Female Founders

What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Chances are it’s either the complete opposite of what you’re doing now, or some elements of your current career emulate the passions and interests you had as a kid. As we age, we learn about societal norms and begin to change ourselves to fit in. We lose our way and stop doing things that we’re interested in.

I fell in love with darkroom photography around 12, but it quickly transformed into graphic design and photoshop as I could see my progress as I went. I spent hours taking photos, editing them, and making slideshows for friends and family. I freaking loved it. Creating memories with music to elicit emotion was just all I wanted to do. At one point, my entire wall was covered with pictures from top to bottom! But because I didn’t think I was good enough, I shelved it away in my adolescent years.

It’s funny how things we dabble in as children often come back to us in adulthood but in different forms. One way this has come back to me is @paxthedood. All of a sudden, I found myself taking photos, documenting moments, and editing them for hours on end. It came full circle.

Carolyn Pascual White from The Social Sipper has a similar story. Our female founder this week grew up in the restaurant industry, then dabbled in different areas of the business , and now she has found her purpose through food & cocktail styling! Her beverage blog shares fresh and easy cocktails that can be made at home. She has several successful brand partnerships, and she’s just getting started! She’s also a wiz at brand strategy and development. The Social Sipper also helps beverage brands and influencers who are struggling with social media create a visual brand so they can attract the right followers and customers!

Carolyn was the first person I met when I moved to San Diego. She’s been my friend through many reincarnations and special moments. I’m proud to say I’ve also been able to witness her growth throughout the years. As long as I’ve known Carolyn she’s been searching for her entrepreneurial purpose. She even had a semi launched business years ago that she later felt wasn’t a profitable or scalable idea so she didn’t end up following through with it.

I think those type of experiences are very important as we work towards success. Because in order to reach success we must go through trial and error. Carolyn shares in her feature how this is something she works on everyday. She states that one of the biggest challenges being an entrepreneur is fear.

“A lot of worry comes up for me about making a wrong choice or not getting everything right. I constantly have to remind myself that my success is inevitable and it's all about experimenting and growing.”

I can imagine how many of you are nodding your head in agreement to that statement! We logically know we have to take risks and chances but it can be much more challenging to actually take the step forward.

She follows that statement by saying the only way to battle through those fearful thoughts is to not wait for things to be perfect and to just begin.

If you are interested in collaborating or even learning from Carolyn she loves instagram so feel free to DM her to start a chat! You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and her website, thesocialsipper.com

I can’t wait for you to get to know her today! So let’s get to it!

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What is YOUR story!? Tell us a bit about your background both personally and professionally.

Food has always been a big part of my life. Growing up in the restaurant industry, I was thrown into the kitchen as soon as I was old enough to hold a knife. And in my family, quality time has always been spent eating together (and hanging around) in the kitchen. Somehow, I still never would have guessed I’d end up working with food and beverage professionally. With dreams of being an entrepreneur, I got my MBA in International Business and Management. After graduating and not finding a corporate role that felt right, I reluctantly got a few part-time jobs while exploring industries to decide what business I would pursue. Kismet and some persistence connected me to an amazing food stylist and I found myself on the set of a commercial. It all took off from there. I developed my skills working with food for film and photography and eventually was able to ditch the part-time jobs and work as a food stylist full time. Freelance life was nice, but I didn’t have any control over my schedule and I found myself driving 2-3 hours for a job pretty often. I loved the work but knew it wouldn’t be sustainable forever, especially if I wanted to have kids someday. 

I started thinking about how to use my skills in a way that would allow me to work more flexibly. I started The Social Sipper, a beverage blog sharing fresh and easy cocktails that can be made at home. I dream up the drinks and my husband, Travis and I capture them together. I knew that with a platform, we could connect with brands and monetize. The Social Sipper now has several brand partnerships that allow us to make money at home!

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

I was posting photos of cocktails on my personal Instagram account and saw that they were performing really well. I always thought of enjoying a beautiful and delicious cocktail as a special moment and wanted to share ways for people to make this happen at home. Since the work is so visual, I knew that Instagram would be a really good platform to share my recipes and tips on and connect with brands.

Tell us more about your business and what you do!

In addition to sharing simple and beautiful cocktail recipes, we also help beverage brands and influencers who are struggling with social media create a visual brand so they can attract followers and customers. I really enjoy the work we do with brands, so we created Beverage Curator a done-for-you content creation subscription to help beverage brands achieve better results on social media. We’re actually in the process of launching it now!

Looking back would you do anything different?

I'm really happy with the actions I've taken so far but I definitely would have started learning about limiting beliefs and mindset sooner. I love business strategy but am learning more and more that strategy alone is not enough. I'm constantly recognizing when I have limiting beliefs that are getting in my way. I try to call myself out when I find myself worrying about what others think, judging or dwelling on making the perfect decision.

What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

I love the endless possibilities. It's seriously the coolest time to be an entrepreneur with all the opportunities to have an impact and reach people online. A lot of my friends say they can't imagine not having the comfort of a consistent paycheck but I think it's exciting to know there are no limits on that number. Oh and I also really like working in yoga pants.

Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.

Getting our first brand partnership was a big moment for me. It happened 3 months after we started and with less than 1,000 followers on Instagram. I was convinced that I had to build a huge account to get paid so it was really exciting to prove that not to be true. It made me question the other limiting beliefs that were getting in my way which has been so valuable for me as an entrepreneur.

What about some of the challenges you face as a female entrepreneur?

I find myself struggling with pricing and talking about money. As a female, it's generally really easy for me to build and nurture relationships but I find myself in fear when I'm asking for money. It's something I'm working on.

Advice for other other female entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?

Don't wait! It's so easy to say you'll take action "once you have 10k followers" or "when you have a more professional website," etc. There will ALWAYS be another thing to do. Get out of your own way and take action as soon as you can!

What is your favorite quote?

"If not this, then something better"

How do you avoid burnout?

This is a work in progress for me. I realized that the burnout comes in when I'm doing things that are out of my zone of genius. So I am constantly evaluating what I'm excited about doing and what brings me joy in my business and try to do more of that and less of everything else.

We know all entrepreneurs work differently. How do you schedule your day?

All my days are different. When we're not shooting, I usually start my day with a workout and give myself a lot of flexibility throughout the day. I find that I'm most productive in the afternoon, so I allow my mornings to be relaxed and take time for myself.

How do you advertise your brand?

Right now, I just get the word out by sharing content on Instagram and my site.

What are your MUST have tools?! (things like organization, calendars, social media, payment platforms, business development sources...etc.)

I'm an old fashioned paper and pencil kind of gal so my planner and desk calendar are necessities for me. Otherwise, Plann for planning Instagram, VSCO for editing photos, Canva for designing graphics and Dropbox for delivering photos. I also couldn't live without Google Drive.

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Thank you Carolyn for your time and energy. I know a big take away for me was about your money mindset- especially as a female. I feel as if (at least I do) have a need to be liked and I don’t want to cause waves - ESPECIALLY when I am landing a new client. I have learned through experience and other coaches that this all about my relationship with money which comes from my childhood and learned experience.

It’s very normal for women to downgrade their packages and prices due to not feeling worthy. Hopefully with the army of female founders blossoming around the world we can make change and build confidence. We’ve been taught to not talk about money when we really should be talking about!

A few things that have helped me are:

  1. Getting to know my value and what I do for clients.

  2. Accepting that not everyone will be ok with my prices.

  3. Following through with my packages when I present them. I also always pause after I say the prices instead of trying to cover it up with jibber jabber!

  4. Being OK when I do get paid the amount I ask for (not feeling guilty)

We will have another feature on this topic in due time but in the meantime do you have comments or ideas on how to build a healthy relationship with money? If so, Leave us a comment below!

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Amazing Things Happen When You Stop Caring What People Think

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It took me a year and a half to publicly admit what I was doing in my business on my personal Instagram account. Even in conversation, I would downplay what I was creating. I remember being at a baby shower, and someone asked me what I was up to. I responded with "oh, just doing some social media consulting and finishing school"...I wonder if it was because I didn't feel I was ready to share or that I didn't have a mission statement at the time, but I tended to leave what really made my heartbeat out of the conversation.

I always highlighted my Ph.D. because it was tangible to others…but my big dreams…well, those were secret or were only shared to those in my community who I felt could understand. I was worried people would judge me, that they would think I've jumped around too much in my career, or they'd think I was stupid. A dog’s instagram? Really?

I finally ripped off the bandaid mid-April 2019 and got an incredible response. Facebook messages, DM's, comments, and texts came in. Other women reached out and shared they wanted to learn how I got started, and if I could help them become an entrepreneur too. I received recognition from those who I was once intimidated by. I received support from friends and family, which was has been so needed while growing a brand. And I even gained more founders to interview!

Amazing things happen when you stop caring what others think.

Shauna Parisi also endorses the phrase above as she mentions it in her FFS feature. Shauna shares that while growing not only one but TWO businesses how this mindset of not caring what others think has been instrumental in her growth. Shauna also shares that taking the leap of faith and trusting that she would land on her feet allowed her to explore further, dream bigger, and live a life by design. When you start doing YOU and listening to YOUR needs and wants your confidence will rise. You’ll get out of your head and into your heart.

Shauna is the founder of A Million Thanks and is now a running her own health and wellness business in affiliation with Arbonne International. Although part of her job is selling products that she loves, it is only a small portion of what she does. Her day is spent serving others helping them reach their highest potential. This is the work she loves and was born to do.

If you’d like to learn more on how you can get involved with A Million Thanks check out their website here. If you’re interested in joining Shauna’s team or for mentorship and connection the best way to reach out is through instagram or email: ShaunaParisi@gmail.com.

This week you'll notice a few new questions added to the FFS series! You'll find new answers on specific tools these entrepreneurs use, insight on how they schedule their day, advice on avoiding burn out, and even their favorite inspirational quote to add to your motivational bank.

Without further ado…Shauna Parisi everyone!

What is your story! Tell us a bit about your background both personally and professionally.

I grew up in Orange County, California, and I always think it's funny to tell people that all of my schools - from preschool through college - were within a five-mile radius of the house I grew up in. But don't worry, I've gotten out quite a bit! 

I have always had a passion for serving and helping others, and I strongly believe each of us were created for a purpose. When I was in high school in 2004, I started a military benefit non-profit organization called A Million Thanks, with the goal of collecting and distributing one million letters of appreciation to our service members around the world. I had no idea that a small idea would turn into something so huge and something that still exists today, 15 years later. 

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I continued building A Million Thanks throughout high school, gaining so much priceless life experience along the way. Before my 16th birthday, I stood with President Bush in the Oval Office. Before my 17th birthday, I co-created a military support network with the Pentagon and Department of Defense, and before my 18th birthday, I stood in the board room of General Motors and gave a presentation to its executives on the power of corporate social responsibility. 

I went to Chapman University and studied public relations and advertising with a film minor, with the goal of getting into entertainment marketing. I knew A Million Thanks would always be part of my life in some way or another, but I had my eyes on a different career. However, after a couple internships, agency work, a lot of commuting to LA, and realizing in the entertainment industry, there's always someone willing to do your job for less pay, I decided to change directions. 

I decided to still pursue marketing but in the restaurant industry. I started out working for my family's restaurant group in the corporate office and eventually transitioned out on my own, working for various corporate and franchise restaurant groups. Because the industry is so small, I was able to work my way up very quickly, becoming a Director of Marketing by the time I was 25. 

At the end of 2018, my husband and I were offered roles to travel around the world for four months on a short-term contract with Semester at Sea, the study abroad program we met on as undergrads. We couldn't turn it down. So I took a giant leap of faith and resigned from my corporate marketing job and we traveled the world together for four months. And when we returned home in January of this year, I knew it was time to get back on the grind. However, I just didn't feel like going back to what I was doing before. I wanted more options, more time freedom, the ability to travel and have a flexible schedule, and the opportunity to make a difference in others' lives.

So I took another leap of faith and the night before I turned 30, I quit corporate.

I decided to start my own health and wellness business in partnership with an amazing company that's been around for 39 years. Plus, now I get to devote time every week to A Million Thanks!

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What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Oh my gosh, there's too many things to even count! I guess probably first and foremost is getting to use my gifts to serve others. I think a lot of times when we are tied to a company, we tend to be so concerned about our own performance that we forget our purpose. Being an entrepreneur, I get to focus my day-to-day on what I can do to help others. Aside from that, I love the flexibility, getting to take days off in the middle of the week, and being part of a business that is all about not trading time for money. Did I mention flexibility?

Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.

I think for me, it's anytime I'm able to see the impact my business organization has made on others. A lot of times, you don't get to see the fruits of your labor, but I feel very blessed that between A Million Thanks and my Arbonne business, I  get to see my team's impact daily. From granting the wish of a new fishing kayak to an injured veteran to watching one of my team members finally get to quit their second job because their Arbonne business is allowing them more financial options - these are the moments I live for!

What are some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur?

For me, it's procrastination. I've always worked well under pressure, but it's never comfortable. I've really had to learn how to leverage my time, prioritize, and not leave things until the last minute.

What about some of the challenges you face as a female entrepreneur?

I feel very blessed that I actually haven't come across any major challenges as female entrepreneur. I work with mostly women in my Arbonne business, and every single one has empowered and inspired me in some way and on a daily basis. I always say this business is for ourselves but not by ourselves. We get to do life together, not just business, and that has been a huge change from an often stressful and oppressive corporate culture.

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How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

During high school, we were all required to do community service and were provided with a variety of options that we could participate in. Nothing really jumped out at me or tugged my heart strings, so I considered creating my own option. It was just a couple years after 9/11, so our military was still very heavily in the news. I remember asking my dad one night if there was something I could do for our military to let them know all of us at home were thinking about them. He jokingly said, "Sure, why don't you collect a million thank you letters to send to them!" And I just went with it. I had no idea what I was doing, how I was going to get the letters (let alone get them overseas), or where to even start. I had no connection to the military at all, but I was confident this is what God wanted me to do, so he would provide a way to do it.

Tell us more about your business and what you do!

A Million Thanks was founded to be a place of appreciation for our military, where people all across the country could send in their letters and we would get them into the hands of our service members overseas. But as with any business, and non-profits alike, you are required to pivot with the market. So now, in addition to sending thank you letters overseas, we also grant wishes to injured veterans, and we fund higher education scholarships to children of fallen military. We are essentially a one-stop-shop for military support. 

Because A Million Thanks has a full-time Executive Director aka my husband, I'm able to devote time to growing my own business. Now on a daily basis, I get to help people get healthier, choose products that are better for them, and mentor and lead teams to do the same and make an income from anywhere in the world. I love it because not only do I get to watch people's lives change drastically from the inside out, but I get to introduce people to a business opportunity that's all about residual income, time leveraging, and creating options for building a life by design.

Looking back would you do anything different?

I don't think I would do anything differently, because I know everything that happened along the way happened for a reason. I think if anything, I would have wanted to be more mindful. Anytime you start a business, it's such a whirlwind and time goes by so fast. I know there were a lot of times I missed what was going on around me, because I was so deep in the weeds.

Advice for other other female entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?

What if you stopped thinking "What if this doesn't work?" and started asking yourself "What if this DOES work?" Are you happy with where are you now? How about in one year from now? Five years? What if you could be part of something that not only changed others' lives but changed your own? Stop being afraid of what others might think, because their opinions are none of your business and they won't pay your bills either. There is so much potential for you, so just jump in!

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What is your favorite quote?

“Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.” - Bob Burg the Go Giver

How do you avoid burnout?

Personal growth and development! Your business only grows as much as you do. You have to constantly be learning, be growing, and ask for mentors to pour into you. And then turn around and do the same for others.

We know all entrepreneurs work differently. How do you schedule your day?

Most days start out at the gym, but I don't get up early for that. I used to get up at 4:30 to hit the gym before working a 10 hours a day. I was so glad to kiss those days goodbye! I get home, make breakfast, get ready, do a devotion, and get to work. I like to take a lot of breaks, which is easy since I work from home. It keeps me on track to take breaks!

What are your MUST have tools?! (things like organization, calendars, social media, payment platforms, business development sources...etc.)

I use a lot of social media for both of my businesses, so I'm pretty active on that. I also use Voxer for all my communication, which I love. I'm pretty basic when it comes to organization and calendars, I mostly just use my phone with a LOT of reminders haha. I'm a visual person so I love using Zoom for video conferences so I can see who I'm talking to. And all the books - sometimes audio and sometimes paperback!

How do you advertise your brand?

Word of mouth! I've never paid for any advertising for any of my businesses. For A Million Thanks, I used a lot of PR strategies and relied on participants and supporters to spread the word. For Arbonne, it's all social media and word of mouth and my team who does the same!

Thank you Shauna for your contribution to the Female Founder Series! I know that your story will impact so many people. I can relate to procrastination being a challenge for me as well. You mention coming back to your why and asking yourself what is stopping you from reaching your goals - I think this is a great way to re-align and get things accomplished. For example, there are a lot of things we don’t want to do or we don’t have immense passion for but we gotta do them. One way to combat this is to get to the root cause of why we don’t want to do it. Once we know we can start to move forward.

I think because we live in a world that is covered in instant gratification it can be challenging to work on something that feels more tedious or that there isn’t a reward right when you finish. Setting up small wins with projects or mini goals to hit can help move you along!

Additionally, people procrastinate because they are afraid to fail or don’t know where to start. In entrepreneurship, sometimes you just have to start and take a leap of faith. Shauna speaks to this in her feature as well. And truthfully, you might fail a few times but it’s the only way to learn and evolve in your business. xo

Looking to get involved in the female founder series? Leave us a message below and someone will contact you shortly!

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