5 Ideas For Businesses You Can Launch For Cheap Or Even Free

Are you looking for easy and cost-friendly money-making projects? Do you want to earn extra income without having to withdraw most of your savings account? Well, I might just have the answer to those questions.

Starting your own enterprise does not always require a lot of money and a degree in Business Administration. There are a number of businesses that require only your time, skills, and a little from your pocket. All you need to do is tap into your creativity, resourcefulness, and perseverance.

Moreover, ask yourself about marketable talents that others might be able to make use of, and then find ways to let them know that you offer such services. It does not have to be something elaborate and you can even just utilize your social media accounts to let people know you are an entrepreneur on the rise.

So here are a few simple and economical business ventures you can start with:

1. Pet sitting.

This business only requires one thing, your unconditional love for animals and anything furry. A lot of people these days have their own house pet, and there are situations when they cannot bring their beloved critter with them. So, why not turn that into an opportunity to earn a few dollars?
You do not need an office or a capital to start this business; however, having a lot of friends with pets would be an advantage.

2. Online Freelance Writing

If you have a knack for literature, and secretly corrects everybody else’s grammar, then this might be a good business to start with. You can create an online profile highlighting your expertise and pose sample of your work and other related projects.

Another way to market your skills is to set up a blog. The key is to choose a specific niche in order to build an online presence.

3. Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistants are like online admin assistants who are hired by professionals to do mundane admin tasks which they no longer have time to do. You will either sort through emails, write a few communications, and do research.

To make this a lucrative business venture, you will need your own laptop, stable internet connection, and flexibility in your schedule.

4. Babysitting

A lot of parents these days need to work and have a very little amount of time to relax, which is why the demand for babysitters have also increased. Though experience is not a necessity, growing up with little brothers and sisters would be a great advantage on your part.

Also, a little insight into child psychology would impress parents because as we know parents want the best for their children. Patience and tolerance are rather important when dealing with kids, but if you know magic, you are definitely a winner.

5. Homemade goodies

If you make killer homemade cookies or cupcakes, you got a gold mine right there. A lot of big bakeshops these days started out in their kitchen and had slowly taken off as soon as a lot of people had heard of their products.

Some cupcake bakers open online shops on Instagram and take orders through their page. It saves you money and time for marketing, and you can start your bakeshop even without the actual shop.

5 Daily Scheduling Methods To Bring More Productivity To Your Day

Productivity is probably this generation’s biggest dilemma. The rising numbers of freelancers and entrepreneurs indicate that more and more people are choosing to work outside the regular 9-5. But outside any supervision or deadlines, they often end up wasting a major chunk of their time distracted with technology, calls, relationships, etc.

After some initial damage, they sense the need to be more productive if they ever want to achieve their goals. According to a study, only 50-60% of a regular workday is productive. There are numerous blogs, articles, courses, and books that claim to help you achieve the “perfect schedule.” But the reality is, there is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to productivity. What works for one person could be a total disaster for someone else.

To give you an example, let’s compare some of the most successful leaders of our generation. Elon Musk wakes up early and spends his first 30 minutes answering “critical emails” while drinking his coffee. Zuckerberg doesn’t wake up early but maintains a morning routine where he works out or goes for a run, eats breakfast, and gets dressed before heading to the office. Richard Branson wakes up at 5 am, gets in some cardio before breakfast with the family.

As you can notice, there is no set path to productivity. It’s what works for you the best that matters. Some of the techniques with a proven track record in upping productivity are listed below. It will take some effort and consistency to figure out the right combination and stick to a schedule until it becomes a habit.

Start your day early

There is a reason why this gets featured in most of the productivity articles, courses, and recommendations by successful entrepreneurs. Starting early gives you a head start. You can use the additional 1-2 hours to accomplish tasks like your work out or mindfulness exercises along with one task that you think is important. It could be checking emails or responding to connections. Whatever it is, it will bring a sense of accomplishment and set the tone for the rest of the day.

Create a morning routine and stick to it

There is no hack to productivity. It is a matter of habit and intuition. And building a new habit takes willpower and consistency. It requires some initial motivation before the result presents itself. Some say it 21 days to build a habit while others vouch for the 90-day rule. Whatever it takes you, you should be motivated enough to put in the work.

Use Time-blocking Method

Time blocking is probably the most widely used productivity method. It requires you to break your day in 40 mins to 1-hour time slots dedicated to specific tasks. A time block method will have slots for following up with connections and scheduling calls and meetings. By blocking tasks into slots, you can achieve great productivity with the time block method.

Avoid unnecessary decision making

You must have seen the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg wearing the same type of ordinary clothes every day. It is not a coincidence but a planned strategy to avoid decision burnout throughout the day. You can choose what decisions are best avoided so you can focus on getting things done.

Avoid working late

If you are serious about productivity then don’t make the mistake of working late into the night. Take your mind off work in the evenings. If you have a hobby, this would be a good time to indulge in it. Why is it so important you ask? To be productive the next day.

Meet The Man Behind The Cover Of The September 2020 Issue Of MoneyCentral Magazine: Guruji Shrii Arnav

Few people embrace change with ease and move effortlessly across situations that may be as varied as can be. It probably comes from an assiduously cultivated capacity to evolve and grow. And to look at different circumstances as opportunities for growth, just clad in different garb! Guruji Shrii Arnav is someone who conducts meditations in ochre robes with as much as ease with which he makes his way in a boardroom, sporting a Zegna suit.

Sought after by global tycoons, world leaders, life coaches, celebs, key decision-makers, and also the normal folks in day to day life for his guidance and wisdom, Guruji’s life is a shining example of serving with humility and wielding success with compassion.

There were some great accomplishments early on for him indicating that mediocre wasn’t for him – from being an academically brilliant student to winning the Competition Success Review Mr. Super Brain Contest in the year 1999, a prestigious competition held then at the national level in India.

Never one to shy away from breaking the mold, he let go of a conventional and logical career choice in high finance, he took on a spiritual commitment and initiated his endeavours to start an organisation that would help individuals overcome obstacles of different kinds, optimise life and experience greater joy.

He set up his web presence as early as in 1996 with a single page on Yahoo Geocities which migrated to his website astromandir.com in the year 2000, fully functioning as an e-commerce site and accepting web-enabled payments – this at a time when the internet in India was a novelty!

In 2008, when the entire world was reeling with the recession and a global financial crisis, he took a bold decision and launched www.Gemstoneuniverse.com, a web portal providing the top quality natural, treatment-free, precious gemstones.

His vision paid off and the site now has a monthly reach of 4 million unique targeted viewers including those on social media. The online retailing business of astrological gemstones has undergone a tremendous makeover and even more impressive reach and acceptance. He is widely credited with revolutionizing Gemstone e-commerce and standardizing Gem Therapy worldwide.

He is the author of the magnum opus on jyotish gemstones and planetary gem therapy – “The Secrets of Jyotish Gems: A Guide to the Fundamentals of Sacred Astro Gemology of India” which was published by Har-Anand.

It is a book that has met with great success, being well received by the gemstone and gem therapy aficionados. The book was first released by the former President of India, Hon’ble Dr. Pranab Mukherjee, and several heads of state and dignitaries worldwide.

Guruji Shrii Arnav is a beacon, a Vedic Guru who chose to illumine the path of true knowledge for all who are willing. However, his aura and acclaim are not limited to the extensive Vedic knowledge or spiritual abundance that surrounds him. He is also an entrepreneur who is at complete ease with the tide of the times and has a phenomenal grasp of a wide array of skills.

While the term Vedic may have Hindu connotations, his unique way of weaving the universal wisdom into the thread of particularistic traditions has established a deep connection between his ideas and an audience of diverse religions and nationalities. It is amazing how people relate to him with absolute ease and comfort. Guruji Shrii Arnav has found international acclaim and has followers across the globe who, have been touched deeply by his compassion and ability to positively influence and affect their lives.

He helps people of all faiths and backgrounds to seek answers to the most complex questions of their lives. He uses the knowledge and practical wisdom offered by the Vedas and other spiritual texts, complemented with the scientific detail provided by gemology, astrological charts, and his own spiritual capacity – to prove successfully the power of varied specific factors combined together that can positively affect every individual’s life.

Here are some candid answers from the man sporting many hats:

COVID has turned the world upside down. How are you and your organisation coping with it?

Forces of nature and unprecedented events have occurred time and again and history is replete with incidents. True, that it has caught the world unawares and put all of us in a bind but human beings have survived because of adaptability. We are also learning and adapting to new ways. There’s an increased use of technology and the digital medium has become the star.

The good news is that we have not had to lay off anyone, we’re taking care to ensure the well-being of the people who work in the far-flung mining areas as well. A successful entrepreneur always ensures that a fire situation doesn’t arise. And this can be done by adopting the 7R’s/ 7R Model – Rapid action, Remote functioning ability, reasonably risk-free activity/ initiative, real value delivered to clients, reputation, result orientation, readiness for any challenge. These are the values that I and my organisation believe in and follow, ensuring success.

What strategy do you adopt for marketing?

“A successful entrepreneur always ensures that a fire situation doesn’t arise. And this can be done by adopting the 7R’s/ 7R Model – Rapid action, Remote functioning ability, reasonably risk-free activity/ initiative, real value delivered to clients, reputation, result orientation, and readiness for any challenge.”I think that any company’s or individual’s performance is the best and most effective marketing. A demonstration is definitely better than instruction. Doing something and bringing tangible results rather than messaging only is a bigger validation of what an organisation is all about. It inspires more confidence and credibility. If you look at Gemstoneuniverse, we have then been awarded the top exporter of natural coloured gemstones in our state consistently for the last 10 years.

The quality of your product and service is equally important. Gemstoneuniverse ensures that only the ethically sourced, conflict-free gemstone is made available to the clients so that they enjoy their gem completely.

I also believe that the people I hire are the biggest marketing mechanism for my business. Each one is a veritable brand ambassador living the core value and principles.

What is a big challenge that you have faced professionally?

Well, the gemstone industry and quite specifically the coloured gemstone industry is quite unique in nature and as a result, its challenges are also quite different. Gemstoneuniverse is engaged in the trade of natural precious, treatment-free gemstones which effectively means that we are looking at the top two percent – that is the highest grade gemstones.

In this scenario, communicating colour on the internet across various devices and displays becomes a veritable challenge. Understand that you have an exceptional precious mineral commodity and each variety of mineral responds differently to light. A ruby will behave differently as compared to an emerald. A Chrysoberyl cat’s eye needs to be captured differently and so does a pearl. Each hue, each tone must be communicated through an exact picture/video to the client.

I am quite happy to say that despite the inherently challenging nature of the coloured gemstones, today we have the best pictures and videos on the Internet providing the viewer with the best image and videos, quite comparable to what a gemmologist may want to look at!

What is your advice to entrepreneurs or individuals interested in creating wealth or looking at sustained growth?

The one piece of advice to achieve this objective is to believe in these three words –niche, niche, niche. There is tremendous wisdom in specialising in a definite area. It is all about achieving mastery in that ONE thing and you will be able to reap great benefits. When you bring exceptional value to a client, the client might just stop putting the price ahead of value. This is when you have commanded his or her complete attention as well as loyalty. If you have entered into the mind space in such a manner, you will have cemented your position.

What are the future plans for Gemstoneuniverse?

Gemstoneuniverse already has a global footprint but we are looking for establishing physical stores in different parts of the world. We would also be interested in strategic partners who can leverage our expertise and help expand the business globally, while at the same time upholding our core values. There is an ambitious plan of starting the Indian Institute of Gem Therapy and also on cards is a foundation that will assist in making a hospital offering free service and also a meditation Centre.

What is a spiritual message that you would like to give out?

There is no one size fits all formula that can be handed out to soothe humanity. The one thing though that works universally is that Love Heals. With love, compassion, and empathy there is a lot that can be achieved.

Each individual is unique and therefore the suggestions made for the well-being and growth of every individual are unique too.

I would like the readers to check out the latest book by our Senior Director and Life Coach Abhijita Kulshrestha, Cosmic Sutra: A handbook of Healing, wherein 7 minutes of your day are required for different meditations and affirmations along with spiritual exercises for a period of 108 days.

These 108 days can be the key to powerful personal change! You can follow Gemstoneuniverse by visiting our website: gemstoneuniverse.com 

You can also follow us via social media:

Instagram: gemstoneuniverse
Facebook: gemstoneuniverse
Twitter: gemuniverse

Youtube: Gemstoneuniverse

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Introducing Internationally Renowned Celebrity Photographer Michael Grecco

Michael Grecco is an award-winning and internationally renowned celebrity photographer and TV personality. He has been regularly shooting magazine covers for various national magazines such as Time, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, People, and others. His high-profile clients included renowned celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Patrick Dempsey, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Martin Scorsese, Janet Jackson, Mel Brooks, Lucy Liu, Ben Stiller, Penélope Cruz, Morgan Freeman, Jet Li, Will Ferrell, Joaquin Phoenix, and many more.

Michael is also the Executive Producer and appears in the TV Show “Punk.” MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Michael to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

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

It all started in summer camp when I was a kid. The mystery of a black and white image coming up in the tray of a developer was mystifying. I fell in love right away. I shot all the sexy camp counselors at the free swim. I thought, what a life! At that point, I was hooked and went on to study art photography at the local college programs in Westchester, NY while in high school and photojournalism while at Boston University.

Before graduating, I started working for the Associated Press. I shot politicians during the day. And at night, I was a club kid shooting the Punk and New Wave scene in Boston.

When People Magazine then offered me a job, I made the leap from Boston to Los Angeles and switched from photojournalism to celebrity portrait photography, shooting magazine covers instead of for the pages inside.

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

I think my journey to success started when I was asked to travel the world shooting the “Entrepreneurs that Matter” for a special issue of Business Week. I had shot an artsy jewelry story for the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine and Business week saw that and asked me to replicate its artful approach for the businesspeople they wanted to shoot. That opened the door to all sorts of new opportunities in the magazine and the commercial world.

What is your main source of income?

My income is varied. It’s from assignment fees from directing and shooting still imagery. It’s from licensing imagery, infringement enforcement, a book in the works, etc. I’m also working on two businesses related to photography where I would be building technology platforms to help the industry.

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

I always look for weaknesses in the market and try to turn them into opportunities where a new brand can be created. Both platforms I’m working on now are businesses where there’s a hole in the market that can be filled.

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

Instagram is a natural as a photographer. I assume I have both a client base there and a fan-boy base. It’s also pretty easy to find someone there. I also like Facebook because you can tell a little more of a story to friends. I guess in this day and age you can’t really live without either.

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

I like organic search. I think that’s when people are looking for someone like myself. And if they’re searching, they can understand the difference in visions and service.

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

I think all forms of marketing have worked at one time or another. When direct physical mail was popular, that worked if you did it well. Early on, when email marketing was effective, it worked when done well. At this point, you have to engage in all of them at once. You cut the things that have no ROI and continue to do the ones that work.

American film director, screenwriter, producer, and studio entrepreneur, Steven Spielberg poses for a portrait for the cover of Time magazine to promote his film Munich on November 29, 2005.

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

Every time I have to cut a marketing program because it has no ROI is always tough. You really have to be thoughtful in what you’re cutting. There’s also the psychological effect that you might be missing out on something in the future that you don’t know about, which makes it even harder.

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

Oh, it’s always all the little business sayings you’ve heard in the past.

Use other people’s money when starting a business.

…or, Early to Fire, Late to Hire. That’s an ad agency saying to be flexible and cautious.

You can always look back at the mistakes and see them as investments you shouldn’t have made. But you didn’t know that at the time. So hopefully, you learn and you don’t make the same mistake twice.

American recording artist, record producer, film director, and fashion designer Kayne West poses for a portrait photographed in Los Angeles, California on April 26, 2007.

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

Not piss off the people I pissed off with hubris. Be a better listener. I would have wished for all the skills I’ve had to learn as an adult. But the whole concept of a time machine is like fixing your mistakes. You need them to grow and to learn. They’re how you become a better business leader and a better human being.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

If you want it bad enough, you will succeed.

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

Want it bad enough!

4 Social Media Success Secrets To Grow Your Business

Social media marketing has exploded into the online marketing industry within the last few years and has completely redefined it. With well over 3 billion active users, the figures are set only to rise, and many companies have already begun to capitalize on its valuable assets, influence, and connectivity.

We have outlined 4 secrets below to growing your business with social media and ultimately improving your revenue and audience.

1. Promote your e-commerce store

This point may sound obvious at first, but it is critical that this is executed correctly. Ensure users can easily find your store by linking to it in your profile descriptions, posts, stories, and tweets; However, you must keep in mind that consumers do not want to be ‘sold’ to. Some businesses swear by certain ‘content to hard sell’ ratios, for example, 5 posts of purely unique content and inspiration that your followers will value, then 1 post with a hard sell and direct link to your online shop or service.

2. Content is King

Little and often, an age-old saying, but one that reigns true in the world of social media. Your customers and followers do not want to be bombarded every hour, they can quickly grow tired of your content, no matter how unique or engaging it is. You have to leave them wanting more.

In terms of what your social media posts should contain. Content really is king. The videos, photos or text that you post cannot be repetitive or flat. Some of the most popular types of posts that have gone viral include humor and creativity. Ensure though that you keep your target audience in mind when creating content and keep it relevant.

3. Influencers and Bloggers

Once a very misunderstood industry. Businesses are now understanding the vast potential influencer marketing has for their business. Influencers are everyday people from all walks of life, who particularly inspire a group of individuals who idolize or respect their values and opinions. By expertly selecting influencers who match your product or service values you have the ability to reach a very niche but widespread target audience.

4. Communication

Social media is a means of communication after all. It is important to engage in conversation with not only your followers but other businesses and brands too. Being polite, witty, and friendly when interacting with others on social media is key.

However, you must ensure that any awkward or abusive comments and interactions from users are dealt with professionally and calmly. If you have an employee who controls your business account, it is of paramount importance that they understand this too. The world is watching, and social media has the power to spread rude or abusive reactions from a business very quickly. In the past it has even helped to completely destroy the reputation of brands, so count to 10 and reply with consideration and respect.

In conclusion, social media incorporates a huge number of target markets, although different platforms appeal to different types of users (for example Snapchat appeals to ages 18-25, and Facebook pre-dominantly ages 18-45), social media as a whole is used by almost every culture, age, and nationality on Earth. As long as you are providing enriching content and utilizing appropriate marketing techniques like influencers or adverts, you will begin to see positive growth in followers and engagement on your social accounts, which should transcend to sales and profit for your business.

4 Essential Characteristics Of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs

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

1. Excellent Communication and People Skills

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

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

2. Self-Motivated and Determined

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

3. Passion and Belief

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

4. Forward-thinking and willing to take risks

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

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

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

Introducing Mimi G: The World’s #1 Influencer/Expert In The DIY Sewing Revolution

With over 2.1 million social media followers and 12 million website views annually, DIY Fashion Expert/Girlboss Mimi G has defied all odds to emerge as the most influential woman in DIY fashion, propelling herself into the ranks of Martha Stewart, Lauren Conrad, and Chrissy Teigen.

MimiGStyle.com began as a hobby, and has blossomed into the world’s leading DIY fashion/sewing online destination, where Mimi G models her original designs/patterns ranging from business wear to swimsuits that fit the everyday girl, create free tutorials of her on-trend sewing patterns (Turn Your Jeans into a Skirt, Refashioned Sweatshirt into Dress, Men’s Shirt Into Off Shoulder Button Up), personally answers every DIY sewing question (i.e. what fabrics to buy, what projects to start with, etc.), and so much more. She also created the world’s #1 online sewing school SewItAcademy that works for everyone from the first-time sewing novice to the expert seamstress. SewItAcademy helps fashionistas of all levels master the fundamentals of sewing, work at a pace that allows time to practice, learn the importance of specific techniques, break free from mundane methods, and create trendsetting clothing and accessories.

Mimi G has worked with celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Aniston, companies like Target, Revlon, and Google, and has been featured in People Magazine, Parade Magazine, POPSUGAR (to name a few) for making sewing hip and accessible.

MoneyCentral Magazine recently caught up with Mimi G to talk about her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:

Could you please provide a background about yourself’?

Well, I am a mother of four and a serial entrepreneur who took her love of sewing and shared it with the world. I overcame sexual abuse as a child, domestic violence, homelessness, teen pregnancy and came out at the other end of with a clear vision for my life. I spent many years struggling to make ends meet and working 16 hour days in a field I liked but knew wasn’t my calling. I did the best I could to feed my kids and keep a roof over their heads like many of us do until I started this thing called a blog back in 2008. I didn’t know what a blog really was so those first few years were really just a time of discovery. It wasn’t until 2012 when I decided to blog consistently and launched Mimi G Style, Inc. that I started to focus my energy on teaching and providing tutorials. It was fun to teach people how to make their own clothes when they had never even considered it. My blog grew rather quickly and after that first year I was averaging about a million page views, I quit my job a year and a half in and now 8 years later we reach nearly 12 million people a year and have over 12,000 students in Sew It Academy. It’s amazing. I don’t know that I was “discovered” because there has been so much that has happened in the last eight years that people didn’t see. Growth, planning, strategies, luck, lol but I owe my success to the people who follow and support and share me with friends and family. Starting a business is not something that happens overnight and I feel like I am just getting started.

What do you like most about blogging?

I like having the ability to reach millions of people by sharing my love of style and sewing. It serves as a great journal of sorts to look back and see all that I have done and it’s the way I market new products to my followers so it keeps everything in one place and consistent. Blogging is different now, we like fast information which is why social media is so powerful so you have to really understand the benefits of having a blog and how to use it even with the ever-changing social media climate.

Can you tell us about your Style & Sew It Academy?

I think my style is always changing, I have moods and I dress according to how I feel. I like simple, easy to put on looks that require little to no fuss. I am a jeans and tee kind of girl but will throw on a cool jacket or cool shoes to take the look up a notch or two. I love clothes and I love shopping but to be honest, shopping can be a little stressful if you are not a sample size or, if like me, have a 10” difference from my waist to hips. That is the reason I started sewing again in my 20’s, I wanted my clothes to fit right. It is also the reason I started Sew It Academy.

I launched Sew It Academy in May of 2016. I founded Sew It Academy to help people who wanted to learn sewing and fashion design but couldn’t afford to go to a traditional design school. I set it up so that you didn’t need any experience to start and just about anyone could afford it. The first course is me showing you what a sewing machine is! (laughs) For the price of two lattes a month we teach you everything you need to know to make your own clothes, fix clothes that don’t fit off the rack, work and design your own collections or work in the fashion industry. There is a ton of free info on YouTube but not all of it is good. I wanted somewhere that had structure and really taught people fundamentals that they could build on. There is no online sewing and design school that offers the variety that we do. We teach sewing, pattern making, draping, fashion illustration for both menswear and womenswear and above all it’s affordable.

What’s the biggest challenge of running an online business?

There are a lot of challenges when running a business in general and a lot of what I do happens online but the overall challenge is creating content on a regular basis. You have to be visible and stay visible in order to reach people and make an impact among so many other people. My focus is always around creating engaging and visually appealing content. It can get a little difficult when you feel like your whole life is an opportunity for content but that is the world we live in and certainly the way you need to approach an online business if you want to have continuous success.

Have you always wanted to be in the fashion industry?

No, not really. I have always loved to sew and design but I didn’t know how that was going to transpire in my life. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I decided I wanted to be a “fashion designer” I went through the process of creating a collection in between my full-time job and even put it on the runway here in LA but after that experience, I knew that although I felt accomplished I didn’t want to spend my time trying to sell a collection. There is a lot more to being a fashion designer that people realize, you have to market and sell your line and very little time is spent doing the actual designing. I love the process of creating garments so after starting my first DIY blog and sharing how-to videos that what I really enjoyed was teaching. I won’t say that I don’t want to do retail at some point because I think I do and will but I can now choose how I want to do it.

What’s your personal mission in life?

I have many, but my main personal mission is to be a great mother, I want to be an example to my kids and have a lasting impact on people I know and those that I don’t. I have worked hard to show my kids that you are more than your circumstances and that the power to be great is found within. I want them to see that despite my struggles I am able to make a positive impact on the world. I have a million friends in my head, all of whom follow me and support me and although I don’t know them all personally I want them to feel empowered and inspired by what I have to offer. My mission in life is to be the best person I can be.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

I have had so many! but at the end of the day, the most memorable moments have been when someone recognizes me not the street, and wants to share their story with me or take a pic. Every time I meet a follower I am reminded at how amazing my life is and how fortunate I am. I have one story that stays with me always. I got an anonymous email from a woman who shared that she had just gotten out of rehab and was in sober living housing. She told me that she had once been a professional engineer with a great career, her own home, a nice car, and a little girl who she loved. She met a man, fell involve and that was the beginning of a very difficult road. The man she had met and was now sharing a home with was addicted to drugs and had introduced her to them. She became an addict, lost her job, her house, and eventually her daughter. She said it took her a long time to get her life together but she did. When she graduated into sober living she was not he computer looking something up and came across my blog. She shared that she spent hours looking through my blog posts and that I seemed to jump off the page, she said she felt like she knew me. She started learning to sew with my videos and that new hobby she was learning from me helped keep her sober. She is now a coupler and travels sharing her story. She ended her letter to me by sharing that now when she speaks to groups she talks about a DIY blogger that helped save her life and she has no idea who I am. I still don’t know who she is but I think of her often and wish her well. My blog started as a place to make cool things and learn but over time it has become a safe place for people to find themselves and many times heal.

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

I have had the pleasure of sitting with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani, and Tim Gunn but the most interesting people I have met so far are fans who have had amazing journeys since learning to sew. So many of them have started small businesses, created additional revenue for their families and have even changed careers. I am forever amazed at the stories I hear and how many exceptional people have been brave enough to share their lives with me.

What are your future plans? 

I have so many plans! I am looking to continue growing my business podcast where I get to share all the business advice I wish someone would have shared with me before I became an entrepreneur. It is geared toward people looking to start a business from a hobby or passion. Business SHET (solve, help, earn, trust) has had over 190,000 downloads in less than a year and I am hoping to continue providing resources. I am also finishing my long-overdue book. I also have a few surprises up my sleeves that I can’t share just yet but it will be really exciting.

How This Beautiful Beauty Queen Made The Leap From Corporate Life To Financial Freedom

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Have you ever heard of a stunning Beauty Queen who works in the Real Estate industry and owns two investment properties already??

Meet the beautiful Gemma White – she was crowned Miss Australia Continents in 2018 but her interest in property investment and building wealth stemmed from a very young age. Growing up, she remembers spending a number of school holidays and weekends at properties her parents would be renovating and that made her eventually realize that investing in property is the best and most consistent way of building wealth.

From the age of around15 years old, she started attending property seminars and reading property related books. The first book she read was “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki and she also enjoys reading motivational and inspirational books, listening to podcasts, audiobooks and researching online.

She purchased her first investment property which settled in January 2017 and her second investment property in June 2018. Her goal is to own at least 3-4 investment properties within 5 years before starting her very own Property Development Company.

StarCentral Magazine recently sat down with Gemma to find out more about her journey towards financial freedom and here’s what went down.

1. Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your property portfolio? What encouraged you to start a property portfolio?

I grew up on the Central Coast NSW but moved to Brisbane QLD at the age of 20 and now live on the Northern Gold Coast with my family. I have many great memories growing up and value family time first and foremost.

At just 27 years of age, I have been working in the Real Estate industry for over 8 years and own two investment properties.

As soon as I finished school I completed my Real Estate license and Diploma in Property Services and started working in the industry. Over the years I have also completed a Cert IV and Diploma in Project Management.

My interest in property stemmed from a young age. Growing up, I remember spending many school holidays and weekends at properties my parents would be renovating… well, I mostly remember feeding bread to the ducks and taking my parents’ change to buy lollies at the corner store.

From the age of about 15 years old I started attending property seminars and reading property related books, the first book I read was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. I enjoy reading motivational and inspirational books, listening to podcasts, audiobooks and researching online.

I think it’s important to have goals, be dedicated, ambitious and willing to work hard to achieve your goals. It is also important to keep learning and growing your knowledge at all stages of life. My life revolves around Property and Real Estate really, I simply love it!

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2. Can you describe your journey? When did you start?

I purchased my first investment property which settled in January 2017 and my second investment property in June 2018. The goal is to have 3-4 investment properties within 5 years before starting my own Property Development Company.

I love a challenge, creating opportunities and helping people into their dream home. Working in Real Estate has helped me understand the ever-changing property market and the key elements to consider when researching for my own properties.

3. What is your main source of income?

I work full time in Real Estate as a Residential Property Manager.

4. What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your property portfolio?

Save. Save. Save.

Whilst I have financial goals that I am constantly striving for, I believe life is all about balance!

I am always trying to improve my life in every area and live with an abundant mindset. I try to save as much money as possible, this often means I give up nights out on the town drinking or other costly outings but I certainly don’t feel like I’m missing out.

By living life in balance I am able to achieve my financial goals and grow my portfolio as well as do many things I enjoy that don’t cost so much or anything at all. For example, go to the gym, get outside for a walk, go to the beach, hike a mountain, walk to a waterfall, watch the sunset, read a book, listen to a podcast, go on a coffee date rather than for a full meal and spend time with family and friends.

5. What is your idea for wealth building?

I believe wealth building comes in many forms. We can start at any age simply saving a small percentage of what we earn with every paycheck. When I started my first job at McDonald’s at 15 years old, my parents made me save 20% of whatever I earnt (I started on a mere $7 an hour). This is something that has stuck with me through my adulthood and I still strive to reach this and more every week. Every dollar counts!

We can make small changes to our daily habits that will set us up for success when it comes to wealth building. I would suggest making weekly plans and budgets, cook at home rather than buy take out, ditch the morning coffee purchase, think before making the next rational purchase for that dress you don’t really need, make specific money or financial goals, pay off any debt (car or credit cards) efficiently and build your credit rating, spend time every day learning (this could be as simple as swapping music or the radio for a podcast or audiobook on your drive to and from work) and surround yourself with inspirational and motivated people who encourage you to do your very best.

When it comes to wealth building I believe ‘where focus goes, energy flows’ and ‘we have to give to receive’.

6. What challenges did you face trying to establish a property portfolio?

The biggest challenge I think many of us face when trying to establish a property portfolio is saving the initial deposit. I know it’s important to remain focused regardless of the challenges, hurdles, and adversities we experience.

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

The toughest financial decision I have had to make in the last few months was the decision to continue saving a deposit for a third investment property or to book a months trip to Europe with my girlfriends for mid-2019.

Whilst I am very driven and goal oriented I feel it is important to live a well-balanced life. Travel is something I crave, having already been to over 40 countries.

Although the trip will put me a few months behind on purchasing another property, I know I will achieve this goal with time.

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

I wouldn’t call it a mistake but would highly recommend to start investing as early as possible. In hindsight I would be much further ahead if I didn’t spend the deposit I had already saved on a 6-month backpacking trip around Europe in 2014, however, in saying this, I wouldn’t change anything. The experience, memories, and friendships I made on this trip are indescribable.

9. What new business would you love to start?

I would love to start my own Property Development Company within the next 5 or so years.

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

I can’t say that there is anything I would change at this point in time. I feel that we learn and grow with every step of the journey.

11. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice to remember when purchasing an investment property is to ‘think with your head, not with your heart’.

12. What advice would you give someone who wants to start building their property portfolio?

If you have thought about buying a property, there’s no better time than now! Do it. Don’t wait. Take action now!

It is imperative to do your research. I would suggest reading property books, attend property seminars and seek advice from those who are already in the property market. The most important decision you can make is to get educated and learn as much as you can to ensure you set yourself up for success.

Get To Know The Global Multimedia Artist And Successful Entrepreneur YiZhou

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Chinese multimedia artist, influencer, and entrepreneur Yi Zhou is widely known in the international creative community for her artistic, fashion, branding and film work. Her work is admired by a highly diverse group of distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood A-listers, wealthy patrons and the young social media audience.

Yi Zhou has a degree in politic science and economics from the London School of Economics and is now continuing her education at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She speaks fluent French, Italian, English, Spanish and Mandarin.

In recent years, she has endorsed a number of global campaigns including Persol, DFST – Galleria, Levis, and others. She was named the first-ever brand ambassador for China for Clarins in 2010. Since 2011, she has collaborated with such prestigious brands as Chanel, Hogan, Pringle of Scotland, Lane Crawford and YOOX. She also collaborated with French couture Jewelry house Gripoix, launching a special collection titled “Pineapple Secret. Her animations have also inspired a clothing collection by popular French brand Each X Other.

In 2013, she was invited as the first ever Chinese talent to be hired as a designer and creative director of a brand, to create a 360-degree project ranging from menswear, womenswear and accessories for Italian luxury brand ICEBERG. The “Breaking the Ice” capsule collection was released worldwide in December 2013.

In 2010, she created Yi Zhou Studio, creating employment opportunities for young Chinese talents to collaborate and experiment together on international projects.

A major social media influencer, Yi Zhou has been named Tudou’s art director, art and fashion advisory member at SINA.com, and beauty and fashion ambassador for Tencent.

A passionate promoter of East-West relations, she is frequently asked to speak at conferences and events around the globe, including TEDx (Paris 2012, Beijing 2013, Zheijang 2014), LVMH Labour Day in Paris in 2013 and Financial Times Luxury Conference in 2014.

Yi Zhou has contributed to many NGOs by creating art pieces for the UN Conference for World Climate Change in South Africa in 2011, the UNDP China Rio+20 Projection in 2012, as well as World Oceans Day in 2015. Most recently, she worked with Natalia Vodianova’s Naked Heart Foundation by participating in an artwork commissioned by ETAM.

Yi Zhou ‘s short films have also been shown at Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. She was selected by Venice Biennale to showcase her 2011 works, as well as new works from her solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome titled “Fragments of Rome, past, future, parallel worlds.”

She is currently working on several international media projects and is developing her first feature motion picture.

StarCentral Magazine recently sat down with Yi Zhou to find out more about her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down.

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

I began my career as a multimedia artist in Paris and in China. Recently, I have relocated to Los Angeles to prepare for my first feature film and to start an investment company that will invest in entertainment and lifestyle portfolios.

My journey to success is thanks to hard work and by living in different countries. I have developed a sense of independence and survival to the new that has helped me to strengthen my skills to adapt to new environments.

I actually have a selective memory, and I am always ready to start a new chapter and a new challenge against boredom. I would never want to sit and dwell on my past achievements, but instead, I look at the future with hope and opportunities.

What is your main source of income?

I have multiple sources of income. I have divided my business and creative skills as an artist, filmmaker, and entrepreneur.

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

I’m preparing my investment firm at the moment and adding more ventures into my portfolio, and plan to venture into riskier as well as traditional investments.

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

I feel that I’m a pretty tolerant person. Therefore, I can afford some more risky investments and projects, such as my latest addition, ArtWallet, to which I’ve been named an Advisory Board Member. It’s a new concept that bridges cryptocurrency and art. I’m also preparing to launch my brand Global Intuition, a new concept for lifestyle and apparel born in China and made in LA and China.

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

I don’t believe in sponsored advertising in the long run for social media, as it lacks authenticity. It often feels like a Christmas tree, due to the sudden association of the influencer with a given brand. I believe things and associations must feel organic and real to the audience, who is becoming more and more savvy nowadays.

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

I must say that I’m an influencer myself and I often refuse to do posts that make me sound unnatural. I try always to be associated with brands that I feel close to in terms of philosophy, strategy and look. As for my own brand Global Intuition, we are preparing our PR and marketing launch at the moment.

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

I don’t believe in any marketing theories. I always try something new with a surprise effect.

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

I hope my brand Global Intuition will stand out when it launches later this year. As a brand myself, YiZhou, I feel that I am unique as I incorporate many roles and cultures into one, so it makes it difficult to copy.

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

The toughest decision I had to make in the past months was to say goodbye to some projects that I was invited to work on. Along the initial path, I encountered a lot of difficulties to deal with some of the involved partners, so I looked deep inside of myself and decided not to continue, even if the projects might have appealed to me. I feel work and living happily are the most important things to me.

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

Over time, I have learned that overspending and having too much overhead are mistakes. I think modern technologies are allowing us to accomplish more tasks than before, thereby saving manpower.

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

I think “saving” is a keyword to learn, as are planning and making smart moves.

What new business would you love to start?

I wish to continue to accomplish the plan I laid out for the upcoming years, and my best goal is to one day create a beautiful family.

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

I wish to be able to see my ancestral life. But in this very life, I would not change anything, besides perhaps learning to deal with difficult people differently. I wish I would have had the chance to learn about this important skill in advance.

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

I read a lot of sports-related books, as I believe an entrepreneur is a sportsman (or woman). We need to take the same approach.

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

Advice to a newbie: I wish to advise them to find a real-life role model and mentor, and stay in close contact with that person for guidance.

Meet The Woman Who Made The Leap From Freelancer To Successful Solopreneur

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Nicole Faith went to NYU with stars in her eyes hoping to get a crack at the fashion industry, but after four internships and one graduation later, she realized that she had no clue what she wanted to do. She decided to work for a startup where she ended up honing her tech and design skills by empowering entrepreneurs to build their online business.

She became physically and emotionally ill from the stress of her 9 to 5 job, so she took a solo trip to LA for two weeks to recharge. Once she got there, she didn’t want to go home because she loved solo traveling so much.

She started out just freelancing but quickly became frustrated by crappy clients who disrespected her expertise. She was tired of negotiating rates and being taken advantage of. There are many coaches and lifestyle entrepreneurs selling the “dream” of lounging in a hammock on the beach, but nobody actually makes it happen for you. She knew she could do that, so she re-branded her entire business to align with her ideal clients (sophisticated solopreneurs).

As a pioneer in the location independent movement, she is thrilled to continue to demonstrate how to choose a life of freedom on your terms.

We caught up with Nicole Faith to talk more about her business and here’s what went down:

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

10 Carat Creations is where five-star businesses are built. I build your online service business in just one week so you can work with clients as you travel the world. I grew up obsessed with fashion and had every intention of becoming a fashion journalist.

After graduating NYU, where I completed four internships in the fashion industry, I was completely lost. It was too much like The Devil Wears Prada for me, so I sought out another path. I landed a position at a tech startup where for three years I learned the ins and outs of website design and entrepreneurship as I helped entrepreneurs start an online business. I got my first job when I was 12, so there came the point when I knew I needed to transition out of being an employee and into something that offered more freedom.

I thought freelancing was the answer because so many people do it, but boy was I wrong! As a freelancer, I was just as stressed and unhappy. I kept having to chase clients and justify my rates. I felt utterly disrespected because I knew I had deep expertise I wasn’t being paid or recognized for. I not only excelled at design but had the ability to craft a business concept from start to finish in a short period of time.

I was also appalled at how unprofessional, so many so-called professionals were. I felt like the odd-woman out because I was obsessed with professionalism and attention to detail.

I had a website which is not the same as a business. After stumbling around, I re-branded my entire business to 10 Carat Creations based on my own values and not the marketplace. I packaged my services which changed everything.

I was tired of copying what other freelancers do. Chasing clients. Pitching clients. Negotiating with clients. It just felt wrong to me. If you’re an expert, I believe you deserve to command respect and premium prices. There are services, and then there are services. So few people seemed to be preaching this, so I decided to carve out my stake in the industry.

Soon after that, I founded the Digital Nomad Business Directory as the first and only online directory of location independent solopreneurs. Because if I’m going to help people craft a high-caliber business, I want to show them off!

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

Success is quite the illusion! You have to act successfully to become successful. I put in a lot of unpaid hours. Thousands of unpaid hours! I had the self-awareness to know I could make a living from my ideas and I took it one day at a time. I started freelancing part-time while working my full-time job. Eventually, I had more time when freelancing was my focus. Each day I did something very small, like discover a new tactic, design new graphics or write a blog post. All of my teeny tiny actions added up to something that looks impressive from the outside but is really being held up by the smallest of building blocks. I had diligently saved a lot of money that gave me the cushion to work on my business. I doubted myself several times and went looking for a job thinking maybe I wasn’t ready to be a full-time entrepreneur. I couldn’t get hired anywhere and came to the conclusion I had outgrown being an employee. I considered this the universe’s sign I needed to double down and work on my own empire.

What is your main source of income?

Freelancers who want a custom and/or original pre-made online service business. I craft their concept, hone their niche, package their services, design their website, write their copy and set up the backend tech.

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

I’m consistently looking for press opportunities because my goal is to make 10 Carat Creations a household name for people looking to escape the nine-five and freelance grind once and for all. I also have a few projects under wraps that will make crafting a five-star business more accessible than ever. Lack of money shouldn’t prevent you from making more money. At the end of the day, money can’t buy class.

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

There are SO MANY brands that glorify being a “digital nomad,” but mine is the only one that meets you in reality. Most quit-your-job advice is vague like “freelance on Upwork”, “get gigs” or “start a blog” but the truth is to make a decent living doing any of those things is really hard. I believe people who have an expertise should capitalize on it in a way that attracts the right kinds of clients who will pay premium prices. People who respect themselves also respect other people’s expertise, which means if you can provide a service online there’s a market for it. 10 Carat Creations isn’t for the average person who’s interested in traveling the world- it’s for sophisticated solopreneurs with the motivation to build a business that supports their dream. Not the other way around.

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

I founded the Digital Nomad Business Directory as the first and only online directory of location independent solopreneurs. Its brand was bright, colorful and punchy- the opposite of 10 Carat Creations. When I realized the two businesses didn’t match up and were confusing, I had to re-brand the directory, so it more closely aligned with 10 Carat Creations. I’ve learned change is great and usually necessary, so I’m not ashamed to say something didn’t quite work out the first time. There have been many times when I put a lot of work into a concept- only for it to be re-done shortly after that. I have to swallow my pride and just get it done because it’s more important that the branding be right than for me to be right.

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

When you start a business, there are so many paid tools that seem like necessities. Things like software and apps might take up a lot of time because you want to find the “perfect” tool. I almost made this mistake and am glad I didn’t.

I would recommend paying for something as a last resort because it keeps you creative and forces you to evaluate what’s essential and what’s just nice to have. You can spend thousands on nice-to-haves.  Any tools you buy should fit into your workflow seamlessly and shouldn’t detract from your actual work.

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

Sometimes, even when you have no money, you need to spend money on you. Take a spa day. Get your nails done. Buy the bag. Because you need to reward yourself for how far you’ve come. People who are rich, literally and figuratively, don’t run on fumes. I spent too much time beating myself up over how slowly things seemed to be going when I should have given myself a hug. It took me several months to figure out my perfect brand. It took me three months to get my first press mention. It took me five months to get 50 newsletter subscribers. And it’s all great! Nothing happens quickly, despite what you may think. It’s a very slow burn.

What new business would you love to start?

So many! That’s what inspired Business With A Bow™- the original pre-made service businesses I sell. Every idea I have for a business that I love I create and let someone with the skills and time to make it their own. I’ve wanted to do everything from spy-like consumer research to explainer videos to infographic marketing. I’ll leave my crazy ideas to the experts!

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

I would have chosen a niche and packaged my services. Being a generic “freelance web designer” or “freelance copywriter” doesn’t do anything to get you, clients. I would also have focused on the benefits and not the services. No one cares that you can write a resume but if they can “Get more dream interviews” then that’s a good hook. It took me a long time to comprehend this and an even longer time to make it happen. Practice makes perfect, and I definitely had a lot of practice.

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

Be ruthless in cutting wasteful people and activities from your daily life.

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

The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is life-changing because it really helped me organize my life and business. The TL;dr version is “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

I never asked for advice because I don’t like people telling me what to do. My favorite unofficial advice is from Dr. Seuss- “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

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

I built my business based on values I thought were missing from my industry. I was disgusted at how unprofessional everyone was. Their casual attitude towards clients and business, in general, turned me off, so I thought if I felt this way other people must as well. I recommend doing the same thing. What’s missing, and why? What do you dislike, and why? Ultimately, you can read words of advice all day, but eventually, you have to do something. Do it now.