Archive for 'questions from you'
Posted on 23. Nov, 2013 by Princess Lasertron.
Q: What are some of the low points you’ve experienced as a woman entrepreneur? What institutional hurdles do you think women in particular face? (From Hillary)
A: A thousand. A hundred thousand. And they’re all different for everybody based on their context and experience. One problem that comes to mind presently is that women businessowners are easily stereotyped. Women start companies in such diverse industries–obviously–but in the media we are often pigeon-holed into stories about startups that are aimed at women–as if women only care about fashion and parenting. There’s definitely some “women should focus on what they know best” messaging.
I also realize that I’m very lucky to be so connected, because I feel like I’ve come up through the entrepreneurship community playing the game. I’m lucky to know the rules, and I’m lucky to decide whether or not I’m gonna play by them. I realize my privilege in that even if I’m the only woman in the room, I’m more likely to look like the majority of people around me. So as much as I try to advocate for myself as a woman entrepreneur, I can’t advocate for all people to pursue their entrepreneurial goals unless I stay vigilant about my blind spots as a person of privilege.
Q: If you could “have it all,” what would that look like to you? (From Mike)
A: “Having it all” is a manipulative, shitty marketing slogan designed to plant seeds of doubt and guilt in women. The implication of that question is that by having a career we are sacrificing something else that is assumed to be equally fulfilling, which is a sexist expectation. Ambition can’t be taught, but it can be crushed, and the debate about the possibility of “having it all” is ambition-crushing. Girls (and boys!) should NEVER reel back the ambition. Girls in particular need to hear that happiness is possible. That liking your career is possible. There is a valuable independence in the audacity of pursuing your own happiness. “Can I have it all?” is a worry, not a real question. You only have so much time, so work! Love! Share. Talk. Use the time. And I’ll spoil the ending: NO one has EVER “had it all.”
I am really happy. I have a lot of things I have wanted for a long time and never thought I’d get (though a little more income would lessen some worry and a little more free time would lessen some stress). I have a fantastic first husband co-parenting partner who is a great drinking buddy and supporter. I’m enjoying my independence in the world. I live in an adorable place and I’m working my dream job with my best friend. My daughter is perfect. I’m healthy. I get to get out of town here and there. I have a book coming out!
I want success in my career, I want to be in love, and I want to always have a trip to look forward to. That’s my “all.” That’s a lot. Which brings me to…
Q: How do you define success? (From Carrie Anne)
A: Success for me right now is about growing something large enough to support my lifestyle, fit with my values, and let me have the resources and freedom to enjoy and discover the world. And to be brave enough to be totally unfiltered.
Q: How has your perspective as a business owner changed from CAMP to Hello Holiday? (From Malinda)
A: Well, Hello Holiday is a lot more revenue-focused than CAMP was. I started Camp Coworking in North Downtown primarily because I needed an office space for my expanding business, but also to share a collaborative work day with other people in the community. Artists, musicians, startups, freelancers–all kinds of people came through the doors of CAMP to set up shop and sort of do their own thing in this community atmosphere. I didn’t have the passion or interest to be a manager of a workspace and that led to its closing about a year and a half ago. Hello Holiday is more deliberate, strategic, it’s something really big.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 25 years? (From Elizabeth)
A: Angel investing.
Q: What was it like being raised Mormon? (From Ryan)
A: Despite what Google suggests, I am not Mormon. I know that may come as a shock.
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Posted on 09. Oct, 2013 by Princess Lasertron.
First, some quick answers:
- For those of you who love the new haircut, it’s the same haircut. I just roller-set it and put my bangs back sometimes! And I do not color it, no. That’s a thing I would only ever pay an expert to do and I know I don’t have the financial or time resources to maintain it.
- I read a lot of news online when I want to read something. I recently got some new coffee table-type books that I look at before bed often, and I’m casually re-reading Art Bell’s autobiography too.
- Most of my furniture is from my Great-Grandma, but there is a great store in Midtown Omaha called Hutch that has similar styles all the time.
- I will not explain why we got divorced. I’m sure whatever you’re wondering is way more interesting than how it really shook out. Shame on you of course for even asking a woman of discretion and privacy such as myself about dating!
- My favorite restaurants are Block 16, Lot 2, Dario’s, and La Buvette.
- My favorite color scheme right now is black and white. (How pathological is that?!?)
Q: I am a crafter too and I’ve decided to turn my hobby into a business and try to do it all full-time. I have saved $1000 to invest in the beginning. What should I spend it on?
A: Assuming you have time (use every second of it) and a moderate base of supporters (you’ve sold a few things), I’m always a proponent of investing in the design and infrastructure of your brand. Talk to an expert–pay an expert–to help you decide the colors people will see and why, the typefaces and why, the e-commerce portal you’re going to use and why, and use the full budget to get a site designed plus some postcards or something cute to hand out and stick into packages. Twitter/Facebook/Instagram all day, write about EVERY aspect of the business, ask bloggers for sponsored posts instead of sidebar ads (they are exponentially more visible and searchable), and go all in. The great thing about most crafts (you didn’t say what kind, so I’m assuming this applies to you) is that most materials can be obtained cheaply so the production process is more of an investment of our time than our money. In the beginning, all you have is time, so make as much stuff as you can and get said stuff into as many hands and on as many eyes of people who can promote you as you can. Your professionally-designed company identity will help them take you seriously.
Q: I’ve just always gotten along better with men than women at work. How can I be a feminist when all the women I work with are LEGIT crazy?
A: This is one of the most common statements made about women by women. Women who prefer the company of men to women. Who are not like the other girls. I think I used to be a Cool Girl, a Guy’s Girl, and it’s true that I have confident, type-A energy so sometimes in work and leadership I act in ways that seem traditionally masculine. Those are my character traits and I own them, but as I started to notice the lack of People In The Room Who Have Vaginas, questioning the real reason about the uneven ratio of men to women in my entrepreneurial peer group led me to question myself about how I’ve been complicit in keeping them out. In fact, maybe more than complicit. Maybe totally discriminatory. Being “cooler” than other women in the eyes of my male peers–those who seemingly carried keys to a secret club of successful, respected people–was a way for me to rise above other women in competition for the few spots at the top reserved for us.
Of course, that’s what’s crazy, the inner self-talk that success is a game and only one woman can win. The parroting of misogynistic language and stereotypes that keeps women pitted against each other, distrusting each other, gossiping about each other, judging each other. (Mommy wars, much?) We are socialized to put our relationships with women secondary to ones we have with men. If we want equality and full freedom as women, for all women, we have to address the relations of oppression, privilege, and inequality between us and be vigilant about working together as allies in in positive ways. Maybe reflect on this a little bit–you don’t have to be friends with all women. I’m not. I don’t like all people. But when you don’t like any people, maybe the problem is your own mindset.
So, here’s what we all have to do.
- Don’t call women crazy. Just keep that opinion to yourself. If you think someone has poor judgement, that’s one thing, but never call a woman crazy out loud–not to her or to anyone else. It reinforces stereotypes and it’s rude. (Besides, the ones among us who are really crazy are already well-aware. Don’t be another voice laughing at them.)
- Tell other women what is going on. Every time I go to a work event, or something in the community that would be advantageous from a networking perspective, I invite a woman who I think may not have heard about it. When I see job postings in traditionally male-dominated fields, I deliberately tell qualified women about them. I don’t keep any advantage to myself.
- Don’t fret about being loved by men. There are men who will like you. I promise. They will be great friends to you, and when you be yourself you will attract the kind of male friends who understand and support your motivations.
- Never suppress your impulse to speak, suggest, question, volunteer, or ask.
Q: What’s the best gift you ever received?
A: “Best gift ever” is kind of heavy, but I can think of some great gifts I’ve been lucky to receive lately. I received a beautiful arrangement of flowers from Airbnb with huge coral-colored roses that look perfect on my dining room table. (I love flowers. All flowers.) I have a painting of a donut that a friend made for me. One of my friends gets me a 36-pack of Diet Coke every time she goes to Costco. One of my friends who owns a yoga studio just gave me a free month membership there. I got tickets to go to the Maha Music Festival. I got a free brow wax from Dustin Hajek. I suppose the common theme through all these gifts is they involve my friends sharing their passions and talents with me so generously–that, to me, is just the nicest thing. I want to do that for people, too.
Gifts I like to give include vintage stationery (estate sales, ask friends and relatives, eBay), candles in pretty containers plus a little matchbox (vintage matches are cheap on eBay!), flowers, or cash. My signature gift is a vintage alarm clock.
Posted on 21. May, 2013 by Princess Lasertron.
Q: What are your favorite albums right now? (Via tumblr)
A: My favorites of all time are Paul’s Boutique from the Beastie Boys and 36 Chambers from the Wu-Tang Clan, and right now I’m also really into the Icona Pop EP, Visions from Grimes, Loudspeaker from Destroid, and the Psycho-Social album from Jedi Mind Tricks. I tend to either listen to hip hop or electronic dance-type things. I’m also really into Spotify and we listen to a lot of 90s at work obviously. Because, what else.
Q: You usually have a goal poster up in your room, at least I know you did before in your old house. Do you still do that, and what goals do you have in the next year? (From Amanda R.)
A: I just looked back over my goals for 2012 and I dropped almost all of them! Most of them I don’t even care about anymore, or I started pursuing them and realized they were totally the wrong direction. I did a lot of traveling and speaking, which I really wanted to do. I also tried harder to take care of myself and make decisions that were right for my happiness and well-being since my personal life influences my business so much. I like to write down things I want to do–I think that’s good–but I try not to keep rigid goals in front of me at the moment because it makes me lose sight of the opportunities that come out of left field and end up being more fun or valuable than anything I had initially envisioned for myself. Just a different tactic I’m trying. It seems to be a positive thing. This year I’m committed to writing my first book and doing a lot of travel. Other than that, I see where my work takes me.
Q: How do you balance your time between work and home? I know that’s a really common question, but when you like what you do, I think it’s toughest to do that. (From Jaclyn)
A: One thing that I hear many speakers talk about lately is a reference to “work/life integration” instead of “work/life balance.” I like that approach because you’re right–when your work is fun, and when you WANT to be working, you’re not going to come home at 6 and say e-mail is off-limits or anything like that. My favorite thing about my job is the flexibility of being able to use my resources to best serve myself, my customers, and my community. And that manifests in many different ways–I’m not saying I have tons of extra time to get flexible with, but that I can choose how I use it. For example, I love being able to take my daughter to work every day–I moved into my office when she was two weeks old, and now she’s three years old. I usually have a lunch meeting every day that she comes to. But I really love having the ability to use my time in the best way possible–is there a customer having a problem? I can take time to solve that. I can take time to make a customer’s order REALLY perfect. I can take time to give advice to a friend or ask for help from a mentor. I can take time to blog, Instagram, tweet–it’s all integrated into my day. So I guess what I really love is that I’m always busy, and I never waste my time. My time working isn’t wasted, and the time I spend with Alice isn’t wasted.
Just three simple ones today.