Lisa Robbin Young

Whether you are established and looking to grow your business, or you are just starting to think about the future of your company, your market matters.

Regardless of your industry, your market needs to be big enough to support the health and wellbeing of your company. The larger your company, the larger your market needs to be (because you'll need more money to pay those bills!). Sometimes that means you'll need to broaden your audience and serve a different "slice of a slice" in order to get that market coverage. Apple started as a computer company and has diversified over the years into music and media to serve a larger market. You may not be the next Apple, but it might be time to broaden your market reach. If so, read on!

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If you are keen to find a broader market for your business, here are a few ways to reach more people:

Widen Your Niche

I know. Business coaches like me tell you to "niche down" and focus on one thing (or one collection of things). That's to help you gain momentum and traction in a market. When you're clear on who you serve, it's easier to create marketing that resonates. But once you're established, or if you truly do have a wider market potential, it makes sense to open things up a bit and serve more people.

Here's a pretty basic example: I taught direct sellers for years. That was my niche. But folks that weren't direct sellers kept showing up to my training and, eventually, I had a throng of non-direct sales business owners that made up an entirely new market for me. Over time, I shifted almost completely away from direct sales-specific training, and had a wider focus on entrepreneurship for creative entrepreneurs. And even now, I'm shifting my focus again to micro business owners who know they want to be the celebrity in their niche. It's a wider audience than just creative entrepreneurs, even though it's a much more focused area of support.

Start to explore the sub-realms within or alongside your niche. Leverage the audience you already have, if possible. If you're a photographer, for example, maybe instead of doing just weddings, you'll also do boudoir. You're widening your offerings to attract a slightly different audience, but an audience that probably overlaps at least a little with the folks you already serve.

Bring In More (Web) Traffic

Whether you've got a brick and mortar location or you're solely online, having more of the right people coming through your "doors" means the potential for increased sales and repeat buyers.

Physical locations make a difference (location, location, location!), but so do the ways you invite people to those locations. What kind of attraction marketing are you doing? Are you partnering with nearby shops to capitalize on traffic already in the area? There are a variety of ways to bring more bodies into your establishment. What are you currently doing and what needs to change? Hiring a marketing agency or a business coach can help (ahem. hint hint, nudge, nudge!).

In the online world, you may want to use a professional SEO agency to help you to bring in more web traffic. You can also do your own bit towards increasing traffic - including creating compelling content that is going to draw people in.

With more web traffic comes a broader audience and greater opportunities for sales, so this is something that you will certainly find useful to focus on.

Partner Up

Sometimes, a very effective way for a business to broaden its market share is to actually partner up with another company. It goes without saying that this other company won’t be a direct competitor, but one that is working in a similar kind of area of work, and in such a way that you should be able to work together towards similar goals. Think: a tax accountant who has a referral relationship with a financial advisor. With the best partnerships, you end up in a situation where you are going to both benefit much more compared to being alone.

Be choosy about your partners and who they are, but it’s the kind of thing that can help grow a business more quickly because you're leveraging the power of the networks of TWO businesses, instead of one!

Sell A New Product

Like the Apple example above, sometimes it’s as simple as just trying to sell a new product and seeing how that fares. Don't spread yourself too thin - that's the issue that often happens when someone tries to sell a bunch of different offers right out of the gate in a new business! Instead, think of another offer you might sell that's a logical "next step" for your existing audience and start putting it out there. You might find that this is enough to start things growing again.

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Looking for better ways to manage your business and keep things under control?

Easier said than done! You need to identify the best ways to make your business more manageable - and it's different for every business. But here are five tips to prime the pump.

High-Quality Branding 

Sometimes you have to design things yourself. That makes sense if you're a small business and you're floating a first-time idea into the world. No need to plunk down a ton of cash on a design you're going to change later anyway. In fact, my designer, Tracy, has a quick and easy e-course to help you get your logo looking awesome for less if you're still in DIY mode. But for your core brand pieces, designing yourself, is often time-consuming and ineffectual. You want brand materials that will benefit your business. Even having a designer build business templates for you can help improve how you run your business. You'll have a brand-standard way of getting your message out without spending too long developing them yourself.

Hire People You Trust 

As your business grows, you'll hire more people to handle the workload. But you won't do well hiring any old warm body off the street. You may need to design a hiring process that ensures you hire the best candidates every time. They should understand what you want for your business and be ready to offer as much as possible to help it achieve and exceed its goals. 

Use Agencies For Big Demands 

There are some issues you may not be able to handle in-house, especially as your customer base grows and you experience more demand. Rather than risk falling behind your competition, leave it to agencies to automate and operate your marketing needs. You can work with an email marketing platform to maximize reach and exposure to maintain customers and obtain new ones. Additionally, working with outsourcing companies for written content and other essentials will enable you to focus on parts of your business that require more attention.

Encourage A Positive Culture 

Toxic company cultures can severely impact how productive your team is. Although you hope everyone will be professional enough to put differences aside for projects, this is not always the case. Therefore, encouraging a positive company culture and fixing any issues between your employees is vital. You need to be on the ball with what’s happening within your office and create an environment where people will happily voice their concerns without fear of reproach. The more communicative your office is, the easier it will be to keep everyone on the same page.  

Control Your Budget 

Finally, all entrepreneurs must learn to control their budget by setting goals and tracking expenses to ensure they can improve overall management. While you can’t be too stringent with costs, you shouldn’t overspend, as this can put your company in a precarious position. As long as you make the best investments in equipment, people, and marketing, your company will thrive as expected. 

Mischief Managed!

You can always find better ways to manage your business and ensure things run smoothly. Focusing on these critical areas will make everything else much easier, which puts your business in a better position to achieve its goals and achieve success.

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Whether you're a new business or you've been around a while, achieving some level of established growth is an important ultimate goal for most companies. To get there, however, you need adequate research, proven strategies, and targeted actions to produce results. You must connect deeply with your audience and seek to understand and fulfill their needs - in ways that only you can. Ways that make you the obvious choice for what you offer. Since competition is rampant in every industry, it is important to stand out fiercely and ensure you capture the attention of your market. Here are some effective techniques to achieve success. 

  1. Affiliate marketing 

Affiliate marketing has been popular for some time, as it is an effective marketing strategy for growing your business. It has introduced a new way of promoting your products and services digitally. To put it simply, it involves collaboration between you and other businesses to advertise your merchandise in exchange for a commission whenever there is a sale or lead. One of its main advantages is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money as opposed to traditional marketing techniques like advertisement campaigns. This is because it is a performance-based model which allows you to only pay when there is an actual lead or sale.

  1. Blogging 

Although blogs provide valuable information, they also help businesses stand out as an authority in their industries. If you have a website, adding a blog to your website can help you drive traffic, build your brand and showcase your expertise. Consider sites like to hire SEO experts who will employ the right keywords to attract your target market.

But... SEO tools are only part of the picture. Curate quality and useful content that can educate, inform, and attract your consumers. Because if it ain't quality, people ain't payin' attention!

  1. Branding

Branding lets the world see your business personality. Brand is more than a logo or marketing slogan, it's the stories, perceptions, and ways your company influences emotions. How your audience views your business is important! Personality matters! Can a customer decipher who you are and what you represent through your brand materials? Do you hav a consistent "look and feel" in all your marketing across all your platforms? If not, you may need to hire help. I lean on Tracy Lay at Digivisual Design for all my branding help. Don't be afraid to change your brand strategy when needed. I've gone through multiple iterations over the years because I have changed. The same may go for you, too.

  1. Video marketing 

It is vital to get into the space of marketing through high-quality content that grasps the attention of your market and provides valuable information. Video marketing has become an innovative way to tell consumers about products and services through storytelling. For instance, if you sell makeup products, you can tell a tale of how applying your products have helped women feel beautiful and gain confidence in their looks. This will appeal to people who want to get a confidence boost and encourage them to buy from you. Ensure you invest in a good camera and brainstorm on creative advertising campaigns so you can stand out. 

  1. Referrals

Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful techniques that can increase your profit and elevate your company. First, you will need to provide top-notch goods and services as well as great customer service to your pre-existing consumers. Doing this will motivate them to tell others about your business and build your clientele. You can also offer incentives like discounts, freebies, or start referral programs that urge repeat consumers to refer your business for rewards. Apart from being effective, referrals can help you save money and expose your company to new opportunities and markets. 

Growing a business requires a collection of strategies and practices. With these types of marketing techniques, you can propel your company to great success. 

Image Credit: Nastuh Abootalebi from Unsplash.

Business security is an area every company needs to look after. While every entrepreneur already knows this, many don’t put enough time and effort into it. They’ll often just do the basics, which mightn’t be enough.

You’ll want to make sure your business is properly protected, after all. Once you do, you can potentially see benefits like:

  • Lower insurance premiums
  • Happier employees
  • Decreased risk of hacks and thefts
  • Better legal compliance

And... it doesn’t need to be nearly as overwhelming as you think. Instead, it’s a matter of being practical about it.

Easy Ways To Improve Your Business Security

1. Perform A Risk Assessment

Every company has its risks, with some of these being relatively obvious. Others wouldn’t be, however. Instead, they can be easy to overlook, despite how much they can threaten your business. You’ll need to know about these from as early as possible to keep your business safe.

Perform a risk assessment to figure all of this out. Not only does this tell you what risks you’re likely to come up across, but how likely you are to run into them. With this in hand, you’re in a much better position to figure out how to mitigate and overcome them.

2. Put Up External Lights

Thieves and other malicious actors always scan for places that look unprotected. If a building looks dark, especially at night time, then they see it as more of an opportunity. Don’t let that happen with your business. Put up external lights, and these can act as a deterrent for potential thieves.

Even ones equipped with motion-detection can be a great help. You’ll be less likely to have any robberies or other circumstances during the night. It’ll even keep your employees safer if they have to leave the premises during the later hours. You’ve no reason not to put the effort into it.

3. Don’t Overlook Data Loss

You’ll bring in quite a bit of data as your company operates. A lot of this could be vital to operations, so it’s worth protecting it at all costs. Making sure your systems can’t get hacked is a great start with this, but it’s often worth doing more than that.

Systems could come down at various points, risking your data. There are tools, like Office 365 DLP by Spin AI and other sites, that can help make that one less thing to worry about. While you’ll still have to put time and effort into securing things on the front end, you’ll be in a much better position going forward.

4. Set Up CCTV & Alarms In-Office

You’ll already know you’ll need some basic protection when you’re trying to improve your business security. One of the first things you should do in your physical space is set up appropriate alarms and camera surveillance. Even in a home office, they can act as a deterrent for any thieves that try to break in. Then, if anything does happen, you’ll have footage of it, and the authorities should be immediately notified.

5. Secure Your Parking Lot

If your business premises has a car park, then make sure you don’t overlook its security. The external lights mentioned above can be a great help with this. They’re far from the only things you’ll need to consider when you’re looking after it, though. You could implement a few other measures.

Ideally, you’ll want to keep unwanted intruders out. Parking barriers, gates, and similar options can all help with this. With employee badges, you can make sure only the people supposed to park in the car park can. It’ll improve your business security quite a bit, making it worth the investment.

Improve Your Business Security: Wrapping Up

You’ll always need to keep your company as safe as possible. For many people that seems complicated, and they’ll often just do the basics and leave it at that. Don’t settle for that. Improve your business security as much as you can, and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

The benefits of putting the work in outweighs the time and effort it’ll take. You could even end up saving money because of it. You’ve no reason not to put some time and effort into making your company as safe as possible.

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If you've been following along at all, you'll probably know that he was admitted to the hospital while we were celebrating our anniversary in Nashville in July. Since then, it's been a series of surgeries and hospitalizations to sort the problem, attempt to let it heal on its own, and then finally to fix the problem.

We got some great news this week: my husband is now free from all the tubes and wires of the past 6 months. Talk about a Merry Christmas!

I've been half joking about including a major surgery for one of us each year in our annual plan. His was this year. I had back surgery in 2022, and a robotic surgery on my ureter in 2021.

We are SO ready to be done with surgeries!!

If I've learned anything from all this it's that you have to make sure that you look after yourself first. It’s so easy to ignore certain aspects of your health in order to prioritize your ambitions, but it will come back to bite you in the butt later! I can't tell you the number of Internet Marketing folks I've known who called it quits because it was negatively impacting their health. It's one of the reasons I believe in building a business that works for how you're wired to work - so that you don't have to quit doing something you love.

You can be a smart person and still struggle mentally and physically. But let's look at a few (maybe obvious) reminders to bring your health into focus as part of your success path. 

Physical Vitality Can Help To Fuel Success

Physical vitality isn't about a number on a scale. It's about having a body that works optimally for who you are. When you have hardly any energy and you aren’t physically up to it, it's easy to feel sorry for yourself and doubt yourself. Sometimes, it can be hard to find the motivation to improve your physical and mental self. Be gentle, but firm. If it's something you really want, keep angling for the way that works for you. Give yourself rest. Surround yourself with the right people to help raise your spirits - or just BE with you when you're not feeling like doing a damn thing.

Mental Resilience 

There's a saying I grew up with: "god doesn't give you more than you can handle... I just wish he didn't trust me so much". It reflects that idea that doing hard things builds character.

When you do things for yourself (yes, you can do hard things), you build mental resilience along the way. But it can also be traumatising to HAVE to be resilient all the time. That's why rest and relationships also are part of your well-being. I like to tell my clients that "resting IS doing something."

Emotional Intelligence And Social Abilities 

I've spent years working with, watching, and learning from people: clients, mentors, coaches. It's taught me a lot about how people move and think and act. I like to think my emotional intelligence is almost as high as my social awkardness!

Social skills did not come easy for me - pretty typical for most neurodivergent folks. Beyond the "please and thank you" niceties my grandmother drilled into me, some of the common "don't say anything if you can't say something nice" advice flew in the face of me wanting to help folks... because I couldn't think of a nice way to tell them they were being a jerk.

Thankfully, I've matured and have a better grasp on how to say things with love. I can still drop an F-Bomb and ruffle feathers with the best of them, but learning how to navigate social situations and read social cues has helped me have deeper, better relationships with people that matter most to me.

Health At A Holistic Level
Your total well-being contributes to your over all experience of success. Whether it’s a case of using the a Light-Cured Desensitizer on your teeth, building awkward friendships that become stronger over time, taking a walk in the fresh air, or speaking with a therapist when necessary, you’ll have a stronger experience of success when you're paying attention to all the moving parts and pieces of your wellness.

I've said before that "success is a destination and you're already there!" So if you don't like the success you see around you right now, it means doing something different... and being intentional about your total wellness is a great place to start.

When I was doing vendor shows back in my direct sales days, it was hard to be seen. You're in a gymnasium, a hockey arena, or show all the size of Texas, with pipe and drape all over the place. Every booth looks pretty much the same from one end of the arena to the other. The only way people are going to find you is if your booth is memorable.

How can you make your business stand out from the crowd? One simple way is to use better signage. Whether you're doing a vendor faire or setting up a more permanent location, signage matters. In just a few seconds, the right signage will engage with your potential customers, help them better understand your brand, and let your business be seen in a better light.

Image Credit: Jack Young |

First impression matters

Your business' signage can affect your brand. Your signage is your customers' first interaction with your business! Whether that "sign" is your logo on your website, or the shingle hanging outside your brick and mortar shop, when your signage is poorly designed, you can send the wrong message to your customers, making them turn away from your business!

As a business owner, you need more than just an orange and black "for sale" sign that you bought at your local hardware store, or a hand-written neon green posterboard (I've used both, so I don't judge!). Signage conveys who you are as a brand. It makes a lasting impression on anyone who sees it!

Promote brand recognition and consistency

Customers appreciate consistency. They want to receive the same quality products or services every time. And you might've not realized it, but your signage can be a way to promote your consistency.


Think about McDonald's. Their iconic logo is always red and yellow. If you suddenly saw it in lime green and hot pink, you'd probably wonder what the heck was going on. Is this REALLY Mickey D's or am I in some counterfeit location?

A brand bible or a style guide can help you keep things uniform. Use the same format for all your marketing materials, from the font to the color and messaging. This way, your customers will know it's your brand the moment they see it. And you'll end up with increased loyalty and trust over time!

Guide customers and enhance user experience

Your signage doesn't stop at your storefront. It also guides your customers when they're inside your store!

When you have well-placed interior signage, your customers know where to look, and where to go for what they need. Plus, they can also discover your promos and offers, which helps boost sales and customer satisfaction!

Boost foot traffic

A friend and I went to dinner last week - or we tried to. Her co-workers told her about this yummy hot pot place we needed to try. We drove downtown and circled the block three times before we saw the shop. The signage was up higher than we expected and it wasn't illuminated. It's dark at dinner time in Indiana's winter months. We simply couldn't see what was right in front of our faces.

When it comes to signage, the location matters. You want your restroom sign to direct people to the restroom, not the kitchen - and you want it in a conspicuous location so that people can actually SEE the sign - instead of asking you over and over again where the restroom is.

So, make sure that your signage isn't only eye-catching, but it's also placed in an easy-to-spot location. This way, you can draw attention from people and increase foot traffic for your business (and fewer unnecessary requests from your customers)!

Signage is a cost-effective marketing tool

You can't deny that marketing will cost your business money, no matter which marketing channel you use.

However, did you know that signage can be your easy and cheap way to market your brand? Properly maintained, you can use signage for many years! It can attract customers, from young to new people, and expand your customer base for years to come.

If you're going for electrical outdoor signage, it's crucial that you find the right partner. There are sign professionals all over the world that can bring almost any sign you can imagine to life! In Arizona, you might head over to and consult with their team of experts.

Marketing your brand towards success can be a challenging task. After all, competitors keep popping up everywhere, grabbing the attention of your customers. However, using signage can make a positive impact on your business in the long-run.

Becoming self employed: the best decision for your career? It’s time to find out! Working for yourself is the dream for many. Set your own hours, decide your own salary, work where you want - the possibilities for more "freedom" in your life and work are pretty intoxicating to think about.

Owning your own business puts control into your hands, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There are downsides to a self-employed future that you need to acknowledge: the ups and downs of income, rejection from potential clients, and watching the business go do someone else who's clearly not as good as you (it happens. BELIEVE ME!). Even when you’d love to do nothing more than quit your current job and register your own business, it’s worth it to apply the brakes and ask yourself some hard questions first. 

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A successful business needs to be profitable and sustainable. Said differently, it needs to make more money than it spends, and it needs to be something you can continue to do for a while. It needs to sustain itself without asking you to spend every moment of every day for the rest of your life working on it (even if that sounds like fun, it's not healthy!).

You need to be sure you’ve got a future in this work - and that it will sustain you in the lifestyle you want to live. Before you make the leap, consider this:

You carry all the risk

That sounds bad, right? And it can be, if something goes wrong. However, if you’re the only one liable, you’re the only one who needs to make a decision. Nothing and no one else comes into it, and your only consideration is what will be best for your career next. 

For someone who’s tired of the daily grind, that’s probably the most attractive thing about working for yourself. It’s up to you, and even if you make a mistake, you’re still the only one who needs to weigh in. This actionable attitude is very healthy for your career. 

You determine your income... sort of

Anyone who gets paid for doing a job makes their own money. But when you’re working for yourself, you get to decide your own salary. You price what you’re worth, you can charge for both service and time, and then you pay your own taxes on what you make. 

This is a great level of control to have over your income. The reality, though is that it might take a while for the numbers to get to a point where you can live off of your business revenue entirely. And clients can say "no" to your rates... we saw a lot of that happening in the online world this year - did you see how many "Black Friday" offers there were priced under $100??? SO many!

So yes, you can name your wage, and you still have to do the work of attracting clients willing to pay it - and enough of them to keep you from going bankrupt.

You make all the decisions

Having the ability to choose which way to go, in your own time, is the greatest sense of freedom -and also a big responsibility. 

If you're like many Fusion Creatives, it may feel like a ‘non-linear’ approach to your career, as Jonathan Martin, NFL, would say. He came out of the NFL and moved into the financial sector! Every choice moves you in a direction - either toward more of what you want or less. You can make as many decisions as you like to choose your own path, and there’s no ‘traditional’ career frame for you to have to follow. 

On one hand, that's exciting - the world is your oyster! On the other, decision fatigue is real. You'll learn pretty quickly how exhausting it can be to be the one making all the decisions. But, you’re the one in charge and that means you've got to get good at making decisions (or hire someone that is!).

It really IS "who you know" that matters most

The more resources you have, the easier it is to stay in business. And PEOPLE (friends, networks, colleagues) are the best resource to have early in your business when money's tight and even BETTER when you're experiencing solid growth.

This might sound intimidating at first, but the more you network, the more confidence you’ll gain. You won’t have a problem with introducing yourself, or selling yourself in the space of 30 seconds, and it becomes easier to talk in public. You may never give a TEDx talk, but you'll be much more comfortable in front of an audience of your peers. This level of confidence is great for any job, but when the focus is on you, your business can reap the benefits. 

Drink your own Kool-Aid

Believe in yourself and your business idea. You need more passion and excitement for it than anyone else you know. Disney built his empire on a swamp because he believed so deeply in it coming to pass - even when others thought he was out of his gourd. If you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else?

Entrepreneurship is a challenge, and while it’s often a worthwhile one, you wouldn’t want to walk into it without doings some research and being aware of what it really takes to be successful. Job hunting may be challenging, but it's a heck of a lot easier than staring down the barrel of having to make payroll for multiple employees every couple of weeks. KNOW what you're getting yourself into - at least as well as you possibly can. Arm yourself with information, get help when you need it, and be willing to take the risks to be successful. That includes the biggest, riskiest endeavor of all: believing in yourself. If you've got the courage to do that, then entrepreneurship just might be good for you!

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Accidental entrepreneurship is more common than you might believe. So often, the creative entrepreneurs I talk with started their business out of a desire to move away from something else, and only after they'd seen some success "selling their stuff"... whether it was profitable or not.

Whether you want to create a clothing brand, become the next music sensation, or open a therapy school, in order to have a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, you need to know how to build the business - in ways that work for how you're uniquely wired to work, as well as ways that work for your best customers. Most of the time those things are pretty similar, but not always identical.

Using this guide, you can understand the best ways to make your own business a hit.

Get help during start up

So many creative entrepreneurs start businesses with little business knowledge, then they wonder why they are experiencing all kinds of issues. Trying to go it alone is a one-way ticket to stress, frustration, and a lot of trial and error.

One of the places I see most creatives trip up is worrying about the type of business to form. LLC? S-Corp? C-Corp? Sole proprietor? Non Profit?

While on some levels, this isn't nearly as important as, say, figuring out who your best buying audience is, it's still not something you want to try to do on your own. Even setting up a sole proprietorship, while easy, comes with risks that you should understand before committing to that type of business.

And if you want to start a non-profit here in the U.S., knowing how to start a 501(c)(3) is key if you want to avoid obstacles. Without the right support, you'll likely have a bundle of problems come tax time.

Don't be afraid to get piecemeal help if your budget doesn't allow you to keep professionals on retainer. Have an attorney review a contract, or hire an accountant or tax pro for an hour to explain the differences in start-up types. Arm yourself with enough clarity to help you make more confident business decisions.

Wild ideas are often the best ideas

To grow your business, new may be better, but WILD can be the best way to go. Out of the box approaches and innovators in the market face some uphill struggles in the beginning - Walt Disney built his playground in a swamp, for pity's sake! But once the idea takes hold, you'll be miles ahead of what any competitor could do to play catch up.

Being an entrepreneur requires a willingness to take risks anyway, so why not go after what you REALLY want to be doing? Your quirky thought could turn into something big and wonderful. You might manage to build an incredible business from a "silly", yet effective, idea! Be that brave person and start doing what feels right. Honor what you feel called to do with this one precious life of yours!

Create an Environment of Empowerment

Some folks can create massive empires from a humble kitchen table start. But wherever you start, it needs to be a place that empowers you. Having a comfortable and functional workspace will help you stay focused. Filling that space with inspiration, motivation, and encouragement will keep you going even when things get hard - and they WILL get hard! That's business!

Your environment at home, at work, and even the folks you associate with all matter. Jim Rohn once said you're the average of the 5 people you hang around most. I don't entirely agree with that notion, but I do believe that you're a product of whatever nourishes you. If you're feeding your mind, body, and spirit things that empower, energize, and lift you up, you'll be farther ahead than folks who are stuck in demotivating and uninspiring situations.

If it's not feeding you, it's not helping you. Nourish your mind and spirit as much as you can. Create a "sanctuary" for your work, and do everything in your power to keep that space sacred to sustain you.

Always sign the checks... and trust the process

Bootstrapping isn't a badge of honor. Trust me, I've lived that lifestyle and it's stressful. Being "self made" is a myth anyway. Yes, watch your pennies, and be mindful of what's coming in and going out. Debt is a tool that's more like a scalpel than a hammer: it can cut you if you're not careful or knowledgeable in its use.

Oprah once told Queen Latifah to "always sign the checks" - meaning, if you're putting your name on the checks, you'll always know where the money is going, and be able to spot things that are amiss before they become a problem. But minding your pennies is only half the equation.

Sometimes wonderful, miraculous things DO happen - and we need to be open and willing to receive them. Yeah. I know that sounds a bit woo-woo for my tastes, too, but it's true. You just never know when that next client will pop in, or a new offer will arrive - out of the blue - to provide the financial blessing you've been looking for. Like that first point - sometimes just getting the right help at the right moment can be a godsend!

It may seem obvious, but Fusion Creatives are notorious for trying to do everything themselves and save the world in the process. Asking for help is our growing edge. Chaotic Creatives are good at the "trust the process" part, but often struggle with the "sign the checks" part. And Linear Creatives have the opposite strength.

Everyone can use a little help from time to time. Be willing to ask for and receive it. Create an environment that allows you to thrive as a creative entrepreneur and put your wild ideas to the test. Then, keep your eyes on the finances, and trust the process. You're doing the hard work, you're sharing your brilliance with your right audience. It's only a matter of time before success is yours!

The digital world continues to expand - particularly for business. The proliferation of new AI tools and other tech-related wizardry means a lot of new opportunities even as old-school methods start to fade.

I'm not going to debate the pros and cons of AI in the creative world here. Instead, I'm going to be the harbinger of doom in another way: cybersecurity. I know, it's not a sexy topic. It's pretty much soething no one wants to talk about - until something happens.

Research reveals that the US has already lost a whopping $10 billion to cybercrime. Although some breaches seem inevitable (if someone REALLY wants in, they'll probably find a way), you can actually protect yourself proactively with just a few smart moves - most of which aren't terribly expensive. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Install a robust antivirus software 

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It seems like a small thing, but most attacks and hacks can be prevented if you keep your antivirus software up to date. I've used MalwareBytes for over a decade now because it catches things before they become a threat.

It’s more than just a security measure. Think of it as an essential step that keeps you poised to repel any cyber attackers attempting to breach your "digital fortress". With antivirus software, you’re not just safeguarding your business, but giving it the strength and resilience to navigate the vast digital landscape with confidence. 

  1. Backup data 

When our website went down in 2022, I was grateful that my host kept backups. But when our site ended up with malware that corrupted the backups, I was screwed. I hadn't kept a clean copy of the site for myself. I ended up going through tons of old content on the Internet Archive and re-posting content that had been corrupted. That's when I upgraded to monitored hosting so that I wouldn't need to worry about backups ever again.

Safeguarding your company’s data is a must to fend off the potential havoc of a cyberattack. Creating an uncorrupted backup (and updating it regularly) is your ace in the hole, shielding against the nightmare of stolen, lost, or corrupted data. Whether you're backing up to an external drive or the cloud (or both!), the golden rule for a fail-safe backup is to store those copies in a different place. This way, you’re not putting all your eggs in one digital basket. Establishing a robust backup plan is a smart move to ensure your data stays safe and your operations keep running uninterrupted. 

  1. Bring in the professionals 

As your business grows, it’s crucial to bring in professionals. Online threats are ever-evolving, and tackling them requires a specialized skill set and constant vigilance. Professional cybersecurity experts not only understand the latest trends in cyber threats but also possess the expertise to implement robust defense strategies. Hiring the right IT support is important, yet it can be pricy to just hire an on-call IT guy for your tech support needs. Outsourcing to Managed IT services like CMIT Solutions is a cost-effective way to fortify your digital defenses. With managed IT, someone else is monitoring the threats so that you don't have to!

  1. Purchase similar web domains

When I bought my first domain name, I actually bought two. I was known back then as "Lisa M. Robbin" - long before my first marriage, I had a place in cyberspace. But it was common for folks to mis-spell my last name. So, I picked up as well as

This step is arguably one of the smartest, cheapest ways to protect your business online. When someone else owns domains that are similar to your business, they can do ANYTHING they want with it - including drive traffic to a site that makes people THINK it's yours! Securing your digital turf by grabbing similar web domains is a savvy move to lower the risk of your customers, suppliers, or team falling for tricky links or emails from spoofed addresses. For a small business, purchasing similar domains can be a terrific investment in keeping your online space safe and sound. Plus, you know, people mis-spell things all the time. Make it easy for them to find YOU!

As your business grows, you can’t afford to overlook your cybersecurity. It’s crucial to safeguarding your data and preventing breaches. Applying these tips can help improve your cybersecurity, giving you the peace of mind to attend to other aspects of your business.

Live events can be challenging to launch, but they offer a ton of benefits. I've been hosting in-person events for years now. There's nothing more powerful to bring your audience together. It can also help you reach new people. And it’s almost always a proud moment for you to showcase what you’ve been working on with the people who need it most.

Whether you're launching a pop-up store, selling your new line of fashion accessories, or a meet and greet with your fans, or simply running a booth at a local trade show to put yourself out there and network with your local commercial sector, events can be very lucrative... when they're done well.

Done poorly? They can COST you big time - in more than just financial ways!

Here are a few things to consider before hosting your first big event:

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Define Your Purpose

It may sound obvious, but defining the full purpose of your event is the first step to success. Now, we’re not assuming you’d just run an event without even knowing why, but it’s very easy for a first milestone event to be so exciting that you try to spin every single plate and end up with too much on each one.

For this reason, being clear about a few basic objectives will be helpful. Perhaps you’re inviting some fashion bloggers and can admit members of the public to a small fashion show including a designer launch of your new product. There, you can plan a good three-hour event with an hour-long show, a meet and greet, and perhaps a book signing or question and answer session.

This way, you’ve planned your event to be as neat and streamlined as possible, packed with content, and will impose on your audience’s time as little as possible. That really does make a difference.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

It’s important to budget and financially plan your event well. Look to the necessary expenses first, such as venue hire, security, bringing along a few staff in extra hours which may count as overtime, if you’ll have any catering or drinks on hand (and of course, the permits necessary to give this out, in some cases you’ll have to hire an event refreshments service), not to mention the logistics for bringing your products to the event space.

Certain niceties may be worthwhile to have but can be optional. For example, a professional photographer to cover the event can be great, as can a videographer who will help you learn more about your robust coverage options, even using drones for wider establishing shots you can use on your website. 

Be diligent and strict with your financial planning, negotiate agreements, and have an extraneous budget you can use in the case of emergencies. Finally, insure the event to make certain you can pay for damages in the event of an emergency or unexpected outcome. It will protect your firm diligently.

Event Planning Timeline

An event planning timeline allows you to put the pieces together in order, correctly, and with plenty of time to spare. So for example, it’s hard to make other plans when you don’t know the dimensions of the venue you hope to hire, so that should be first on the agenda.

When you find it, you know the space you have to work with, the seating capacity for tickets or walk-ins, and how much security you might need to hire. You can also then plan how individuals will walk around your event space, and how much time, on average, they’ll spend at each display or attraction.

Giving yourself a period of months to put your event together will ensure you can book all the services you need, and potential backups, much earlier than you may have anticipated.

Marketing and Promotion

Marketing the event should take place well in advance. With the right preparation and notice to work with, you’ll be able to hype up the event, get smaller influencers or businesses in your local area on board, or simply put together visual materials to showcase what to expect.

That might involve showing sneak previews on your social media feed of the product you’ll be launching. An event page on your website can consolidate all of this marketing into an easy information resource, so those who become interested will see the explicit information and may be able to book a place or arrange their accommodation and parking in advance if traveling to see it.

You can also include your attendees in future marketing, as taking photographs of the speakers and guests and then having release forms signed from those in the image can make a massive and positive difference going forward.

Speakers and Participants

Of course, it’s always pleasant to have speakers, presenters or those you believe could contribute to your event in a meaningful way. That might even involve hiring specific actors or demonstrators to show your product to the audience, or to split up your event into several rooms where attendees can walk through and see different exhibits.

You could even invite specialists in your industry to speak, or perhaps host a few talks based on your experience in the industry and the passion behind your brand. You may need to pay for guest speakers of course, but it’s a great method of connecting with experts in your field and local movers and shakers - also counting yourself among them. As such, it can be a great investment and also a fantastic justification for unveiling more content on your YouTube channel. As such, never have any shame in putting yourself out there like this, the worst your chosen speakers could say is no.

With this advice, you’re sure to implement effective methods of running your first business or influencer event. No matter what event you run, you’ll have perfected the foundations, and as you continue to do this, more wisdom and insight will grow.