The Seven Deadly Slip-Ups

By Sarah Daniels & William M. Brandon III

There are many things human beings have in common: we can experience love, we cherish honesty, and we make mistakes. Sometimes we make these mistakes over and over again. When it comes to business writing, though, mistakes (whether they’re major or minor) distract from your message. In order to communicate clearly and convince your audience that what you have to say matters, you must avoid making the same mistakes…over and over again.

The following is a short list of common errors, their corrections, and silly ways to help you remember the right way, next time.

It’s Only Natural

When showing possession, the most common method is adding an “apostrophe+s” to the end of a word (e.g. Women’s Conference or business owner’s decision). Most people have this rule down pat; it’s when “its” is involved that it gets a bit trickier. When using the generic pronoun “it,” the rules of possession change. To show that your “thing” is in possession of another “thing,” you simply add “s” to the word “it.” Yes, that’s all…no apostrophes necessary. The apostrophe-s is only added to “it” when using the contraction “it is” (e.g. it’s a budgetary issue).

TRICK: When in doubt, leave the apostrophe out.

What’s Up with That?

Now that we’ve discussed the confusing relationship between “it” and the apostrophe, let’s tackle overuse of apostrophes, in general. An apostrophe is never used to make a word plural. Adding an “s” is often the way to make a word plural, but adding an apostrophe is just wrong. For instance, when speaking of more than one “council,” the addition of an “s” accomplishes our goal, giving us “councils.” Adding an apostrophe-s, however, turns the word into a possessive…and the word remains singular (e.g. the council’s big idea). Placing the apostrophe outside of the “s” only compounds the error. Now, we have both a possessive and plural (e.g. the councils’ big ideas).

TAKEAWAY: Add “s” to make a plural noun, but shoo the apostrophe out of town.

Hard Boiled Examples

Although the devices “i.e.” and “e.g.” are both derived from Latin, they mean completely different things. All too frequently, they’re used interchangeably. In actuality, “i.e.” means “in other words,” while “e.g.” means “for example.” Use “i.e.” when you want to say the same thing in a different or clearer way. << I completely lack motivation (i.e. I am lazy). >> Use “e.g.” only when you intend to give an example of your previous statement. << I completely lack motivation (e.g. I remain in bed instead of going into the office). >>

TRICK: Think of “i.e.” as “in essence,” and remember that “e.g.” is used for “eggs-amples.”

Can I Quote You on That?

The rules of the game change from nation to nation, even when the nation shares a common language. When writing for an American audience, punctuation marks always sit inside of end quotation marks at the end of a sentence. (She said his tie was “interesting.”) This rule, regardless of how it may “look” is easy to remember and straightforward in its application.

TRICK: Punctuation always parks inside of quotation marks.

In Good Company

Although the debate over corporate personhood rages on in the United States, when it comes to the English language, there is no debate: a company is an “it” and never a “they.” (The company held its annual retreat in California.) Alternately, the people within the company are always they…even if they’re sometimes treated like an it.

TRICK: No matter what the “ring,” a company is a single thing.

You’re Right There

If the written abuse of Facebook and Twitter users has not persuaded you to spell-check potential homonyms, perhaps permanently losing you customers’ respect will. With as much love as is possible, we’d like to re-iterate: There is somewhere they’re doing wrong in their writing, and you’re very often your own worst enemy. “They’re” and “you’re” are contractions. When you read a sentence aloud, if it sounds silly to replace the word with “you are,” then write “your.” If your sentence sounds ridiculous when you say “they are,” it’s a strong indication that it’s either “their” or “there.” Commit to memory that “there” implies a place (abstract or concrete) and “their” is a group that is always possessive.

TRICK: When you go into action, “apostrophe+re” indicates a contraction.

However You Slice It

Starting a sentence with the word “however” is not technically wrong; it just doesn’t come off as very sophisticated. Since the words “but” and “however” are intended to negate or contrast something previously stated, it’s inelegant to use them at the beginning of a sentence. To avoid this, use a semicolon instead. (She loved spreadsheets; however, she didn’t know Excel very well.)

TRICK: Don’t use “however” to start, because it’s not a work of art.

Now, off you go! Keep these quick tips in mind and rest assured that (at the very least) you’ll be considered a competent writer and, therefore, a competent business person. As a competent business person remember that, whenever you aren’t sure, you can always pay a professional writer to be sure on your behalf.

New TLC / OWN reality show casting opinionated consumers in LA

NAWBO-LA Connects

Women Should Be the Bosses
NAWBO-LA’s first ever all-LA Connects Event brings LA together to hear from Madelyn Alfano, CEO of Maria’s Italian Kitchen (and NAWBO-LA Board President)

On June 26, 2012 Over 70 members of NAWBO-LA gathered for our first ever all LA Connects Event at Maria’s Italian Kitchen on the Westside. We were there to meet and mingle, yes, but also to learn from Madelyn Alfano and her rise to become one of California’s most successful restaurant owners. Her story is a unique one, but also has many of the hallmarks of a women-owned business.

Women businesses are about family.
Starting as a young girl working at her parent’s deli in Hoboken and then later at their market in Brentwood, Alfano learned about food and great service from her family. Said Alfano, “We didn’t go to camp we went to Village Mart.” From her parents, Alfano inherited their passion for quality and customer service.

The Alfano family business moved from groceries to prepared food when her mother, Maria, started using leftovers from the meat department to make dinner. It’s a tradition Alfano continues today saying, “We make everything fresh it takes longer but it makes me feel good about what we serve.”

Indeed according to a study by the Center for Women’s Business Research, women business owners are more likely than men to have inherited their business from their mothers (17% vs. 2%) and more likely to plan to pass it on to their daughters (30% vs. 11%).

Alfano said she’s not sure if her children will take over the business, but knows that her entrepreneurship has been a great role model for her family. She recalled that her son was so used to his mother being the Chief Entrepreneur of the house, he  would point to other mothers and ask “who are they the boss of?” Alfano continued, “…it’s only natural…women should be the bosses!”

Women businesses take risks but still bootstrap.According the Center for Women’s Business Research, women business owners are prepared to face risk: most (66%) are willing to take above average or substantial risks for business investments. And according to a 2006 study from Babson College, women entrepreneurs are more likely to self-finance than to use private equity.

After graduating from UCLA, Alfano took over the meat department and started a sandwich shop when she was approached by someone who suggested she should take over a restaurant in Sherman Oaks called “Joe Mammas.” In 1985 using her own savings she went for it, opening her first sit down restaurant and, thankfully renamed it, and Maria’s Italian Kitchen was born.

Women business owners build businesses through their relationships
In explaining the growth of Maria’s Italian Kitchen across California, Alfano said she’s always “found my locations through my customers.” When customers in Sherman Oaks told her about a great location in Woodland Hills, she expanded.

Finally, Alfano spoke about the importance of NAWBO in building her business. The data says that’s a good strategy too: Women owners of firms with $1 million or more in revenue are more likely to belong to formal business organizations, associations or networks than other women business owners (81% vs. 61%)

Connects events usually happen every other month in regions from the South Bay to the Valley from the Westside and to Downtown. If you haven’t been to one yet you are missing out! The next ones take place in August. RSVP here.

Julie Lacouture is a NAWBO-LA member and the co-owner of Mom Corps LA, a staffing and recruiting firm that helps growing businesses find highly qualified, highly educated employees for full-time, part-time, temporary and contract roles.

Consider Your Social Influence

Top 5 considerations

  1. Do I have a social presence?
  2. Am I an ‘influencer’ in my market?
  3. Am I reaching my target audience?
  4. Am I spending enough (quality) time online?
  5. Have I created a strategy to reach my social goals?

Print, TV, Radio, and now Online Marketing.  Online marketing is a force to be reckoned with in today’s business age.  This is not to say that you go out and spend $2000 on online advertising.  Much of your marketing and branding options online are for the most part FREE.

Do the three letters S-E-O mean anything to you?  If they don’t, you may barely be getting your feet wet in the social marketing arena.  If you have spent more than 10 minutes researching “How to grow my business online” the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is prominent.  Most of your online content (you control how much or how little you publish online) contributes to your SEO.  Online content is published in the form of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Blogging, Website, and more.

What is SEO? Briefly, SEO is the term used for organic search results on a search engine.

What are organic search results? Briefly, these are the results populated  when someone types in a phrase on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc… These ARE NOT the paid advertising on the sides of the search or the top 3 which are usually highlighted.

Let us now, Consider our Social Influence:

  1. 1.    Do I have a social presence?
  • Have you taken the time to create content on what I call the BIG 4 (many people actually use the term BIG 4 or 5, they may also have a difference of opinion of included social sites.)  Facebook, Twitter, Blog, and LinkedIn.  In my humble opinion regardless of your industry every business and professional should have a presence on these 4.
  • Are your profiles complete? Up to date information, links to your website and company information.
  • Do you have current and relevant social activity?
  1. 2.    Am I an ‘influencer’ in my market?
  • Do your followers and fans look to you for information in your area of expertise?
  • Are you actively offering your audience facts, quotes, and other information pertaining to your area of expertise?
  1. 3.    Am I reaching my target audience?
  • Much like any other marketing plan, have you identified your target audience?
  • Have you identified where to locate (online) your target audience?
  • Are you actively participating with your target audience?
  1. 4.    Am I spending enough time online?
  • Unfortunately, spending 5 hours a day online doesn’t necessarily mean you are covering your social marketing needs.
  • Make sure you are spending time posting relevant information and engaging with your target audience.
  • Online marketing is about quality time in the key areas of publishing and engagement.
  1. 5.    Have I created a strategy to reach my social goals?

Now for the fun part – bring it all together for the greater good of your social influence.  Create your social strategy:

  • Identify your target market/audience.
  • Locate the best online spots to engage with your target market/audience.
  • Create a calendar of daily/weekly/monthly quality online marketing time. Include:
    • Blogging (once a week is great!)
    • Social media posts (daily recommended, these can be scheduled using a 3rd party such as Hootsuite.com)
    • Engagement time: conversing with your followers, fans, other pages, business influencers, and target audience.
    • Be disciplined in your social marketing time.
    • Measure your results:
      • Take note of people who Retweet you, favorite, comment and share your content.
      • Take note of increase/decrease in engagement.
      • Set goals to add new followers and friends (this month I want to increase my twitter followers by 75).
    • Start where you are.  Repeat and tweak your strategy as you see fit every month.

The time you invest in your social influence is not in vain.  Everything you publish is adding to your:

  • Brand
  • Credibility
  • SEO
  • Influence

Social networking is more than just publishing information.  Make sure you take the time to engage with other influencers, networking friends, and your target audience.  Be real, genuine, and sincere!  Remember, people do business with those they LIKE, KNOW, and TRUST.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, take a class, and do your own research…  There are many social media sites around – you may also need to devote time to site like Pinterest, or other industry specific sites.

Margaret Hernandez is an Entrepreneur and the Founder of SocializeLA.com.  She is an early adopter of social media and a lover of all things business. She is the key player with businesses across the country as their social media marketing guru. She helps her clients grow, manage, and monitor their online presence.  Her key responsibility as an expert is to build credibility, brand awareness, and social influence for the clients of SocializeLA.com.

 

Margaret Hernandez is an Entrepreneur and the Founder of SocializeLA.com.  She is an early adopter of social media and a lover of all things business. She is the key player with businesses across the country as their social media marketing guru. She helps her clients grow, manage, and monitor their online presence.  Her key responsibility as an expert is to build credibility, brand awareness, and social influence for the clients of SocializeLA.com.

Core Area of Expertise: Business Development, Social Media, Digital Marketing, Customer Service, Training, and Networking.

 

8 Great Business Tips for Entrepreneurs Today

8) CASH FLOW IS KING – Pay close attention to the cash flow in your business for reasons other than the obvious.  Cash flow is one of the best temperature gauges of what is and what isn’t working in your business.  When so much of your business is service, customer feedback is important, but your cash flow will tell you not onlyhow your customers feel about you, but alsowhat they find valuable and worth paying for.  Don’t just read cash flow statements to know how it’s coming in and going out, but watch your cash flow and compare it to what your customers are telling you about what they VALUE.

7) KNOW HOW IS ONLY HALF THE GAME, IT’S ALSO ABOUT THE “KNOW WHO” – I pilfered this catchy phrase from a good friend’s Facebook post.  “Know WHO” is about getting to the “decision maker” within a company because often one of the components to success is in the area of B2B.  The “know who” is really about developing a competitive advantage by developing strong relationships over time with key senior managers, decision makers, or influencers.

6) HIRE FOR FIT – One of the most underutilized resources in so many businesses is staff.  Professional skill can be trained, but a love for service cannot.  Don’t just hire for competence, hire for attitude, passion and chemistry.  Even if you’re not in a service based business, at some point, your customers will interact or engage with your company.  Never underestimate the power your people have on your brand.

5) CREATE A MASTERMIND GROUP – Ya know the old adage, “You know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know”.  Know and embrace your strengths, but also recognize your shortcomings and surround yourself with people who are experts in those areas.  For example, if you’re a dental professional, you don’t really need to surround yourself with more dentists so much as you need to find peers who specialize in accounting, marketing, finance, or strategy.  Create a core group of advisors whom you can call upon for help when faced with a challenge in your business and keep that group engaged and interested in your success.  What better place than NAWBO-LA to find that mastermind group!

4) MANAGE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE – The majority of your future customers are finding you online.  If you have a crappy website – sadly, it will discredit you.  Additionally, since I’m looking for you online, I’m also aware if you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and your rating on Yelp.  If you’re not managing your presence online, red alert – it is managing YOU.

3) DON’T NEGOTIATE AGAINST YOURSELF – Never ever be the first to give out a “number”.  One of the mistakes I see women entrepreneurs make over and over and over again is that they leave money on the table, they negotiate against themselves and they drop the price before the other party has even anchored.  Whatever your hang-up might be, get over it – charge what you are worth and make no apologies.  Remember, you can always go down market, but you can’t go up.

2) ALWAYS HAVE A SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM STRATEGY – If you’re not planning for the future, how can you measure the results of what you’re doing today?  Revisit this strategy and engage and involve your staff and your family in this discussion.  You may be the owner of the business, but there are many others who are hitched to your success as an entrepreneur-don’t leave them in the dark.

1) CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION – I’m not talking about the requisite license updates that come with your industry, I’m talking about developing a discipline for continued learning.  Things like pricing strategy are REALLY COMPLICATED, understanding why things like net present value is important because it helps you understand the fiscal impact of that $100,000 gadget you are thinking about investing in today and what that means to you over the next 10 years.  I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “If you keep doing what you’ve done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got.” Actually, the reality is what you know today MAY NOT BE RELEVANT tomorrow.  In a continually changing world, one that is evolving exponentially faster thanks to technology, you can’t afford to not make time and effort to stay ahead of the curve.  It is singularly your most sustainable competitive advantage.

Jane Pak currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Los Angeles Chapter.

For Better or For Work NAWBO Event

Since the publication of my new book, For Better or For Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families, I’ve had the great pleasure of speaking to the members of two NAWBO chapters—in Richmond, VA, and most recently, in Los Angeles. As a columnist for Inc. magazine, I speak frequently to groups of entrepreneurs, and it’s plain that NAWBO members enjoy a special camaraderie.

I contribute a regular column to Inc. magazine, titled “Balancing Acts”. In it I delve into issues that arise in the intersection between family and business. My book expands on these topics, and presents strategies and solutions for growing a successful business and a family at the same time—wisdom gleaned from the hundreds of entrepreneurs and spouses I interviewed, plus my own experience from being married for 28 years to a hard-driving entrepreneur.

One core message I’ve gotten from all my interviews is that any entrepreneurial business is going to suck up the time, attention—and usually the cash—of the company builder. My entrepreneur-husband once said to me that business is all about solving problems. The company-builder becomes an EMT responding to an endless series of crises. What looks merely “important” to an outside observer becomes upgraded to “urgent” in a twinkling, when you are where the buck stops.

With the entrepreneur perpetually on-call, the spouse and family can easily feel lower on the priority list, and even left behind. But as one business owner cautioned, if you build a successful company, but lose your family in the meantime, you’ve had your eye on the wrong ball. What strategies can business owners adopt to make sure they stay connected to their families while building their own professional dream? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Play small ball. Runs can be scored with a big blast, or through a series of smaller base hits. In both cases you score, but the odds of success are greater when you take it one base at a time. Likewise, you may not be able to score the big runs routinely with your family—a two week work-free vacation in the tropics, for example. But don’t let that take your eye off the smaller wins: that ten minute walk down the block with your spouse; chatting with your daughter in the car on the way to her basketball practice. Cultivate small moments. Don’t let them slip by. Short exchanges can be meaningful—as long as you’re not glancing at your smartphone at the same time.
  1. Hold regular family meetings. My husband Gary and I did this with our children, but not frequently enough. Though the kids initially felt awkward about speaking frankly, over time they grew more comfortable with it and in the end these meetings made us all felt better connected. In the course of interviewing hundreds of entrepreneurs for my book and column, I spoke with several who faithfully held family meetings every week or two. They used the time to check in with how everyone was feeling, and asked for suggestions about how the family could function more smoothly and with less friction. If you decide to gather regularly with your family, be prepared to let the process work both ways: the kids should feel free to offer ideas about how Mom and Dad can improve their behavior, too.
  1. Invite your spouse and children to spend time with you at your company. This will help them understand and appreciate what you deal with every day. One entrepreneur I spoke with takes his kids out of school one day every six months, to spend a day with Dad at the business. My husband Gary often invited me to attend board meetings. These were helpful in giving me a better understanding of the pressures he faced, and a sense of the enormous scope of his responsibilities. Hanging out in your office, it won’t take long for your family members to see that other livelihoods depend on you. They will be proud of your leadership role.
  1. Spend time in your family’s worlds, too. Go to that soccer game, of course, but also make sure to enjoy unstructured hang out time with your children. Watch a TV show together; volunteer to help at the kids’ school; strap on some ice skates when you daughter goes to practice her jumps; read to your young son—or ask him to read to you. With your spouse, play audience while she rehearses a presentation, read the novel her book group is discussing, go with her to pick out bathroom tile. (Above all, see item 1, above: during these together times, no glancing, surreptitiously or otherwise, at that smartphone.)
  1. Take vacations. Often this is one of the first “extras” to be sacrificed, especially during the start-up years. The family can’t afford it financially; the entrepreneur can’t afford to leave his business, mentally or physically. But even a little time away—spent together, in a different locale—can produce important memories, and sometimes life-changing experiences, far out of proportion to the amount of time set aside. You don’t need to go far, or for long. Make economies elsewhere. Take those trips.

Make sure that although you spend most of your day putting out business fires, your family is not consumed by the flames. In many small ways, you can show them that they matter most.

Meg Cadoux Hirshberg writes a regular column for Inc. about the impact of entrepreneurial businesses on families—based on her experiences being married to Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, the organic-yogurt company. Meg is the author of, For Better or For Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families

For Better or For Work NAWBO event

NAWBO was so pleased to host Meg Hirschberg,  Inc.com columnist, and the author of “For Better or for Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and their Families”. Meg shared insights, hope and strategies on how to build a business and a healthy family at the same time.  Meg is married to Gary Hirschberg, Cofounder and Chairman of Stonyfield Yogurt. Gary was the CEO for 28 years and is currently the Chairman for Stonyfield Yogurt.

Stonyfield took 9 painful years to reach profitability and now with about $370 million in sales is the largest organic yogurt company in the world.

As entrepreneurs, we learned how how to build a successful business and follow our passions without sacrificing your family relationships. As an entrepreneur’s spouse/partner, we learned how to survive the financial and emotional roller coaster that is entrepreneurship.

A big THANK YOU to Meg Hirschberg for an amazing event!

Weight Management for busy business Women

If you’re currently at a healthy weight, you’re already one step ahead of the game. To stay at a healthy weight, it’s worth doing a little planning now. Or maybe you are overweight but aren’t ready to lose weight yet. If this is the case, preventing further weight gain is a worthy goal.

As people age, their body composition gradually shifts — the percentage of muscle decreases and the percentage of fat increases. This shift slows their metabolism, making it easier to gain weight; In addition, some people become less physically active as they get older, increasing the risk of weight gains.

The good news is that weight gain can be prevented by choosing a lifestyle that includes good eating habits and daily physical activity. By avoiding weight gain, you avoid higher risks of many chronic diseases, such as

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoarthritis and,
  •  Some forms of cancer related to abnormally high weight

Choosing an Eating Plan to Prevent Weight Gain

How do you choose a healthy eating plan that will enable you to maintain your current weight? The goal is to make a habit out of choosing foods that are nutritious and healthy. If your goal is to prevent weight gain, then you’ll want to choose foods that supply you with the appropriate number of calories to maintain your weight. This number varies from person to person. You can do a Metabolism test to learn more about your body metabolism. It also depends on many factor including your

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Sex and,
  • Activity level.

You can do a simple body fat analysis and learn about the entire above factors and where you stand.

Learn Easy Calorie Burning Tips

  1. In addition to a healthy eating plan, an active lifestyle will help you maintain your weight.  One great change that you can make is implementing NEAT in to your daily routine; such as
  • Parking your car at the end of the parking lot when going to the shopping mall
  •  Come out of elevator one or two level lower than where your office is

These simple changes can help you burn some extra calorie during the day and maintain your weight.

  1. Although physical activity is an integral part of weight management, it’s also a vital part of health in general. Regular physical activity can reduce your risk for many chronic diseases and it can help keep your body healthy and strong. Each person at least needs 5 days a week 30 minutes brisk walk as a heart healthy regimen.
  1. Another potion for losing excess body fat is all around you. It covers two thirds of the planet. Most people don’t drink enough water. Most people are also carrying around a few more pounds than they would be if they did drink enough water. If you can’t seem to get that weight off, try drowning yourself in the water, the nature natural mineral.

The helpful questions to ask yourself about weight management:

  • Has my activity level changed?
  • Am I eating more than usual?
  • Is my Stress coping solution lately is The Dessert menu at the restaurant?

If you ask yourself these questions and find that you’ve decreased your activity level or made some poor food choices try these three simple steps and make a commitment to your self to get back on track today.

  • Keep a food diary for a few days to make you more aware of your eating habits.
  • Set some reasonable goals to help you get more physical activity
  • Drink more water

Even small changes can yield positive results for all busy business women out there.

Dr. Pouya Shafipour is a Family Medicine Specialist who also specializes in obesity, nutrition and weight loss located in West Los Angeles, California. We provide treatments for all types of primary diseases including diabetes, Pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and proven nutritional weight loss. For more information, including treatment and symptoms of pre-diabetes, please visit www.WellelseyMD.com.

Passion. Inspiration. Awe.

Passion. Inspiration. Awe.

It filled the air.

A few short weeks ago, I attended my first NAWBO-LA Annual Leadership & Legacy Awards Luncheon. Even as a relatively new member of NAWBO-LA, I had already experienced the great community of women entrepreneurs and business leaders that comprise the membership of our organization. But little did I know the greatness that would fill the room on that day.

It all started early that morning as I welcomed people to the money morning conference: Funding Your Inspiration. Those that attended were treated to some great insights and tips that they could literally “take to the bank” from the panelists and special guest speaker, Dave Logan. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one taking notes. I am sure that I am not the only one already started putting it all to good use – including a terrific suggestion for a new product for my chocolate confectionary business.

As the guests started to arrive for the luncheon, the vibrancy continued to mount. It was obvious that this was going continue to be a very special day. And so it was.

We all took our seats, I was immediately humbled by the enthusiasm of the young members at my table, young women who were starting their careers as entrepreneurs, small business owners, forward thinking members of corporate teams. What a great time we had getting to know each other and sharing stories.

One by one, the honorees were introduced, and they accepted their awards and spoke to us. Each of us. Collectively and individually. They shared their stories, their passion, their inspiration, and what their business endeavors meant to them. They talked about their successes and the failures that propelled them to an even greater success. It didn’t matter whether they had been in their business for many years, many generations, or worked within a corporate structure. I was in awe. Not just because they had reached such a level of achievement, but because they in turn inspired me to reach even higher. To follow my passion. To inspire someone else.

That is what NAWBO-LA is about – to provide resources and inspiration for women entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to make a difference; to take leadership roles in business and within their communities; and to blaze the trail for the next generation of women business leaders.  Being an entrepreneur can often times be a lonely place. Being an active member of NAWBO-LA changes all of that. It is an honor to be a part of an organization that is made even greater by the individual contributions of its members and supporters, those who have left us with their legacy as well as those who continue to lead us into the future.

Passion. Inspiration. Awe.

It filled the room.

Christine Hanson is the principal of CRH Communication Management and the founder of AF2 Chocolatiers. After 20+ years of experience in public relations and corporate communications, and as many years of traveling, tasting and testing all in the quest for the finest chocolate experience that was inspired from memories of a childhood treat, Christine became a master chocolatier and founded AF2 Chocolatiers. Now she combines those businesses to provide consulting services to artists, designers, small businesses, and start-up food-based entrepreneurs, while at the same time creating award winning handmade, bite-sized chocolate and chocolate fudge candies and confections.

You can reach Christine at 323-578-4834 and to find out more about AF2 Chocolatiers, visit www.aahsomefudge.com

Growing up in an Entrepreneur home

This blog was written anonymously by the child of an entrepreneur.

When you’re raised in an entrepreneurs home, it’s easy to grow up believing in the dream. My father was a serial entrepreneur, from long before I was born, it was his way out from the accidental life he was born into and into the self destined life he was intended for. I’m sure that somewhere along the way he realized that a mistake had been made and he was, despite his lack of pedigree, meant for much more. As a young man, he escaped the drudgery of a lower-middle class life and took his first entrepreneurial leap into wig sales. His first taste of real control in his life. He then went into other things like jewelry and electronics.

I always admired my father, he was a hard worker, a community servant. He was generous to his family, friends and neighbors and when i was growing up, life was good. Everyone admired my father. For his wife, it was nothing but the nicest things. For his kid, nothing but the best education and we lived on the biggest house on the block. As I knew it, being a business owner, being your own boss was IT and anyone who would choose any other way of life must not be that smart.

Well, i learned pretty quick in 2010 when everything I knew and understood about life went up in smoke. My mother called me crying, she didn’t think she could stay with dad anymore. Through the first 10 minutes of sobbing, I finally found out the truth that my father had overextended himself since 2004. I quickly earned that most of my life, we were on the brink of “losing it all” but would miraculously be saved by one windfall deal that usually paid for the last failure and then some. While I hadn’t felt it as a child, my mother had been worn down over years of highs and lows. She was weathered from the worry and the guilt when it turned out ok. In her words, she would feel guilty for hating him for risking so much when there was a family to worry for and then hate herself for losing faith in him when everything he promised came through. She endured 27 years of it and she couldn’t take it anymore. This time, there was no saving grace, no hail Mary, it was all gone and she wanted out. She wanted me to know first.

It was the worst conversation of my life. I didn’t know what to say and I resented my father: my life long hero for putting me in the position I was in at that moment. It was disorienting and awful, I still don’t really have my footing back.

My father ended up filing chapter 11 that month and mom stuck with him. I always hoped she would, mainly for his sake, he couldn’t live without her. But a part of me wishes she left, for her sake. They’re still together, though it’s not the same and Christmas this past year was awkward. When I asked my mother why she didn’t leave, she said, “I knew what he was when I married him. I fell in love with his vision, when I married him, I said I do to his dreams and what would come. What kind of partner would I be if I stayed only when it was only good? But it sure is tough when it gets really bad.”