From organizational tools to a recycling guide to calming meditations- here are nine quick step apps to easily streamline your daily life:   http://mashable.com/2014/03/24/super-simple-apps/
X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

Just this week we launched a brand new, mobile responsive website for Shibui Spa! Based at the FivePine campus in Sisters, Oregon, Shibui is a beautiful, one of a kind, luxury day spa offering massage, facials, waxing, nails, ayurvedic treatments and their popular annual health & wellness detox retreat. Take a look! www.shibuispa.com
X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

"To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream , not only plan, but also believe." -Anatole France

Today's entrepreneur is a true success story. She has created a successful business based on a vision to uplift the world around her. She's deeply committed to the wellbeing of her team, gives back to the Bend, Oregon community and runs her business from a place of heart and loving intention. She has fused her passion into her business and it has grown explosively over the last decade from the seeds she has planted. It is for these reasons and many more we are honored to showcase the brilliant talents of today's Enlightened Entrepreneur-- Heather Straw! Heather is the CEO and founder of global custom jewelry design company Nashelle Designs. Based in Bend, Oregon Nashelle reaches a global audience and has been featured in publications such as Oprah's O Magazine, E News, People Magazine, Health Magazine and most recently on the premiere of ABC's new show- Good Afternoon America. Even with it's worldwide reach and success, Heather has maintained the community centered roots and vision Nashelle Designs was founded on. Each piece is still handmade by Heather and her talented team from their Bend showroom, with recycled metals and natural gemstones. We are here today to hear more of her amazing story.
      Q. Welcome, Heather! What inspired you to begin Nashelle Designs?
A. I began designing when I became inspired by the incredibly beautiful and organic process of working with metal. I started selling my designs when I was surprised by the response I was getting while wearing my work. The company of 'Nashelle' began as store owners started seeking out my jewelry. I took my company to a national level with the birth of my first son. Although I was involved in college, I never finished with my degree. I hoped that by pursuing my talents, I would be able to give my son and new family, the life that they deserved. My family was my ultimate driving force.

Q. What does true 'success' mean to you, in business and in life?

A. I am learning this as I go. Success to me in business means a multitude of things but the success that I pray for and continue to wish when I blow on a 'wishing willows' is: Sustainability for the company to support my family, my team members and their families-to me that is a successful company. We all work hard for Nashelle and my team deserves to be paid well, have flexiblility, health insurance, happiness, and so much more. For me to feel that I have succeeded in life ebbs and flows as the years progress but the one that I feel is my truth forever is raising my family to be well-rounded and happy, healthy, kind, hardworking, giving, loving and confident. Knowing that my family is strong in faith, ethics, believe in themselves and in what they can do in this world and will work hard to make this world a better place. For me to feel I have succeed in this life is largely about what I can give to my family and the people I care about.

Q. What is your favorite part of what you do?
A. I LOVE so much of what I do. I work with incredible people! I am able to pursue my dream of out reaching and helping those in need. I get to travel to amazing places. I get to design gorgeous jewelry and sometimes not so pretty jewelry when ever the craving hit!! I am able to create a flexible schedule that I can be a hands on involved parent to our growing family. I love going to work and for that I am lucky.
Q. If there was one message you could share with the world what would it be?
A. We are all in this journey together. I believe we should all help each other in whatever capacity you are capable of-to work at making this world a better place. Start locally and watch the world begin to flourish.

Q. Have there been certain people who have guided or inspired you on your business (or life) journey?
A. Yes, I believe strongly in my higher power. It is a large part of my life, thoughts, guidance. My family inspires me daily. I have incredible friends that have cheered for me along the way and picked me up when I have felt like giving up. My team that stretches across the nation as far as reps, public relations, etc have been a fantastic sounding board and voice of guidance. I am lucky to have a lot of people that care about myself, my family and my team and want to be involved through all aspects of my life and building Nashelle.
Q. What advice would you give to those who want to pursue their passion but might be afraid to try?
A. To absolutely follow your heart!!  In the beginning, not one person believed I could make a living off of my jewelry and it was a difficult time navigating through that but once I showed the world and the people that care about me that I was going to make it happen no matter what, they began to have more faith in me than I would have ever imagined. If you hit a bump or get knocked down figuratively speaking.... GET UP, dust off and get right back in the ring. I have been on the floor crying many times, tried to give up and walk away more times than I care to admit but at the end of the day, I always got back up and went back with my head strong and I am SO happy that I did. I also have done this long enough to know that there will more times like that in the future and yes, I will get back up again and show not only the world what I am capable of but prove to myself and my family that I am strong, a hard worker aand will live life to the fullest.

Nashelle Designs Showroom in Bend, Oregon

Q. Is there a book, quote, piece of music etc that uplifts and inspires you?
A. All music inspires me. Depending on my mood it gives me a moment to 'let go' and dream.
Q. What are three things that make you really happy? :)
A. My children take my breathe away every day. They are amazing. Traveling centers my soul and let my mind wander to all of the possibilities out there.
       My faith. My faith grounds me.
Thank you so much Heather for your inspiring insights and wisdom!
Join us next Thursday for our final installment of "Enlightened Entrepreneurs" this season :)
X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

"Marriage is like a golden ring in a chain, whose beginning is a glance and whose ending is eternity." -Kahlil Gibran
Welcome back to Small Business Success! Wedding season is in full swing and it's the perfect day to chat with Portland, Oregon Wedding Planner Extraordinaire: Nora Sheils of Bridal Bliss. Bridal Bliss offers full service wedding day planning, day of wedding coordination and special event planning. Ten years ago Nora began Bridal Bliss and has grown it into a successful, award winning wedding planning company. Today she is with us to share some of her success secrets & business tips.

Q. Welcome Nora! What inspired you to begin this business? 
A. Ever since I can remember I have always been smitten with weddings. During high school and college, I began getting experience in the wedding industry by working at local floral, catering and design businesses. Friends and family started asking me to help plan their events and I began getting more and more knowledge of the industry. While attending Gonzaga University I realized my dream job as a wedding planner was within reach. During my senior year I wrote up a business plan for a competition and won. The competition provided me with the resources to start Bridal Bliss right out of college. Ten years later, here I am!
Q. What is the most challenging element of your business?
A. Some brides or mother-of-the-brides can be a bit difficult at times. A wedding is such an emotional time for the entire family, and sometimes tempers flare. I don’t have to deal with many “bridezillas,” but if I do, it has typically come about from a family issue going on behind the scenes. We manage most of the details for our clients so there is no reason for them to be overly stressed. That being said, some clients need more hand holding than others. Some also like to change their minds over and over, so patience is key. I like to get back to my clients as quickly as possible. In doing that, I am constantly on my phone or checking my email. I work several evenings and most weekends which can certainly take a toll.

Q. What is the most rewarding?
A. Watching a wedding flawlessly come to fruition is the most fulfilling part of my job. I love seeing the joy on my couple’s face as they walk into their reception and see what all our hard work created, or calming a bride down and reminding her to breathe seconds before she is about to walk down the aisle. I always station myself by the entrance as guests walk in—hearing the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” is music to my ears. Saving the day, staying on my toes and creating a magical event that is beyond anything my clients imagined is not only fun, but incredibly rewarding.
Q. What advice would you give to those starting their own business?
A. My biggest piece of advice that I give to people inquiring about being a wedding planner is to get as much experience in the industry as possible. Whether you are interning for rental companies, working as a bridal sales consultant, or helping florists with deliveries, however you can get your foot in the door certainly helps. As a Wedding Planner, you have to be familiar with details about all the wedding professionals you work with, and recognize what they do and what makes their job easier. By actually taking a position and walking in their footsteps, you have a better understanding when dealing with the specific type of vendor in the future. Starting a business, no matter what type, takes long hours, hard work and serious dedication. You have to go all in, or not at all. 

Q. What has helped you to persevere in running your business?
A. My passion for my job and my business is what has helped me persevere most. If I didn’t love what I do, I would not have lasted in the industry. In the past ten years since I started, I have worked through different economical times and different budgets, but was always able to create memorable events no matter how big or how small. I have seen many wedding professionals come and go (especially planners) and maintaining a strong vendor base has been key.
Q. Are there any tools that have been especially helpful for your business?
A. Word of mouth is the best marketing method and the least expensive! Hearing that Bridal Bliss is the best in town from friends, online reviews and through all the wedding professionals a bride and groom may meet really makes an impression and inspires a couple to book. Keeping and building this reputation requires maintaining your business relationships, and always going above and beyond no matter how big or small the event. A good reputation can make all the difference.  Social Media wasn’t really even around when I first started. Today, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter play a substantial role in my communications and marketing.
Q. Is there any business or life advice you have received that has helped you along the way?
A. You have to treat others with decency and respect, no matter what the situation. My mom is the most kind and humble person I know. She is loved by everyone that knows her and she always goes out of her way to help others, whether she knows them or not. This has rubbed off on me and inspires me to always try to be a better person, planner, boss, friend, wife, daughter and sister.  Nothing bad can come from taking the high road and being a compassionate human being.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that there is NO job out there that doesn’t have its downfalls and I am incredibly lucky to do what I love and make a decent living out of it. I try not to take anything for granted and do the best job I possibly can.

Q. What has been the most important factor for you in the success of your business?
A. 2012 marks our 10th year in business which is something I am incredibly proud of. We have hundreds of happy clients and I have made several great friends along the way. What I am most professionally proud of is being named Portland’s “Best Wedding Planner” and “Best All-Around Wedding Vendor” by Oregon Bride Magazine for the second year in a row. The awards are voted on by brides and other wedding professionals. Being named the best by your peers and past clients makes the honor that much more exciting and rewarding. Making a difference in someone’s life and having happy and appreciative clients makes for an incredibly fulfilling career.
Q. If you knew in the beginning what you know now, what would you tell yourself when you first started your business?
A. I started my business, Bridal Bliss, straight out of college with no true training, other than a bit of experience planning events for friends and family. I had planned corporate-type events in college but without much supervision or advice. If I was to go back and start all over again, I think I would have interned with a few other coordinators both in the NW and in other parts of the country to get an idea on how others have perfected their trade.

Q. How do you define true success- in life and in business?
A. Happiness. I know that I cannot be truly happy without a work/life balance or a passion for my job. Even thought I try to be as accessible to my clients as possible (some even text me in the middle of the night!) I also try to spend as much time as possible with the people I love.
Q. Is there a book, quote, blog, etc. that inspires you?
A. “Go big or go home.”
Q. If you weren't a Wedding Planner, what would you be doing for a living?
A. I would be a personal trainer/nutritionist. I’m fascinated by the human body and feel like so many people could whip themselves into shape if they just knew what to do and had some support. I realize this is totally weird, but I love watching muscles flex!

Q. Anything else you would like to share would be fantastic!
A. My job is never the same and sometimes turns from wedding planner to therapist to good friend.  To take away the stress involved with planning a wedding so my bride can have fun planning and enjoy every minute of her wedding day is what makes it so fulfilling. I take the time to get to know my brides really well and take a personal interest in making sure their dream wedding comes true. Brides need to understand that wedding planners are not only for the rich and famous.  Many times I save my couples more money than they are paying for coordination services through vendor negotiations and discounts. No matter what the budget, no bride should have to worry about the background details on her wedding day. I have talked to so many people that say “I wish I hired a wedding planner” as the one thing they would have done differently and I just wish there is a way I could have made the experience better for them.

Thank you Nora for sharing your insights and tips with us! For more information on Bridal Bliss visit their website at www.bridalbliss.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bridalblissportland. Join us next week as our Small Business Success Series continues!

X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

"As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." Marianne Williamson

Today we are so honored to feature life coach and founder of Bloom Life Design, Amy Pearson. Amy is a Master Certified life coach and coach mentor, trained by Oprah's Dr. Martha Beck. With 'It Doesn't Have to Be A Struggle!' as her core message, she helps women lead their lives from a place of self-love and confidence so they can play big in the world. Amy brings her warmth and exuberance to every encounter, believing that play, fun and joy are requirements when it comes to finding your authentic life. She also created a popular e-course "How to Overcome Your Inner Approval Addict", which I have found to be incredibly helpful and transformative both in my personal and business life. For these reasons and many more we are proud to feature her as today's "Enlightened Entrepreneur"!      

Q. Welcome Amy! What inspired you to begin your business?
A. My inspiration really began a long time before I ever realized I would begin my business. I had been working as a research assistant for a progressive think tank doing reports on things like the home mortgage interest rate deduction. I was working with highly intricate tax policy reports for the legislature. It was insane! Half the time I can't even remember my own phone number so to think I was forcing myself to prepare reports about tax policy for the Oregon legislature? Crazy. But for the longest time, I worked very hard to maintain a persona of someone I wasn't. Then a series of events in my life sort of forced me to drop the persona. I realized that I didn't enjoy much of my life because I had been putting so much pressure on myself to maintain a persona that was not authentic. I began to read self-help books, books about psychology and dream work and all sorts of other woo-woo stuff. One thing lead to another and I came across a memoir by my now mentor, Martha Beck. The rest is history. I enrolled in life coach training in 2009 and I have been loving my business ever since.
Q. What does true 'success' mean to you, in business and in life?
A. Success to me in business and in life is about being an example of what is possible. I'm a working mom with three kids under the age of 5 but I don't let that stop me. I enjoy my family, I love my work, I'm in the best shape of my life and it just keeps getting better. I believe it's because I give myself permission every day to have fun. We seem to think we need to put so much pressure on ourselves in order to succeed. It's a lie. I figured out how to release the pressure and I'm thriving in every area of my life.
Q. What is your favorite part of what you do?
A. People who invest in themselves  - who believe in their own purpose and invest in uncovering it - inspire me. And I feel like I'm doing my part to change the world by helping my clients make the shifts in their lives that lead to freedom, clarity, peace, joy, abundance. The people who create these things in their lives just have a better energy and I believe this is the kind of energy we need to change the world in a big way. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that my favorite part about my job is that I get to help make the world a better place, one client at a time.
Q. If there was one message you could share with the world what would it be?
A. Well my core message is it doesn't have to be a struggle! We are just so conditioned to believe we have to beat the crap out of ourselves to be successful. So. Not. True. In my experience struggle just leads to more struggle. Think about what you really want to create in your life. If it's peace, find a way to bring some peace in your life now. If it's love, find a way to bring love in your life right now. Struggle begets struggle. That's the bottom line.
Q. Have there been certain people who have guided or inspired you on your business (or life) journey?
A. For sure. Martha Beck is my hero in many ways. I love my tribe of  coaches. They inspire me all the time. I make sure to surround myself with people who inspire me and challenge me to be a better me. I also read a lot. Right now I'm reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. Highly recommended! Oh and my husband gets a lot of credit too. He has always believed in me and is a huge source of support and encouragement in my life.
Q. What advice would you give to those who want to pursue their passion but might be afraid to try?
A. You can't course correct when standing still. In other words, don't be afraid to make mistakes. Don't believe for a second that you have to know how to do everything before you begin. Fear of failure will never get you anywhere. In fact, "failure" or making mistakes is the main way to figure out how to achieve your goals. Put yourself out there, see what works and what didn't, then do it better next time. You don't have to have it all figured out first. Ask any successful person and they will more than likely tell you they had no idea what they were doing, but they tried. That is the key!
Q. Is there a book, quote, piece of music etc that uplifts and inspires you?
A. One of my favorite books for anyone who wants to be successful is The Smart Edge by Jeff Olsen. Here's a little exerpt from the book: Some day... Some day, when my ship comes in. Some day, when I have the money... Some day, when I have the time... Some day, when I have the skill, confidence... How many of those statements have you said to yourself? Have I got some shocking news for you: "some day" doesn't exist, never had, and never will. There is no "some day." There is only today. Seriously, this book is like a winning lottery ticket in your hand. Read it! xoxo
Q. What are three things that make you really happy? :)
A. My kids. My husband. And most of all, myself.

A BIG Thank you to Amy for these words of clarity and wisdom, and for all you do for the world around you! You can sign up for Amy's free 10 part e-course "How to Overcome Your Inner Approval Addict" here: http://www.bloomlifedesign.com/i-dont-need-your-approval/. She is also starting a brand new coaching program over the summer along with several new offerings. To stay in touch, you can subscribe to her newsletter at www.bloomlifedesign.com. Join us next Tuesday as we continue on our "Enlightened Entrepreneur" path with another featured business owner. For all previous stories click Here. Have a great week! ~Elena
X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

"Art of observation is about finding something interesting in an ordinary place...I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them." -Elliott Erwitt
Welcome back to the Small Business Success Series! Today we feature full service video production company, My Life Films. Specializing in filming and producing cinematic weddings, events and life stories they serve Bend, Redmond, Central Oregon and beyond. My Life Films has earned a reputation for excellence to a long list of satisfied customers with friendly and professional staff who possess years of film and storytelling experience. Today we are with owners Scott and Debby Whipple, to discover some of the secrets of their business success. http://vimeo.com/30998524 Q. Welcome Scott and Debby, will you share a bit more about the services My Life Films provides?
A. In addition to cinematic weddings, events and life stories My Life Films also videotapes and produces films for a variety of special events, such as; dance recitals, sport events, concerts and company meetings.  We also specialize in custom life story films, such as; anniversary, graduation, birthday, funeral/memorials and film tributes.  For our business clients, My Life Films produces product and web promotional videos and training films. We also offer typical video production services, such as competitive volume disc duplication and archive-quality videotape/film transfer to disc. During filming, we use multiple professional HD cameras and shoot angles to capture all of the beautiful imagery.  Wireless and hidden microphones capture wedding vows, event speeches, music, cheers of happiness, and toasts.  Afterwards, we edit and polish the footage using highly emotional cinematic editing techniques, slow motion, blurs and many other "Hollywood" effects. All of the visual beauty of the event is then expertly weaved together with a rich audio soundtrack and selected sound bites from throughout the day.
Q. What are your individual backgrounds?
A. Scott: My life-long interests in music, drama and graphic artistry, together with over 30 years experience in computer, video and audio technology provide me a unique ability to orchestrate quality cinematic video productions. Debby: I specialize in wedding and event film coverage, adding my own unique interpretation and camera angles.  We also have several other trained camera staff who are experts at capturing your event in detail, creativity and with cinematic style.
http://vimeo.com/33568214 Q. What is the most challenging element of your business?
A. Marketing and selling wedding and event films is the most challenging part of business at My Life Films.  For example, in today's challenging economy, wedding films are sometimes sacrificed for photography alone.  Brides will typically invest $3000 dollars on a photography package, yet may resist investing in a video package priced half that.   Many brides do not realize that video footage and story development take much longer to edit and produce than photography. We also find many clients have not considered the power of video. For example; would you rather see a photograph of the winning super bowl touchdown, or the footage that captures the motion, commentary, sound and story of that touchdown? My Life Films is known for working well alongside our photographer friends, but, we do want to educate clients of video's power to capture all dimensions of an event, including the gorgeous imagery, motion, sound, music, story and emotion.   When output to DVD, Blu-ray or the web, clients can relive all of the sights and sounds of their event forever. Imagine the power of video, and it's increasing value over time.  For example, how wonderful it would be, to view their parents or grandparents special day;  venue, flowers, decorations, procession, their heartfelt vows, fun and dancing at the reception, or the comments and blessings of friends, family and guests?
Q. What is the most rewarding?
A. As a husband and wife owned company, we really strive to serve each of their clients with friendliness,  professionalism and most all, integrity.  We often "go the extra mile" to add special custom refinements or a cinematic touch, creating a highly stylized film suited to their clients unique personality and styles. Filmmaking and videography is a tremendously rewarding business.  Staff at My Life Films absolutely love to serve our clients, get to know them.  They desire to be a special part of their clients day and event, to serve them and to assist throughout the day where they can.   We love the awe and expressions on the bride and grooms faces when they view their completed wedding film for the first time.. priceless!
Q. What advice would you give to those starting their own business?
A. At My Life Films, filmmaking requires both technical and storytelling knowledge and also developing relationships with clients and other vendors.   Those considering starting a videography business should understand that abundance of today's cheaper filmmaking cameras and equipment, tools and "special effects" only go so far in telling a story and are often overused.  Amateurish camera shooting and editing skills can greatly distract from the beautiful story being told in the film.  Some videographers possess the technical aspects of the job,  but lack the ability to edit and assemble the footage in a compelling and storytelling manner. Most videographers never strike it rich and understand that hard work, determination will eventually pay off in repeat and referred clients.   Effort must be made to focus on the psychology and story need of each event, for example, understanding a brides needs, respecting her day, being sensitive, helpful, calming and as unobtrusive as possible. Educating brides in the power and need for video and price justification is essential, understanding that paybacks may be a long time in coming.   A demo reel or set of quality film samples is essential and often takes time to acquire. Membership in a wedding and event group, such as WEVA and also take training in shooting, composition, story-telling and cinematic styles is desirable.
http://vimeo.com/16703114 Q. What has helped you to persevere in running your business?
A. My Life Films has persevered, especially in a difficult economy.  It has helped knowing that people we serve absolutely love their product.  In fact, a recent post wedding survey of brides listed wedding videography as their number one cherished wedding investment.
Q. Are there any tools that have been especially helpful for your business? (social media, mobile friendly website, organizational tools, specific marketing decisions, etc.)
A. My Life Films uses a variety of tools to market our business.   Until recently, we advertised heavily in the yellow pages, then moved to social media such as Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo for reaching clients and supporters.
Q. What has been the most important factor for you in the success of your business?
A. The biggest factor in My Life Films success is our attention to detail, adding extra touches to the film and excellent customer service. We pride ourselves in professional excellence, and always strive for the best possible footage, camera angles and creativity to tell the story of any event.
Q. If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell yourself when you first started your business?
A. Invest in the proper equipment, software and tools upfront and understand the paybacks may take much longer than anticipated.  Act and take a positive step in the right direction, and avoid needless worry.  Trust in yourself!
Thank you to Scott and Debby Whipple for all your valuable insights and practical business tips! Join us next Tuesday for another Small Business Success feature, "Enlightened Entrepreneurs."
X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." -Hans Hofmann

The SBS Series is back! And this time there is a bit of a twist...In addition to "Small Business Success Stories" we will also be featuring "Enlightened Entrepreneurs" and "Community Connectors". These are people who are leaders in their business, community or even their family. The common thread that connects this group is the intention they each carry to better the world around them. Each week we will be highlighting some of these amazing people who are raising the tide for all of us, starting with today's guest-- Bethanne Kronick!

Bethanne began her productivity coaching business, SIMPLIFY!, to help people create more time & energy and live with less stress. She offers classes and workshops to businesses and corporations on a variety of topics revolving around focus, organization and productivity.  Bethanne is also a keynote speaker and presenter and is widely known to deeply inspire and motivate her audiences.

Q. What inspired you to begin your business?
A. After experiencing a major life-changing event in 1993 (my first husband was killed in a car accident), I decided to embarque in a new direction.  I took an inventory of my skills and interests.  I also took the opportunity to evaluate my life in terms of how I used my time. Knowing how precious time is, it made me realize there was a need to help people understand the necessity of making good decisions about how we spend our time.  In addition, I’ve been a teacher all my life, and organizing is something I am a natural at.  My company, SIMPLIFY! was founded in 2002 to help people in the areas of productivity and organization.  Through my work, I empower people to learn new habits and behaviors so their lives reflect what’s truly important to them.
Q. What does true 'success' mean to you, in business and in life?
A. I actually have a book that was just published that I co-authored called “Mastering the Art of Success.”  In it I describe success as attaining something or achieving a goal.  It’s important to me, though, to recognize that once the goal or ambition is reached and success is attained, it doesn’t mean it’s done or over—it’s really just beginning.  I believe that success is a journey—it’s a process, not a destination or an end.  I love to learn and grow.  Achieving success is really the beginning of the next goal or aspiration I have in my sights.  The most valuable aspect of success, whether in business or life, is the lessons that are learned along the way.
 
Q. What is your favorite part of what you do?
A. I absolutely love helping people and making a difference in their lives.  As I mentioned, having been a teacher all my life, being able to impart information and wisdom to improve people’s lives brings me so much satisfaction.  People apply the information they learn to improve the quality of their lives not only at work but also in life!
Q. If there was one message you could share with the world what would it be?
A. Live life passionately!  Make the most of every second you have!  Even if it’s sitting and doing nothing, appreciate every ounce of that still time.  Time is precious—it’s irreplaceable.  It’s our choice what we do with it.  Make good choices as we only have one chance with how we use it.
      Q. Have there been certain people who have guided or inspired you on your business (or life) journey?

A. My dad has always been my greatest role model.  He’s inspired me since I was young.  My dad was an amazing man—he was one of the most patient and humble people I have ever known.  He had such tremendous respect for people and was so non-judgemental.  And of course he was organized and a phenomenal planner!  My dad taught me to love, the joy of being loved, and about giving unconditionally.  He loved challenges and was a successful man who blazed his own trail.  I learned  from him that you can do anything you put your mind to.  His example of courage and tenacity has been a huge driving force in the things I have accomplished in my life and my business.

Q. What advice would you give to those who want to pursue their passion but might be afraid to try?
A. Create a plan for what you want to do.  Break it down into small steps.  Create a team, YOUR team, of “trusted advisors” to partner with you so you don’t have to know it all!  These can be friends, family members, business associates, coaches, legal advisors, spiritual advisors, etc.  Look to the people on your team to advise you, teach you, support you and encourage you.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Q. Is there a book, quote, piece of music etc that uplifts and inspires you? A. Although sometimes I LOVE rocking out to music, and I have several favorite quotes, what inspires me most is getting out in the fresh air!  The times when I am most inspired and creative is when I am outside moving—whether that’s in my boat, on my bike, walking in the woods, on my skiis… my mind just soars with positive thoughts and inspiration!
Q: What are three things that make you really happy? :)
1.     First and foremost:  being able to LOVE: my friends and family, my work, my clients, helping people, the sport of rowing, the outdoors… loving LIFE! 2.     Doing healthy activities that make my mind and body feel good—ROWING! 3.     A BIG bowl of coffee ice cream!!  : )

    

Thank you to Bethanne for sharing your warmth, insights and wisdom with us! Please leave your comments below and join us throughout this success series. We'll be back next month with another "Enlightened Entrepreneur"...
X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

"You're happiest while you're making the greatest contribution." -Robert F. Kennedy

We return with the 2012 Small Business Success Series and are honored to begin with the wonderful Central Event Rentals! John and Janeen Fuqua started their business 5 years ago and certainly have a wealth of knowledge to share. They offer quality event rentals for weddings, parties and corporate events throughout Central Oregon. With a tremendous amount of heart and natural business savvy this customer service based business is a perfect fit for their skill set. Today they share with us some of the valuable lessons they have learned during their years in business.

Q. John and Janeen, What inspired you to begin this business? A. Janeen and I had careers in the medical and soft drink industries.  I had worked 31 years as both a salesman (15 years) and a manager (16 years).  We both felt a strong desire to do something different in our lives.  In early 2005 we rented some event equipment for a memorial service and were surprised at the low level of service the company provided.  This was a springboard moment for us and an idea began to grow about starting our own event rental company.  We knew we had life experiences we could incorporate into a business such as good work ethic and common sense.  The challenge of something new and exciting was very appealing.  We did a lot of research and we had many, many sleepless nights.  We read an article about a former successful orthopedic surgeon who had a dream of one day creating and manufacturing her idea of the best quality running shoes. At the thought leaving her successful medical practice she said, “I feared regret more than I feared failure.” Her shoe company is now a multi-million dollar per year US Company!  That quote helped inspire us to move forward, and in May of 2007 that desire became a reality with our first official customer! Q. What is the most rewarding part of Central Event Rentals? A. As with any event service company… event rentals, photography, music, venue, catering, floral, etc; choosing the company you are most comfortable and confident with is a great relief.  To see our clients’ confidence when they know they have hired the right company for their needs brings us joy.  Seeing an event come to fruition and knowing we had a small or large part of its success is rewarding. Q. What are some challenging elements of your business? A. One of the challenges we face is reaching our largest customer base with proper advertising.  Finding and reaching our largest demographic of customers is an exercise in financial responsibility.  This is an ongoing challenge and we are constantly reevaluating where our advertising dollars should be spent. Another challenge is time management during the busy summer event season.  We quickly realized our time with family, recreation, and friends would be limited.  We try to make the most of any free time we do have and spend it with family and friends.

Q. What advice would you give to those starting their own business? A. Being your own boss sounds good but getting there and staying there may not be successful without many factors being considered.  Here are a few of those factors but certainly there are many more: -Count the costs, not just financial, but time and effort needed. -Take your time. Study your industry type.find and meet with as many business mentors as possible. -Seek advice, listen. Proverbs 15:22 says: Plans go wrong for lack of advice; Many advisors bring success. -Have confidence in your abilities. Be resolute. -Know your limitations. Q. What has helped you to persevere while running your own business? A. Honesty, hard work, and customer service are external qualities that our customers can see and are very important.  Internally, we always look for ways to improve on what we do.  With customer service as our #1 goal, we understand the next telephone call we get is of utmost importance.  Another goal is to have a good reputation and build on it.  Perseverance depends heavily on passion, hard work, and staying focused.

Q. Is there any business or life advice that has helped you along the way? A. Be joyful, do not get lazy, be humble, be positive, and be cheerful Q. What is the most important factor for you in the success of your business? A. Integrity, listening to our clients’ ever-changing needs, being proactive, planning ahead, and never stop improving; but the number one factor we have found is to have faith in God’s provision.

Q. How do you define success, in life and in business? A. Success doesn’t just come to you; you have to work at it, take some risks, and be appreciative always. Q. Is there a book, quote, piece of music, etc. that inspires you? A. John: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln Janeen: Our two dogs bring us much joy. No matter what kind of day I’m having they always bring a smile to my face. You can’t help but feel loved when you come home to wagging tails and wet kisses. I have a magnet on my fridge that reminds me to smile, be happy, and don’t sweat the small stuff.  It says: "Wag More, Bark Less"

Q. Is there anything else you'd like to share? A. One of the things that we love about our business is meeting new people. Over half of our business is wedding industry related.  It is especially enjoyable for us to meet with brides, grooms, and their families. We always say that we have the ‘necessary’ items but not necessarily the ‘fun’ items. We realize choosing a caterer or florist and tasting yummy cake is much more fun than picking out tables, chairs, linens, and other essential items. We love to discuss what their vision is for their special day and help make it a reality by showing them a variety of chairs, tables, linens etc. We have had many clients tell us that they can see how much we love what we do and to us that is a perfect compliment.

 Thank you to John and Janeen for all your thoughtful insights and wisdom.

Join us this Tuesday for another in the Small Business Success series!

X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

What an honor it is to present today's success story- at the finish line of our series! Our guest today, Connie Austin, brings tremendous joy to the lives around her and has been instrumental in transforming more than a few of them. Among her many business endeavors, Connie created the popular Learn to Run classes through the FootZone in Bend, Oregon and has inspired hundreds of people to begin running. Her goal was to take a potentially intimidating pursuit and make it accessible and fun to non-runners. Some of her participants had never run more than a block when they started the program and many are now marathon runners! Her commitment to sharing a healthy activity with her community in a fun and connected way has caught on in a huge way and has spurred the development of several other businesses under her company Run Ready.  Today Connie is with us to share some information on these businesses and fill us in on what success means to her.   Q. Welcome Connie! Please describe your businesses for us: A. Run Ready is the name I chose as an umbrella for health and fitness services serving Central Oregon and beyond. It includes the following programs: 1. The Learn to Run Program.  I’ve been teaching beginning running classes through the FootZone in downtown Bend.  I give people the steps and strategies to get started in their own running or fitness walking program, in an encouraging non-competitive, and very nurturing format.  Since April 2009, over 600 people have taken my class. I hope to continue this service to others, and add online education, private workshops and retreats, and curriculum for other retail stores to begin their own educational outreach program. 2. The Learn to Run Fun website . This site is meant to keep new runners inspired, involved, and informed in the world of running.  This site is evolving daily.  I have lots of work to do on this! 3. As tools to support the program and to sell online, I plan on publishing 2 books for beginning runners and walkers.  A fun “How to” guide for starting a running/walking program, and a health and fitness journal.  I have many testimonials and inspiring stories from class participants I hope to feature as part of these books as well. 4. Fitness retreats. The first will happen this September 23-25 at Mt. Bachelor Village.  It’s a women’s only retreat called FLOW – Fitness and Leisure Outings for Women. I’m working with a planning committee on this one, and it will include introductory fitness and leisure workshops, great food, wine, fun times with girlfriends, local discounts in the Old Mill District and local restaurants, and a celebratory focus on all the joys of being a woman. Q. What inspired you to begin Run Ready? A. After teaching so many people to run through my classes at the FootZone in Bend, I was encouraged by the participants and partners in my program to expand and create my own business. I have a strong background in teaching and have been a runner most of my life, so following my passion was easy. I’ve coached cross-country and track for 8 years, taught jogging at COCC, competed in numerous marathons and triathlons, and enjoy facilitating and helping others achieve their goals.  This class is a perfect match.  I also work in the meeting and event planning industry so it seemed natural to combine teaching and events.  I have always enjoyed creating valuable experiences for others. Q. What is the most challenging part of running your business? A. Doing something completely new.  It’s both a challenge and a thrill.  My Masters degree is in Education and Counseling, void of a single business class in college.  Now I’m gobbling up any info I can on business development.  I have so much to learn.  Having the clear direction of how I’ll get from idea to action to result is now up to me.  For instance, the idea for a beginner’s running class became a reality, so I believe I can put the same effort into the other areas of my business. I now have a website that will evolve, books to write, and a retreat to plan and administer. Every element is moving along, yet timing, finances, and oh yes… keeping the rest of my life balanced, can be a bit tricky.  Strategy, maximization, and staying positive are strengths of mine, so I’m confident I’ll see results.   Q. What is the most rewarding? A. Seeing the people in my class succeed in so many ways brings me so much joy.  The life changes they are making inspire me, and I am touched by so many of their stories.  Some people have never tried running before and they overcome their fears one step at a time.  It’s incredible! Some of their successes include running a goal distance, losing weight, connecting with nature, realizing their potential, starting a running program in their 60’s, or creating new friendships. I feel good about facilitating a nurturing community for beginning runners and a supportive place for experienced runners. I also feel good about the partnership I have with the FootZone and how I can contribute to their success as an outstanding independent local running store.   Q. What advice would you give to those starting their own business? A. Use the business resources available to you.  Not just books, but people who have been there and can share their wisdom.  I’ve found help from COCC’s business development program, I take COCC’s community education classes, I’ve joined a small business support group through Opportunity Knocks, and I’ve found a fun women’s group that meets monthly to support website development.  These are just a few of the many local resources available.  I love reading the Business calendar in the paper to seek out more opportunities for learning. Q. What has helped you to stay strong during the economic ebbs and flows? A. Partnerships and encouragement from others have been very important to me.  The thank-you e-mails and personal stories from my class participants make what I do feel worthwhile.  I have a supportive husband who is my best friend and fan. I am lucky to have a business that offers everyone positive skills and strategies they can apply to improve their own health and well being as they cope with the ups and downs of life. Q. Is there any business or life advice you have received that has helped you along the way? A. Lots of bits and pieces from caring friends and family have helped me along the way. Much of it boils down to keeping things simple and taking good care of myself. Q. What has been the most important factor for you in the success of your business? A. Partnerships.  In order for my business to flourish, I value the expertise and experiences of other people and business owners.  I partner with the FootZone to share space, knowledge, contacts, employee support, and customer base.  In turn, they are gaining new customers.  By inviting professionals from the medical and recreation industries into my classes to share their expertise, I keep learning the best information and they may receive new clients.  Through the support of the Redmond Oregon Running Klub and Rebound Physical Therapy, we’ve expanded the Learn to Run program to Redmond.   I’ve joined the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition offering more than a networking opportunity, but valuable education and partnerships. I believe in collaborating as often as possible.  That way, we can all share in the success of others as well as enjoy the support when we need it. Q. How do you define true success- in life and/or in business? A. Success to me is the satisfaction, enjoyment and rewards from doing my best work. Q. Is there a book, blog, quote, piece of music, etc. that consistently inspires you creatively? A. I love music and find that listening and playing music (I play the cello and piano) keep me fresh creatively.  I also keep this quote handy to remind myself of the potential we all have inside us:  "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are" -- Joseph Campbell Q. Is there anything else you would like to share today? A. I am very grateful to the many people who have taken my class.  They continue to inspire me, and I am reminded to have the courage to try new things I’ve never done before.

There are certain people you meet who thrive on creating community and their enthusiasm is contagious, Connie Austin is one of these people. She cares deeply about people and wants everyone to feel comfortable and uplifted. Her positive and nurturing approach to teaching is a big part of the reason the classes have been so successful. Connie inspires those around her and brings a collaborative energy to all of her pursuits-- it is vital to her that the people around her succeed and this generous intention has helped ensure her own success as well. Are you interested in learning to run? Her next class begins Wednesday July 6th-- find more details or sign up at www.learntorunfun.com We have officially reached the end of this season's Small Business Success Series! I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of the incredible participants, and to all of the readers for your engagement- I hope the insights shared have helped all of you on your business journey. It has been a privilege to share this series and to connect with all of you-- I look forward to starting up another round in early 2012! ~Elena *If you want to be sure to receive all new posts as they are published just click here to subscribe to our RSS feed
X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha

Today's business, Byron Roe Photography, features two entrepreneurs who have built a successful wedding and portrait photography business: husband and wife team Byron and Wendy Roe. This dynamic duo is known for their chic, natural photography style and were described by one of their brides as "precise, fun, adventurous, contemporary with panache, they'll make you feel famous". Their focus is on connecting with and having fun with their clients, building relationships that transcend the lens. Byron and Wendy have successfully navigated not only balancing their artistic skill with business savvy, but also walking the delicate balance of working together as husband and wife. There is a definite art to this dynamic and one they have worked hard to achieve. Byron is with us today to share some of his insights and tips on building a successful business and we are honored to welcome him.   Q. Welcome Byron, what inspired you to start your business? A. Like many, I’d been searching for the career that we all dream about but seldom hear of or see other than in movies. I’m talking about the career path where everything just seems to click and not only can we use all our really great talents but EACH day of the work week is exciting…. not only Friday. In 20 years I never gave up on this dream but many times I felt so close to finding it I began to feel like that little train, nearly at the top of the hump but unable to make it over. I was at the point in my life where I finally realized that the career path I’d been looking for (and avoiding) was within me from the beginning. I came to see that my love of art, photography and creating was one of the most honest passions I’d ever had within me from the start and I was finally willing to put everything on the line to go after it. When I made up my mind to begin this new direction I was amazed at how everything seemed to fall into place. The “what if’s” of taking this (so called) chance became so insignificant!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNt6wOuKkd4 Q. What is the most challenging element of your business?  A. By far it would be the challenges that come with working as a husband and wife team. I knew from the start that I wanted Wendy to work with me full time as she brings a whole different skill set to the table. We complement each other’s knowledge and best abilities in a way that drew us together in the first place.  In our business, focusing on only our strong points has helped us also get much further in a shorter amount of time but we’ve found you have to be careful. The joke as an entrepreneur is you’ll never have so much fun working so hard and this becomes the tough situation in balancing life as a business couple. When it’s something you both love, (like for Wendy and I) it’s hard to shut off the business mind and put it to sleep at some point. Knowing from the start that our business runs solely on our great relationship as a couple has prevented us from continuing to progress down that path. We’ve found that having rules as to when and where we can discuss business has helped out immensely, (like anywhere in our bedroom is a no, no!), in addition to separating out tasks that can be taken all the way to completion by one person. Another challenging part of working as a couple is that we both have to be very conscious of how we come off to the other person, (in our words and actions). I’ve found that because we’re connected on so many levels to each other, issues can quickly become more emotionally based than if we were merely business colleagues. Always keeping the pathways of communication open has allowed us to focus on the big picture!   Q. What is the most rewarding? A. Easily one of the most rewarding parts of my job is getting to help people. You have to love people when you’re in a business like we are! I’ve always gotten great satisfaction from helping others and it’s amazingly gratifying to know that who I am as a person and what I do plays an intricate part in making my clients wedding experience a great one.   I’ve also been an artist my whole life and have known that I’m happiest creating something with my hands, such as a photograph! The culmination of reward for me when creating a photograph for others is in knowing that I have the possibility of helping people create a better opinion of themselves and that to me is worth more than any amount of money! Q. What advice would you give to those starting their own business? A. Do your homework!!! Most people are taking part of their life savings to go after their dreams as an entrepreneur so make sure your putting your best foot forward. Know your target clients! This will change through time as your business matures but if you don’t know whom you’ll be selling to from the beginning you might end up focusing all your efforts towards a direction that was destined to fail from the start. Make it easy on yourself and figure out whom you want your clients to be and if it’s feasible for that matter. Only then can you direct your marketing/sales in a way to make the money you’ll need to grow your business.   Secondly, know what areas you’ll need to outsource, even when certain aspects are enjoyable within the business!  This will be everything to your company’s ultimate success!! Most entrepreneurs in the beginning end up taking on every role in the company to save money but many realizing all too late that their time, (which is ultimately $$) spent learning accounting software or web marketing could have been better spent! One area that you can’t really push off on others though, is the ability to speak and write in an eloquent manner. Be honest with yourself and know up front your limitations in these areas because you and your businesses reputation is at stake ever time you write an email or bump into a person on the street. I didn’t see it at the time but getting a BA in journalism 20 years ago couldn’t have been a better choice now! Take writing classes up at the college if you need to but don’t wait until you have to repair the damage! For learning to work better with people, read the book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie is a must read for every person in business for themselves. The title’s bizarre enough but you’ll find that most of the hints in the book are no brainers that we’ve all forgotten over the years.     I was lucky to realize early that there’s a reason why over 80% of small businesses fail within the first year. You’d be wrong in thinking that these failures were because of shoddy products being offered! Most, (entrepreneurs) are superior at whatever their business is, be it photography, building houses, baking, etc. We all started our business with the passion and desire because we had the confidence in our skills. The problem is this doesn’t insure business success because it doesn’t have anything to do with the real success of a business! I will never forget the words of a business consultant in one of the first photography conference I ever attended, “it’s not about your photography”, he said. The bottom line is you can make the best widget in the world but if you can’t get the customer in the door it doesn’t matter!!! I now believe that all entrepreneur’s need to have marketing and business degrees rather than any more schooling in what they are already proficient at.      Oh, and please don’t try to become a jack-of-all-trades! This works great when you want to impress your wife and your ability to not only fix the dishwasher but change the oil in the car but it doesn’t translate well in the world of business.  Remember, other than those customers looking for a cheap deal, most people seek a true specialist when it comes to spending money.   Q. What has helped you to stay strong during the economic ebbs and flows?  A. Having faith in knowing that the direction Wendy and I are going in this business is ultimately the right one.  Putting into perspective the state of our economy and knowing that people (and businesses) prosper no matter what is happening. It’s really too easy to get lured into the trap of believing, (and reading into) everything journalists provide for us but it ultimately comes down to our perspective and how we want to look at our lives. I’ve spent way too much time talking myself out of so many great ideas and dreams through the years that I realize now if you’re not continually focusing on how the glass might be half full, you’re not helping yourself one bit! We’re also constantly working on creating a better business. We know that there are always better ways to work with our clients in terms of the services we can provide to them. We’re focused on giving our clients an experience that is not only truly unique to who we are but also who they are!      Q. Is there any business or life advice you have received that has helped you along the way? A. Soooooo much but here’s a big one! One bit of advice that all entrepreneurs need to take to heart is in the area of being unique. How do you separate yourself from your competition when you all “seem” to make the best whatever? If you think it’ll be your customer service, you need to seriously think about what that means in your industry. If you think separating yourself from your competition by having great customer service is going to make you unique, when your interpretation of “great customer service” is doing what your customers expect everyone to do anyways….well, you’re NOT being unique!! The only way to be unique in customer service is to above and beyond what the status quo thinks is normal for that industry! Q. What has been the most important factor for you in the success of your business? A. When you look at successful businesses you tend to only hear only about that one person and it gives off this ludicrous idea that all the success was from them only:  Ford, Turner, Gates, Jobs, Bezos, Zuckerburg…I understand now that one person is never behind the creation of a successful business! Being ultimately open to seeking out advice has been a huge factor in the success of our business. This has helped me reach out to people in our industry I normally would never have met and created everlasting friendships. This also transcends into the business philosophy I ultimately adopted from the beginning.  I decided that I’d rather not look at the knowledge I gained in photography and business as the main reasons behind any success we might have. What I mean is, I don’t want to think of my ideas and knowledge as secrets I need to keep from my competitors to be successful. You can either believe that merely what you learn and implement is what makes you successful or realize it’s really who you are as a person, your personality and how YOU decide to use what you learn that makes you a success. I tend to focus solely on the latter as it’s much more positive and believe that wanting to help others achieve their goals (through helping them with what I’ve learned) will open up far more avenues to where we want to go with our business than what would have come from being secretive. They don’t call it karma for nothing people!     Q. How do you define true success- in life and/or in business? A. We are all trying to achieve a form of balance in life. It would be easy, (and so trite) to say making a ton of money is a success…however, the thing I continue to keep in mind is the fact that there are many people who have all the $ they could ever need and are still unhappy! I am continually proud to wake up excited at creating and working within our company and this is a huge part of what I think success is in life and unfortunately what few people achieve. I’m also able to share my passion for photography and career with my wife and this to me is truly lucky! I do see the big picture though and how easy it could get to continue pounding away at one’s business, constantly achieving greater and greater monetary goals to the point where we forget the point and it becomes…a job! I’m constantly reminded that the next strive for the next big purchase of the next best “thing” to have in life can get very old very quick. Ultimately, for me, the biggest success from having a successful business will create more options for Wendy and I, as a means to help not only ourselves but also more importantly others.       Q. Is there a book, quote, piece of music, etc. that consistently inspires you creatively? A. I’m a big fan of the self-help guru Anthony Robbins and would recommend listening or reading any of his series.  “As a business you have to be constantly reinventing yourself by anticipating what could happen next in your industry. At one point you were making the best carburetors in the world but when fuel injection came along you were out of a job” says Robbins. I also love the quote from Nelson Mandela with regards to fear, (this is part of it): “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” This quote inspires me to always work on being a role model for others in our industry and to strive to help others achieve their goals! Q. Is there anything else you would like to share with today's readers? A.  It always seemed as though I was alone in looking for that amazing career and that everyone else was where they wanted to be but now I hear from many others around me the desire to find the career of their dreams and I can only say with 100% absolute certainty that we all truly know deep down what we want to do in life. The real task is NOT finding out what we want to do but silencing decades of information we’ve taken in that have become the walls preventing us from taking the first step to achieving our dreams!

A big thank you to Byron Roe for all of these sincere, clear pearls of wisdom. His insights exemplify what this series is all about and his generous sharing is helpful to any entrepreneur on their business path, or newly discovering their passion. Are you a creative professional as well? What parts of Byron and Wendy's business journey do you relate to?

Please share your thoughts below and join us next Thursday for our final installment in the Small Business Success Series!
X

Want to Talk Business?

Fill out this form to get in touch with us.

captcha