Essential Digital Marketing Tools for Small Business Owners

For small business owners, having a robust online presence is critical for success. However, developing a website, managing email campaigns, and reporting on success may seem overwhelming. In addition to your standard options, such as MailChimp, Wordpress and Square Space, here are a few less well known, free or inexpensive tools to help you with your website, social media, email, and reporting that don’t require a technical expert to use. Read More

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Two Women, One Vision

The immigrant founders behind Fresh Monster are taking a new approach to working motherhood
As moms with years of experience in the personal care industry, launching Fresh Monster—a line of affordable, toxin-free bath products for kids—was a natural career progression for co-founders Jean Sim and Irena Todd. However, as immigrants who were born into very different circumstances, the story of how these two entrepreneurs came together to create a thriving business is remarkable. Read More

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The Gig Economy: Your Ticket To Sourcing Top Talent

Canopy Advisor and Forbes contributor Liesa Taylor.

The gig economy isn’t just for ride-sharing services and odd jobs. Smart leaders are taking advantage of it to source highly qualified knowledge workers — and, with a little preparation, you can too. Here's how.

The first step is to learn a bit about the gig economy.

The freelance economy grew to 55 million Americans this year — 35% of the nation’s workforce. This trend doesn’t just exist among service workers. We also see it among professionals who have been trained at tops schools and firms. Why? There are a few reasons:

• Talented workers, historically employed on a full-time basis, are dropping out of the full-time labor force. This is happening across generations: baby boomers who don’t want (or can’t afford) to fully retire, Gen Xers who need flexibility to raise kids and care for aging parents, and millennials who seek more freedom and independence in their work. Read More

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The rise of the “highlancer”: Working moms eschew the C-suite for flexibility

It’s often said glass ceilings and the old boys’ club keep successful women from reaching the corner office as the pinnacle of their careers.  But do today’s working moms want to be a CEO?

For many women, the grueling years that are most critical to reach the corner office overlap with the years to start and raise a family.  Frequently, trying to accomplish both leads to feeling stress and lack of fulfillment in both arenas.  Choose your career and compromise on your family time; choose your family, and you’re likely to be passed over for executive growth.

A subset of today’s working moms – who had previously chosen the C-suite path toward the executive chair – are creating a new conversation about what it means to have it all.  A recent Harvard Business Review article reported today’s working women want more meaningful work, more challenging assignments and more opportunities for career growth, but cited job titles and similar status concerns – such as being in the C-suite – as less relevant. Read More

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Why I Followed My Personal Calling, Even When It Led Away From A Great Job

I realized over 10 years ago that I have a calling that cannot be ignored — a calling to create opportunities for the next generation of leaders in under-represented communities. After years as a corporate communications executive, I saw an opportunity for my employer to be a more socially responsible company, generate positive news stories, and support public policy goals by creating partnerships with leaders of under-represented communities. After all, these growing communities are the users, customers and supporters of the companies that serve them. But the notion of working closely with them was unfamiliar to leadership primarily because they are not represented in decision-making roles.

As an executive at a Fortune 500 company, I created a new role focused on developing a network of relationships and partnerships with under-represented 
communities. The idea was supported and after several years, there were tangible outcomes for the public policy, human resources, and diversity teams and noted benefit to company value. There was also significant progress in the community as a result of our collective work together. At last, I was able to fulfill my personal calling while contributing to the good of the company. This calling eventually led me to Facebook. Read More

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Who Wins in the Gig Economy, and Who Loses

The winners and losers in the U.S. economy have traditionally been easy to identify. If you had a full-time job, you won. A full-time job provided the steady income needed to support our traditional version of the American Dream: the highly leveraged, high-fixed-cost house; the cars; the latest consumer goods. A full-time job was also the only way to access important employer-provided benefits, such as health insurance and a pension, as well as protections against workplace injuries, discrimination, and harassment. Without a full-time job, a true sense of security was elusive, benefits were inaccessible, and you were more likely to be stranded on the fringes of the labor market, observing rather than living the American Dream. Read More

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The Age of the Freelancer

Last month, I attended Denver Start-up week’s the “Age of the Freelancer”; I arrived to a standing room only packed house at Craftsy’s downtown conference space to hear Aspenware’s Rob Clark speak about the following:
People are turning to freelancing in droves. Fast Company reports that the number of 1099s received by the IRS grew from 82 million in 2010 to 91 million in 2015, and according to ColoradoBiz Magazine, half the workforce could be location-agnostic by 2020. Why are companies using more blended teams and freelance talent, and how can tech freelancers take advantage of this ripe market? Read More

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Confessions of an Accidental Free Agent

There is a lot of chatter about the gig economy -- independent contractors, self-employed consultants, on-demand workers, e-lancers, high-lancers -- and whatever new terms come out tomorrow that describe this shift in the way people are earning a living. It is usually described in the context of highly capable people choosing a different path, intentionally blazing their own trail, and embracing the American entrepreneurial spirit.

I have a confession. I’ve been an independent consultant for seven years now, and I feel like one day I tripped, tumbled down the proverbial rabbit hole, and ended up in freelance wonderland. Here is the ironic part. Most of the work I do involves advising clients on being intentional and structured in the way they drive their business forward. I help them create strategic business and marketing plans to grow in a deliberate and measurable way. But when it comes to my own consulting practice, it began a little less…deliberately. Read More

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The professional on-demand workforce includes all generations

Older, more experienced independent professionals between the ages of 35-55 are the ones most sought-after by today’s businesses for on-demand assignments. This makes sense, given businesses’ emphasis on proven skills and experience (See previous post). Mid-career professionals satisfy this need.

Not only does this arrangement work well for employers, it works well for on-demand consultants as well. A professional woman in this age group is often stressed out by balancing career goals with the challenges of caring for a growing family. On-demand work provides her, too, with a good solution. Read More

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Is This Wildlife Conservation PhD The Steve Jobs Of Impact Investing?

Did the people who met Steve Jobs in 1976 have any inkling that they were talking to the person whose name would for a generation be synonymous with “entrepreneur”? More often, people have believed to have found the next incarnation of Jobs only to be disappointed. Perhaps you can help me determine if the subject of this article could become the Steve Jobs of impact investing.

From my perch in Salt Lake City on the west side of the Rockies, over the last few years I’ve been hearing rumblings from the other side of the mountains. In Denver, Dr. Stephanie Gripne has created one of the most dynamic centers of impact investing and social entrepreneurship in the world. With a goal to catalyze impact investments of over $1 trillion and a plan to get there, it is about time that people outside the Rocky Mountains took note.

Dr. Gripne founded the Impact Finance Center as a partnership between the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Read More

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