Do You Mix Business With Pleasure?

As a business owner I spend about 95% of my time working. I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s well known that business owners almost always put in more time than salaried workers. So, with all of that work, how does a business owner get a break? We’ve been told that you can’t mix business with pleasure. But is that true?

mix business with pleasure

mix business with pleasure

These days business owners are having to find more creative ways to sneek in some fun and relaxation, even if you don’t leave the office. Taking the family along on a business trip is becoming quite popular. There’s even a word for it. “Bleisure”.

Here are some examples of business owners who are combining business and pleasure:

“I own a small business designing, making, and selling chainmail jewelry. I have a booth and sell at a number of craft shows and conventions.  I’m established enough to do well at shows, but not profitable enough to employ staff to help.   I always invite a few friends or my mother-in-law to help or even just to visit.  It’s a great opportunity to chat between customers, they get to attend the show, and I have someone I can trust with the booth when I need to step away to powder my nose or check out the competition.”

Gwendolyn Kestrel

Promote a fun -but professional- environment. Example: At our office, we play ping pong religiously. Employees often partake in games two to three times per day. We have a professional style table, tournament brackets and a plethora of balls. The one thing that everybody owns is their own personal racquet. 
Find methods to detox: Work in stressful. What outlets are you providing for your employees to burn off some stress and relax? Sponsoring a group lunch? A nice 5à7? We’ve done both of these every month.
Productivity and exercise: Have business meetings while on a light jog with your employees. This kills two birds with one stone. Why? An elevated heart rate moves you away from laziness, and the things that you see outside spark thinking and curiosity. More than that, you can actually iron out some major points without overthinking things. On Mondays, I run with my Marketing Director. Wednesdays it’s two of the web developers. On Thursdays, the logistics people fill me in during the run about inventory and such. Guess what? We’re all much fitter, happier and healthier…and we’re being efficient while becoming those things!
Sebastien Dupéré
Owner, President and CEO of Dupray
We sell steam cleaners and steam irons in six countries.  

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Are You a Charismatic Leader?

Charisma. It’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Think of some of the most charismatic leaders you can remember throughout history. Many are probably politicians, successful business owners, religious leaders or activists. They have a combination of personality, power, charm, and many unique skills that make up the whole charismatic persona as a leader. And we’re drawn to them like moths to a flame.



It isn’t a class that’s taught in college, but it’s one of the most important traits you can have as a leader. Some people are born with it, but many are not.

Some charismatic leaders, like Ghandi and Churchill, were just average students in school. Some, like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, prove that even introverts can transform themselves into leaders that people want to follow.

So, what if you aren’t a natural charismatic leader? How can you sharpen your skills and up your game?

  • Exude confidence – Being confident means knowing your stuff. If you want people to follow you, you have to really know what you’re talking about. Become an expert in something. And know every single thing you can possibly know about it. If you’re a leader in a company you should know how the entire organization works, from top to bottom. Know as much as you can about every job in the company. Be ultra prepared and confidence will come naturally.
  • Be a great listener – Charismatic leaders become that way because they understand people and what makes them tick. They can quickly size people up and adapt to what they need in a compassionate way. Richard Branson said “To be a great leader, you must be a great listener”.
  • Be passionate about your vision – Again, think of all of the charismatic leaders you’ve known. What did they all have in common? They had a strong, unwavering vision and they were passionate about it. Being excited about a vision causes others to become excited about it too. Enthusiasm is contagious.
  • Be an articulate speaker – Speak clearly and use concise language. Lose the words “like” and “um”. Say what you mean, and mean it from your heart. Charismatic people don’t analyze what they say. It comes from a place of being sure of what they’re doing. Also, adding a little humor goes a long way.
  • Be curious – The day you lose your curiosity is the day you lose your zest for living. Being curious about the world around you opens you up to people and gives you something to talk about. The most creative and innovative people are also the most curious and are willing to take creative risks.
  • Be positive – This should be common sense, but people are drawn to leaders who are positive. They seem to have an energy that you just want to get next to. You want it to rub off on you. If you aren’t feeling positive, think about something you can feel grateful for. Sometimes that’s enough to turn your mood around. Even faking it will sometimes get you in a better mood.

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The #1 Reason For Being an Entrepreneur

After watching the documentary “Burt’s Buzz” I was reminded about why I have to be an entrepreneur. Everyone talks about passion, but the real reason for being an entrepreneur is freedom.

being an entrepreneur

being an entrepreneur

This was the running theme in the film about the unconventional life of entrepreneur Burt Shavitz, the icon and co-founder of Burt’s Bees. Before there was ever a billion dollar, all natural brand of personal care products, there was just Burt and his bees.

On the surface, Shavitz seems like an unlikely businessman. But if you trace his history, being an entrepreneur was really the only thing he was ever suited for. He had no interest in a 9 to 5 job, and ended up using his skills with a camera to pick up freelance photography work for publications like The New York Times and Life magazine. He was in the right place at the right time and capitalized on the turbulent times of the ’60’s in New York City. But as TV became more popular as a way of highlighting the emotion of the times, he saw that as his chance to move out of the city and reinvent himself in a small town in upstate New York. [Read more…]

Why People Play the Odds

It seems that everything is getting harder these days, including the lottery. The recent Powerball odds went from 1 in 175 to 1 in 292 million. More numbers have been added, which means the odds have gotten tougher. It’s also gotten twice as hard to win that second prize if you are lucky enough to get all of the correct numbers except the Powerball number.

play the odds

play the odds

Even though we have a better chance of being killed by an asteroid strike, millions of Americans still play the lottery every week. Millions still play the odds. And it’s not just the lottery.

Every year eager young actors, writers, and directors flock to New York City and Hollywood for a chance to make it big. Even though the odds of actually getting on the A list are slim, there is never a shortage of talent that wants to prove everyone wrong.

According to Harvard Business School only 18% of entrepreneurs succeed in their first business venture. Yet every day new entrepreneurs enter the market. [Read more…]

Can Industry Awards Help Your Small Business?

industry awards

industry awards

Several years ago I entered my running product in an industry awards contest that was sponsored by NASDAQ and launched at a large, well-established fitness trade show. After a few rounds it finally ended up being one of the semi finalists.

Before the trade show we were an unknown company with a brand new product, and we were struggling to get some traction and recognition with retail buyers.

Because of the contest we had buyers visiting our booth, which was hidden in the basement floor of the trade show. And at the end of the show NASDAQ had a party for the semi finalists, along with a lot of publicity.

This happened again when we won the Toyman award for innovation and quality, as voted on by consumers, and then became a product of the year in Creative Child Magazine. We got an extra boost in traffic and sales after both of them.

So, is it a good idea for small businesses to apply for awards? Do they help? Here are a few responses from small business owners: [Read more…]