My mom started wearing a Fitbit a few months ago. “Probably something she bought on QVC,” I thought to myself (she loves ordering gifts from them). Since she ordered two, she offered one of them to me. I had no idea what a Fitbit was a the time, so I dismissed the offer by saying, “Mom, I appreciate the thought, but I will literally never wear that. And seriously, stop shopping on QVC.”

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I see people in my office rocking black bands around their wrists. I asked one of my colleagues what it was, and she told me it was her new Fitbit. Having completely forgotten about the conversation with my mom regarding her new wrist accessory, I asked what that was. She told me it was like a fancy pedometer that also tracks your sleep patterns. I thought, “hmm, that’s cool. I want to track my sleep patterns.”

I went online to do some research about this new Fitbit trend. Upon reading user reviews and all of its capabilities, I decided I wanted to try one out. I was speaking casually with my mom on the phone one day and told her that I was looking into getting a Fitbit. “Well, well, well,” she said, “noooowww you want a Fitbit. Well it just so happens that I still have that extra one. I’ll send it to you.” And that, my friends, is when my obsession began. Read More →

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When I was visiting my friends and family in Houston last week, I made my way to midtown to visit a friend from high school. As we were just about to part ways, I saw a giant crowd of people standing around an arena in the outdoor section of a popular local bar called Little Woodrow’s. I asked my friend what was going on, and he said, “Oh, it’s turtle racing,” as if it were a completely normal thing to pass while walking along a downtown street in a major U.S. city.

He asked if I wanted to watch for a little bit because they were just getting started… and I was clearly fascinated by the idea.

“YEAH I DO!”

Side note: when I was in high school, I had two baby water turtles named Mike and Ike. I miss those little buggers.

With several other popular bars within walking distance, Little Woodrow’s hit the nail on the head when it comes to standing out from the crowd. This was a Thursday night at 9pm, and the place was completely packed with young working professionals ready to cheer on one of the ten turtles from the pack. Read More →

MIn this interview with Margie Newman, we’ll discuss how Margie left the corporate world to begin her own entrepreneurial endeavor, moved her life to sunny San Diego, and how she did it all as a new mom!

Margie was one of the first people I was fortunate enough to meet in 2010 when I had first graduated from college. I got off the plane from Houston to DC, dropped my bags at my brother’s house, went to a WWPR event at a bar somewhere in the city, and started networking and looking for a job. Margie took me under her wing, offered me guidance, introduced me to some fantastic public relations folks in the area, and is now running her own successful PR agency in San Diego, CA!

Check out the Intesa Communications blog here, and leave your thoughts for Margie in the comments section below! 

(Recommended “to-do list” tool from Margie in the interview: Good To Do)

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I’m obsessed with Instagram. I love it for taking photos of everything I eat (yeah – I’m that obnoxious person), I love it for my clients, and I love it for stalking my friends through these little photographical filtered gems. Seriously – Instagram rates higher than Twitter in my book of nerdiness, and that says a lot because I LOVE Twitter.

Anyways, before today, there was no easy way to embed your Instagram photos to your website without the use of a third-party tool such as SnapWidget (which is still a pretty cool tool – it allows you to embed your entire Instagram stream to your website/blog). Read More →

Compete

This is a guest post from Jake Thompson, Compete Every Day

2013-06-07 16.16.56“What did I get myself into?”

Those are the words that consistently ran through my mind for the first two years of starting my own business. I was overwhelmed, and to be honest, had no idea what I was doing half of the time. It was a trial by fire, where every day you are learning on the fly. I think it’s a position most of us who start a business can relate to. We have an idea, we launch the idea, yet we don’t know everything that we will encounter.

And that’s the fun of it.

There’s nothing like finally taking that leap and launching your idea, turning a dream into a reality. It’s exhilarating, frustrating, motivating, and humbling all at the same time. I had spent a few years designing plans and strategies for businesses that never left the ground. Some were of my own creation, others of clients. Regardless, they ended up staying on paper and never found life. I started Compete Every Day with no retail experience, no fashion experience, and no ecommerce experience. But I had a lot of passion and I was going to be damned if this idea never came to life. So I launched it.

I’ve spent the last two-plus years grinding. I started with a small investment of my own and decided to bootstrap this business without investors for as long as I possible could. My goal was to build the business the right way – not by forcing a product down customers’ throats, but instead, building a powerful story and inviting others to be a part of it. I feel that’s the area we’ve been hugely successful with at Compete Every Day. I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way. Budgeting was one of my hardest skills, and it showed, but the experience gained from experimenting different projects has been valuable.

We grew over ten-fold in the last two years. We’ve already surpassed our 2012 sales only six months through 2013, and are anticipating a big remainder of the year with upcoming events. The same shirts that were sold out of the back of my car when I launched are now the same products being worn by professional athletes, country music stars, and individuals worldwide. The support and success has been overwhelming, but it was far from easy. The road has been long, difficult, and full of many failures along the way. But it’s a learning experience you could never find inside of a classroom or staring at pages writing a business plan that you’ll eventually lock away in a cabinet.

If you’re passionate about an idea want to launch, here’s what I’ve learned that should prepare you for the road ahead. Read More →

4474421855_4b20643258_z copyUsually I like to take the summer to read a lot of trashy fiction, but I didn’t even realize it was summer until someone asked me if I had any trips planned. Apparently, life after college means forgetting when Spring Break and summer vacations are supposed to be. That being said, I’ve been seeking out a lot of business and self-help books (you know – for when I’m not rereading The Hunger Games books yet again)… Last year, I wrote this list of books – and I still highly recommend all four of these! In addition to those, here a few more books from personal finds and my book club (which I’ve never actually attended – but  I like to read along with the crew).

If you’ve read any of these, what did you think, and what others would you recommend?  Read More →

A meeting is never just a meeting

This is a guest post from Linn Grubstromm*

A few weeks ago, I was chosen to represent Denmark on a wine-road trip in France. Together with five international bloggers, two coordinators, and a small camera-crew, we spent nine days traveling through the country. The goal was to communicate our findings about French wine to each of our respective countries.

It was a varied group of people. Jens, from Belgium, has a big web shop where he sells Belgium wine. Matt and Irene are respected wine journalists in England and the Netherlands. Sebastian has one of Germany’s biggest travel blogs, and so does Alex in Russia. And then there was me – a medium-size food blogger and radio hostess from Denmark.

Before we started our trip, none of us had met each other. On the 25th of May, I shook hands with a bunch of strangers, crossing my fingers that they would be nice and that the trip would go well. They were nice. They were actually much more than nice. During the trip, I didn’t only learn about wine and France. The other people shared their experiences, and gave me the inspiration and motivation that I’ve been looking for, for such a long time.

They all made a living out of blogging and communicating through their own channels and freelance work. They told me about how they make their economic situation work, how they sell their material to different sites and companies, how they handle people in their close surroundings shaking their heads while telling them that going freelance is a bad idea. Read More →