Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Qs 11-16 : Ready, Set, Go!

The last in an installment of questions inspired by a blog post by Seth Godin, 16 Questions for Free Agents. A little introspection on my plans to begin Gaia Greetings as a new entrepreneur. You can also view Q's 1-3 and 4-10.

Q11: Choose: teach and lead and challenge your customers, or do what they ask...

The way I have thrived in life is in being taught and inspired. I read, I seek, I challenge myself—and I hope the Gaia Greetings tribe is open to new lessons and leadership, influenced by my experiences and powered by a vision that has a positive effect on those it touches.

Q12: How long can you wait before it feels as though you're succeeding?

I already feel like I am succeeding. I have always been inspired by this quote (usually attributed to Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe but I just learned it is actually from W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951).

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

Paraphrased by Goethe, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

It is because of that quote that I was able to move out of fear and into success—personal success, an intrinsically motivated feeling of accomplishments for moving forward, working hard and creating something from my ideas.

Q13: Is perfect important? (Do you feel the need to fail privately, not in public?)

While failure is ever looming and a difficult pill to swallow, I am not in a rush to become an overnight millionaire. I have been failing privately for as long as I can remember so, just taking the risk and beginning this venture, though scary, is forcing me to work harder because everything is public. If I fail publicly, so be it. At least I took a chance. I know I can approach this business with an open mind and as long as I have enough to put back into it, I can continue to creatively market Gaia Greetings until I reach a place where I am comfortable. Perfect is not important, striving to do my best is.

Q14: Do you want your customers to know each other (a tribe) or is it better they be anonymous and separate?

ABSOLUTELY. I want my customers and vendors and partners and distributors to know each other. I want to know them—personally. The fabric of our company recognizes that we are all one and the actions of one affect many. It is imperative for me to work alongside others who share a similar personal and business philosophy. I want this company to affect those who interact with it with a RIPPLE of positivity.

Q15: How close to failure, wipe out and humiliation are you willing to fly? (And while we're on the topic, how open to criticism are you willing to be?)

Hmmm. Tough question. Been there, done that—mentally, physically, and financially. Have I learned from my lessons? Do I continue to grow and build a new future? Absolutely. I will continue to build and utilize my resources wisely. I think the key for me is knowing when to say when. Bring on the criticism because it will only improve Gaia Greetings and the people it touches.

Q16: What does busy look like?

Busy is a 9-5 job, being a 24-7 mom, blogging and interacting on twitter and facebook regularly, planning and executing a business, maintaining a multitude of friendships, spending time outdoors, exercising, remaining true to myself, and finding time for me.

Love and gratitude,


Friday, June 4, 2010

Innovation Is In My Blood—Qs 4-10

This is installment #2, questions 4-10 re: Gaia Greetings business philosophy and introspection, inspired by Seth Godin's blog titled, "16 questions for free agents." For answers to questions 1-3, see my previous blog post.

Question 4: Is it important to add new customers or increase your interactions with existing customers?

Well, since I don’t actually have *any* customers at this point, it is important to do both. Generally, I subscribe to the modern day way of doing business—which, to me, means building relationships. That translates to focusing on and building mutually beneficial relationships—this includes vendors, subcontractors, distributors, and customers.

Q5: Do you want a team? How big?

Since Gaia Greetings is a start-up, it’s important for me to use my resources wisely in the beginning. I am working with a multitude of freelance designers, artists, accountants, marketers, social media, and business folk. I hope, one day, those relationships blossom into an opportunity to employ a small tribe of super talented people who share the Gaia Greetings vision.

Q6: Would you rather have an open-ended project that’s never done or would you rather reach end points?

Regarding the growth of Gaia Greetings in general... I hope to be around for a while. As for our product offerings, the business is structured with limits. I’m not interested in buying the rights to our artists work. Our contracts and products will be offered for a limited time because it’s important for me not only to keep it fresh, but also to support our artists in their big picture endeavors.

Q7: Are you prepared to actively sell your stuff, or are you expecting that buyers will walk in the door and ask for it?

In my humble opinion, word of mouth marketing is the best possible marketing strategy. I can’t expect my customers to promote Gaia Greetings if I am not engaged with and involved in promoting it myself. I will be there every step of the way, as the authentic voice of this company, actively selling our products and services, for the benefit of our customers.

Q8: Which—to invent a category or to be just like Bob/Sue but better?

Innovation is in my blood. I am incredibly fulfilled by creating and introducing new ideas. One of our business goals is to get people to rethink connection by offering them novel ways to do so.

Q9: If you take someone’s investment, are you prepared to sell out to pay it back?

No. To fulfill my grandiose plans, I considered an investment when I first began planning this business. Over time, however, my goals morphed, as did my perspective. This was an important turning point for me. I decided that I needed to use my ideas, be resourceful, figure out a way to start small, and fund this labor of love on my own.

Q10: Are you done personally growing, or is this project going to force you to change and develop yourself?

I’ll refer to my original Tribe profile on this question: "In process… constantly in process." There’s no doubt I will continually reckon with growth, change, and development—and I’m excited about that challenge.

More to come! Stay posted!
xoxo LOVE xoxo b

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Feeling Purposeful: Qs 1-3

I’ve been drawn to author Seth Godin lately. Through his e-newsletter, I get a brief and succinct dose of Seth daily. His words of encouragement motivate and inspire me to THINK and ACT on my passions. I consider myself lucky to have found him at this point in my journey.

One of his recent blog posts, 16 questions for free agents, put me in an introspective place. Since I AM starting out as an entrepreneur, I challenged myself to answer his questions.

Here’s the first installment:

Q1: Who are you trying to please?

Such a simple question, and stumped already. The easy answer is me, but it’s deeper than that. I’m not doing this to impress anyone. I’m doing it because I have to. It’s critical for me to take a risk in an effort to create the life I envision for my son and I.

Q2: Are you trying to make a living, make a difference, or leave a legacy?

The truth is, I’m trying to do all three.

My Legacy: Right now, I believe the opportunity is ripe to work hard and follow my dreams. It is IMPERATIVE for me to LIVE that example for my son.

Making A Difference: Gaia Greetings is built on the philosophy that ALL IS ONE. The root of our mission is based on connection. I want to touch people and be a ripple of positivity that extends far and wide.

Making a Living: It’s more about CREATING a LIFE that is fulfilling for me. While I am currently blessed with fortune in employment, I know for sure that my life will be limited if I live under the umbrella of someone else’s aspirations.

Q3: How will the world be different when you’ve succeeded?

This question makes me smile. The difference will be measured by the effect our reach has on personal relationships. People will smile, they’ll feel loved, supported, appreciated, closer bonds will be formed, there will be stories to tell, and those lives will be fuller as a result. It’s not tangible, it’s emotional.