Yesterday, I was scanning The New York Times online when I came across an interesting article in the Small Business section ‘Building Companies the Women’s Way’ by journalist Marci Alobher.

This article not only shares one woman’s entrepreneurial journey but highlights two important lessons: Get help and support from like-minded women in whatever shape or form. And that a business idea doesn’t have to be limited to your master’s degree subject!

“Karla Lightfoot, 40, a yoga instructor and freelance writer, was meditating one day when the name “compassion couture” just came to her.

“I had injured a knee so I couldn’t teach yoga,” she said, “so had been thinking about what I was going to do next. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with this name. I had a handbag that said, ‘In love we trust,’ on it. That got me thinking of starting a line of inspirational handbags.”

And then she was struck by the question facing all would-be entrepreneurs: Now what?” click here to read the full article.


Our featured REAL Woman is Stephanie Ward, the founder of Firefly Coaching, she helps business owners attract more clients and grow their businesses. Stephanie lives in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands with her Dutch partner.

Stephanie WardTell us about why you decided to start your own business?
I had been searching for my ‘work/life purpose’ for a long time when I heard about coaching. I decided to hire a coach to help me figure it out and in the process discovered that becoming a coach was the perfect fit for me. Once I completed an accredited coach training program I started my own business in April of 2002. I am grateful every day that I am able to do meaningful and rewarding work that brings my clients results and brings me immense joy.

What do you consider your greatest challenge so far?
It is so important to continually work ‘on’ your business and not just ‘in’ it. It can be a challenge to carve out time to do this on a consistent basis. What gets me focused, and working on the right things, is a strong connection to the vision I have for my business.

Who or what has been a major source of inspiration?
So many people have inspired me along the way, too many to mention. I am also continually inspired by my clients! Creating ideas is another source of deep inspiration for me.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other female entrepreneurs starting their own business venture?
Believe in yourself and trust your brilliance! Be persistent and never give up because you have the power to create a business, and life, you love. One of my favorite quotes is: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Jack Welch

Have an inspirational quote to share? Leave us a comment.

…makes ‘Jill’ a dull girl!

Unfortunately, these days most of my so called social life revolves around combining it with business networking. But that’s all about to change thanks to this website: features cities across the world where members create ‘Meet Ups’ with groups of like minded people, whatever their interest.

In fact, there are a total of 3,513 topics of interest including health, finance, books and politics to name just a few! And if you can’t find what you are looking for you can even start your own ‘Meet Up.’

Give yourself permission to play!

Just like a seminar brings together a group of people to learn, discuss and share interests on a wide variety of subjects, a tele-seminar offers exactly the same but without leaving your seat – perfect for busy entrepreneurs!

Also known as tele-classes and tele-conferences, you only need a telephone line to access live conversations where industry professionals, coaches and speakers who share their expertise with the audience.  

Attending a tele-seminar is not only more convenient but less expensive than physically attending a seminar. For the cost of a 60-minute phone call and in some cases, a charge for accessing the event – you save time and expenses associated with travelling to a housed conference or seminar.

On the downside, if you’re a visual learner rather than auditory you might find the lack of  face-to-face interaction with the speaker and audience could effect your ability to concentrate and keep up with the content.

I’ve carried out some research and compiled a list of resources offering free complimentary tele-seminars. I hasten to add that I’m not liable for the quality and in any shape or form endorse the listed tele-classes. I am simply providing this list to enable you to test the waters!  (Note: for tele-seminars outside Europe check with your provider for international call charges and convenience of the time zone.)

When I started this blog, I had every intention to post at least once a week but shamefully that’s just not happening. With running my own business (Virtual Assistant Service) which includes not only delivering the ‘work’ with my team of VAs but client relations, business development and networking plus book keeping, marketing and administration (yes, I do all that myself too), I can’t seem to find the time to sit down and write my own articles.

But then again, I envisaged that the blog would become a virtual community for REAL Women where subscribers would be eager to become guest writers sharing valuable information and resources about their entrepreneurial journey; giving me breathing space to come up with original content. But sadly that’s not happened either (yet!)

I’ve summised that the reason for this is that many of the readers have their own personal or business blog to maintain and thus don’t have the time to contribute to mine! So it looks like I’ll have to resort to either:

1. Paying a professional writer to do the work for me; or

2. Creating a reading service by commenting and linking to other blogs.

The latter I’ve done several times but it feels like cheating. Although I’m assured its an established behaviour in the blogging world. So for now, until I find some eager guest writers or can afford a professional writer, I’m going to seek out and share interesting and relevant postings starting with a beginners guide to blogging, of all things!

I was recently in touch with Yang-May Ooi, a writer and social media consultant who is the author of the ‘ZenGuide’ blog and social media guide. In particular, the ZenGuide offers amongst many things, an easy to follow series on Discovering Blogs and Beginner’s Guide, starting with the article ‘Have a Go at Blogging.’

Happy reading!

I’m continuously in awe and inspired by the women featured in the REAL Women blog. Each has a very personal story to share, providing a unique insight into the events that lead them to start their own business. One such story is that of Teresa Hulst. Teresa is the founder of Acupressure Massage Therapy – alternative treatments with a holistic approach. She lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with her husband and son.Teresa


Tell us about why you decided to start your own business?  I suffered from pain for the better part of 10 years due to a car accident that left me with a severe whiplash.  I decided to study Acupressure in order to heal myself.  Now I work helping others.  I could not find the service I was looking for, someone I could talk to, who could heal with energy and give me a good hearty massage.  This has now become my specialty, a Body, Mind & Spirit treatment called “The Full Energy Session”

What do you consider your greatest challenge so far?  Learning how to Let Go.

Who or what has been a major source of inspiration? My mother has been a great mentor and my husband an incomparable advisor.  Now my three year old inspires me with JOY every day. 

Mostly though, I would have to say my Angels and Guides.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other female entrepreneurs starting their own business venture?  Visualize exactly what you want.  Feel what it is like to have that goal accomplished well into the future.  Use the present tense when speaking about this accomplishment.  This will bring forth the manifestation.  Dream big and don’t give up!   

*I will be teaching these techniques in my upcoming “The Secret Workshop:A Workshop for Manifesting your Dreams”on 30 June and continuing throughout the year.