DiscoverEmerson Built That
Emerson Built That

Emerson Built That

Author: Allison DM

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Let's talk about entrepreneurship from an honest perspective. Building company culture, mentoring, empowering teams, change management, product creation, and startup power is my passion. Market saturation, rising advertising costs, consumer lethargy, head trash and failure talk is the enemy. My approach is simple, let’s talk through it. No fluff, no frills, just real talk...and that’s how I built my products, company culture, brand….and companies. Choose who you want to be and OWN IT, BOSS IT, BELIEVE IT.
23 Episodes
This episode if full of inspiration as I talk with Melanie Griffin, Founder of Spread Your Sunshine.  From inspirational products to resources, Spread Your Sunshine is here to brighten the world. As an attorney and entrepreneur, Melanie and I converse about many topics including:GratitudeAuthenticityWith only 24 hours in a day, what is an entrepreneur to doGoal setting and accountability partnersMentorshipIt is OK to stay in your 9 - 5 and have a side hustleRecovering from perfectionismFailure is going to happen, embrace itSnippets of advice like: Do one thing, do it well, finish it, and then move on to the next project. A more difficult concept for serial multitaskers and entrepreneurs with "racing minds."Failure and success are muscles, how have you flexed yours?Looking to start a business? Many of us get stuck on what is that business. Think about what you love to do or are passionate about, and then try to monetize. By looking through a different lens, clarity can be found. "Spread Your Sunshine builds confidence through inspirational keynote speaking, small business consulting, celebratory products, and a soon-to-be-launched podcast and social media show. All of their products and services mentor and cheer the community on in abandoning perfection and the fear of “failure” to tackle big challenges and create the change we wish to see in the world."Melanie's Links: Facebook, Instagram, TwitterSpread Your Sunshine Links: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter About Melanie:Melanie Griffin is a Business Litigation and Employment Law Attorney at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick who is a Past President of the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers and The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division and the President-Elect of the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers. She has been recognized by Super Lawyers the past 11 consecutive years and Best Lawyers in America the past 5 consecutive years.  As a result of her leadership, she has received numerous accolades and awards, including The Florida Bar Most Productive Young Lawyer Award, Tampa Bay Business Journal BusinessWoman of the Year, Angie Joseph Excellence in Mentorship Award, The Florida Bar YLD Outstanding Woman Lawyer of Achievement Award, The Florida Bar Solo & Small Firm Section Mentor of the Year Award, and the Florida State University College of Law Alumni Association Service Award.  In 2017, she founded Spread Your Sunshine to effect positive change through mentorship and building confidence in others. An inspirational speaker in high demand, Melanie has appeared on national and international stages, including for Fortune 500 companies, one of The Big Four, the ALFA International Client Seminar, the US/Canada KNOW Women Summit, Women Empower X Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the American Bar Association, the New York Bar Association, The Florida Bar, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Nicole Dillon has over 10 years of experience in the event management and marketing world, Nicole has worked with companies from the Guggenheim Museum, FUJFILM, WebMD, to startups and tech brands.In 2013 she decided to start Women Who Brunch, a community for women to learn and connect with each other over arguably the best meal of the week... brunch!While seeing a need for more women empowerment, she combined her event and marketing skills and now has a community of over 10,000 across the U.S.We talk about:reinventing networkingbuilding small communities for women enrichment & empowermentcollaboration over competitionstrategies for social media: show up consistently, provide resources, keep your audience engagedgrow your email marketing list, because social media is not foreverpodcasts are the new blogsthe power of icebreakers and storytellingFOMOPeople want to be inspired and connected, and building a community contributes to help others achieve their goals.Nicole has hosted speakers for brunch from companies like Google, GM, TIME Inc, to Authors and Youtube Celebrities; in addition to interviewing women entrepreneurs for her podcast the 'Brunch and Learn Podcast'.Links:  Website, Instagram, Facebook, Newsletter,  Brunch & Learn Podcast
Jennifer Kipphut has been a bartender, a Coppertone sample girl, a child protective investigator, a social worker and a management consultant.  At 39,  she finally figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up and now she is a personal trainer and nutrition coach.   We talk about three f words: fear, failure and fortitude.  Keep in mind, "people who accomplish the most in life are the ones who fail the most."Health and wellness has always been a part of her life in one way or another.  She truly loves the role she plays in her clients' lives.  She loves seeing their transformations, and she is not talking about body composition,  she loves watching their confidence grow as they find their own inner athlete!  As a personal and small group trainer,  she specializes in working primarily with women who are interested in embracing their bodies and building physical strength and mental fortitude. Her goal is to make personal training and fitness accessible to everyone. Exercise just isn't about movement it's about testing your limits and breaking down the wall of "cant's." This isn't about vanity, this is about confidence and growing. We talk taking risks, knowing when to move on, extending grace, and about her philanthropic involvement with rare blood disorders.  We all have this fight in us, and Jen gets us motivated to keep on fighting.Links: Website/Facebook, Jen's Fundraising Page
As a commercial photographer and product stylist, Shay’s clients span the globe (brands like Sugarfina, Pure Fiji, Truffle bags and Simplified Planner to name a few). But she is most well known for inadvertently kickstarting the "styled stock" industry with the creation of the SC Stockshop in 2013 which supplied beautiful stock imagery tailored specifically to female business owners. Today, powerhouse female entrepreneurs like Marie Forleo, Jenna Kutcher and thousands of others know and love her Social Squares Membership where she puts her years of work as a commercial stylist and photographer into a monthly subscription that supplies elevated brand imagery + visual marketing education for female-owned online brands. Thinking about starting a product or service: reach out to friends, family, connections and loose connections to get feedback. Because feedback is everything! I talk to Shay about her journey of starting a company, a membership and maintaining a fabulous work-life balance. She saw an opportunity to help small businesses and she seized it!We talk about these wonderful concepts to help your business:customers/clients have pain points and your company can help alleviate themmembership churnputting in as much effort on retaining as attaining new customersunderstand  the customer journey - how your membership product will get them where they want and need to be, essentially paint a picture of how your company will help them reach their goalshow work can "swell" to fill the time and avoid that by working smarter and more efficientachieving flexibility with work time and maintaining a healthy personal life, while still running a successful and demanding businessthe 16 hour work weekhow to 80/20 your businessfind your nichealways find creative ways to stay connected to your customer, especially in the memberships businesssocial media is "renting" but newsletters are "owning"always ask yourself "does this scale?"A favorite quote from the episode "some great ideas are born out of the limitations that you have in your business."Links: Weekly Instagram Action Plan + 10 free SS images How to Double Your Income By Working Less (80/20 Guide) Social Squares Styled Stock Membership: @socialsquares on Instagram // @shaycochrane on Instagram
Building a business can be the most challenging experience, yet the most rewarding. I talk with Brent Kraus of the enormously hip, creative and ever-evolving Ella Bing. He runs the show in this family business and has his toe more than dipped in, Ecommerce, retail and wholesale.  What started as a business building bow ties by the hands of his mom and dad has turned into a venture that now also adds to the repertoire outsourcing product production and bringing in microbrands to their storefronts.We talk so many things (as product is my love):Outsourcing, private labeling, microbrandsNot trying to compete on price with mega brandsMargins, margins, margins and extending as many revenue branches as possible and in line with the brandCost of customer acquisitionDon't be afraid of EtsySocial media strategy and the "popularity contest"Family business (there is the love, but there are also unique challenges)It all comes down to marketing budgets (and how much can you risk to get eyes on your brand)We also talk about the immediate and direct feedback he receives in store to continue building the brand and bringing in the best products to suit his customers. Online reviews can take awhile to receive and are harder to obtain. The capabilities of testing new product with in store customers is key.Tip: If you are thinking about starting a brick and mortar, know the industry, know the product.Tip: Pivot or don't exist. You have to pivot during these trying retail times.Links: Website, Instagram, Twitter, Unofficial Mascot Mimi, Beer and Bow Ties FundraiserElla Bing is a family owned business based in Tampa, Florida specializing in both cloth and wood bow ties, as well as other male fashion and lifestyle accessories. They run retail stores, an ecommerce site and a very fun string of social media pages.  The company was founded after the loss of Brent Kraus’ brother, Matthew. The Kraus family honors Matthew's fun spirited personality and love of fashion with handmade custom bow ties, much like Matthew himself would have worn. Ella Bing’s work is centered around quality, presentation, attention to detail and customer service.Ella Bing organizes a well known fundraiser, Beer and Bow Ties every year for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. While they realize that a bow tie might not save a life, they hope that it can at least help someone in need. 
Entrepreneurs may face in their lifetime deciding to or having to:sell the business, close the doors (possibly in a rush), sunset the businessI am super passionate about the mental health of recovering entrepreneurs. The interesting thing about entrepreneurs is, you can recover and get over one business and then move on to another. However, it is important to take the time to recover, grieve and reflect on your business that once was. We become so attached to our businesses. I recommend 4 things to do when you are looking at the next steps after closing or selling a business:1. take time for yourself2. be open about the things you accomplished (don't get stuck on failures) focus on all of the good that came out of it for you, customers and employees3. be easy on yourself (as we can all be our harshest critic)4. your next steps don't have to be forever steps, they may just be pebbles to a bigger stoneIt took a lot of grit and grace to start a business, now take that grit and grace to step back from the closure or sale and heal, and eventually be able to jump back in again to whatever adventure you will be embarking on next.Links: Website, Instagram, Newsletter
Nicole D'Alonzo is the Founder of 19 Minute Yoga, the audio-first yoga app providing step-by-step audio instructions for you to flow with ease–no more craning your neck to watch a screen. As a non-technical app founder, Nicole built a solution to solve her own wellness challenges. Thousands of people around the world use 19 Minute Yoga to improve flexibility, increase strength, and reduce anxiety. Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available.We talk about:Got the idea, now do it!  How to Build Your First AppYoga practice (and our favorite poses)Product development and the significance of "19 minutes" of yogaWorking with developers as a non-technical (but yet know enough) and trying not to be a feature creepThe importance of user feedback to develop and improve UX experienceSubscription retentionGrit and tenacity are neededNicole says, "don't take a no, from someone who can't give you a yes." Plus "you have to be your own hype team."In addition to creating a leading yoga app, Nicole helps entrepreneurs and executives de-stress with one-on-one Yoga Nidra meditation sessions. Before launching her startup, Nicole worked as a global director at L'Oréal and a marketing strategist at PR agency Porter Novelli. She’s shared the stage with the NFL, Microsoft, Bloomberg Business, and more.Find Nicole: website, 19 Minute Yoga App, Instagram, Twitter
Krayl Funch is a home and event stylist, author and brand ambassador.  She is the author of An Appealing Plan: A Year of Everyday Celebrations, blogger and represents brands at events and on television. She is a creative in every sense of the word. Inspired by life, home and nature, Krayl's mission is to continue inspiring people to create more, whether that be in the home or outside.We talk about passion projects:what they are how to discover how to start all the benefitsOften people confuse passion projects with personal projects or creative projects. You can have a passion project doing good for others and making money, if you choose. There are 5 benefits of having a passion project according to Krayl, listen to the episode or read to learn more.Krayl uses three words to describe her success: create, connect and celebrate. These words can be applied to so many businesses and passion projects. During this time, many of us are looking to create something that we can have as our own, connect with people either online or in-person, and want a reason to be happy about something.She also created a masterclass with six modules to further spread and teach her message and help others find their passions: The Passion Project Pathway Program. In addition, she talks designing in-person and creating additional master classes for seasonal home décor.Home is more important than ever and we talk about which designers we fangirl over, plus HGTV is staple in our homes. Despite all the pretties online, nature is still a top source of inspiration for Krayl. She breathes life into this episode about digging deeper and finding a passion to inspire us.Links to Krayl: Website, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Book
Abbey Woodcock is a writer, creative and owner of a co-working space in beautiful upstate New York called Freelance Co-Op, which is an online and physical coworking space that connects creative freelancers with the resources they need to be professional business owners that are in control of their own story and their own success. We talk about  coworking, community, freelancing, and the business of creativity. She says, "a successful life is fueled by passion." I could not agree more. I talk to Abbey in-depth about coworking spaces:and building communityare more than just waffle stations and amazing lightingcan help a freelancer build a businessbringing back professionals to rural areas on big city salariesare not just found in big citiesWe also discuss that there needs to be a marriage between business and creativity, because they are not mutually exclusive. In this episode we also discuss how small towns can be test cases. Professionals can relocate to these towns or come back home, because of community. If there is a community of successful, motivated and creative people waiting for them, there is a reason to come and grow, infuse resources and cultivate new business. People who experiment and take risks will keep growing.Abbey is also author of the book, What They Hear When You Write. A book where you can learn any client's voice and create authentic, effective copy. Plus she’s a chainsaw instructor. Find Abbey: Freelance Co-Op, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, BookCheck it out: Reconnect Oneida County, Team Rubicon Disaster Response
One of my favorite terms is "hot mess." It's just so... expressive and makes saying someone is stressed sound a lot more fun. However, this should not be taken lightly. I am not one to show my stress on the outside that often, so I often internalize. I do believe that many entrepreneurs do this, in order to keep a calmness in their business. Sometimes not showing your stress, minimizes it in some bizarre way.On this episode I talk about channeling your inner hot mess and how to get through it, so you can move on to bigger and better things. So how can you, as an entrepreneur do this? Here are three ways to channel your inner hot mess:Never let them see you sweatBuild a tribe of peoplePut it in perspective, is this short term or long termAs entrepreneurs, we get a lot thrown at us. Don't think you are alone, we've all been there, upset staff, angry customers, vendors to be paid, factors out of our control. Yet, you can still be in control of your inner hot mess with just a few quick tips.
Dr. Zhen Sullivan, Professor of Business Management and I talk the new generation of entrepreneurs. She teaches Entrepreneurship to students at Kean University in New Jersey. We talk about many things including:A new startup culture out thereWe are in an innovation driven economyBig ideas and why sometimes they are smallThe essentials of business are social media and the internetBudding and aspiring entrepreneurs "expect the internet to be so fair, to be such an enabler and equalizer, and it's part of the ingredients; they are very essential."She offers two nuggets of advice for budding entrepreneurs:Know the industry before you start a business in it. Consider working for another company in the industry first before diving in. Be ready to eat cans of beans! And just beans! Entrepreneurs have to do it all, and give up a lot in the process, including time and food. We also dive into why she thinks writing a business plan is an essential part of planning a business.If entrepreneurs are looking for funding, they need to back up why investors should invest.Understand the planning process. Creating a business plan she says is like a "car inspection." It is a "comprehensive review which can expose blind spots and weaknesses."Dr. Sullivan says, "entrepreneurs tend to be very brave and take risks; they jump into action." I can definitely relate to that one. Take a listen to see what scares and excites the new generation. Publications: Zhen Z. Sullivan, Patricia J. Holahan, and Jing Ma. (2020) Adopting Technological Innovations in Work Organizations: The Role of Attitude, Subjective Norm, and Procedural Fairness, International Journal of Business Information Systems, forthcoming.Patricia J. Holahan, Zhen Z. Sullivan and Stephen K. Markham. (2014) Product Development as Core Competence, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(2), 329–345.Blake J. Lesselroth, Patricia J. Holahan, Kathleen Adams, Zhen Z. Sullivan, Victoria L. Church, Susan Woods, Robert Felder, Shawn Adams and David A. Dorr. (2011) Primary Care Provider Perceptions and Use of a Novel Medication Reconciliation Technology, Informatics in Primary Care, 2(19), 105-118.Dr. Sullivan is an adjunct professor of Business Management at Kean University in New Jersey where she has been teaching entrepreneurship since 2014. Prior to her life in academia, Dr. Sullivan worked as a project manager at Lucent Technologies. In 2011, Dr. Sullivan received her PhD in Technology Management from Stevens Institute of Technology. She wishes to bring more "street smarts" to the higher education of entrepreneurship.
Do it for yourself, not others. Well, OK maybe your parents! I never enjoyed reading as a child, I always had cliff notes on hand for book reports. But as I got older, I realized I do not have to read about history and science, I could read anything I wanted. Thus, I found a love for reading and my love for writing followed. One summer a few years ago, my family and I moved across the country to enjoy an amazing experience in a cramped apartment in the heart of Chelsea, New York. It was there that I had an AHA moment, that I may not be able to retire one day owning my company and I needed to start thinking about other options. I found myself wandering the streets in a most creative way and writing notes on snippets of paper shoved into my pockets and purse, of a book I would write when I returned home.I decided to write my book as a homage, something I would always remember, should I one day not own my company. I wanted to write the book while I was in the thick of things, not after it was all complete. So consider writing a book of your own (any topic) for three reasons:1. Journaling / all of your thoughts are right there on the paper, telling a story, fiction or non-fiction2. Something you will always have / a keepsake that takes a lot of work, but it is worth it.3. Marketing piece / you will be an author, so use that title to your advantage and the message or story in your book. Make sure you are passionate about the topic, and don't get discouraged with publishing, you can self publish!My book, I Crumpled My Paper, Now What?
I talk with Archana Mundhe, software engineer turned food blogger and author. She launched her blog Ministry of Curry in 2016 with the vision of preserving her family’s stories and recipes while making cooking simple and fun for novice and expert cooks alike. In four short years she has gained a loyal fan base and wrote her first cookbook, The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, which also happens to be an Amazon best seller book.Archanna has also been featured on Dr. Oz,, People, Brit + Co, Food 52, The Washington Post, Epicurious and more.  She built her mini empire on her two words, culture and love. We discuss the following and more:Starting a business after working in the corporate worldWriting a cookbook is one of the hardest, but most rewarding experiences, and advice for those aspiring toBuilding relationships with your audience, followers, and fellow bloggers without expecting anything in returnIt’s not about the number of followers, it is about the engagement of the followers you haveCreating content while considering SEO yet staying authenticGrowing social media through hard work and loveWhat Archana has accomplished, takes bloggers years to accomplish, and some never even achieve the success she has. She is humble, hardworking and dedicated to creating recipes and content for those wanting to create a delicious meal. Her willingness to engage with her fans, followers, and colleagues is most noteworthy and it is no wonder that she is so well received. Links to Archana: Website, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Cookbook 
I talk with Becca Goldberg, creative and founder of Suite Paperie. Becca is extremely talented and started her business at the young age of 23 when rent in NYC was the biggest expense to worry about. Becca owns a stationery company where she custom designs everything from wedding and party invitations to party favors to corporate packaging, and even art directs and styles cookbooks on the side.She built her business on kindness and determination. From riffing with clients about whether to include spices on paper (true story) or nerding out over the slightest details.  Principles and other things we talk about:Social media is a game changerBe scrappy enough to figure things outStay hyper focused yet be able to jump from one thing to the next to get the juices flowingCheck your ego at the door, and no job is too small in your company to do yourselfNot be willing to failClients can become friendsBusiness plans are not requiredCreative burnout is real and how to combat itFrom being an entrepreneur in a high touch luxury business to using kindness as a tool to grow in every area of business, Becca has that spunk that is required of creativepreneurs. Links to Becca: Website, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Cookbook
It is so easy to be starstruck. We have fulfilled orders for musicians, athletes, actors and actresses. Obviously, it never got old. There is a difference between fulfilling a celebrity's order and actually working with one to promote your products, services, brand, business. I worked with our PR agency to woo celebrities and also worked on our own to achieve a contract with a celebrity to promote our product. I learned along the way many things, including: celebrities are gaining from the arrangement and so should you. Businesses have just as much leverage as a celebrity, and don't shortchange your worth for the glitz surrounding the deal.If you are thinking about working with a celebrity to promote your business and possibly enter into a product or service collaboration, consider the following: 1. Find a celebrity that you feel 100% comfortable promoting your brand and collaborating with, as what they stand for is also something you can get behind.2. Have everything in writing. You have expectations of them to promote the brand, and they have expectations of your business, from mostly a financial standpoint. Also have a get out clause, should they get bad press for something. Protect yourself!3. The experience should be organic and authentic, so your potential and existing customers will believe the relationship. They don't want to think you just bought your way into the deal, they want to believe it!Don't forget to have fun with it, as these deals are usually short lived. But they make for great stories.
Peggy Boyd started Surgical Alternative as a new college graduate. Her tremendous success over the past two decades has been due to perseverance and determination. Entrepreneurship for Peggy was "A grain of sand that just grew and grew into an agitation and developed eventually into a pearl." We don't talk checklists, we talk about what it is really like to run a business. Real talk, real examples and we go over all of this as well:Working on your business and not just in itWorking with your spouse and setting boundariesAha momentsBuilding a business the old fashioned way through word of mouthPivoting from one business to the next, and entering a niche market How to recession proof and virus proof your businessBeing a mompreneur without guilt and capitalizing on its perksPeggy said, "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it." Links to find Peggy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
There is no recipe for a successful business. The ingredients are somewhat known but the measurements definitely vary. The recipe for a company culture is as simple or as intricate as you make it, and the place where you build your success can truly be a delectable one. How can food have a positive impact on your company culture? We will talk grab and go, sit and linger and celebratory toasts. I also offer my favorite ideas for foodie themed team builders: try the no bake bake challenge.We will talk food as a way of 1. reward, 2. growing personal relationships at work, 3. building trust, and 4. growing collaboration. Food can bring your team together in a delicious way! I throw in my love of donuts and cupcakes too! 
We think all leaders should know how to lead in a time of crisis; however, that is only the case if they have at least this one critical element in their leadership toolbox, and that is empathy. You don't have to have gone through the exact experience as an employee to respect and care for their situation. Empathy is more than relating.Takeaway from the episode how to be an empathetic leader by listening (silence is uncomfy but OK), read cues, and have tissues, lots and lots of tissues on hand.Never let them see you cry (at work) is a thing of the past. Now leaders can be better prepared. Waterproof mascara and tissues are a great option for staff, but even better is knowing that your boss is there for you.
Brittany Cobb founder of Britt Co. Designs is a tremendous talent in both the graphic design and hand lettering worlds. I interviewed Brittany to discuss the two words that grew her success, and they are TALENT and EVOLVING.From mugs to stickers and ornaments to stationery, her design range goes far. Plus she also illustrates books. We talk Etsy, online selling platforms, evolving as a gift company and much more. I've watched her grow as an artist through the years, now hear her tips about building a business from a hobby to a real side hustle. Also, we talk about evolving as an artist and entrepreneur and how small projects from painting a chalk wall to buying a window to paint on, inspire her and help her grow personally and professionally.  Plus, we have a few laughs along the way.Links: Etsy, Zazzle, Instagram, Facebook
Cheerleading is the new leadership sport. No pom poms required.Through 60 Second Praises and Positive Reinforcement your staff will become multipliers. By praising your staff and rewarding them for exceptional performance, they will gain further confidence and in turn build their co-workers up as well. Spread the love!Something an employee said to me once, stuck with me in my heart and mind. She expressed that my leadership created a warm and positive work environment where other women were building up other women rather than tearing them down through competition and gossip. This was done through Cheerleading Leadership. You don't need to be an athlete to partake in this type of leadership, you just need simple tactics and of course a few pieces of cake always went a long way in my company. 
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