brand identity

4 Powerful and Inexpensive Ways to Launch Your Business

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Have you ever had one of those phone calls that you just didn't want to get off the phone? Because the conversation flowed so seamlessly, and even though it was the first time you've talked to this person, it felt like the 500th? That's how my conversation with Maneesha Mukhi went yesterday. It was as if the words coming out of her mouth were ones that I think daily.

It was a pleasure learning more about Maneesha, who is the founder of AskEllis, which helps individuals and businesses connect with experienced immigration attorneys (and other resources). They craft a lot of high-quality content to help folks along any stage of their immigration journey. So whether they are looking for ad hoc information or trying to fill out their paperwork themselves, Ask Ellis has something for everyone.

We discussed things such as her why and how important owning that intention is to scaling her business. We both identified how lonely it can feel growing a business as a soloprenure (especially in New York City in January! Brr). We talked about utilizing mentors which can be helpful to a certain extent, but can also misguide us away from our real intention. We also chatted about how much we downplay our successes and how important it is to celebrate all wins along the way. AskEllis has been featured in FastCompany and Oprah Magazine- Those are HUGE WINS for this growing startup!

I asked Maneesha about what advice she would share with entrepreneurs just starting out, and she had 4 critical insights on this question. Make sure to read through today's feature to get those steps!

There are a few ways folks can reach Maneesha & AskEllis. If you are looking to schedule a consult with an attorney and you know which one, you can hit the "Schedule a Consult" button on the attorney's profile. If you are unsure of next steps, you can schedule a quick call with the Ask Ellis Concierge (via their website) - they always have same day slots available. Lastly, you can just send them a message through the form on the "Contact Us" page. You can find additional information about AskEllis on their Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram.

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Please tell us a bit about your background both personally and professionally.

Culturally, I am a bit of a mutt! My father was a diplomat for India so I grew up in 6 countries across 3 continents (Asia, Africa, Europe). I always wanted to come to the U.S. for college and was thrilled when I got accepted. After college, my career choices were largely driven by visa constraints so I ended up working in corporate America for a decade. I finally got my green card in 2013 -  it gave me the kind of work freedom I did not have before. I quit corporate America shortly after and haven't looked back. I worked at a nonprofit for a year, advocating for domestic violence survivors of South Asian origin. After that, an opportunity at a tech start-up popped up and I thought it would be a great learning experience. Fast forward a couple of years - I finally took the plunge and launched Ask Ellis (with a different name).

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How did you get your idea or concept for the brand?

Ask Ellis is a deeply personal venture. Having grown up in 6 countries, I am no stranger to visas. I came to the U.S. as an international student almost 20 years ago. It took nearly 10 years, 3 green card applications and a lot of anxiety to get my green card. Last month, I finally became a U.S. citizen. Along the way, I realized that there was a big hole: immigration information online was sparse and often inaccurate. Finding a reliable attorney was overwhelming. So I decided to create the solution.

Tell us more about your brand and what you do!

Ask Ellis helps individuals and businesses connect with experienced immigration attorneys (and other resources). We craft a lot of high quality content to help folks along any stage of their immigration journey. So whether they are looking for ad hoc information or trying to fill out their paperwork themselves, we have something for everyone.

What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Learning. You never stop learning as an entrepreneur. I never enjoyed the classroom setting growing up and I always thought it was because I didn't enjoy learning. I realize now that I love learning, but I learn by doing and am a very hands on person.

What are some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur?

When you work for yourself (especially in the beginning when there isn't a team), working alone and being self-motivated ALL the time can be hard. I addressed this by using a co-working space (which isn't feasible for everyone as it is an added cost - but if it will help you work better, it may be worth the investment). Another challenge is figuring out how to allocate your limited funds and time - what should you invest in, what should you outsource vs. doing yourself, etc. There are so many more challenges, but these were 2 big ones for me.

Advice for other entrepreneurs or those looking to get started? (4 powerful and inexpensive ways to launch your business)

  1. Be patient!

  2. Trust your gut! Everyone will have an opinion on how you should run your business. I wasted a lot of time by not trusting my gut and listening to people that I thought knew better than me. Don't get me wrong - some people will offer you valuable advice, but let too many cooks in the kitchen and you will constantly be pivoting and doubting yourself.

  3. Celebrate the little wins.

  4. Before you start, create a simple budget. Here are the essentials to get started (in my personal opinion). Most people need a website, so you will likely have to purchase a domain (this can be as cheap as $10 on GoDaddy depending on the name you want.) You want to make sure your business is legit, meaning you want to incorporate it legally. You can use a site like LegalZoom to help you with this. Have someone create a logo that represents your brand - you don't have to break the bank to do this. You can go on Fiverr or CrowdSpring and get this done at a low cost. Lastly, get business liability insurance - this is to protect you in case there are ever any claims against you/your business products/services. Early on, there are many resources you can use for free. Take advantage of them. For example, you can create a beautiful website on Wordpress - they have free and paid templates that will make your site look professional. Canva is another resource I absolutely love for creating graphics (e.g. for Facebook covers, social media posts, etc.). Mailchimp is a great tool for building your email list (free up to 2,000 emails). Hootsuite is great for automating your social media feeds - helps you plan ahead.

Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.

My favorite moments are notes of gratitude or encouragement that I receive from people that find what they need on Ask Ellis. I recently received an email that said, "Speaking to [attorney on our platform] was a breath of fresh air, thank you so much".

How do you advertise your brand?

The only paid advertising we do is Google AdWords. We have experimented with Facebook Ads, but it's not something we do regularly (yet). Word of mouth has been great for us. We have a strong focus on SEO to drive organic traffic to the site.


Looking back would you do any thing different?

Early on, I tried to do too many things at once. I was building a marketplace, trying to grow a community and create an amazing content platform - at the same time. These are all large undertakings. If I could go back in time, I would focus on one piece at a time. By splitting my focus, I actually slowed myself down.

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Is there anything else you'd like for us to know?

I strongly believe in collaboration over competition. We try to help anyone that comes our way, even if that means sending them to a resource outside of Ask Ellis. I care more that people are being served than who is serving them.

I hope you enjoyed Maneesha’s interview as much as I did. Look for our upcoming Podcast this summer where we will dive deeper into some of these topics such a budgeting, getting out of your own way, and trusting your gut.

If you are interested in participating in the Female Founder Series drop a line below and someone will contact you shortly!


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Did you know that having an attitude of gratitude can help you live your best life?

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It’s funny how the universe works and I love watching it’s magic unfold! I met Beth Devine through a brand partnership that Pax did a few months ago. Beth was hired by the brand to do marketing and social outreach and so we were connected as part of the collaboration.

The more we talked the more we realized how much we had in common and that our main goal in our professional career was to help other women succeed. Currently, Beth is the Founder and Principal of Devine Solutions Group, LLC. She is a digital marketing and business development expert who almost exclusively works and collaborates with women entrepreneurs. 

She founded her agency on the premise that women deserve to have a one-source solution to go to and obtain the knowledge required to achieve the financial independence they require and the work/life balance they deserve.

If you are a business owner/entrepreneur who is looking to increase your online brand presence Beth is the right contact for you! She can help your business generate more leads, establish a new web design, and do a stellar job with SEO. She is a skilled content writer and social media manager. Beth also provides excellent business insight and mentoring to her clients. As for collaboration opportunities, she is always looking for ways to support other entrepreneurs and establish relationships long term.

You can reach her directly by emailing info@devinesolutionsgroup.com or call her at 833-9DEVINE (833-933-8463). You can find her on Linked in, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter!

I am so excited to introduce Beth to our LOTP community and for our relationship to continue to blossom in the years to come! Without further ado…Beth Devine everyone!

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF PERSONALLY & PROFESSIONALLY.

We deliver top tier digital marketing services to those who require and up-leveling of their brand and their business. I believes that every woman deserves to have a profitable business on her own terms and in the confines of her own time.

I live in Tracy, CA with my husband Robert and our two teenagers, Ellie and Sean. Robert works at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and manages radiation safety for the National Ignition Facility (NIF). We have two German Shepherds, Fargo and Zami who keep me vacuuming regularly. I enjoy boating on the Delta every Spring and Summer as well as tour on Robert's motorcycles.


How did you get your idea or concept for the brand?

Based on 25 plus years of sales, marketing and business development, I know that the name of a company and its purpose should be reflective in their brand. The most personal and intimate part of any one's being, is their name. Your name is your brand. So, since Devine really is my last name, why not build a brand around it and highlight what that word in and of itself means to others and then pull it back to the root of who I am.  Prior to founding Devine Solutions Group, I spent over 20 years as a retail operations professional for some of the biggest name brands nationwide. Since then, I spent over a decade as a successful VP of Business Development for a civil engineering and land surveying firm. My entrepreneurial spirit came alive again when I founded Impact MMA, where I was only one of two female sporting event promoters, duplicating what UFC started, but on a smaller scale. After Impact MMA, I entered into telecommunications as a marketing and business development executive and once again delivered the results that inspired me to create Devine Solutions Group.

Tell us more about your brand and what you do!

Devine Solutions Group is a premier digital marketing, business development and implementation agency that supports small to mid-sized business owners.

Our purpose is to assist our clients with turning their business potential into a profitable reality. We do this by creating and implementing top-tier digital marketing and business development services. We are committed to assisting clients with building your business and their brand, so they can achieve the financial independence they require.

In addition to frequent public speaking engagements, training business owners on branding, marketing and business strategies, I am a frequent contributor to publications including Fit Small Biz, Business Connection and Best Hosting Pro.


Looking back would you do any thing different?

I would have learned how to let go of fear, anxiety and doubt A LOT earlier in my life, but I didn't know how to do that. I knew deep in my soul that I had so much potential and that something was holding me back.  I had to get out of my own way because I was holding me back. 

By putting in the self-work and understanding the root cause of the "hold-back" issues, I was able to give myself permission to receive success and let go of the self limiting beliefs. Once I did this, the right people just starting showing up and my business and life took off in a direction I knew I deserved. 

If anyone is interested in the full story of how I did it, I encourage them to contact me for insight and support. I look forward to paying it forward and inspiring others to do the same, so they can  too can have the chance to living their best life.

What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Having control of my time and being able to deliver the required services anytime and anywhere, via a mobile lifestyle. Working with super smart people who have a high degree of integrity and skills and of course, being able to plug-in to my community and contribute to the greater good of others.

Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.

My favorite moments are when I look at my vision board and I literally see a pattern of the images coming to fruition. It is so rewarding! In the middle of my board I have an image that says HAPPY CLIENTS and I look at it and experience that reality every day! Living in gratitude sets the stage for successful manifestation.

What are some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur?

The biggest challenge at this time is that about 70% of the time, I am a technician who is actually producing the work. This is normal in the first few years of a new business, so I get it. 

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As the business builds, I will be hiring professionals who can deliver the end product better than I can. The ultimate goal is to position the agency to be process dependent and not so much person dependent. That is when your business is really working for you vs. you working for your business. I am super excited about my plan to achieve this too.

Advice for other entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?

What ever business you want to go after, create a viable business and financial plan. PERIOD! Use it as a tool to drive your business and course correct when you have too. 

Stay close to your purpose and your passion, then create a business around it, so you can add value and monetize at the same time. Make sure your new business is financially viable first and foremost. Plan your work, then work your plan.

How do you advertise your brand?

Well, obviously we have a signifiant social media presence that is coupled with very strategic and effective SEO, but I will tell you that I spend about 30% of my time networking, speaking and connecting with others. 

The majority of our leads actually come in through referrals. I look at the digital space as what I call "tip" money. Nothing will ever trump the power of an eyeball to eyeball, belly to belly meeting and personal relationship building.

How can clients reach you/Collaborate with you?

Any business owner/entrepreneur who requires an increase in online brand presence,  more leads, new web design, SEO, content writing, social media management, etc. — or just needs some insight or some mentoring, they can reach me directly by emailing info@devinesolutionsgroup.com or call me at 833-9DEVINE (833-933-8463). 

As for collaboration opportunities, I am always looking for ways to support other entrepreneurs and establish relationships long term. For such inquiries, use the same method to reach me by email or phone.

Anything else you would like us to know?

We are always looking to add talent to our Group, so if you feel that you have a service that supports our client avatar, which we can discuss when you call, we'd love to talk you and discover how to incorporate you into Devine Solutions Group and assist you will building your business!

One of the biggest things I’ve learned being an solopreneur is that I can’t do everything alone. Just like the saying “it takes a village” when raising a child the same message can be viewed when growing a business. It is such a gift to be surrounded by like minded women were I can pick their brain on different aspects of my business, become inspired by others, and collaborate with powerful women around the world.

A big take away from Beth’s interview was the notion of letting go and reflecting on how much I hold myself back due to things I haven’t dealt with or how we let past experience dictate who we are today. I am taking the steps to truly break these limiting beliefs by personal development and exploration of myself.

If you would like to be featured as a female founder or are interested in collaborating in some way please write in the form below which will send a ping my way.

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How surrounding yourself with like-minded people can boost your confidence!

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Imagine my absolute delight in getting to interview Christina Conlon. Christina is the upbeat, joyful gal behind the creation of DailyBarker. When she’s not pouring her heart into this community, you can find her traveling with her entrepreneur husband, training their new Golden Retriever puppy Nash, or having coffee with friends. Christina currently lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and pup.

It was such an honor collaborating with Christina. Not only did I get to virtually meet the sweetest girl I also pushed myself outside my comfort zone. I was intimidated by her account since she has such a massive following that I was a bit anxious and concerned she would’t be interested. (Don’t worry- I’m working currently on this worthiness problem). Christina inspired me because she was doing a lot of the things I was also passionate about. Things like cultivating community, educating her followers, and sharing information based of her interests.

I decided oh, what the heck and wrote her anyways. I wrote her a direct message explaining who I was and that I’d love to interview her for my female founder interview series. Surprise! She wrote me back and she sent me the most energetic email to follow up - I could feel her gregarious warmth through her words. We instantly became little pen pals and began chatting about more than just dogs.

Through the course of our email chain Christina shared with me about several tools and resources she uses to stay organized as an entrepreneur- things like Evernote (which I’m currently writing in) and Linktree for the Instagram bio link which allows you to showcase multiple links or blogs. What a blessing it is to have another gal in this space to talk with!

So, what’s the lesson here? Stop viewing people on a similar path as you as your competition. They are ON YOUR TEAM! Connecting with another female entrepreneur can actually boost your confidence. With someone else doing something similar you can learn from them and WITH them! How else do you get better and gain confidence? THROUGH LEARNING! There is enough room for ALL OF US to do what we love. I am so grateful to continue meeting such passionate, intelligent, hard working, beautiful, kind, and giving women. Real women. Such an honor. On to the interview shall we?

What is your business name?

DailyBarker

Please provide your social media handles below (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc).

Instagram (@dailybarker), Facebook (@thedailybarker), Twitter (@thedailybarker), Pinterest (@dailybarker)

Tell us a bit about your background both personally and professionally.

I am originally from Indianapolis, IN, I met my entrepreneur husband right when I graduated college and my whole world changed. Not only because I met him and fell in love, but I also met Beau ("his" turned "our" Golden Retriever). I've always been a HUGE fan of pups, but meeting Beau changed my heart in the best ways.

Before we got married, we moved to San Diego, CA and are now settling into our new home in Nashville, TN with our Golden puppy, Nash. We live a pretty crazy life (we both run our own businesses) but I'm so grateful for it!

How did you get your idea or concept for the brand?

When my husband and I unexpectedly lost our Golden Retriever, Beau, at the end of 2015, our hearts were beyond shattered. Beau was our best friend and he did everything with us. I’d find myself scrolling Instagram, seeing the sweetest pups, and some how, that gave me peace. That’s when I decided to start the DailyBarker Instagram account. It warmed my heart knowing that just one post every day on DailyBarker could help bring joy to others in similar situations — or even others who just loved seeing cute pups each day on their Instagram feeds.

Tell us more about your brand and what you do!

DailyBarker has become a collaborative community on Instagram and through our blog (dailybarker.com). On our Instagram channel (@dailybarker), I feature one photo daily from an account that has either submitted their photo or that I personally found on Instagram. Our submissions have grown significantly through the years and it has been so exciting to watch how excited the community gets when they see their photo as our daily featured photo.

For the DailyBarker blog, we have just about 40 contributors that come together to share their creative passions. Our contributors are from the US, Canada, UK, and Australia! I work with each contributor throughout the year to brainstorm blog content ideas, schedule out our yearly calendar (which is constantly being tweaked), and once the blog is live, promote it across the DailyBarker social channels.

When I started thinking about a blog, I knew it couldn't be "The Christina Show" - I'll be the first person to admit, my life is not that exciting, nor do I know everything (who does!). I thought the best option for this blog would be to create a collaborative space, where people from all walks of life could come together, share their passions and love for dogs, and encourage each other. After all, that's what the Instagram channel is - so collaboration just felt right.

Working with our contributors has been hands down, the most special part of this journey. I had wanted to start the blog for about a year, but I had no idea the great relationships I'd get from actually doing it. I ADORE (and that's no exaggeration) every single person I get to work with and am so grateful for their contributions to the community - but mostly their friendships. I just love them all.

Looking back would you do any thing different?

Yes and no! For the first 2 1/2 years of DailyBarker's existence, no one know who I was! Meaning, the community didn't know who the "person" was behind the account - that is until we launched the blog in June 2018. Looking back, I wish I would have put a "face" to the brand sooner. I'd tell my friends randomly about DailyBarker and they wouldn't believe me. So I'd have to log onto our account to "prove it". I'm sitting here laughing at all the weird looks they gave me when I'd show them.

As for the growth of DailyBarker, I've never pushed for more than I can take on and I am proud of that. It's easy to bite off more than you can chew and grow too big, too fast. I never wanted that. When DailyBarker started, it was from such a sweet place of joy, I never wanted it to turn into a stressful "to do" on my list. Until June, I was the only person who did anything with the account. Now of course, we have our contributors and a good friend of mine who tackles our blog editing and scheduling.

What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Getting to meet and work with so many amazing people!

Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.

My favorite moment was the day we launched the blog - but for a few reasons! When I started DailyBarker, it was when we lost our Golden Beau. From the day Beau passed away, it took my husband and I 2 1/2 years to open our hearts and home to a new puppy. The day the DailyBarker blog launched was the same day we brought our new puppy Nash home. I wish I could say that timing was planned, but it wasn't. I felt like it was such a sweet "full circle" moment. (Looking back, I do not recommend bringing home an 8 week old puppy the day you launch something this big, but by the grace of the good Lord, I made it through, haha!)

What are some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur, you have to figure out everything on your own. I definitely annoy my poor husband when I ask him questions, but it's how I learn (by asking). I'm so grateful I have him to ask though! Even though I'm sure he wishes I would Google more things. ;)

Being an entrepreneur, you experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. One day, you'll feel like you're getting it all right, the next day (or even that afternoon), you'll feel like everything is failing. That's normal. ;) This is why it's important to be surrounded by others in the same boat as you!

Advice for other entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?

Don't be afraid to be awkward or fail (because you will in some way and GUESS WHAT, life goes on!), surround yourself with other like-minded individuals (don't walk the entrepreneur road alone, because it can be lonely), create a daily schedule for yourself and do the best you can to stick to it, don't be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone, make friends in your niche, have fun and take time for yourself every. single. day.

How do you advertise your brand?

All our growth has been organic! I haven't done any advertising for DailyBarker! Of course, that will eventually change, but I'm so proud of how far the community has come on it's own!

How can clients reach you/Collaborate with you?

You can follow DailyBarker on Instagram (@dailybarker) and send me a DM! I check every single one or you can send an email to hello@dailybarker.com.


Something about Christina’s interview catch your eye? Have questions about starting to grow your Instagram or becoming a content curator? Make sure to join our tribe for updates, news, coaching & more!

How sweet it is to be Swell Gelato for Dogs!

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When Debbie Hendrickx from, Swell Gelato For Dogs, wrote me several months ago about an upcoming trip to San Diego to market her gelato I knew we had to go. Being an ice cream fanatic myself I assumed Pax followed in that passion. After meeting Debbie and trying the gelato myself I wanted to learn more about her incredibly delicious small business!! Being an entrepreneur I am always looking to connect with other founders - especially female founders. In a way they start to feel like co-workers. It’s fascinating to learn about how other people build their businesses and what drives them to get up everyday and keep at it! Below is a transcribed interview that I had with Debbie. Her contact information is included so make sure to check her out and try some gelato!

Please tell us a bit about your background both personally and professionally! 

“Growing up in Belgium I've had 2 passions my whole life. One came on when I was a teenager : fashion. The other I truly believe I was born with : dogs. I was lucky enough to have a career as a corporate buyer in the fashion world for 18 years but not nearly as lucky as when it came to an end. The closing of that first chapter allowed me to dip a toe in the second. That toe-dip quickly escalated to a full immersion and now my life is constantly covered in gelato and dog hair and I've never been happier.”

Please provide your social media handles below (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc).

FB :@swellgelatofordogs , IG @swellgelatofordogs Twitter @doggelato

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

“After my retail career ended in 2016 I wanted to just take the summer off from work and stress and only do things I liked. I love gelato making and I love dogs and the idea to make gelato for dogs literally hit me in the middle of the night. Swell was one of my favorite yet greatly underused words so Swell, gelato for dogs was born. I bought a gelato cart and spent my summer in the local dog parks thinking it was just going to be a temporary and fun summer thing to do.”

Tell us more about your business and what you do!

“I make my artisanal gelatos for dogs just as if I would make them for my family and friends. I use simple yet only the highest quality ingredients and taste-test everything along the way. The result is a luxurious dessert that our furry friends can truly appreciate. It's probably a little over the top but I consider our dogs not only our best friends but also our family.”

Looking back would you do any thing different?

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“Growing up, I never thought I'd end up in the USA and 15 years ago, I would have never guessed where I'd be 10 years ago. 5 years ago I would have not begun to imagine that I'd be making gelato for dogs and who knows where I will be in 10 years. So, the short answer would be no, because every step we take gets us to exactly where we are today.”

“It's all encompassing. It's financially uncomfortable . It's constantly living in the unknown.”

Advice for other entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?

Be financially prepared but don't be afraid to take a chance

How do you advertise your business?

“I love being part of social media dog central communities. It's like a family of kindred spirits that all have such amazing love for their pets. As often as I can I try to get out and meet the dogs and their owners . I let word of mouth do most of my advertising but sometimes I dabble in social media advertising.”

How can clients reach you?

“info@swellgelato.com”

Is there anything else you'd like for us to know?

“Buy your pup a gelato, they will think you are so swell.”