Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized’ Category

Business Start-Ups Women Should Think About in 2012

Friday, January 20th, 2012

We at wanted to share a few quick thoughts about what business start-ups will be hot in 2012. Before we do, a quick heads up that the deadline for the next WNN Amber Grant for Women is in just a few weeks. If you’d like to be considered for our women’s business grant, please take several minutes to tell us your story!

Now to other thoughts that can help a woman entrepreneur like you…

You’re ready to build your own woman-owned business, but you’re not sure where you should be investing your time and money. What will work and can make you money in 2012 and beyond? Look around.

That’s what Brian Miller, president and COO of consulting firm The Entrepreneur’s Source, told Laurie Kulikowski of (

“One of the things I often tell people is ‘Think about what’s happening in society and you will see emerging business models that follow suit,’” Miller said.

So what IS going on? The population is getting older as people live longer and the Baby Boomers hit retirement age. People are trying to get healthier as healthcare costs push to the forefront. Big companies are outsourcing what they can. Oh yeah, and computers seem to be catching on.

Here are a few related areas full of earning potential for women like you.

Caring for the elderly. An aging population needs someone to help out. That means greater demand for in-home services. Business and franchises can focus on medical care or physical therapy that enables the elderly to stay home instead of moving to a nursing facility. Perhaps opportunity lies in helping the older crowd with more typical daily tasks: cooking, cleaning, etc. Senior Helpers offers such in-home help without the need for medical training. StartUpHomeCare provides a similar opportunity, though the site stipulates that it isn’t a franchise.

Cleaning. Our parents and grandparents aren’t the only folks who could use a little help around the house. Among Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 10 home-based franchises for 2012, 6 center on residential and/or commercial cleaning. ServPro sits #1, specializing in restoration after disasters (e.g. fire, flooding). That franchise comes with an expensive buy-in — at least $132,000. But it’s followed immediately by Stratus Building Solutions. Franchise fees start as low as $3,450 for Stratus. If starting your own business, it’s important to make yourself unique among competitors. This Texas carpet cleaner is building off lessons from previous employers and a different cleaning system.

Health and wellness. Who doesn’t want to be healthier? The challenges of getting proper exercise, monitoring your diet and simply keeping everything on track can be daunting. People are increasingly seeking regimens, advice and products to help get them fit. If you’re considering franchise investment, Jazzercise could be a fit. The familiar workout program – launched in 1977 — has ranked among Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 21 fastest-growing franchises for 5 straight years. It has also ranked among the top 5 home-based franchises 3 straight years. Perhaps most importantly, it’s also among the cheapest to start. If you pursue a franchise or your own startup, though, make sure to know your marketplace and seek long-term potential. The diet and exercise worlds are rife with fads.

Child care. No matter how far we advance technologically (or otherwise), someone will always need to take care of the kids when they’re not in school. Just make sure to study up on the certification laws in your area before pursuing this path. offers a “business package” said to include all information, forms, etc. needed to start your own day care.

Computers/Online. This is obviously an expansive umbrella with near-endless opportunities. For starters, though, Web design is an area of constant need. Most any successful business today needs some sort of Web presence but you need to do more than create your own site and set your rates. Multiple sources strongly recommend creating a business plan before striking out on your own. Here are some basics. If your experience lies in other areas, perhaps you offer value as a consultant. Whether computers or another field, you can find tips online for pursuing the consulting path.

More important than any trends, however, is finding something you enjoy. Lee Rhodes started out making artisanal candleholders and found herself 2011 Entrepeneur of the year. Create your own opportunity … and success!

Interesting USA Today Article

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

At least once a week, I escape my office and review applications for the Amber Grant.  And, yes, I typically go to my favorite coffee shop to do it.

As I was walking into my that coffee shop yesterday morning, the front page headline of the USA Today caught my eye:   “2 of 3 New Jobs Go to Men.”  I guess to some folks, that’s news! J

Seriously, though.  I’m not a man-basher, but I don’t have to tell you how hard it is for women in this economy.  When I see that 2 out of 3 new jobs go to men, it only makes me realize how important the work is that we do at – especially in helping women entrepreneurs get business grants.

Let’s be real.  If we want a job we love – and at a salary we deserve – women entrepreneurs have to create their own positions.   I’m not complaining.  I’m just making an observation.

If that describes you, I’m glad you’ve found  2012 is gonna rock.  We’ll have a plenty of articles to help you launch and market your business idea.

And, of course, we’ll be giving away our monthly Amber Grant.  If you haven’t applied for the, now is your chance.  We’d love to hear your story and your business idea.

Angel Investing…is it for You?

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

I wanted to share a great article with you. It’s about Angel Investing for Women, and it gives 10 practical tips on how women entrepreneurs like you can get angel investors to fund your business idea.

Before we get to the angel investing article, a friendly reminder that the November grant winner will be selected in just a few short weeks. If you’re interested in telling us your story, you can apply for the grant today. It only takes a few minutes, and we’d love to hear from you.
Now to the story on angel investing for women. This issue is near and dear to us because every grant application has an option for women to be considered by an angel investor. We have a network of people willing to help women business owners – including angel investors.
Surprisingly, most women who apply for the Amber Grant don’t ask to be reviewed by a potential angel investor. And yet, there could be someone right now who is willing to invest in you and your business idea. Whether it’s one of our angel investors or another group, it’s yet another way to get money for your business.
With that in mind, check out the article on Angel Investing for Women.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

We’re thrilled to announce the October Amber Grant Winner…. Is Fernanda Chacon from Chicago, IL.  Fernanda is the owner of Heavenly Skinny Kitchen.  We love Fernanda’s story as a young women entrepreneur who used her passion for healthy cooking to fill a niche in the Chicago downtown marketplace.  We’re sure you’ll be inspired by the short interview we did with Fernanda below.

BTW, we’re currently taking applications for the November Amber Grant.  We’d love to hear your story, and you just might be our next winner.  But there are only a few weeks to get your application to us.  So if you’re interested, please don’t wait.  We will announce our winner the first week in December.

WN:  What made you want to be self-employed?

FC: First, thank you Women’s Net so much. What a blessing!.. I think the main reason why I’d wanted to be self-employed is because I like my ideas to be heard.  I always like to go the extra mile and think about all the options, either good or bad, as well as the growth potential.  Most corporations just want you to follow the manual and don’t leave room for opinions or imagination.

WN:  Tell us about a little bit about your business, Heavenly Skinny Kitchens.

FC:  I started the business earlier this year and went full steam this summer. The idea started out of my own need for healthy and tasty food.  Working long hours in downtown Chicago with limited options for healthy foods made realize the need for a healthier option.  I can’t remember how many times I found myself eating the same salad for a whole week straight.  Heavenly Skinny Kitchen is dedicated to creating the best lunch experience for busy downtown workers who want to have a balanced diet – but struggle with the same old unhealthy choices. Right now, Heavenly Skinny Kitchen works as a catering service for individuals, but my goal is to open a location to the public.

WN: What will you use the $500 Amber Grant for?

FC: I will use the money towards marketing to get the word out on healthy eating and getting more customers for the business.  I might also use it toward a delivery truck.

WN: Have you always had a passion for cooking?  We ask because we’re true believers that women-owned businesses that are built on passion survive over those businesses that women just do for “a job.”  And because we drooled over the menu on your website! J

FC: LOL, yes, I do have a great passion, not just cooking but eating well and fitness. While in college, before starting my business, I always found a reason to have people over so I could cook and try new recipes. I think food is such an important element of life and it has a huge influence on your overall health. With those ideals, I decided to create a kitchen where people can eat delicious meals on the go – while staying fit.

WN:  What have been the smartest decisions you’ve made with Healthy Skinny Kitchens?

FC: Well, I always dreamt of opening up a restaurant but the initial investment can be a huge barrier. My best decision has been to adapt the idea to a set menu with catering options and membership packages. That’s how I’ve been able to progressively grow and increase my capital.  By sticking to this motto, not only did it take away pressures of investing a huge amount of money in a start-up restaurant, but it has given me the experience for when that time comes.

Interesting Article We Wanted to Share

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

We wanted to give you a bit of news on the women’s business front.  Specifically, we came across an interesting article on the Women’s Economic Summit in Tennessee.  But before we share what we uncovered, a quick reminder that the Amber Grant deadline is in just 5 days.  So please take a few minutes to tell us your story if you’d like to be considered for the $500 women’s business grant for this month.

Ok, now to the news… Check out the following statistics and you’ll see why women need to stick together in the business world.  These stats are from the Women’s Economic Council Foundation and are specific to Tennessee.  But, of course, they are generally applicable to women all over the country (if not the world).

** Women make 79 cents for every dollar that their male colleagues make.

** There are twice as many male-owned businesses as women-owned businesses.

** Women businesses tend to bring in less revenue and employ fewer people than male businesses.

** The number of women-owned business increased by 20% from 2002-2007.

** Women are more likely to have a degree than men, and the number of women in college is greater than men.

** Female students also outscore male students on all reading and most math scores at grade school and middle school levels.

The good news is that women like you continue to start and develop their own businesses.  And the next generation of women entrepreneurs is doing well in school.  But, of course, there still seems to be a glass ceiling in the business world.  Those statistics should give up hope and encourage us as women business owners.

The joke from one of the Women’s Summit organizers says it all:  Would Wall Street be in the straits it is today if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters?!…

Key for Women Entrepreneurs: Let Your Passion be Your Guide

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
A week ago, I was talking to my friends at WomensNet.  When your friends give out grants to women business owners, you can always expect them to ask:  “Hey – Marcia, what business ventures are you up to?” 

This was my chance to tell them about my latest e-book.  I guess they must have noticed the spark in my eye, the lilt in my voice – yes, the general sense of excitement I get when talking about… ready for it?  Couponing!
You see, by day I’m a freelance writer of magazine articles and author and ghostwriter of bestselling books.  But during my free time, I’m an extreme couponer. No, not as obsessed as the folks on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” TV show…but close.

While I do enjoy writing – researching the topic, thinking through how to organize the information and then sharing what I’ve gathered from interviews – there is nothing like the high of getting $110 worth of groceries for next to nothing. Believe me, I’ve done it.

Although writing is how I earn a very good living, coupons are my passion.
I’ve been writing professionally for more than 15 years, during which the publishing process has stayed much the same, until a year or two ago. In the past, I would come up with an idea for an article or book and then propose it to an editor, who then decides if they want to pay me to write about it. In other cases, because I’ve worked with an editor before and they liked my stuff, I’ll get a call or an email asking me if I’d like to tackle a particular topic for an upcoming issue or book. If I like the topic, I generally say yes.
As I said, I’ve been doing this for a while, but a couple of years ago, I started to hear more about e-books and how they were the future of publishing. Then last year there was news that sales of Amazon’s Kindle books had overtaken hard cover and paperback books. That’s the point at which I decided I needed to explore this. But what would I write about? I usually write about marketing and entrepreneurship, but nothing came to mind that would be new and noteworthy.
We’ve all heard that the best businesses are those based on the individual’s passion – the subject about which they know more than just about anyone else. So, for me, it followed that the best e-book I could write would be about my passion, couponing.
I tried selling traditional publishers on a couponing book as soon as I heard there would be a TV show on the topic. Perfect timing, I thought! They were skeptical that the market was big enough (are you kidding me?!). In fact, 78% of shoppers in the U.S. now use coupons – that’s millions and millions of Americans. At that point, I was fired up. More than any other book, I wanted to write about how to save money with coupons. Then I saw a few episodes of “Extreme Couponing,” in which the shoppers on the show were using the same techniques I’ve been using for years, and was sure that an e-book on couponing was what I needed to write next.
I told my agent I was working on the book and she mentioned she had a publisher friend who had started an e-book publishing venture. When she talked to him about my couponing book, he was sold.
We moved quickly to get the book formatted and edited and as of last Friday, Extreme Couponer: Insider secrets to getting groceries for free, was officially available for sale for $2.99. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to produce a book as quickly. Part of the speed was due to the new digital publishing process. But the other element was passion. I was so excited to share information about couponing that I wrote morning, noon and night. I was in the zone, completely enjoying what I was doing. And in a matter of days, the manuscript was done.
I think my situation isn’t unusual. When you’re passionate about what you’re doing, whether it’s writing computer code, selling on eBay, supervising children at a daycare or something else entirely, time passes more quickly. And because you are giving that work your complete attention, the quality is higher and your chances of success much greater.
So if you’re still considering what kind of business to start, begin with what you love most. That will give you your best chance at success.
Oh, so back to my friends at Womensnet.Net.  They also wanted me to remind you that the deadline is August 30 for the latest $1,500 Amber Grant for Women.  Please take a few minutes to tell them about your business passion.  It might just lead to a juicy $1,500 grant for your women-owned business.