Working Women Wednesday: Danielle Hayden & Lindsay Darby

Working Women Wednesday is a bi-weekly highlight of the hard-working and wonderful women within the Girl Gang. This week’s feature are the Founders of Kickstart Accounting, Inc.

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Your Local Girl Gang: Tell us about Kickstart Accounting. What is your mission statement? When did you launch your business?

Danielle Hayden: We launched our business four and a half years ago. Kickstart Accounting Inc. helps women feel empowered by providing bookkeeping services and financial education so that they can understand and grow their businesses. Our passion is helping women understand their financials so that they can run a successful and profitable business using their finances.

YLGG: What is the best piece of business advice you have received?

DH: Just do it already. Stop planning, stop trying to make everything perfect and just move forward and learn as you go through the process. The key here is to learn from successes and failures and do not get paralyzed by preparation.

YLGG: What characteristic do you most admire in other entrepreneurial women?

DH: Tenacity and support. The women entrepreneurs that I have met over the last four years are some of the most amazing women and I am so thankful for having them on this journey. I have never met a group of people who are so passionate, resilient, motivated and driven with a level of sheer perseverance. As women we face so many challenges and I love the way the women we have met have been able to face those challenges and grow from them.

YLGG: Have any mistakes shaped the way you run your business today?
DH:
All of them! No seriously, I mean all of them. We have learned so much over the last four years. We have grown as a firm and have been dedicated to improving our company everyday as we learn what works and doesn’t work.

We are dedicated to providing our clients with first class service and providing a one of a kind workplace for our staff, but that takes continual growth and change. We are committed to changing the way we provide our service to our clients to ensure that we always providing the highest level of service, which includes optimizing our technology, have an amazing staff and always being humble and kind.

YLGG: What is something you could not go a day without?

DH: Our staff. We cannot be who we are today and everyday without our amazing staff. We have built a team of intelligent and friendly bookkeepers who help support our clients. We recognize that we cannot be who we are without these women and I am beyond grateful for having them in our lives and our business.

Working Women Wednesday: Emily Gielink

Working Women Wednesday is a bi-weekly highlight of the hard-working and wonderful women within the Girl Gang.
This week’s feature is on Girl Gang intern, Emily Gielink.

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Your Local Girl Gang: Tell us about yourself!

Emily Gielink: I am a senior at Bowling Green State University studying journalism with a specialization in public relations and a minor in communication! I’m a Clevelander, born and raised, and I plan to return home after graduating. I am an intern with Girl Gang and also for Simply Tieranie, and in my spare time I work at Qdoba.

YLGG: How long have you been an intern?

EG: I have been with Girl Gang for almost a year now!

YLGG: What is the best piece of advice you have received?

EG: Never tell yourself that you’re going to start later, always start now. Time is always moving full-speed ahead, so there’s no time to wait around for things I want to accomplish!

YLGG: What is your favorite part of working with Girl Gang?

EG: I love being able to connect with all of the powerful women in the area. Just in the year that I’ve been involved I’ve heard so many incredible journeys and struggles these women have endured just to follow their dreams, and they inspire me constantly to work towards my dreams and do what I love. Being able to see them thrive is the best reward I could ask for. Especially Maria, she is the most creative and detailed person I’ve ever had the honor of working with and I love being able to bounce ideas back and forth.

YLGG: What is something you could not go a day without?

EG: My bullet journal! As a busy college student and intern, staying organized is super important so having a creative space to jot everything down really helps me out.

YLGG: Growing up, what was your dream job?

EG: Just like any little girl, I bounced back and forth between things such as professional figure skater, counselor, or an author. Pretty much any time you found me as I kid I was either writing in my journal or nose-deep in a book, so I knew writing had to be part of the equation somehow.

YLGG: If you could have a perfect day in Cleveland, where would you go and what would you do?

EG: I constantly adventure with my dad around Cleveland so I have so many things popping into my head. I would grab breakfast with my dad at Steve’s diner (on Broadview Rd. in Old Brooklyn), then head down to one of the Cleveland signs for pictures. My dad and I would bike down to Edgewater park to ride around the track and walk on the beach. Once we got back to the car, we would go to Brewnuts for a quick snack before heading to West 25th street. We’d look around some cute shops, like Wild Cactus Boutique, Room Service and a few others. We’d eat dinner at Bakersfield CLE, which has the best Mexican food ever, and then get some ice cream at Honey Hut for dessert. :)

YLGG: Name a woman, past or present, who you admire.

EG: My mother. I wouldn’t have my strong-will, honesty, drive, attitude and compassion without her. She’s the strongest woman I’ve ever known and she always encourages me to reach for the stars while somehow still saying grounded. Her encouragement has taken me above and beyond, and I admire how strong and intelligent she has always been.

Working Women Wednesday: Reena Goodwin

Working Women Wednesday is a bi-weekly highlight of the hard-working and wonderful women within the Girl Gang.
This week’s feature focuses on Reena Goodwin, Founder & Director of
FACTEUR PR.

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Your Local Girl Gang : Tell us about your business. What is your mission statement? When did you launch?

Reena Goodwin : FACTEUR PR was founded in 2016 as a boutique studio offering public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative services for emerging and established brands and businesses. We work mostly with lifestyle businesses in industries such as beauty, home, health and wellness, music, fashion, food and drink, events, design and more. A majority of our clients are female-owned businesses or brands with women in leadership positions. In addition to our one-on-one work, we also offer instant resources such as content calendar workbooks and templates, as well as in-person and online workshops with more to come in the new year!

YLGG : When and how did the idea for FACTEUR PR come to you?

RG : Owning a business has been something I have considered since I was young as I come from a family of small business owners. But specifically in terms of pursuing FACTEUR PR, the idea came to me about two years before I actually launched. I had been working in in the nonprofit world for years and desired a changed. For a moment, I did think about going to business school before actively starting a business. I’m sure it would have been beneficial, but instead I’ve surrounded myself with really smart people and focused on what I do know – which is a little bit of everything when it comes to marketing and communications. Especially here in Cleveland where our entrepreneurial community has been thriving, I saw an opportunity to serve those in the lifestyle and creative space by offering creative PR and digital marketing services. I launched FACTEUR as a side-hustle and it eventually became my full-time profession.

YLGG : Growing up, what was your dream job?

RG : Starting at 13 years old, I wanted to be a music journalist. It was the same year I attended my first concert and got the Internet at home, so I started an e-zine and a website on my own devoted to music I loved. My major in college was Public Affairs Journalism, and I thought for sure I would graduate, move to New York City, and get a job at a glossy magazine. Well, I did move to New York City after college, but it was a marketing job (at Columbia Records). I followed my dream to work in music, but instead of writing about it, I was promoting it. Still a dream!

YLGG : What piece of advice would you give to women starting their own business?

RG : First and foremost, just do it! But do it right. Create an LLC and apply for an EIN number if applicable,  open a business checking account, develop branding that is representative of your business, craft a contract and get your terms in order, and create a website or some kind of digital presence for your business. All of these steps can seem intimidating, especially if you have a full-time job, but I would really try to commit some time in the evenings and weekends to simply setting up your business. Your first impression is going to be so important, especially in the early days of your business when you are trying to gain trust in addition to revenue. The more you have buttoned-up behind-the-scenes, the more it will show to your clients or customers, and the more time you’ll be able to spend doing what you love.

YLGG : What do you like most about your workspace?

RG : The windows! I have three windows both in my work office and my at-home office. Prior to FACTEUR, I had never had an office with a window. Sure, I’ve worked in some beautiful spaces – from high-rises to museums – but when you spend a good deal of time in front of your computer, I find natural light to be so important. I work better and breathe better being near it.

YLGG : Have any mistakes shaped the way you run your business today?

RG : Yes, not listening to my gut. I started my own business somewhat selfishly if I am being honest. I wanted to serve clients I love, the ones I would consider to be in their target audience group. Early on, I did have one client (not in Cleveland) that approached me, and though I didn’t have a great feeling about our communications, I still signed them. Less than a week into our engagement I had to part ways, which is something I never wanted to do, but I can’t say in hindsight I was surprised, because I had a feeling. I know it sounds cliche, but listening to your gut or intuition or whatever you want to call it is so important. There are always going to be parts of our jobs and life we don’t enjoy, but if you can change it, do it. It will free up your time, resources, and your heart for the things that do bring you joy. The last thing you want to do is end up resenting the career you’ve created.

YLGG : What is something you could not go a day without ?

RG : My family, especially my daughter, Simone. Starting my mornings and ending the day with her are the highest points of my day. I also can’t go without my standing desk. Some days I’m running around or spending a lot of time in my car commuting between home, work, and meetings, so it’s nice to spend the time I need to take in front of my desk standing. Plus, my body just feels better.

Working Women Wednesday: Maggie Simenc

Working Women Wednesday is a bi-weekly highlight of the hard-working and wonderful women within the Girl Gang.
This week’s feature focuses on Maggie Simenc, owner & operator of
Sweet Little Things CLE.

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Your Local Girl Gang : Tell us about your business. What is your mission statement? When did you launch?

Maggie Simenc : Sweet Little Things CLE is a small, home bakery that I’ve been running since 2012 while I was in college. My mission is to produce from scratch, handmade pastries that utilize as many local products as possible. I’ve crafted and tinkered all of the recipes to be uniquely mine, putting my own twist on them all.

YLGG : When and how did the idea for Sweet Little Things come to you?

MS : Sweet Little Things came about on day when I was trying to figure out if a cupcake recipe I made went poorly due to either the recipe, or just poor execution. There were lots of experiments coming out of my parents’ kitchen, and lots of family and classmates being guinea pigs for new recipes. It finally came to a point where everyone started to tell me they would pay for cupcakes because they loved them so much. It snowballed from there, and now I have over 100 flavors for cupcakes alone, along with French macarons, tarts, puff-tarts (homemade “poptarts”), oatmeal jumble bars, etc. The name “Sweet Little Things” came from the four little girls in my extended family that were born within a year of each other. They were our “Sweet Little Things” and are my little cupcakes princesses.

YLGG : Growing up, what was your dream job?

MS : My dream job growing up actually changed and developed many times. I went from wanting to be an artist, a teacher, a chef, a dietitian, and then landed in my current role of being a Regulatory Specialist as my full time job. I make sure all food labels are meeting regulations, and that the nutrition fact panels are correct for consumers. My bakery is still something I do on the side, but there are many days (weeks.. months..) where it feels like I am working two full times jobs with the amount that I bake for orders!

YLGG : What is the best piece of business advice you have received?

MS : The best advice I’ve received was to stay grounded, and not pay attention to others who are doing the same thing. It will drive you crazy, and will pull you into a dark hole that you really shouldn’t be. It’s so easy to look at other people, their lives, their businesses, and compare yourself to them. You should really be focused on yourself, and being confident in what you do, and that will show.

YLGG : What characteristic do you most admire in other entrepreneurial women?

MS : I admire their drive. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, and ever more so being female on top of that. The drive I see in these other women is so inspiring, and helps me keep pushing forward through the struggles.

YLGG : What piece of advice would you give to women starting their own business?

MS : Be your own advocate. You can only rely on other so much to help push you and your business forward, you need to do a lot of the work yourself. Promote the hell out of yourself, and talk to as many other businesses as you can. Create those relationships and connections, they will come in handy one day.

YLGG : What do you like most about your workspace?

MS : Right now my workspace is my own kitchen. I love it because the setup is perfect for my needs. I can be at home while I bake, and simultaneously spend time with friends and family while still prepping orders. Since I do work full time on top of having a small business, it’s not ideal to work out of an industrial kitchen once I’m finished with my day job. I would never see my loved ones, so the kitchen in my home is perfect to still do that while I work.

YLGG : Have any mistakes shaped the way you run your business today?

MS : There have been some mistakes, like taking on too many events in a single day, that have helped me figure out how to schedule things in the future. You really can have too much of a good thing sometimes, and as a one person operation, you can really only do so much at once!

YLGG : What is something you could not go a day without ?

MS : One thing I could not go a day without is talking to my loved ones. I have an hour commute to work, so talking with them and catching up really helps the drive, along with my mood. They are my rocks, and just being able to chat about nothing for an hour really helps my sanity.

YLGG : Name a woman, past or present, who you admire.

MS : I know it sounds cliché, but I admire my mom. She has always been so open and honest with us kids, and is such a strong woman. She may have days where it’s a struggle, but she always puts on a strong, brave demeanor that has taught us it’s ok to have bad day, but don’t let them define you. She’s an advocate for everyone who needs it, and is the greatest person to talk through things with. Thankfully, I come from a tight-knit family, who are a large support group of amazing women. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have started Sweet Little Things.

Working Women Wednesday: Lisa Quine

Working Women Wednesday is a bi-weekly highlight of the hard-working and wonderful women within the Girl Gang.
This week’s feature focuses on Lisa Quine, Creative Consultant.

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Your Local Girl Gang : Tell us about your business. What is your mission statement? When did you launch?

Lisa Quine: My business started as a highly personal hobby in 2013 and slowly morphed into a side hustle. I developed an addiction to drawing lyrics, started posting my work on Instagram, and eventually friends and family started hiring me for smaller projects. After developing a style, a portfolio of work, and a network of clients, I was able to leave my full-time job in advertising to launch Lisa Quine Inc. on November 30, 2017.

The ability to create and express is one of the best parts about being human. Both lettering and design have become my life’s calling, and my mission is to share that with the world.

YLGG: When and how did the idea for your business come to you?

LQ: I was attending a Creative Mornings event where business coach and Cleveland Flea founder, Stephanie Sheldon gave a super inspirational talk that really hit home. I signed up for a coaching session with her that same day, and she helped me realize that I need to stop saying things like “someday I’ll make this happen…” and to take action immediately. She actually made me set a date of when I was going to quit my job (November 1, so I was only 29 days off).

I did a lot of soul searching and intention-setting, which led me to the fact that I could make a career out of lettering. It seemed risky at first, but ultimately it comes down to betting on yourself, and I could control my own odds. The support from husband, family, friends, and the community in Cleveland was also incremental in my decision to launch my business.

YLGG: What is the best piece of business advice you have received?

LQ: The best advice I’ve ever received in business AND life is to take responsibility for everything. Taking full ownership for my actions and reactions has shifted my mindset and has resulted in the most personal growth I’ve experienced.

I was in a drawing competition at a conference last spring that was a complete failure and unbearably humiliating. I was partnered with an artist who wasn’t open to other people’s ideas and might have been a little too confident in their own ability. At the time of the competition, I blamed my partner for the horrific piece we drew together in front of all the conference attendees. But reflecting on the event, I learned that I should have spoken up and tried to compromise more, rather than being a total “yes man” and hating what I had to draw.

I’m proud that I participated in something that terrified me, and I’m grateful for the experience that led me to be a better collaborator for future projects. A little shift in mindset changed everything for the better.

YLGG: What characteristic do you admire in other entrepreneurial women?

LQ: I admire the work ethic and dedication entrepreneurial women have. Big accomplishments aren’t just handed out to anyone, so learning the habits and sacrifices of some of the most successful women has really been inspiring.

There have been PLENTY of times where I would have loved to shut my brain off and watch Netflix for hours, but instead I answered emails or started a new sketch. I couldn’t have learned will power like that without the help and guidance of other women who have proven that hard work and putting in the time behind the scenes eventually pays off in big ways.

YLGG: What piece of advice would you give to women starting their own businesses?

LQ: Surround yourself with people you trust and who will support you. Sometimes, especially early on, things will get stressful and it’s easy to lose yourself in the business, so having specific people for specific tasks is very helpful. Identify someone to cheer you on when you need encouragement, someone to keep you in check so you can stay focused on your business goals, someone to be a harsh critic and will tell you the truth, and a couple role models you look up to just to name a few!

YLGG: What do you like most about your workspace?

LQ: I am very grateful that I have a room at home that’s exclusively my office and filled will all my past work, sources of inspiration, and most treasured art supplies. But what I like best are my emerald green walls and my standing desk. I was born in May and have always treasured my birthstone: emerald. I also identify as a Slytherin so the emerald room makes me feel a little more dark and witchy. The standing desk helps we stay awake.

YLGG: Have any mistakes shaped the way you run your business today?

LQ: I was given the opportunity to have a gallery show in Canton and could not have been more excited. I love being able to create artwork for clients, but also stay personally inspired by my own passion projects. Unfortunately, the work I made for the show just wasn’t good. At all. It makes me physically sick looking at the work to this day.

I didn’t give myself enough time to create the pieces, and I created lettering that was way too far removed from my usual style and color palette. I wanted to have fun and be experimental, but an art show wasn’t the best platform to do that for. I learned so much from it though, and it’s actually helped my client work as well.

I now ‘K.I.S.S’ – keep it simple, stupid.

  • When there’s a message I need to convey, I make sure the main message is communicated clearly and everything else is relative as supporting material.

  • I don’t get overly ambitious when the timeline doesn’t allow it

  • I play to my strengths and bring in help when I know there’s someone that can make the project more successful

  • I take the target audience into account more and save the experimenting for behind the scenes. I’ll share it once I’ve worked through the kinks.

YLGG: What is something you could not go a day without?

LQ: Instagram. I really tried to think of something funny or cute, but sadly it’s a social media platform. It makes me laugh. It connects me with clients, fans, and role models. It’s also given me credibility and has led to projects like installing a mural at StubHub’s headquarters in San Francisco. It inspires me with artwork from all over the world, and it gives me motivation to keep developing my own brand.

YLGG: Name a woman, past or present, who you admire.

LQ: My cousin, Claire, has consistently inspired me my whole life, and I appreciate that we’re related more and more. During my preteen/teenage years, I witnessed a confident, hilarious, stylish and super talented actress dominate the theater in all of Northeast Ohio during her high school career. She then went on to college, but cut that short to move to NYC and started performing on Broadway.

Claire has the best personality out of everyone I know and somehow always knows the best things to say. She’s a fantastic storyteller, fashionista, and she leads by example. Life has thrown her plenty of painful curve balls, and I have watched as she alone takes them head on and becomes an even better and stronger version of herself. She’s now the mother of three adorable boys and has her own sensory friendly yoga business. Whether it’s greeting an audience, weathering a project disaster, or putting an outfit together, I’m always asking myself “What would Claire do?”