About Us

StartupLadies provides a perspective on business and the associated lifestyle from two ladies who have started their own business and run this blog to document their experiences, share some advice, and occasionally vent some frustration. Running a business both requires and produces a different personality and skill set than working for the man. This is our journey...
windmill

Take a Break

I always thought it would be cool to have my own little cabin with my own little outside grounds where I could do whatever I wanted.  That may just be something that

car

Commercial Marketing

My friend has got that gotta-get-a-new-car-deal thing.  We were having lunch the other day and he asked if I’d seen the commercials for some new BMW or whatever and I said no. 

blankets

Find Another Girlfriend

My friend said that his girlfriend said she’s going to dump him.  I asked him why and he said it’s because she said he snores.  I asked him if he knew if

headache

A Day Off

I pretty much got nothing done today because I wasn’t feeling well.  If I had a normal job I would’ve had to use a sick day and stay home from work today.

logo design

A Little Thing That Makes A Huge Impression

Some of you may remember an earlier post I did about coming up with a name for your company and how it can actually be quite a challenge despite seeming simple.  There’s

 

Take a Break

windmill

I always thought it would be cool to have my own little cabin with my own little outside grounds where I could do whatever I wanted.  That may just be something that you think about when you have been in your workspace for too long and want to just go outside and then you go on out and realize that you are surrounded by buildings and people going to their places of preferred beverage creations so they can get their energy fix and then head back to their job.  It’s amazing really to think that when you are all around this kind of thing it kind of gets into your idea of what you are supposed to do.  There is nothing wrong with being steadfast about your job, but I think that maybe some people need to give some thought to if that is all they want to do.

However I probably shouldn’t be talking since I probably work as much as the people I am discussing here.

But wouldn’t it be cool to just be in your own little spot and have a stroll out back and take in the sights or whatever.  You could put up some things to give it your own flavor.  Having those kinds of breaks can help increase your enthusiasm for the work you’re doing, and I would set up my own little garden with some flower and stuff and I’d have cast iron garden furniture there and I would have some grass that would be all over the outdoors and you could make a point to notice how real everything feels.  That’s what I would do.

But of course, that’s like the opposite from where I am.  And that’s fine, because I like what I do but it’s not like I wouldn’t enjoy a little break every so often, especially if you are trying to get some details figured out that are just being confusing and you’re having to take on moped type construction in the way of all the things you are trying to do.  But that’s how we like things to be, isn’t it.  My entire point is that if you could have something to do to get your relaxation in it would make some substantial improvements in the rest of everything you do, and for me that would take variety of a scene like how I mentioned where I could be around things that would help me relax.

Commercial Marketing

car

My friend has got that gotta-get-a-new-car-deal thing.  We were having lunch the other day and he asked if I’d seen the commercials for some new BMW or whatever and I said no.  He then started telling me how cool it was and how he wanted to go test drive one and he was wanting a new car.  I was thinking that his car is just fine and he doesn’t need a new one, but I guess it’s not always an issue of needing one if you happen to want one.  But really, my friend is really into cars and I am kind of the same way except I’m not quite as excited about all of that stuff as him.  So he was telling me he’s going to go try and test drive one and if he likes it he’s going to lease it.  Now to be fair, I don’t think that leasing is always a good option in many cases, but I think for him it might work out.  He doesn’t really keep his cars for that long so if he wants to drive it for a few years and then get another vehicle that’s actually a situation in which leasing may be more practical than the other options.

Any time I see a car commercial I think of my friend.  I figure he’s probably watching it, ignoring whatever he was talking about prior to that commercial coming on, and thinking about how much he wants that car.  He’s the guy who wants to get a big house with a big garage so he can keep all his vehicles in there and work on them or drive them or just go out there and be around them when he wants to.

Of course, I think he’s got a ways to go before he gets there since he only has one car right now and I don’t know that leasing vehicles is the way to amass wealth, but like I said it will probably work for him.  I know that he’s going to eventually get one of those cars he was telling me about.  He’ll find the best luxury car lease deals and go with whoever is offering them and he’ll drive home one day in his new car and call me and be like “hey, come check this out” and I’ll head over there and he’ll be in the driveway next to his new car and he’ll be all silly and pumped up.  It’s just what he does!

Find Another Girlfriend

blankets

My friend said that his girlfriend said she’s going to dump him.  I asked him why and he said it’s because she said he snores.  I asked him if he knew if there was anything else and she said no it was just that, and she doesn’t think she can get a good night’s sleep when they  are together.  I ask him if she snored, too, and he said no.  But I think that is must be bothering her or she might just be looking for an excuse to end it.  She’s kind of strange like that and I think that she would just want to break up with him and give him some reason so she doesn’t have to say that she doesn’t like him that much.  He tells me about the things she says and I have told him that he should break up with her but he doesn’t want to listen to me although I think he is starting to realize that she is a bit weird when it comes to some things.  I’m not really the kind of person to tell someone what they should do in their relationship unless they ask, but he has asked me before and I’ve told him that I think they should break up because she doesn’t seem like she’s really a good match for him and she is going to probably dump him anyway.  I guess she has mentioned it before and they tried to work through things or whatever but I don’t really like her that much anyway so if they broke up I wouldn’t really be upset.  My friend would, but I think he would get over it because he would realize that he can get someone who isn’t as mean as she is.  Seriously, she’s just like mean to me even and I’m not even her friend.  I’m like what is your problem and then she’s like what are you talking about.  Obviously we don’t get along that well.  I think that she’s probably just trying to end the relationship without actually having to end it.  It’s something that is easier than actually having to tell the other person that you don’t like them, although it tends to make things get a bit bizarre at the same time.  Alright, so I told my friend that he should check out this withoutsnoring website and maybe there is something there he can use, if in fact he actually snores and she’s not just saying that as an excuse.

A Day Off

headache

I pretty much got nothing done today because I wasn’t feeling well.  If I had a normal job I would’ve had to use a sick day and stay home from work today. I wish I could say the reason is because I have a very bad cold, or the flu. But it was a simple headache that did me in–and it isn’t the first time, either.

I’ve suffered headaches on and off for as long as I can remember. I recall needing to go home early from high school because of bad headaches and being prescribed something for them, but I don’t recall what the medication was or whether it worked. I’m almost 33 now so that’s a relatively long history of them at my age. They have evolved over the years, as well. I was reading about this new thing called Migralex that is supposed to to help with different types of headaches. Certain things that never gave me trouble in the past (such as alcohol) will now trigger headaches in me, even after just a couple beers or a single glass of wine. I need to be very careful with alcohol for this reason, or avoid it altogether.

Which brings me to one major reason why I hate telling people I have a headache. If I mention the reason I’m staying home, then I feel as if people think I have a hangover, not a headache, and am lying about it. That’s absolutely not the case, and has never been. I drink maybe three times a year, and I don’t remember the last time I got straight-up drunk! At most I just get a little buzz and even that is pushing it–as I mentioned, sometimes one glass of wind will guarantee that I am crippled by a nasty headache the next day.

To further complicate this, I know some people who are well-known for partying hard and they can, and will, call in sick with hangovers. They sometimes try to pass the hangover off as a headache but it’s obvious they are hungover since they posted statuses or photos involving their alcohol-fueled shenanigans the night before. It’s insulting to people that truly do suffer from headaches when people do this.

My day off today consisted of applying a heat pad to the back of my neck and an ice pack to my forehead while watching bad horror movies on Netflix. I know many people and websites say that it’s better to lay in a dark room when you have a headache, but I can’t do this. My mind wanders and all I can focus on is the throbbing pain in my head. At least brainless television distracts me from this without requiring me to think.

A Little Thing That Makes A Huge Impression

logo design

Some of you may remember an earlier post I did about coming up with a name for your company and how it can actually be quite a challenge despite seeming simple.  There’s another aspect of branding that goes along with choosing a name, and that’s creating a logo.

Now, those of you that are creatively-minded and artistic might jump at the chance to design your own.  In fact, I know there are some people who will actually enjoy that part more than the actual building of their business, but for those of us who have little artistic talent or vision, it’s probably best to leave your logo design to the professionals.

Think having a good logo isn’t important?  Think again.  How many logos you see on a daily basis?  Sometimes they’re incorporated with the companies’ name, but sometimes they just stand alone and you still recognize them.  Why?  Because the designs are easily recognizable and well done.  Imagine you’re at a coffee shop and the person sitting across from you is using a MacBook.  You can see the Apple logo on the top.  It doesn’t actually say “Apple,” but you still recognize it.

What about Adidas?  AT&T? Shell gasoline?  Audi?  VW?  You recognize all of these companies without even seeing their name.

Marketing consultants will tell you that this image recognition is a large part of branding because it has to do with getting people used to seeing your company, etc. etc., and they are absolutely correct.  And it can have the opposite effect, too.  A logo that is poorly designed, or even offensive, can push customers away and leave them with a negative opinion of you.

So back to the topic at hand.  What do you do if you’re like me and you need a design but you don’t have an artistic bone in your body?  You have two choices:

1) Try to design it yourself (which in my case means it will probably come out looking like a 5 year old did it)

2) Have a professional online logo maker like Logaster do all the design work for you so you can focus on running your business and leave the artsy stuff to people with talent

The way I look at it is it’s my business.  I want to make a good impression in all instances when people are exposed to it, whether on my website, business cards, advertisements, or letterhead.  Having a good logo is like wearing a suit to a business meeting; you don’t have to do it, but you might not make the impression you want if you don’t.

Priorities

surfer girl

As you know I’ve written a few entries about how, as an entrepreneur, you sometimes have to give up things in the short term in order to hopefully get even better things in the long term.  For example, I talked about how living in a smaller apartment can help you save money that you can invest into your business.  Sure, you might be able to afford a bigger place, but do you need one?  Probably not.

Sure, you could afford to go out to dinner more often, but do you really need to?  Shouldn’t you be working, anyway?  It’s cheaper to make something at home and eat it at your desk.

Well, I was recently reminded of this “save now for future benefit” thing again.  A few of my friends are planning a surf camp vacation in Costa Rica this summer.

I will not be going.

And I am jealous.

I need to save money and as you may know, it’s hard to take a week off when you’re working on starting your own company.  Once things are up and running, maybe, but not in the early phases.  I’d be super behind if I did that.  And course, I need to save the money that I would otherwise spend on that trip.  Partying and learning to surf for a week definitely sounds like something I would be interested in, and was it ever hard to turn it down, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

So I told my friends they better send me daily pictures and updates.  I have a feeling that might just make me even more jealous, though.  Here I am in my small apartment working and my friends are all out learning to surf in beautiful Costa Rica.  Ok, now I’m getting depressed, because I’m basically just taking a break to write this entry and then I’m gonna get back to working.

It’s kind of weird, though.  After a while you get used to saving money and being frugal and stuff and then it doesn’t really hurt that much to not do things because you really can justify that it wouldn’t be a good use of money.  My old roommate and best friend is one of those people who impulse buys like crazy every time she goes shopping.  You know how they put those impulse items in the checkout lines at the grocery stores?  She’ll buy at least one or two things from each trip.  I used to do the same.   It’s like, “that [insert candy or magazine] looks so good!”  And then you pick up the magazine to read the article you saw advertised on the cover (which almost always ends up not being what you expected) and realize that you’re about to spend $4.99 for a magazine.

Now I hate spending money.  Do I want to spend $4.99 on that?  No.  That’s a lot of money.  Who buys that stuff, anyway?

It’s empowering to feel that way.

I Think These Are So Cool!

spoon

I know I usually write about business type stuff but I’m just going to be a girl in this post!

I have always loved funky, unique pieces of clothing or jewelry. When I was in college, my outfits could be pretty wild and in-your-face! But now that I’m older, although I still love funky accessories or clothes, my taste is much more subdued and mature.

In fact, I prefer unique accessories over clothing itself—accessories are easily interchangeable and can be used or worn on a near-daily basis without making you seem like a hobo, like wearing the same clothes daily could do! I love searching out and purchasing one-of-a-kind or different accessories. In example, I found some hand-printed silk scarves made by an artisan last year—she only created a set number of each design. They were kind of pricey but completely worth the purchase! I also have all kinds of bags, for different occasions. If it looks unusual or really cool then chances are good that I will want it! Shoes are another love of mine—I have so many different pairs of shoes, each one of them unusual in some way that at home, they have overflowed from my closet to boxes beneath my bed. It drives my husband kind of crazy but to be fair, I don’t have that many clothes (well, relative to some women that I know, anyway). My clothing takes up maybe half my closet space and I will routinely go through my wardrobe to give away or toss outdated pieces.

Out of all accessories available to wear, however, I think that I love jewelry the most. I have countless pieces of jewelry! Some pieces are from my husband and friends, but most were purchased by me, for me, in my excursions around the World Wide Web. I especially like hand-made, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, and also odd-looking jewelry. The weirder or more unusual the jewelry, the better!

The other day, I was looking around online during lunch at work and found something called a spoon ring. I had not heard of this before so I looked through several photos. It turns out that spoon rings are the handles of either authentic or re-created vintage spoon handles, curved into a circular shape (with the spoon head removed) so that one can wear it as a ring. The curved spoon handles are polished and smoothed down on the inside that they are comfortable to wear on the finger. I found several stunning, intricate designs that I would love to have in my jewelry collection. This weekend, when I have more time to browse, I plan to look online for more spoon rings and buy a few for both myself and friends!

Setting Your Own Schedule

clock

One of the advantages of being an entrepreneur is that you basically set your own schedule for everything.  Most people work 9-5 or so and that’s that.  Now obviously as an entrepreneur you are probably going to be working more than 9-5, but the point is, its entirely up to you.  If you want to take some time off, or even a few hours off, you can do so.  You don’t have to get it approved by anyone, you don’t have to answer to anyone, you just go do whatever you want to do.  Need to go to the post office in the middle of the day?  No problem, just go!

Speaking of freedom throughout the day, one of the things I want to learn more about is financial trading.  To me, that seems like it would be the ultimate job (assuming you were profitable, of course).  The market is only open from 9 to 4 (Eastern time), and that seems like a pretty short workday to me.  Plus, nothing even says you would have to trade every day, so if you wanted to take a day off it would probably not be a problem.  And from what I understand, some people don’t even trade every day (maybe the particular market formation that day doesn’t look favorable?).  Seems like ultimate flexibility.  No bosses to answer to, not even any clients to answer to.  Of course, the main risk with something like that is that every day you face the possible risk of losing your money.  As a normal business owner you can still lose money, but it must be different for a trader.  They have to put their own capital at risk in order to make money.  Sounds scary.  I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to do that.  I spent some time recently reading the site of Financial Trading School so I’ve kind of got that stuff on the brain right now.

Speaking of money, today is April 1st and that means that tax time is just around the corner.  I’ve got most of my stuff ready, I just need to take it to my accountant.  I usually get all my stuff prepared ahead of time but then I kind of procrastinate actually bringing it in.  I don’t know why.  I’m naturally a procrastinator although that is something I’ve been working on recently, but that is a topic for another post in the future (no irony intended… get it… cuz I’m procrastinating writing a post about procrastinating… never mind).

When Your Mind Wanders Off

bali-beach

As you work to build your business, you may occasionally find yourself daydreaming.  It could be about a delicious meal (since you are living frugally while focusing on your business, right?), or maybe the car you want to buy when you sell your business, or maybe you’ve just been up working all day and are daydreaming about how comfortable your bed is going to be.

I’ve been daydreaming about traveling.  I want to go somewhere far away, somewhere exotic.  I want go somewhere where they don’t speak English and the food is delicious and every day is an adventure and there’s a bunch of fun stuff to do and the scenery is beautiful and I can meet cool people and not have to worry about work or anything like that.  There should be a beach where I can just relax and drink fruity drinks and watch the waves and the people and forget about everything that’s on my mind.  Somewhere like Indonesia.  It’s on the other side of the planet, everyone is supposedly super friendly, they have a bunch of (presumably delicious) spicy food, they have world-class snorkeling and beaches, and they speak Indonesian.  I’d visit the major islands, take in the sites, relax on the beach, eat some food, stay at a hotel Bandung, and just chill out for a while.

palm trees

Palm trees!

The problem, though, is that I’d probably either get a little too relaxed and end up staying there too long or wanting to move there and letting my business suffer, or I wouldn’t be able to relax enough because I’d keep thinking about work the whole time and be sitting there on the beach like “yeah, this is cool, I wonder how many emails I’ve gotten today.  I wonder if any of them are urgent enough that I should be responding to them now.  I wonder if anyone is trying to get a hold of me,” etc.  I’ve always been kind of high strung like that, so as you can see, I really need a vacation!

Of course once it’s over you come back to reality.  I’m not sure how I’d deal with that, and that’s part of the reason I have trouble relaxing in the first place; I always know that “real life” is waiting for me when I get back, so I have trouble getting lost in the moment.

That’s actually something I want to work on.  I’ve heard meditation can be helpful with that so maybe it’s something I should look into.

A Bit Of Jealousy

living room

My old roommate sent me this email and this pic of her new living room.  Look how big it is!  I’m kinda jealous of the whole living in a nice townhouse thing since I’m trying to save money living in a studio.

“Next month at this time I will be living in my new townhouse.

This will be the first time I have owned my own residence as I have been a renter all my life. I honestly thought I would be married by now and living in a house with a kid or two but that hasn’t happened yet. I figured a townhouse was a good choice for somebody in my position and found a great deal on one that is super close to my job so I got it. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get approved for the mortgage but passed that test with flying colors.

This morning I started the moving preparations by ordering a bunch of plastic bins from this place I found that sells them. I have used cardboard boxes in the past but didn’t feel like going through the trouble of getting them this time. I figure with the bins I can use them for something else after I am done moving.

I am a little worried about how my cat Pebbles is going to adjust to the new place. She has only ever known my current apartment as home and she is real skittish. My friend Jane was here the other night and as soon as she got here Pebbles was in my bedroom not to be seen again. Jane is a frequent visitor too so I don’t know. I am going to move her last though because I figure that will be for the best. I wouldn’t want her there during the whole process as that would surely freak her out.

The nice thing about this is that my mortgage payment is actually going to be cheaper than what I pay in rent now. That will be nice because I’ll no doubt need the extra money for repairs and stuff. There will be no more calling the landlord to come and fix it for free. Hopefully with it being a new unit I won’t run into too many issues while I’m there. I would like to stay there at least 3 years but by year 5 I want to move on to something better. I hope by then I will have met somebody but I’m not getting my hopes up for that.

Well I’m going to wrap this up because I actually have to take Pebbles to the vet for a routine checkup. I am going to ask the vet what else I can do to make it easier on her. I hope she gives me some good advice.”

Happy Valentines Day, btw!