Start Up Monday

WorkBIG Pick of the Week

Looking to get your entrepreneurial spirit kick-started today? Every Monday you'll find inspiration here as Get Your BIG On features an entrepreneurial venture, a business or an individual making a BIG positive impact or a nugget (or two) of workplace wisdom!

12.19.11 Volunteer Resource Center

We're getting close to the end of year, time to take stock of where we've been and where else and how we can make a positive difference. Stop by the Volunteer Resource Center as you reflect. Use this site as your starting point for learning more about and finding great volunteer opportunities around the globe—whether you're looking to get involved in your own neighborhood or thousands of miles away.

12.12.11 Association of Hole in the Wall Camps

Here's a great cause to consider for your holiday giving. The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps is a growing global network of innovative camps and programs that provide life-changing experiences to children with serious medical conditions, always free of charge.  

12.5.11 Helpguide

Helpguide's mission is to help people understand, prevent, and resolve many of life's challenges. Their goal is empowering people with the knowledge and support they need to take charge of their life and make healthy choices. The BIG team is impressed with their mission but also with the abundance of information and resources available here.

11.28.11 Google Plus

Our pick of the week is Google Plus - loving the opportunity to try out new functionality and connect in new ways! Talk. Share. Chat. Have fun!

11.21.11 Enchantment
A Get Your Big On favorite: our pick of the week is Guy Kawaski's book Enchantment, a great read for the holiday weekend. After your turkey dinner, sit down and enjoy a book that will help you discover how to  inspire and delight.

11.14.11 Global Entrepreneurship Week

Check out a global conversation about entrepreneurship which will help to connect people, share ideas and address regional issues to drive the next generation of business owners.

11.7.11 Threads 4 Thought

Threads 4 Thought, a socially conscious fashion company founded by Eric and Leigh Fleet in 2006, donates a portion of its proceeds to two causes: the International Rescue Committee and the National Resources Defense Council. Thread 4 Thought not only provides financial assistance to these causes but takes the extra steps of advocating for them, donating products, sponsoring events, creating Shop The Cause products, and acting as a corporate partner to develop emergency response campaigns for critical natural or humanitarian crises. Plus, the firm is dedicated to using sustainable business and manufacturing processes. Keep up the good work!

10.31.11 How to Start a Business

Thinking about starting a business and not sure you know enough to be asking all the right questions? This post from Inc. magazine is a great starting point. It not only offers suggestions, it also provides links - a terrific one-stop shop to spur your entrepreneurial thinking!

10.24.11 One Word

Who can't use more encouragement? Derrick Hayes developed an app on the Android Market and he is encouraging the world!  Everyone who installs the app receives a positive word of encouragement to start their day. 

10.17.11 KIPP

KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of 109 free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools in 20 states with a track record of preparing students in under-served communities for success in college and in life. KIPP builds a partnership among parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first and proves that demographics do not define destiny. Nationally, more than 95 percent of KIPP middle school students have graduated high school, and more than 85 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college. Kudos!

10.10.11 The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
It is Monday morning and like most other enterpreneurs, I'm starting my week off thinking about my business. I have a weekly routine of reviewing my goals looking at my metrics and then planning my week. A big part of my metric review is my website traffic. If you would like a good read on how to increase your website value, check out Mike Michalowicz's blog on the trick that will get more action from your site.
10.3.11 Charity Music, Inc.

Charity Music is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public service organization fulfilling a lovely need - bringing music to at-risk youth. Their mission is to help cultivate the next generation of upcoming musicians. They provide musical instruments on loan, at no charge, to individuals wishing to explore their hidden musical talents. Students who are homeless, at risk and/or disadvantaged - and now veterans - have benefited from the program, receiving musical instruments they would not otherwise have been able to afford.

9.26.11 Lisa Hogan, Glevum Associates

Kudos to women everywhere who start their own business and make a successful go of it! Lisa was recently recognized on the Inc. Top 10 Female Entrepreneur list. As owner and CEO of Glevum Associates, Lisa Hogan oversees the company's efforts to conduct social research in some of the world's most tumultuous regions. The company was given a grant recently by the federal government to undertake projects in Afghanistan. Glevum Associates uses techniques from the social sciences to provide information on regions around the globe.

9.19.11: Yellow Leaf Hammocks

Joe Denim, Chief Relaxation Officer of Yellow Leaf Hammocks stumbled upon the most comfortable and beautiful hammocks he had ever seen. After learning about how the production and sale of the hammocks had brought an endangered tribe out of slavery and closer off of the Endangered Languages list, he was compelled to go beyond the purchase he had made. He went well beyond by quitting his corporate job and abandoning plans to attend business school. Instead, he launched a social enterprise and lifestyle brand called Yellow Leaf Hammocks dedicated to the four pillars of sustainability (economic health, social equity, cultural vitality and environmental stewardship). Check it out! 

9.12.11: End Malaria

Box of Crayons, The Domino Project, and Malaria No More has joined forces to help bring an end to malaria. How? By giving $20 from the purchase of each copy of End Malaria to Malaria No More. The $20 purchases a mosquito net to be sent to a family in need and to support life-saving work in the fight against malaria. As if helping to save lives isn't enough, buying End Malaria gives you great reading material.  62 of America’s favorite business authors, including Tom Peters, Nicholas Carr, Pam Slim, and Sir Ken Robinson, have contributed essays with central themes of focus, courage and resilience. Be inspired to look within for solutions to your everyday dilemmas and for motivation to realize your desires.

9.5.11: Hives for Lives

What a moving and inspirational story! When their grandfather died of esophageal cancer in 2003, sisters Molly and Carly Houlahan wanted to do something significant that would both honor his memory and help fund the search for a cancer cure. "He was our best friend and role model," Molly says. "It was the first time we had lost someone, and you recognize how precious life is." So Molly put a family hobby to work and formed Hives for Lives. The Devon, Penn.-based company harvests, filters, bottles, labels and sells its own honey, and all profits are donated to fund cancer research. To date, Hives for Lives has donated nearly $170,000 to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Penn Abramson Cancer Center and other cancer research charities.

8/29/11: Business Over Coffee

This week's pick is a unique venture, Business Over Coffee, started by three graduate students, Austin Spitzer, David Graddy, and Zach Bunn. Recognizing their efforts to educate, inform and inspire is an easy task for us given that one of their first podcasts begins with the quote, "If you are going to be thinking anyways, think big." (Music to our ears here at Get Your BIG On!) Do check out Business over Coffee and offer a BIG congratulations to the authors for being our Pick of the Week!

8/22/11: Tips from Small Business Owners

If you're an entrepreneur or small business owner, access to resources is sometimes beyond your financial reach. We were tickled to discover this post from American Express, 101 Tips from Small Business Bloggers. If you're in the market for new ideas or just need some inspiration from folks who walk your talk, you'll find it here.

8/15/11: Richard Branson on Handling Difficult Employees

Employees - a small business's greatest asset - and sometimes biggest challenge! Entrepreneur magazine has a regular online feature with Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, in which he answers questions posed to him from readers. His most recent post covers managing difficult employees.  If you like his advice and want to ask a question of your own that mightl be answered in a future column, you can send your question to [email protected].

8/8/11: Take a Quiz - Should You Be an Entreprenuer?

We're going for some reading this week! Harvard Business Reviews offers up a great little post, Should You Be An Entrepreneur, complete with a nifty little quiz. There's also some great insights (and debate!) in the comment section. If you are considering starting your own business, you'll find lots of thought-provoking information to stimulate added analysis as you create a business plan to support your new venture (adventure!).

8/1/11: Greg Sanchez,

Meet Greg Sanchez, founder of, a free dating safety tool that ensures a safe return home! Being raped, stalked, scammed and sadly even death are some unfortunate outcomes associated with online dating. With the increase of mobile devices and fast internet speeds, online dating has become extremely popular and convenient for busy singles, students and professionals. Unfortunately, the quick and convenience factor also means there is a risk of someone using the online dating scene to search out their next victim. Co-founders Greg Sanchez and Marcello Saldana have 25 years of combined experience in the law enforcement and legal field. "Our mission is to bring safety awareness to the dating community. We believe your safety is always our priority, by providing a dating safety website, with cutting technology, unparalleled service and our exceptional insight to safety, you can rest assured knowing that your safe return is being monitored. SAFETY is our PASSION!"

7/25/11: Entrepreneurs are Leaders

Our Start BIG pick this week is a post from Bloomberg Business Week, "Being an Entrepreneur and Being a Leader" - one that compares leaders to entrepreneurs, and poses some interesting questions to ponder.

7/18/11: Steven LeVine, The PR Grapevine

Meet our pick of the week Steven LeVine, founder of The PR Grapevine. "In April 2007, I scored my first notable client, TV/film actor Michael Carbonaro, and renamed my company to grapevine pr. I then started to take on more and more clients. By September 2007, I had generated my own press, and landed a profile on the front page of the Business section of the Asbury Park Press. That's when I was called into the HR office and given the biggest ultimatum of my life: either leave the company or stay! I decided I couldn't give up grapevine, so I left. I risked my financial well-being, my reputation and my career, but it paid off. It has now been five years, and I have had the opportunity to represent close to 100 clients in the worlds of lifestyle and entertainment, including TV actor Danny Pintauro ("Who's the Boss") and Project Runway's Jack Mackenroth, among other celebrities and consumer brands. My company, now based in Los Angeles, has also profited each year."

7/11/11: Mitra Ahadapurn, the EZtoothbrush

Mitra Ahadapurn is the founder of EZtoothbrush and her  "My son had tooth decay. So I always thought how could the regular toothbrush be made easier? One day, when I had taken my three kids to the beach, the idea came to me! My solution: the multi-headed toothbrush. By just placing it in your mouth, it covers all areas of the teeth with the right angle. An engineer helped me to build the correct angle in the toothbrush. In seconds, one can have great cleaning in an easy and fast way! My kids no longer complain about brushing their teeth as it is fast and easy."

6/27/11: Michele DeKinder-Smith, Jane Out of the Box

Start BIG's pick of the week is Jane Out of the Box, a research, publishing, and education company dedicated to helping women business owners live the lifestyle of their dreams. The company's knowledgebase is grounded in their substantial research with female entrepreneurs and is designed to understand their unique needs, challenges, and motivations. Michele DeKinder-Smith, the founder of Jane Out of the Box, felt compelled to use her 20-year research career knowledge and personal experiences to help women business owners. By gathering rich information and sharing it with women - and the companies and agencies who serve them - Jane Out of the Box fosters opportunity for all. You can connect with Michele on Twitter at @JaneOutoftheBox.

6/20/11: From Start-ups to Cubicle Life
Our pick this week is a great post, "From Start-up Dreams to a Cubicle Life," from Business Week. "More and more students are graduating from business school and deciding to take a pit-stop at a corporate job before launching into business on their own." Check out what these people are experiencing and let us know if you agree...or not!
6/13/11: The Bubble Tower, Fun and Eco-friendly

Here's a fun story about a fun toy, the Bubble Tower. Chasing and popping bubbles is only half the fun with the 14-foot tall, solar-powered Bubble Tower. The other half is seeing kids (and their parents) run and dance after the soaring bubbles. The original rainbow-themed Bubble Tower has been joined by designs including a pink-sequined one for the 2004 Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure. Several designs are eco-friendly:  the Cow Bubble Tower is made from reclaimed and re-purposed billboard vinyl; and the Coffee Bubble Tower features dozens of colorful burlap coffee bean bags from around the world as well as discarded polyester table cloths from the rental linen industry.

6/6/11: Claire Ratliff, The Publicity Penguin

Meet Claire Ratliff, owner and founder of The Publicity Penguin. Claire is a mother first and many things second: a publicist, writer, people watcher, equal opportunity cat and dog lover who is both fascinated and repulsed by pop culture. She lives in Nashville, TN. Her story....

"In the wake of my husband's Christmas Eve passing after a three year battle with cancer, I quickly realized that my two young sons at home couldn't lose me to a job. And so, just seven months after his passing, I left my comfortable job as a corporate marketer and hung out my shingle as a publicist. At first, I was afraid to turn anything down and became exhausted by attempting to establish and maintain relationships with media in a variety of industries. I learned to specialize and the value of establishing business hours, even working from home. I'm learning to care for myself, too, and last year lost nearly 40 pounds. Six years after losing my partner and best friend, my sons are sturdy, honorable men, and I am delighted to count among my clients legendary singers like Lorrie Morgan, Grammy Award winner David Ball and newcomer Corbette Jackson. My greatest lesson? Gratitude. It kept me going even when I really wanted to crawl under the covers and never come out. To fall into that deep hole of self-pity would have been an exercise in ungratefulness for the amazing love and gifts I've been given, like a love than many never get to know. It is that love and my thankfulness for it that continue to drive and motivate me."  

5/30/11: Got What It Takes to be an Entrepreneur?

Daniel Isenberg, a Professor of Management Practice at Babson College, wrote a thought-provoking post for anyone considering being an entrepreneur. He presents the 2–minute Isenberg Entrepreneur Test, chock-a-block full of topics that make you look deep inside yourself and examine your motives and reasons. More than 17 "yes" answers....and well, starting your own business maybe isn't such a good idea!

5/23/11: Roberta Perry, Scrubz Body Scrub

Our pick of the week is a start-up that's been in business for 4.5 years. Roberta Perry started Scrubz Body Scrub, Inc. in the dining room of her home. The business quickly expanded into her converted garage and finally moved out into her first shop location. Every year, Roberta and Scrubs Body Scrub plays host to a fundraiser for the Greater New York City Komen Fund. The business also created three scents in their body care line and donate proceeds to different causes. Roberta was honored, along with five other women, for being a woman manufacturer in Nassua County, Long Island, NY. Kudos!

 5/16/11: Michael Grandinetti, Bringing Us Magic

The pick of the week this week is Michael Grandinetti. Michael is one of the country's leading experts on magic. He has been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and radio stations around the country and has performed live at Heinz Hall with Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, New York's Grand Central Station, on the red carpet of ESPN's ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, at The White House Easter Celebration, and while surrounded by 40,000 people at Citizens Bank Park and Kauffman Stadium. His company "Michael Grandinetti Magic" has designed and produced custom magic effects for Fortune 500 companies and major corporations including Hewlett-Packard, Ernst & Young, Grainger, Bayer, Harley Davidson, and The American Marketing Association.

5/09/11: Leslie Haywood, Grills Charms

Our pick of the week this week is Leslie Haywood! She is Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, LLC, inventor of Grill Charms™. Haywood was a stay-at-home mother to two daughters until April of 2006 when a very spicy light bulb moment thrust her into the entrepreneurial ring. Despite a diagnosis of breast cancer in June 2006 and a bilateral mastectomy in August 2006, Haywood launched her product Grill Charms™ November of the following year. Since the debut of Grill Charms™, Haywood has appeared multiple times on CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch”, on Charleston ABC affiliate Channel 4 “LowCountry Live” as well as ABC's reality TV show Shark Tank. She has numerous publications such as Inc. Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, Parenting Magazine, Health Magazine, Inventors Digest, Chile Pepper Magazine, Fancy Foods and Culinary Products, newspaper features, radio and pod cast interviews to her accreditation. For more information please visit her “news” page!

4/25/11: Sadiq Okocha, Potluck App

Check out Potluck.Li where entrepreneur Sadiq Okocha and his team are building a potluck app that leverages both the and Facebook API so your buddies can easily opt-in to bring a yummy dish. Gone are the days of potlucks where half the dishes are macaroni and cheese. This web app allows you to see what others are bringing, plus it sends a reminder a couple days before the event so you don't forget. is great for parties, church gatherings, and feeding the homeless. Their story began very quickly, with them purchasing their domain name after refining their idea while speaking with venture capitalists and other entrepreneurs at Capital Factory Office Hours.

4/18/11: Laura Miranti, Board Book Albums, LLC

Laura Miranti is a mom, an entrepreneur and started Board Book Albums, LLC. When her child was faced with a potential  delay in being able to speak, Laura saw an opportunity to help.  Her daughter's speech development specialist suggested that Laura find a photo album for her daughter and fill it up with photos of her family, toys, and other familiar objects in her world. When Laura was unable to find a kid-friendly photo album, she came up with the idea to create a board book photo album. Unlike other albums, these albums have thick sturdy pages that are perfect for little kids to handle. Studies have shown that young children only have object recognition with photos. This means that before the age of two, they can not relate a drawing of an object to the actual object, but they can relate a photo of the object with the actual object. Kudos to Laura for her creative idea that helps little ones learn!

4/11/11: David Alan, EZShopper

David Alan Slockblower (aka David Alan) is an inventor/entrepreneur/professional stand-up comic/artist who has had and lost millions. He has been featured in People Magazine, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Joe Franklin Show, the CBS Early Show, and dozens of local and regional television news shows. He fought and won a 13-year battle with alcoholism and drug addiction and has endured major surgeries to recover from a near-total disability. This inventor and entrepreneur is launching a new product - his patented EZ Shopper invention, something that literally EVERYBODY can use. He is our pick of the week because he's not only an entrepreneur but has overcome great odds! Check out his product!

4/04/11: Women Entrepreneurs - It's Good to Say No

This week's pick comes from Cindy W. Morrison. It is geared to women entrepreneurs yet is a great read for any entrepreneur. She explains the 24 hour rule to saying no! I am adopting this rule right away because it's a must read for any person who has trouble saying no!

3/21/11: Vishal Gupta - Women as Entrepreneurs

This week's pick comes from Vishal Gupta who believes that the way that entrepreneurship is presented, discussed and taught must change-- especially for women. This thought provoking news release made me appreciate being brought up in an entrepreneurial household, a place where the characteristics Vishal describes were modeled every day. Three of my father's four children are entrepreneurs, so I applaud Vishal Gupta for examining this important topic!

3/14/2011: Tips for Using Social Media by Annie Mueller

This week's pick comes from Annie Mueller. This post is full of great advice for what not to do in social networking! Be sure to read and comment this great post. Tell them Congratulations for being the BIG pick of the week!

3/7/2011: Mike Michalowicz Interviews Guy Kawaski

This week's pick comes from Mike Michalowicz,  the one and only Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.  Mike interviewed Guy Kawaski, author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and ActionsA great interview on a great site for entrepreneurs! Please stop by to check out the interview and offer Mike a BIG congratulations for being this week's pick!


Sign up for the BIG newsletter!

Looking for the latest on leadership, inventrepreneurship and women's issues? Sign up for our fun, informative and thought-provoking enewsletter! Our Privacy Policy spells out our commitment to never, ever sell your email.