Thursday, May 30, 2013

Home-based Entrepreneurs: Have You Left The House Lately?

By Ali Brown

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Home businesses are great and we can all expound the advantages: flexible hours, no commute, working in your sweats, convenience and independence, etc. But when was the last time you got out of your bunny slippers and attended a live function with real people?

I think it was Woody Allen who said that 80% of success is showing up, and although it was a satirical remark, there's truth in it. If it's been awhile, let me refresh your memory about why it is essential that you get out of the house regularly. It's good for your business and really good for you, too!

There are many different ways of getting out of the house with your business in mind, such as calling up a colleague and meeting for coffee or a drink, attending a networking event or signing up for a seminar.

Start by checking your news outlet's business events calendar for local happenings. Consider attending your chamber of commerce networking gathering, Business Networking International, local entrepreneur group meetings or a local CRAVE party. To make a lasting impression with people at these events, make a point to attend regularly, and they'll think of you when they need your type of product or service.

You'll want to sign up for your local organization's newsletters, Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can keep abreast of their events. Be selective and attend the gatherings that really appeal. Grab a colleague or friend, and you'll be sure to have a great time, no matter what, or, if you're more daring and want to really connect with new people, go solo.

I know it takes effort at the end of the day to get dressed and go out, but it is sort of like exercising, once you do it, you'll feel great. Here are some of the advantages of attending live functions:

  1. You'll meet old friends, make new friends, and see face to face what people are up to. We all get busy and forget to reach out to one another sometimes, but seeing people right in front of you is stimulating and renews your core.
  2. If you're attending a meeting or training session, you'll learn new, exciting information, hear first hand other's successes and get tips about what doesn't work. These mixers are great places to learn about how other people are getting their business needs met and how to learn about great deals and save money.
  3. You'll have a chance to meet potential mentors, people who are ahead of you in the game, and then in turn, you can become a mentor to someone else who needs your guidance some day.
  4. Just being in the room with like-minded people can be invigorating and can give you the necessary jumpstart to dive into a project you've been wanting to start and to keep your momentum going.
  5. There's no substitute for showing up with your smiling face. People forget quickly, and by getting out there, you remind them that you're still here going strong and ready to offer your products and services.
  6. Every successful entrepreneur eventually needs to be comfortable speaking publicly before a crowd. Attending these smaller mixers and honing your message first one-on-one, then at your table of networkers and then finally in front of the entire room, is a fantastic way to build your courage. If you need more help in this area, Toastmasters, whose mission is to help people with public speaking and leadership skills through public speaking and feedback, comes highly recommended.
  7. Attend with the intention of connecting with a least one individual, and you'll never be disappointed. This may not be a potential client, but if they become an acquaintance and colleague, they may know someone else who may need your products and services. Get to know people deeper than these one night events allow, and grab some cards, make some calls, and have some coffee dates. That's when the more fruitful conversations transpire.
  8. Remember that people attending these functions are all trying to spread the word about their businesses too. Be interested in them, what they're doing and what they offer as well. Even if you don't need their services, you may be able to connect them up with someone else, and they'll remember the favor.

As you see, there are so many benefits to getting out of the house sometimes even if you are a die hard home-based business fan. Exchange those bunny slippers for high heels at least twice a month, and I'll see you out there! (By the way, in case you didn't hear, my own SHINE Event is networking on steroids, so you'll want to check it out).

Self-made millionaire entrepreneur and Inc. 500-ranked CEO Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE weekly articles and advice at

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

7 Wedding Costs To Do Without

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If you stubbornly stick to expensive wedding traditions, the costs of your big day can quickly add up. So, since we're now living in the 21st century, it's time to throw away those uneconomical wedding customs and just keep those that work with your budget.

Check out this article from Savvy Sugar to see what costly wedding traditions to ditch.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Choose Flower Girls Dresses for Your Special Day

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Weddings are spectacular events filled with love, family and friends as well as beauty. Your aim for the day is for everything to be perfect; after all, this is the day that a bride has been waiting for, probably since she was a child. From flowers to the flower girl dress, one only hopes it turns out to be fabulous. There are many important aspects to a wedding, but one's dress is easily visible so one should take extra care when choosing this for the ceremony.

Weddings Are Joyous Occasions
Dresses play a large part in any wedding. They are very important. After all, everyone is going to be talking about how the bride, her bridesmaids and the flower girls dresses looked, so properly selecting each garment is vital. When it comes to choosing your wedding dress, a lot of thought should go into it. The same can be said for the flower girl dress. One probably already has the design, style and shade of white pictured and so the process of selecting is made easier.

If you have no clue as to the type of flower girl dress you prefer, there are plenty of resources available to provide inspiration, and ideas should soon to start to flow.

One might not put as much though into the designs and styles of the dresses of your wedding entourage as you do yourself though, but choosing their wear is just as important.

Choosing Flower Girl Dresses
With so many things to do before the big day, a bride might be so overwhelmed that the thought of still having to pick out a flower girl dress can become a nightmare. However, selecting adorable little dresses can be a fun process that does not take much effort from a bride. Once you have decided on the color of your wedding, the task really becomes very easy.

Start by considering the season. This is a very important aspect that many brides do not give enough attention to. Having a summer wedding, you might think simple, sleeveless and short. That is correct, but you also might want to pay attention to the type of material for these flower girl dresses. Some fabrics could be heavy and warm, making a little girl feel hot and uncomfortable. Besides this, she may probably feel more tired and irritable. The color that you choose also plays an important role. Dark colors absorb more heat so stick to light and pastel shades. Material should also be light and loose on the little girl.

If you are planning to have a winter wedding, then you should also cater to your flower girl's needs. Remember that your flower girl is a kid and unlike adults, who can handle a little cold, kids are often miserable when they are uncomfortable. This makes for an upset little one and many bad photos! Short sleeves are pretty, but make sure she has a matching jacket when it gets a little chilly and that she has leggings on to keep out the cold.

When it comes to styles and designs, many brides-to-be do not really know where to begin. Once again, the time of year should serve as a guide.

Paging through bridal magazines are wonderful ways to pick up styles. Not only with bridal magazines but also you might find that you get cute little dress ideas from ordinary fashion magazines that you could incorporate as a dress for your flower girl. If you feel limited by the selection of little girls dresses, then you can take an adult dress and miniaturize it into a flower girl dress. However, be careful when doing this; you do not want your flower girl looking too mature. Flower girls should look cute, adorable and youthful.

Also, look at what works for others. Get ideas from past weddings you have attended or turn to movies for ideas. If you do find something you like from a friend or family member's wedding, you can incorporate the same style, but try to make it a little bit original.

The Size of the Dress
The length of a flower girl's dress has always been a debate. Long, hitting the ankles or short, knee-length, which one is right? Luckily, there is no right or wrong answer; it really depends on the bride. Knee-length or just below the knee is a great choice as little girls like to run around and play, so this length makes them feel free, whereas they might feel restricted in a longer dress.

If you do prefer something longer, avoid dresses that reach all the way to the floor. Not only is it bound to get dirty, but also your little flower girl can be prone to trip. A great medium when it comes to length is to have a dress that ends halfway between the ankle and knee. In this sense, the dress is not too long and not too short either.

Lisa Parker is a freelance writer who writes about family and family events such as weddings, often focusing on one specific aspect of a wedding, such as flower girl dress.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

4 Ways to Make Summer 2013 The Best One Yet

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Have you spent your winter hibernating? Are you ready to rediscover the favorite parts of your town? Here are a few ways for you to make the most of this summer:

1) Rock out. Whether it's finding a new band playing at a street festival or jamming out to your faves, summer is the perfect time to find new music.

2) Lend a helping hand. Walk dogs, wash cars or just help an elderly neighbor carry their groceries inside. Don't know where to start? Check out local nonprofits in your area.

3) Find a wine/food/beer festival. Head to a food festival, and check out local fares. Also, be sure to bring your camera (or phone) and a notepad to write down your favorites -- you might find inspiration to create your very own summer culinary masterpieces.

4) Make some friends. Meet some new folks (and make some new friends) at a community or networking event. Who knows? You could find a new concert-goer, running buddy or even a business partner!

For three more tips, check out our source, 7 Ways to Make This Summer Your Best One Yet.

Friday, May 17, 2013

11 Strategies to Neutralize Wedding Planning Stress

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We might as well get it out in the open. Planning a wedding is not a big job. It is a huge job somewhat akin to staging a Broadway musical, minus the cast of experienced participants. To make matters worse, the more guests that are invited, the more formal the event, the more complex the plans, the bigger the job is. That means stress. Lots of it. There is no way to get around it, but there are ways to neutralize wedding planning stress.

Moreover, since the female tends to place more value on the festivities of the day than the male mind does, chances are the groom is not going to take the lead planning the day. This means that the stress of wedding planning is generally felt more acutely by the bride.

Indeed, many brides feel like their groom does not care, thus increasing their stress. Whether or not their perception is true, the reality of the perception is enough to leave most brides pulling their hair out.

The secret to maintaining sanity during the wedding planning process is to maintain a bag of tricks that will allow the bride to minimize the stress, whether by strategically recruiting others to do some of the work or by scheduling events designed specifically to help her unwind before she unravels.

Take a trip to the spa: Often, brides will plan a trip to the spa with their bridesmaids in the week just before the wedding. That can be good, but it might not be enough. There is nothing that will release stress faster than being pampered while you lay on a warm table immersed in a soothing fragrance and surrounded by relaxing music. Can't afford trips to the spa? Not a problem. A bride with a limited budget can recruit a good friend to help her create her own spa experience with aromatic touches, soft music and a homemade facial mask or body peel.

Hire a wedding planner. A wedding planner who has been around the block a time or two offers something very few brides have...experience. They know people in the business, they know how to deal with wedding professionals, relatives, etc. Most of all, they know what to expect and what is a problem and what is not, so the bride does not have to waste stress over situations that are not really a problem.

Have the groom break out the digital camera, camcorder and laptop: Guys love their toys...and most guys love anything high tech. So recruit them to set up a wedding website -- through which you can have them post wedding registry information, track RSVPs, share engagement photos and videos -- even send out the invitations, or at least have them use the computer to print the invitations and create address labels. You get the idea. Getting rid of such a huge amount of work in a way that he will embrace gladly will reduce any bride's stress level.

Go out to dinner: Take the time to sit and enjoy a good, high quality meal. Eat something healthy. This is as much about good nutrition as it is about a change of pace. Our bodies need the change of pace that sitting down to a good meal will provide, and it also needs nutrition rich foods to help deal with the stress planning a wedding can bring. Going out and having someone wait on us for a change is part of the therapy. Who the bride chooses for company is her decision, as long as it takes her away from wedding planning activities during the meal.

Take a bath: There is nothing like soaking in a hot tub treated with scented bath salts while reading a good book by the light of candles ringing the tub. Add a glass of a favorite sipping drink and watch the stress melt.

For six more tips, click here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

5 Must-Haves to Bring to Every Event

Photo Credit: haveseen (
Are you an event planner? Check out these essential event-packing tips from Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM, freelance event producer & co-owner of Treasure Island Wines:

  1. Embrace Space-Saving Technology. Don't lug your heavy laptop around; instead, choose an iPad and a few substantial flash drives to use with on-site computers. (Check out some of her favorites here).
  2. Find Items that Multitask. If you have items that serve two purposes, bring them with you. For instance, Felsher sleeps in her running tights so she can go from bed into her running route at 5 AM; she doesn't need to pack PJs; and she'll be the "least humiliated/best dressed" guest if a 2 AM hotel fire occurs.
  3. Bring Over-The-Counter Essentials. Assume you won't have time to find OTC needs in a different city. So, plan ahead for allergies or random aches and pains by packing any medicines you might anticipate needing. You don't want to let those issues derail your entire event!

For two more must-haves, check out our source, Five Essentials to Bring to Every Event.