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The Value of a Hand Written Note


In today’s day and age, communication has been completely taken over by technology. We are so inundated by email and texts that the value of receiving a note from someone in this format has lost its novelty. Do you really like receiving a birthday or thank-you note by email? Sure it’s nice to know someone is thinking about you, but isn’t it much more personal to receive a handwritten note? This came up in my mastermind meeting the other day. When someone takes the time to write and mail you a hand written note, it really means a lot more.

Franchising with Pure Barre


We’re sure many of you have heard the Confucius quote, “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”  This sentiment resonates with Pure Barre studio owners around the country, many of whom have left high powered careers to open a Pure Barre studio... and never looked back!
Through Pure Barre’s franchising program, hundreds of women across the country have been able to achieve their career goals, while leading a balanced and fulfilled life. They enjoy the independence and satisfaction of owning their own local business, with the benefits of a national brand and a strong corporate team to support them.
Join us for a webinar at 12 pm ET on April 10 to learn more about franchising with Pure Barre. Register today!
All types of women have turned their passion for Pure Barre into thriving businesses, and gotten lots of help from the expanding Pure Barre corporate team along the way. Here, several studio owners share their stories:

What Is Stopping You?


Today and yesterday, I have been fortunate to connect with some heart-centered business owners in Marina Del Rey. The most amazing part though, is that I was in the same hotel only 4 years before for a mastermind meeting.

Women in Business Symposium: How to get media attention in a fragmented market.

Sisters are doing it for themselves once again at the 15th annual Women in Business Symposium on April 25, 2014 at the Hilton Del Mar. A forum designed for entrepreneurial women to talk, exchange ideas and get information on emerging technologies and business strategies, it’s an event rife with networking opportunities.  Attendees will hear from thought-provoking presenters, sit in on brief but compelling roundtable discussions, and peruse tabletop exhibits demonstrating new products.  A handful of merchants will provide retail therapy for those who want to finish out the day with a bit of added flair.

This year’s presenters include a panel of media professionals offering tips and ways to get attention for your business in a fragmented media market.  Nicole Darling, XETV producer, Steve Cohen, KUSI Program Director and Sue Norberg writer for the Union-Tribune Retail Trends column will present and answer questions.  Renee Kohn, life coach, standup comedian and San Diego 6 team member and co-host of San Diego Living; her topic: Attract Success in Business with Heart and Soul.  Roundtable presentations will be tailored to provide helpful information on subjects as diverse as leadership strategies, minimizing office clutter, utilizing social media and micro-fitness routines that maximize returns.

This symposium is an ideal place to meet like-minded thinkers and learn about what’s changing the face of business in and out of San Diego.
The event is Friday, April 25 from 8 - 4 pm, Hilton Del Mar,15575 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014. Admission is $85, includes lunch, event and exhibits.
To register visit use the code at sign-up WIBS5 is $5 off admission through April 15.

So you can do it alone, right?

Ready to take on the world!

How many of you feel this way in your business? That you can tackle this beast of building a business on your own? That you've got this? I read an article this week that talks about the complete opposite and how some entrepreneurs even commit suicide. Not good. Read on for more info. on this topic.

"So you can do it alone, right?"

I am amazed at how many entrepreneurs think they can do this alone. Grow their businesses, that is. I was just reading an article earlier this week that talks about how common depression is amongst entrepreneurs. This is due to the fact that they measure their self-worth by their business results. It’s also due to no one talking about the reality of what’s going on. Many feel alone and think they have no one to turn to. If they admit they are sinking, they will appear as failing.

I remember when I first started my business; my friends would ask me how many clients I had. I’m still not sure what that was about. Were they jealous and hoping I was failing? Were they just nosy? Was this a way to be supportive? I’m not sure how that would have been the case to be honest. The more I think about it, none of my best friends ever asked this, so I think I have my answer.

Think Big Before You Negotiate


As a former practicing attorney, I spent a lot of time learning about the art of negotiation. The lessons on successful negotiation were wide ranging. From the more familiar, "know your audience" and "understand what you bring to the table" to the less conventional, "keep your arms folded” and "do not wear bright colors.” Apparently hot pink does not go over well in negotiations.

There was one recommendation for effective negotiation that was given in every seminar I attended or book that I read: "identify what you want before you begin negotiating."

This advice is sound. If you go to the car dealer unsure whether you want a used Honda Civic or a brand new Honda Accord, you are more likely to be cajoled into the newer and more expensive option, regardless of whether it was what you wanted or needed. Identifying what you want from a negotiation at the start of the process can help to avoid disappointment – or worse - with the outcome.

Yet, I never was instructed on how to identify what it was that I wanted. In rare cases, the outcome may be obvious and non-negotiable, but in most cases the outcomes are much more wide ranging than you imagine. When you approach possible outcomes with too limited a mindset, you put ourself at a disadvantage from the get-go.

How Inspiration Leads to Success

When we’re inspired, we can truly create anything. It literally changes our perspective from a glass half empty to a glass half full. We are inspired to dream big and do big! Life is exciting! We feel unstoppable – like we can change the world. It’s these feelings that fuel us forward. It’s this inspiration that drives us to achieve big goals and do great things. It’s in this place that we need to stay and operate from.
When we live in an inspired place, we can also see with total clarity how our past experiences shaped who we are today. None of our experiences are bad. They either show us when we’re getting off course or when we’re on track. Either way, they always serve as a lesson in taking us to the next level. Would we have chosen to sometimes learn the lesson in a different way? Sure. The reality though is our experiences were stepping stones to get us to where we are today. When we look at things with a positive perspective, we can see every lesson we learned and how helpful it was in our growth.

Success Depends on Your Follow-up Plan


These simple steps will help you implement a follow-up system that you can start implementing now.

When you know you’re going to a function, make sure you schedule in time the next morning to follow up with the people you met/interacted with there. For example, when I go to a networking event, I make time the next morning to send emails and make connections on Facebook with anyone I connected with. It’s important to do this right away while you’re still fresh in the person’s mind. If you’re hoping to meet with someone in-person, i.e. for a lunch or coffee, it’s best to reach out right away to increase the chances of making that happen.

Decide what your follow-up system is. As I mentioned above, I send an email and make a connection on Facebook. I do this with everyone I meet and acquire a business card from. In my email, I say that it was nice to meet them and include something personal that relates to what we talked about. This is a nice way to start to build a relationship with them. I like to connect with people on Facebook as well. Since I interact regularly there, it helps me build relationships with new friends, and it helps them get a sense of who I am. I’m in regular contact there as opposed to emailing once and a while.

When I make deeper connection when I’m out – for example people who are interested in learning more about my services or someone who might be a great referral source, I will suggest continuing the conversation and booking a time to either chat by phone or meet in person for coffee/lunch. This can be done by email or phone and really depends on how you think the other person likes to communicate. Sometimes you may have limited contact information on their business card, i.e. you may be given a phone number or email address only. If I’ve really connected with the person, I usually suggest chatting or meeting when we’re talking in-person. Usually what follows is just booking a time to connect via email.

SXSW 2014 Startup Roundup - Day 1

SXSW Interactive 2014 is off and running! I moderated a panel today called "Life Automation for Entrepreneurs" with Dave Asprey, the BulletProof Exec, Veronica Belmont with Sword & Laser, and Maneesh Sethi, founder of Pavlok. We had an amazing discussion about when and how to automate tasks in our lives and our businesses to mitigate decision fatigue. Fascinating stuff.

Just like I did last year, I am bumping into founders of new startups and this year is already impressive. Here's my roundup of the coolest startups I've met today.
1. In the greenroom before the panel, I got to talking with Ulysses Alvarado as he was ironing his pants. I asked if he made sandwiches too. Ulysses and his co-founder Phillip Gabbard, have started one of the first social media sharing sites for the latin market. It's called TuVision Canal and they've been described as a mashup of YouTube, Hulu and Vimeo - they are launching here at SXSW. @tuvisioncanal

2. Also in the greenroom, we got to chatting with a gent who has created a company called Geppetto Avatars. They build artificial intelligence that brings virtual characters to life. An example use case he describes: children with asthma can be taught how to treat themselves using the avatar - they can ask questions, learn lessons and get treatment. @geppettoavatars

3. People+ pitched today in one of the many pitch competitions going on this week. I chatted with Peter Berger, Founder and CEO, before he headed in to compete. People+ is in beta, but they describe themselves as the wikipedia meets LinkedIn. You can add info on a person or a company just like on wikipedia so people can search through user generated content about people and companies. @getpeopleplus

4. Cristina Quintania was at the MoFilm tent drinking a Deep Eddy cocktail tonight when we got to chatting about her new startup: ReFashion. ReFashion is about to launch their podcast in April and will be discussing the intersection of tech and fashion. She'll be focusing a lot on what's being innovated on in the fashion world via technology, by interviewing entrepreneurs that are working to change the landscape. @refashion_co

xoxo, Stephanie

Women, Career Desire and Unnecessary Sacrifice


Diversity and Inclusivity were certainly words high on the agenda in 2013 and over the course of the year I was involved in many conversations that looked at barriers for young professional women.

My observations from these conversations with industry bodies, board members, young professional women and organisations focusing on gender diversity are that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Consistently over the year I posed the questions: “Is it that young women can’t pursue more senior career opportunities i.e. don’t have the skills, experience or opportunities? Or is it that they don’t have the desire to do so?”

To date, most gender diversity initiatives have focused on the first of these two questions by implementing training and development programs, mentor relationships and internal working groups aimed at removing roadblocks. Few have focused on the very important matter of desire.

Personally, I recall a time early in my finance career when the question of desire surfaced. For me – in the corporate landscape within which I was working – staying in or aspiring to reach greater heights in my career was never a question of skill. I had to really want to achieve and desire career growth in my chosen field, aside from the necessary skills I’d have to acquire along the way. This was a sentiment that was also shared by many of my female colleagues and one that, from what I keep hearing, is strongly held by young professional women in the workforce in 2014.

Are You An Amplifier?

Thought Leader Blog Post

If you’re like me every day your mailbox overflows with invitations to conferences, requests to give to political campaigns and opportunities to get involved in local community activities. You receive information from entrepreneurs starting new businesses, executives launching new projects and former colleagues looking for new jobs. Your friends ask you to donate to their latest charity run or support their kid’s softball team. And you are regularly inundated with news and articles on any number of interesting topics.
Rather than hit the delete key, what if you were to look at each of these emails as an opportunity to be an amplifier – someone who curates, highlights and even shines the spotlight on the best ideas for the benefit of those around them?
Why be an amplifier? Because amplifiers build their credibility and visibility with people who matter. Rather than stay on the sidelines, they move the conversation forward. Rather than opposing progress, they smooth the way for others and build a reputation as someone who makes things happen.
Here are a few ways to tell if you’re an amplifier…

Are You an Amplifier?

If you’re like me, every day your mailbox overflows with invitations to conferences, requests to give to political campaigns and opportunities to get involved in local community activities. You receive information from entrepreneurs starting new businesses, executives launching new projects and former colleagues looking for new jobs. Your friends ask you to donate to their latest charity run or support their kid’s softball team. And you are regularly inundated with news and articles on any number of interesting topics.

Find Out What Is Stopping You From Moving Forward

I’ve been reading a really great book on mindset. It’s called “Mindset – The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck. She outlines how people have two types of mindsets, a fixed or growth mindset. What’s fascinating is the people with the “fixed” mindset feel that being perfect equals success. They are so pre-occupied with it, they miss the chance to grow and actually be successful. In essence they get in their own way, and stay stuck while trying to reach perfection. The people with the “growth” mindset see success as a process by which they are continuously learning new things. Success to them is a journey and not measured every step of the way. These people take action and move forward.
Think about it for a second. If you’re constantly trying to be perfect in everything you do, really what you’re doing is holding yourself back from moving forward. You likely care A LOT about what others think. If this is the case, every single decision you make is based on what others might think of you. Think of your sales calls for example. If you’re on a call with a potential client and you’re more concerned with what that person thinks of you rather than how you can help them, you’re sunk! You won’t be able to properly convey to them how you can help them and what you can do for them. Instead you’re analyzing your every move for fear of being judged. This is limiting your success and business growth. It is likely showing up in all areas of your life too.

Own a Pure Barre Studio!

We hope you’ve all seen and heard our entrepreneur spotlight on Carrie Dorr, founder and chief concept officer, of Pure Barre. Carrie has an inspiring story as she took a leap of faith and left a successful career as a lawyer to open up her first Pure Barre studio in the basement of an office building in 2001. Since then, Pure Barre has grown to become the largest barre franchise in the nation, with over 200 studios open across the country. 
Pure Barre has exploded in popularity due to a number of factors, with the primary reason being that the workout truly works! The technique changes clients’ bodies quickly and safely by lifting your seat, toning your thighs, abs, and arms, and burning fat in record-breaking time.
PureBarre is also a fantastic business opportunity for entrepreneurs who want the independence and satisfaction of owning your own business, with the benefits of a national brand and a strong corporate team to support you. There are multiple revenue streams within each studio, including our popular barre classes, as well as high-end retail apparel and accessories.

4 Tips for Being Authentic in Your Business

Thought Leader Blog Post
I had the opportunity to sit down with a few people who are really rocking it in their businesses! Think multiple seven figures. What happened, though, is that not once did these particular people take a real interest in my business and vision for the future. They either did a big “product dump” on me – meaning they talked about the features of their service – or they just assumed they knew what was best for me and my business without really asking about my bigger vision. This was very disheartening – as especially those of you who have worked with me personally and who have been introduced to a compassionate way of doing sales will understand. It’s really not about doing something “to” someone; it’s about doing something “for” someone. In this situation, I definitely felt like they were doing something “to” me. It was disappointing to say the least.
These encounters have made me proud of the way I do business and also of the fact that I actually care about the people I interact with – whether they sign up to work with me or not. Our businesses are about what we can do for people not what we’re trying to get from them. Sure, we all have our own financial goals, but it’s really about providing an amazing service or product for someone to help them in some way, shape or form.  It’s about making a difference in other people’s lives.

Are You A Giver Or A Taker?

Thought Leader Blog Post

If you’re only focused on what you can “get” from someone else, they will feel this and be repelled by you. Maybe a little harsh, but true. We’ve all had that encounter with an icky sales person, who isn’t listening to us, and just wants to “sell” us something. We can’t get away from them fast enough – right? The problem is that even though they might have a great product or service that we want to buy, if they’re not listening to us and are “product dumping” on us, it’s a turn-off.
On the other hand, when someone approaches us with the intention of how they can help us, and they ask us questions about it, we are much more open to talking to them and learning more about them.

Dance Your Way To Success!

I had an amazing time hosting the money makeover event in Marina Del Rey yesterday! We were in the perfect setting for clearing out success blocks and creating abundance – with the ocean breeze blowing in and the fireplace burning! It was awesome to see and witness the break throughs that were had :) I truly love this work and am so grateful to be able to facilitate it :)
I’m reminded of how easy things can happen when you feel good. I love hearing a great song on the radio. The one by Robin Thicke – who would have thought? – really gets me groovin’. My new thing is to have a little dance party before starting work. Great for getting you in the zone for creating amazing things!!
Read on to learn how you can literally dance your way to success!
I remember thinking while I was dancing not too long ago, that I really need to do it more often. You know what I mean, right ladies? I had been too serious lately and really needed a dose of fun back into my life. It was super liberating knowing no one could see me and I could pull out any move I wanted!

My Negotiation Secret

When we hit the new year, I decided that 2014 would be a "year of experiments" for me - everything is an experiment and with that comes new behaviors, new beliefs and a new commitment to objectivity. It's been an interesting start to the year and I've realized that being objective is 1) incredibly difficult given we all have a certain amount of experiences and beliefs that we filter all communication and happenings through and 2) is a daily practice in sheer will. 
I run little experiments and watch for outcomes with as much objectivity as I can muster. My experiments include anything from the music I leave on for my pup when I leave the house (does she eat my mail less frequently when I turn on Adele? or The Album Leaf?), to noticing how a conversation with a colleague always goes better when my hair isn't in a ponytail, to offering a car salesman 15% less than he wants to sell for - simply to see if he'll take the deal.
The topic of negotiation has come up a lot and recently a group of fellow entrepreneurs and I were discussing some of their best techniques. Chic CEO's article on the 7 Tips for Negotiation is a great start and encompassed a lot of what we were already discussing - however, there is one thing I always keep in my back pocket, it's the simplest secret, but is a practice of mine on a daily basis and even more so, now that I've started my "experiments." 

Chic Entrepreneur: Amber Blumer, The Skinny Lemon Co

I’ve known Amber Blumer for a few years and watched her turn a simple, well known cleanse into what is now a thriving California company. I’m excited to share her story!
The Skinny Lemon Co™ was born last year in sunny Los Angeles. Amber decided to make herself the original homemade Master Cleanse™. While squeezing lemons, measuring, pouring, and making an entire mess with the lemons, maple, and cayenne pepper, she asked herself, “Why isn’t the original Master Cleanse bottled already so I can just grab a bottle while on-the- go?” And that was the catalyst that sent her into action! She started Skinny Lemon Co and immediately registered the trademark The Master Cleanse. With the trademark in hand, she set out to build Skinny Lemon Co as a brand based solely on The Master Cleanse. Now those who drink it would have confidence that they are drinking the original formula, with only the best sourced ingredients. Today her cleansing juices are showing up in retailers all over Southern California. As they say, when life gives you lemons… get skinny! Her clientele includes celebrities, athletes, and even stay at home parents. 
Amber jumped into an industry she knew very little about but understanding that passion alone wouldn’t be the only thing needed to launch. That’s when she turned to  Chic CEO’s resources!

3 Mistakes Business Owners Make

Thought Leader Blog Post

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time focusing on various strategies, thinking this next “one” will be it. By just doing ______, they will fix all of their problems. This is the farthest thing from the truth. It’s not about adding in one more strategy, it’s about shifting what’s going on in the inside. When you show-up confidently and acting like the expert you are, everything will shift.



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