business

HOW MY BURN OUT TURNED OUT TO BE THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO ME

By Jennifer Hakim, founder and director of Jennifer Hakim Communications, a marketing and PR agency for mindful businesses. In 2015, something unexpected happened. After months looking for my dream job I finally found it. I was bursting with pride, excitement and fear. I could barely believe it. Was this a luck twist of fate? Was I going to be found out? In hindsight that disbelief in my own abilities was probably the first sign of the impending burnout that would hit me that same year. I knew my worth on paper: I had studied for years. With two diplomas in hand and years of internships and work experience in my field it was only fair I would climb this new step on the ladder. But it wasn’t quite registering that I actually deserved it. “I’m just good at job interviews”, I thought. “They’l...

I CAN HAVE IT ALL: THE HARDSHIPS OF WORKING AS A MOM

This month has been tough. There’s been a lot of realizations in both my role as a mom and someone who works. My situation is a little different, mainly being a stay-at-home mom, but I also work as a freelance video editor/marketing manager in the little time I have during naps and when the baby goes to sleep. The beauty of freelancing is that I can make my schedule and take work that I want. The only thing I didn’t realize was how easy it was for me to overbook myself. I felt that I had this whole “being a mom” thing under control, but boy was I wrong, and I had a brutal wake up call. For months I have been doing work here and there, marketing for a local production company and some one-off video editing work. It was pretty good because I could do a lot of this during nap time and even wo...

BRILLIANT CHICAGO WOMEN LEADERS IN THE WEDDING PLANNING INDUSTRY

When I launched my wedding planning business, Anticipation Events, I knew three things for sure: I was going to give it my heart and soul, and the foundation of my business model would be all about delivering great customer service. I also knew I wasn’t much worried about being an entrepreneur in the wedding industry as a woman — because women rule this space.  Weddings are, by their very nature, a more tender and emotional experience, so the vibe can be very different than a corporate setting. They require a delicate hand that meets the client where they are and someone that understands how important this day is even when you’re planning weddings for a dozen clients at once.  Amazing customer service is key. After working on the event team at a large venue [Shedd Aquarium] for over four y...

THE JOURNEY TO THE STAGE– AN ESSAY BY RACHEL WISE

I sing without thinking. It comes as naturally to me as the sun rising. Using my voice to make music is a part of who I am, and I feel as though I was born to sing. I’ve had a dream to be a professional singer since I could remember that was actually a thing. The first time I remember ever singing in public is when I was two years old at my grandparents church in Ashland, Mississippi. As a child, I was naturally an outgoing person and enjoyed singing in choirs and church bands, but as I got older, the plague of stage fright became worse;  The shaking hands, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and cracking voice happened any time I was assigned to sing a solo. Let me tell you, that only goes away with practice, and thankfully my love of singing outweighed my fear of mistakes and what...

THREE QUICK WAYS TO MAKE NETWORKING PART OF YOUR ROUTINE

You’ve heard it hundreds of times: You need to network! If you want to build your client base, get referrals, establish your brand and be a better professional, networking is required. But when you’re already busting your tail to do your job, being involved in your community, staying somewhat healthy, and maintaining your personal relationships, networking often falls to the bottom of the list. Here are three easy ways to make networking part of your routine, so it no longer has to be another dreaded item to check off the list. Change your mindset. This one is so important. You want to approach the people you are already interact with as opportunities to build networking relationships. Say hello to the person in the elevator with you, strike up a conversation with another parent at your ki...

WHY MAKING MISTAKES ISN’T ALWAYS A BAD THING

I was recently reminded that I can be impulsive, indecisive, and at times, chaotic. Generally, these are not great adjectives for a business owner — or anyone — to have. But I am who I am, and despite others’ opinions, I am okay with that. In fact, I admit that I have never been more proud of myself than I am today. Over the past few months, working for myself has provided me with a lot of time to think and reflect back on all the decisions I made that led me to where I am now. Some of them were fairly impulsive, some of them were risky, but I don’t regret any of them. While they technically were mistakes, I am glad I made them when I did. So, I want to use this example from my own life to teach you — or remind those of you who knew but have forgotten — why making mistakes isn&...

WHAT IT’S LIKE BEING A BUSINESS OWNER WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS

My life has been a roller-coaster ride at times much like yours, I’m sure. Expectations, responsibilities and everyday pressures can take a toll on anyone. Imagine dealing with the normal everyday stress of life while trying to build a business and balance having a chronic illness like muscular dystrophy (MD). When someone without a chronic illness wakes up to the buzz of their second (or maybe third) alarm in the morning, a lot of thoughts may be running through their head. Is it 7:00 a.m. already? Do I really need to go to work today? Can’t I just lay here for another 10 minutes and still make it to work on time? My thoughts look at a little different: Will I be able to get out the bed without falling today? Will I have the energy to attempt to tackle my to-do list? How long can I actual...

FIGURING IT OUT

I know I’m good at what I do. I see women in NYC (where I started my career) and all over the web achieving so much success, and I think, ‘When am I going to get to that point?’ I moved back to my hometown six years ago, and I’ve been working hard to relaunch my business, and after being a small fish in a huge pond, is it crazy to think that the reverse situation will lead to greatness? I’ve been an event planner for over 15 years, and I’ve honed this skill to the nth degree. I can manage dealing with crazy deadlines/stress, Broadway stars and raising millions of dollars, and at this point in my career I feel like I’m ready to be considered the guru for event planning in my hometown. It doesn’t come that easy though, you know? When you have a family, you have responsibilities. ...

UNIQUE CHALLENGES FOR WOMEN IN FAMILY-CONTROLLED BUSINESSES

According to the Conway Center for Family Business, nearly a quarter of family-owned businesses are led by a female CEO, and nearly 60% of all family businesses have women in top management. However, female leaders often confront workplace bias and potential communication hurdles rooted in the family’s shared history. Similarly, dissent among family members frequently exists. These are certainly issues confronted by male leaders as well, but often more difficult to navigate for women even while they are acknowledged for their skills and talents. Why is this so? Throughout my over thirty years of working with women leaders in family business, and as a female family business owner myself, I have observed that women often naturally take on a caretaker role within both their family and company...

HOW A POST-IT NOTE CHANGED MY LIFE

It was a Wednesday, mid-winter, gray afternoon and as per normal I was at my desk plugging away. As V.P. of Marketing at a major media company in NYC, it looked like I had achieved my career goals, but on the inside my soul felt as gray as the afternoon. I kind of felt guilty about it too, and this added to my heaviness. I took a deep breath in and sighed it out, and then of course my computer decided to crash. I called Joe, our computer tech, and headed out to grab lunch while he revived my computer. When I got back — Joe was gone, the computer was up and running (thanks Joe!) and there was a pink post-it note on my computer screen that said “You are the most organized person I’ve ever seen.” I was kind of surprised. Wasn’t everyone this organized? I didn’t think it was a big deal, ...

I QUIT MY JOB TO OPEN A CAFE IN THE HILLS

In reality, the series of incidents that followed quitting my job were not as rosy as the headline reads. I had an (almost) ideal life – a loving family, a happening social circle, a job that I loved (not to forget the pretty li’l fat cheque at the end of every month) and the ability to pack my bags and travel anytime I wanted. Even with all this and much more, I wanted to do something of my own. I battled for almost 2 years with the thought of quitting my job. I did not have an exact plan, but I knew I wanted to be in the hills. A digital marketeer by profession, I was bitten by the travel bug when I was 18 years old. My mother had gifted me an envelope that had to and fro rail tickets to Gujarat. I had studied in a boarding school in Gujarat and was more than happy thinking about t...

HOW I AM FIXING MY PROBLEMS WITH PROCRASTINATION

I hate those moments where I wake up feeling uninspired, not motivated to do much. This usually happens when there’s a lot on my plate and I haven’t figured out a plan to tackle my pending responsibilities. I hate to admit it, but I am a procrastinator. It’s not intentional. It’s not something that I’m proud of. Trying to conquer this perpetual bad habit is tough. I do it all; I set calendar reminders; I use digital checklists, and I also utilize a personal and work-related planner. Still, with these resources, I’m likely to roll out of bed later than expected, easily setting myself up for failing to get my daily tasks, especially in the workplace, done. Recently, I had the urge to get to the bottom of my issue with procrastination. First, I started writing down when and why I found myself...

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