Devote Yourself to creating something that gives you purpose . . .

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

Tuesdays with Morrie, author Mitch Albom

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Congratulations Stocked Kitchen

Stacey Krastin and Sarah Kallio have been two very busy Mom Entrepreneurs this summer editing their newest cook book "Taste". Adding to their already 250 recipes is an additional 300 recipes using ingredients that you "stock" in your kitchen making meal preparation a breeze. You will never have to go out to buy that all-important ingredient while preparing a delicious meal for your family or guests. The thirty-minute meal is really a thirty minute meal.

Congratulations on the release of your new cookbook and your Take Five Grand Rapids appearance. For anyone who missed watching Sarah Kallio on Wednesday, July 28, 2009, the video of their segment has been embedded for your viewing pleasure.

Sarah and Stacey will be hosting a booth at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival beginning Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1, 2009. They would love to see you and sign their newest cook book for you.

Click Here to View.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bartering - Have You Considered Exchanging Resources?

When economic times are tough, creative women may find the use of bartering as an opportunity to exchange products or services within their field of expertise to fulfill a business need.

Bartering by definition is to trade goods or services without the exchange of money. For a brief history of this topic bartering originated between 9000 - 6000 B.C. and livestock was often the unit of exchange (History of Money ) Today we wouldn't exchange an ox for products or services, but we may exchange handmade tote bags for professional photography of our products to help them sell on the Internet.

When exchanging products for services, be sure to include all associated costs, not just time for time. For example, I recently made an exchange of hand-sewn products which took approximately 22 hours to complete and $150 of material for a service which requires little to no material content. It was easy to exchange the hours for hours, but it was necessary to also convert the material cost into hours to make an even exchange. As a result of thinking outside the box, both sides of the equation became equal factors in this business exchange.

One thing to consider when bartering is what the IRS has to say about the exchange. I've included a link to this topic on their website here. It is necessary to consider bartered services on your business financial statements. Use the fair market value for products or services when considering the value of the exchange.

There are numerous bartering websites on the Internet, to find some just Google the topic. For an article of How Bartering Works, click this link.

We might want to consider adding a classified section to this blog to help us exchange products for products, products for services, or services for services. It might be useful to consider that one person's time is not any more valuable than the others even if you have different hourly rates.

Your comments would be useful in determining how we might want to accomplish this. Are there any suggestions or any interest in bartering?

There's Your Sign

At least once a week, I like to make a network connection and yesterday I was networking with a local woman inventor. We had planned a trip to the manufacturing facility that is making my products and I felt like it would be a good connection for her. It was wonderful to share lunch with someone who shared my interest in "invention". She spoke of her background, her design, the utility patent she just filed and it was so refreshing to share this experience with her.

While at the manufacturing facility, it was pretty plan to see that the connection made between inventor and manufacturer was going very well. They exchanged ideas on the best construction methods, materials, and timing.

On the way home, the conversation centered around questions. Quite often an inventing mind will ask lots of questions, and I was privy to hearing some questions a loud.

"I wonder if . . . ,
should I think about this . . .,
what will be my best resources . . ."

you get the idea.

As the inventor was asking questions, I looked up from my driving and saw the perfect sign which read "God loves a good puzzle . . ." We had a good laugh over that one and then she exclaimed, "I wonder if He was talking to me . . . "

On the opposite side of the road the billboard read "AVAILABLE".

If you are familiar with the popular Blue Collar Comedian, Bill Engvall, I couldn't help myself and said "Here's Your Sign".

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Woman's Guide to Starting a Business in Michigan

Here is a link to a newsletter published in April 2009, you might find useful in you are either a women-owned business in Michigan, or are planning to start one. Click here to learn more.

Topics covered in this link are . . .

1. How do I start a business in Michigan
2. Five tips for starting a business
3. What is certification
4. Where can I find funding
5. Where can I find training and support

The Bridge, a Holland based business

What started out as a career in retail soon became a passion. Sara Russell, manager of The Bridge in Holland, traveled to Kenya nearly twelve years ago and learned about making a livelihood on less than a $1.00 a day and the pride of the people who were able to sustain their lives by the work of their hands.

A mother of a friend convinced Sara, fifteen years ago, to manage a store for her based on seeing her interest in the retail environment. This business has been in place for nearly 22 years, but Sara beamed when she spoke of the past three years in business which has been "crazy - good". She attributes this to the increased awareness in the welfare of humanity throughout the world. People are interested in helping others.

From September - December 2008, Sara decided to add a line of scarves to her product offerings and quickly discovered that she was on to something big. Two thousand scarves later, she spoke with the rep that introduced her to these scarves from Nepal, and learned that the success of these scarves had allowed the women who made them to purchase five new looms from which to weave.

The Bridge on 18 West 8th Street has discovered handmade crafts from artisans in over 30 developing countries. There are also some U.S. made "green" products in the mix. The Bridge is a non-profit store, which is an outreach of Western Theological Seminary.

The Bridge works with Fair Trade groups in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. These groups pay the artisans a fair wage for their hand crafted goods and also help these groups with product development. This enables artisans to earn fair and stable income for their families while maintaining their cultural traditions. "Fair" is the keyword to the success of this mission. When abundant wages are paid, the outcome is not the same.

The store is run by volunteer staff. With only a few paid positions, equating to less than two full-time employees, Sara indicated that some weeks she works 35 hours and other weeks it is 55 hours.

It was easy to feel the enthusiasm behind the business, the environment is cheery and everyone there seemed truly interested in sharing the story of how this business is changing lives of women and children throughout the world. Products are labeled according to origin, and in most instances, information is provided about the materials, the methods, or the artisans behind the craft.

The store was full of browsers and shoppers (mostly women), each looking for unique, yet personal gifts. One woman spoke of traveling to Amsterdam with the gift she was purchasing from the store and shared how someone had given her free lodging. It seemed almost to speak of "paying it forward". Word of mouth is probably the best publicity that attributes to this business success.

What is Fair Trade?

  • Equality - Fair Trade not only brings beautiful hand made crafts into your home, but also provides fair wages and safe working conditions to the artisans.
  • Sustainability - Fair Trade encourages all people to work together in our global marketplace. Each Fair Trade purchase directly helps an artisan or farmer in a developing country.
  • Fair Trade - In the "Free trade" economy large corporations prosper and the individual suffers. Fair Trade encourages each individual and values his or her creativity.
  • Cultures - Fair Trade accepts and embraces the beauty of all cultures. Crafts represent the customs, traditions and hope of all artisans.

Although The Bridge does not currently have a website at this time, one is underdevelopment. They have started a blog at

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Intention Experiment

Thought is a thing that affects other things . . .

Listening to a recent program on "intention", Lynne McTaggart discussed her scientific research in the area of intention and its impact on the world we live in. She reveals that we are sending messages out to the universe through our thoughts, and we all have more thoughts that we are unaware of than ones we are. Through a series of experiments, a new science is emerging which indicates that we may have more power to change the world than we think.

As business owners this message should be one that gets my attention.

What are my business goals?
What messages am I sending out to the universe (with and without awareness)?

If I want to have a greater impact on the outcome, I need to bring more clarity to my goals. Writing out my goals will show me my level of clarity. If writing these goals is a struggle, then this might be the underlying cause for my level of success. Once I gain clarity around my business goals, I need to look at my internal dialogue regarding these goals.

What "thought" obstacles are getting in the way?
Does my self-talk help or hinder my success?

Setting my goals is not about making money or accumulating things, but about what I hope to accomplish with those resources.

Lynne McTaggart is not conducting experiments to create millionaires, but has a philanthropic target toward her experiments.

Lynne has published a book called "The Intention Experiment"; she also has a web-based experiment that allows focus groups participate in her study.

I hope this topic will create clarity in the intentions you have toward growing your businesses.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Woman of the Year Awarded To . . .

Reported in the Grand Haven Tribune - May 7, 2009

by Becky Vargo

SPRING LAKE — Donaylle Rogers said she could have talked all day about what she's gone through in growing up a minority. She said she was used to being picked last or being ignored.

"It's always been really hard to find my place," she said. So when Rogers was informed she was the recipient of this year's Counterpart Distinguished Woman of the Year Award, "I really didn't get it," she said.

Committee members, who usually were able to surprise the recipient with the annual honor, had to tell Rogers she had won in order to get her to cancel lunch-hour appointments with her clients Wednesday. It had to be something really important for Rogers to do that.

Rogers still didn't realize the impact until her name was announced and she was compared to the others who had previously won the award from the local women's group.

"As our members know, it has been a 28-year tradition of Counterpart to welcome bright, strong, committed women into its membership," said Bobbi Sabine, the organization's president and 2005 award recipient. "So it's only fitting that we ... take a leadership role in recognizing those women in our community who possess these same worthy characteristics, and who have effectively and selflessly worked for the betterment of the community."

The 38-year-old Grand Haven resident easily fits those characteristics, according to employees of the Center for Women in Transition who nominated Rogers.

CWIT Executive Director Charisse Mitchell said through her business in downtown Grand Haven, Donaylle Nicole Salon, Rogers has become one of the strongest supporters of the center.

Rogers has established a number of events, which not only raise funds for the center but also provide a way for women to interact and learn about helping each other. These events include a recent fashion show, downtown cut-a-thons and the monthly Bring Your Own Blowdryer evenings.

"She does amazing work," Mitchell said. "She's just a woman who stands out in our community."

Mitchell said the people at CWIT know what Rogers and her colleagues do in the community, so they nominated her for the award "so everyone else would know, too."

Rogers' own employees speak proudly of their boss. In the nomination, one of them called her "an exceptional person and outstanding boss," someone who "goes above and beyond the normal employer by taking a personal interest in each and every one of us by finding ways to help us better ourselves and be more successful."

Rogers, who grew up in Big Rapids, said she constantly faced the issues of being a minority. She said she was warned not to move to Grand Haven, let alone start a business there — but Rogers bucked the odds.

She started out small, working for another salon first, but said she has seen much success since opening her first business six years ago. Rogers is also an active member of her church, volunteering many hours a month to teach Bible classes and help out in other ways.

Members of her family are also heavily involved in charitable work — including her husband, Adam; and three children: Kennedy, 9, Bella, 6, and Jasiri, 2.

Rogers' sister, Marla Curry, said Counterpart made the right choice and that her sister was deserving of the award. "I work with her every day and I see what she tries to accomplish," Curry said. "Everything she does is about empowering and supporting women," Mitchell added.

Counterpart, founded in 1976, places emphasis on programs that benefit women and children. It gives its members an opportunity to become better acquainted with their contemporaries, and to grow in knowledge and appreciation of the community. The group has noon luncheon meetings on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at the Holiday Inn in Spring Lake. For more information, call Sabine at 844-5092. For lunch reservations, call Martha Roldan at (616) 607-9205.