“Nothing Ventured” Is Live! It’s Giveaway Time!

It’s LAUNCH day!!!!!! Let’s CELEBRATE!!!! How about a giveaway, in honor of our delicious hero, Chris Camden?????

Glasses of champagne and sparklers on bright background with sparklers

Here’s to Chris, the Adonis and certifiable charmer with more lines than a supermarket before a snowstorm. With a panty-melting smile, ridiculous body that oozes pheromones, and a hot car, he’ll have your knees weak within minutes. I promise. <3

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of ‘Unlikely Venture,” Book One of the Venture Series.

The contest closes on 9/22/2015 and the winner will be notified by email. GOOD LUCK!

Buy Nothing Ventured:

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  iBooks  Smashwords

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Take Control Of Your Future And Reap The Rewards

Self-published authors have a pretty steep learning curve if they want to joint the ranks of the bestsellers. And I’m not talking about the Amazon bestsellers, I’m talking about the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. Not an easy feat. It also doesn’t happen for everyone. Authors can bust their tails for years and years, writing book after book and never make it.

So is it possible to make their dreams become a reality?

Absolutely – through education and execution.

I watched a video tonight, hosted by Nick Stephenson, bestselling fiction author and entrepreneur. His book, Supercharge Your Kindle Sales, is flipping fantastic!! He provides invaluable insight about self-publishing and how to launch a successful author career on his website, Your First 10K Readers. But what I want to point out to you here is a really great point made in the video… one that’s not only applicable to self-pubbed authors but also to aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Here’s the gist. Authors have a choice. They can endlessly spin their wheels, trying to figure out how the publishing industry works while using trial and error to test new ways of gaining traction and visibility for their work.

OR…

They can make an investment in their careers and pay for that knowledge. Learning from someone else’s missteps can save a tremendous amount of time and money. It can also preserve their sanity. =)

Then, they can apply their newfound knowledge and execute their success strategy.

Business training group organization concept. Team of students learning from mentor sharing common vision for education success as gears and cogs shaped as human head on gray background.

Business training group organization concept. Team of students learning from mentor sharing common vision for education success as gears and cogs shaped as human head on gray background.

This advice definitely hits home for me as an author as well as an entrepreneur. What Nick is saying makes so much sense. If you’re looking to build a business – whether it be in publishing or another industry – spend time up front to figure out how to avoid common pitfalls. The intelligence you can gather is worth the investment and it will help guide your decision-making processes. Save the time for doing what you love and apply the tried-and-true methods of building your success. Leverage lessons learned and reap the rewards earlier.

Why put off until tomorrow what you could definitely achieve TODAY?

Why Do Startups Fail?

A multitude of potential pitfalls can negatively impact entrepreneurs as they eagerly try to build their fledgling companies…and basically crush their spirit if allowed. In my experiences, there are four reasons that stand out the most:

  • Lack of Research – Research is imperative. It provides insight about what your competitors are doing so can stay several steps ahead and create innovative ways to develop and market your offering. It also provides you with insight about the costs and components of running a successful business in your target industry. Spending time investigating a specific market will show whether there is a demand for your intended offering. Successful research will help shape your vision and strategy. Without it, you risk the future viability of your business.
  • Poor Planning – There are a lot of moving parts that need to come together before your finished product is ready for sale. You have to coordinate delivery timeframes with vendors and partners who are all part of your launch schedule. In addition, you need to plan for bill payment. Figure out what your accounts receivable schedule looks like so you can continue procuring supplies and services you need in a timely manner.
  • Boiling The Ocean – Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what will be a hit in the market. Hindsight is always 20-20. Sometimes you decide to make six different handbag styles, each available in seven different colors because you don’t know which one will be “the” one until it suddenly appears in an issue of InStyle and you now need to satisfy excessive demand without nearly enough inventory because you spread your resources too thin….ahh, but I digress. Focus groups can help! Talk to your target market and gather feedback. It may push out your delivery timeframes but the insight can help perfect your offering.
  • Nothing Unique – If there is nothing new or different about your product, nobody is going to buy – no matter how much you love it. It’s hard to pull off those rose-colored glasses and embrace the reality staring back at you. Leather handbags? Not otherworldly. Romance novels? Been there, read that. The key is to make your work stand out. Dig deep and find what sets your product apart from the competition and play that up otherwise it’ll get swallowed up into the abyss. Perfect your offering. You care, so figure out a way to make everyone else care. Establish a connection, show how them why they should be invested, convince them why they need your product.
Courtesy of www.digitalbuzzblog.com

Courtesy of www.digitalbuzzblog.com

Compete At Your Peril?

I just started reading “Zero To One” by Silicon Valley innovator, entrepreneur and prominent venture capitalist, Peter Thiel. He presents a unique way of thinking as a key ingredient for startup success. Startups have to generate new ideas and act on them rapidly to grow and expand their operations. That’s really the only way they can survive. They have to think out of the box and react quickly to take advantage of perceived market trends. Because of their small size, they can be nimble and test/document/respond to their ideas and deliver them in market with tight turnaround timeframes.

Courtesy of www.forbes.com

Courtesy of www.forbes.com

But that’s not an easy feat when you have to deal with that pesky little problem called competition. Yes, it fuels the creative flame but sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the rat race. As a small business owner, you need to make sure your brand stands out from the rest in a positive way otherwise you’ll never get the recognition you need to prosper.

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Competition is healthy to a point. It drives us to excel but it can divert our attention from developing new ways of becoming even better. Think of it this way. You make giglets and compete with three other giglet manufacturers. It’s all-out war between your companies because you are all struggling to be the number one giglet manufacturer in the world, all focused on being more attractive to prospective buyers, using new colors, shapes and sizes to differentiate your offerings from those of your foes, tearing down the competition at every turn, thinking, hoping and praying these methods will advance your sales goals.

But you’re all missing the critical element of innovation. Changing small facets of your product to make it look a little nicer isn’t transformational. It’s imitative and largely ineffective in the grand scheme of things. Focusing all your efforts on competing with others in your space is a waste of time, effort and resources and will only get you marginal results until another giglet manufacturer comes along and figures out how to take the show to the next level. Then POOF! Your giglets are history.

Instead, figure out what your brand brings to the table, what your value proposition is and how you can make your offering more relevant to the lives of your targeted customers. Do something BRAND NEW and go from ZERO to ONE. That type of thinking and execution results in positive impacts to your bottom line. Get out of the way of your competition. Let them spend their precious time battling for that top spot. You focus energy, time and effort on what makes your offering inherently great or how you can GET TO GREAT.

Your path to the top will then be within reach.

Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist – Who Am I???

Here’s just one more reason why Robert Downey Jr. stands strong at the top of my “list.” <3

Microsoft’s social media campaign, The Collective Project, celebrates students using technology to change the world. How better than to give young children use of their limbs back using 3D print technology? That’s exactly what Limitless Technology does. The volunteer group started by a University of Central Florida engineering PhD student recently constructed a special “Iron Man” arm for a young local boy at no cost to his family.

Guess who presented it to him?

Yup. Tony Stark. And the arm was delivered in a box labeled Stark Industries. Nice touch by the movie prop manager.

This video just makes RDJ that much more swoon-worthy. =)

Stash Your Phone And Enjoy The Moment!

Back in December, I wrote a post about product offerings from some super-cool female-run startups. Hubby took note of my list and proceeded to get me some of them for Christmas.

I’m happy to report that one is being crafted as I type.

Meet Ringly, the cocktail ring that will keep you connected with an app. You can keep your phone tucked safely away in your handbag without worry that you’ll miss an important meeting, update or call.

The rings are made with an 18K matte gold 3 micron plated setting and precious and semi-precious stones. They are available in US sizes 6, 7 and 8 and new orders will ship in the spring.

LOVE!!!! <3 <3 <3

My only reservation is the potential skating…I have pretty small fingers so I’m a little concerned that the weight of the stone will make the ring skate around my finger, a pretty huge pet peeve of mine. But judging from the look of my new finger candy, it’ll be a small sacrifice to make.

Courtesy of www.women2.com

Courtesy of www.women2.com

This fab creation works with iOS and Android devices. Through a downloaded app, you will decide what notifications come through. Waiting for an important call from your sweetie while you’re out at happy hour in a super noisy bar?? No problem! Ringly will let you know when he calls through one of your selected color and/or vibration patterns.

You’ll never need to have your phone glued to your hand again. With Ringly, you can actually hold your cake and eat it too. =)

 

Want To Digitize Your Closet? There’s An App For That!

I am a self-proclaimed fashionista.

Clothes-horse, shoe-whore, handbag junkie…you name it, I’m all over it.

But sometimes having all the components makes assembling the perfect outfit even more difficult. Like, where the heck do you find time to sift through everything and put it all together so it looks effortlessly chic????

Ahhh, luckily for me, there’s an app for that. =)

ClosetSpace is a new application from fashion analytics company Stylitics that wants to give you a digital closet for your smartphone as well as supply you with daily fashion inspiration and access to a personal stylist for only $25.

Yikes, the thought of snapping pics of everything in my closet makes my head spin!! But to have my phone feed me daily outfit suggestions, saving me oodles of time in the morning? Well worth the money!!!

Courtesy of www.techcrunch.com

Courtesy of www.techcrunch.com

The app can even offer weather-based suggestions and “style stats” from over 140 fashion bloggers providing fashion advice and fresh ideas on rejuvenating your personal style.

ClosetSpace Brings Fashion Inspiration And Recommendations To Your Smartphone – TechCrunch

“It’s for anyone who wants to dress better, feel more organized, or do more with the clothes they already own,” says CEO and co-founder Rohan Duskier.

Additionally, ClosetSpace will work to connect users with offers and deals from retailers based on the makeup of their closets, as well as other services they might like to try, like laundry delivery or beauty services like GlamSquad.

Haters ALWAYS Gonna Hate

Want to know one of my biggest pet peeves?

The chronic complainer who LOVES to point out problems but NEVER volunteers a solution.

Those people irritate the hell out of me.

Guess what? If you want to be successful in business, DON’T be one of those people.

I’m fired up, can’t you tell with all the caps?  LOL!

Now, I can certainly appreciate the fact that people may get deterred by a lot of red tape and invisible barriers to change within their corporate structures. That aggravates me almost as much because you may have a fabulous idea that will never get any air time and why not? Because of ridiculous rules and perceptions that hinder more than help.

But my feeling is not to succumb to that defeatist mentality. If people aren’t listening to your ideas and you’re very passionate about them, you may be in the wrong job or company. Consider a move where your input will be respected and valued. It’s amazing how empowered you’ll feel in an organization that welcomes progressive thinking.

In my experience, there are lots of reasons why an idea may not be embraced.

  • People are territorial and don’t like scope of their work challenged in any way
  • Exorbitant development and/or implementation costs overshadow the perceived benefit
  • People are resistant to cultural change and don’t want their apple carts upset in any way
  • People don’t want to expend additional efforts outside their normal scope of work
  • People are not incented to find new ways of working (sadly, their paycheck isn’t enough of a driving force)

And the last reason…the idea just may not be very good. Sorry. It had to be said. =)

But none of those reasons are good enough for you to stop considering new and better ways of doing business. Let the ideas flow! Don’t get discouraged by the naysayers. Haters ALWAYS gonna hate.

Courtesy of www.bustedtees.com

Courtesy of www.bustedtees.com

Watch Me Sparkle…And Grow Facial Hair??

Lucky Hubby. He hopped a flight to Vegas earlier this week and spent three days wandering the strip to visit various hotspots (no pun intended) of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.  I, on the other hand, received updates via iPhone as I suffered through the deep freeze that afflicted the Northeast for the better part of the week.

Yes, Hubby uncovered a plethora of electronic treasures during his stay – routers, Audis, Corvettes, Lamborghinis, Iron Man and robotic spiders, not to mention the iFit girls (not electronic but impressive nonetheless).

Sigh. Maybe I’ll get my turn next year.

But while Hubby spent a lot of time on “manly” technology, he completely missed what I call reflective intelligence. LOL.

Introducing…the Panasonic interactive mirror.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Did you ever wonder how to apply your makeup so it looks best in specific types of lighting – warm, dim, cool, natural sunlight? Darned lightbulbs can change your look from dewy to pasty in seconds flat. Or maybe you’d like to find out if that expensive facial cream you bought is really improving your skin’s hydration levels like the pushy salesgirl swore it would? And…most importantly, wouldn’t it be cool to see how you’d look if someone tossed a can of pixie dust at you? No…seriously.

With this clever innovation, your questions may soon be answered. I say “soon” because there is no available information on pricing or availability. But it’s freaking genius!!!!

Panasonic’s interactive mirror shows what you would look like with sparkles (video) – Venture Beat

How It Works

The glass is both a mirror and a display. You view transparent overlays on top of your own reflection and the mirror can make suggestions for beauty tips, based on your facial features.

Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

Some days I just hate my hair and I’d love to see myself with a different style and color.

Other times, I want to reboot my eye makeup look but I’m not always sure how to apply it for the best effect.

Or maybe I want to slightly contour my face to change the appearance of its shape.

MIRROR, MIRROR!!!!

Still Plenty Of Time To Shop Startups!!!

This is such a fun post because it combines several components I’m very passionate about….FASHION, TECHNOLOGY, SHOPPING and ENTREPRENEURSHIP!

Women 2.0 put a list together of 21 gift ideas born of female-owned startups. This is right up the Idea Mama’s alley!!!!!

21 Gift Ideas That Technology Made Possible

There were several that really popped out…really super-cool, sleek and cutting-edge. Check out these awesome finds and support these fabulous females this holiday season!!!

ElemoonJing Zhou, Co-Founder & CEOBoring rubber wristbands…yeah, they’re considered “smart tech” but they are NOT considered stylish…at least not by self-proclaimed fashionistas like myself. Elemoon combines a touch interface, activity sensor, notifications and colorful lights into one elegant accessory. The Elemoon’s LED light designs and colors can be customized to match different outfits. Can we say WINNER????

Courtesy of www.women2.com

Courtesy of www.women2.com

Ringly Smart Jewelry – Christina Mercando, Founder & CEOLove the look of this finger bling! I hate the feeling that I’m going to miss an important text or call when I’m out, but I also dislike carrying my phone in hand. This brilliant tech invention comes with an app that helps you decide what’s important and what’s not. If something is critical, your ring will alert you by buzzing or lighting up while your phone is tucked safely away in your bag. And it’s PRETTYcrafted with a rhodium plated setting and a tourmalated quartz semi-precious stone and available in black onyx, pink sapphire, rainbow moonstone and emerald. YUM!

Courtesy of www.women2.com

Courtesy of www.women2.com

EverpurseLiz Salcedo, Founder & CEOBrilliant! How many times are you in the situation where you’ve completely drained your device battery from obsessively checking Facebook and your email? Everpurse is a clutch that charges your iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, or Samsung Galaxy S4. You charge the clutch on a mat overnight and when you wake up in the morning, you can keep your phone juiced for up to 48 hours!

Courtesy of www.women2.com

Courtesy of www.women2.com

CuffLinkDeepa Sood, FounderCuff smart wearable technology enables you to connect with friends and family members in emergency situations. Activating the device will send a notification with your GPS location. It also incorporates audio so whoever you notify can hear what’s happening around you. Safety plus fashion equals a surefire winner!!

Courtesy of www.women2.com

Courtesy of www.women2.com

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