business, entrepreneurship, legal, technology

This just in: I’m in love with

I highly recommend
I highly recommend

I had the best customer experience that I would like to shout from the rooftops. After completing my taxes for 2014, I’ve decided to continue freelancing as a writer and consultant as an individual while conducting a full-time job search in D.C. There’s no tax advantage to keeping my company as a legal entity, Chasing Down the Muse Inc., for my freelance work so I decided to dissolve it. The dissolution process is long and arduous to do on my own so I just Googled “can anyone help me legally dissolve a business?” was the top result so I called them.

Steven, one of their fantastic customer service agents, walked me through the steps that took all of 3 minutes. When their process is complete, I’ll get a receipt. That’s it. There’s nothing else I need to do. The customer service agent was wonderful, helpful, and kind, and LegalZoom saved me days of frustration and work. And they are also incredibly affordable. My whole dissolution process is less than $200 and that includes the $60 fee to the State of New York as well as the shipping of the forms to all of the state agencies that need them. I’m thrilled!

If ever I decide to set up another company or need any legal work put together, will be my first stop!

adventure, business, career, creativity, entrepreneurship, fear, learning, work

Inspired: We learn best by doing

Jump and build your wings on the way down
Jump and build your wings on the way down

We can’t learn to sail from the shore. We can’t learn to fly from the ground. To learn how to build a business of any kind, we must be in business. Business is an art form just like playing the piano or painting a picture. It takes practice, and chances are we will create some really awful work as we learn to make great work. So don’t be so hard on yourself if your first attempts are less than shining stars of success. Honestly, it’s better if they’re not. Go further than you think you can. Give your wildest ideas a whirl. Get crazy. That’s where the learning is, and learning is the best gift you can give to your future self. Don’t be afraid. Just do it. Go have an adventure.

business, entrepreneurship, writer, writing

Inspired: Yoda’s advice on owning who you are

Ever feel like this? Don't. Own who you are and who you aspire to be!
Ever feel like this? Don’t. Own who you are and who you aspire to be!

I spoke to two friends this week who just started their own companies. We chatted about how difficult it can be to feel authentic about new roles, especially if we create them ourselves. When I first started telling people I was a writer I felt like a goldfish with a shark fin strapped to my back.

As Yoda would say, “Own we must.” Know who you are, what you do, and why. Don’t flinch. You did a lot of work and put in a lot of time to make your own opportunities. Stand proud and say it loud: “I’m a (fill in the blank)”, and smile.

business, creativity, entrepreneurship, writer, writing

Beautiful: Restarting My Examiner Column on Entrepreneurship

Examiner-LogoIn early 2009, I started writing a business column for Over the course of 15 months, I published 130 articles, many of them interviews with entrepreneurs. Invigorated and inspired by President Obama’s election, I wanted to lend a hand to entrepreneurs who courageously moved forward during the darkest days of the economic recession. I knew I could do that through my writing. I also wanted to find the courage to start my own business so I thought interviewing brave entrepreneurs would help me, too. A number of them became friends of mine; all of them provided me with the inspiration and confidence I needed to strike out on my own. Quite a few of them – OXO, Airbnb, Behance, Squarespace, and Divvyshot among them – have gone on to experience phenomenal success. I wrote first e-book based on 27 of these stories. You can download that book for free here.

I stopped publishing on Examiner in mid-2010. Since then, I’ve been involved with a lot of different ventures and has grown substantially. Now I’m returning to it to honor and serve entrepreneurs again. Even though I stopped publishing, Examiner never removed my column. You can still see all of the pieces I wrote from 2009 – 2010 and starting today you will be able to read all my new features going forward. Today’s piece is my SXSW V2V wrap-up. I’ll publish the links to all my future stories on this blog, my Facebook page, and my Twitter feed. You can also subscribe to my column by clicking here.

action, business, creativity, decision-making, entrepreneurship, product, product development, profession

Beautiful: My Company Pivots – a New Direction for Chasing Down the Muse

My new business card

As I head to Vegas this morning to be part of the mentor program at SXSW V2V, I’m excited to announce that my company, Chasing Down the Muse, is making a shift to place more emphasis on making products. I used my summer in LA to figure out my next career steps. I moved away from everything and almost everyone I know to figure out what mattered most to me.

Here’s what I learned: While I’ve enjoyed the strategy, communications, and marketing consulting projects I’ve done this year, I miss spending the majority of my time ideating, making, launching, and iterating products. Time to change that! Don’t get me wrong – the strategy, marketing, and communications is vital to having successful products and I plan to continue that work; now I want to bring the actual making of products back into my daily work life. Want to work together on product-based projects? Drop me a line!

This summer I’ve spent every day involved in the process of making and it’s been a complete delight. I have always believed that the surest way to a fulfilling life is to follow the joy wherever it leads. So I’m taking my own advice. I’m going for it – let’s roll!

Check out the Chasing Down the Muse website to see what I’m creating and to get a few freebies that will help you find your direction, too.

Up tomorrow: Why I lean in every day

business, entrepreneurship, mentor, SXSW

Beautiful: Grab One of My Remaining Mentor Slots at SXSW V2V

It’s almost here!

The inaugural SXSW V2V conference in Vegas runs from August 12th – 14th. I’m giving 6 mentor sessions to new and would-be entrepreneurs on August 13th. Half of them are already gone. If you know someone going who might want to spend some time with me in one of my remaining sessions, send ’em on over to this link to sign up:

Thanks y’all!

business, entrepreneurship, SXSW, technology

Beautiful: I’ll Be a Mentor at the Inaugural SXSW V2V Conference in Las Vegas This Summer

I’m excited to announce that I’ve accepted the invitation to be a mentor this summer at SXSW V2V in Las Vegas from August 11th – 14th. (For the official announcement of mentors, click here.) I love mentoring and am honored to play a part in shaping this important event and program.

What is SXSW V2V?
“SXSW V2V is the newest addition to the SXSW family of events, joining SXSW Music, SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film, SXSWedu and SXSW Eco. SXSW V2V is an extension and re-imagining of the legendary SXSW experience with an emphasis on the creative spark that drives entrepreneurial innovation. This four-day event brings the startup and venture capital communities together with the creative industries that have helped to make SXSW so special. V2V serves innovators and entrepreneurs from across all the industries at the core of the SXSW Family of events – technology, music, film, fashion, health, education, sustainability, and more – as they learn the skills, make the connections, and find the inspiration to take their ideas and talents to the next level. You can learn more by reading the FAQ.”

How does the mentor program work?
The goal is to give mentees a chance to ask career-related advice from a well-established professional. Mentees will be able to sign-up for mentor sessions prior to V2V.

How does the mentor program fit into V2V?
The mentor program will be the cornerstone of V2V. The goal is for experienced professions to personalized one-on-one counseling to less experienced professionals. Mentors will be will be available to counsel you on your ideas, projects, portfolios, pitches, startups, and aspirations.

Registration for V2V is now open. I’ll have more details on the mentor program as we get closer to the event. Stay tuned!

career, creativity, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, product, product development, yoga

Beautiful: One Fine Yogi, My Latest Creation, Is Starting Up to Support Compass Yoga

“Yoga is skill in action.” ~ Bhagavad Gita

As a way to build a sustainable revenue source for Compass Yoga, I’m creating a line of yoga-inspired fashions for you and your home as well as personal care products under the brand One Fine Yogi. Proceeds from this line of products will support Compass’s work to get more yoga to more people in more places. If you want to be notified about the launch this summer, please visit and add your name to the mailing list.

Right now I am in the midst of the design / test phase. The launch timeline is as follows:

Late June: I’ll launch the first t-shirt design. I’m working with Teespring, a start-up based in Rhode Island, to create an exclusive line of original short sale t-shirts. T-shirts will be ladies cut and made from super soft material. Short sale designs are limited editions sold for a limited amount of time. Designs will be available for 3 weeks starting in late June and you place your orders for that design during that window of time. Every 3 weeks a new design will launch. Once each design session closes, the t-shirts ordered during that window will be created as limited editions and sent directly to your mailing address. Pretty cool, eh?

Late Summer: To kick off the home fashion line, I’m creating a line of limited edition yoga-inspired wall decals and prints.

Fall: We encounter a lot of stressors in our lives so we could all use a little more pampering, right? One Fine Yogi has you covered with a line of heavenly scented bath salts and sugar scrubs to ease tension, calm the mind, and lift your spirits. Our therapeutic blends of herbs, spices, and oils infuse the highest quality salts and sugars to help bring out your glow, inside and out. Also, if you have a specific fragrance or benefit you’d like to receive from our bath salts and sugar scrubs, we can create a custom blend just for you.

I’m tremendously excited to create and share my first line of original products and to build out this brand with a mission that takes its inspiration from a practice that has brought me so many gifts. I hope you’ll share in the journey!

business, entrepreneurship, time

Beautiful: Be Your Own Consultant

From PinterestAbout a year ago when I was preparing to leave my corporate job to start my own company, I went to see Brian, my incredibly wise and supportive therapist and coach. I was telling him about all of my concerns and questions as I began this new venture. His few words of advice: “be your own consultant.”

We (myself included) love to give advice to others, but we don’t always apply our advice to our own careers and lives. For example, I decided to mine the social media following of one of my clients as leads for new partnership development opportunities. Why haven’t I done the same, simple task with my own social media following? On Saturday, I sat down and did just that. I’ve had a number of product ideas kicking around in my head and had yet to spec them out. Yesterday, I put (actual) pen to paper, created the user interface design, and sketched a product development timeline and work plan, just as I’ve done for clients and employers many times before. This time, this work was all for me and it felt amazing!

It’s empowering to be my own consultant, to listen and take my own advice. There’s a lot of peace and confidence to be gained in action. Give it a try – it may just be the toughest job you’ll ever love.  

entrepreneurship, social media

YCombinator Alumnus, Edward Wu, Wants to Help You Raise Your Social Status

YCombinator alumnus, Edward Wu, takes a unique approach to Facebook marketing. His brand new web app, Social Status, is unlike any traditional Facebook marketing app.

Companies have been unsuccessfully trying to make Facebook work for them by using “contests, sweepstakes, giveaways, content curation,” says Wu. “Social Status focuses on the bread-and-butter of your social media campaign and enhances your posts.”

How it works: Social Status transforms your text-based social media posts into stunning images, getting you more Likes, Comments, and Shares. Social Status conducted a study using 500 random posts; half were plain text and the other half were enhanced with the app. The Social Status posts received 60% more Likes, 400% more Comments, and 12x the number of Shares.

Social Status works with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Users can post directly to their Facebook Fan pages, Twitter Feeds, or Pinterest boards, all in a matter of seconds. Before Social Status, there was no simple way to post text on Pinterest; Social Status now makes this possible. Social Status also has an export feature that makes it fully compatible with social media management tools like Sprout Social, HootSuite, and TweetDeck. Social Status has an aggressive roadmap. They plan to add detailed analytics, hundreds more templates, and more social media platform integrations in the coming weeks.

If you want to take it for a test drive, Social Status is free for personal use, and $10 / month for businesses. (The $10 fee removes the watermark and unlocks all the templates.)

About the company: Social Status is based in San Jose, CA. Edward Wu is also the Co-founder of Vidyard (Series A funded startup with over 30 employees).