online store, so I came up with a master list of everything I need to do to run my business and I pick and choose from it depending on how much time I have at hand or how creative I am feeling. I’ve found this to be a very effective way to always be productive.  And as a creative person this is also a forgiving approach because I don’t feel pressure to be inventive and come up with a new recipe or concept every single day and therefore my mind is more relaxed. 

CONNECT WITH OVERSEASONED AMY:

Website: https://www.overseasoned.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/overseasoned_amy/

 

KNOTEWORTHY: Kathryn Ford Richter, Self Care and Mindset Coach

Kathryn Ford Richter is an RN turned Self Care and Mindset Coach. She helps overwhelmed entrepreneurs, healthcare workers, and professionals explore their fears, and increase confidence by taking action and incorporating daily self-care into their lives to feel more empowered and become happier, healthier and ultimately more successful. 

Her background as a nurse, yoga instructor, and essential oils educator reflects in her work with clients, and she loves how her skills complement one another. Kathryn works with clients one on one, as well as offers educational classes to businesses and individuals on how to incorporate essential oils into their lives to improve sleep, decrease stress and improve overall health and wellness. It is her mission to coach as many people as possible so they can feel balanced and have more energy to share their light with the world.

What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?

I wish someone told me that being an entrepreneur isn’t always glamorous or sexy as hell as SM has you believe. Truth is for most people, owning your own business is super hard work. I honestly thought I would quit nursing full-time and within a few months my business would be full and I would be loving life. That could not have been further from the truth. While I was loving life, clients did not just magically appear no matter how much manifesting and positive thoughts I put out to the universe. 

I also realized I had a LOT to learn. Not only did I have to learn how to work from home and peacefully co-exist with my husband who also works from home, I needed to learn a whole new skill set. Coaching, yoga, anything health or wellness related I was super confident about, but marketing myself on SM, learning how to send out newsletters and create opt-ins had my brain spinning. 

I just took it day by day and learned a lot of new things. I realized it was going to be a marathon, not a sprint and continued laying the foundation. I am always learning new things every day and am enjoying the process. Some months are better than others which is always just another opportunity for growth. At the end of the day, I ask myself what one thing can I do today that makes me super uncomfortable, yet will bring me one step closer towards my goal. Then I do it before all the self-talk starts chiming in with reasons for why I should keep myself small and comfortable. 

How do you achieve work-life balance? 

Love this question since this is what my business is all about. There is not one size fits all answer for people. For me, I have found that this ebbs and flows based on the season of my life. One of the most important things I do is schedule in time for myself, whether it is a yoga class, time to meditate or just a reminder to take a break. Sometimes I get so in the zone and find setting a timer super helpful to pull me back into my body and serves as a great reminder to slow down.  

I also know that if I don’t schedule in time for myself, the chances of it happening are slim as the days go on. It is not about finding the time it is about creating and prioritizing time for self-care activities. Some of the things that light me up are yoga, meditation, SUP and SUP yoga, swimming, walks and traveling. I try to make sure I schedule in at least one thing per day. 

I look at my schedule for the entire week or month and see what I have going on. My instinct is to say yes if something comes up and I have an opening in my schedule, however, then I realize that I am jammed for three days in a row. Now, I take a moment to look a the bigger picture and decide how much I want to take on that day. If I have an evening event, then I start my day later, so I am not going for 12+ hours. I am all about setting boundaries with those around me when it comes to my time. If I don’t, who will?

Another useful tool for finding a work-life balance is to know your rhythms. For example, I have way more energy in the morning than I do in the evening; therefore I book my essential meetings, calls or any writing during those hours. I can’t tell you how many clients I see trying to fight their rhythms and wonder why they are physically and emotionally exhausted. I have set hours that I work, and then I shut it down. For me, that works. If something pops into my mind, I will set a reminder on my phone to return to it tomorrow. This works really well for me.

The last thing as I could go on and on, is I don’t take myself too seriously. While the work I do is important, no one is going to die if I take a break to recharge myself. I know myself well enough to know when I need to take a break, switch gears or just laugh at my life and remember this is what I chose to create.

How do you define success? 

Such a great question! This answer has shifted for me over the years. For a long time, I thought success was measured financially. My parents always encouraged me to work hard. I worked my ass off as a waitress and later as a nurse, but was not where I wanted to be financially, and I was not healthy. I loved helping people and realized there had to be a better way to be happy, healthy and successful. 

I now look at success as doing what makes me happy while having an impact on the world. It’s about knowing what lights you up, doing it no matter what and not letting anyone or thing hold you back from doing it. It’s about owning who you are as a person, always being on a mission to learn and grow and to carve your path in the world. 

If I can continue doing that while making enough money to support my desired lifestyle then I feel like I am successful. When I look around and see the clients I have helped, my family and friends, and know that I am happy and healthy, that makes me feel successful. 

CONNECT WITH KATHRYN: 

Website: https://www.kathrynfordrichter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathryn.ford.562?fref=search

KNOTEWORTHY: Jillian Ayer, J. Ayer Massage

Jillian Ayer owns J. Ayer Massage in Hingham, Ma. She delivers stress-based relaxation massage to women and has advanced training in oncology massage that she gears toward women and children. 

Jillian has been nominated for the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver award twice and for six years has been a partnering massage therapist to Lucy's Love Bus, a non-profit that delivers holistic therapies to children with cancer. As a result of her work with Lucy's Love Bus, Jillian is currently working at Floating Children's Hospital in a pediatric oncology clinic, bone marrow transplant unit and ICU. Jillian's private practice, located on the south shore of Boston, serves women both in optimal health and in cancer treatment. 

Her practice is known for its use of the five senses while delivering a relaxation based massage that is truly both a sensorial experience and deeply relaxing. 

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in the clients that I work with. Part of my practice is working with women in optimal health, but the other part of my practice is working with women and children that have cancer. Cancer has a way of stripping away all that does not matter and leaving the most beautifully vulnerable parts front and center. It is that kind of beauty, the kind that is honest and

earnest and that is focused on dealing with something out of a soul’s control, that most often builds wisdom and depth in a person. For me, this is what is truly inspirational.

My oncology clients have also helped me create the foundation of everything that I do in my massage practice. Their journeys have taught me how to stand in someone else’s truth whether they are well or sick, to hold deep space for another and reverence for a stranger’s experience while not trying to change it. Their experiences and stories have beckoned me forward, asked me

to sit on the edge of my own discomfort, often while forging a deeper understanding of myself, sometimes causing me to hold my breath but always inviting me to behold the profound simplicity and healing of nurturing touch. These qualities form the soft skills that any good massage therapist should have (beyond their technical knowledge of the body and its muscles).

We build these skills through the life experiences that mature us and the intention to know how to manage our own energy so that we can meet another just where they are. Without these skills, a massage has no depth. 

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

There came a moment when I stopped chasing external success in corporate environments and began listening deeply to myself and the things that made me feel more alive. Mary Oliver, the poet, once said: “ you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” I love to nurture, and getting in touch with that truth inspired me to leave the corporate world and begin my journey as a massage therapist. I think there is a kind of magic that happens when we authentically align with ourselves. I believe that God tucks a love letter into our hearts before (s)he sends us here. We read the love note out loud each time we chose to do what comes most natural to us. Our natural inclinations are like lighthouses to others on the journey. They call in mentors and teachers as we step deeper and deeper into the world with our gifts. I have been blessed that many people have seen the light from my lighthouse and supported my journey. I think that when we just humbly do what we are strongly called to do, when we gently work to perfect what may already be perfect within us, the opportunities and recognition comes; at least this has been my experience. The less striving that I do and the more aligned I humbly remain, the more doors seem to open up for me.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

As a woman who has raised several kids, is caring for aging parents, and owns her own business, I see how vital balance through nurturing myself is for accomplishing all that is asked of me on a daily basis. The concept of building a business for women was simply born with the intention to help other women nurture themselves so they can find balance and continue to do all they do each and every day. Women wear so many hats and do so much for so many that I wanted to create a place where they could come and be cared for themselves. My massage services are specifically geared toward women.

CONNECT WITH J. AYER MASSAGE: 

Website: https://www.jayermassage.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jayermassage/

KNOTEWORTHY: Sonya Highfield, Real World Creatives

Sonya Highfield is a Boston born and bred entrepreneur dedicated to helping artists and creative  entrepreneurs lead successful lives and build profitable businesses.

She started her commercial and fine art photography business in 2012 than in 2015 founded Real World Creatives, which provides business and mindset coaching for women as well as virtual communities and in-person workshops. 

Sonya also provides inspirational speaking on money mindset at conferences, retreats, and other empowering events! When she’s not working Sonya loves to travel, expand her spiritual practice, watch her hubby cook, and search for the perfect margarita.

Can you tell me your mission statement and overall goal for your business?

I started my business with the mission to give artists the business savvy and professional support necessary to thrive in today's economy. However, over the last three years it's evolved to helping creative, entrepreneurial women craft lives they're proud of doing what they love and cultivating healthy, loving relationships with money and their minds. More powerful women doing good work in the world & living abundantly is the goal!

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

I've tried a lot of things over the last few years, put out a ton of different offers, and a lot of them didn't pan out, or didn't get as much engagement as I'd hoped, and some were major flops. For me, it was essential to redefine what failure was, because I was so stuck on all the things that hadn't worked out that I couldn't fully appreciate my successes big or small. Once I was able to say, "What does failure actually mean to me?" I came up with the answer that failure only happens when I stop pursuing my purpose and inspiration. That made a world of difference, and now I view everything as a learning experience, and the things that don't work out are guiding lights to the next thing that will work out. And now I don't feel like I'm continually failing, just following my inspiration and intuition and seeing where it leads! 

Can you share with us any information about your business that you would want other entrepreneurs to know?

You have to make your business fit your life, not your life fit your business. I know I struggled with this when starting out, and it's easy when you're passionate about your work to let it overrule other areas of your life. And it can be scary to say I'm not working 40 hours a week, I'm going to charge more than my competitors, I'm going to unplug and take vacations, I'm not going to get up at 5 am if it doesn't suit me, and I'm still going to be successful completely on MY terms. Entrepreneurship is a really personal thing, and it makes you confront every part of yourself (over and over!), so if you're trying to just "do business" and ignoring the bigger picture of your life, it's going to be hard. Choose easy! Choose spaciousness. Choose your own path. Get to know yourself and find people like me who support YOUR truth and will help you build your dream from there.

CONNECT WITH SONYA:

Website: http://www.realworldcreatives.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/realworldcreatives/