Friday, October 15, 2010

LaunchHER {Exclusive Interview}

Prepare for loads of inspiration and motivation!!!

We have all been given the great privilege of learning much through an exclusive Q & A I conducted with the two *brilliant gals* behind LaunchHER, Sallisha Armour and Karen Jensen Zitnick.

I was ecstatic when I discovered LaunchHER. A brilliant concept, fabulous resource, a dream for a female entrepreneur.

Let's dive right in and learn from these masterminds!

{Question} What inspired you to take over LaunchHER?

{Answer} 7 short weeks ago, literally just a few days before LaunchHER was offered for sale to us, we had decided to "go into business together." Before we acquired LaunchHER, we knew we wanted to offer our collective experience to women-owned business ventures, no matter what stage they were in.

We initially thought we would use Kara's law firm, Jensen Zitnick, P.A., as the vehicle for offering the business and legal tools and advice to women-backed business ventures for start-up success. When the acquisition of LaunchHER presented itself, Kara was on her way out the door to pitch our collective services to our first clients.

That night, while grocery shopping at Target together, we realized LaunchHER was the perfect place for us to start with our consulting services because we could not only promote the women-owned ventures we love so much, but also mold LaunchHER to fit our vision. Because LaunchHER was so new and a relatively unknown, we knew we could take it and run with it!

{Question} What exactly is LaunchHER?

{Answer} LaunchHER highlights independent women-owned brands who are in the beginning stages of business. We profile these ventures every Tues and Fri through our "Freshly Launched" feature. The unique thing about our Freshly Launched profiles is that they are absolutely free. We highlight only those businesses who appeal to us and are definitely starting out on the right foot, from a business/branding/marketing perspective.

In addition to the Freshly Launched business profiles, Kara shares her legal expertise with our readers through the LaunchHER Law series. The series has proved to be very popular, most likely because Kara addresses really important legal considerations for start-up businesses, entrepreneurs, and indie businesses in a way that makes these complex legal topics very understandable.

The response to our acquisition of LaunchHER, our Freshly Launched profiles and LaunchHER Law posts have been overwhelmingly positive. We were getting so many inquiries from women who either already had a small business going and wondered what to do next, or those who had a really great business idea and didn't know how to launch. So we responded to the marketplace's demand and now offer LaunchHER Consulting packages.

Our packages are tailored to meet the needs of each person and their business. In addition, all packages are priced with a flat-fee- even the legal services. We are sensitive to the financial concerns of small businesses in the early stages and want to make really great advice available to all.

Plans are already in the works for LaunchHER LIVE Events in select US cities.

{Question} How can LaunchHER help a woman who has a start-up business or is thinking of starting one?

{Answer} For those who have already launched their business, we can profile her business on our site. Through our LaunchHER site and twitter, we reach literally thousands of people every day! Our twitter following has increased over 4-fold since we acquired LaunchHER just 7 weeks ago, and our site gets nearly 1500 visitors each week, on average!

Through LaunchHER Consulting, we can help women start and / or develop their businesses through our full-service consulting and legal packages. We customize our flat-fee packages to the unique needs of each clients and are passionate about helping women launch and grow their businesses!


{Question} What is the most common mistake you see in many start-up businesses, and what advice would you have in preventing it?

{Answer} In general, trying to do it all. We've never met a business owner who regretted handing off their books to an accountant or hiring an attorney for all things legal. By recognizing what your strengths and weaknesses are, it makes a lot of business sense to pay the money and hire a professional to take on the tasks that line up with your weak points. Handing over your hard-earned money so early in the life of your business may be a very difficult act to do, but if by hiring someone else frees you up to create, or market, or whatever is required to bring money in the door, then it's money well spent in the long run.

Specifically, not protecting their intellectual property before launching. Registering a trademark, securing copyrights, and considering all of the intellectual property ins-and-outs before putting your business out in front of the world is just plain and simply intelligent business. Finding yourself on the defense down the road in terms of protecting your business name without having a trademark can be very costly.


{Question} How important do you think social media is to LaunchHER, and to a start-up business?

{Answer} Social media is without a doubt number one for LaunchHER and should be given serious attention for any business. Whether it's twitter or facebook or linked in, social media is great for not only getting the word out about your business and its offerings, but it's also a great way to test the market and get immediate feedback with minimal investment.

At LaunchHER, we love the conversations and connections we have over social media. And whether it's Sallisha tweeting under @LaunchHER, or Kara tweeting under @JensenHaus or @JensenZitnickPA, each of us had made friends with and networked among other women in business. Making connections literally worldwide that otherwise wouldn't happen is beyond amazing.


{Question} Do you have any advice on how to manage balancing work and family, based on your own experience?

{Answer} It's all a work in progress, really. What works one day or one week, may not be ideal after a while. Just recently we've been talking a lot about the "season" each one of is currently in, because we are both at different "seasons" in our personal lives. Tweaking our work arrangement to fit the seasons of our lives is the key to making it all work for us both professionally and personally. Not being afraid to have the conversation about what is or is not working, business-wise, keeps a balance for us both individually.

The value that each of us places on the amount and quality of time we spend with our husbands and kids is the reason neither one of us is on the traditional fast-track career-wise.

Both of us have had stellar careers in our chosen professions (Sallisha on Wall Street and Kara as a litigator with a nation-wide law practice) but neither one of us wanted to sacrifice personal relationships in furtherance of our careers.

We arrived at our own work-at-home situations long before we even met each other, but the parallels of our lives as professionals and as mothers is pretty amazing. So it's important for us to stay true to the reasons that we sought-out a different career path than the traditional and expected journey.


{Question} What is the best piece of advice you have ever received (personal or professional)...words to live by?


The Golden Rule: "Treat others as you would like to be treated"

"Decide to be diligent."

Professionally: "Hire to your weaknesses."


{Question} What websites or blogs do you enjoy reading on a regular basis?




3)  (Of course!!) {Well, THANK YOU!!!}

And honestly... a slew more! Always love to check out the create genius of women and be "in the know!"


{Question} What are your priorities, and how do you keep them in order?

{Answer} Thankfully, our personal priorities are the same: our faith, our marriages, our kids, and then everything else. In that order.

We are so alike in so many ways, we used to joke that we shared a brain. But then we realized that between the two of us, it was like having 3 brains, so now we say we are on the same wavelength. Being on the same wavelength is what keeps our priorities in order for us both. We just get each other.

{Question} Just for fun: how do you celebrate birthdays?


Kara Growing up, birthdays were a BIG DEAL. Who am I kidding - they still are! I really prefer to celebrate for at least a week. So with my husband and boys, on their actual birthdate they get to choose the breakfast menu and we go to their favorite restaurant for dinner. I always take their actual birthday day off from work; whether or not they go to school that day is up to them. We always have at least one family birthday party on the weekend closest to their birthday, with out-of-state grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles joining us as they are able.

Sallisha I'll admit it- I'm weird about my personal birthday. I kind of ignore it until the day of... and then go out to a FABULOUS dinner, dressed up in my favorite "things I used to wear before I had kids" outfit, and eat a decadent meal without worrying about how it is affecting my hips. With my children, however, birthdays are the ultimate deal. We start with a paper-chain countdown for the month prior to the big day, and celebrate with our immediate family, extended family, and then friends. That's right - 3 parties. Love it! I also journal to each of my children, and on their birthday, I spend time recounting the tremendous blessing that they are, and how I have treasured them in this past year.
WOW! An enormous thank you to Sallisha and Kara, you two have been so insightful and I have already read this over a couple of times...I think it will take me 10 more to digest everything!
Did you want to ask Sallisha or Kara a question I didn't? You can! These two are Social Media Mavens, and you can connect with them on twitter, through their website or facebook page.


Jennifer Birkhead said...

What a wonderful, read, very insightful! Thank you ladies :)

Shasta said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE! Thanks for the shout out for CupcakeMAG!

Lisa Hill said...

LOVE LaunchHer! amazing gals over there! loved the interview too! it's so nice to have a company that is all about promoting woman owned businesses! when you start out small its hard…knowing someone is there to help along the way is a blessing!

Nicole@TradewindTiaras said...

Excellent resource! I've been in business for 10 years now, I, too, was an attorney before my business took over my life, and I *still* have a ton to learn about running a company!