Be Your Own Boss

Scott Jordan — SeV Founder on Escaping from Corporate America

June 30th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

Scott Jordan is the founder and CEO of SCOTTEVEST/SeV, the company behind the gadget-friendly clothing line that has earned rave reviews from everyone from The New York Times to Matthew McConaughey. SeV’s vests, jackets, and pants include hidden pockets to hold all of your technology devices and conceal and manage the wires — perfect for tech geeks on the go (including Steve Wozniak, who is on SeV’s advisory board).

But back in the 1990’s, Scott Jordan was a miserable corporate lawyer with a wild idea and no experience in clothing design or manufacturing. He took a a risk and walked away from a lucrative and predictable career path to start SeV and pursue his dream.

In this clip from a 2000 episode of Radical Sabbatical (the late and lamented program that ran briefly on the Fine Living Network), Scott shares his escape story and offers a glimpse into his life as a new entrepreneur.


read more…

NYC Start-Up Event

June 22nd, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

The New York Post is hosting a great event for entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs this Wednesday. 

NYC Start-Up is a full day of seminars, panels, and presentations by small business experts –  including venture capitalists, successful entrepreneurs, technology and finance experts, and New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.

Learn what you need to do to start up successfully in this economic environment. Attendees will also have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to venture capital experts and network with speakers and fellow business owners.

Admission is $95, but you can score a 20% discount if you enter the code MUL624 when you register.

Career Advice from Michael Jordan

June 21st, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

michael_jordan014“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

– Michael Jordan

I love this quote from Michael Jordan. For months, I have been researching the best practices of the most innovative companies and the most successful entrepreneurs. The most dramatic success stories all  include lots of failure stories along the way.

Fail and learn from your failures and keep moving ahead. Be like Mike.

Escape Tips (and Me) in U.S. News and World Report

June 10th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

Read 5 Reasons to Start a Business in a Recession in U.S. News & World Report.

It’s one of the best articles on the subject that I’ve seen lately and not just because it quotes me. Reporter Kimberly Palmer also spoke with Tim Ferriss (I know many of you are 4-Hour Workweek fans) and Michelle Goodman (who gives great advice for freelancers).

I think the piece provides a nicely balanced picture of the pros and cons of starting a business right now.  Do you agree?

Adventures in Telecommuting — The Sky Is Falling

June 8th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

bathroomceilinglights1This week, my bathroom ceiling collapsed on my head in the middle of a work day and I didn’t miss a single conference call.

This is the sort of adventure you just can’t enjoy in a corporate bathroom.

Then again, my home office bathroom is blissfully free of rude and smelly co-workers.

I think I’d rather deal with the occasional deluge of plaster and old paint (and nothing else, luckily).

PR Tips for Entrepreneurs

May 14th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

sabina_21As an entrepreneur, one of your biggest challenges is getting the word out to potential customers.  It’s hard to make your message heard above the noise of all of the other advertising and marketing out there (and blogs and Facebook and Twitter have only added to the competition).

That’s why PR is one of the most powerful marketing tools for entrepreneurs. When your business is mentioned in an article in a reputable publication or on a popular TV or radio show, you can connect with millions and gain instant credibility.

But how do you score those great media mentions as a small business owner with limited resources and connections? It’s not easy when you’re competing for reporters’ attention with hundreds of publicists.

So I invited PR guru Sabina Ptacin to join us on Corporate Escape Artist Radio this week to talk about publicity strategies for entrepreneurs and help you get some exposure . Sabina is a former corporate PR executive and currently runs a PR agency that focuses on woman-owned small businesses. She is also the co-founder of Collective-E, an online community and resource center for women entrepreneurs.

On this week’s show, Sabina shares tips on how to be your own publicist and how to get great press for your business. As Sabina says, it’s all about establishing yourself as an expert and offering journalists REAL content, not just sales fluff.

Listen to more PR tips from Sabina on this week’s Corporate Escape Artist radio show. Our segment with Sabina starts at the 11:30 mark if you want to go straight to the PR advice, but you can also check out interesting interviews with other experts offering advice on business innovation and weathering adversity.

Work Life Balance When You’re Out of Work

May 4th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

How can you suffer from work life imbalance when you’re out of work? Trust me, it’s easy. When you’re in career transition, you’re under enormous pressure to work, work, work. Send out more resumes, search through more job listings, reach out to more networking contacts. And in a competitive job market, you rarely get positive reinforcement or a sense of accomplishment.

I was talking about this issue with Tevis Trower and she thought it would make a great topic for her Life Works column on WebMD. Read my tips on work life balance when you’re out of work on WebMD.

And if you’re clinging to a job that you hate until the economy improves, here are some tips on maintaining balance and staying sane in that horrible, very bad job.

Work Life Balance for Entrepreneurs — Tips from Tevis Trower

May 1st, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

tevisheadshotThis week, we welcomed work life balance expert Tevis Trower to join us on Corporate Escape Artist Radio. Tevis is a corporate escapee (she is a featured expert in my book) and the work life balance expert for Web MD. She is also the founder of Balance Integration, a company that provides yoga classes and training for corporations.

Tevis shared the story of her personal journey and offered lots of great tips on achieving greater work life balance (even though she prefers the term “happiness at work”).

She shared some special advice for entrepreneurs. Those of us who work for ourselves can’t blame “the man” for our burnout anymore — we have to take responsibility for maintaining our own work life balance.  That’s not often an easy task when you’re trying to build a business that you’re passionate about, especially in a challenging economy.

Listen to Tevis on Corporate Escape Artist Radio. (Corporate Escape Artist Radio is the fourth segment, starting at 11:30, but there is plenty of good stuff in the other segments as well)

Learn more about SolutionzLive, the BlogTalkRadio network that hosts our show, and all of their other great programs.

Learn more about the lovely and insightful Tevis Trower.

Back in Action — A Day in the Life

April 24th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

Thanks to everyone who sent get-well wishes while I was suffering in my sick bed.  I swear that my last blog post was not a ploy for sympathy, but it was nice to get some!

And thanks to the good people at O Desk, who included this blog in their list of Top Freelancing Blogs.  I am a big fan of oDesk and have hired several talented people through them. Check oDesk out if you’re a freelancer or contractor or someone who hires freelancers or contractors.

I am finally feeling like a functioning human again and have managed to start digging out of my pile of unanswered emails and unfinished to-do lists.

Thank goodness for the weekend. I have started looking forward to weekends for different reasons these days — the opportunity to catch up on work without the distractions of emails and calls and meetings. That may sound a little pathetic, but don’t feel too bad for me. I still find time to have some fun (usually).  Plus, now that I work for myself, I can take time to have some fun on occasional weekdays too. read more…

I Miss Sick Days

April 20th, 2009

Written by Pamela Skillings

sickdaysThere are only a few things that I miss about working in Corporate America.  I miss that predictable direct deposit into my account every two weeks, I miss paid vacations, and I miss paid sick days.

I mention this because I have been a feverish, miserable mess for the past few days (don’t worry — you can’t catch it through a blog). I had hoped to recover over the weekend, but this evil strep monster is hanging in there.

Because I work for myself, I didn’t have to call in sick to anyone this morning (you know they would have thought I was faking it on a Monday). At the same time, I have to figure out how I’m going to keep my company on track and client projects on schedule while my brain is fogged and my chest is congested. That means delegating, reprioritizing, and sucking it up and working when I’d rather be in bed.

Of course, I often did the same thing when I was working in Corporate America.  I dragged my sick self to the office many times over the years. And the good news is that I don’t get sick nearly as often these days.  That’s probably because I’m not working in close proximity with people who drag their sick selves into the office on a regular basis.

So I guess I’ll take my DayQuil and try to remember that I’ve got it pretty good even if I don’t get paid to be sick.