Knoteworthy

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/