Award-winning Blogger Vernetta Freeney on Overcoming Shyness and Creative Business Funding | Podcast #023

Vernetta Freeney

Vernetta Freeney

Self-proclaimed introvert Vernetta Freeny has made a career standing in the spotlight.   Listen in as she shares how she overcame her shyness to become an award-blogger and the creator of the the award-winning Fusion Tour.  Vernetta, who holds a masters degree in Education Administration, also created the Fusion Tour Bootcamp to help women create their own tours.  She offers a complimentary resource, Make It Happen Strategy Set with 11 MP4s and 2 ebooks for women-owned businesses.

This podcast was recorded on location.

Connect with Vernetta Freeney

 Resources for Business Funding

  • Startup America” is a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.
  • People Fund creates economic opportunity and financial stability for under-served people by providing access to capital, education and resources to build healthy small businesses.
  • Vernetta Freeney’s article about Seed Grants.

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Christi Martin, Patron of the Arts | Chalk This Way | How to Create an Arts Organization | Podcast #22

Christi Martin is the director and founder of the Lakeside Arts Foundation, a nonprofit arts support organization serving the greater Lewisville and The Colony area. Its’ mission is to support and promote artists, arts organizations and bring fine arts to the Dallas, Texas suburban community through community projects such as “Chalk This Way” sidewalk chalk art festival and the Kaleidoscapes Public Art Project.  She also offers support to new start-up arts organizations.

Chalk This Way

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“Chalk This Way” Sidewalk Chalk Festival is held each May in Old Town Lewisville, Texas

Favorite Song?
Don’t have one. I love lots of songs. Lots of genres.

Favorite Color?
Red

Favorite Super hero?
Daenerys Targaryen

Fast food or home cooked meal?
Home cooked

What is your biggest quirk?
I serve on 5 different nonprofit boards…all volunteer.

What is the one thing that annoys you the most?
Flaky people and liars.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Make coffee.

Where would you go if you were invisible?
City Council closed executive sessions.

What’s your motto?
When in doubt, act with love.

Why did you choose to start your business – do what you do?
I saw a real need for the arts in our community. Lots of people, especially children, had none or few artistic outlets. There were no arts organizations here. I started 3 and helped start 3 more.

Who inspires you?
My friends.

What makes you different from other people in your industry?
I bridge all dimensions of the arts and bring them together.

Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?
I don’t have any competition in the area.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Watch my child fail without intervening.

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Talked to Mike Modano and didn’t recognize him.

What is your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Not reacting negatively to people who disrespect me or what I do.

What will it take to overcome your biggest challenge or obstacle?
More therapy and better drugs?

What are some of your favorite books?
DaVinci Code, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter

Define your style?
Bohemian

Tell me about your typical day.
Get up, answer emails, make and take calls, attend meetings – often in 2 different cities, attend a reception or show, have dinner and drinks with friends, go to sleep on the couch in front of the TV.

How do you juggle work and family?
I try to involve my family in my various arts events. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?
Learn to research and write grant requests, hire humble but very talented people, expect and deliver excellence.

What’s the best way to market your particular business?
Online. About 90% of my advertising is free or very low cost “guerilla marketing” strategies through social media and online forums.

How have you grown as a person since starting your company?
I have learned to appreciate people of differing talents and abilities, have learned patience, and gained confidence and self-esteem.

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Christi Martin, Director & Founder of Lakeside Arts Foundation

If you could travel back in time and speak to your 18 year old self, what would you say?
Take business classes too and don’t listen to the naysayers.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Having my own Talent Agency.

For whom are you thankful?  Who do you appreciate?
My family and friends for their patience and support, the city of Lewisville staff for their tremendous help, support and encouragement, and above all God, for His grace and love.

What else would you like to add?
Anyone who would like to find out more about Lakeside Arts Foundation or our Chalk This Way sidewalk chalk art festival can find more info on the website: lakesidearts.org.

Connect with Christi Martin & Lakeside Arts Foundation

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Todd Ross, Desert Storm Veteran, on Leadership, Education and Church | Podcast 21

Ross Group Consulting, LLC provides training, leadership and management development course and curriculum, as well as trainer deployment and project management services.

Guest Dawn Mitchell, of the The Corporate Couch, and I chat with Ross Group Consulting LLC founder Todd Ross about Barry Manilow, leadership, education and church.  Plus advise for managing children when you run a home-based business.

Leadership Learned in Desert Storm

Todd Ross

Todd Ross, Ross Group Consulting LLC

Favorite Song?
Copacabana

Favorite Color?
Blue/yellow

Favorite Super hero?
Ironman

Fast food or home cooked meal?
Home cooked

What is your biggest quirk?
Being on time

What is the one thing that annoys you the most?
Deceit

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Thank God for another chance to make a difference

Where would you go if you were invisible?
Follow my daughter around and keep her from jerks

What’s your motto?
Go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is

Why did you choose to start your business – do what you do?
I wanted to make a solid impact on the training and development industry. Most trainers are cheerleaders, not actual trainers.

Who inspires you?
John Maxwell

What makes you different from other people in your industry?
My passion for humor in class and my ability to ensure learning actually takes place

Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?
My processes and best practices will make your people beg to have me back again and again

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Basic training

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
I gave my captain a really bad haircut in Desert Storm

What is your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Getting larger organizations to realize the ROI on their training

What will it take to overcome your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Continued exposure and word of mouth

What are some of your favorite books?
7 Habits of Highly Effective People, anything John Maxwell

Define your style?
Very bold and brief, but with tons and tons of humor

Tell me about your typical day.
My typical day is spent creating course materials, conferring with clients and researching different methodologies

How do you juggle work and family?
I’m really a work-a-holic, my family supports that

Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?
1. Make sure you can do what you say you can do
2. Make sure what you’re doing is effective, for both your participants and the company
3. Be prepared to support yourself for at least 2 years until you build your client list

What’s the best way to market your particular business?
Word of mouth

How have you grown as a person since starting your company?
Absolutely.  I’ve had to improve my communication skills, listening abilities, time management skill sets and so on

If you could travel back in time and speak to your 18 year old self, what would you say?
Start NOW

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Commanding 5 figures for speaking engagements internationally

For whom are you thankful? Who do you appreciate?
My mom is the reason for who I am today

What else would you like to add?
God, always God!!

Connect with Todd Ross

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Authors Karen Palmer & Kristi Lee Have a License to Dream | Women and Network Marketing | Podcast #20

Happy 20th Podcast Episode

What better way to celebrate my 20th podcast than with a first?  This is my first podcast interview with two people at the same time!

Licence to Dream:  Every Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom through Network Marketing

Licence to Dream: Every Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom through Network Marketing

Network Marketing Dream Team

Karen Palmer and Kristi Lee, along with Judy O’Higgins, are the authors of Licence to Dream:  Every Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom through Network Marketing.

Karen Palmer is a college professor and author of License to Play.  Mrs. Palmer’s interview with Gratitude Geek on Being the Mom of Your Dreams was posted in April 2014.

Kristi Lee has an extensive business background in creative marketing and retail with more than 20 years in corporate America.  Corporate experience includes responsibility for product and marketing decisions for more than 2,300 Albertson’s Food and Drug stores in 38 states, and negotiations with national brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Maybelline and Revlon.  She is an Executive Level Trainer, Speaker and Coach.  Ms. Lee approaches life and business with a passion and belief that serving others with integrity, grace, professionalism and loyalty is the true key to success.   In addition, she serves as the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of TruNorth Global, Inc.

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Diane Walker on Growing Your Network Marketing Business Your Own Way | Podcast #19

Diane Walker Nudges Her MLM Team to Find their Geatness:  with Sue,  Joy & Kandas at the 2013 Gratitude Convention

Diane Walker Nudges Her MLM Team to Find their Greatness: with Sue, Joy & Kandas at the 2013 Gratitude Convention

“I’m too stubborn to quit anything.” – Diane Walker

Every network marketing company has Superstars, larger than life leaders who inspired, motivate and sometimes intimidate new distributors.  Diane Walker is what I like to call a Silent Film Superstar.  She works behind the scenes to nudge her team on to greatness.

Nudging the Team to Greatness

Diane is a 21-year multilevel marketing veteran and the top female income earner in her network marketing business.  She the co-author of Navigating the World of Network Marketing and she is respected and admired by thousands in the industry – including many of those larger than life Superstars.

Listen in as Diane shares some of the ups and downs of her MLM career, leading with your strengths, the importance of attending company sponsored events, Facebook marketing, bowling and much more.

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Character-Driven Storytelling with Writer/Producer Diana Dru Botsford | Podcast #18

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Diana Dru Botsford

Story consultant, writer/producer Diana Botsford‘s recent work includes creating/producing the critically-acclaimed SciFi web series “Epilogue” and serving as consulting producer on the new comedy series, “A Little Help.”  Author of Stargate SG-1 novels: “Four Dragons” and “The Drift,” as of the fall of 2014, Botsford will be offering online, interactive writing workshops for burgeoning television and film screenwriters through her new website: beyondthemedium.com.  Her screenwriting credits include “Rascals” for ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and the cult favorite animated series, ‘Spiral Zone.’ Founder of the award-winning screenwriting program at Missouri State University, Botsford’s pursuit of great stories has taken her across the globe from Japan to Africa to Antarctica. If she could save up the $250,000, a seat on board Virgin Galactic would be next.

During our hour-long intellectually stimulating conversation, we discuss writing, science fiction, education, evolution and the end of apartheid.  Burgeoning writers sharpen your pencils and be prepared to take great notes!

Musings from the Virgin Galactic

What is your favorite song?
I love listening to all types of music, but my main jam is classical. I was classically trained, my father was a classical music producer, so… Prelude of Bach’s Cello Suite No.1 in G

Favorite Super hero?
A toss-up between Marvel’s Jean Grey and showrunner Dan Harmon (Community)

Fast food or home cooked meal?
Home-cooked, always! I’m a third generation gourmet cook.

What is your biggest quirk?
I hate wet socks!

Diane Botsford at Space City Con autographing my copies of her Stargate SG:1 Fanfaction novels.

Diane Botsford at Space City Con autographing my copies of her Stargate SG:1 novels.

What is the one thing that annoys you the most?
Passive aggressive behavior.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Coffee and reading the news.

Where would you go if you were invisible?
The International Space Station.

What’s your motto?
“Tomorrow”

Why did you choose to write?
I’ve always gravitated toward anything having to do with storytelling. Wrote my first story when I was five.

Who inspires you?
My father was my greatest inspiration, but I am inspired in general by people who stay fast in believing in themselves and pushing forward. My students inspire me, my family does, too. My husband especially.

What makes you different from other people in your industry?
Honesty. If your story needs work, I’m going to tell you. As a fellow writer, I’d want the same. My particular expertise is in character-driven work.

Why should choose you over your competition?
As a story consultant: More one-on-one time. I don’t just give you the basics, I’ll dig further.

As a writer: I’m a believer in deep point-of-view experiences whether it’s prose or a script. We, the readers/audience, are humans. We’re characters. We follow a protagonist on their journey in order to make better sense of our own.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Move forward after losing my father who was my mentor and best friend.

Diana Botsford and Kandas Rodarte at Space City Con

Diana Botsford and Kandas Rodarte at Space City Con

What is your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Overcoming the ISMs – whether it be sexism (yeah, I hit the glass ceiling a few times) or racism (ask me about my production experiences in South Africa during the end of the apartheid era – excruciatingly horrific.)

What will it take to overcome your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Writing stories that help perpetuate the belief that we are all people first, and our gender or race second.

Define your style?
Eclectic mix of NY style and California casual.

Tell me about your typical day.
Do those exist?

How do you juggle work and family?
With great difficulty.

Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?
Push forward. Believe in yourself. Network like mad.

What’s the best way to market your particular business?
By doing a great job (word of mouth) and social media.

How have you grown as a person since launching your career?
Will I ever stop?

If you could travel back in time and speak to your 18 year old self, what would you say?
Do exactly what you’re doing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In space?

For whom are you thankful? Who do you appreciate?
Family and friends. People who stand up for each other.

Connect with Diana Dru Botsford

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Diana Botsford on the set of epilogue.

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How Kim Ketcham Transitioned from SAHM to Museum Marketing Director | A Fun Way for SAHMs to Make Money | Podcast #17

Spirit Warrior on display at the Washington State History Museum

Spirit Warrior on display at the Washington State History Museum

After 15 years as a stay at home mom (SAHM), Kim Ketcham found her passion in a rewarding career in marketing. Today, she is the Marketing and Communications Director for the Washington State History Museum, part of the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS).

WSHS is the state agency that is trusted with the task of preserving Washington state history and educating the public about that history. This is done through the Washington State History Museum, the State Capital Museum, and the State Research Center through the collection and preservation of various artifacts, photography, and ephemera, personal stories, as well as digital assets. We lead a variety of outreach and educational efforts for people of all ages.

Topics covered during our hour long conversation include: D.B. Cooper, the Seattle Seahawks, the Mt. St. Helens eruption, Japanese Internment Camps and the Civil War.

Transitioning From Stay at Home Mom to Museum Marketing Director

What’s your motto?
“I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The choice is yours.”

Why did you decide to go back to work?
I had put my career on hold to raise kids. It got further delayed by taking care of ailing in-laws. After some family financial issues, I decided to finally start working in my chosen career…beyond my previous volunteer work and having owned a JBF franchise.

Who inspires you?
My kids. I wouldn’t get up some days if I didn’t have to take care of them, help provide for them, and help them succeed.

Why are you different from others in your industry?
My drive and intensity, and also a wide understanding of a variety of topics. Good general knowledge. Lots of skills taken from being at home with my kids.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Get a job in this economy against people more experienced.

What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
I accidentally stabbed myself in the forehead.

What’s your biggest challenge?
Job market and competition.

How will you overcome this challenge?
Show initiative, create work, not only succeed at what’s expected but do more…innovate…

What are your favorite books?
Harry Potter series, Pillars of the Earth, Gulliver’s Travels

Define your style.
Simple, sophisticated, sometimes vintage.

Kim Ketcham, Marketing & Communications Director, Washington State History Museum

Kim Ketcham, Marketing & Communications Director, Washington State History Museum

Describe your typical day.
Get the kids up and out by 6:30. Work by 8. Catch up on emails and all the “urgent” tasks that didn’t exist the day before. Then tackle my to do list. Lots of computer time, but then meetings. Can be a meeting with other marketing directors or with in-house staff. Check in on my staff to see how I can support them and make sure they have what they need to do the job I have given them. Maintain the website, post on social media… much more.

How do you juggle work and family?
My ex and I live in the same school zone and text every day about what’s up with the kids. If we didn’t communicate, we’d both fail at work and with the kids.

Can you offer some tips for those entering marketing, communications or PR fields?
Get experience writing, learn about journalism and the press, learn about advertising, become comfortable with public speaking, become an expert in social media, make friends with your IT people, volunteer to plan events, learn about branding

What is the best way to market your museum?
Through press releases about relevant and timely exhibits and events, good media management, and targeting niche audiences that have a special interest in a given exhibit topic, etc. Email and social media rank right up there, but a good news story about your business is worth more.

How have you grown since working at the museum?
With all experience, you grow by learning more about the parts of your industry that can’t be taught in books.

What would you say to your 18-year-old self?
Tough call. If I changed anything about the past, I wouldn’t have the kids that I do or the skills that I do. I don’t like to 2nd guess my choices by imagining how I would undo them.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A VP of communications. Remarried. Grown children. Flexibility and income to travel.

For whom are I thankful?
Everyone I’ve ever met for the impact they had on who I am today.

A Fun Way for Stay at Home Moms to Make Money

Kim owned one of the first Just Between Friends franchises. Just Between Friends is a consignment event for children’s products that happens twice yearly in select markets around the country. Many SAHMs have made extra money for their families by selling gently used children’s clothing and toys at these sales.

Connect with the Washington State Historical Society

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Turn Your Passion to Profit with Strategist Iyea Brandy | Can STEM Really Transform a Nation? | Podcast #16

Iyea Brandy is a strategist that solves problems for entrepreneurs and educators. She teaches entrepreneurs how to turn their passion to profit.  She also has a big idea what could transform an African nation.

My Pain is My Purpose and My Story is the Solution

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Iyea Brandy, Strategist

Why did you choose to start your business – do what you do?
I have been a serial entrepreneur my whole life and love business of any kind. My passion is creating new and unique experiences that solve problems for others. I enjoy the adrenaline in starting a new venture.

Who inspires you?
My son-he makes me better.

What makes you different from other people in your industry?
I follow my gut and intuition. I have lived all the things I teach. I know success and failure intimately. I walk my talk.

Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?
What competition? I am a unique brand that appeals to the inner of my clients. I am not every one-cup of tea.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Walk away from my comfortable life in NJ and move to MD.

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
One of former students screamed “Ms. Brandy is that you” in the middle of the mall and I felt so old. I actually said hush girl, not so loud. Ha ha ha

What is your biggest challenge or obstacle?
I am multi-talented so I have business ideas everyday and I have to say focused on one and grow that one.

What will it take to overcome your biggest challenge or obstacle?
I have to stay focused every day in growing my business and brand.

How do you juggle work and family?
I prioritize my time. I cook twice a week, I make sure to read to my son every night and do family activity with him. I make time to conduct my business and research when my son is at school and watching TV.

Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?
1.  Find your niche and know what you offer
2. Understand your audience like you understand your self.
3. Genuinely connect to your audience by sharing meaningful content

What’s the best way to market your particular business?
1.  Speaking at various events where your audience is in attendance
2.  Writing a book or eBook on solutions for problems they have
3.  Networking with others doing similar things as you self
4.  Social media

How have you grown as a person since starting your company?
I’m still growing, I have to learn to bring more of myself into this brand. I want to leave my self out of it but people need to hear more of my story.

If you could travel back in time and speak to your 18 year old self, what would you say?
Girl you have it together, don’t quit just keep going. It’s not my 18 year old self that needs the help its my 25 year old self that lost me.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Creating another new venture, married with two children, traveling to different countries sharing my story and offering solutions on issues in entrepreneurship and education.

What else would you like to add?
My pain is my purpose and my story is the solution.

Iyea’s Big Idea That Will Transform a Nation

iyea-brandy-2_300x225Iyea has a big idea.

She wants to bring STEM to Liberia.

She believes that putting Legos, basic robotics and simple machines in the hands of the children of Liberia would inspire generations of engineers and scientists.  This idea requires teamwork.  If you are familiar with crowd-funding for non-profits and would like to offer some suggestions or advice to Iyea, leave a comment below.

 

Iyea Brandy’s Bookshelf

Connect with Iyea Brandy

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