Talking Is Hard: Breaking Down Your Business Podcast


In this week’s installment of the hit podcast Breaking Down Your Business, hosts Jill and Brad discuss the top 5 awkward conversations that business owners often have and more importantly, why they’re awkward and what folks can do about them. From those performance reviews (too formal, all about a raise, who’s really listening and not sitting there awkwardly?) to the coffee date (often aimless, often lengthy, often a giant waste of both people’s time) to that scary “you’re not getting hired” conversation (awkward, often avoided, and usually, awkward), to Donald Trump’s favorite, “You’re fired!”, there are many awkward conversations that don’t have to be so awkward. Just do it. Nip it in the bud. Take charge. Figure out a better way to say it. Take that awkwardness out of the picture and you won’t have to have so many awkward conversations. Promise. They’re joined for a non-awkward conversation by Jonny Andrews, best-selling author, publishing expert, entrepreneur, international speaker, business strategist and founder of and Natalie Eckdahl, founder of BizChixPodcast where she shares the journey of amazing female entrepreneurs (and a few cool dudes) 5 days a week. Tune in below! 

Crib Sheet #138: Unleash Your Inner Courage’s Susan Herrera

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 9.52.15 PMAfter the dissolution of her own marriage Susan Herrera channeled her experience into helping others through the process and finding the courage to begin again. Read on to learn more about how this mom helps women rebuild their lives and start anew. 

What business did you start up?

I am a Certified Professional Life Coach and an expert at helping women find their inner courage to rebuild a life they love after divorce.

As Founder of “Unleash Your Inner Courage”, I use a supportive and compassionate approach to partner with women to help them find the inner courage to release the pain and anger so that they can move from pain to possibilities and start living a life they truly love after experiencing the life-altering event of divorce. 

What motivated you to do it?

I experienced the devastating end of my own marriage 11 years ago and understand how it feels to have to start over again. I found the courage to rebuild my new life into one I once thought would never be possible, including traveling the world and, most importantly, choosing to become a mom.

Through my powerful 7-Step Inner Courage Journey, I share my own expertise and experience, plus the same powerful tools and strategies I used to recover from the pain of my own divorce, find happiness again and build a life I truly love filled with endless possibilities! 

Read more

Get More Out of Events from Crain’s Chicago Business

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 11.24.05 AMYou’ve probably attended an event recently – be it a conference, happy hour or launch party. Was it worth your time? Our founder, Jill Salzman, recently provided some ways to get the most out of an event for One suggestion: “Meet efficiently. If you see people who look interesting to you, walk right up and introduce yourself. Don’t think twice. You’re wasting time skipping an intro because you’re shy or nervous or embarrassed.” Check out the article to learn more and then maximize attendance at the next event on your calendar.

A Founding Father’s Story of Turning Photos Into Coloring Book Pages

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.19.26 PMGuest Post :: In late 2012, Dieter Marlovics was trying to find ways to combine an ambitious career with being a good Dad. The idea for ReallyColor was sparked during a Friday night pizza party while he watched his daughter use her crayons and markers on tables, chairs, floors, clothes, walls, his hair, her friend’s dog (but he got away), her shoes, and then explaining how she simply wanted to change the color of…well…everything! Always the rascal, she then pretended to start drawing on the wall, and Dieter dove in head first to stop her. Not wanting to stifle her artistic development, though, he took a picture of the wall, printed it out, and told her that she could go ahead and draw on the wall, but only on the piece of paper with the printed image. Dieter thought to himself how cool it would be for her to be able to color real things instead of the constant barrage of fictional cartoon characters.

Being a long-time entre/intra-preneur and having recently sold his ownership stake in the automated algorithmic trading firm, Gelber Group, LLC, Dieter funded the development of the now patent pending software algorithm powering the image conversion technology for the suite of ReallyColor products. After collaborating for three months with William Rozzi, now the firm’s Chief Scientist, the resultant coloring pages were deemed acceptable. During this period, Dieter also spent time gathering anecdotal evidence to confirm if potential artists (children) also thought the image conversion results were of an acceptable caliber. Children eagerly colored the pages, especially when they recognized who or what they were coloring. I mean, who wouldn’t like putting a purple mustache on mommy just because it’s funny? The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It also became clear that parents really liked the idea of their children being able to color real photographs, which provided ways to not only keep their kids busy, but also share and relive memories. Encouraged, Dieter continued expanding on the concept. Read more

Top 5 Things Business Owners Do Wrong : Breaking Down Your Business Podcast


In last week’s episode of the only podcast endorsed by both President Obama and President Putin (ok we may have made that up) our hosts Jill and Brad discuss their top 5 ways that business owners are doing it wrong. Among others, they discuss things like: Introducing Brad to your colleague who he just has to talk to because they’d be great together? SUCK IT. (If your time is valuable, isn’t Brad’s, too?) Asking Jill to help promote your business or do something beneficial to you very generally? SUCK IT. (If you want her to tweet or put it on the socials, send prepped info and don’t waste her time sorting out the what/who/why/where of your information that she doesn’t know otherwise.) Want Brad and Jill to call someone on your behalf by asking them generally if they “know anyone?” SUCK IT. They are joined by Lola Wright, the Executive Director of Bodhi Spiritual Center, an inclusive and welcoming community that  knows that giving is receiving and that the more we give the more we are abundantly blessed in return and Elise Jaffe, the founder of Big Teeth Productions, a small but loyal consortium of overgrown kids with highly active imaginations – It’s a good thing we got into this line of work. Listen below or subscribe on itunes to never miss a podcast. 

Inc Magazine Features The Founding Moms

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 10.18.51 PMInc Magazine, a publication focused on growing companies, recently profiled what we all already know, that “Moms Make The Fiercest Entrepreneurs”. From the article:

Another subset of entrepreneurs that fascinates me is mommy entrepreneurs, or “mompreneurs.” The research I have done has lead me to a couple of conclusions. First, the women business owners who succeed are sensational multitaskers, as all moms are. They have a keen ability to balance being both the CEO of the household and the owner of a business. Second, more than many entrepreneurs, their business ideas identify and provide solutions to many of life’s problems. Or should I say opportunities? They have great stories, a passion for their work, and unrivaled drive.” 

And the best part? At the end they name us as a fantastic resources for mom’s looking to enter or expand their entrepreneurial game! Thanks Inc! Read the full story here.

Back to School – Affording Further Education

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 10.19.07 AMGuest Post By Debbie Flecher :: As an entrepreneur, gaining new skills is critical to developing and moving your business forward. One way to gain skills is to re-enroll (or enroll for the first time) in some courses or for a new degree. Deciding to go back to studying is a big step. Once you’ve negotiated the myriad of courses available, then chosen where, when and how you’re going to study, there’s the issue of paying for it all.

The funding options available to you depend very much on your age, previous qualifications, family circumstances, and even the type of qualification you wish to study for. For more information click here.

There’s no doubt that taking the plunge and returning to learn as an adult, can make a significant difference to your earning potential, broaden your skills and improve the career opportunities available to you. But, unless you’re very fortunate you’ll need to make your money stretch a bit further and you may have to cope with a period of not earning, or earning less than you’re used to. Online budget planning tools can help you manage your reduced income while you study – these are widely available, but you can find an interactive version at

Read more

Prepare For Your Vacation: Breaking Down Your Business Podcast


Vacations are proven to be one of the best ways to increase your productivity and reduce burnout. But the stress of planning for a vacation can almost make you not want to take one! This week Jill & Brad explore their top 5 ways that they prep for vacation. You’ve gotta clear your calendar. Inform your clients. Prepare your staff. Turn off your tech (what???) and make sure to reduce your workload as much as possible so that you survive the before, during and after of your vacation. They’re joined by Jeannie Walters, founder of 360Connext, a consulting firm specializing in the cornerstones of customer experience and host Brad’s wife Karen also makes a guest appearance. Tune in below. 

Crib Sheet #137: The Adventures of Supermom’s Michelle Sealey Lee

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 4.19.29 PMMichelle Sealey Lee has been blogging for over 10 years. Inspired to share her stories of raising four spirited kids she wants all her readers to know they’re not alone in this crazy ride call life. Read on to learn more about this mom who has a way with words. 

What business did you start up?

I started blogging ten years ago (in November) to a site I created The Adventures of Supermom. I enjoy telling silly stories, sharing an organic recipe, giving parenting advice (I have four children), sharing a picture I took while on a walk and even going through depression and anxiety.  I’m just a real woman going through real things and I find that sharing them helps me and people who read my blog.

What motivated you to do it?

I’ve always been a writer and reader and talker. I figured that if I could just help one person know that life happens then it would be awesome. 

Read more

The Founding Moms Take Over The Airwaves on WBEZ Chicago

avatars-000089596426-9dxnwq-t200x200Chicago Public Radio WBEZ invited our founder, Jill Salzman, onto their tech segment to review what’s new on the scene. Wanna learn more about Amazon’s new Fire Phone? Need to know more about why investing in Chicago startups is so important? Jill talks with Niala Boodhoo on these topics and more. Check it out!