Ava Ukulele Resonates with Kickstarter Backers

Ava Ukulele has officially launched their Kickstarter campaign for Ava, a travel-sized ukulele with an on-board speaker.

Ava was borne out of an adventuring musician’s need for a compact, durable, and powerful sounding instrument, Ava easily fits into a backpack so you never have to leave your instrument behind.  Ava is your essential adventure companion.

Ava’s unique design is optimized for maximizing sound performance while minimizing its physical footprint. An on-board speaker projects a bold acoustic sound suitable for jamming out with friends.  The patent-pending Turnkey Tuner system is cleverly located in the back, saving space that would otherwise be taken up by a headstock. With the forearm rest retracted, Ava measures just 16” long lengthwise and fits in an average backpack.

The Ava Ukulele was conceptualized and invented by design engineer, Candace Chen.  Chen is a classically trained pianist and violinist, and self-taught on the ukulele and guitar, with experience teaching music.  She holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from MIT and has been designing, engineering and manufacturing products at her entire career. Her work has been a part of beloved products used by millions for brands such as Apple, Jawbone, and PXG.  In addition, she has consulted for multiple startups in the consumer and sports tech fields in designing products people love at scale. Personal projects include electric violins, electric ukuleles, an electric longboard, a hammering robot and a modified electric pocket bike.  She is also an avid traveler, who had her own ukulele broken in flight.

“The ‘Aha’ moment came during one fateful trip,” says Chen.  “Because of baggage limits, I was forced to check my acoustic ukulele.  Even though I had carefully packed and cushioned the ukulele, when I reached my destination I discovered the TSA had opened the bag and repacked it poorly, breaking my beloved instrument in half!  I looked into buying a travel-sized ukulele, but none were able to match the sound of an acoustic uke”

“Ava” is derived from the word “avian,” (bird) — a reference to both the wing-shaped forearm rest which slides into the body — as well as constantly flying to different places.




  • Retractable Forearm Rest
  • Extended for comfortable strumming position
  • Retracted for compact storage

Patent-Pending Turnkey Tuner

  • Located in the rear and saves space that would otherwise be taken up by a headstock
  • The “key” magnetically attaches to the tuning posts pegs while tuning
  • Magnetic key stores away easily in the body when not in use
  • Easily fits in average sized backpack

Excellent Sound

  • Onboard speaker projects bold acoustic sound (volume control for different settings)
  • Powered by rechargeable long-lasting battery (up to 6 hrs)
  • ⅛” (3.5mm) audio jack output to earphones for private sound
  • High-quality nylon strings play warm chords and clear bright individual notes


  • Exterior made of a high-performance polymer blend making it impact-resistant, scratch-resistant, shatter-resistant, warp-resistant
  • Comes with a custom-designed soft gig bag, hard case sold separately



“Novako” comes from Nova (sun/star) and Ko (company). We are the star company, made up of everyday stars like you. We serve as a reminder to shine bright and be your best selves.

Novako Music was founded as a commitment to supporting musicians by building them up through collaboration and cross-promotion, to boost exposure to their talent.

We’ll always encourage people to jam out with others and to share songs with each other. We also hope to be the tipping point for people who are considering learning to play the ukulele!

The journey starts with a single note. So come along!

Women Fighting Back After They are Verbally Abused Online

Women are enduring abuse and many threats online every day, and nothing much is being done about it, as there are no laws to deal with this new form of abuse as yet. Legislators are being criticized because of the slow pace in which they are moving towards making new laws that will cause abusive persons to stop abusing women online.

A tweet stated that the abuser wanted to hold the female in his arms and then choke the life out of her. Could it be the increase in the number of video games that have killing as something that is just easily done and forgotten that is causing this change in the way people communicate? It seems as if monsters are being made every day and they like to hide in the shadows and allow persons to take a peek at who they are when they use social media.

They do this because women being abused verbally is not seen as anything that is a major problem. There are too many major crimes taking place for anyone to pay attention to monsters on social media.

A video series called Feminist Frequency has been produced by Anita Sarkeesian and her team, she is a cultural critic who has taken on the producers of violent games. Her activity has caused her to be a target for gamers, and the abusive tweet I referred to earlier was sent to her.

There are persons who suffer online defamation of their characters, and they can’t find an attorney to represent them in court.

There is also the issue of revenge porn, where bedroom activity is being displayed online to hurt females after a relationship falls apart. The advancement in technology has done a lot of good things for the world, but the increase in crime that is caused by the use of technology is not getting enough attention as yet, and it is time for us all to wake up and look at the growing monster before it consumes everyone.

Too many persons are just going after money, and they are not stopping to think of the consequences of their actions and what happens when the things they use to earn turns others into monsters who don’t respect the feelings and lives of others.

There are persons who are actively trying to get social media officials to wake up and pay attention to this growing problem, but we don’t know how successful they will be at causing anything to change about the way shared information is monitored on these sites. It would be good if abusive persons could lose their accounts forever. Their computers could be blacklisted and blocked from opening another account on social media.

Some women are fighting back, and that is great, they put the name of the abusive person in messages and tell everyone what the abuse was like, with the hope that persons will do something about it.

3 Ways Your Startup Can Avoid the Bankruptcy Trend

It’s an unfortunate and well-known fact that the majority of startups ultimately fail. Many entrepreneurs think that if they can only keep their business alive for the first few years, they’ll be out of the woods. The truth is that more than half of businesses don’t make it past the first five years.

While this is especially true for small companies still learning their industry, many multi-million dollar companies—the likes of which can make investors drool—have found themselves in a state of bankruptcy. Just look at Avaya, Kodak, Karhoo, and a plethora of other impressive tech companies.

Big or small, countless companies that seemed relatively stable to outsiders have gone bankrupt. Why? It could be a simple lack of incoming revenue that stunts growth, or even the result of a product line not evolving to keep up with competition and becoming obsolete. It could also be overvaluation, poor investments, or expanding a business too soon.

Creating and growing a business can be a tricky balance. You want to move fast, but not faster than your budget can afford, and you have to spend money to make money. But where do you stop? Here are three tips to help keep your business above water and thriving.

1. Take one step at a time and focus on priorities.

It’s easy to spend cash faster than we can earn it. Many companies want to do everything from the very beginning. They end up spending thousands of dollars on trade shows, airfares, marketing efforts, prototypes, employees, and more.

Startups can burn through a majority of their investors’ cash before they see any return on their investments. One startup, Beepi, recently closed its doors. It was a marketplace for people to buy and sell used cars, and while they had raised almost $150 million in funding, they were spending close to $7 million a month at their peak. In business, it’s crucial to understand what you NEED and what you can do without.

John Pope, co-founder, and CEO of Jive Communications, recently acquired by LogMeIn, explained how he and his co-founders focused all of their time and energy on their product first. Founded in 2006, they didn’t even establish a marketing department until 2013. Instead, Pope said that everyone on their small team wore multiple hats and penny-pinched wherever possible.

2. Remember that money is made to be spent—responsibly.

Reinvest in your company. Most startups need to make this their primary focus. Why? Because new businesses can’t compete with the big dogs yet. If a business plans to be a serious contender in the marketplace, an aggressive expansion strategy means aggressive reinvestment — though it varies from company to company.  

Have a strategy and apply funds according to your development plan and company needs. Many businesses start by making improvements. Could you improve your infrastructure? Streamline manufacturing? Have customers asked for improved product features and capabilities?

These different endeavors can help increase your profits and decrease expenses. So with your future and growth in mind, reinvest responsibly.

3. Have a plan in place for paying off debt.

Debt can be a great way to raise money to finance the growth and expansion of a business, but it can also be dangerous. As a business owner, you need to have a plan in place to pay it off, and you’ll want to start early. With personal debt, you generally want to pay off the loans with the highest interest rate first, but with a business, it’s a little different.

Once you’ve paid your employees, you can focus on overdue bills from key suppliers. To improve cash flow and allow yourself more money to pay down debt, it can be a good strategy to delay payment to suppliers. However, once you’ve reached the latest deadline, pay off these outstanding invoices as fast as possible. These debts may not cost you interest, but they can be costly for your business’s reputation.

Next, you will want to pay off debts that impose steep penalties if you fail to pay on time — particularly if you provided a personal guarantee or the debt was secured with valuable collateral. Only after these steps will you want to focus on ranking and paying off debts by interest rate, paying them down one at a time while making minimum payments on the others.

4. Understand that there’s always an opportunity cost.

Once a business starts seeing a profit, many feel that they should spend more — even when they don’t have to. Focus on cash flow and growth rather than impressing people. Of course, you want your employees and office to be comfortable, but does it need to be excessive? Instead of throwing things out when they break, consider repair costs. Instead of staying in a five-star hotel while on a business trip, stay in a comfortable, but a reasonably priced three-star hotel.

Once you start opting for the easier, fancier, or more fun route, you’ll find that it’s hard to go back. And there’s always an opportunity cost. Consider the money that could have been made by reinvesting it back into the company to improve your product offering (and avoid becoming obsolete) or putting it somewhere more valuable.

There’s a healthy balance in everything. Don’t discard your frugality as you become successful. Big expenses should and will be made with the business’s strategy in mind. Simply remember that your startup doesn’t have to do everything right away. Take one step at a time, spend money responsibly, and take a good look at your opportunity costs.

What Marketers Need to Do About LinkedIn Native Video in 2018?

After several months of loitering way behind all other social media platforms in terms of its readiness for full-blown video marketing, LinkedIn has now started rolling out native video functionality to all users on mobile and desktop.

What’s Native Video?

Native video on LinkedIn means you can use the app (or desktop version) to record or upload already saved videos on your device, directly to your LinkedIn feed. Earlier, users had to embed videos from YouTube and other platforms.

Just like a native video for Facebook comes with several benefits over embedded video content, the LinkedIn native video also delivers some unique advantages. In this guide, I’ll cover these, and help marketers understand what they can do to make the most of the native video for LinkedIn in 2018.

Why Native?

When you already have a lot going on for your YouTube channel, and can easily embed your videos to showcase them on LinkedIn, why bother with native video uploads? The answer:

  • LinkedIn native videos get more visibility than embedded videos.
  • LinkedIn’s algorithm is made to treat native videos preferentially.
  • Viewers that engage with one of your native videos will get more of your native (not embedded) videos on their newsfeed.
  • You can use LinkedIn Analytics to analyze your native video performance.

Remember, the LinkedIn native video has just started. Facebook’s native videos get 10 times the shares as YouTube embedded videos. The LinkedIn algorithm, too, will eventually drive the engagement value and visibility of native videos much more and much quicker than embedded videos.

The Basics

Here are the basics of LinkedIn native video that you’d need to remember while you plan and produce your video content.


The video duration needs to be between 3 seconds and 10 minutes. Of course, the ideal duration depends on your video’s theme (a business intro is best kept below a minute, a customer testimonial will need 2-3 minutes, etc., a DIY video could need longer). The maximum file size limit is 5 GB.


Just like Facebook, your native videos on LinkedIn will auto-play without sound when your followers stop on them. So:

  • Create truly engaging video content that hooks the audience’s interest
  • Add captions to your video to communicate even with sound off
  • Use a descriptive title to tell viewers what the content is about
  • Grab the attention in the first 3 seconds, motivating users to turn the sound on


Smartly use the 700 characters to add some teaser text about your video. You could also link to a LinkedIn Publisher post. Add a few keywords, use a hashtag or two, and mention any LinkedIn followers whom you think might like (and share) the content.


Arguably, the biggest benefit of LinkedIn native videos is that you get to use LinkedIn Analytics to make sense of what’s working and what’s not. A ‘view’ is recorded if a viewer runs your video for 3 or more seconds. You get information on likes, shares, and comments, and can also see important professional details of top viewers, such as their industry and job roles. This helps you target high-value users with targeted video content.

How to Use LinkedIn Native Video for Marketing Like A Pro?

LinkedIn video helps you refresh your LinkedIn marketing. Video content is arguably the most engaging form of content on social media. You only need to quickly browse through video marketing stats to realize this. In 2018, here are some ways you can supercharge your LinkedIn marketing in using native video.

Interview Industry Experts

Your LinkedIn audience will not miss out on content that it could benefit from. The best option is to reach out to your network, seek an interview with an expert, and upload the video to your LinkedIn feed.

Introduce Your Business

Native video is another opportunity for you to put up a descriptive video to explain what your business does and answer some frequently asked questions. This helps your LinkedIn B2B network truly understand your expertise.

Create Native Video to Popularize Your Content Posts

You can create teaser videos that talk about some key aspects of one of your high performing articles on LinkedIn or any other social media platform. Add a link to your content post in the video description. The trick is to generate interest, and promise (and deliver) the answer in the linked post.

Top Tools You Need

To create stunning, valuable, and glitch-free videos for LinkedIn native video marketing, keep these tools handy:

  • ScreenFlow: for screen sharing content (Mac)
  • Camtasia: Hassle-free video editing (Mac and Windows)
  • Zoom: Add a background to your video
  • Teleprompter Lite: If you want to read from a script

Concluding Remarks

Video marketing is going to retain its pace of growth throughout 2018. Brands that flow along with the upgrades rolled out by social media platforms will get the best results. Your LinkedIn marketing deserves a video-boost, and native video will deliver that.

Top 10 Entrepreneurs of 2018

Grant Cardone

At the age of 60 in the year 2018, Grant Cardone is famous as an internationally renowned sales trainer and as the bestselling author of “The 10X Rule” and “If You’re Not First, You’re Last.” His primary venture, Cardone Training Technologies, provides Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs with an interactive sales training platform. Additionally, he has gained popularity for single-handedly building a massive real estate empire that has a present-day portfolio valuation of around $740.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media, and communications holding company and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients across the company’s 4 locations. In addition to VaynerMedia, VaynerX also includes Gallery Media Group, which houses women’s lifestyle brand PureWow and men’s lifestyle brand ONE37pm. In addition to running VaynerMedia, Gary also serves as a partner in the athlete representation agency VaynerSports, cannabis-focused branding and marketing agency Green Street and restaurant reservations app Resy.

Jon Brooker

Jon Brooker (19) an American entrepreneur, CEO of Grip Works LLC a specialty motion picture and television grip company (member of IATSE) that provides turnkey solutions for on set lighting services and full equipment rentals. He landed his first at a gig at 14 years old repairing broken or cracked iPhones. Jon had a true passion for the film industry, he found himself grabbing unpaid internships and volunteer production assistant assignments in Los Angeles while his peers focused on the traditional aspects of high school. Jon’s impact was quickly noticed, and he began to edge out much older candidates for coveted on-set jobs. Jon worked constantly towards his dream to launch his own company, Grip Works LLC while only a senior in high school. Jon has been disrupting the film industry, we are looking forward to watching his journey. Jon currently attends a prestige college and juggles academics and business for 60 to 80 hour plus work week.

Daniel Patterson

An author, speaker, entrepreneur & founder of Patterson Perspective Inc. In 2018, Patterson published his first book The Assertive Parent to rave reviews while continuing to refine and expand his innovative consulting firm. Part educator and part motivator, Patterson draw from his intellect, humor and pragmatic approach to connect with his readers, clients, and audiences in order to deliver tangible and practical solutions for both teenagers and parents. As a former teacher, administrator and contributor to the Huffington Post, he’s gained noticeable traction and a national following, securing television, radio and podcast appearances, while making contributions to NBC News, Fox News, and TEDx Newport Beach, among others. Patterson successfully balances his thriving edu-centered coaching practice, media appearances and budding speaking career with his family, including wife Caroline and their three children. Undoubtedly, Daniel Patterson is an entrepreneur to watch in 2019. Connect with Patterson: Instagram: @pattersonpersective www.pattersonperspective.com

Gaurav Khanna

Gaurav is more than just your run-of-the-mill tech investor. While he started his first profitable venture in high school when most of his peers were playing with Pokemon Cards, Gaurav’s passion for technology led him to later work with Google, and then with Silicon Valley legal-giant Atrium. Forever looking for ways to solve real-life problems using innovative technology, Gaurav saw an immense opportunity in the FinTech sector.

TK Kubvoruno and Matt Carroll

According to Statista.com, “in 2020, the entertainment/event and media market in the United States is expected to be worth over 720.38 billion U.S. dollars.” This amount may be a surprise to you, but to Takudzwa Kubvoruno (TK) and Matt Carroll, this projected valuation came as no shock. In fact, the two take this number as a challenge to raise the bar. TK is a 25 year old originated from Zimbabwe who made his way to the United States at age 7 with a dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Brosnan C. Hoban

A social media influencer with over 150,000 followers across all social media platforms and co-owner of Protos Development, A commercial real estate company started by his father in 2004, located in Pittsburgh, PA. Together they manage and own a real estate portfolio in excess of $20 million dollars to date. Currently specializing in strip mall development in the greater Pittsburgh area. Along with his knowledge and experience in commercial real estate, his strong presence on social media has helped him to be able to grow his personal brand and leverage his social media assets into other online business ventures.

Mario Peshev

CEO of DevriX, a next-gen distributed team of 40 building high-scale WordPress applications and magazines serving hundreds of millions of views. Peshevhas led training courses in CERN, VMware, SAP and other MNCs across the world. His work has been published in dozens of journals and known digital magazines, and he’s a prominent LinkedIn influencer, a Top Writer on Quora for 2018, and recently started producing educational YouTube videos for consultants and digital businesses.

Jay Halliburton

Co-Founder and CEO of JayBuysDetroit. Jay discovered his passion for real estate after his grandmother’s home of 30 years was foreclosed in 2013, due to delinquent property taxes. This unfortunate situation brought light to a bigger issue in Detroit known as the foreclosure crisis. Earlier this year, with his fraternity brother Kyle Kirkland, Jay founded the real estate solutions company, Jay Buys Detroit.

How Employers Can Help Remote Workers Beat FOMO

Remote workers are becoming more and more common in the workplace.

In fact, many people are demanding remote jobs. In a recent study commissioned by Jive Communications, recently acquired by LogMeIn, it was found that three out of five millennials feel that flexible, remote working is essential in their next role.

With such easy and effective online collaboration tools available to businesses everywhere, the ability to connect in real-time with remote employees has become easier than ever. However, it can still prove challenging for remote employees to feel like a valuable member of the team if they’re missing out on team activities and the overall culture of the office. This is where employee FOMO kicks in.

What is employee FOMO and what is its impact?

FOMO is an acronym that refers to someone’s “fear of missing out.” While FOMO is generally used outside of the office setting to refer to the anxiety and fear that is felt when someone is left out of important social events, this term is especially applicable for remote workers as being forgotten or left out of a team outing can weigh heavily on their minds and morale.

In this way, taking time to reduce remote worker FOMO can actually improve employee spirits, increase collaboration, and help productivity — benefiting the business at large. And luckily, there are many practices that businesses can implement to keep remote workers FOMO at a minimum.

  1. Plan in-person meetings.

Planning annual (or biannual) meetings, team-building events, or other activities that involve everyone is a great way to negate FOMO. Whether you fly everyone out or provide opportunities for remote workers to travel, face-to-face time will remind workers why they love their company and give them the opportunity to create deeper bonds with their co-workers.

David Lloyd, CEO at The Intern Group, oversees offices around the world and allows employees to work remotely. He said, “To help create an inclusive work culture, we give bonuses that can be used towards travel in any of our offices so team members can meet each other even if they live on the other side of the world.”

  1. Invest in their — and the company’s — future.

Any successful company is constantly evolving and changing. Invest in remote workers by giving them the same training, knowledge, and equipment as those in the office. Stephen Milbank, co-founder at Button explained that investing in your employees means providing them with all the tools necessary to succeed. He said, “Because it’s important to have our satellite offices be apart of our weekly all-hands meetings, Friday ‘demos’ and Town Hall sessions, it’s critical that we provide our remote employees with the technology they need to join.”

This will not only give remote employees a sense of value and connectedness, but it will also help propel the company forward to the future.

  1. Schedule regular one-on-one time.

Reaching out often and scheduling a weekly call with remote employees is imperative to keeping them engaged and involved. This gives them an opportunity to share their recent achievements or projects and lets them know you care about the work they’re doing.

Casmin Wisner, a public relations specialist that works remotely for Jive Communications, recently acquired by LogMeIn added that “Using online video conferencing tools for our weekly meetings has improved my relationship with my manager and my team. Hearing the inflections in someone’s voice and watching facial cues provides context that I can’t get from chat or email, and helps me feel more included from thousands of miles away.”

  1. Communicate in a team collaboration tool.

One of the many benefits of using a collaboration tool such as Slack is its ability to connect and provide transparency to everyone on a team. Erica Stritch, VP of Marketing at RAIN Group said, “While team members at the office can walk a few feet to ask their co-workers questions, we frequently use Slack to communicate. We also have channels ranging from a general channel for company-wide announcements and a random channel for water cooler conversations.”

Keeping conversations exclusive to a collaboration tool means your team is creating a more inclusive environment for remote workers and allowing everyone to connect more meaningfully. For this reason, it’s critical to be consistent in your communications and create channels for work and for fun.

  1. Keep addresses updated and on-hand.

Sending fun, thoughtful and useful gifts and tools can make hundreds or thousands of miles feel small. Damon Burton, President of SEO National has been managing a remote team for six years and makes it a point to make his remote employees feel valued by sending them mail several times a year. He said, “One thing I do is send birthday gifts and bonuses every year. It’s a great way to let employees know you appreciate them.”

So whether it’s a new company swag, a goodie bag from an office celebration, a performance incentive, or a card on their birthday, make it a goal to intentionally recognize remote team members and the milestones they’re making.

  1. Make time for them.

It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the office. With so many meetings and conversations happening, it can be hard to find time for remote workers. However, don’t let their emails, chats, and calls go unanswered. Remote employees who can’t sit at your desk or wait at your door until you return from a meeting as other employees can. Engagement is key to mitigating FOMO and increasing morale for them. Make time to respond to their communications.

Running a team of remote workers isn’t always easy. It takes dedication, patience, and trust, but as millennials continue to saturate the workforce, getting the best person for the job will mean bringing on increasingly more remote workers.

Understanding these remote workers and how to meet their engagement needs is crucial to taking FOMO out of the equation and having efficient, collaborative and productive teams. So invest in them, make time for them, and show them that you care.


Natalia Crawford: The Story Behind Her Success

I had the pleasure of interviewing Natalia Crawford, a 27-year-old Latina who is known as a Business & Online Marketing Expert after having sold her first online business, built a second 6-figure online business in under one year and now coaches and mentors other women to build profitable online businesses.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

My story starts when I started working at the age of 13 years old. My mother, who is an immigrant to the United States from Mexico, and father, who is the son of a Mexican immigrant, opened up a restaurant. Having a family restaurant meant I was given the opportunity to work on weekends for my parents in return for payment. I enjoyed it so much I ended up working a few other small jobs and once I turned 18 years old as I got my first official job as a hostess for a chain restaurant. I worked hard and got along with management which eventually landed me a huge promotion to work as a field marketer for the corporate office. That job introduced me to marketing and I fell in love with it! I was given the goal of bringing in a certain amount of clients into the restaurant every week. I made it my mission to exceed the goal by doubling it and I did every single week! This resulted in management having me oversee 4 more of their restaurant locations and train other field marketers as well.

I wanted to continue growing and expanding my skills so I left the restaurant world and start working more traditional marketing jobs. I held positions at companies in various industries including telecommunications, data quality, and SaaS solution providers through which I acquired skills in lead generation.

While I loved the marketing part of my job, I did not fit into the corporate culture. I was not a fan of being told how m, much time I was allowed to take off for vacation or having such a strict schedule. The moment I knew things had to change was when I looked at those who were above me and realized I didn’t want any of their positions. Their lives were stressful and revolved around their job, and that life just wasn’t for me.

That’s when I knew I had to pursue a different path. I loved to work and help businesses grow, but I wanted to do it in a way that worked for my lifestyle. So in

2013 I started a blog. I was a newlywed trying to navigate the new role of being a wife and managing a home while working full-time and in all reality, I had no idea what I was doing. So I decided to document what I was learning as I figured it out. I took my marketing and lead generation knowledge and applied it to my blog and the online world. That blog grew and eventually turned into a published magazine reaching women around the world.

After a few years of running the magazine while still working full-time, I realized I could no longer continue doing both and maintain a healthy and balanced life. This led to me quitting my corporate job and started a creative agency with my husband to replace my income. I started offering online marketing services and booked up with clients almost instantly! I ended up hiring my first employee after 3 months and we hit six-figures in the first year.

I ran both of these businesses for 3 years before stepping into business coaching and consulting. While running these businesses I had mentored groups of women on how to start businesses and truly enjoyed it. I realized I wanted to transition and officially focus on coaching and mentoring women but after leaving a stressful environment I knew I didn’t want to run 3 businesses. That’s when I decided to sell the magazine and stop taking clients in the creative agency.

By the age of 26, I sold my first online business, built a 6-figure business in under one year and transitioned into coaching and mentoring women on how to start successful online businesses.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company

The most interesting part about starting my coaching business is the fact that I had to build a personal brand. As an introvert, I always hated the idea of building a business around ME. I truly was mortified at the idea of putting my face and name out there! The first two businesses I created were built around a brand and I was able to hide behind it. However, I knew that if I truly wanted this business to work I was going to have to put myself out there and let others connect with me. So I overcame my fear and put myself out there. I’m so glad I did because I get to do the most fulfilling work day in and day out! I learned not to let fears hold me back from my dreams!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Being an online business owner instantly puts me in a saturated market. Standing out as a coach and consultant has been my mission from day one and I’ve been able to accomplish it in two ways. First, with my experience. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide I was going to teach others how to build successful businesses. I did it myself first, multiple times, and learned through practical application. I don’t have a certification (I might get one one day) but I have the knowledge and expertise. Secondly, through the results my clients obtain. I believe that speaks higher than what I have accomplished. My clients see results within a few months of working with me and it’s because I know how to bypass all of the noise of the online space and help them focus on what produces results.

For example, I have two clients who went from working 60+ hours per week on their business and struggling to get clients to working 28 hours per week on their business while consistently enrolling clients after working with me for only 3 months. I’m all about results!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Building a successful business takes a lot of sacrifices. My husband and I have both had to sacrifice a lot of things in order to get to where we are today. One of the biggest sacrifices we made was moving in with my parents after one year of marriage. We made this decision so that we could quit our jobs and start our business without getting into debt. We spent a few months living in my old bedroom (talk about humbling) and they were able to move out once my husband was making enough money (I kept working corporate marketing jobs) and then eventually I quit and joined him. I’m grateful to my parents for allowing us the opportunity to stay with them while we worked on our dream. I’m also grateful to my husband for always supporting me in my business ventures and ideas and being the best partner in pursuing our dreams.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

Always! I created a program called the Shepreneur Business Academy which is designed to help women build a profitable online business in 12 weeks! I’ve taken all of my knowledge and expertise after building multiple businesses and created a training program that covers the foundational and proven strategies businesses need to succeed online. My mission is to help women have freedom and flexibility in their life and with their passions so that they can step into positions of influence and leadership. I believe that when women are in positions of power great things happen!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

As the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, my focus is to give back to that community. I’ve held in-person business workshops for undocumented Spanish speakers and immigrants and plan to continue helping that community with starting and growing successful businesses. They tend to run the smaller businesses and not have much experience with the online space due to language barriers and my goal is to expand into the Spanish speaking market to offer business resources to that community so they can succeed in business.

Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

I have two! One is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and You Can Have it All by Mary Kay Ash. I used to struggle with the idea of how to balance being an entrepreneur, wife, and mom (in the future) and seeing other women trailblazers is inspirational and shows me that I can do all of the things I want to do without having to sacrifice the other. I believe that many times women feel like they have to pick one or the other in order but I believe that pursuing our dreams makes us better for ourselves and those we love.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? 

The 5 things I wish somebody would have told me before I started my company are:

  1. Just start

The hardest part is getting started and the key is to start before you are “ready”. Too many people are waiting until they are “ready” but there is no such thing. The sooner you start the sooner you will be ready.

  1. Start with something to sell

I started my first business in the wrong way. I created all of the things I thought I needed but was lacking in having something to actually sell my audience. I made that mistake for far too long and the reality is that if you don’t have anything to sell you are not a business. Figure out what you want to sell first, put it out there and then learn from it and let it evolve.

  1. Continually work towards business growth

I’ve learned that business can only go in two directions: forward and backward. There is no such thing as staying stagnant. The moment you stop moving forward your business starts to move backwards. In order to be moving forward, you have to be growing by evolving and improving to market better, sell better, and create constantly.

  1. Continually work toward personal growth

I believe that a business can only grow as much as the CEO grows. You determine the level of success your business achieves by how much room you allow for your growth. Always look for ways to grow yourself and you will find ways to grow your business.

  1. Be willing to invest

This is the biggest set-back I see with new entrepreneurs. They want to wait until they make money in order to invest money. That’s not the way it works. It took me two years to get my first business to succeed and the second only 3 months. The difference? I invested in my second business. I hired a coach and it paid off. Be willing to invest in your business if you want others to invest in it too.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I would love to have breakfast with Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. I absolutely love her story, her personality and admire what she has built and accomplished! Her go-getter and down to earth personality are something I admire and I love the positive influence she has as a woman entrepreneur.

HDS Entertainment is Changing the Touring Attraction Industry

HDS Entertainment is a worldwide event producer and promoter specializing in creating and touring, innovative events for large audiences. Having staged events across the globe; from Uganda to Japan, Chile to Russia, HDS Entertainment has welcomed over a million people to its events.  The HDS Entertainment team thrives on creating exciting events of all shapes and sizes for people of all ages and desires.

HDS Entertainment was created in April 2007 when CEO, Grahame Ferguson, conjured up the largest silent disco company on the earth.  The Headphone Disco powers hundreds of events across the globe every year for festivals, nightclubs, and even for your birthday if so requested. The silence has been deafening at the Firefly Festival (USA), Creamfields (UK), WEMF (Canada), and at Music Cruises featuring bands like Paramore and Kiss.

With an average of one HDS Entertainment event per day, the team behind every event is kept extremely busy. C.E.O. Grahame Ferguson said:

“All of these incredible events wouldn’t be possible without an amazing team of people. Our staff continues to grow as our ambitions and creativity grow. The next great event can’t happen without great people pulling the strings behind the event.”

HDS Entertainment is known for breaking records, and that is exactly what they are doing right now with the Big Bounce America, the world’s largest bounce house.  The Big Bounce America sold-out venues in 15 cities on its 2017 tour. Having sold out virtually every ticket-to-date, the 64-city, 2018 tour has been even more successful than the first. Additionally, The Big Bounce America videos have been viewed over 15 million times across multiple digital platforms.

The project’s success is a result of Ferguson’s understanding of current trends in the event industry, and then his ability to innovate upon those trends. The current, emerging trend, which has their attention, is large outdoor events, focused on customer experience.  This trend is evident in Big Bounce America, which is more than just the largest bounce house to ever tour the world. It houses a DJ booth with nightclub-quality sound and lights, a massive slide, and an obstacle course. It’s a traveling party with multiple different experiences going on inside and outside of the event for people of all ages.

Big Bounce America is HD Spectrum Entertainment’s latest event to tour the U.S.A., but the company says it has a number of other tricks up its sleeve that they will be revealing to the world over the next few years. HD Spectrum Entertainment is a company to keep your eyes on, a rising star in their industry and producers of events you will certainly want to attend in a city near you.

Female Founder Launches Expo to Bring Coloradans Up to Speed on Emergency Preparedness

Over the past year, we’ve seen a number of natural disasters, from the wildfires in Colorado and along the West Coast, to the floods in Texas, and the hurricanes hitting Puerto Rico and nearby islands. Each of these moments provides a reminder of the importance of preparedness and developing the knowledge, skills, and strategies, along with having the tools to protect our families and communities and develop resilience when these challenging moments occur.

Kiki Bandilla, CEO of the National Self-Reliance Project is part of a movement centered on educating individuals on how to prepare their families and communities for emergencies. Her event, The Self-Reliance & Simple Life Experience hosted in Denver this month, provides attendees with informative workshops, panel discussions and an expo floor offering hands-on learning.

“The unfortunate reality is emergencies will happen and therefore it’s so important to be knowledgeable about how we should respond and prepare for these challenges when they occur, offering great peace-of-mind,” said Kiki Bandilla, President of the National Self Reliance Project. “The incredible mix of presenters and exhibitors will provide attendees with the unique opportunity to learn essential life skills that so many of us have forgotten thanks to our modern conveniences and technology. But what happens when those modern conveniences and technology fail us? That’s where self-reliance skills will save lives and encourage independence, and guide our citizens, families, and communities, along the path of more empowered and intentional lives. Attendees will  learn essential life tools they can pass down for generations.”

This family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, September 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, September 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets, booths, and sponsorships are available at www.selfrelianceexpo.com.