Check out My Boutique

Screen shot 2014 05 14 at 12.52.51 PM 1024x881 Check out My Boutique

I am curating a boutique over on, a new artisan shopping site that had its grand opening online last week. I wanted to share with you some of the things that you’ll find if you visit my boutique. There are items in crochet, soft goods, textiles and fiber art. Crochet Items

In my crochet section, I have added unique crochet items carefully collected into one creative space. Example:

crochet necklace Check out My Boutique

Lariat-style cotton crochet necklace by Kelli Ronci, a fair trade product from Bolivian Artisans

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Infographic Book on One Billion Entrepreneurs

Are you interested in becoming an entrepreneur? There is a fairly good chance considering that it’s predicted that the number of entrepreneurs is expected to climb to one billion by 2020. Anna Vital believe that those entrepreneurs will want to get information through infographics instead of traditional means. Check this out:

Anna Vital was inspired to write a book via infographic format in part because she has always loved to learn but she struggles with dyslexia and so finds traditional reading to be very difficult. She didn’t let that hold her back; she knows multiple languages and completed law school, but she wants to reach the kind of people who have difficulties like hers with the information they might want about becoming an entrepreneur. She tried to get funding on Kickstarter to create this book but failed, which is too bad because she did get more than $16,000 but she was asking for $100,000.

Anna does a lot of other work with visual information for startups, though. Check out San Francisco-based Funders and Founders to see more of what she does.

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Bay Area Small Business: Makers/ Crafters Video Series

Little Paper Planes is a Bay Area based online store that also serves as a community for artists. They have lots of pretty products and a beautiful blog filled with terrific examples of great art and design. They recently co-launched a video/ multimedia series called Working Title that I’m loving.

They recently explained that Working Title is:

“a collaboration between KQED and Little Paper Planes, hosted by Kelly Lynn Jones of LPP and Andrew Martin Scott, co-owner of Needles and Pens. Through this program, which will include videos, interviews, articles, and essays, we will explore how local artist-entrepreneurs are re-inventing the American Dream, creating alternative economies and redefining success in the Bay Area.”

Needles and Pens is a cute little store in The Mission that I’ve stopped into more than once. They have zines there and it’s the kind of place I totally fantasized my own zines in 10+ years ago when I was an indie zine maker. I’m also a fan of the handcrafted jewelry that’s there; I’ve personally bought a few of their feather-decorated hair clips.

I love what Kelly says in the first video when she says, “There’s a subtle movement happening out there; people are choosing more unconventional career paths in order to have greater control of their lives. They’re re-engaging with artisanal craftsmanship … they are once again making things with their own hands and managing to sustain themselves while doing it.” Each episode celebrates one of these people.

The first episode is about Jay Nelson, a self-taught artist who builds tree houses:

The second episode is about Atelier Dion, a husband-and-wife-owned ceramics fabrication business:

I’m looking forward to seeing this program develop over time!

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Infographic: Female Entrepreneurs Around the Nation

I loved looking at the information about female entrepreneurs in this Visually infographic.

female entrepreneurs 512127c73927d w587 Infographic: Female Entrepreneurs Around the Nation

Things I thought were interesting:

  • California has about twice as many female entrepreneurs as the next closest states on the list, which are Texas and New York. They are mostly concentrated in Los Angeles.
  • Although Illinois it not among the top three states when it comes to the number of women entrepreneurs, the city of Chicago is within the top three metro areas in the nation for this.
  • Women are more likely than men to start with a lower capital investment and not to borrow money as they expand.
  • Women are interested in health care and social assistance; the largest number of female entrepreneurs are in this sector.

Are you a woman who owns a business? Feel free to share your website link in the comments here. Visit the other women who comment to support each other in our efforts! My main professional page is

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Does It Take Money to Make Money?

money Does It Take Money to Make Money?

My kid brother and I are both entrepreneurs. However, we’re very different in the way that we approach business. A fundamental difference between us is that he wants to start a business with a lot of startup capital from investors so that he can get in at the top level of the business as quickly as possible. In contrast, I prefer to invest as little money as possible in a business while exploring whether or not it’s what I really want to do. Either approach is fine for starting a business as long as you know why you feel the way that you do.

Thinking about this topic has brought up an interesting question for me – does it take money to make money? Ultimately, despite the fact that I approach the initial startup of a business different from my brother, I do believe that it takes money to make money. This doesn’t mean that you can’t start a business with no money but it does mean that I believe you have to re-invest your immediate earnings into the business if you want it to actually get off the ground.

What do you think? Does it take startup capital to make a business work or does a gradual process of starting with what you have and then re-investing regularly in the business work just as well?

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Find a Way to Make Your Job Unique

photographer 300x214 Find a Way to Make Your Job Unique

I think that one of the most important things that you can do as an employee or business owner is to find a way to make your job unique. You should focus on developing a specific niche, habit or approach that sets you apart from the competition. This may seem impossible in some jobs but if you get creative then you’ll find that you can be unique even if the job that you have is a common one held by many other people.

For example, there are some really cool underwater jobs that would fall into this category. Underwater modeling, underwater photography and underwater welding are all examples of this. After all, there are thousands of people who do modeling, take photos or work as welders. The number of people who do those same jobs underwater is just a fraction of that. Simply by looking at a new location for their work, these employees set themselves apart from the crowd.

Another example might be the person who works as a server in a restaurant. That’s a common job so how would you be unique about it? It might be in the way that you approach your customers – for example, you could have a little song that you sing each time that you approach the table. Or it could be in developing a special talent – you might become known as the person who can juggle full water glasses. Whatever it is, it needs to make you stand out as someone who does the job in a unique and interesting way.

Of course, it’s important that you do your job well. That’s probably more important than being unique about it. But once you’ve mastered the skills of your job position, you should make sure that you go further and create a niche for yourself. This will make you more marketable and more valuable as an employee. And it will probably make your work a lot more interesting to do!

How could you set yourself apart from the crowd? In the comments here, feel free to let us all know what you do and how you could do it in a more special way!

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Ways to Have a 4-Day Work Week

four days 300x161 Ways to Have a 4 Day Work Week

How many people who work five days per week would love to go down to only a four-day work week? Doing this gives you a three-day weekend every single week. This allows you to really recuperate from your work and get time to do the things that you want to do. But how can you do it?

Here are some ideas for cutting back to a four-day work week:

  • Work 10-hour days. The easiest way to maintain your lifestyle while reducing the number of days that you work is to continue to work forty-hour weeks but to do so with ten-hour days.
  • Switch to a salaried position. Try to find a job that allows you to get paid based on the amount of work that you do rather than the number of hours that you put in. Be productive during those four days and you can take the fifth day off without compromising your job position.
  • Reduce your financial needs. If you can find a way to reduce the amount of money that you need then you can pay your bills with a three-quarter-time job position. Most companies still allow you to retain your health benefits if you work over 30 hours per week.
  • Start your own business. It’s a lot easier to make a schedule that works for you when you’re your own boss. If your current job isn’t going to allow you to reduce your work week then maybe you should start a business that will!

Are there other options for taking a three-day weekend every week?

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How a Business is Part of a Bigger Picture

globalization 299x300 How a Business is Part of a Bigger Picture

When you choose to operate your own small business, you are probably thinking primarily about your own interests. You want to do work that you enjoy and you want to be your own boss. However, every business is part of a bigger picture. That’s something that a smart business person is going to realize and work with.

Some of the ways that a single business is part of a bigger business include:

  • There is a chain of events that occurs before a product reaches a customer. When you provide a product or service to a customer, you are not participating only in the simple transaction that you appear to be participating in. You are also participating in a small section of the chain of events involved in the bigger picture. This chain includes all of the businesses that came before you in the transaction and any that the customer will then continue on with. For example, Maverick Hammers sells hydraulic hammers to businesses that do mining. All of the people involved in the invention and construction of those hammers come before them in the chain. All of their customers (such as mines) and the customers’ customers (such as jewelry designers) follow them in the chain. If any of these people don’t do their jobs, the chain breaks.
  • Every business contributes to competition within the industry. The chain of events requires that businesses work together. However the nature of business is competition between similar businesses. The amount and type of business that one company does directly affects the other companies with which it is competing.
  • Each business is a part of a global industry. The choices that the business makes affect the rest of the Earth. For example, if the business decides to outsource its labor to a developing nation then it may improve job prospects in that nation but will contribute to unemployment problems at home. Likewise, a company that pollutes during manufacturing is contributing to global environmental problems. The company doesn’t exist alone but affects the entire world around it.

Even small businesses have to realize that they play a role in a bigger picture. The independent jewelry maker may not think about who manufactured the hydraulic hammers that allowed for the mining of the stones used in the jewelry but that doesn’t mean that the chain of events is irrelevant to the business. Recognizing this encourages every business owner to do their part as well as possible in order to maintain high standards across the industry.

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Did You Work as a Kid?

kids business 214x300 Did You Work as a Kid?

I have been trying to earn money for as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I was always trying to start my own business or to find a job that I could do even though I was young. I remember one time when I got together with some friends and made homemade friendships bracelets and then took them around the neighborhood to try to sell them.

I wasn’t the only one in my family who earned money with my own business. My kid brother learned early on that he could purchase candy in bulk and then sell it individually to kids at school to make a profit. He and my sister also used to scout the ground at every parking lot we ever entered because they knew that they could find loads of dropped change there which would add up.

We weren’t particularly unique kids as far as this goes. In fact, I think that most kids are pretty creative and I would say that most of them want to do something that allows them to earn spending money of their own. The problem is that it’s really frustrating for kids to figure out how to earn money when they aren’t old enough to work yet.

There are definitely options for kids with all different types of skills, though. Take a look at my article on 30 ways kids can earn money to get some ideas!

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Are You Running a Summer Promotion?

sun 300x225 Are You Running a Summer Promotion?

I have been thinking about offering some sort of summer promotion for my writing services. I’d like to get some new clients. I want to spread the word about the blogging and social promotion services that I offer. And I really just want to be trying out some new personal marketing techniques.

Summer promotions seems like a great way to do this. There is a bit of downtime in the summer so I can focus on creating a cool promotion. The people I’d be interested in reaching are people who are probably spending hot summer afternoons checking out blogs and social networks anyway. And since it’s seasonal, I can try it out without committing to it for a long period of time.

I’m not sure what type of summer promotion I want to offer. I’m kicking around different ideas. I’d love to hear some thoughts from you about good summer promotion ideas for bloggers. Leave it in the comments or drop me an email!

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