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April 6, 2009

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Be Uniquely You!

February 26, 2009

As the founder of it is part of my job description to get up in front of people to speak, educate & inspire. I love this yet it’s a new world to me.

I spent several days listening to a speaker who was a mix between Jim Carey & Tony Robbins.  He was a bit over the top for the more conservative folks but I found him endearing, funny & smart.  I realized after hearing the positive and negative comments on this speaker that you can’t please everyone.

I have decided I will be “uniquely” me in all aspects of As such, this blog will evolve to show the silly side of Joyce as well as the seasoned entrepreneur. If I am going to work as hard as I do then I want to be surrounded by dynamic, fun loving entrepreneurs that love to laugh and get “me”!

If you know any good jokes then be sure to post it! I’m sure the community will appreciate some humor in there day.

Here’s a video that makes me laugh. These guys are from ATL.  It hits close to home in my world. I hope you like it too!

How NOT to Network

February 25, 2009

I just got home from a conference in San Francisco. I met a ton of people. The vast majority were wonderful but a few fell into this category!

Millionaire Moms Guide to Raising Money

February 5, 2009

“How can an entrepreneur starting out in business expect to raise capital in today’s down market when the banks aren’t lending?”  This was a question posed to me recently. First, expect is a passive and weak word. It’s important to choose our words wisely and train ourselves to be solution based rather than problem focused.

Here’s the down low from my experience raising $68 million dollars for my business ventures in three distinct industries.  The short answer is there is always money available for the right idea at the right time.

The trick is getting in front of the right people and not getting discouraged when you hear “no” a bunch of times.  Raising capital is a sales function which means it’s a numbers game.

It’s also easier to close deals with people who know your intelligence level, character and work ethic. By the way, make sure you have these before trying to convince others to invest in your company. You typically don’t get a second bite at the apple. If you lose someone’s money they might forgive but they definitely won’t forget!

Another tip is to share your milestones with those that can help you. If an investor sees you making progress over time the odds of investing in your company increase.  Remember, it’s the jockey people bet on not the horse.

I’ve always preferred talking with investors within the industry I am operating in. The battle is half won already. They get it. I just have to be convincing on the business plan, the management team and what’s in it for them.

I have always raised funds in a way that flows with the current economic cycle rather than against it. When IPO’s were hot I structured my business model from the start to take advantage of the trend. When I was active in real estate I leveraged OPM (other people’s money).  In today’s marketplace I  am experimenting with creative financing methods.

I believe in leading by example so I am showing my millionaire moms members that you use creativity, leverage and knowledge to raise funds. I once bought an investment house for $10.00 in earnest money and turned it into $10,000 in one month. This is just a small example.

Those who succeed are not always the smartest. For instance, school was the backdrop to my social career. Certainly many were smarter than me but few were as motivated or resourceful in accomplishing goals. To quote Cynthia Good from Pink Magazine, “The triumphant are those who don’t give up!”

My current venture is a wealth of information. I have asked dozens and dozens of ultra successful moms how they raised their funds? The answers have been fascinating. Women typically take a different approach towards raising money. They tend to want to self fund more then men and don’t typically consider venture capital funding at all.

Here are two examples of creative financing I’ve run across. One mom sent her business plan package to 30 CPA’s. She figured they’d know which of their clients would have an appetite for her type investment. She sent a letter asking they  review the plan and submit it to clients that might have an interest.  She followed up and got funded. A member of heard the idea and did the same thing. She got funded as well.

Another successful mom told me how she enlisted her local University to help her write her business plan. I thought this was a good idea. I tried it and it worked. The MBA students took on my project. I am now competing in business plan competitions with the school. The cash prizes range from $10k-$100k per competition. This will be seed money to grow my business. Venture capitalists will be in the audience. This will be a great networking opportunity. From this experience I will also be polished in pitching my plan should I ever seek outside funding.

Today, I read about how Tech billionaire Mark Cuban is offering “open source funding” for all entrepreneurs.  He details it on his blog You post your business plan on his website and get comments and possibly funding. This isn’t for everyone but the point is, think outside the “have to get a bank loan” box. There is more than one way to skin a cat!

If you want additional insider secrets like how one of our millionaire moms invented over 100 products without spending money up front then sign up for my free weekly eZine at for a free audio and written transcript detailing her journey.  She even landed a contract with K-mart for $1 million dollars without an appointment!

Always keep your ears open for opportunity and go with the trends, not against them. (Hint…I just offered you one!).

Carpe Diem!

Just Go A Little Bit Further!

December 20, 2008

I had an experience the other day that felt like a metaphor for my life. I was driving down a road I often get confused on. There are twists and turns that make it a challenge to remember which way to go.  I started feeling like I had made a wrong turn. I thought, “I’ll just go a little further and see.” Which I did. Ultimately though I doubted myself & turned around in favor of the “safe way”  I was familiar with.

The safe way meant I added extra time, travel & aggravation to my day.  The funny thing is I realized the very spot I turned around at was a mere 100 yards away from landmarks I would have recognized as having been the right way to go.  If I had only gone just a little bit longer…

This felt like a metaphor for my business.  I had been feeling discouraged that day.  I was driving thinking about all the work that needed doing. Overwhelm set in & I started questioning if I was making the right decisions purusing this dream? I have made tremendous strides over the year but it didn’t feel like enough. I have been working really hard.  I was tired and felt very alone in my journey.

These thoughts came to an abrupt halt once I figured out I had been so close to successfully nagivating the road I was traveling. I had quit moments before I experienced the breakthrough. We have all heard the saying, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” I decided right there & then I wouldn’t quit my business no matter how tired or hopeless I felt. I would solider on. Victory goes to the decided heart!  I would work smarter not harder.

A few days later I was presented with an opportunity that could really take my business to the next level. What if I had quit that day? I would never have known.  I want to encourage you in your business journey to have a decided heart. You never know when you are just around the corner of success!

Revolving Door Mentality

December 8, 2008

I have been very busy writing my book due out in Spring 2009.  Today as I typed away I added some thoughts from millionaire mom, Nancy Bogart from She is an incredible mom and business woman.

At the beginning of her journey running her bath, body and spa business she found herself surprised whenever someone in her company left. She explained to me, “Not everyone will love your dream like you do. If you are the owner, you really do care more than anyone else.  It never occurred to me people who were with me in the beginning would ever leave.  I had to learn to get over how I felt when this happened. “

She went on to say,  “There are seasons in life and ways of life.  A season of life is temporary and short term.  A way of life is confidence, strength, purpose and vision.  Seasons come and go, be sure to keep the main thing, the main thing, and that is Love.  Nothing is greater and strive to be loving to someone as they end a season with you. You never know what will happen in the future. A good friend once told me to have a revolving door on your business and life.  Let people come and go as long as it is healthy. Living life with this mentality will lead to an abundance of people in your life.”

I love the concept of a revolving door with relationships. Instead of burning bridges or passing judgement let’s  strive to understand everyone has different needs, wants and desires. This does not make them “wrong” for not seeing things your way. This is a beautiful metaphor. I hope you recall the next time you feel the sting of someone exiting your life whether in business or personally. Love abundantly and create rather than react. These are two things at the top of my to do list for 2009!

Overcoming Fear

November 28, 2008
Nature has instilled fear in us as a protective mechanism. As a child I was fearful that an alligator lived under my bed at night. If I got out of bed it might get me. I learned over time that particular fear was completly false. As a teenager I was on diving team for five years. I was a powerful athlete but not the most graceful. The Coach had me dive the high board. Many people are fearful to even jump at this height. In order to go to state competition I was doing 2.5 pike front flips off of it. Was I fearful? You better believe it! I chose to over ride nature’s protective mechanism and turn fear into exhilaration. Fortunately for me I survived.
As a new mom I brought home a son that was in ICU for a week. He had tubes coming out of his head the day we left the hospital. I was terrified as they wheeled me out the door and burst into tears when a neighbor came over to admire the baby. I was an emotional mess. This fear had a hold of me for awhile. Could I take care of my child? I overcame it one day at a time and now that baby is a handsome, thriving 13 year old “man boy” as I affectionately call him. 
My 41 year old brother died of lung cancer this year within six months of being diagnosed. I held him in my arms as he passed.  I watched my parents come in the room and fall apart. A parent’s worst fear realized. This experience taught me the preciousness of life and how the choices we make on a daily basis do matter. You are where you are today because of the decisions you made in the past. What do you want your future to look like? If you don’t like what you see in the mirror then start choosing alternative actions for a different result. Step back and see what you like, what you need to change and consider where you would like to be  in the future. Clarity is a powerful antidote to fear. My brother made the decision to smoke and he paid the ultimate price for it. There is always a lesson to be learned from all experiences. It’s important to take the gift left behind no matter how painful. He taught me to overcome fear because life is short and to strive to make good daily decisions. 
As a business woman I eat fear for breakfast. I relish it. I look forward to it. It’s a gift. It is when we are fearful that we experience the most growth both professionally and personally.  
Have you ever heard the acronym F.E.A.R? “False evidence appearing real”. We tend to psych ourselves out rather than acknowledge fear is typically our “inner chicken” surfacing. The vast majority of what we worry about never even happens. What a waste of energy! More likely, if you peel back the layers many fears have their root in a fear of potential rejection. No one enjoys being rejected. However, we can reframe that thought. 
If there is something you want but are too fearful to bring yourself to ask you are already rejected. Your current state is “no” because you do not have the courage to ask for what you want. If you go for it and put the request to the person in a position to help two things can happen (1) they can say “no” in which case your current situation hasn’t changed except now you know the answer to whether that person can or will help you or (2) you get what you seek. Congratulations! Doesn’t that feel fantastic?! Now you have accomplished the desired result and your self esteem gets a nice little boost as a perk. Most business results are statistical in nature. If you are trying to sell something you may have to talk to 10 people to get one “yes”. Let’s say that “yes” is worth $1,000 in your pocket. Why don’t you consider viewing the 9 “no’s” being worth $100 a piece in your pocket? Do you see what I am trying to get across? Success is what happens in that gray matter between your ears. You must train your brain to not be a drain!
I strive to approach all interactions with a servant’s heart. The world will bless a giver in more ways than just financial gain. Fear cannot hold back a person who is striving to do good in the world. It just is not an option. 
At the beginning of a new venture, or really with any decision that must be made, ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen?”. If you can live with the worst case than go for it! We all stumble and fall sometimes. Just fix what you can and move on. It’s all in the attitude my friend.