Archive for the ‘Recommended Book’ Category

A great video on being enchanting. I believe you could put these principles into practice both in business and in life. It’s about an hour long and so worth the watch!

Click to go to Stanfords E-Corner

Click to go to Stanfords E-Corner



Mary Kay Ash in Her Famous Pink Cadillac

By Monise Seward

I was bored out of my mind yesterday. I mean, how many hours can you sleep in a day without seeming (to yourself) like a complete bum, right? But yesterday I did something that I have never been able to do in my life: Start reading a new book without finishing the one I started. And I struggled with opening The Mary Kay Way because I knew I had roughly 100 pages to finish in Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am still on my women entrepreneur kick. Trying to read every book I can find written by, for, or about women entrepreneurs.

Only four pages into the introduction of her book, Mary Kay Ash wrote:

“Throughout this book I discuss the specific ways in which women do think differently from men. Such differences are in no way inferior to or incompatible with ‘the way a man thinks.’ And so one of my objectives in founding Mary Kay was to create a business atmosphere in which “thinking like a woman” would not be a liability. In my Company those special sensitivities and talents often labeled “women’s intuition” would be nurtured-not stifled.”

Wow! No references to women being hormonal, moody, criers, etc. Nowhere in the book did she state that women need to abandon ‘acting’ or ‘thinking’ like women in order to be successful. In fact, Mary Kay showed how staying true to who she was-a woman-enabled her to build one of the most successful and easily recognizable companies in the world. Not the United States…the world. Anyone with two eyes knows that the pink Cadillac is synonymous with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Nuff said.

One hundred fifty-nine pages into a book with only 229 pages, I can say this: Everything she discussed and encouraged people to consider in their interactions with family, friends, customers, employees, etc. is based on common sense. She built her empire by treating all people with respect, dignity, and ensuring that she made everyone feel important. People do matter. If one plans to build a successful and sustainable business, s/he needs to acknowledge that business-building begins with people-building. If you don’t treat employees and customers with respect, you will never be ‘successful.’

Women, let’s embrace all the things that make us women. Let’s celebrate them and use them to our advantage, not just in business dealings-but in people dealings as well. Don’t let anyone convince you that ‘thinking like a woman’ is a liability. When in doubt, remember that Mary Kay Ash did it her way and look how things turned out for her!


This was written by a very inspiring friend of mine.  We went to school together ages ago and I can’t help but be amazed and inspired by her.  Thank you Monise Seward for Existing 🙂


Just finished reading ‘Birthing The Elephant‘ and wanted to share the valuable information in Chapter 9: Avoid The Ten Biggest Pitfalls, a quick list of what not to do when striking out on your own as an entrepreneur. I usually share book tidbits on Twitter but decided to do a quick blog instead! So, here goes…..

Which path will you choose?

PITFALL #1: Romanticizing Being Your Own Boss

Sure, its great that you won’t have to ‘officially’ punch a clock or answer to someone you think/know is less qualified, educated, or what-have-you, but you really aren’t going to be your own boss-as least not in the manner you’re thinking. You still have to ‘answer’ to customers, clients, and employees (when you decide to hire some). Romanticizing being your own boss can set you up for disappointment and failure.

PITFALL #2: Not Getting the Right Help Early

Building your ‘dream team’ is one of those recommended steps in launching a business. For me, I have plenty of contacts for people with legal, business, and marketing expertise; however, I do not expect any of them to quit their day jobs to assist with putting my dream in motion. I have, however, given thought to the individuals I’d like to join me as the business grows because I can only make so many cakes in a day! I have learned the valuable lesson of asking help and seeking out advice from those who have already traveled this road.

PITFALL #3: Not Understanding How To Network

For a long time, I thought ‘networking’ was a dirty word; I cringed every time I heard it. Why? I guess you could say that the networking I saw wasn’t really networking; it bordered on arse-kissing. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not come from a family of arse-kissers, nor did I minor in that ‘art’ during undergrad. I believe that my hard-work, dedication, and knowledge should speak for themselves. But again, I was defiant about networking because of what I had seen in previous ‘professional’ environments. #InterpretAsYouWish

The true intent of networking is to build relationships, more specifically: Mutually beneficial relationships. Networking should not be about trying to sell or promote your product or service. Duly noted.

PITFALL #4: Running Yourself Ragged

Yes, when preparing to launch your own business there are a ton of things you will have to do on your own-for free, but do not equate your myriad of responsibilities with sacrificing all of yourself and time. Although I have not opened for business, I have already decided on the hours I will work because I still want need to have a balanced and fulfilling personal life. Besides, my kids wouldn’t appreciate being left to their own devices 7 days a week.

PITFALL #5: Spending Money For The Wrong Reasons

If you don’t have it to spend, don’t spend it. If your customers care about from where you purchased your office furniture or supplies, then they are coming to you for the wrong reason. Why would I spend $1,000 on a web site when I can get an equally functional and attractive one (if not the exact same one) for $500? People are not buying my web site; they are buying my cakes.

PITFALL #6: Not Valuing Your Time Highly

Entrepreneurs are cautioned that they will probably work 60-80 hours a week, without pay for the first year of business. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…not me! I did not leave one plantation workplace only to go to another one with more hours and fewer (intrinsic and extrinsic) rewards. Furthermore, I consider all the time I have spent researching and planning as an investment. I WILL ensure that I reap the (intrinsic and extrinsic) rewards of my labor sooner than the 1-year mark. And I certainly have learned the value of ‘highly valuing my time.’ I decided that I will not spend 10-12 hours in front of a computer reading or researching business-related information. Instead, I will spend my time reading books on entrepreneurship, reviewing business documents, blogging, refining recipes, watching tv, and sleeping. I am trying to remain balanced (whatever that means); I will not allow this business to consume all of my time. I still have a family and obligations to them. I still have friends whom I would like to see. Basically, I refuse to trade my personal life for a business. And you should too!

PITFALL #7: Not Pricing Properly

This is an area where a lot of women entrepreneurs, self included, struggle. Even though we have a higher success rate at running businesses due to our service-oriented natures, we still undervalue our time, talent, and expertise. Personally, I think this has a lot to do with the fact that when we work for others, they pretty much determine the ‘value’ of our services by setting our salaries. One could argue that we all have the power to negotiate our salaries, but in reality we all know that women still make less than men, even when they have more formal education, training, and experience. Knowing and demanding your worth can be challenging aspects for newly-minted entrepreneurs. Luckily for me, I am taking some of Guy Kawasaki’s advice (in The Art of The Start) to heart: I will ‘test’ my products with some volunteer ‘Cake Crusaders’ and then get feedback on what they think is a fair, yet competitive, price for the product.

PITFALL #8: Spending Too Much On Advertising

If your start-ups’s opening balance is $2,000, then it does not make sense to spend half of that on advertising. This one is pretty easy: Do your research on your target market and how to best reach them. Don’t waste valuable capital on glossy magazine ads unless you are 100% certain you have or will have the business to support such an expense. I have already started compiling a list of online blogs and e-zines with whom I would like to advertise. The weeding-out process is fairly easy: Those whose price-tags I cannot afford (in the beginning phase), will be placed on the ‘Contact Later’ list. So easy, even a caveman could do it! Remember, “Waste not, want not.”

PITFALL #9: Not Trusting Your Gut

The Internet, Social Media, and blog sites are full of resources. Some may be helpful, others not so much. As an entrepreneur, you need to determine what information ‘speaks’ to you during this journey because not every opinion or suggestion will work for your business. The authors of Birthing The Elephant said it best:

“Remember, no expert you hire is ever going to have the emotional or financial stake in your business that you and your family have….So don’t disempower yourself…in the end, you are the single best judge of what your business has to offer and how it should run.” (Abarbanel & Freeman, 2008)

Translation: Trust yourself. If something doesn’t sound right (for you and your business) or makes you feel uncomfortable, then it probably IS NOT the right fit. This applies to things you may read in a book or hear from ‘experts.’ Don’t be strong-armed into making changes that do not align with your business’ mission.

PITFALL #10: Not Thinking Enough About The Big Picture

I have set clear short and long-term goals for the business, as well as for myself. As I stated earlier, I plan to maintain some sort of balance between the business and my personal life. Having a plan and set hours will definitely help with me achieve that goal. As the business grows, I will be able to hire someone to help where and when needed.

Well, if you made it to the end- Thank you! I tried to keep this one brief but sometimes it’s just not possible!


Great Book!

Have you been working for years but unhappy in the career you’re in? Are you stuck without a job and can’t seem to get your foot in the door? Are you stuck in a rut while everyone around you seems to get promoted?  I so recommend this book!  It’s an easy read but gives you lots to think about.  Map out your strengths and play to them rather than trying to beef up your weaknesses.

Product Description
Robin Ryan’s groundbreaking new book is designed to help readers take advantage of a paradigm shift in the workplace. Instead of hiring or promoting generally qualified people and improving their weaknesses, companies are now looking for workers who have the strengths that match particular jobs. Ryan shows readers how to identify those strengths and use that knowledge to advance their careers and better promote themselves to prospective employers. She shows how to establish an appealing career identity using self- branding tools like résumés, Mind Maps, and on-the-job success stories, and outlines fresh approaches to networking with colleagues and negotiating with bosses. Savvy and entertaining, Soaring on Your Strengths will be the job and promotion seekers guide for the twenty-first century. –This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Robin Ryan is one of the most visible figures in the employment field, a tireless lecturer and teacher whose career column appears in over 100 Gannett newspapers and their Web sites. She has been a guest on over 1,000 TV and radio programs including Oprah, Dr. Phil, CNN, and NBC Nightly News. –This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Are you writing your thesis?  I am and have found this book to be very helpful.  It’s available in Finnish and English.  The English translations were done by Marietta Gates.  You might know her as she used to be head of IB.  This book is very informative about types of research and validity of results and also gives hints on a sensible layout to help you organize your thoughts.  If you don’t know where to start and the thesis feels like an impossible task this book just might get you over that first hurdle.  The official description is below as well as a link to where it can be purchased.

Rafting Through the Thesis Process
Step by Step Guide to Thesis Process.

Publications of JAMK University of Applied Sciences 114/2011
Author(s): Jorma Kananen

Publication info

This book is a practical step-by-step guide for thesis writers. It explains research concepts and techniques in simple layman’s terms and helps you raft through the thesis process without hitting the worst rocks.

The book covers both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Special emphasis is on the criteria of scientific research, reliability and validity, as well as presentation of quantitative material.

The thesis is often seen as an insurmountable challenge. Thesis research is, however, no rocket science – except for rocket scientists. Scientific work proceeds according to certain rules, just like any other work that aims at a good end result. This book will help you reach that result.

Jorma Kananen is Principal Lecturer in Business Research and Development at JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland, and has a long career as a market researcher and teacher of scientific research.

Publication series: Publications of JAMK University of Applied Sciences
ISSN: 1456-2332
ISBN 978-951-830-184-7
Published: 2011
Pages: 158
Price: 30 €

More information and purchasing possibilities from: