This Girl Means Business - Issue 11

Page 1

Tips & Tricks: Getting the Most Out of Your Time



Melanie Duncan i The E-commerce Entrepreneur

+ Launch Your Own Podcast Show // Tips for Buying a Franchise & more!


12 20 8 Quote of the Month 10 Note from Carrie 12 How to Maximise Your Working Time at Home By Nicola Bird 16 We Asked, You Said 20 How She Did It: Interview with Briana Borten

2 This Girl Means Business

32 How to Become an Authentic Leader by Pilar Godino 38 Cover Story: An Interview with Melanie Duncan by Carrie Green 52 This Girl Loves: Get the Look By Samantha Green 54 How to Generate Free Traff ic, Leads & Sales by Podcasting by Kris Gilbertson


62 What We’re Reading: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks Book Review by Carrie Green 64

Ask & Answered: What questions should you ask when buying a franchise? Answer by Christine Stanschus


Sales Series: Top Tips for Negotiating the Deal & Drawing Up the Agreement By Lara Morgan

74 Top 10 Tips: Ten Things to Remember on Your Journey

38 ISSUE #11 Quick Links: Share This Issue Subscribe / Contribute View Past issues Share Your Story

s dqwertA S Hy yY Table of Contents 3


Carrie Green, UK

Natalie Walstein, USA

Carrie started her first business at the age of 20 whilst studying Law at university. Over the years she grew it into a successful global business and in 2011 she launched the Female Entrepreneur Association – an online platform where women from around the world can be inspired and connect with like-minded women. She loves sharing stories about inspirational people who are achieving amazing things and encouraging people to have the belief in themselves to actually do the things they really want to do in life. Her favourite quote is by Anthony Robbins, “Your destiny is determined by the choices you make. Choose now. Choose well.”

Natalie is a graphic designer, illustrator, & lover of all things colorful, creative, dreamy, & handmade. She is the founder of Half Asleep Studio, a dreamfueled art & design studio that seeks to propel the image of creative professionals & small businesses with artfully crafted, heart-fluttering imagery to help them attract their most ideal client while reflecting their own individual style. She shares her projects, inspiration, and visual point of view at halfasleepstudio. com. Natalie’s favorite quote is,


4 This Girl Means Business

Design & Illustration

“ Your dream job does not exist. You must create it.”

Samantha Green, UK

James Stephens, UK

Samantha likes all things stylish and sparkly and firmly believes that the key to dressing and living well lies in the accessories you choose for your wardrobe and your life. She is the founder of The Little Green Studio, where she works with creative entrepreneurs to make their business dreams become a reality. She also writes the daily blog Every Shade of Green, which is an outlet for her passion for fashion and design and is now happily extending this love into the This Girl brand, where she enjoys sharing her stylish finds with readers across the globe. Favourite quote: “Wake up every morning

James is a passionate writer and entrepreneur. He started his first business in 2005 and built it into a success. He is enthusiastic about inspiring others to achieve amazing things. He’s also an avid fan of photography, with an eye for detail and regularly enjoys going out with his camera. His favourite quote is, “Do something

Style Editor

Features Editor

today that your future self with thank you for.”

with the thought that something wonderful is about to happen.”

Meet the Team 5


Nicola Bird // jigsawbox With an MSc in Occupational Psychology and a diverse range of business experience, mother of three Nicola Bird went from earning $0 to over $500,000 online by mastering technology to transform her coaching business. She created JigsawBox as a way for her clients to access her expertise online in a flexible and affordable way, whilst leaving her free to concentrate on growing her business and spending time with her young children.Through JigsawBox, Nicola helps its members to package up their expertise and deliver it online so that they can create more time, money and freedom to do the stuff they love. Nicola is passionate about inspiring women entrepreneurs and helping more people to gain a better work/life balance.

Pilar Godino // the business alchemist Pilar is an internationally acclaimed leadership coach whose extensive experience and consistently successful results have established her as one of the pre-eminent individuals in her profession, in a career spanning over 20 years. An NLP Master Trainer and Master Certified Coach, clients find her supportive, dynamic, inspiring, challenging, transparent, insightful and with a great sense of humour.

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Kris Gilbertson // podcast expert Kris Gilbertson is the author of Podcasting 2.0: How to Generate More Leads, Traffic, and Sales by Partnering with iTunes, the Founder of the Podcasting Pro System, and a leading expert in how to partner with iTunes and create your own podcast. Her clients praise their podcast enables them to reach their ideal customer, create a thriving tribe, increase their traffic to their website by over 40% and do what they love by simply using the power of their voice. To learn more about how you can start your own podcast please visit to subscribe for Free Updates on podcasting and marketing tips for your business.

Lara Morgan // company shortcuts Lara Morgan is the founder of Company Shortcuts and best selling Amazon author of “More Balls than Most�, her story about building a global enterprise. Lara is a straight-talking entrepreneur who understands the frustrations felt by small and medium-sized businesses that have lost their way. Rather than administering generic big picture advice, Lara is dedicated to delivering honest and practical help to enable businesses to achieve their full potential.

Contributors 7

Quote of the



dress rehearsal.

the curtain is up

and you are on, so get out there

& give it your best shot.


“Someday is not a day of the week.” ost of us are probably guilty of living our lives like it’s a dress rehearsal at times. Putting off the things we need to do in order to reach our goals, experiencing ‘lost days’ – where we don’t really manage to get much done. Telling ourselves that someday we will make it happen… but someday never seems to come around. I know that I’ve been guilty of this before! The truth is that if we want to achieve amazing things we need to stop living life like it’s a dress rehearsal and get out there and make it the best show ever! So how do you make your life the best show ever? I think it’s about taking the time to actively work towards pursuing your dreams, living life with passion, doing what you love, living authentically – not being afraid to be who you are.


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In order to live like this we have to have to stop putting things off and muster up the courage to go for it. Someone who is definitely not living life like it’s a dress rehearsal is Melanie Duncan. She’s built four e-commerce businesses, with an annual revenue of over three million dollars and she can run them all from anywhere that’s got an internet connection. She’s also fulfilling her dream of living in her favourite city, New York and taking time to travel the world with her husband. On page 38 you can read her inspiring story and discover how she managed to do it! In this issue you will also find lots of tips and strategies for getting the most out of your time, so that you can achieve amazing things (on page 16) and on page 12 successful entrepreneur and

mum of 3, Nicola Bird, shares her strategies for balancing work and family. I hope this issue helps you to get out from behind the curtain and make the most of each and every day.

- Carrie

P.S. We’ve just launched the This Girl Means Business podcast show on iTunes! Every week we will be bringing you 10 min. of inspiration that you can download and listen to on the go! To listen & download the latest episodes and to subscribe to the show GO HERE. 

Note from Carrie 11

personal development

How to Maximise Your Working Time at Home Words by

12 This Girl Means Business


Nicola Bird, founder of, runs a global online coaching platform, delivers her own coaching and is a full time mum to her three young children. Here, Nicola explains how she has achieved a balance that works for her and how you can start taking control of your life! y kids are all under nine and they keep me pretty busy. But I also have a fourth ‘baby’ and that’s my business. It means I’ve had to find a way to operate as a business owner, whilst also being a mum too! Not an easy task, but with the right approach and planning, it really is possible to have the best of both worlds. I started out as a life coach as, like for many mothers who are professional coaches, it suited my circumstances. It meant I could work around my children and pick and choose the times that I wanted to work. At first, working evenings was great for me, as it meant I could spend time in the day with my children and focus on work whilst they were sleeping. Seems great in principle right? The trouble really


comes when you fall into the trap of working too much and suddenly, all the reasons you started coaching in the first place seem to be the very things you now miss out on. Does this sound familiar? You only need to search online to find reports and statistics stating that many working mothers are overworked, exhausted and tired. There is so much pressure to succeed in every area of our lives, leading us to juggle so many different ‘hats’ that ultimately, something is bound to go wrong! The reality is that whilst you can have the best of both worlds, you do have to find ways to do things differently to achieve that perfect balance. If not, your business, your relationships and even your health could suffer as a result.

How to Maximise Your Working Time at Home 13

Here are some of my top tips for how I achieve my perfect work-life balance. Perhaps they will work for you too… // BEING DISCIPLINED

If you spend all or most of your time working from home, this is one of the key things you need to master to really achieve the best performance at work and spend quality time with your family. All too often the two become blurred, so checking emails or writing a proposal whilst sitting on the sofa with the children or taking a briefing document with you to the park. Whilst in some cases this is necessary, it shouldn’t become a regular occurrence. Find ways to discipline your time. It may be that you have ‘desk time’ between 10am2pm when the kids are at school, or you have a certain day a week that you dedicate entirely to ‘family time’. 14 This Girl Means Business

Whatever way you do it, make sure you keep that fine line between work and play, so that you will appreciate both in equal measures! // DELEGATION!

One of the hardest tasks for a business owner is delegation. You are so used to running your business ‘baby’ that it can be hard to hand over the reigns to others. But if you are to achieve the work-life balance you strive for, delegation is an absolute necessity. Work out which tasks are critical for you to deliver and which can be outsourced and managed by an external team member. I have outsourced a number of functions at JigsawBox, which means not only do I have a wider range of expertise


Being a coach is a very personal thing and that means it can only be me that delivers what makes my particular coaching style and approach unique. But many coaches fall into the trap of thinking that to grow, they have to sell more of their 1-2-1 time. With only so many hours in a day, you can see how this strategy will quickly limit the earning potential of any coach! To overcome this, I started to explore how I could utilise technology to help me spend less time in my business and more time doing the things I loved. I created programmes, which included webinars, audio downloads and online coaching questions and found that people wanted to buy them. It does take some thought to work out how to package up what you do into products that your clients actually want to buy, but once you’ve made

that first online sale, you can do it over and over again.

{ } “It’s so important to have great systems in place so that you don’t get bogged down in the day to day running of your business.”

The real secret is to make sure you are only doing the things that really need your input. In many cases, business owners do much more than they actually need to and there would be no noticeable difference to the outside world if they outsourced or systemised a particular function! This approach means I’m able to make money literally whilst going out for the afternoon swimming with my children. I’m no longer the, stressed, exhausted working mum that I used to be! 

How to Maximise Your Working Time at Home 15

We asked... What are your tips & tricks for getting the most out of your time?

16 This Girl Means Business

You said... “I set myself goals so I don’t feel overwhelmed. I write down long-term goals, but then break it down daily or weekly to feel less overloaded. I usually give myself three things to do daily for my business. It keeps me focused and simplifies tasks and it’s nice to use a highlighter to highlight what I have gotten done.” - andrea greene // connecticut cookie company, usa

“If it takes less than 60 seconds, do it right now. It will take more brainpower to remember to do it or write it down and check your list later. Just Do It!” - noel giger // jamberry nails, usa

“Three short words: get a timer. Use it to: 1. Limit your time on the computer. 2. Relax for a set amount of time without constantly checking the clock. 3. Move on to your next task on time. Done.” - evelyn cucchiara // the hopeful life, usa

We Asked, You Said 17

we asked, you said...

“I keep Workflowy open in a tab with a list of the 3 top things I want to achieve that day. Once I’ve ticked them off the rest of the day is mine. I usually find myself getting far more done knowing I can skip off having had a ridiculously productive day.” - lis dingjan // the identity, aus.

“I make the most of my time by creating

a list every morning of my ‘must do today’ tasks. This keeps me focused. At the end of the

day, I make another list what hasn’t been done, but must be done next morning. I also review my upcoming week every Sunday and create a task list.” - chantal roy // prezencemedia, can.

“Break down every task into bite-sized chunks and make a ten-minute list — every time you get a spare moment you can cross a tenminute job off the list.” - claire mitchell //

18 This Girl Means Business






Programme Your Mind for Success

Would you like to attract more success into your life? This 20 minute programme takes you into a deep, relaxed state and then provides suggestions for becoming more successful and allows you to really visualise feeling and being more successful.



20 This Girl Means Business

How She Did It Interview by:

NAME: Briana

Borten occupation: Spa Owner, Coach, & Co-Owner of Imbue LOCATION: United States

hen Briana Borten was fired from her job she got the push she needed to start her own spa. Within 6 months it was up and running! She now employs 70 people and has set up two further businesses! Here she shares her story about how she did it‌


WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START your own business?

When I was seven years old, I knew, without a doubt,

carrie green

that I wanted to own my own business. Even at seven I knew that I was WAY to bossy towork for someone else. Throughout the years my business dreams evolved from dance studio to organic farm to restaurant to art gallery. Until at the age of 22, I decided I wanted to own my own spa. I was working as a massage therapist and had my own semi-successful private practice and I worked at another spa. As my, usual creative, albeit somewhat bossy, self I was always trying to tell the owner of the spa all the ways in which I thought we could improve the spa. To which she would lovingly reply,

How She Did It: Briana Borten 21

“Choosing your attitude is so much more effective than trying to control all circumstances.” “If you think can do it better, do it yourself.” And I was sure I could, indeed, do it better. A couple of weeks later, I got the push I needed to start my own spa, I was fired. Best thing that ever happened to me. I was determined to create a healing space where everyone was welcome and where people could really feel the difference. I wanted a business that would change the world. How did you take it from an idea to a reality – what were the first few steps you took?

22 This Girl Means Business

I dove full force into creating my vision: writing a business plan, trying to get loans, creating the menu, finding and designing the spa. I loved it. But it was a LOT of work. Being as I had absolutely no experience in business prior to this, I asked a lot of questions of anyone and everyone that was willing to help. I went to my local SBA and talked to them about what the first steps were, what I needed to do, and how I could get financing. I remember the first time I walked into the SBA and told the mentor there what I was

wanting to do. He told me to write a business plan, what licenses I would need, and then told me this one piece of advice that has always stuck with me: “Just remember that you are not your business. Don’t take it personally.� It has always helped

me when things are hard and mistakes are made. I think the key factor to getting the ball rolling and pushing it up the giant hill that is opening a business was determination and persistence.

How She Did It: Briana Borten 23

You have to be willing to stick it out even when it doesn’t feel “fun”. It’s hard to do, and I see lots of people chasing shiny “feel good” objects, instead of sticking through the challenges and getting to the ultimately huge reward on the other side. That’s not to say that you can’t keep a light heart and joy in your moments, even when there are challenges. Choosing your attitude is so much more effective than trying to control all circumstances. how did you finance it?

We tried to get traditional bank loans, and then tried getting SBA loans, but in the beginning it was impossible (even though we had a pretty amazing business plan ;) ) We ended up getting loans from family and using a credit card to get started.

24 This Girl Means Business

It cost about $50,000 to get started, and it was bare bones. We, literally, used an old door on cement blocks with a piece of fabric as our front desk for years! Ha! After a couple years we were able to get more traditional financing and expand greatly. what was the process you went through in order to get everything up and running?

I found a space, negotiated a lease, and then interviewed and hired a contractor. This process was huge for me, and challenging. Then we created the menu, the logo, and our brand. It was super important for us to craft our mission statement – this is what created our entire brand and promise. We researched other spas

“It was super important for us to craft our mission statement – this is what created our entire brand and promise.” and wellness centers for ideas on pricing, but we were really out to create something totally different, so we mostly drew upon businesses that inspired us. After that we had a website created. It took us six months from the day that I was fired to our Grand Opening. Once




business up, how did you raise awareness of it?

At first we just drew from our private practice clients and incentivized them to tell their friends and family about us. We did minimal local advertising

and we also created relationships with other local businesses to cross promote. We’ve always relied heavily on word of mouth to grow our business, because the best clients have always come from our best

{ } clients.

“We’ve always relied heavily on word of mouth to grow our business, because the best clients have always come from our best clients.

How She Did It: Briana Borten 25


“My favorite quote is also our tagline for our spa:

‘A peaceful world begins with a peaceful you.’ I love this because it reminds me that my inner world is reflected in my outerworld, and I get to control my inner world.”

26 This Girl Means Business

how have you managed to grow the business?

We have grown so much over the years it’s crazy to look back on how things used to be. We started with me working every day of the week and doing up to 10 massages a day and working reception when I wasn’t massaging. Now we employ 70 people and have the best managers in the world. Having great managers has made all the difference in our business. People that really believe in our mission and are smarter than me at what they do! We’ve grown by giving and serving our clients better and better and giving them what they want. We’ve added services and facilities and locations. But the main ingredient has always been impeccable service. Having employees that really care and do

{ } “We’ve grown by giving and serving our clients better and better and giving them what they want.”

a fabulous job. I learned to be a better hirer and manager and then we started to attract the most amazing staff. If something isn’t working with the people that work for you – you have to look at your hiring practices and how you manage people. One of the main things that I’ve learned is that if you want your other employees to respect your managers, you have to let them be in charge and trust them and defer to them in front of employees. It’s huge!

How She Did It: Briana Borten 27

We’ve been so lucky to be able to expand our spas and also expand into other businesses. My husband and I started a pain relief patch company a couple years ago called Imbue. It’s been such an interesting experience and so different than the spas – with different issues and different benefits. My husband, Peter, is an acupuncturist and an herbalist

“In order to have both of these businesses running smoothly, we’ve had to create lots of systems and structures to support the businesses.”

28 This Girl Means Business

and created this all natural patch to help relieve people pain and help them get back to doing what they love. We sell our patch all across the country in retailers like Whole Foods, and with health practitioners, spas, and wellness centers. We also sell it online. In order to have both of these businesses running smoothly, we’ve had to create lots of systems and structures to support the businesses. This was a huge lesson for me, because I never thought I would rely so much on these tools, but it makes a world of difference. Then last year I created my own personal brand, because I was inspired to share my message about how to really achieve what you want in life. I saw so many people wanting to do things,

{ } “I saw so many people wanting to do things, but not having either the knowledge or drive to get it done.�

but not having either the knowledge or drive to get it done, and I felt compelled to help. So I started my online course Get It, which is a seven week course on how to get what you want. It covers both the action steps necessary and the mind set and spiritual work it takes to get there.

How She Did It: Briana Borten 29

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to express my vision for the world through my businesses. What has it taken to get to where you are today?

Strength. I would say that the number one thing that I rely on is

30 This Girl Means Business

my inner strength to get through hard times and be dedicated to a particular way of feeling and being that lights up my life. It’s not always easy, in fact sometimes it’s so hard that I can’t imagine how I’m going to get through it. But, I’m persistent toward my goals and committed

to my own happiness. So I bring it. Everyday. Also, I definitely couldn’t be where I am today without the huge support of my family. They have been there for me in so many ways. They’ve invested in my business, listened to me cry, given me sage advice, and trusted in me. Their support and love has made an immeasurable difference what I can accomplish.

2. Be clear about what it is that you want and cultivate stickto-itness.

can you share with us

of advice to others look-

some top tips from your

ing to turn their idea into

get it course?

a successful business?

Of course! Four things that I believe are the most important in creating the life you want are:

#1) Be persistent. You can’t give up on your dreams. #2) Make it light. Keep a light heart in all circumstances – this is your life, no need to be serious.

1. Build trust in yourself. Have integrity and do what you say you’re going to do and you will start to trust yourself to create whatever you put your mind to.

3. Take steps toward what you want, even if you’re unsure they are the right steps. 4. Visualize what you want and trust in the universe. what are your top pieces

>> you can find out more about briana’s businesses here: / 

How She Did It: Briana Borten 31

business development

n a e m o c e B o t How

c Authenti leader Words by

pilar godino // author of the business alchemist

have had the privilege to spend over 7,000 hours in 1 to 1 coaching conversations with hundreds of leaders, including entrepreneurs, within different industries and cultures across Europe, for over a decade now. From the witness chair of observing leadership I have learnt the elements which make the difference between good leaders, excellent leaders and remarkable leaders. It is generally


32 This Girl Means Business

understood that good leaders are those who obtain results and lead their team to achieve the targets set by shareholders, the board or the presidents/vice presidents of their organisation. Excellent leaders are understood to be those who lead not only their people, but who also lead their organisation to get close to or achieve the stated vision and even be part of setting the vision of their organisation. Remarkable leaders

are those who do not only create the vision, lead their organisation and its people, but who also influence the industry their business is in. To be an excellent or a remarkable leader takes not only the obvious skill, but the courage and dexterity to become an inspirational and transformative leader. All leaders I have come across who have grown into the latter have, without exception, developed authenticity. As an entrepreneur you are either developing or have already attained the leadership and management skills necessary for your position. Regardless of your stage in your business development the most important thing as an entrepreneur is to know how to influence people.

{ } “The most important thing as an entrepreneur is to know how to influence people.”

At the heart of authentic and inspirational leadership are character, charisma and selfleadership.

shown through composure, strength, confidence, clarity, the ability to say ‘no’, and standing tall during times of difficulty. //



// Charisma is evident through

charm, appeal, magnetism, allure, and presence.

It’s possible for you to boost either of the elements above; you just need to choose, through self-leadership, which of them you want to develop first and how far you want to go. Therefore for becoming an authentic and inspirational leader whether you create a company of one, two, How to Become an Authentic Leader 33

twenty or two hundred members of staff, the most important aspect of your entrepreneurship is selfleadership, from which you will attain the discipline, consistency, organizational skills and the drive and motivation necessary to get through the dips on the road of entrepreneurial success. Although character and charisma are latent in each of us, it is necessary to develop them, some of us do this in a natural unconscious way and some of us need to do it with a conscious program. Either way, they need to be present for inspirational leadership to exist. // self-leadership is

the discipline of knowing and guiding yourself according to your own purpose and values. Knowing yourself is the foundation upon which to build character, and from where to display charisma. It’s the foundation of Alchemic and purposeful leadership, and encompasses the ability to inspire and influence, to develop others, 34 This Girl Means Business

and to act as a catalyst for change. Self-leadership requires selfenquiry, listening to the answers, and becoming aware of your emotional state, your values and standards, and your impact on other people. This discipline is a constant requirement for the road to Authenticity, and beyond and is the way to get to the other requirements and stages.

i When you are thinking about your leadership, consider the following points: The Value Of Authenticity

The Need For Trust

An inspirational leadership style starts from within, which is why it’s so important to master selfleadership in order to become the Alchemist for others; the more we’re true to ourselves, the more we bring to the people around us, and to the organization. To deepen in the pilgrimage to an authentic, exciting and inspirational leadership style, self-awareness and self-acceptance are the basis from where to transform the core business, where to form excellent relationships therefore achieving extraordinary results.

A leadership aligned with “the power of influence “versus “the influence of power” is the basis for creating an atmosphere of trust, engagement and self-belief, which results in an stimulating and magic workplace where individuals want to grow and give their very best to themselves , their teams and the Organisation. Creating an environment of trust, where people are allowed to make mistakes and be human is part of the process of learning.

Your Leadership Style

Building in the point above, by creating a trusting atmosphere is more likely to get a committed partnership or workforce. Commitment and motivation go hand in hand and they are vibrant and infectious. Getting any associate or

Understand what represents you and what doesn’t. You are unique, and what suits others does not need to suit you too. If you understand yourself, and your values and goals, it’s essential to honour that.

The Importance Of Motivation and Commitment

How to Become an Authentic Leader 35

member of your team to commit will contribute to creating an energetic atmosphere that invites other team members to want to work. using your leadership platform to develop others

Consider the ways in which you can encourage others to be genuine and bring out the best in themselves. One key way to spark people into feeling good about themselves is to listen with interest. When we show that we care on a daily basis, we inspire self-confidence in others. If, as a leader, you show interest in your people, they’ll want to show you the best they can offer. Inspirational leaders hold the key to unlocking dormant talent, enabling others to find their own approach. Inspiration means to inhale, to breath in. When we’re inspired by someone we breath in the subject matter of inspiration – we make it ours. This is why we often use them as role models, 36 This Girl Means Business

we want to be like them. In fact these people who inspire us don’t give us anything of theirs – they are naturally triggering our self-value mechanism and pushing our self-worth buttons. Whether they do this by encouraging us to show what we already have or simply by displaying some qualities we want to develop, they are catalists for growth. They bring the spark to ignite something we already have, however dormant. To become inspirational to others we need to be authentic, then encourage authenticity in others. 



“If, as a leader, you show interest in your people, they’ll want to show you the best they can offer.”



38 This Girl Means Business

an interview with

Melanie Duncan t 27 Melanie Duncan has built four successful online businesses with her husband Devin, that generate an annual revenue of over three million dollars, all of which she can run from her laptop. This means she gets to live in her dream city, New York, even though two of her businesses are located in California and she gets to travel the world with her husband. However, as amazing as her life sounds, it’s not been easy – at one point they were on the verge of giving up and then they tried something which not only saved them, but helped to propel them to success.


We interviewed Melanie to find out how she did it, why she decided to focus on building online businesses and what her tips are…. By: carrie green you






first Greek

Threads, at college – what inspired you to build your own business?

It was actually meeting my husband that was the biggest force in that decision. I came from a very normal 9 to 5 family background, but he had been running his own businesses since he was 14. I saw him starting companies and realized how much

Interview with Melanie Duncan 39


fun it could be and what an amazing kind of life it could create. We joined forces and started Custom Greek Threads (which sells custom clothing to Sororities and Fraternities), because we saw a need for fashionable, customized clothing that could be ordered online, even though neither one of us was in the Greek system. what were the initial steps you took to turn your idea into a reality?

Well since we started a clothing company, we needed machinery. We couldn’t afford to pay thousands of dollars, so we actually leased our first embroidery machine and ran the company out of our garage. I am a big believer in starting a business with as little money as possible. You don’t want to spend a ton just to figure out that maybe it’s not

40 This Girl Means Business

such a great idea after all. We then put up a very simple website and began to travel to different college campuses trying to drum up some business! were there any mistakes you made or big challenges you faced along the way?

Of course! One of our biggest mistakes was not harnessing the power of marketing online from the beginning. You see, we were sending people online to order, but we weren’t actually using the internet to get customers. After about a year of struggling, traveling all over and spending a lot of money without seeing much of a return we were just about to give up. As a last ditch effort we found a guy online to “search engine optimize” our site. We had never heard of this at the time (crazy, right? But remember this

Interview with Melanie Duncan 41


“If you are struggling and about to give up, just stick with it a little longer. So many people quit right on the doorstep of success.” was over 6 years ago. Practically the dark ages of the Internet). Within about a month we started receiving orders from all over the country, and dove headfirst into learning how to market our business online. You’ve built Custom Greek Threads into a multi-million dollar company – what are the secrets behind this success?

Haha. No secret, just a lot of hard work honestly. I think some people assume that I hacked some certain code because at 27 my life is pretty incredible. I live across

42 This Girl Means Business

the country from my business and manage it remotely from New York city (just because I wanted to live here). I spend months at a time traveling all over the world, but what they don’t see are the years that I spent working in a warehouse until 3am cutting fabric. Everyone has to start somewhere. I will say that every single one of my businesses took more work and took longer to turn into a success. So if you are struggling and about to give up, just stick with it a little longer. So many people quit right on the doorstep of success.

Since then you’ve set up three



Luxury Monograms, Power of




preneuress Academy – all of them are online. Why did you decide to set up online businesses?

I don’t think I would ever start a business that wasn’t online. Even way before it was the norm, I always knew that it was just the perfect business model for me. Your reach is unlimited (hello large customer market) and you can automate it so much. You don’t have to be physically present to be making money and serving your customers. Plus the major bonus of being able to run it from anywhere you please. I also believe that it is the best way to start a business, because in most cases you can test an idea without a lot of upfront cost or additional overhead.

{ } “I don’t think I would ever start a business that wasn’t online.”

Interview with Melanie Duncan 43


44 This Girl Means Business

What are the most important things to consider when building an online business?

Scalability. You have to think what will my life look like when I have 10 customers, then 100, then 1000. A lot of people don’t think big enough when starting out. I’ve been blessed to experience a lot of growth in my businesses, but it can also be one of the most challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur. Many businesses fail because they are not properly prepared to handle fast growth. You need to have good systems in place to begin with. Don’t run a messy, disorganized business. Duct-tape solutions are not a way to create success. You also need to constantly be building a great team, even if you can’t afford to hire people full time. Assemble a team of great freelancers that

“A lot of people don’t think big enough when starting out.” help you carry the workload: graphic designers, customer service agents, web designers, copywriters, etc. Once you begin to build momentum and can afford it, don’t spend your time doing anything that isn’t specific to your strengths. It is now your job to work ON your business, not IN it.

Interview with Melanie Duncan 45


How do you manage to

You run your businesses

juggle 4 businesses?

with your husband, Devin,

Well I definitely don’t do it alone, I’ll tell you that much. It ‘s all about strategic delegation and keeping it fun. Burnout is real. I didn’t start my own businesses just to have a job, so if it ever stops being fun then I know that I need to reevaluate. I also take breaks when I need them. I’ve learned a lot from my time in France. Sometimes you just need a great meal in a beautiful location. Don’t beat yourself up over enjoying some time for yourself.

how has this helped? How


“In terms of tools - Basecamp is a lifesaver for me. I’m a very organized person so I like a lot of lists. I couldn’t manage my team remotely without it.”

46 This Girl Means Business





time with personal time?

Personal time? What’s that? Haha. The truth is, we don’t strive for separation. Devin is my best friend and also the most amazing business partner that I could have ever asked for. I feel that we are constantly learning from each other. Obviously everyone is different, but our personal and professional lives aren’t separate and we love that. Work and play are constantly blurred together and it has created one amazing combined life. Right now we are traveling Europe for 5 weeks and launching a new online course while we are in the French Rivera. I don’t think the importance is separation, or even “balance” but really just figuring out what works for you.

“Work and play are constantly blurred together and it has created one amazing combined life.�

Interview with Melanie Duncan 47


In 2011 you ventured into helping



in business and launched Entrepreneuress Academy and following on from that you launched Power of Pinning – why did you want to go in this direction?

Well I moved to New York City in 2010 and began to meet all of these talented and passionate women who were struggling because they didn’t have any background in business. I started working with them one on one and realized that many of them had the exact same questions and faced very similar struggles. So there must be a need for specialized training for female business owners. I also realized that as much as I love fashion and home décor, my true passion is inspiring and instructing other people.

48 This Girl Means Business

{ } “Clarity in marketing is so important. Also, give away great information for free.

Your online course teaching



how for




Power of Pinning, has been hugely successful – what advice to





give to

launch an online course?

Niche it down and be specific. I see too many people creating these online courses with broad titles, for a really broad market with difficult to distinguish

benefits. People will only buy your course if they clearly understand how it will help them. When you are marketing your course be as specific as possible. Clarity in marketing is so important. Also, give away great information for free. I used to worry about teaching my good stuff to people before they became customers, but then I realized people won’t buy your training unless you properly demonstrate to them that you’ve got the goods. Once I made this mindset shift, everything changed for me. What are your top tips for using Pinterest successfully?

Create as much of your own original content as possible that links back to your website. Over 80% of pins are repins, which means that there are

millions of people waiting to share your products and content once you get them on the platform. For service based providers, it’s all about creating free training or reports that you can create a teaser pin for and link to an opt-in page. I’ve been using Pinterest to successfully build my list and promote my webinars for over a year now.


“Over 80% of pins are repins, which means that there are millions of people waiting to share your products and content once you get them on the platform.”

Interview with Melanie Duncan 49


50 This Girl Means Business

We asked Melanie to finish these sentences... when i face a big challenge i... Break it down into smaller, less

intimidating steps.

i love building my business because... It is so challenging

and rewarding. It’s like trying to solve a really great puzzle. the hardest part of building my business has been...

Learning to deal with lots of different projects at the same time without becoming completely overwhelmed. if i could go back in time to when i was 20, i would tell myself... Stay focused, you’ve

got some awesome stuff to look forward to.

the biggest lesson i have ever learned is... To never

take “no” for an answer.

Love to cook and throw dinner parties at home. in my spare time i...

my favourite quote is... “Life

isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” – george bernard shaw

It changes all of the time. I read at least 2 new books each month, recently I really enjoyed Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception.

my favourite book is...

my favourite business tool or resource is... Basecamp. my top piece of advice to entrepreneurs is... Listen to

your customers and stay flexible. Your business idea should shape and grow and change. If you aren’t failing at someone every once in a while, then you aren’t trying enough new things. 

Interview with Melanie Duncan 51

this girl loves...



3 52 This Girl Means Business


5 6 1. blazer from TopShop / 2. dress from Zara / 3. bracelet from Bauble Bar / 4. bag from Zara / 5. nail polish

in ‘Porchester Place’ from Nails Inc. / 6. heels from TopShop

This Girl Loves... 53

How to Generate Free Traffic, Leads, & Sales By Podcasting Words by

kris gilbertson // author of podcasting 2.0

ou may be asking your self -- why podcast and partner with iTunes? The simple answer: Podcasting allows you to stand out and become the celebrity of your niche. It’s faster than blogging and all you have to do is know how to talk! And as women, what are we truly brilliant at? Talking, sharing and connecting! the stats: There are over 3500 Blogs: 1 podcast. Therefore by starting a podcast you automatically rise to the top and stand out amongst the competition. Not to mention the odds are even HIGHER for discovery as a women podcaster, as


54 This Girl Means Business

the majority are men to date! As women we have a unique advantage in business - people generally trust, like and listen to women marketers automatically, without too much second guessing. The reason a podcast can be a girl’s best marketing tool is what I like to call: Epic Transparency.

“By starting a podcast you automatically rise to the top and stand out amongst the competition.”

Epic Transparency = Trust, Likability and Sales + Signups on Autopilot! Let me share with you the Top 3 Benefits that any business, brand or entrepreneur can benefit from the power of podcasting for your business.








branding // People only buy

from businesses and brands that they know, like and trust. The big debate in recent years for businesses is that they need to be producing content blogging, articles, magazines, ads, videos, etc. Content is definitely King when it comes to your customers finding you online. However, the more important piece comes from the connection and emotional

engagement they have with that content and ultimately your brand. It’s after they find your content that is what wins your customer over and only if it has a high level of connection and engagement. Reading articles, magazines, and blogs provides only one level of engagement for your consumers. However, when they are able to listen to you on the go and educate and entertain themselves with

How to Generate Free Traffic, Leads, & Sales by Podcasting 55

“Your ideas go from black and white text to experiences in full color that engage your listener on a whole new level.” your content while they’re in the car, walking the dog, running errands, doing the dishes, it’s like you’re right there with them in their world. By default, you become a well trusted friend. This is the key behind podcasting. The transparency for your listeners becomes so real in their minds that they know you on a much more engaging level. Your ideas go from black and white text to experiences in full color that engage your listener on a whole new level. 56 This Girl Means Business

It literally puts the color + swing back into your marketing! Connection + Engagement is Truly Queen in today’s marketplace for having your brand stand out amongst your competitors.

2. free traffic source:





leverage // iTunes has over

45,000,000 people listening to podcasts on a monthly basis and massively growing. When you publish a podcast in the iTunes marketplace you are automatically partnering with one of

the most trusted and well respected brands on the planet. Not to mention a brand that has an immense loyal following of customers. When people find your show and listen or subscribe, this is similar to a back link for your website, which allows you to rank on page one of the search engines and easily be found online for your key word searches.

{ } “When you publish a podcast in the iTunes marketplace you are automatically partnering with one of the most trusted and well respected brands on the planet.”

This makes it easier on yourself to share your message and content and partner with a large distribution channel that wants to share you with its customers and browsers.

3. solid sales funnel:

connection buyers!




// A podcast brings

to life your business in a way that allows consumers to see how much you really care. The time old saying that “Facts Tell, Stories Sell” truly is why podcasting is making a massive comeback. We love to hear insightful stories, listen in on conversations of top experts, and learn about new ideas, information, techniques and trainings to help us become better, stronger, faster, smarter, sexier, leaner . . . you get my point. People are hungry for knowledge and the best type of client is a returning customer that is well educated. They also become your BEST advocates and marketers for your products and services.

How to Generate Free Traffic, Leads, & Sales by Podcasting 57

When you create a unique and well produced podcast people just want to do business with you because they like you, trust, and genuinely feel they know you on a whole new level.

The trust established on your podcast can benefit your company for years to come and truly give you the edge to stand out in your marketplace. 

FREE Masterclass Training on Podcasting with the Female Entrepreneur Association 5 Simple Steps to Increasing Leads, Traffic & Sales by Partnering with iTunes

June 13 @ 11 am PST / 12 am MST / 2 pm EST / 7 pm UK >> register June 13 @ 5 pm PST / 6 pm MST / 8 pm EST >> register

58 This Girl Means Business

Masterclass Learn how to get more leads, more traffic and more sales from LinkedIn in this LinkedIn training session with Lewis Howes

Watch it here for FREE

what we’re reading

>> click the cover to buy this book from amazon.

60 This Girl Means Business

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level By Gay Hendricks

Have you ever been in a situation where things are going amazingly well and then all of a sudden you reach a point where you start to self-destruct?

ou start sabotaging your success - feelings of unworthiness seep into your mind and before you know it you’re back to the beginning and you’ve got to start your journey for success, happiness or love all over again. This has definitely happened to me before! There have been times when everything was going really well for me and then it was like a launched an attack on myself and


started to pull everything apart. So when a friend of mine told me about a book, which talks all about this behavior and how to overcome it I bought it straight away! The book is called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and he writes about how everyone has an upper limit, which prevents them from reaching their true potential. He explains why we have upper limits and then he shares a step-by-step process for breaking through our upper limits, so that we can achieve true success and take the big leap into our ‘Zone of Genius’. It’s a brilliant read full of useful exercises to try and I would highly recommend reading it. 

Words by

carrie green

What We’re Reading 61

Ask & Answered Q. When looking into the purchase of a

franchise, what is the best due diligence method for picking a location? What are the most important questions to ask, so that we make sure to cover all our bases? — Debbie Pickus // Rockinhotbod Fitness

62 This Girl Means Business

A. If you’re thinking about investing your money in

a franchise business then you need to make sure you do lots of research first! Here to help with this is Christine Stanschus. Christine first set up Little Kickers classes in the UK in 2002 for her son, Lukas, who was 2 years old and loved football. Since then, the business has grown dramatically and now operates through a network of over 180 franchisees in 14 countries. Christine and her family relocated to Canada in 2009, and she now runs the business from her base in Toronto. Here is her advice on buying a franchise… Without having more detailed info rmation about the type of franchise you’re looking at, it is tricky to give you very specific advice on location. For example a single location fast food-type business would require a location with high levels of footfall, whereas a multi-locational children’s activity business (such as Little Kickers)

would ideally be located in an area where there are lots of young families living, preferably within walking distance of the venues you are considering. The franchisor should be able to provide you with information around how they define a franchise area though, (demographics, geographical size etc) and why they feel the measures they have chosen are appropriate for their industry. Ask & Answered 63


2) ensure that the franchiser has run a successful pilot themselves and that they

are not just selling you a concept that has not been properly proven.


Look at the value in

the proposition. How much

With regard to questions to ask when looking at various franchise options, there are a few general recommendations I would make to anyone looking at taking on any type of franchise: 1) FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE PRODUCT – you

would be surprised how many people are happy to blindly jump into taking on a franchise with very little knowledge. Ensure that you understand the product/service - what makes it unique and how it would satisfy the requirements of customers in the area you are considering. 64 This Girl Means Business

is the upfront fee – could you set up something similar yourself, for the same amount? What ongoing management fees/royalties is the franchisor going to be levying and what do you receive in return? Review the financial model in detail to ensure you feel it is realistic and achievable given your individual circumstances.

{ } “Could you set up something similar for yourself, for the same amount?”

Have their financial model reviewed by a qualified Accountant, to ensure that it is viable (this is particularly important if you are looking at taking on a franchise from a smaller, less established franchisor).


What is the fran-

chise’s USP? What makes it

different/unique? Or if other businesses exist which offer a similar product/service, what makes the offering you are looking at better? 5)

“If other businesses exist which offer a similar product/service, what makes the offering you are looking at better?”

What support, exa-

ctly, does that franchisor provide?

6) Ask yourself whether you really have the time and commitment levels running a franchise will require. The franchisor

should be able to tell you how many hours per week you will need to put in to build a successful business and also the type of character traits their successful franchisees tend to possess.






existing franchisees. If the

franchisor does not suggest that you speak to other franchisees, ask whether they are happy for you to do so. Ask to see a full list and to be able to choose which people you speak to yourself. If the franchisor will only let you speak to existing franchisees that they select (rather than giving you a free choice) then you should question why this is the case. Ask & Answered 65





franchisees as many questions as you need to,

in order to fully understand the business and what will be expected of you. Have they managed to achieve their financial objectives? How many hours per week do they work, and at what times are they busiest? How have they found the support the franchisor provides? Would they take on the franchise again if they had known then what they know now? What do they wish that they had known when they took on the franchise?

{ } “What do they wish that they had known when they took on the franchise?”

66 This Girl Means Business


Is the franchisor

a member of a national franchising


body, such as the British Franchise

Association (BFA)? Whilst membership of the BFA is not a guarantee that a franchise will be successful, in order to become a member a franchisor must be able to demonstrate that their business is viable, transferable, ethical and that they provide full disclosure of the relevant information to prospective franchisees. If the franchisor you are considering is not a member of an industry body, you should at least ask why this is the case. 10) Have



“failures” in the franchise network? If so, what assistance

did the franchisor provide to the franchisee while they were struggling, and what was the reason for the failure? 

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Little-Known Fact: Optimum Nutrition Makes Success Easier – Sshhh! Angela Steel, The Nutrition Mentor

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“Something happened and I felt a shift in energy, an outstanding and amazing shift. I felt alive. I started getting up early, looking forward to the day ahead. I felt back in the game.” - Tricia Jones, Business Owner

sales series

Top Tips for Negotiating the Deal & Drawing Up the Agreement Words by

lara morgan // company shortcuts

It is all very well thinking you have sold something, but without a signature, dry on paper with full terms & conditions and the details of the service in full you are a fool to think you have sold ANYTHING. Indeed a sale is not SOLD until goods are paid for. ut before a deal is closed and the goods are paid for, the negotiation takes place. If you can remember the parts of your proposal that really lit up the eyes of your buyer, that they seemed most excited about, that they valued most – negotiation becomes a great deal easier.


68 This Girl Means Business

here are some things to remember when negotiating: You cannot win any negotiation unless you know a) your total costs b) your profitability and c) the point at which you will walk away from the deal. You need to figure out what


your BATNA is: best alternative to negotiated agreement. This is your walk away point, the point at which concluding the deal makes no sense. Every point of a service is negotiable. 

Give a bit and get a bit in return. Try not to extend a service without a win in exchange.

“Discount selling is not a great way to value your products and often devalues your overall proposition.”

Could you throw in some additional benefits on top of the deal proposed? Can you offer information, templates, check lists, a bonus product (you have in over stock) or perhaps an extra bit of time to add value without really damaging your profitability? 

Every time something is asked for work out how that effects your margin and do NOT be afraid

of saying NO from the outset – firmly, politely and with a possible nil compromise position if you really feel what you are offering is what your client is convinced they want a need. If you discount be very aware of the fast profit damage this does to you. Discount selling is not a great way to value your products and often devalues your overall proposition…to be avoided.

>> Download your free Successful Negotiation Tactics PDF here.

Sales Series 69

sales series

Once you’ve come to an agreement on the deal, you need to draw up the terms and conditions of the agreement and get it signed.


Standard Terms and Conditions of trading vary amongst different business types, but the professionalism of having these terms available, of showing the detail to which you have considered your business proposition and the expectations that you have on your customer, are an important part of any contractual agreement.

70 This Girl Means Business

How much time do you spend ensuring that what you have sold is reflected in the written up detail of the quotation and promises you have made? The contract is the time at which you put all these details in writing. The client signing off these details is the agreement you will probably only refer to if things need to change – not just if things go wrong.

Lead-time for delivery and timescales for the service – think

about giving yourself a buffer. If you depend on others check they will comply and get them to sign your terms with a buffer accordingly.

Payment Charging Terms: The

detail of when you will be paid, how you will be paid, financial details of the agreement are clearly critical. If you need a deposit you should not start work until you get that deposit. Cases where someone delivered goods and services and yet even the first deposit is outstanding amaze me – but it happens and often the delivery person never gets paid! Madness. You might wish to incentivise your customer base to pay early, but do the maths, how much does this damage your overall margin – or does the incoming early cash allow you to transact another piece of business faster? Please, please, please, make sure you really know the cost of the service you have sold and the profit for that service to ensure you make the right decisions.

Product Specif ications:

Details such as colour, possible variations the client may need to accept from production, packaging details to the nit outer packaging and all the parts of any products must be detailed in full. Get your blank template perfected and stick to it once you have sorted all these parts of the detail.

“Do not leave yourself open to failure; it can cause a business to totally collapse.”

Sales Series 71

sales series

I cannot detail all the variants of a contract, but I can underline the critical importance of how such documentation can become super valuable. Deals do sometimes go sour and the right paper trail can be priceless in protecting and recovering your losses. Time is indeed money, but without singed paperwork you have nothing. Do not leave yourself open to failure; it can cause a business to totally collapse and that is irresponsible for all the work you do to win a sale. Each business must have its own custom version of a contract template and clearly different service terms or product details in much greater detail may be required in the outline of a whole proposition – attachments like an entire product specification can be pages long. The devil is in this detail and it may one day save your bacon. I benefited in big ways, more than once to amounts of over GBP 250,000 in

72 This Girl Means Business

cash, because I covered the detail of goods supplied to a high level of thinking. Through the good flow of goods and the bad flow – things change, needs move on and sometimes a contract is broken simply as different markets require companies to be flexible to changing trends. DO NOT lose out in good faith in such situations and take great care to cover eventualities.

some important things to consider: All relevant paperwork is to be signed BEFORE you spend money to deliver your service (even when referring to releasing stocked goods.)


Get your money income secured and where possible upfront before shipment.

DO NOT give credit to any unknown and unproven buyers – irrespective of the size of their promise and potential. That is not good business. 

Do go to your bank and become educated on the myriad of ways you can be securely paid in exchange of goods where all parties feel protected. Also, please learn all financial transaction methods and the TIME delays of money transfers to factor into your cash flow and financial planning. Businesses break because they oversell and run out of money – successful disaster… 

Other assets of a contract might be a client agreed and signed off forecasting schedule.

It is very important that whatever you promise you can do for the customer, you make sure that people within your company are aware of it. You need to keep all of the internal players in the loop in order to have everything run smoothly, and you cannot just expect other employees to adjust to meet your demands. Indeed on big contracts it is best to get all your internal delivery players, partners and even suppliers into a room to go through the terms of a contract. The time and pain in miscommunication and indeed in delivering the perfect order from the outset can be invaluable time invested. If you are one-man band have this meeting with yourself to put in sense checks for deadlinesand for the critical billing piece. 

Sales Series 73



10 TIPS 74 This Girl Means Business

Ten Things to Remember ON YOUR JOURNEY


Take time every day to visualise achieving your goals.


Get a timer and use it to make sure you get the most out of your time each day.


Think about what you could delegate and systemise so that you can spend more time with family and friends!


Be honest with yourself - if there’s a problem or something’s not working admit it to yourself and take responsibility so you can move past it.


Don’t let old patterns dictate how things are done. You have the power to change.


Identify a few businesses you love and admire and investigate how you can model their success.


Believe that what you want to achieve is a done deal.


Value yourself - learn to say no if it doesn’t work for you.


Evaluate your daily routine - are you happy? If not, do something to change it.


Remember that you are the CEO of YOU - so take control of your destiny and make amazing things happen!

Top 10 Tips 75

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