8 Things I Would Have Told Myself When I Started My Business

8 Things I Would Have Told Myself When Starting A Business

In 2007, I graduated from college in Washington, DC and moved to New York City, in pursuit of finding my "ultimate career." I had always wanted to move to a big city, and because I grew up in the state of New York (Rochester, about 5 hours away from the actual city), I knew that NYC was the best choice due to its proximity and the glamour I had always associated it with.

Fast forward a year later, and the walls of the financial markets in New York were crumbling, with many of my peers losing their jobs left and right. Because I was so young and the newest member of the department I worked in, I never thought I would lose my job (probably that "bullet-proof" mentality that so many young people have), and fortunately I didn't, but our working hours slowed waaaaaayyyy down, and suddenly, new projects stopped coming in.

At 23, I was devastated. I imagined myself working long hours and helping to create new, exciting projects for my team. I knew that I was young and I was excited to learn new skills and help foster the creative growth of the team I worked on.

Unfortunately, it was exactly the opposite of that. Our team worked to do what was necessary, but due to the economy, that was the extent of our responsibility. 

In response to that, I started surfing the internet a lot (GChat had JUST become a thing and I spent lots of my day sharing links with my friends to cool businesses and blogs that I found online). I noticed that people were starting their own blogs every day and I loved reading them.

I read blogs and other people's newsletters for YEARS before I thought about starting my own business. But I knew, eventually, that was what I wanted to do. I call those four years from blog reading to business starting the "incubation years."

If I could go back to my blog-reading self, I would have encouraged her to start earlier because just imagine what could have happened if I started 8 years ago instead of 5. Below are some other things I would have mentioned.

1. You won't get it right straight out of the gate.

A very little known fact is that my very first business was called "Lauren Caselli, Copywriting and Content Strategist." (To this day, there's STILL someone in town who introduces me as the person who writes website copy. Goes to show you that with some people, you only have one chance). I really enjoy writing, but it's a pretty solitary profession and it used to take me days to get inspired by a client. Today, a lot of my work is really client facing and project management based, which suits my personality, but it was important for me to start somewhere to decide where I wanted to be.

Truth be told, I love events and strategic planning, but I'm already seeing a shift in my business again, which means maybe fewer 1:1 engagements, but I wouldn't have gotten here without first being "Lauren Caselli Copywriting and Content Strategist."

2. Focus more on what's important and stick with that.

Remember that guy from above who STILL doesn't know what my business is? That used to happen A LOT. I would introduce myself as an Event Planner for strategic companies, and then, minutes later, the person who turn around and introduce me as "The Writer for Companies." My old business haunted me for a lot longer than I'd have liked it to, however, it taught me the importance of really focusing on ONE thing in order for people to understand how to recommend and connect me.

Pro Tip: People want to label you and, although it may be annoying, it helps them connect you to possible clients and vendors. Resist the urge to be everything to everybody unless you're willing to stick to the "everything to everybody" label for a long time (see: Townsend Collective, who runs three businesses and is now known for all three).

3. Don't expect to "figure it out".

If I had a nickel for every time I told myself "when I figure out this business thing is when I'll go on vacation/book a massage/save for retirement/invest in my personal growth", I'd be retired on a beach somewhere.

I had said in my recent newsletter (ps, if you're not on the list, you can join here), I recently hit a ton of personal goals and part of me was expecting to look around and be done once I hit those goals. But I wasn't done. It's just the iterative process of me constantly redefining what's fun and exciting, what I want to learn, and how I want to show up in the world.

I'm finding that I want to write more and share more content and for YEARS I struggled with this. Now I'm in a place of flow and part of me wishes I would have just told myself years ago "Just wait until 2017, and it will be easier."

4. Reach out more

In the beginning, I was really scared of reaching out, and so I would read other people's blogs, listen to podcasts, and try to pretend I was an expert at business running. It didn't even occur to me to ask other people starting businesses for help or to share their stories with me, because I was so afraid of feeling "found out" (aka like they wouldn't think I knew what I was doing). 

It wasn't until 2015 when I started asking people to have coffee with me to find out their best advice did I start to notice how much stronger my business sense became and how much more confident I became in my own skills. If I had stopped pretending that I knew everything in the beginning, it wouldn't have taken me two years to realize how much I actually knew.

5. Lead more (even when I felt like a fake)

I've had this conversation recently and the consensus is this:

Getting shit done is really just telling everyone you're doing it and then giving yourself a deadline to do it by.

I get lots of emails that come into my business website from people who ask "How do I throw an event? What's the first step?"

The first step is deciding to host it, then saying loud and proud that you're hosting it. Don't focus on how many people are coming, don't worry about your marketing plan -- just take the damn initiative and do it.

Leading is all about believing that you know how to do something. Most people, given the choice, would rather watch Netflix on their couch. Most people would rather attend a cool event. Most people would rather have all the hard work done for them.

Be the person that does the hard work, and that's how you'll grow your business.

6. Work on practicing mindset (even if it feels mumbo jumbo)

When I started my business, I definitely tended more toward the spirituality side of things (aka I loved setting mantras and goals and doing shit like writing myself a $10,000 check to make me feel rich).

After a few months of that, it didn't really make a huge difference, so I now attempt to focus practically and rationally on building a business using numbers combined with instinct.

However, one thing I WOULD have encouraged myself to do is to surround myself who were about 3-4 years older than me in business, so that I could have observed what they were doing.

The term "mindset" gets a little overblown and is confusing sometimes. Usually, when people talk about mindset, they envision sitting down and meditating and deciding that they're going to make a million dollars.

While that can be a part of it, I like to describe mindset as

"Surrounding yourself with people who you want to be like, so that you can prove to yourself that it can be done."

It's so difficult sometimes when you're running a business to find credible people who are transparent about their own journeys, about how they make money, about what they struggle with, and how they manage to juggle all of it.

But the biggest indicator of success is believing you can do it, and if you see someone else doing it sort of like you want to do it, that belief muscle grows stronger and stronger. 

7. It will take you longer than you think.

I set the same income goal for 2014 and 2015, and I FINALLY hit it at the tail end of last year. I was relieved AF, which made this year's income goal a breeze to set and crush. However, the first goal I set took me THREE WHOLE YEARS to hit, and it felt excruciating. Looking back, I could have easily told myself how I to hit that goal sooner and with less effort, but sometimes, running a business is all about going forth with your own pace so that you can get to the place you want to be in the right time.

If we did it all in Year 1, then what else would be left? Keep going, keep going, keep going.

8. You'll never arrive.

There's no arriving. Like I mentioned above, I was waiting for the day when I could sell my business and...well, I never thought about the "and."

Recently, I realized that starting a business or embarking upon your leadership journey isn't about getting somewhere, because there's always somewhere else to get. If there was one thing I could do differently, I'd tell myself that this....THIS...is the important part. The learning, the goal-setting, the collaborating, and the constant learning about who I am, what my strengths are, and how I can bolster my weaknesses.

Have you been in business for a few years? What's one thing you would have told your newfound entrepreneurial self way back at the beginning? I probably should have told myself to see my accountant sooner rather than later, too. 

5 Tips On Creating Your Freebie Opt-In

 The best tips to create an opt-in for your mailing list

So this weekend is the weekend that you finally sit down and create that opt-in freebie right?

The one that will EXPLODE your list growth.

The one that will make clients drool over your amazing services.

Except you're just sitting there, watching the cursor blink, opening up another article about opt-ins, and not getting ANYTHING. DONE.

I'm going to walk you through the 5 BEST things to do when this is happening to you, so that you can get your opt-in written already.

1 | Make it short.

Two or three pages MAX. If you're feeling verbose and you want to write an epic e-book, go right ahead, but the reality is, people want something that they can quickly scan, read and implement without a ton of work.

There are downloads galore on the web now, so if your biggest hurdle is creating something for your readers to download, making a short PDF or worksheet is way, way better than stressing yourself out for months, waiting until you've got the perfect amount of content ready for distribution.

2 | Make it interactive. 

Sure, tons of e-book content is awesome, but you know what makes people want to download stuff? Organizational tools. Things that make them feel good about making progress. Prompts that give them the brainstorming parameters to actually move forward.

One of my favorite downloads ever is an editorial calendar (that someone probably just pasted from Google Calendar) with a list to fill in ideas for blog posts. It's two pages and I print one out monthly and fill it in.

These days, giving people a tool to make progress can be extremely helpful for your download rates (plus, it's a lot less writing for you if you're creating a worksheet, a checklist, or a sample calendar, etc.)

3 | Design is important, but delivery is more important

For all the non-designers out there, the design piece of your opt-in freebie can get really overwhelming and can sadly keep AMAZING content from ever seeing the light of day.

I'm going to give you a hot tip: not many people ACTUALLY care about the design. As long as the content really helps them spur change, and the design is pleasing enough, people aren't going to criticize you for not using appropriate, on-brand fonts.

My DIY design process? I've literally created a header in PicMonkey with my logo, then written the words for my opt-in in Keynote or Google Docs, then converted it as a PDF.

Not convinced and wanting to make yours a little more profesh? My girl Stacy Townsend from Townsend Collective designs AWESOME PDFs for your business (and she's a steal of a deal!)

4 | Make sure you've got your marketing pieces in line

A lot of people will create an opt-in with their top tips...and that's it.

No. No. No.

This is a marketing piece. Which means you should be adding the things below to your opt-in to make sure there is some residual brand awareness.

a) Your headshot and a fun bio on the last page

b) Your website and favorite social media handle on the bottom of every page

c) Your logo somewhere, either on the main page or as a secondary stamp somewhere

5 | Include a call to action

Since this is a marketing piece, give people something to do after they complete the worksheet. Do you want them to share it to Instagram and tag you? SAY THAT at the end of the PDF.

Other calls-to-action could be inviting them to share the PDF with their friends, asking them to book a service or free call with you, or send you an email with a question.

Your turn!

What is the best thing about your freebie opt-in? What do you wish was a little bit better?

Becoming a Business Owner in Montana: Filing an LLC

 Owning a business in Montana can be tough. Here's the first step to legit business-hood!

Let me take you back for a second to when I first started my Boss Lady Journey.

(Insert Wayne-and-Garth-style arm gestures)

In the Fall of 2012, I decided that I wanted to be a copywriter, which meant I would write the words on other peoples websites.

I had zero clients and zero leads.

I had just left a five year career of corporate and social event planning and I was ready to break out on my own. But I was in a new place (Montana) and the resources were not very apparent and very hard to find.

So I've decided to start a series where I talk about the unique challenges to being a business owner in Montana. And if you're looking for the first steps, I'll be showing you how I slowly made my business more and more official with the passage of time.

Up first? Filing my LLC (it's so simple!)

1 | You don't have to file an LLC right away.

I STILL have friends who have been in the business that don't have an LLC. 

If you're a sole proprietor, without a lot of (or any) assets, and you don't invest heavily in your business, being a sole proprietor is fine.

The basic reason that you'll want to become an LLC at some point is so that you can protect your BUSINESS assets from your PERSONAL assets.

As a sole proprietor, according to the law, you are your business and any business debts or possibly law suits can be levied against your business assets and your personal assets (think personal retirement accounts, etc.).

If this isn't a concern for you, then stick to a sole proprietorship (which you don't need to do anything about).

2 | If you do want to file for your LLC, it's really easy

Click here to read more about how to do it.

Then, click here to fill out this paper work (make sure you aren't dissolving another business or combining two businesses. This is for people who are just starting on their own and want an LLC).

That's it.

3 | Mail that sucker in

Pat yourself on the back for being so responsible.

*PS Please note that this advice is only how I started my own business. If you're looking for a brick-and-mortar store or need a significant amount of investment to get your business started, you probably will have to take a more formal route, create a business plan, and have.

However, most of this advice outlines the exact steps I took when starting.

Sure, it was difficult at times and I made mistakes and had to pivot quickly. But that's the bonus of being a sole business owner: you can adjust quickly. Far more quickly than a partnership or a large company with lots of inventory.

How to Become a Wedding Planner: A #MontanaBoss Interview with Leslie Lukas of Lukas Trudeau Event Co.

Happy Friday, boss! A day of lazily closing out the week, chatting with your co-workers (aka your pets) about your weekend plans, and hopefully closing up shop juuuust a little early. Each Friday, we'll be doing a feature on an amazing creative business owner in the Big Sky State, so that we can all learn a little bit more about the struggle and the awesomeness of being a business owner. Click here to read other interviews with amazing women from around the state!

 How to become a wedding planner, photo by Leslie Lukas

Hey girl hey! Introduce yourself and tell us about your biz!

I'm Leslie Lukas of Lukas Trudeau Event Co. I own, with my business partner, Lukas Trudeau Event Co--a full service design and event planning firm catering to destination weddings and events and corporate experience events.  We provide full service design, decorating and fresh flowers along with concept to completion planning--creating a seamless experience for our clients and their guests.  

How did you start your boss lady journey?

Ultimately, floral design is my passion.  

I moved to Montana in 1998 after training with some magnificent shops in Washington state for 6 years. When I first arrived in our area, I worked in 2 different flower shops between Bozeman and Livingston--making the commute each day (editor's note: That's a hefty commute!).  

Having a strong background in design, the shops just weren't progressive enough for me (imagine FTD style bouquets on a daily basis) so I made the decision to start my own flower shop out of my house.  

So, yeah, I was THAT girl that started out of my garage (living only 6 miles from Chico Hot Springs) didn't hurt either, as I had a built in clientele base for my work and made fast friends there.  

Not soon after, I printed the first sheet of business cards on my dot-matrix printer, made a few strategic phone calls to tell the world what I was up to, and then BOOM!  People were calling me out of the wood work!  I was traveling into the Yellowstone Club weekly, doing flowers at Chico and the Crazy Mountain Ranch, and started with 6 weddings that first year, then doubled each year after that.

About 2 years into my garage floral days, I realized my clients wanted much more than just flowers.  My clients were coming from all over the world to be married in Montana and NO ONE, I mean NO ONE was doing wedding planning except a few church organizers and a woman from NY named Anita Pagliaro (I envied her style so much)!  I wanted to be her because she was so organized and creative.

Anita had me do flowers for some of her events, which I was delighted to do. There was an opportunity and need for event planners and stylish florists right then because at the time, there was a small boom happening in Bozeman....and I took advantage of the timing.  

Martha Stewart Weddings had become all the craze, so I dove into every book and magazine she had ever published, I aligned myself with incredible vendors, seeking the best, and made a ton of mistakes and celebrated successes along the way!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think my work would end up in the pages of BRIDES magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, and so many more.

You could say I was a pioneer of custom floral and planning companies in Montana.  I quickly grew out of my garage, and decided Bozeman would be my hub, and had a swanky space downtown called the Floral Gallery. 

Lots has happened between now and then, including 2 kids, 18 years of marriage, 3 different business names and branding, and making the best decision ever to join forces with Angela Trudeau (formerly of Fresh Designs) in year 17.

It's been a great ride and I can safely say I am still doing what I love.

Have you gone full-time with your business?

I was full-time right off the bat.  I knew that to make a living at event planning and floral, you have to do it full-time.  Working out of a garage, dabbling in a wedding here and an event there; I just knew I would never make enough money to reach my goals and it would be just a hobby.  The demand was also there, so I took advantage of that. 

 Creative business owner in Montana, creative business, female entrepreneur Montana, woman-owned business in Montana

Okay, let's talk about the DNA behind Lukas Trudeau. Were you one of those women with entrepreneurship basically in your blood that we always hear about?  

I am one with a passion for entrepreneurship and working for myself. Floral design and planning is something I am good at, and I LOVE working with people!  I am a social person through and through, and the path I chose feeds that part of me. 

How do you build an income and a life through Lukas Trudeau?

I make my money by making good business decisions, selling our planning services and flowers for top dollar and fair margin (that matches our experience) and providing the products and services that live up to it.

Never being afraid to pull back when something isn't working. For our business, we keep changing it up and watching the market. We find it important to research good sources and watch trends in town, while keeping an eye on our competitors. It's important for us to keep our name out there and stay relevant.  

Being authentic helps tremendously....as does trust. Not only trusting my gut but also making sure my clients trust me. It's important for us to do an amazing job for our clients and to build great relationships in the community.

A good example of making a bold business decision is letting our office in the Baxter Hotel go after three years.  We currently have two warehouses on top of the office, and while we can afford all of it, we just do not use the office enough to justify it.

So far, the emails and phone calls have not stopped and we seldom have drop-in clients. It's just smart business to save that money!  

 How to become a wedding planner in Montana

What was your most expensive mistake?

My most expensive mistake was growing my company too fast in 2002 without a plan. I ended up saying yes to every job.  I didn't realize how much my expenses would grow with insurance, added employees, more product, and made an even bigger mistake of not raising my profit margins.  

I was being too nice and undervaluing my product and was charging my clients the same as if I was still back in my garage doing flowers instead of someone that now had a brick and mortar shop.  An expensive mistake, but I did recover from it the next year.  Now with all the reality shows, podcasts and resources (which we did not have then!  or boss ladies!) no one should be making those kinds of mistakes!

What's the biggest misconception that women have around business ownership?

That you have to have a business plan.  I started my company without one (well, it was jotted on a old notepad), but as primitive as it was, it was enough.  

Sometimes, just taking the leap and getting your idea out there before someone else does is more important than the plan. Just don't get caught up on how shiny that plan is or how proper.

While it is nice to have a plan from the start, and some loans and grants require the shiny version and because you will need money to start your business, it just wasn't necessary for the type of business that I wanted to open.

Now I write mini business plans around things I would like to try, such as pop up shops or other products. When the numbers don't crunch out to where I would like to see them, I let the idea go.  

Where would you like to be in the next year? The next five years?

I am content in the now. Change can happen rapidly in business, so being in the now and present is so important to my work. In five years, I hope to be passing the torch to another go-getter who wants to take our company into the next decade of existence, hoping to have built a brand that people rely on.  

How would you define a Boss Lady?

A Boss Lady is a driven woman who decided to take a leap of faith, wave her magic wand, and follow her dreams and not let anyone or anything get in her way. 
 

 Business owner in Montana, creative business owner Mountain West

What one piece of advice would you give yourself in your first year as a biz owner? How about year 3?

Year one....don't forget to eat...and breath.  Year 3....see year one.  (but seriously, always take time for yourself no matter what and don't forget those around you who are helping you achieve your dreams--gratitude goes a long way!)

Want to get in touch with Leslie? Check her out on their website. Send her an email and tell her how you found out about her (*cough* The #MontanaBoss feature *cough*)

(P.S. Want to share your story with other Montana business owners? Click here.)

How to Approach People Who Are Bigger Than You, Up Your Engagement, and Get Out of Your 9-5 Already

I read a LOT of things on the internet about marketing and strategy (and Beyonce), so I thought I'd start a weekly series with a bunch of my favorite links that I peruse each week. And so, Wednesday Links it is, brought from my browser (and my late night glasses of wine) for your reading pleasure. No google searching and getting lost in the internet required. You're welcome.

If you're discouraged with the lack of engagement on your blog, it's probably because you're not promoting it well. Here are 17 things that you can do to up your engagement and traffic to your blog posts (and even if you only did 2 or 3 I'm sure that's a start).

Do you love collaborating with other business owners? Here's are 8 GREAT ways to start approaching people who are "bigger" than you and have them say yes to a collab.

Does Instagram marketing confound you? Here are three things you need to stop doing.

Transitioning out of your 9 - 5 and want to know if it's the right decision? This is for you.

How you can get people to trust you online (and get more clients and customers as a result)

I've done bits and pieces of Nathalie's 30-Day List Building Challenge and it's uh-may-zing.

Heading to the tax man soon? Here's your checklist of how to prepare yourself (editor's addition: wine. Lots of wine.)

Struggling to get clients? Nevica has 4 ways to get clients, like, yesterday (no begging necessary)

How you can scale your business (so you ain't gotta do as much hustlin')

In the wedding industry? This is why you aren't getting clients

Money blocks? Denise Duffield is my faaaavorite and she's gettin' REAL about why you aren't making the cash-money you may want to be making.

Selling is an art, and can be really hard for creative business owners. Here are some phrases to retire (and more importantly, what to replace them with)

Want to do an event that actually converts clients for you? I've got you covered, sister.

PS You might like: If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Do It, Four Ways to Set Up Your Business For Success, and How to Prepare for a Client Intake Meeting

#MontanaBoss: Introducing our Friday Series

When I moved to Montana in 2012 from New York City, I remember having a HUGE dream to start my own copywriting shop here in Bozeman, grow my influence, make $100k in my first year, and then move back to New York and rent a cute studio in Williamsburg.

Which...didn't really happen. Like, at all.

The one thing that I remember missing the most during my first year here in Montana was theaccess to other entrepreneurs, male or female, either at networking events OR being able to find them and their stories online. I found it so powerful in New York to read someone's about page and their website and then be able to actually go and meet them at a happy hour or a networking event.

Well, since the Boss Lady Bash was launched, I've always wanted to have an online home for women not yet in the community to read about the amazing women that ARE in the community. A way for these women to tell their stories and to really get REAL on the wins and the struggles that happen as an entrepreneur.

So every Friday for as long as I have #bossladies (which is a LOT in this state! Twice the rate of men!), I'll be putting together a little interview series called #MontanaBoss.

I can't WAIT to introduce you to some of the amazing women who are going to come on the blog. We've got florists, investors, bank owners, restaurateurs, and other mega-badass babes on the quest to not only create a business, but to create a life.

Want to get in on the action?

Fill out this questionnaire, and then send me over a few photos. I'll let you know within two weeks when your post goes live!

What is a "Boss Lady"?

Forgive me if you've seen this already on Instagram, but in a moment of sheer genius (aka after about 3 dozen Christmas cookies and a flight of Maker's Mark), I decided that it was time to actually DEFINE this #bosslady business.

(And Maker's + Christmas cookies always helps when you're trying to get deep into the soul of your business, amiright?)

Because the truth is...

...being a BOSS sounds good in theory, but it's actually quite difficult.

...being a BOSS means doing the hard thing (blogging, devoting time to marketing, pitching a new client, creating a brand new set of events) when there's no one telling you to not do  the easy thing (watch Netflix, screw around on Facebook, paint your toenails, did I mention Netflix?).

...being a BOSS isn't just what you do all day. It's how you live your life, how you share your unique gift, and what you tell the haters (which absolutely should be one word: BYE!)

...being a BOSS (and I guess here is where I make the gender qualifier) LADY means:

1. Being serious about your business...whatever serious means to you. 

The biggest indicator of a woman deserving of the title "BOSS" is someone who wants the life of working for herself, and pursues it endlessly.

Which sometimes, can look like laying down the hammer for a year while she gets her marriage in order.

Or takes care of her young children.

Or works on herself.

Or travels...because she always promised herself she would.

Or works part-time because that's really all she wants to work.

The best thing about being your own BOSS is that YOU get to decide...not your mama, not your best friend, not your husband.

YOU, sister.

And whatever being a boss to you looks like is exactly what you should be. 

Ain't nobody got time for apologizing. There are empires to build, and states-of-the-business to run.

Be a BOSS...and be utterly dedicated to doing it. The rest will come, so long as you're loyal to your own vision (which will probably change...hourly. Just go with it).

Note: There is nothing more powerful than a Boss Lady who owns her vision. So if you find yourself taking endless meetings with people who you think are going to give you the secret of business ownership, and then immediately after complaining to your friends about how "you maybe are going to change directions" and "you're not quite sure about pottery" and "maybe next year when you have more time"...I'm going to side-eye the holy hell out of you.

Boss Ladies do ONE THING and that is COMMIT...to saying YES, to saying NO, to moving in a different direction, to moving to a different state. That's all I'm asking of you: commit to your mission and forget everybody else. 

2. Being so completely in love with what you're doing that you don't even have time to be jealous.

Which, fair enough, is easier said than done. The one thing that destroys me about a lot of networking groups is that there is this underlying tone of competition...and I'm here to tell you that women who are BOSS don't worry about competition.

Competition keeps the market healthy, and the minute you start spiraling into that "Well, but she's totally stealing my clients by being in business!" is the moment your BOSS tiara gets snatched off your head.

Her success does not mean your failure. Her success simply means you get to cheer her on while you flip your hair and continue killing it.

3. Cheering loudly and wildly...for yourself AND for others.

You cannot serve the world by playing small. So yell your achievements loudly, take huge risks and tell us about them...we'll be there cheering right alongside you.

4. Not letting the boys have all the fun.

I've gotten a lot of flack over the last year for not creating an "inclusive" group and opening my community up to a larger market (read: men).

You know what I have to say?

FUUUUUUUUCCK THAAAAAAAATTTTT. 

(Let me compose myself here for a second. And if you're not a swear-er, I promise that's the last time I'll say it in this post.)

Because there are TONS of opportunities that are co-ed and I've been to them and, quite frankly, I think they're terrible. I think they're fake and I think that when you try to play by men's rules, you're still playing by someone else's rules.

You know what's not terrible? When you get a bunch of women in a room together and you talk to them about being supportive and not taking any nonsense and lifting each other up.

THAT is what a tribe of sisters can do when we push each other up the ladder.

Inclusivity be damned.

Note: Keep going to those inclusive events, though. I'm not hating on networking events that are co-ed, just events in general that waste my time because we're all conforming to these weird, established rules when really I want to talk about how badly I'm killing it and have three women high-five me and not try to tear me down by saying "Oh that's good! For a woman!"

AND FINALLY!

I wanted to let you know what you can expect from this blog every week.

I'm going to post Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

You'll hear from some AMAZING female business all around the state of Montana and how they make it work in this great (though somewhat resource lacking) state.

There will be educational posts (do I need to file for an LLC? What's the  best website template to use?) and the latest entrepreneurial news from around the state (which I'll have to hire a liaison for because while I'm a Jedi at social media trends, legislation

And to be honest?

You should stick around because this is the ONLY place in all of Montana (and possibly all of the Mountain West) that gives sassy, location-specific advice and story-telling.

And who doesn't need more of that?