No Cilantro, Please Issue 1 - April, 2022

Page 1

Issue 1 | April, 2022


Entrepreneur Resources from Industry Experts Features from Around the World Finding Work/Life Balance

How to with S support Uk mall B r usine aine ss | pag


Editors’ Desk The first issue is finally here! Alison and I are so excited to show you everything that we’ve put together for the first issue of No Cilantro, Please™ Magazine. When my partner, Avery, and I were sitting in a restaurant one day, we joked around about interviewing chefs, small business owners, and random people about different foods, and starting a lifelong war about whether people love or hate cilantro. As a small business owner and a cilantro-hater myself, it naturally became my go-to icebreaker and conversation topic. The idea for this magazine all started with “cilantro wars,” but grew into a desire to get to know these people in my community on a deeper level. We are surrounded by information about celebrities: the clothes they wear, the foods they eat, the places they shop, etc., etc. In this issue, you’ll find real, authentic stories of people across the small business community. Shouldn’t we celebrate these entrepreneurs the same way we celebrate A-listers? What if we could also share resources with each other as entrepreneurs so nobody has to reinvent the wheel to get their start? It’s been some time since I’ve been in business, and I’m still learning each and every day. But what if I had these resources back when I first started, and heard from real people and their real stories - the struggles, wins, tips, tricks, advice instead of having to Google everything? This digital magazine is exactly that. We wanted to provide a two-fold resource for the cult-following, local business supporters and SBOs, where they can read all about different local businesses and the real people behind them.

We wanted to create a hub for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners, much like Alison and myself. So that if you are just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, or if you are looking to change things up in your current business, you have an army of resources right at your fingertips. Words cannot express how grateful I am to this entire team for all of their hard work and dedication to making this dream become an actual reality. As I type this up, tears are starting to well up in my eyes. You all have put so much hard work into making this real and I will never forget that. And of course, I have to give a special shout-out to my sweet friend and co-editor Alison. I literally could not have done this without you. Cheers to you, reader, for supporting a small business and this digital magazine. From the bottom of our hearts (and stomachs), we thank you for your continued interest in our dream. So before I start blubbering all over my keyboard, and without further ado, please enjoy and relish (ha!) the first ever issue of No Cilantro Please™ Magazine. Yours in food and spirit,

Aya Lanzoni Co-editor | Founder Aya Lanzoni never fit into the worker-bee, cookie-cutter life. Aya has been writing for approximately a decade, honing her skills and falling in love with web design + the digital strategy experience along the way. When Aya isn’t procuring designs in her head, she teaches aerial yoga (AYT certified) at a local studio in Central Massachusetts. Alison Rochford (Co-Editor & Designer) fell in love with journalism writing for her college newspaper. Ten years later, she has served as the editor/designer of three newspapers. When she’s not working on the latest issue, Alison is getting up to something fun with her husband, Chris, and their two daughters. Alison very much likes cilantro.




through Small Business


На одеському балконі On the Balcony in Odessa

Велосипедна прогуля Sunset

The cover art [будинок в одесі / Building in Odessa] and images featured below are by Ukrainian artist Julia Krasnik.

d her on by searching ‘Julia Krasnik Art’ or click on her image here

янка на заході сонця Cycling

See page 6 for an article on supporting Ukrainian Small Businesses during the war Дякую, моя подруга, Аліна, за чудову роботу перекладачем. Thank you to my friend, Alina, for your excellent work as a translator.

З надією With Hope

Supporting Ukraine through Small Business Continued from page 5

Alison Rochford | Editor In the weeks since Russia launched a fullscale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than 70% of small businesses across the latter country have had to close their doors temporarily or permanently, according to a study by the European Business Association.

1. Tax reform “Instead of VAT and income tax we give a rate of 2% of turnover and simplified accounting,” says Zelenskyy. “For small businesses - this is the first and second group of sole proprietors - we set a voluntary payment of a single tax. That is, if you can - pay. You can’t - no questions In an effort to help Ukrainian small asked.” business owners maintain their livelihood during this time, the European Bank for 2. Business deregulation Reconstruction and Development has “We cancel all inspections for all announced a €2 billion resilience package. businesses,” according to the Ukrainian president. “So that everyone works The funds from this initiative “will be made normally. So that the cities come to life. rapidly available to support Ukrainian So that life continues wherever there is companies,” according to their website, no hostilities. The only condition is that “for example, with deferred loans, liquidity you ensure the normal operation of your support, and trade finance.” The funds will business in the framework of Ukrainian also go towards helping small business law.” Zelenskyy says these two initiatives owners relocate if possible, as well as to are the first of several to come. supporting countries taking in Ukrainian refugees. Lastly, the European Bank for How can everyone get involved? Reconstruction and Development plans to Many people have wondered how they take part in the reconstruction of Ukrainian personally can support Ukrainians during infrastructure after the war. this time. We, of course, wanted to focus on how to do so through small business. Additionally, on March 14, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy outlined For more than a month now, people have two initiatives aimed to bolster small been purchasing digital art from Ukrainian sellers on Etsy and similar platforms. By businesses during and after the war. 6

HVÓYA Kyiv, Ukraine IG @kvoya.kyiv

UDANA Kyiv, Ukraine IG @udana.brand

BRUÁ Lviv, Ukraine IG @brua_jewellery

ETNODIM Kyiv, Ukraine IG @etnodim

searching for “digital art” and filtering the results to shops in Ukraine, it is possible to send funds directly to these artists without them needing to ship any physical products. That is how we connected with the cover artist, Julia Krasnik, a Ukrainian currently living in Egypt due to the war.

of information.” Read a full list of ways Etsy is supporting Ukrainian sellers during this time on their website.

While many businesses across Ukraine have had to close their doors or move to digital goods and services at this time, others have been able to stay open in part “Purchasing goods from Ukrainian due to an influx of global support. business online is a great way [to show support],” says Krasnik. We have compiled a short list of Ukrainian fashion brands above that are still shipping She also noted that it is vital to “stay internationally. Click each photo to view informed” and “follow trustworthy sources the respective company’s website. 7

Story continues page 8

Select images from Olia Hercules’s 2020 cookbook, Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine dish or cocktail to their menus, with all proceeds going to UNICEF,” according to the Cook For Ukraine team. Home cooks can also participate by hosting a #CookForUkraine supper club or bake sale and suggesting a donation for invitees. Through Cook For Ukraine, restaurants, Donations can be paid through their Just bars, hotels, food writers, and food lovers Giving page. So far, participants have are organizing fundraisers, supper clubs, raised more than £370,000. bake sales, and more to raise money and awareness of the humanitarian crisis. Hercules still has family in Ukraine, and Olia Hercules and Alissa Timoshkina, two said this about the movement in a written chefs and cookbook authors from London, statement: started this movement alongside investor “I don’t want people to get stuck in the and advisor Clerkenwell Boy. headlines and to lose sight of the human “While some [bars and restaurants] will be beings behind this story. And what’s more donating a portion of their guests’ bills to human than people getting together and the charity, others are adding a Ukrainian sharing food?” Lastly, initiatives such as Cook For Ukraine allow people all over the world to show their support for Ukrainian people and fundraise for children affected by the war through UNICEF.


Images Credit: Joe Woodhouse



Photo: Adobe Stock

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30 36



Entrepreneur Resources 14 How to Make a Business Plan 16 What is the Ideal Age to Start a Business? 18 A Roundup of Small Business Tools

Features 20 Changing the ADHD Narrative 24 Sabores de Sinaloa (Flavors of Sinaloa) 26 Crafting the Future of Cannabis with Good Feels 28 Paying Homage to ‘The Home Cook Queen’ 30 Can a Coach Help You Scale Your Business? 32 Deep in the Heart of Hudson

Work Life Balance 34 Speaking from Experience: Breaking the 9 - 5 36 A Labor of Love 40 Turning off ‘Work Brain’ when you Work from Home

Issue 1


Aya Lanzoni & Alison Rochford


Alison Rochford

Submissions & Advertisements

Subscribe Published by Tinydragon Bytes, LLC. 320 High Street, P.O. Box #855, Clinton, MA, 01510 No Cilantro, Please™ Magazine © 2022 Tinydragon Bytes, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or in part, is forbidden without written permission from the publisher. For permission to reproduce any article in this magazine, contact

Staff Directory Web Master Kyle Peter Alexander has over 20 years of experience in the field of Web Design and Information and Communications Technology. An experienced website designer, Kyle has branched out into the field of Entrepreneurship, completing his MBA in 2016 specializing in Entrepreneurial Management.


Copy Editor Jessie Wright (she/they) is an editor, memoirist, world traveler, and occasional bookseller. She got her start by copy editing her alma mater’s student newspaper, The Beacon. Currently, she freelances as the Narrative Editor for the digital trading card game Gods Unchained, but most of her work has been in educational publishing.

Meet the Writers Liana DeMasi is a fiction writer and freelance journalist living in Brooklyn, NY, with bylines in The Boston Globe, i-D Magazine, Poynter, Atmos and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @lianademasi.

Micah Brown is a writer and photographer who lives in Brunswick, Maine with his family and myriad of animals. While he may love all things dark and creepy, he is passionate about small business success. Ces Heredia (she/her) is a Mexican Jewish writer based in a small beach town in northern Mexico. When she’s not writing you’ll probably find her treating herself to yet another pair of shoes, trying to get through her endless pile of books to read, or hanging our with her Rottweilers.

Riley Fortier, M.Ed. is an educator, urban farmer, and plant enthusiast in the greater Philadelphia area. When not writing for No Cilantro Please, Riley can be found drinking the freshest coffee or rollerblading in an empty parking lot (although not at the same time).

Somdyuti Datta Ray is an Indian journalist writing on business, culture, gender, and identity. Follow her on Twitter @hellodyuti

Eddie Velazquez is an award-winning journalist based out of upstate New York. When he is not writing about local news, labor, or fair housing, he is probably writing about arts and culture. You can follow his work on Twitter (@ezvelazquez) or on his website (


How to Make a Business Plan I had a recent conversation with a friend, an energy reader and spiritualist, who said, “The current systems are dismantling. We’ve got to prepare for the new ones.” These “systems” cover a myriad of categories, from politics, to social structures, to the economy. Most clearly, we are witnessing a shift in how, where, and why we work. From the Great Resignation (the phenomena of a mass exodus from people’s current work environment, typically the 9-5) to the Great Reshuffle (the shift to jobs that are typically more aligned with one’s values and provide better work-life balance), we’re dismantling the systems under which we engage in capitalism in real time. Entrepreneurship is growing and the gig economy is booming. We’re entering a new system, one where more and more people are becoming their own boss, engaging in freelance work, or starting their own business. This prospect can be daunting, both in the monetary undertaking it may involve and also the shift in creating, managing, and executing similar structures to which you were employed under. However, it can also be momentous. And while a business degree does provide the proper steps to entrepreneurship, the characteristics present in a good business owner, boss, and CEO are embedded in your personality. In other words: you do not need a degree to start a business. It’s already in you. Armed with a dream, a mission, and the desire to build your own company, you’ll need to make a business plan. This process will help you better understand your finances, competition, the future, and any obstacles you might face in executing your dream. Further, it will help secure funding, loans, and your validity as an entrepreneur.

What You’ll Need (In Proper Formatting Order) Executive Summary

Management Structure

Business Description


Similar to the abstract of a scientific study, the opening of your business plan will include a brief synopsis of what is expanded upon in the remaining pages. To start, try treating this as an outline, one that you will edit and fine-tune after the rest of the plan is complete.

This section includes the company’s basic information, including its name, any physical or mailing addresses, key members of the business, and the projected number of employees needed for daily functions. Also included is the company’s story, which can feature how it got its start, its mission, and any services or products it’ll offer. Think of this section as the first few seconds of a business owner’s spiel on Shark Tank.


Listed here are your company’s short and long term goals, which will dictate how much money you need and how it will be spent. This section needs to be clear, detailed, and thorough in order for any investors to assess how their money will be used.

This is the “Meet the Faces Behind the Company” section of the business plan. Here, you will introduce the employees, owners, managers, and outline what stakes are in the company.

Here, you will supply a description of what your business offers, which will include pricing, a distribution strategy, and your plan to fulfill any orders or provide services. You will want to specify your target demographic (which will also help frame how you market your business in the next section) and what makes you better or different than the competition. In other words, make sure you are selling your business as unique; otherwise, it might be seen as just another name in an oversaturated industry.

Marketing Plan

This section will detail how you will sell the business’s products and services. This can include anything from well-trained, customer-facing employees to social media marketing and a customer loyalty program.


Liana DeMasi

Contributing Writer

d to: A Pho ck Sto obe

Financial Analysis

When you are just getting started, it can be hard to say what a company’s financial situation is or will be. This section will be a little easier if you already have your business set up and are just looking to expand, in which case you will include income, losses, gains, assets, debts, and overhead costs. If this is a new company but not your first venture, feel free to include any information from previous investors or banks that can vouch for your ability to repay debts. If this is your first venture entirely, this section might largely involve estimates (beyond overhead) of such costs as: getting a product made, payroll, and monthly rent of a commercial space.

Monetary Projections

Simply put, when you ask investors or a bank for money, you need to prove that you will be able to pay them back. This section will include projections on how the business will generate enough revenue in order to get funds back to whoever loaned them to you.

Additional Information

This section acts as an appendix, including all the information that does not fit properly into other sections or would be too cumbersome to include elsewhere. Such additions could include: leases, permits, licenses, receipts, bank statements, utility bills, credit histories, and tax information. As you are writing, it’s important to remember to sell your business, but don’t oversell it. In other words, be genuine, honest, and reasonable. This will help prove your character to those from whom you seek funding. Being overly optimistic might initially sell you and your business to others, but it might also set you up for failure. Being realistic will better ensure that you can properly meet your projections and keep your promises. Whatever your venture, you already know exactly what your mission is and what your goals are. Stay committed to that, and the rest will come. For information on working with a business coach, see pg. 28.


What is the Ideal Age to Start a Business?

Ces Heredia

Contributing Writer How many times have we seen motivational YouTube videos praising some young businessperson, or a viral post about a wunderkind doing the rounds on social media? Why do we place so much importance on people who “made it big” while they were in their late teens or early twenties? The internet is plagued with success stories about young people who went out there and, against all odds, made their dreams come true. It makes sense, doesn’t it? We live in a society that is obsessed with youth and immediacy. “Start them young” is a phrase we often hear, regarding, well, pretty much anything. Year after year we see the “30 Under 30” lists of young innovators. Depending on which side of 30 we find ourselves on, these can be highly motivational or extremely distressing.

We’re constantly fed the idea that the younger we are when we decide to follow our dreams, the better chance we have of achieving quick and easy success. The thing is, there’s really no ideal age to follow one’s dreams. Some people decide to give it a go at 19 and, by luck, privilege, or both, are able to create something lasting and impactful. Some decide to pursue a new career in their mid-30s and find a dream that they never knew they had. Some decide to follow their dreams later in life, after having done things the “traditional” way for far too long.

Chris Donovan

This was the case for 63-year-old footwear designer Chris Donovan, who started his eponymous shoe line at 55 after a health scare that made him reevaluate his career path. “At 50 I had a cancer scare,” says Donovan. “I decided I

Left: Chris Donovan is a footwear designer who started his fashion career in his 50s. After graduating from one of the world’s top fashion schools in Italy, he started his own shoe line. Photos courtesy Chris Donovan. Find his work at Right: The artist known as Roots Metals creates jewelry inspired by her Jewish and Latina heritage. Photos courtesy Alex Pettinato. Find her work at or on Instagram @rootsmetals.


needed to chase the passion I’d had all my life. I traveled to Italy and received a master’s degree in Footwear Design from Polimoda.”

In a similar way, Donovan credits his previous life experience for allowing him to take criticism from teachers and mentors in a much better way than his younger peers.

Even after graduating from one of the world’s best fashion schools, Donovan knew he’d have a hard time finding a job as a 55-year-old shoe designer, so he took a leap of faith. “I knew I needed to start my own line if the world was going to see my shoes.”

“I am much less emotional when responding to the opinions and comments from others,” he says. “Starting a career in fashion at my age has been difficult, but I’ve learned to forge my own path.”

Roots Metals

Another entrepreneur, Debbie, who goes by the artistic moniker, “Roots Metals,” got her start at a much younger age when she started her jewelry label inspired by her Jewish Latina roots in her late-20s. “My business started as a jewelry brand, but soon enough it grew into something much bigger,” she says. “At one point or another, something antisemitic happened and I spoke out about it on my social media.” People responded to this in a really positive way, so Debbie found her business evolving: “my business grew into a space where I combine my artwork and Jewish education,” which she has an academic background in.

Learning from Experience

Both of these stories look entirely different from the other, but both Debbie and Donovan agree that life experiences have helped them make better choices for their businesses and for themselves. While age per-se hasn’t necessarily played a big role in Debbie’s business, she does credit “the passage of time and gaining experience” in the process of becoming more confident of herself and her own abilities to develop and grow Roots Metals.

Research actually agrees with them. There are multiple studies that show people are much more likely to succeed if they start a business in their mid-30s or later. One of them, a study by the Kauffman Foundation led by Carl Schramm, found that the average entrepreneur was 39 when they started a company. “Your odds of starting a company that experiences scale growth only increase with age” notes Schramm. This sentiment is also shared by Benjamin Jones, a professor of strategy at the Kelogg School of Management. “The longer you’ve been around, the better your odds,” he says. There might not be an “ideal” age to start a business and follow one’s dreams (the whole concept of “ideal” is relative, isn’t it?), but there is something to be said for gaining life experience before taking the plunge. The ideal age to become an entrepreneur is the age you are when you decide to start a business. Whatever your age, go out there and make mistakes. Learn from them; this specific kind of knowledge and confidence can teach us more than any textbook or motivational speech ever could. The important thing is to keep trying.


A Roundup of Small Business Tools Micah Brown

Contributing Writer Whether you have a small retail presence on Main Street or you’re coding mobile games out of a home office, there are so many options for small business tools, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Smart Phones Probably one of the biggest decisions you’re going to make is whether to go with an Android or Apple’s iOS mobile platform. There are advantages to both, and my goal here isn’t to put one above the other, but to provide the ups and downs of each tool. Let me begin here by stating that many of the software tools I’ll talk about later have both an iOS and an Android version, so it won’t necessarily be about the available tools on the devices. Instead, I’m going to focus on the features that one could find useful within the operating systems. Android succeeds in its ability to provide easy-to-use tools within their operating system to keep you from being disturbed when you don’t want to be. The most recent versions of their OS allow you to simply flip the phone face down and it will immediately drop into Do Not Disturb mode. Android also provides a built-in assistant to screen calls. Google Assistant is now able to actively screen calls for you if a number that your phone doesn’t recognize and isn’t attached to a business in Google’s database calls you. This can be incredibly handy to avoid

unwanted sales calls and spam calls. Google also allows you to screen calls at the push of a button if your phone begins to ring. Apple’s success with iOS comes from its security, attention to detail, and myriad of iOS-only software titles that often rival big name titles that advertise the same functions. While you cannot simply flip the phone over to enter Do Not Disturb, you can tap the back of the phone twice right on the Apple logo or swipe down from the top of your screen to bring down your control center, where you can quickly tap the Do Not Disturb button and be free of distractions for a time. The other thing to take into consideration is that Apple works incredibly well when you’re connected to an all-Apple ecosystem. While tools like Microsoft Office are cross-platform, being able to make use of all the various linked features of Apple’s hardware and software makes it incredibly easy to move from your laptop to your phone to your iPad and back to your Apple laptop. The ease of all of this cannot be discounted and it really does feel like magic. While Windows has included the My Phone app to work with Android in a similar way, the slickness of it just isn’t there, and it’s often clunky and uninspired. What it really boils down to is going to be a personal choice. If you’re a constant Android user, you’ll probably be happier with that over Apple iOS, and vice versa.


Software Tools I came across Honeybook while researching this article. It’s project management software that goes above and beyond a typical project management suite. With an intuitive interface and elegant layout, it appears to be an amazing piece of software that typically receives positive responses from users. Flexible enough to be used for just about any type of project, it is popular among creatives to keep track of contracts, conversations, and more. Be sure to check them out and see if Honeybook might be the solution you’ve been looking for. DoomCheck is quite the name for a software project management tool, but its purpose is incredibly simple: determine the likelihood of your software project completing within the allotted time frame. This software is currently in beta, and you can test it yourself for free by visiting their website. It is showing great promise as a tool to better understand the percent chance that your project will be completed on time and within budget. Canva may sound like a tool that’s geared toward creatives, but that’s only half the story. Canva is a multifaceted tool that can help you create a logo for your business, design social media posts, create video content, or put together clean, professional looking presentations. Easier to use than PowerPoint or Photoshop, with better options for more engaging content, it’s the perfect tool for anybody who might

Monika from Turek Web Design on Facebook Plutio - This is a pretty new project management software that I have been using since they started. Beckie from Balanced Office Solutions on Facebook ClickUp, Dubsado, Slack, Notion, Sync and Google Drive Brit from BEspoke Medical Affairs Solutions, LLC on Facebook Wave! Leia from Marketing & Business Consulting on Facebook Honeybook, Canva, CoSchedule, Google Workspace, InShot, ScanGuru Allie from @seasonedandsalted on Instagram I love Honeybook! It makes it easy to manage my contracts and conversations with my creative clients Chrissy from Snacking in Sneakers on Facebook 1. KeySearch for doing keyword research for blog posts. Cost effective tool that’s helpful for finding decent volume, low competition keywords. 2. Jasper for an AI tool. It makes the process of creating ad content, blog posts, and email newsletters so much faster. be looking for an easy to access platform to help build their brand identity. You can get started for free on their website. If you spend a great deal of time at the keyboard stringing words together into social media posts, blogs, or even longform writing like novels, then you’re going to want to investigate Jasper. Jasper is an AI writing aid that can do truly amazing things while making certain the writing is plagiarism-free and engaging. Check out everything they can do to streamline your content creation by visiting their website. A great companion for Jasper is a tool called KeySearch, which assists in researching keywords for blogs and other online writing. While not free, it is a cost-effective way of finding strong, low competition keywords.

As somebody who spends quite a bit of time working with people located all across the country, I can’t say enough about the apps that help keep us all in touch and on track. Perhaps the most well-known of these tools is Slack, and for good reason. It’s a powerful communication tool that’s built to help teams work together on a platform that’s easy to use and understand. Other options like Slack include Microsoft Teams, which has come off the proverbial bench in a good way over the past year or two to provide some powerful features for collaboration within MS Office Documents as well as being able to schedule meetings, video conferences, and more. Speaking of MS Office, it’s imperative that you find some kind of Office Suite software for your business. While MS office is the most recognizable, there


We asked our social media followers which small business tools they use most. Here are a few of their answers from Instagram and Facebook. Comments have been edited for length. Find us on IG and FB at @ncpmagazine for opportunities to take polls and get featured in upcoming issues.

are other options out there such as LibreOffice, Google Docs, iWork, and more. Depending on how robust you need your software to be, it will likely be fine to go for something other than Microsoft. Most word processors can read and write to the .docx format, meaning that even if you don’t have the MS Office Suite, you can still save your work in a format that others who do use MS Office will be able to read and edit. This is a great time to be operating a small business. With so many tools available for smaller businesses, there are often a larger variety of solutions available for the little guy. While software like Canva wouldn’t be ideal for a large corporation, it’s just right for a small group of people to gather around and brainstorm design ideas with. Remember that these tools are not one-size-fits-all. Find the options that fit your scenario best.

Photo Courtesy Peter Shankman

Changing the ADHD Narrative One Podcast at a Time Eddie Velazquez Contributing Writer

In an age where there is a deluge of information, Peter Shankman is fighting to highlight the incredible stories of people who have turned neurological disorders and developmental conditions into stories of success.

in many different ways; there is no one ‘right’ way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits.” Typically, Baumer and Frueh explain, the term is used in the context of autism spectrum disorder and other neurological or developmental conditions, such as Attention Deficit Shankman, 49, is a business developer, podcast Hyperactive Disorder – ADHD – and other learning host, writer, and investor. While most of his career disabilities. has focused on marketing and public relations — guided by an extensive news media background For Shankman, learning his brain is “wired — Shankman embarked on a whole new journey differently” did not happen until he was in his midin 2016 when he released the first episode of the 30s, but the signs of what he would eventually turn “Faster Than Normal” podcast. into his “super powers” were always there. “We spend a ton of time still looking at neurodiversity as a curse, not as a gift,” he said. “My belief is that we can change this conversation through my podcast and through many other channels, but with the ultimate goal to teach people that ADHD is not a negative, if it’s understood. It’s not a disability; it can be a tremendous advantage if we treat it the way it’s supposed to be.”

How does Shankman define “neurodiversity”?

The lifelong New Yorker defined neurodiversity as a brain that is “wired differently.”

“Prior to (my ADHD diagnosis), it was called ‘sit down, you’re disrupting the class’ disease, and it was always very difficult to understand why I had such issues,” he said. “I was getting in trouble a lot. I feel like I couldn’t shut my mouth. All that was very difficult.” With time, Shankman said he realized he could channel what was getting him in trouble into a positive trait.

“Once I got diagnosed, I realized all the things I’d been doing that were getting me in trouble were actually for my benefit. My diagnosis was actually allowing “Not wired poorly or wired badly, but wired me to do things differently,” he said, drawing on his differently,” he said. “If you learn how to use your time in school as an example. “I would be the class differently-wired brain, more often than not, you clown, but not because I was trying to be disruptive, do incredible things that normal people can’t but because when the class laughed, that gave me necessarily do.” a hit of dopamine and I was able to utilize that dopamine to focus.” The creation of the term “neurodiversity” is attributed to Australian sociologist Judy Singer, who first used the term in her thesis published in 1998, A gift that comes with a stigma according to an article from Harvard University. The Some of the challenges that neurodiverse individuals authors of the piece — child neurologists Nicole face, Shankman said, are an overall stigma and a Baumer and Julia Frueh — borrow from Singer lack of resources. About 6.1 million children in the and define neurodiversity as the “idea that people United States (9.4 percent) between ages 2 to 17 experience and interact with the world around them are estimated to have been diagnosed with ADHD or


ADD, according to a 2016 study from the Centers for “I think hearing the people who come on the show Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). tell their stories, and then getting responses from listeners saying, ‘oh my God, I’m not alone. That’s “For some people, they default to ‘oh, your child is just like me.’ That’s just the greatest feeling in the different, you must have to put them on medication,’” world,” Shankman noted. he said. “It’s the thing that both boys and girls tend to not be diagnosed with or there are a lot of times The show has been as much an exploration of its they’re misdiagnosed. There’s still a mentality interviewees as it has been of its host. around the world that very much wants to deal with these issues through discipline.” “I still think to this day, the greatest episode we ever did was episode 100 where I interviewed both my That conversation, he said, needs to change. parents and asked them what it was like to raise someone as ‘crazy’ as me,” Shankman said. “They “We don’t talk about mental health anywhere near talked openly and honestly about what it was like enough,” Shankman said. “And the more that we do and how they didn’t see it as a bad thing. They saw that, the better chance we have of handling these it as challenging, but they loved every minute of it. problems.” I’m very fortunate to have been able to talk and ask them about that because it was not it was not the For Shankman, redirecting his focus has been a gift. easiest job in the world.” “Understanding how I live my life now, and how much better it is with this gift, as opposed to a curse, has been a game changer,” Shankman said. “To know the difference and to know why I do the things I do — and how they can benefit me — all of that makes perfect sense now.”

On being a standard-bearer in the space of neurodiversity and leadership, Shankman borrowed from a popular comic book hero.

“I am completely open and honest with what I do. I don’t sugar coat that,” he said. “It’s like ‘here’s who I am, here is what I do, and here is my story.’ I tell [folks]: ‘If you want to talk about the same thing, shoot me a note, let’s chat about it. You’d be amazed how many people are willing to do that.”

Shankman sees people diagnosed as neurodiverse as those who embrace a new, different part of their identity.

“Well, with great power comes great responsibility, right?” he said, referencing the popular words of wisdom that Spider-Man abides by. “I don’t know if I have great power, but I think that I do understand Changing the narrative kids or adults who already go through the same Now, Shankman has spent the last six years and close thing I went through.” to 250 podcast episodes highlighting the worldbeating feats of success of neurodiverse individuals. Effective mentorship, Shankman said, is the ultimate As the podcast introduction says, “from every walk goal. of life and every profession, from rock stars to CEOs, from teachers to politicians who have learned how “They are still being called broken by a lot of people to unlock the gifts of their diagnoses and used it to and teachers who do not understand neurodiversity,” their personal and professional advantage.” But how Shankman said. “I can help them and teach them does Shankman reach and curate these impressive they are not broken. I could help change that stories? conversation, and I feel like that is a win.”

“At the end of the day, we need to understand that if you are diagnosed or labeled as neurodiverse, you can’t look at it as negative,” he said. “It’s your Sharing those stories, and knowing they resonate brain, it’s who you are. If you focus on it, you’ll be with others, is “the greatest feeling in the world,” he amazed at what you can do with it. Don’t look at it as added. a disability, because it is certainly not that.”

Find The Faster Than Normal Podcast online at and on Instagram at @fasterthannormal 22

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Alison Rochford | Editor

Sabores de

Sinaloa (Flavors of Sinaloa)

Hermenia Bernal was only 10 years old when she started selling tamales with her mother from a cart in Navolato, Sinaloa, Mexico. Bernal’s passion for tamales has carried her through an isolating immigration process, a breast cancer diagnosis, and all of the ups and downs of the last three decades of her life. Now, she owns and operates a popular Mexican restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, specializing in vegetarian and vegan food. After four years of selling tamales under her mother’s watchful eye as a child, Bernal decided she was ready to start her own business. She had saved up $60, and invested all of it into her new venture. At 16, Bernal went to the local cemetery during Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos in Spanish) and opened her very first tamale booth. Her handmade tamales sold out in just a few hours, and for years she returned to that same spot in the cemetery to share her food with her community.

When Bernal was 19 years old, she moved 600 miles away from her home in Mexico to Tucson, Arizona. In the beginning, she felt “like a bird in a cage” in her small apartment. To feel more like her old self, she made her first batch of tamales in her new home and went to sell them door to door.

Every weekend, Bernal ran the booth with her husband, Andy Serino, pictured with Bernal on the right. Little by little, her business grew and Bernal added items like tacos and burritos to the menu. Then, they expanded to a food truck on the U of A campus.

“Only two people bought them,” she said. “I was so At first, it was just Bernal and her husband, working sad.” both the booth and the food truck. The couple had little to no free time. He worked construction fullFor generations, Bernal’s family had supported time during the week, she still worked for U of A, themselves by selling tamales. Now, she had to find and they had four children at home. another way to get by. “We collected farmers’ markets a few at a time,” She began working at the University of Arizona as a Bernal said. “I had to decide to work full-time or do monitor in a campus store. It was not long before she this by myself and see where it takes me.” She soon started selling tamales to co-workers every Friday. left her job at the university, where she had been for Eventually, Bernal went to the St. Philip’s Plaza 17 years. Farmers’ Market in Tucson to see if she could sell tamales there. It took her two years to convince the When Bernal expanded to the Rillito Farmers’ market organizers to let her set up a booth. Finally, Market, her food really started to gain attention in 2016, Bernal opened her first tamale booth in from local customers. Arizona.


“After that came the restaurant,” she said.

market booth right next to hers. He sells orange juice and infusion lemonades while Bernal sells tamales, On December 13, 2021, Bernal opened Del Cielo tacos, and burritos to hungry customers. His dream Tamales. It’s a family affair. She and her husband is to expand into the restaurant. work there full-time during the week, and operate their farmers’ market booths on the weekends. Their As for Bernal, she wants Del Cielo Tamales to be one grown children are often with them at the restaurant, of the best vegan restaurants in Tucson. and help out the family business whenever they can. Initially many people in Bernal’s life questioned Even with all of her success, Bernal thinks of Navolato her decision to open a restaurant in the middle of often. She’s not always able to visit her hometown, a pandemic. Her launch was so slow, she began to but whenever she does, she makes sure to visit the wonder if they were right. cemetery where her small business began all those years ago. This year, she is going to go and give her A few months in, however, business has picked up a tamales out for free, as a thank you for all of the lot, and the restaurant is gaining popularity for their support her community showed her as a child. extensive vegan and vegetarian menu. In fact, Bernal says most of her early support was from the local “It was very hard for me to buy a canopy or matches vegan community. [back then], so all of those things I borrowed from neighbors. It was a sacrifice, but we made it very “I’m very grateful for them, because if not for them I successful.” would be broke,” she laughed. Bernal became a vegan herself over a decade ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31. According to Bernal, her vegan diet helped her feel good physically during cancer treatment, and she has never looked back.

The menu at Del Cielo Tamales is 70% vegan and 30% traditional, according to Bernal. She strives to bring healthy, authentic Mexican food to her customers no matter what. More than anything, she has extremely high standards for the quality of her tamales. “When people open the tamales, how are they going to feel?” she asks. “I use everything from scratch, no powders or anything. I use my own muscle. I make my own masa. I can make tamales with my eyes closed.”

Photos courtesy Hermenia Bernal

One of the few people in the world she trusts to make her tamales is her son, Adrian.

“Many people say they know how to make tamales but they don’t,” she explained. “Tamales are an art, you need to put your love in that. If you don’t put your energy into that, they come out bad.”

Adrian has been selling tamales with his mom since he was seven years old. Now 23, he’s Bernal’s biggest supporter and partner in business.

“He finished college and after that he said, ‘I prefer to be with you than doing something else.’”

The young entrepreneur is taking after his mother in more ways than one - he started his own farmers’


Find Del Cielo Tamales at 3073 North Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ. Visit them at or on Instagram @delcielotamal

Crafting the Future of Cannabis with Good Feels Riley Fortier Contributing Writer

Photos Courtesy Jason Raposa

In the midst of a global pandemic and an impending, indefinite lockdown, Jason Reposa knew what he wanted to do: build a cannabis company with purpose. He founded Good Feels in August of that year, making his pledge to “do no harm” and to change how consumers view cannabis. Reposa, founder and self-proclaimed “dreamer” of Massachusetts cannabis business Good Feels, opens up about the future of cannabis and why his small business does things differently.

Good Feels, which officially launched in March of Reposa, along with the rest of the world, had no idea this year, got its start when Raposa was laid off from there was a world-wide pandemic right around the his job in early 2020. corner. But what he did know was that he wanted to show the world a different side of cannabis, and Reposa got his start in the technology and business with the help from his mother-in-law, the name fields, but not before he did every other job Good Feels became an entity shortly thereafter. imageable under the sun. He did everything from being a mover, adjunct professor, having his own Cannabis is a white-dominated industry, and while consulting business, and even went door-to-door Reposa makes it clear that although Good Feels is selling websites (back when that was a thing). He a Minority Business Enterprise, there are other then felt a sense of complacency in college after entrepreneurs that have an even harder time saying “yes” to basically every job he could get. A making it in the industry. Social equity programs decade later, he owns his own consulting agency, and economic empowerment programs take making things for other people, and using unhealthy precedence when it comes to state legislature giving coping mechanisms to mitigate his increasing jaw the green light on new cannabis startups. Although pain until one day his jaw decided to lock up. Unable these programs have good intent, Reposa says that to move his jaw and having consistent pain, Reposa graduates from these programs have a very difficult looked for a new way to alleviate his symptoms. time finding the financial resources and social capital to actually get a business off the ground. This When he discovered cannabis as a means of relief leads to having even more hoops to jump through from his stress and chronic pain, everything changed and predatory lending companies, as well as a slew for him. Now, he was able to focus on his goals and of regulatory laws and fees, making the price for the figure out what he wanted in life. He was finally done consumer in the end even that much higher. “fighting” the city: he had a family; he wanted to give his kids the best education they could get (and At this point, Reposa laughs and promises paying for a private school in New York City was not that he won’t go on too much of a rant about a sustainable option). He and his family decided to regulatory logistics. However, he did share that leave the city and move back to Medway, Mass. in Massachusetts, landlords currently hold all


Good Feels opened for distribution in March 2022 with infused beverages and beverage enhancers. You can find them on Instagram at @getgoodfeels, on Facebook at, or on their website, the power when it comes to opening a cannabis business. Cannabis entrepreneurs must get a Host Community Agreement from the town in which they would like to open up in. But in order to get that agreement, they need a signed lease that is in a pre-approved section of that town or city. Because of this, landlords double or triple the rent for leases that are for cannabis businesses. In Massachusetts, there is also an “impact fee,” which is essentially a 3% tax that the business must pay to the town. With an already predatory landscape for cannabis businesses, Reposa is looking to “do no harm.” Although most people think this is solely about sustainability (which it also is), he also makes it clear that it is also about his employees. His living wage pledge promises to pay every employee a current starting wage at $20 per hour, which would also increase with inflation and price of goods. He is also currently putting together the details for employee benefits, which would be a complete benefits package for himself and his current eight employees.

see the full potential of what cannabis can become. Currently, Good Feels has a sparkling cannabisinfused beverage and a beverage enhancer, which is a liquid dropper that can be added to your drink of choice. Overall, Reposa feels that traditional edibles can just be a bad experience. He does not think that smoking is going to increase or be the future of cannabis. Not only does he mention that it is not “cool,” but there are so many steps and a steep learning curve. What do you need to buy? A vaporizer? Rolling papers? Something else?

Reposa made the decision to create a cannabis- infused beverage due to the fact that he feels traditionally, cannabis edibles can create a detrimental experience as the dosing can be inconsistent with recreational cannabis use, especially if you are new to the standards of cannabis. Additionally, if you are in fact newer to it, recreationally or medically, there is a bit of a “trial and error” involved when choosing the best product for yourself.

Good Feels aims to make dosing easier and, the overall experience of cannabis, better. Their fastOn the environmental side of the “do no harm” acting beverage enhancers aim to remedy the wait pledge, Reposa wants other businesses to eventually period for the effects of edible cannabis products. be able to copy this model and apply it to their own businesses. This includes reducing waste, Good Feels is slated to be the second cannabis composting materials, using 100% renewable beverage company in Massachusetts with a license. energy, having carbon offset practices in place, Although currently the underdogs, Good Feels is set sourcing as locally as possible, and making all to raise money from outside sources to start their products vegan/plant-based. “aggressive” growth strategy for the next few years, adding both more products, and accessibility to At the end of the day, Reposa says that “everything is more states (currently with N.Y., N.J., and Conn.). over profits.” In order to build a better company, he wants to prioritize this mantra, so that the quality Reposa emphatically gestures when he says, “We and revenue gets invested back into the company. [Good Feels] are the future of cannabis.” In the long run, Reposa wants to maintain control over the In the long run, Reposa aims for Good Feels to brand and its messaging in order to create a national enlighten consumers by showing a simple, yet brand that is an easier and better experience for the effective product. He wants consumers to be able to consumer.


Paying Homage to ‘The Home Cook Queen’ How Jeanette Ta carries on her grandmother’s legacy in the kitchen Aya Lanzoni Editor

Jeannette Ta, owner, voice, and author of Wok & Kin ( follows her grandmother around the Asian supermarket, furiously typing measurements and recipes into her handy-dandy smartphone. This isn’t the first market trip where she’s written down the perfect home-cooked recipe straight from Grandmother’s head. After months of grocery store trips, selecting only the best produce, and asking what seemed like a million and a half questions, she finally replicated “Grandma’s Crispy Pork Belly Stir Fry,” which is a regular weeknight meal in the Ta household.

Ta is Australian-born, hailing from Sydney, but grew up with a balanced ChineseVietnamese background at home. Wok & Kin’s dishes are as authentic as it gets. Ta initially called her venture Wok All Day. She started small, just posting her grandmother’s food on social media, but eventually her scope grew. Now she writes everything from Chinese and Vietnamese recipes, to how to cook the perfect rice, how to cut certain fruits, to explorations of Asian pantry ingredients. By simply reading the short background stories and detailed explanations of different ingredients and sauces, you can tell that Ta puts her heart and soul into everything she posts. She simply wanted to record and remember her family’s recipes. “There will eventually be a time where their parents or grandparents might not be around, and I really wanted to get the strong message of family across.


Photos Courtesy Jeannette Ta

“There’s nothing that speaks louder to me than my family’s food. We don’t just cook to survive, we cook to bond,” she explains on her website. Wok & Kin is Ta’s “little slice of love for the world wide web,” and the heart and soul of her own cooking adventures – a culinary journal of family memories through food. Grandma Ta, also known as the “Home Cook Queen,” never follows any recipes. Everything she needs lives inside her head. She doesn’t use precise measurements either. As Grandma always says: “If you use a bigger bowl, you add more. If you use a smaller bowl, you use less.”

“She would just eyeball everything and she would just know,” said Ta. “I wanted to stick to what she and my mum taught me.”

With international outreach in the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, and even the UK, what makes Wok & Kin different from other recipe websites is the feeling like you are home. You return from a long day at work, settle in, and waiting for you is a big bowl of phở soup. You also can’t go wrong with easy Vietnamese ginger chicken with rice. Or maybe you’re hosting a party and want to whip up an easy crowd-pleaser like Vietnamese spring rolls!

Wok & Kin is reaching its third year online, and Ta doesn’t stray too far from the original recipes that Grandma, Mum, Dad, or Auntie would share. She tries really hard to keep to what she’s learned from her family, posting equal amounts of Chinese and Vietnamese recipes to her website and socials.

something brand-new and tasty to post. She even created a free recipe e-book, titled “Easy Comfort Food,” with 20 favorite dishes from her family to yours. “It was a nice project for myself and to try something different,” she said.

We asked if Ta had any advice for budding entrepreneurs out there from multicultural and multiracial backgrounds like her and her brother.

“Stay true to who you are and don’t ever feel like you need to choose one or the other,” she stated. “My husband [pictured with Ta below] actually reminds me of this quite frequently. It’s so easy to lose yourself in [the entrepreneur lifestyle] and you really have to remember to take a break. If you feel like it’s too much, it’s okay to take a break, whether that be a week, few days, an hour, whatever. You don’t have to drown yourself in the work. When I do take a break, it makes such a difference. I’m refreshed and feel better. [For multicultural generations,] Remember your roots and stay true to your family – they are the people you start with and continue that legacy as well. We get the best of both worlds!” And of course, we had to ask if Ta was Team Cilantro or Team No Cilantro. “No way!” she exclaimed. “[Coriander/Cilantro] changes a dish so much when added to a dish. It’s just so overpowering; I can’t stand it.”

Whether you are pro cilantro or anti cilantro, you Her brother Lawrence is the latest home cook and can always reach out and say, “hello!” to Ta on has added a new generational dimension to the Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook: Wok & Kin (and Ta) family recipes. @wokandkin. “He’s the nutrition guru under this roof and he whips up wholesome meals that are not only delicious but highly nutritious. I honestly cannot wait to share his recipes with you all. Get ready for those healthy meal prep meals you’ve been wanting to try!” Ta says on her website. Every recipe on Wok & Kin is organized by different meats or seafood, or by what’s in season locally. As for when she posts what, Ta admits it’s usually whatever she feels like at the time. (It’s a perk of being a business owner/entrepreneur! We can do what we want, when we want!). If Ta runs out of ideas, she simply reaches for her recipe book with notes and measurements for inspiration on

27 29

Can a Coach Help You Scale Your Business?

“I think what holds back a lot of people from growth is they believe the myth, the falsehood of what’s possible.” -Troy Dean

Somdyuti Datta Ray Contributing Writer


Cour tesy T roy D ea


Find Troy Dean online at

Mindset limits a business owner’s growth – and it is one conversation that Troy Dean, CEO of Agency Mavericks, has with his clients as a business coach over and over again. Dean speaks from personal experience, starting out as a web designer more than a decade ago to growing his own agency and later pivoting to his coaching company catering to web design and digital marketing agencies. By the mid-2000s, he recalls, there were a lot of conversations on how to be an entrepreneur online, affiliate and internet marketing, running campaigns, and designing UX. Dean was a web designer in 2007 and hungry for information, but no one spoke to web designers and digital agencies on how to run their business.

one of their seven online courses or their high-end mentoring program, Mavericks Club. Dean has seen entrepreneurs from all walks of their life join the Mavericks Club. Typically, a client would complete one of their three popular courses – The Client Acquisition Formula (on how to get clients), The WP Elevation Blueprint (on figuring out their processes), or The Godfather Method (on creating better offers for clients) – and if they want to have more access to the coaches, would join the Mavericks Club.

Dean says, “I was having a lot of fun; in fact, I was having more fun doing that than running my agency.” That decision eventually took the form of his coaching company in 2018. Agency Mavericks presently has over 4,000 active customers – freelancers and agencies – who have participated in

“The mindset of this person is that they want to grow an agency. They’re hungry, they have a desire to grow an agency, and they want to do it right,” he adds. They don’t want to spend three years making mistakes to figure it out themselves. They want help to move faster,” Dean says.

His business grew into an agency in 2009 and by 2012, he had built an email list of freelancers who used the content management system, WordPress. He would answer questions on how he ran his agency, hired staff, wrote proposals, and used project management software – until he realized that he was answering the same questions over and over again.

How do you know if you are ready for a business coach?

Dean has worked with agencies who already have a team and an established client flow; and, he has also had clients who took “a good redundancy package from their corporate job and now want to start their own agency.” They are often starting from scratch where they don’t have any clients; have one team member, or might only have a co-founder.


What is the value of a business coach?

A business coach, in Dean’s words, will help you maximize the value of your business and not let you make poor decisions because you might be emotionally attached to the team. Dean, who works with a business coach too, has learned the importance of stepping back from his business and empowering his team to make decisions.

clients – and quarterly meetings with their coaches. They plan the work for the next three months and if something comes up that wasn’t planned, they park it for the next quarter. “We have a mantra: plan the work, and work the plan. That helps manage my impatience and expectations because I know what we’re doing for this quarter, and next quarter, we can reassess and work on new priorities.”

He says, “[My coach] works with CEOs of much bigger companies than mine, and those CEOs aren’t involved in the day-to-day running of the business at all. My business coach has seen this work in so many That said, Dean emphasizes that meaningful change other companies that she’s allowed me to trust in takes time – and he, personally, would not commit to a coaching relationship for less than 12 months. the process of letting go of control.” “I’m not after a quick fix because the quick fix is not A false belief hinders growth and a coach will sustainable.” challenge you on what is possible even if you think otherwise. In his own coaching business, Dean’s The Mavericks Club offers clients one-on-one time clients have said, “I’ve only ever charged $2,500 for with a coach as well as a community where they can a website. There’s no way anyone is going to pay me network with other agencies in “squad rooms” who $5,000 for a website,” to which he advises, “I have are facing similar challenges. By far, the most typical seen hundreds of people just like you over the last problem that Dean has noticed among agencies few years go from selling websites for $2,500 to is that the business owners are getting in the way selling the same website for $12,500. But if you don’t of the business growing because “they think that believe that it’s possible, it’s never going to happen.” they’re the only ones that have all the answers and can solve all the problems.”

How to find the right coach for your specific needs

It is important to do your research and Dean He has three pieces of advice for business owners recommends speaking to their existing clients or to ensure that their business keeps growing without past clients for recommendations. A coach also does them. not have to belong to your industry to be a “good 1. “Always keep selling to increase your revenue.” coach” or to understand business principles. Don’t get swayed by what is published on their website or 2. “Always recruit good team members to deliver believe everything they say on a call. The best way what you promised to your clients.” to avoid that is to interview the coach – “don’t let the coach interview you” – and make sure that you can 3. “Get out of the business completely as the CEO spend a lot of time talking to them, be vulnerable and work on the business. It takes time for the with them and ask for help. agency owners to trust the process and actually let go of control. But once they do, they see that the Ultimately, “a coaching relationship is very intimate,” business starts to grow a lot faster because they’re says Dean and you need to engage and fully commit not the thing holding it back.” to that relationship. “Don’t just hire a coach and then expect magic to happen. There will be some weeks or months where you think, ‘What am I doing? This isn’t working,’ and then all of a sudden something will click into place and you’ll be able to attribute the success of your business to the work you’ve done with that coach for the last 12 months.”

So, when working with a coach, it is important to remember that a coach’s job is not to have all the answers – but to create an environment where the business owner can figure things out for themselves and help you achieve your goals, according to him.

Dean says, “A coach is a coach – not your business partner. A coach is there to help you but they’re not actually going to do the work for you. They don’t How to stay patient and trust the process At Agency Mavericks, Dean and his team have have all the answers but they should know which questions to ask.” quarterly planning meetings with their coaching


Deep in the Heart of Hudson

Nearly 90,000 restaurants throughout the United States have either temporarily or permanently closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Photo Courtesy Marcia Ouellet


Rose Santos (pictured right) and Marcia Ouellet (left), however, opened a restaurant during this time and are about to celebrate one year of being in business. Known as the Detox Chefs, they are the co-owners of Good Earth Holistic Kitchen in Hudson, Mass. Good Earth was originally slated to open in early 2020, but the pandemic had other plans for them. We got the chance to be able to sit down and chat with them as they approach their one-year anniversary (April 12).

Aya Lanzoni Editor Q: How did the concept of Good Earth Holistic Kitchen come to be? Santos: We started as, and continue to be, holistic

health coaches, and cook for our family, friends, and clients. We guide people on what they should be eating in order to become healthy. We just did it to make people happy. The opportunity dropped into our laps to continue to help people to have a better health and lifestyle with clean food.

Q: Has COVID-19 affected your business at all? Santos: In a way, yes. We were originally supposed to open in Spring 2020, and then COVID hit right before our planned opening. COVID did cause delays, but we received massive support from Joe Freeman [property manager of their building Hudson] and of course from my husband, Aal.

Ouellet: Yes and no. There were delays, yes, but

there was no better time to start Good Earth than at that time. When everyone else was closed, we were open. All you have to do is eat our food, and you’ll know.

Ouellet: When Rose and I first met, we had a lot Q: Is there a certain type of customer

of common interests, including our number one you want to attract? priority of keeping our family healthy… We decided to take matters into our own hands and use our Santos: Everyone really. There is definitely an knowledge as Detox Chefs to provide a healthier increase of people looking for healthy dishes, lifestyle through food. especially vegans and vegetarians. We have a lot of options for them here. We don’t have a lot of red Q: What does the name Good Earth mean? meat, and mostly serve chicken or turkey. Maybe Where did it come from? someday soon, we will also have seafood.

Santos: We couldn’t make a decision, as there were so many options! So, we decided to have a vote for the name. Someone came up with “Good Earth,” and to be honest, it makes sense with everything that we make.

Ouellet: We want customers who want to eat healthier, and people that have a passion for health and clean food. We have options for the glutenfree, vegan, and vegetarian community; most of our food is low-carb. Other restaurants have oil in their dressings that is bad for you, whereas we get Ouellet: We believe in sustainability, fair trade, and our ingredients from Olive Harvest, which is right plant-based options. We make everything in-house, upstairs in the building! Our dressings are 100% from scratch, and guided by nature. That’s what vegan, with no canola or vegetable oil. Good Earth means.

Q: Why did you decide to take a holistic approach to food?

Q: What does the future look like for Good Earth?

Santos: We definitely want to have more local Santos: We try our best to be organic with events! We want the opportunity to bring in new

everything that we create in the kitchen… We look people and have them learn more about us, and for the healthy stuff to cook with for our customers what we are all about. (such as natural spices). Ouellet: We’re currently moving toward fundraising Ouellet: My son was the reason this all started for and a program certification, like cooking and me... I took a look at the food we were eating and I nutrition classes for the local community. We also realized that a lot of the ingredients in food, you can have plans to go to local high schools around the find at a large hardware store. There were so many area and teach students on how to be healthy with additives in his food like colorants, lots of sugar, and their food choices. Maybe even one day, Rose and I more, that I knew I had to change what we eat. would like to write a recipe book!

As their mantra states, Good Earth aims to bring together and influence people so that “together, we can help make the community better.” Santos and Ouellet are always popping in and out of the kitchen, checking in on their customers. You can visit them in The Landing at Hudson Mills in Hudson, Ma., and you can be sure to be greeted with a smile and a delicious, meal cooked from scratch. Find them online at


Photo: Adobe Stock

Speaking from Experience

Breaking the 9-to-5

Aya Lanzoni | Editor

“I’m going to quit. There’s something calling me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I can’t ignore it any longer.”

This was a draft text I was going to send to my best friend. My thumb hovered over the tiny paper plane that would hit “send” and change my life forever. In 2021, I finally broke away from the 9-to-5 culture. It was both terrifying and freeing all at once. I cried and lost sleep in the days leading up to telling my superior that I was leaving. It was nerve-wracking, but I kept telling myself, “There has to be more to life than this.”

It’s been almost an entire year since I left my 9-to-5 job. A small smirk appears on the corner of my lips as I reflect on this change, because I know I am so much happier living this CEO-life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Once you’re in the 9-to-5, it can be hard to break free During the Industrial Revolution it was not uncommon for factory workers to put in 12-16 hour days, six days a week. Child labor was also common. The push for an eight-hour workday really started gaining steam in the 1800s and early 1900s, as a solution to give overworked and ill-treated employees time for rest and recreation.

In the 1920s, Henry Ford implemented eight-hour shifts in all of his Ford Motor factories, and doubled the average salary for all his workers. These moves were seen as bad business ideas by Ford’s rivals, but at the time it actually increased productivity. The eight-hour workday became standardized as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, to prevent employee exploitation. This act also established overtime pay for any hourly employee who works more than 40 hours a week.


As labor in the US has shifted away from factories and towards offices and cubicles, the period of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. became known as “normal office hours.” And so the 9-to-5 culture was born. While Ford’s approach was effective back in the day, the eighthour workday is ineffective and often irrelevant to today’s economy and modern lifestyles. Lengthy commutes to and from the office add unpaid hours to an already long day.

job, instead of going into an office. Some businesses have even become fully remote, with all employees and contractors working from elsewhere, be it from the comfort of their homes, a café in another state, or a different country entirely.

It doesn’t need to be this way Over the past few years, in part thanks to the pandemic, there’s been a massive shift in the way society perceives the 9-to-5 culture. The one-sizefits-all workday has become too antiquated for our current society. Some employees work better in 90-minute increments with breaks in between. Others work better earlier in the morning and are less productive in the late afternoon, while still others don’t hit their stride until after lunch.

And let’s be honest - long, dragging office days do not do wonders for an employee’s mental health. The majority of people work at their best when they have control over their own schedules, and not when bosses dictate them. They are happier and can organize their days around their biorhythms, chores, responsibilities, and hobbies.

According to a 2021 study performed by Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, 90% of respondents who worked from home during the pandemic said they were just as -or more- productive working Although a stable source of income is valuable, if one remotely when compared to the office. Additionally, is salaried, they are often exempt from overtime pay, of those who worked from home during the and because of this are often expected to work more pandemic, 70% said virtual meetings were less than 40 hours a week, without compensation for stressful. Is it because you could wear sweatpants their extra labor. Smartphones and home computers on your lower half? Maybe turn off your camera? make it possible for employers to contact employees at any time day or night, even on days off. There are so many daily tasks and things to remember throughout the day that are difficult to Today’s work culture no longer meets the original fit into the 9-to-5 workday: grocery shopping, pets, intent of protecting laborers from exploitation and children, medical appointments, school, homework, burnout. Many employees end up spending more bills, house cleaning, and more. time at their job and with their coworkers than they do at home with their own families. Some people Thankfully we have some modern conveniences even forgo lunch and breaks so that they can get such as grocery delivery or dog walkers, if you are more work fit into the day, or stay later at the office able to afford them. Even so, it’s difficult, sometimes so they can impress their boss. impossible, to get everything done. Since we can’t fit everything in during the week, we often have to ‘Being busy’ is often confused with ‘being productive’ save these errands for our days off, which further The times that we are expected to be busy do not eats into our relaxation time. But what if you could always line up with the times we feel most productive. instead do the laundry between emails? What if you Those long, grueling hours behind a desk can could take an extra long lunch to take your kid to actually cause exhaustion, stress, poor engagement the park on a nice day, and save some work tasks for (in meetings, etc.), and decreased productivity. It after they go to bed? all results in a new generation of people who feel disgruntled, overworked, and underpaid. In March 2018, New York City introduced a bill that would make it illegal for businesses to contact You get up too early, spend too long commuting to employees outside of office hours. This should be the office, work long hours with little relief, and the norm, but it isn’t. have to fight the rush hour traffic when 5 p.m. rolls around. By the time you get home, you’re often just Why are our work lives valued so much so mentally exhausted you want to just sit on the more than our personal lives? couch and go to sleep. Then you do it all again the We, as a society, shouldn’t be made to feel bad asking next day, and the next. Over and over again until you for a fair wage, to set boundaries, or to attend to retire (if you can!). personal matters that come up during the day.

If you’re reading this and working a 9-to-5 office job, I’d invite you to ask yourself: Are you exhausted by the time you come home from work? Do you need a There’s been an uptick of employees working from change from your cubicle life? What’s going to make home or utilizing a coworking space to perform their you (not your boss!) actually happy?


Custom Art Framing

Labor of Love How one Massachusetts Couple Supports One Another as they Each Grow Their Own Businesses Band Gig School of Music and Performance


Photos by Alison Rochford

Alison Rochford | Editor For Julie Weller and Nick Vecchio, owning small businesses is part of the fabric of their marriage. Weller owns a custom framing shop in Norwood, Massachusetts, and Vecchio owns two music schools nearby.

Nick Vecchio Nick Vecchio owns and operates Band Gig School of Music and Performance. Students of all ages at Band Gig learn to play instruments by playing songs they want to play. They also have opportunities to perform together as a band or join musical theatre classes. Vecchio went to college for music, with aspirations of being a singer, songwriter, and in his own words, a rock star. “That’s not an easy way to go,” he laughed. Vecchio worked in restaurants and as a bartender to make ends meet while playing in bands and at clubs on the side.

To earn a little extra income, he started giving private guitar lessons and soon realized he loved teaching.

Initially, he traveled to students’ homes to give lessons. When a retail music store opened in Norwood, MA, he started teaching there. Soon, Vecchio took on teaching guitar full-time and eventually worked his way up to become the director for all of the branches of the music store chain. When he learned that some of his students were also enrolled in a program where they could join a band, he wanted to find a way to combine music lessons with band experience.

Vecchio started “Join a Band Gig Program for Kids and Adults” in 2008. For three years, his students could perform together and even record their music. In 2011, the music store chain he worked at went out of business. Vecchio worried about his students; he didn’t want their music education to get interrupted by the closure. “I found myself without anywhere to teach, and I had all these students enrolled in my program,’’ he said. “I had to figure out what to do.” Thus, Band Gig School of Music was born.

Julie Weller Julie Weller has always been an artist, long before she opened Custom Art Framing in Norwood, Massachusetts. She has had a particular passion for photographs for as long as she can remember.

“When my parents divorced when I was four years old, my mom carried around - every place we moved - a suitcase full of pictures,” Weller recalled. “Periodically she’d find me rooting around in this suitcase. I loved looking at them.” Years ago, when she was working odd jobs to make a living, Weller’s boyfriend at the time knew she needed a change.

“I was working at a hospital doing specimen receiving and he called to get an interview as a picture framer as me,” Weller laughed. “Even though this [shop owner] wasn’t looking for anyone he wanted to meet this person who said his name was Julie, who was clearly a guy.”

Weller had some experience framing at home with materials from a hobby shop, and she soon earned her certification to be a professional framer. A few years went by. Weller and Vecchio started dating and encouraged one another’s entrepreneurial ambitions. “I was looking to do more managerial things with higher income potential,” Weller said. “I think I scared my boss, so he wound up laying me off. That’s when Vecchio asked her: “Why don’t you open your own frame shop?”

They put together a business plan and figured out all of the financial details with one another.

Weller opened Custom Art Framing in 2003, with Vecchio and her family behind her. “I would have never considered it could be an option for me,” she said. “I was lucky to be surrounded by people who were really positive and pushed me to do things.”

Left to Right: Weller & Vecchio on vacation from their small businesses (courtesy Nick Vecchio); The couple’s chihuahua, Norman; Local art Student Tara Bilotta works with Weller at the frame shop.

Stronger together

Finding balance as a couple

As two business owners, Weller and Vecchio often As Weller and Vecchio grew their businesses, they have to find creative ways to strike a balance were not always able to spend as much time together between their careers and their personal lives. as they liked. They decided to buy a building to house both of their shops, both as an investment Both of them love what they do; their work is a part opportunity and as a way to see each other more. of who they are as people and as artists. Even so, they both feel “the pressure of being self-employed,” “We put them both in the same building and it had a as Weller describes it. residential unit on top,” according to Vecchio. “It was the perfect union of both of our businesses, plus, “It’s all self-induced; you’re taking it on yourself. there’s part of our retirement fund. It just worked Nobody is dictating it to you,” she explained. out beautifully.” Regardless of where it comes from, they help each Vecchio typically works at the second Band Gig other alleviate that pressure and often take on tasks location in Dedham, MA, just a short drive away for one another’s businesses. from Weller’s store in Norwood. They work similar hours, and they are usually able to carpool. Those 40 “Nick supports me when I’m struggling with - my minutes in the car are critical in helping the couple deficit - which is financials. He’s a good manager like transition from their work day to their home life. that,” Weller said. “We decompress in a car with no other distractions,” “If I have a concert, Julie comes and helps me. Julie Weller said. “We get to talk…it’s not too long and it’s will work the charity table while I work with the not too short. students,” Vecchio said. When the couple gets home from work, they enjoy She also helps Vecchio take care of technical things, Vecchio’s gourmet cooking and spending time with he says, such as his website and newsletter. their chihuahua, Norman.


“To unwind, I like to cook,” Vecchio said. “The other like having a day off too, but there’s not a day that thing I would have done if not a musician is I would goes by that I’m at work that I don’t find myself have been a cook. Fortunately I like to eat.” kind of giggling and think, ‘that was awesome. The student is grooving and were in the zone.’” On a typical day off, Weller and Vecchio enjoy cooking or going out to dinner, seeing live music, or Weller and Vecchio both feel content in their current spending time with friends. Work is never far from phase of life after hustling for years to establish their minds, though, even when they are able to get their businesses. With an eye on retirement a few away for a vacation. years down the line, Vecchio is focused on making his business the best that it can be and trying to find Weller says that when you’re self-employed “you the right person to take over for him one day. never turn work brain off. You wake up at 3 a.m. like, ‘oh, I have a great idea.’” Weller just wants to do right by her clients and enjoys making art. The couple take it in stride, and embrace the ways that their work lives and personal lives are She said her goal isn’t “to be the biggest and baddest. intertwined. It’s just to do a really good job, enjoy my clients, and make treasures out of their things that they can pass “Our jobs are part of our life,” Vecchio explained. “I onto their families.”


Photo: Adobe Stock

How to Turn Off ‘Work Brain’ When you Work from Home Aya Lanzoni | Editor After a long day of multitasking the CEO-life, we all Adjust your expectations need some time to wind down and switch out of The new hybrid model that combines in-office and work mode. remote work allows for more flexibility and control The work will always be there. That never-ending of one’s schedule. However, there can be a definite list of tasks will always be right up front, constantly period of adjustment. Especially if you work 100% reminding you that there are 923,457 things you remotely. need to do. (Okay, okay, maybe 923,457 is an It’s important to have the mental flexibility to be exaggeration, but you get the idea.) able to leave your job right where it is - in the office. Studies have shown that when we don’t give Whatever form it takes. ourselves time to relax and wind down from a work day, that our health – both physical and mental – and “I have a routine to get back into ‘home’ mode. It can wellbeing can be affected. (Yes, dear entrepreneur, be different every day depending on my mood or how overstimulated I am. But i try to take a minute even yours). to change, and hit reset so i can refocus, check in But if you are new to working from home, winding with my partner, and play with our cat” – Mary, down from your day might seem a little more difficult Massachusetts, USA. than before. Not only are you not physically leaving the workplace, but you might also: Set a time to wrap up your day Rationalize doing one more task to get it off your todo list, only to realize that hours have passed Sit in front of the television on your computer, “halfworking” Think about work things when you are off the clock and supposed to be spending time with your family. All of this is a definite way to cause burnout over time. So how do you disconnect and turn off your “work brain” when the office is six feet from your bedroom (or even in your bedroom)? We asked real people and real business owners what they do to wind down from their day to sustain a healthy work-life balance.

Naturally, your mind will respond to the stimuli it’s given throughout the work day. If you keep providing demanding tasks, that can give one quite a rush. It can also lead to burnout.

The urge to overstimulate your brain with an endless amount of work-related tasks can be powerful. It can be a struggle to cut yourself off for the day. Train yourself to use the last part of your work day (about 30 minutes to an hour) to wrap up anything outstanding, as opposed to getting a headstart on the next day’s work. If the roof is not on fire, it’s not urgent. Those less critical tasks can wait until tomorrow. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true!


“From Cal Newport’s book ‘Deep Work,’ I have a shutdown process before logging off for the night. All files, paperwork, and notes are put in their place. I check in on all my inboxes for any urgent messages I may have overlooked. Take a peek in my planner for what needs to be done tomorrow. Charge my earbuds. I do my best work in the morning so if I am kicking off my day with a project, I put that file or whatever I may need for the project, on my desk to hit the ground running.” –Melissa,

Find an accountability partner Having an accountability partner can do wonders for not only your mental health, but keeping each other, well, accountable. It’s a wonderful support system and can assist you when you experience a tiny bit of loneliness in the entrepreneur’s life.

My accountability partner and I are not on the same team. However, we work in similar fields and provide other support when we need it. We send each New Hampshire, USA each other our to-do list and identify the biggest “rocks” to overcome. At the end of the work day, we check Turn off the computer in with each other and see how the day went, taskand leave it in a designated area wise. By completely turning off your computer and leaving My accountability partner and I have become good it in your office, you’re able to, in a sense, transition friends outside of our check-ins, so we also provide away from the work emails and tasks that come in. support to each other in our personal lives. However, If your phone is connected to work in any way (such we are able to recognize that work is work and as email, Teams, or Slack), consider disabling mobile friendship is friendship. notifications outside of your work hours. “The first thing I do is ‘close down’ my office space. I set up my work for the next day, shut my computer off, charge anything that needs to be charged, shut the lights off, and shut the door. To me that’s like leaving work physically. Then I also turn my email notifications off. I think it’s hard sometimes, as a creative, because I’ll get random bursts of creativity or energy at night. So if it’s really overwhelming I will allow myself to do work, but if not, I try to stick to typical business hours.” –Kayla,

Burnout is an ugly beast

It can be debilitating and overwhelming. As entrepreneurs, at times, we don’t realize we’re burning ourselves out until it’s too late. Some ways you can recognize burnout include:

Monarch Collaborative

Easily annoyed or angered by little things

Lack of interest in hobbies outside of work

Constantly exhausted, physically and mentally

Create a transition ritual

Low self-esteem or too critical of yourself

Personally, I’m all about rituals and systems. Since I am neurodiverse, it allows me to bring balance into my daily life.

Overly stressed

Long work days

Decline in productivity

Give your brain a rest. Lose yourself in a really good book, watch a stand-up comedy special on Netflix, • Frequent mistakes on simple tasks work out in the garden, or knit or crochet something • Missed deadlines simple to keep the hands busy. Do a hobby you enjoy in order to gently stimulate your brain and preoccupy your down time with something that isn’t If we are not consciously aware of the signs of burnout, it can cause a “snowball effect” in our daily work-related. lives and negatively affect our relationships with Mentally and physically preparing oneself to friends, loved ones, colleagues, and ourselves. You disengage from work mode allows you to prevent may find it helpful to have the above list readily burnout, and in turn increases overall productivity. available somewhere in your office as a constant reminder of what to watch out for. Additionally, a “Take a shower and change my clothes. It’s a mental quick mental check-in for your day can also help and physical reminder that the day has transitioned.” what were your wins? What are things considered –Shaina, urgent that you should take care of first thing when Inspired Lotus Wellness you clock in the next day? I walk to the park (get out of the house) and do Tai Keeping all of these tips and tricks in mind will help Chi and Qigong. – Keith, Keith Dream Tech you shut off your work brain, and prevent burnout.


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