Archive for the ‘The Creative Entrepreneur’ Category

sarah are you kidding www..anniesgoathill.comAre you kidding? No, we are not having kids. We are designing a cover…finally!

I have hired the excellent services of Jennifer Smith, talented owner and operator of Eco-Office Gals.

I am thrilled to be at the stage of final formatting of this book, and to have someone with fresh (and trained) eyes helping me with cover design.

This means that I get the book out to you…and yes, I have a growing waiting list, and, I can roll forward on my next books — a devotional, a children’s fiction book which brings fun things to the farm, and a future 2nd edition of Annie’s All About Goats.

As Sarah, the lovely gal pictured above, would say, “Mehhh! Mehhh!” Move forward!

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reversable apron, crocheting www.anniesgoathill.com

Annie’s is not dead. Sound like a familiar movie title? Well … Annie’s Is Not Dead!

Annie’s Goat Hill currently does not have goats on the apartment patio, nor does it have fresh soap in the (non-existent) spare room…but Annie’s is alive and kicking.

Annie (Mary Humphrey – myself) has authored books (Essential Soapmaking and Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery), along with stories she contributed to the Selah Press anthology 360 Degrees of Grief: Reflections of Hope, all of these books are available on her blogs, and on her Amazon.com author page. She’s also polishing her first edition, soon to be published, of Annie’s All About Goats. Behind this writing project is the first draft completed of Jackson and Delilah’s Adventures, a fiction youth novel. Devotionals follow suit, which are in the stage of notes written in pen and ink. There may also be books from the kitchen, because this woman can cook. Did you know that? She cooks from scratch and follows the little-bit-of-this-and-that method.

Soap creation and sales may return to the agenda in late 2014. Can you imagine creamy, skin loving goat milk soap once again coming from Annie’s studio? It just might happen.

What you absolutely have not heard about, until today, is Creative Expressions by Annie. You know, she thrives on creativity – writing, DIY personal care products, sewing, crocheting, soap making, aromatherapy and crafts that work all of these things together. The photo above is a sample of things to come – a series of blog posts that she hopes inspires you to new (or renew) your passions. The world is full of beautiful things…and the freedom to use your imagination!

“In this time of ‘information overload’, people do not need more information. They want a story they can relate to.”  – Maarten Schafer

Annie’s Goat Hill – Smell and Feel the Goodness!


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Many of us need a second or third (in addition to a first) income stream to make financial ends meet.

Thankfully, starting a small business does not always require the investment of thousands of dollars.

Right off the top of my head I think of a soap making or beauty product business. Begin with research – look at other small businesses in the industry, study how to make soap or beauty products, determine where to purchase supplies, and ask yourself where you will sell your product and determine your pricing (how you will make a profit).

Start small, and place your profits back into your business. Continue on a small scale, do not spend money on unnecessary supplies. With a much loved product, like hand-made soap, it will not be long before you turn your business into an income producer.

Other small start-up businesses that do not require a fat bank account or additional funding: baking, cooking, cleaning, writing (blogging, books, editing), delivery service, personal trainer, personal shopper and/or errand runner, farmer’s markets (hand-made items, home grown, resale). The list is endless, depending upon your personal interests, willingness to work hard, and your initial investment.

Always consider your local business codes, laws, and insurance requirements.

I urge people, especially women that want to work from home, to give entrepreneurship a try. I strongly believe God gave each of us talents, gifts, that we may never realize if we do not let go, let Him, help us branch out.

After a decade of owning small businesses, I can tell you my experiences have been rewarding, challenging, fruitful, wisdom gaining, and I continue to take on more avenues that keep me independent with additional streams of income. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Freedom!

Email me if you have any questions about starting a soap making or small business. I also recommend:

Books by Selah Press, Kayla Fioravanti, How to Self-Publish, DIY Kitchen Chemistry, The Art, Science and Business of Aromatherapy, Melt & Pour Soap Base From Scratch

Books and business coaching by Bath and Body Academy, Alyssa Middleton, as well as her most recent Kindle book, 12 Revenue Streams for Your Bath and Body Business (Beauty Business Basics), in which she shares additional ways to expand a beauty business to bring in additional revenue streams. I highly recommend this book to people entering the handmade bath and personal product industry, and to business owners in need of fresh ideas for their existing businesses.

I offer two books, co-authored with Alyssa Middleton, the first of which helps you get started in soap making, along with the business basics, Essential Soapmaking, and Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery, which focuses on progressive methods of soapmaking.

Before I began to write books, and before I shifted my motto to Share, Encourage and Grow (blogging both here and at www.hispasturepress.com), one book made an incredible impact on me, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life, by Laurie Beth Jones. After reading the book, I developed a precisely clear vision of my life and work mission.

I also recommend the Indie Business Network (IBN), especially their social site where both well-versed and budding entrepreneurs share in the discussion forum. IBN serves the handmade and beauty industry with an enormous amount of support for their paid members (including liability insurance).

I look forward to your comments, especially if you list additional resources for budding entrepreneurs (even outside of the handmade beauty industry).

Share, Encourage, and Grow!

Mary Humphrey



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www.anniesgoathill.com spotlightMost of us, with the exception of my friends (whom I sort of envy right now) that reside on the bottom side of our globe, are into winter – dark and cold days. As I was scrolling through blogs, photos of animals, the promotion of small businesses and farms, and posters of positive thoughts, I thought about all of the brightness that those people brought to me and came up with the idea of an Annie’s Goat Hill spotlight. Why not bring good news into the world during this, seemingly, long season? We can all use a Spotlight of Warmth, it spreads.

So, beginning today, if you would like to share, or link to, one of your photos, blog posts, an article about your small business, most anything of taste relating to natural, farm, small business, encouragement and faith, and handmade personal care products on this blog – I encourage you to contact me (anniesgoathill@gmail.com) with your submissions and ideas.

I have some folks in mind already, which leads me to remind those of you that are small business owners and authors to always provide contact information.


Share, Encourage, and Grow

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Celebrating entrepreneurship and small business together, through the series The Creative Entrepreneur.

I am thrilled to feature Annie Haven, owner of Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew.

Today’s market is very focused on natural, handmade, and local. Annie’s Haven Brand products are all of that, including local. But going beyond local, Annie helps to make our world a more green and beautiful place as she sells to customers around the world.

The Authentic Haven Natural Brew online store is located at www.manuretea.com. , where you will find Haven’s Natural Brew Tea for house plants, container plants, vegetable gardens, shrubs, and lawns.  Annie’s words from the FAQ’s page on her site, “The benefits of using manure tea for watering your plants are significant over using chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers are dangerous for your plant’s health, not to mention your family’s health. Begin growing green by learning about the benefits of using manure tea.”

Now, for the interview:

What encouraged you to start your business?
We have supplied large growers with the by-product of our grass fed livestock to nourish their soil naturally since 1924. As development moved into our area a new customer emerged, the environmentally conscious home gardener.
What has been the most rewarding thing about your business?
Meeting gardeners and growers in the plant industry and introducing manure tea as an all natural nutrient soil source and sharing the benefits that manure tea has to offer.
As a small business owner, no doubt you encounter stress, what is your number one stress relief tactic?
Spending time in my pastures with my livestock, there is just something soothing about it for me.
(Annie, I totally understand and appreciate this!)
What has been your greatest business achievement so far?
Using Social Media to meet, share and communicate with my customers both Retail and Wholesale.  Since Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew is harvested from only Haven raised livestock, it’s processed and packaged here at the ranch. I just can’t shut the gate and leave to attend industry related events. So Social Media has allowed me the ability to connect one on one with my customers as well as participate in Garden Shows, Trade Shows, etc… .
Is there any one thing you find difficult about operating a small business? If yes, how do you work around that difficulty?
It’s hard for all Independent Businesses to be heard over Commercial Advertising so it is important to be up front about your product and be creative.
What one piece of advice would you give to a person wanting to start a small business?
Understand your product or service demographic and build a goal oriented business plan.  Be prepared to be flexible!
What is the most important tip that you can give as a “key to success”?
Be accessible to your customers, stand behind your product or service, answer e-mail in a timely manner. Build a Social Media Network to connect and share your products or service.
(This is exactly where I found Annie years ago – social media! She sets a perfect example of social media sharing and connecting. She is very consistent in setting the tone for her brand and products.)
On both a short and long term basis, what do you foresee for your small business?
It is my goal to continue my family legacy of Farming and Ranching Naturally and to bring awareness to the benefits of feeding our 100% natural nutrients to the world of home gardening and to the commercial plant industry.
Do you have any additional tips or words of wisdom?
Know that all plans change.
Don’t give up or get discouraged if you run into a few closed doors.
Thank you, Annie!
Visit the Authentic Haven Brand site, and sign up for the Manure Tea, Green Approach newsletter (here). Join Annie on Twitter @GreenSoil, and Facebook (here).
If you own a small business – especially if you offer handmade products – and if you would like to be featured in The Creative Entrepreneur series, I would love to chat with you!
Don’t forget –  Share, Encourage and Grow!

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I am thrilled to open the doors to The Creative Entrepreneur series today. Let’s celebrate entrepreneurship together, and let’s Share, Encourage and Grow!

Her abundance is a mix of creativity, flair, and southern charm.  With that being said, I introduce to you Ginger Moore, founder and CEO of Neos Creations Skin Care.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty of  the interview with Ginger, here’s the scoop on Neos Creations Skin Care – the business officially opened in April of 2009 – with a 5th birthday coming up in 2013.

The Neos Creations online store is is located at www.neoscreations.net, where you will find head to toe skin care (lotions, creams, scrubs, body sprays, body-massage oils, bath soaks, soaps, complete line of facial care, lip care). Ginger likes to pamper! Who doesn’t need a pampering day in their life?

Now, for the interview:

What encouraged you to start your business? 

My story is not unusual, however it is a bit detailed. I had always wanted to start or own a business of some sort. It was a deep desire of my heart and ingrained in me from my dad who was a business owner and my husband and his family, who were business owners. Nothing seemed to click with me until an idea for a gift business was born from a church fundraising event that I had coordinated and organized. The idea just wouldn’t go away and everywhere I turned, I was being exposed to information about the cottage industry and women owned  businesses.  Best of all, the business would fit right into my personal need to be creativity, share the love and bring joy to others.

After much research, praying and encouragement from my husband and a few close friends, I set the wheels in motion and started a ready to give gift company, that included offering my own private label brand of handcrafted bath & body care products. These skin care product lines had started out of my own personal necessity and worked so well, I just had to share them with the world. It soon became evident that the skin care was where I was supposed to be focusing. You can read more about that here (http://www.neoscreations.net/the_neos_story_79.html) .

In 2010, it came to my attention that a company in CA was infringing on my common law trademarked cosmetics brand name and had applied to a registered trademark of it. Rather than spend thousands of dollars and several years fighting them in court, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to re-structure my business and drop the ready to give gift part of it. In doing so, I renamed the company to reflect the new focus and re-invented the skin care branding. Vwallah!  Neos Creations Skin Care™ emerged, which continues to evolve and grow every single day.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of  your business?

Definitely my customers are the #1 reward, without question. I love serving and making others feel loved, appreciated, pampered and beautiful.  Next in line would be all the wonderful people I’ve met and the things I’ve learned along the way. I’ve met people from all walks of life and occupations, from customers to fellow business owners. And I’ve been forced to learn things that before seemed out of my arena, such as technology.

As a small business owner, no doubt you encounter stress, what is your number one stress relief tactic?

I try to have fun every single day. Laughter is a wonderful stress reliever. I also take regular time away from business to refresh and renew. A nice soaking bath, a lazy day of movie watching with my family, reading….these all help me de-stress.

What has been your greatest business achievement so far?

I don’t know if there is one.  Every business achievement seems great in my own thinking.  Even the smaller things that may seem insignificant to someone else are huge in my eyes. After all, it’s the small things that make up the big things, right?

Is there any one thing you find difficult about operating a small business? If yes, how do you work around that difficulty?

OH YES! Technology.  I’m what I affectionately call, “tech challenged”.  I know just enough to get me in trouble if I’m not careful. *smile* That’s very difficult when a large majority of your necessary business actions are computer and technology related. When you are in this type of situation, you find a way in through another doorway. For instance, I cannot write computer code, but had to build an ecommerce website myself because I couldn’t afford to pay the web designer/builder prices. So I found a way to do it with point and click styled site builders and a webhost that has excellent support.  I knew nothing about graphics and designing layouts, but had to be able to design product labels and promotional material. So I found software that was user friendly for me.  I do not speak techie nor do I understand it in many cases. If I run into anything that is “out of my realm of knowledge”, I ask questions and find someone who can guide me through it in plain English that I can understand.

What one piece of advice would you give to a person wanting to start a small business? Give one main point, and then a few additional tips (if you have any).

One piece of advice, huh?  Well, I don’t feel I’m qualified to give advice but I guess what I can say is, “If you really want it, then do it.” Do your research. Do your homework. Do your prep work. Learn what you should learn and do the hard work that no one ever recognizes to get your product or service to market and be successful with it. And then do it some more. These 4 things are never ending in small business. There is a big learning curve in business but there are basics that you have to learn and apply. You may have a great product or service but unless you do all of the above, putting in the time and attention on the hard stuff, then it’s just a great product or service that few are aware of.  Passion or product alone is not going to get you there and it will not happen overnight.

What is the most important tip that you have as a “key to success”?

Be honest with your customers and yourself, having a high standard of ethics and personal as well as professional integrity.

Today’s consumer is savvy and they appreciate truth in business. They may buy into a gimmick or lie at first, but they will get wise to it. If you are not conducting yourself and your business ethically and with integrity, it will come back to bite you.

On both a short and long term basis, what do you foresee for your small business (or for upcoming business owners)?

I honestly can’t say. With the current economy, things can be pretty uncertain all across the world of business.  But…. I dream pretty big.  Realistically, my hope and greatest desire is that NEOS will continue to grow, expand and become a profitable, self sustaining entity that supports my family in a greater way than it does today.  As a family business, my husband and young son are very involved with the business. Both are an intricate part of the inner workings. That will continue.  I would love to add positions and create jobs for others in the future. Of course, I would love for everyone to love and enjoy my products as much as I love them and enjoy making them. For Neos to be a household name would thrill me to no end. See!  I told you I dream big.  *smile*

Do you have any additional tips or words of wisdom to offer?

Don’t be resistant to change.  As times and needs change, you have to be willing and able to change with them.  When a curve is thrown at you, you don’t want to only duck, you want to be able to bob, weave and change the course if necessary. A business is no place to be set in your ways too much. Detours or entire changes in direction can be a good thing.  In fact, they can be a great thing.

Don’t ever think there is nothing left for you to learn on any given subject. Every day is an opportunity to learn something and grow. Embrace that. Let others sow into your garden. You will reap a harvest from it.

Thank you, Ginger!

I loved Ginger’s comment, “After all, it’s the small things that make up the big things, right?” It is the small things that do, indeed, make the world-go-round!

Please visit (Neos Creations Skin care) at www.neoscreations.net.

Just look at these, Neos, “Kiss My Grits!” (yep, I recognize those fun words after visiting the south!):

You can sign up for the Neos newsletters while you’re there so you can get the scoop on all things NEOS and get additional subscriber only offers.

Follow the Neos beauty and business blog here. What did I say about a pampering day? The Neos blog subtitle is, “A Decadent “Ahhh” Moment.”

Ginger loves talking to you directly and getting to know you.  Get connected with her on social at:

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/#!/NeosCreationsSkinCare

Twitter – https://twitter.com/NeosCreations

If you own a small business – especially if you offer handmade products – and if you would like to be featured in The Creative Entrepreneur series, I would love to chat with you!

Small business rocks! And handmade double rocks!

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What is on my mind? Celebrating entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs – among many other things – are one part creative, one part passionate, one part smart, one part carefree (in the sense that they desire to change the world, one small or large step at a time).

I will soon begin publishing a series of interviews, The Creative Entrepreneur, which will focus on my base motto (from Pen and Ink Spot) – Share, Encourage and Grow.

What better time than now is there to start a business – especially one that has an internet home base? What better time is there to share what you have learned as an entrepreneur? What better time is there to encourage growth? What better time is there to be creative?

The first handful of The Creative Entrepreneur interviews are in the swing of completion.  If you are interested in being a part the series, I welcome you to contact me.

Join me in encouraging others to start a business, write a book, empower creativity – and grow together!

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