• 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.

Confidence is the most important thing you can teach someone… if you can teach them confidence, you don’t have to teach them anything else.”

– Vin Diesel

As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

– Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

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

– Mae West

Look at everything as though you were
seeing it either for the first or last time.
Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”

– Betty Smith

A diamond is a lump of coal that stuck with it.”

– Norwegian proverb

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

– J.K. Rowling

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

– Robert Frost

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

– Christopher Morley

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

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

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

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

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

How do you stay resilient? It’s about momentum. Like riding a bicycle. If you stop you fall over. So I keep pedaling.”

– Diane Lane

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

– Basil King

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in your room.”

– A wisdomism

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

– Brian Tracy

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.”

– Steve Jobs

The world I believed in, back in my most innocent, uninformed, childish mind—is real.”

– Martha Beck

You don’t love someone because of their looks or their clothes or their car. You love them because they sing a song only your heart can understand.”

– L.J. Smith

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

– Carl Rogers

If people like you they’ll listen to you; if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

– Zig Ziglar

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

– Albert Einstein

Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”

– Corita Kent

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

– Charles Dickens

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

Destiny is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

– William Jennings Bryan

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

Entrepreneurs are willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise.”

– Victor Kiam

No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.”

– Martha Beck, from "Leaving the Saints"

Speaking more than one language is no longer just an asset in today’s job market; it is a requirement.”

– Tom Adams, CEO, Rosetta Stone

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

– Lao Tzu

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

– J.G. Holland, novelist

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

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”

– Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc.

The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.”

– August Rush

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

– Thomas Edison

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”

– Jalaluddin Rumi

By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

– Sri Aurobindo

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”

– Jesse Jackson

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

– Jimi Hendrix

Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation that indicate opportunities for success.”

– Peter F. Drucker

‎Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

– Booker T. Washington

My job is my hobby. I come to work to play.”

– Uli Becker, president, Reebok International

Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

– Gandi

Why am I whispering when I have something to say?”

– Eve Ensler

The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.”

– William James

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

– John F. Kennedy

Some things are destined to be—it just takes us a couple of tries
to get there.”

– J.R. Ward, Lover Mine

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