• June 2010

Make Mine a Million

Money. It drives us, inspires us, blinds us, excites us and frustrates us.

After the May employment figures were released in early June, concerns were raised about the strength of the economic recovery and the stock market dropped. Again. So whereas things were looking up, many business leaders are back to feeling frustrated.

Of course, anyone who has been in business for decades has seen the markets rise and fall and rise again. Those who have been through these fluctuations know the wise thing to do is to stay calm. These are the leaders we gravitate to, the ones we want on our side. In fact, this is another example of how leadership, management, success — and money — are intrinsically linked.

That is why money is the theme of the June issue of Be Inkandescent Magazine. Each of our 20 columnists examines the topic from a different angle: how to make your dollar go farther, how to stay the course, how to enjoy what you’ve got — and how you can make yours a million-dollar business.

Meet our June Entrepreneur of the Month: Nell Merlino, who helps us focus on the million-dollar question.

Nell is the founder and president of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, a non-profit foundation dedicated to helping women grow their micro businesses into million dollar enterprises. On June 15-16, her organization will host its annual Make Mine A Million $ Business conference and award ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ.

The day-long event includes panels, intensive workshops with business experts, networking and the “Make Mine a Million $ Business Competition,” wherein women entrepreneurs pitch their businesses for the Make Mine a Million $ Business Award. This award consists of a package of business coaching, financing, PR and support from a national network of experts.

This year’s event will include a keynote address by Deborah Owens, author of A Purse of Your Own: An Easy Guide to Financial Security, who will share her insights on entrepreneurship and financial empowerment. Other sessions include perfecting elevator pitches and learning how to get a BIG small business loan. “That’s just part of what will happen the first day,” says Nell, a powerhouse of inspiration and insight, who offers advice on how to boost your bottom line in the article below.

Sarah Stevens of Stevens Technology (pictured above, receiving her giant check from Nell Merlino) was the grand prize winner of last year’s Make Mine a Million $ Business RACE, which was a year-long online business growth competition that is also hosted by Count Me In.

Register for the conference by clicking here.

In this issue you’ll also find articles on:

As you enjoy these articles, do consider these sage words about money from Maya Angelou:

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

Here’s to your success!
Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent Magazine

Nell Merlino Inspires Entrepreneurs: "Make Mine a Million $ Business"

JUNE 2010 ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH

Nell Merlino, Creator, Take Our Daughters to Work Day; CEO of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, and Leader of its Make Mine a Million $ Business

By Hope Katz Gibbs

WHO SHE IS: Trailblazer for Women Entrepreneurs

Even before Nell Merlino founded Take Our Daughters to Work Day for the Ms. Foundation in 1992, she was considered “a professional rabble-rouser with a very active imagination.”

In 1990, she helped produce the 20th Century Anniversary Earth Day Concert in Central Park (www.earthday.net). That year, she also did advance work on Nelson Mandela’s first trip to New York after he was released from prison.

Nell helped organize the distribution of 100,000 condoms around New York City through the Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization (www.gmhc.org), was the communications director for the NGO Forum on Women in Beijing (www.ngocsw.org), and with her brother, Joe, helped organized the YWCA Week Without Violence (www.weekwithoutviolence), which ran for more than five years around the U.S.

She credits her ability to see the big picture to her parents — Joe Merlino, a lawyer and powerful figure in New Jersey politics, who served two terms as State Senate President and died in 1998 at the age of 76; and her mom Molly Merlino, a painter and prominent community activist.

In fact, Nell’s hometown newspaper, The Trenton Times, once wrote of her: “No one was surprised when, at 21, Nell Merlino took a job as a union organizer.”

WHAT SHE DOES: Encourages Women to “Step Out of Line”

In the introduction to her book, Stepping Out Of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want It Their Way … In Life, In Love, And At Work, Nell writes: “Chubby and bossy and the daughter of political activists who took me along to voter registration drives, I figured out pretty early on that I wasn’t going to grow up to be Doris Day.”

Indeed. That book, published by Broadway Books, came to her the day she and her husband were on a road trip and stopped for a bathroom break. After spending an inordinately long time in the line for the Ladies’ Room, she decided enough was enough.

“This book is my way of marshalling all of the experience I’ve gained, and the lessons I’ve learned myself and from the people I’ve met, to help women like you to step out of line, stand out, and make your life fit your wildest dreams,” she says.

How to Step Out of Line

The 222-page book is a page-turner packed with great ideas, exercises and charts to help you organize your goals. It includes examples of women who have successfully taken their lives into their own hands.

After spending just an hour engulfed in the “anything is possible” world of Nell Merlino, it is clear that by putting her approach to work, millions of women will indeed be able to shrug off the conformities that keep them excluded, ignored, inauthentic, or invisible.

“[Stepping Out of Line] means using your imagination to determine the exact life you want, even if that looks nothing like the life of anyone else,” Nell says. “It means changing the systems that can feel so immovable — such as family, work, power, politics, and success — to fit your personal definitions of those terms. Finally, stepping out of line means being for you: knowing that you are fully responsible for yourself — your safety, your happiness, and your success.”

WHY SHE DOES IT: Because Only 243,000 of the 10.5 Million Women Business Owners Make $1 Million in Revenue — and Nell Merlino Says More Can Join the Million-Dollar Club

So how do more women entrepreneurs go about making a million dollars or more? Nell recently spoke about that at the Business Innovation Factory (Click here to view the video.)

She also graciously shared her thoughts and advice with Be Inkandescent Magazine.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: Do you think more women are stepping out of line?

Nell Merlino: I think they want to. It’s just that they don’t have a lot of experience with it. It’s not a big surprise because, historically speaking, women are still new to this entrepreneurial game.

It has only been since 1974 that women have had the right to get credit in their own name. Back then, we owned 5% of businesses. Now, we own 35-40% of all businesses. Slowly but surely, we’re getting there.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: The statistics are staggering when it comes to how many women own businesses, but aren’t making a lot of money with them. Why do you think that is?

Nell Merlino: So many women are narrowly focused on creating the purpose of building their businesses versus actually digging in their heels and building it so they make a lot of money. That is a challenge for all entrepreneurs, but especially for women who sometimes feel they are dabbling in their businesses.

I say in the video that you mentioned, that if you are making $50,000 — go get a job, unless you really don’t mind making that amount of money. If you want to make more, then do something about it.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: There’s a lot of discussion about whether women can have it all — a business, a family, sanity. What do you think?

Nell Merlino: Absolutely, women can have it all — as long as they don’t do it all. We think our paw prints need to be on everything, and that can be a fatal flaw. Instead, work to have a lot of other paws working for you.

Entrepreneurs need help. They need other people’s ideas, energy, and different experiences to grow their enterprise. It’s a mistake to think you can do it all alone. Not only is it impossible, it’s no fun.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: Did you learn this lesson when you were planning “Take Our Daughters to Work Day”?

Nell Merlino: I learned how important having a team was before then, but putting that knowledge to work helped us be effective. It took tons of people to pull it off, and I talk about that in the book [starting on page 26].

The point is that when you are the boss, you don’t have to do everything yourself. You just need to be the boss of your own business, the boss of your own life.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: So how do we get our businesses to generate millions?

Nell Merlino: You start by mapping it out. If you want to earn $1 million, do a simple exercise and work backward. Figure out how many chunks of whatever you make or service you provide you’ll need to sell to reach that level of income.

Then, factor in how many people it is going to take to help you do that, and determine over what period of time you’ll be able to accomplish it. Once you break it up into chunks of “how many, how much, how long,” it becomes less daunting. You just have to see that it’s doable — and then go for it.

Be Inkandescent Magazine: Is it that simple?

Nell Merlino: Yes. But here’s the other secret. When something stops you, dig deep and find out what that is. What are you trying to avoid? Are you afraid others will take your business away from you? Are you afraid you’ll fail if you try to grow, and the status quo is good enough? Whatever it is, get to the bottom of it, and push through the blocks.

Don’t miss Nell Merlino’s Tips for Entrepreneurs.

Nell Merlino gives us five suggestions on how to Make Mine a Million $ Company

The Leader of Make Mine a Million $ Business Offers Five Tips on How We Can Have it Our Way, in Life, Love, and at Work

By Hope Gibbs

“I don’t have anything against men or boys,” Nell Merlino once famously said. “I just am here fighting for women.”

Indeed, whether you are a female or male entrepreneur, Nell’s tips for “Stepping Out Of Line” provide great advice for not only improving your annual revenue, but taking your business to new heights.

For women entrepreneurs, though, the road has been, and continues to be, a tad rockier than for our male counterparts.

Consider these facts from the National Foundation for Women Business Owners:

• Women-owned businesses employ approximately 27 million people

• Women own 48% of all businesses in the United States. This is 9.1 million businesses, and that number increases each year.

• Women business owners contribute more than $3.6 trillion to the marketplace each year, and women account for more than 70% of consumer spending. 55% of women provide half or more of their household’s income, yet 48 million women — that is 80% of all women in the workforce — earn less than $25,000 a year.

Take the Next Step

What are women to do?

“Believe in you,” says Nell Merlino, referring to the three words that are the mantra at her non-profit organization, Count Me In.

She also says that women have to “stop waiting for the world to change and decide that you will change it. You have to step out of line and live the life you want to live, create the work you want to do, and build the personal relationships that will make you happy.”

Step Out of Line

1. Start with the end in mind. Write down or cut out pictures of what you ultimately see for yourself and others in your life, love, and work. The more specific you can be, the more likely you will be able to communicate your vision to others so they can help you get there.

2. Set specific, time-sensitive goals; write them down and post them where you can see them. Further hone your unique definition of success by determining the actual numbers, dates, dollar amounts, or other specific markers you want to achieve. This way, you’ll be able to mark incremental successes and celebrate when you’ve reached your ultimate goal. Vague goals produce vague results.

3. Expect and listen to resistance. Whenever you try to exchange and grow, you will undoubtedly experience resistance, fear, and criticism from other people and from yourself. Anticipate this, listen to the concerns, and have a strategy to incorporate the valid ones into your plans.

4. Get more opinions than your own. Confidence is a huge asset, but it doesn’t replace the need to test your ideas and plans with other people. There is great value in seeking advice from people with more experience, less experience, different backgrounds, and various dispositions. Trust your instincts and do some market research.

5. See your life as part of a bigger picture. You are rarely the only one in the world who wants the life you want or has the dreams you have. Access the wider world of people with your interests and goals and use this network for support, encouragement, and an occasional kick in the pants.

Don’t miss all of the useful information in Nell Merlino’s book, “Stepping Out of Line.” Buy the book here.

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”

– Bruce Lee

I always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger, it’s boredom. The battle against it is responsible for most of the events in the world — good or ill.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.”

– Thomas Dunn

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

Don’t wait for someone else to lead you to your right life; that privilege—and responsibility—is yours alone.”

– Martha Beck

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

– Thomas Carlyle

Do one thing every day that scares you.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Letting go of expectations is a ticket to peace. It allows us to ride over every crisis—small or large—like a beach ball on water.”

– Martha Beck

Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

– Mae West

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

– Christopher Robin to Pooh

Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities.”

– W.E.B. Du Bois

The goal of Life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.”

– Joseph Cambell

Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

There is little success where there is little laughter.”

– Andrew Carnegie

To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret of success.”

– Anna Pavlova

Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.”

– Noela Evans

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.
 Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

– Ella Fitzgerald

If you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”

– Oprah Winfrey

The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.”

– Voltaire

Women once had the goal of being Superwoman; I think most of us now simply strive to have a super day.”

– Author, Activist Lee Woodruff

The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. The greatest failure is to not try.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leo Jozef Suenens

Treat the attainment of happiness in the same way an entrepreneur would approach building a business — with a vision, plan, goals, and a systematic approach.”

– Ted Leonsis

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”

– J.K. Rowling

I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”

– Thomas Edison

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

– Henry David Thoreau

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

– Bob Dylan

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

– Robert Frost

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

Education is an admirable thing to have, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”

– Oscar Wilde

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

– John Quincy Adams

Never never never never give up.”

– Winston Churchill

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leon Joseph Suenens

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

Who cares if my glass is half empty or half full; I still have something to drink.”

– Optimism rules

If you would create something,
 you must be something.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Death is to lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.”

– Thomas Wolfe

Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.”

– Robert H. Schuller

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. 
Now put foundations under them.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. 
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.”

– Mary Jean Irion

Don’t follow, lead. Don’t copy, create. Don’t start, finish. Don’t sit still, move. Don’t fit in, stand out. Don’t sit quietly, speak up. (Not all the time, sure, but more often.)”

– Seth Godin

As each woman realizes her power, she transforms the world.”

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

Anything not worth doing well is not worth doing.”

– Warren Buffett

‎That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

– Nelson Mandela

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