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Interviews

Interview with New England Veterans Chamber of Commerce’s Lisa Ducharme

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Ducharme, Executive Director of the New England Veterans Chamber of Commerce. She comes from a family line with over 200 years of military service in all branches of the military.  She is a 20-year Air Force veteran, daughter of a retired Air Force Veteran and mother of an Army retired soldier.   Ms. Ducharme has an in-depth understanding of veteran benefits, and experience as a business owner, she has been a partner with Veterans Outreach Into Community Engagement (VOICE) for over 5-years, where she participates in military outreach opportunities connecting military, veterans and their families to resources.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?  When I retired from the Air Force in December 2006 I struggled to find a job, when I found a job that I enjoyed, after 5 years, in 2014, I was laid off.  I decided I needed a change, and went back to school to get a certification in 3D Animation and Interactive Media, which led me to start a business.  In starting my own business, I made all the mistakes you could make and didn’t really understand what assistance or resources were available.  When my business wasn’t going anywhere and I couldn’t make it work, that is when I started looking for assistance, and I applied for and was accepted into the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities at UConn.  I learned so much from that program and about other resources available to businesses and veterans.  When I was given the opportunity to establish the New England Veterans Chamber of Commerce (NEVCC) to connect and help veteran, military and family member businesses under the United States Veterans Chamber of Commerce it was an opportunity I could not pass up. 

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?  I was planning our kick-off for the NEVCC, which was scheduled for 11/11/2018 at 11:01 a.m., the reason for this date/time is because this year is the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I.  The launch was our tribute to those who served and sacrificed, “A Century of veteran businesses in the making.”, as our veterans past, helped our veterans present and we want to help our veterans in the future.  As we were figuring out how best to make this tribute, the World War I Centennial Commission launched the “Bells of Peace” and asked Americans across the U.S. to ring a bell at 11:00 on 11/11/2018 in honor of those who served and sacrificed. 

We wanted to add bells to our kick-off, so after searching where to get the commemorative bells, we found the perfect place, Bevin Bells in CT.  It turned out that Bevin Bells is not only a 6th Generation family run business, but the current owner is a veteran. 

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?  The NEVCC will be the hub of veteran entrepreneurship, and provide New England veteran, military, and family member businesses with the education, tools, resources and network connections necessary to launch and/or run successful businesses. We connect veteran, military, and family-owned businesses in New England through advocacy and professional and community networking. We do this by facilitating workshops and trainings with organizations and individuals that are experts in their field, such as Quabbin Mediation, VETRN Streetwise MBA, SCORE, Small Business Administration, and Veteran Business Outreach Centers.

Early on as we were establishing the NEVCC we connected with Leroy Ashwood, owner of BRAVE for Veterans, whose business is successful, and is working on starting another business, as well as working on a variety of veteran issues.  We have been able to collaborate with Leroy and also connect him to resources and provided him information that will assist him.   

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?  Use resources that are available, you are never alone!  It is never too late to make sure your personal credit is in good shape, if you don’t know how to start, reach out to the American Consumer Credit Counseling services, they are there to assist.  The stress of personal finances can be a big drain on business owners.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?  I so agree, everyone has a mentor who helped them get where they are.  In my case, my mentor is a friend and she has been my “business buddy” since 2013.  Anita Eliason, has owned her own business and now works as a Senior Business Advisor with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC). 

The most important thing about your “business buddy” is they need to be supportive and honest.   Anita has always been supportive and honest.  When I started my business in 2013, I had picked a business name that I thought worked, LLR2000 and Anita, said how does LLR2000 equate to your business?  As I explained what it stood for and we continued to talk, the reality set in, if it takes this much to explain it to Anita, who fully understands my business, it was clear my business name did not fit my business.  After some brain storming and looking online, we came up with Your Visual Alternatives.  When I was thinking about establishing the New England Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Anita and I brainstormed what that would look like and what kind of resources would be needed, and she was the first person added to the Advisory board.  The military has “battle buddies”, Anita is always going to be my “business buddy”.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? For over 20 years the quote I have relied on is by Abraham Lincoln, “I do the very best I know how—the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”  When it comes to business, I have many quotes that inspire me, one of my favorites is “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” — Colin Powell

We are only human, which can be a positive and a negative.  When I do the best I can and it is not good enough, is it a failure?  It is only a failure, if I do not learn from it.  Over my lifetime and throughout my time as a business owner, I will always do the very best I can, and will prepare and work hard.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Use resources – When I started my business, I did everything by myself, didn’t use resources and went online and downloaded other people’s business plans.  It was the wrong way to do it. 
  2. Get a SCORE mentor – SCORE is available to anyone to use https://www.score.org/SCORE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.”  I didn’t get a SCORE mentor (or have a business plan) until 2 years after my business was started.
  3. Work with the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) – “SBDC’s provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the United States and its territories. SBDCs help entrepreneurs realize the dream of business ownership and help existing businesses remain competitive in a complex, ever-changing global marketplace. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and funded in part through a partnership with SBA.”  https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc
  4. Ensure you have a Business Plan – Although business plans can be very difficult, you should always have one.  You do not have to do it by yourself, SCORE mentors can provide you tools and assist you through the process.  https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc
  5. Learn Social Media – Social media is not for all businesses, but it is for most.  Social Media includes blogs, LinkedIn, YouTube, and a wide variety of other social media formats.  The reality is, in today’s world how are you going to be found in this noisy world without Social media?

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement  that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂  My movement is “Buy Veteran New England”.   Our Veteran and Military members serve 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There were many times that they work through holidays and weekends. Many times, they get deployed or need to leave their families to go to training or to help others.  Our family members serve as well, they need to adapt to all kinds of situations, and the children who move need to continually adjust.  Here in the New England States, which include: CT, MA, ME, NH, VT, and RI, we want to run a “Buy Veteran New England” campaign and encourage businesses and consumers to purchase from veteran, military and family member businesses.

How can our readers follow you on social media?  We are on twitter, and Facebook:  @NEVCC2018 and can be found on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/new-england-veterans-chamber-of-commerce/.  Our website is www.NEVCC.org

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Entrepreneurship

Interview with Raul Villacis – The Edge

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Raul Villacis from The Edge. Raul has started a global wave of male re-empowerment. As an entrepreneur and a man who believes in the power of family, Raul knows the difficulties men face as they try to find balance in being business leaders, family men and role models. He knows what it’s like to pursue balance while trying to find strategies to boost life to the next level. His determination and drive are fueled by an overwhelming desire to bring about tangible change. After years of research and personal experience, Raul has developed a unique and powerful approach to help individuals create balance, find purpose and infuse creativity into their lives. His highly successful professional development brand, “The Next Level Experience” focuses on helping entrepreneurs, CEOs and celebrities devise a system to regain the balance in their lives and create success in any economy. Raul is a highly successful entrepreneur with over fourteen years of business experience. As the CEO of minority-owned and operated, ARG Advisors, a real estate firm based in Connecticut and New York, he led the company to consistently market and sell over $100 million per year in distressed real estate. His acumen working with top financial institutions caused the Wall Street Journal to dub ARG as “One of the Nation’s Top Real Estate Firms”. Raul can relate to business owners and companies because of his own success keeping ARG strong and profitable through the financial meltdown. Raul has also co-authored books with Steve Forbes and Brian Tracy. He believes The EDGE stems from having the capacity to execute while others sit on the sidelines and wait. Learn how you can get the EDGE at www.TheNextLevelExperience.com

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Interviews

Interview with Anastasiia Dashynska

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Anastasiia Dashynska. (Two university degrees, A number of international certificates (including  PsychologyWorld, InternationalNLP), Scientific articles on coaching and psychology; the author of self-coaching diaries)

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

  1. Coaching services are becoming more and more popular in the last decade, and accordingly, coaching does not stand still as a direction. Now there are over 500 species. This is not to mention the number of people offering their services. At the same time, most of them are people thanks to a rather narrow arsenal of tools obtained by a coach in the learning process. However, most importantly, it works.
    It turns out that having the right tools everyone can be a coach. Therefore, I had an idea to offer people something they need to achieve results without resorting to the services of a coach.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

The best job is to do what you love – in this case, this definition will be one of the most correct. Initially, I developed methods “for personal use”, depending on the problems, interesting and relevant to my loved ones. Accordingly, I rechecked each element, the logical connection of questions and their impact on the perception of customers or friends. They turned out to be effective, but the process took a long time. So, there was a situation when there was a choice between creating a method and direct consultation. And then, there was an interesting story-one of my client (and a friend part-time), learning that I cannot give her time, said, “Give mnesvoi records on the topic I need, and I’ll try to work myself.” Oddly enough, it turned out to be no less effective than the classic work in a bunch of coach-client.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This is quite interesting: Since my audience speaks different languages, I came to a rather original decision – to lead one page, but in Russian and English at the same time. This is a very unusual decision, because to communicate and distribute attention to 2 so different key groups is a kind of challenge. But now I understand that this step was too desperate – English-speaking subscribers of the page regularly received notifications about new posts in Russian, the same happened with Russian-speaking. This made a fuss and did not give the expected results. That OK, I had to go on cardinal step – to remove this fan-page and open two new. Conclusion? Do not mix what is not comparable to each other.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

There are no secrets and special stories here – just what I do really helps people, respectively, is in demand. But if in the case of coaching consultations requires a record, the agreed time and a considerable amount of money, when working with my self-coaching diaries, this process is simplified – a person just buy it and print. Then he can return to its use at the moment when he sees fit. Another important issue is the price – its purchase is much cheaper than a live coaching session. The last factor is very low competition. I monitor what is currently on the market of such services and I can say with confidence that today, I do not see competition. In addition, coaching services – is not only the business organization, but primarily a specialist, around which the business is built.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

If there is a huge competition in coaching, this is a self-coaching area that is not yet clear enough. But I’m sure there will be many more authors. I think it is worth paying attention to the fact that with the cooperation of the coach with the client, one can control the course of the conversation, feel the state and humor of the person and undermine it. In self-coaching, there is no such possibility and we must assume that usually the client does not understand the psychology and standard tools, therefore, all the achievements should be max simple and at the same time, effective enough for everyone, and for zmogl himself to find the answer he is looking for.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are number of common stereotypes; one of them comes down to the fact that a person must act according to a certain given scenario: born, learned, then he must work according to the profession he has received and do what he has learned. It does not matter if he chose this path himself and whether it was true (my diary was just dedicated to this “false goals” so, about the same scenario was assumed for me. Therefore, given the fact that I am a journalist by my first education, I was predicted to have a career in this field. Not all my developments have arisen out of nowhere. All of us are dependent on the environment one way or another. In my case, I can say that those who were around me treated the project rather skeptically or simply indifferent. Only one friend of mine believed in – actually, a rather problematic person, on whom, were “tested” new tools in the first place. In addition, he, understanding that “it works,” showed interest and fully helped.  Now, trying to answer on this question, I cannot say unequivocally that more helped those who supported and gave faith or those who were indifferent and thereby aroused excitement and a desire to show something. In any case, I am grateful for both.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

Understanding yourself is very helpful. Any psychologist will tell you this. The paradox is that people actually do it very rarely (most often when an urgent need arises). Why?

Usually there is no time for this or no apparent need, so many go around for their problems or agree to much less than they deserve. Another problem is that not everyone is willing to share their goals, plans or feelings with someone else. Therefore, self-coaching is the most obvious solution. Namely, the self-coaching diaries that I create become the tool that helps to find answers with ease. So, the search for answers becomes available for everyone. Moreover, my practice shows that people sometimes look for such unexpected solutions that it completely changes their lives. In turn changes in each individual at least a little, but can change the world around.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

«No one can understand you better than you». By acting as a personal coach, I concluded that most people sincerely believe that someone else can solve their internal problems. They come to specialists hopefully that they will find answers and solutions instead of them. However, it is apparently that outside help cannot be as effective as the conclusions reached by self. In addition, the most important answers are hidden in the man; only he has to find the time and energy to talk to himself “heart to heart”. Only for this, you need the right tools on which I focused my attention.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. People need simplicity.

I have a number of scientific articles that analyze certain psychological problems in detail from a scientific point of view. All this is quite understandable for specialists, but a person who has not encountered psychology is unlikely to be able to understand all the details. Accordingly, it is not necessary to show many nuances, you just need to create a “track” that leads to the result step by step. In my case, these are chains of consecutive questions, which are simple and intuitive; everyone gets to the depths of his subconscious and finds the necessary answers in response to them

  1. Do not take on too much.

Initially, it seems that the organization of the process will be simple – there are a number of understandable actions that you just need to regularly perform. However, the more actively the project develops, the more tasks appear, and all this needs to be kept on memo.

  1. The more tasks, the more detailed the organization is.

In continuation of the previous topic, it becomes a question of organization. It is almost impossible to keep a large amount of parts in mind and it takes a lot of energy, so there is a need to separate tasks into subtasks and systematize them. By the way, when I faced this problem myself, I created a self-coaching diary…

  1. Separation of duties

Even if you are superman, you will not be able to do everything. In addition, to find the right people at the last moment is very difficult, so you should think about it in advance and find like-minded people.

  1. The subtleties of the language

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amounts of good to the people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It seems to me that what I am doing now is precisely that movement.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.facebook.com/Anastasiia.Dashynska/

https://dashynska.online/en/main

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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Entrepreneurship

Interview With Tal Maimon The CEO That’s Disrupting The Luxury Rental Business In L.A.

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I had the pleasure of interviewing 33-year-old Tal Maimon, CEO of Maimon Luxury Rentals and Concierge services. He currently lives in Los Angeles taking over the luxury rental business. I wanted to learn more about this business and the lessons he had for entrepreneurs who might be interested as well. Here’s what he had to say:

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you give us a look into your background story and how you got started in the Luxury Rental Business?

Tal: At age 23 I completed my service in the Israeli Navy and decided to move to united states. I worked as a waiter for the first year and slowly began to set my sights on a position that was more financially stable. After that I worked in construction to gradually build my knowledge on how to build a home, from cost of materials and goods to financing. I really enjoyed my work however, I had always felt that my interest’s were in real-estate. During my work in construction I took the opportunity to invest in a solar company which I am currently a partner at. By this time in my life I was also a nightclub owner and partner in a production company.

The lessons I have learned during this process have played a huge role in my success. The people I have met along the way have been so inspirational and have really shown me that with dedication and hard work anything is possible.

It’s sort of full circle for me that I’ve ended up where I am today. Growing up my father was in real estate and I remember him always pushing us to pursue a career in real estate as well. In 2017 I decided to take the initiative and combine all the connections I have made over the years with clients, realtors and homeowners and provide a luxury service for high end clientele. By 2018 it was apparent that I needed to expand my business since the demand for this specific kind of luxury services was high. I got in touch with every homeowner I knew and slowly started to expand my listings. It’s been a fast growth but that’s not to say that hard work hasn’t been done. On the contrary I have spent countless hours going over details and contracts with both home owners and the clients to insure all parties are satisfied. Every job, lesson and hardship I have had has fully prepared me for the position I currently have. I really enjoy what I do and that to me is a blessing in itself.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? 

Tal: Once I had an individual contact me regarding a birthday for their 75 year old grandmother. They had given me the list of the attendees and what I assumed was the correct number of guests. It sounded like a great gathering with friends and loved ones. We also had a mutual friend so to me it sounded like a great deal and I agreed not to take a big deposit. I knew that both the homeowners and the clients would be happy with the services that I was providing. 

So, I went ahead and verified the booking and received the payment and all was well. Little to my knowledge the house I had just rented out was being used for a party of 100+ people who were parked all over, blocking homes and driveways, and creating an overall disturbance, not to mention breaching a contract they had signed. Needless to say I was left to deal with the aftermath of police officers, tow trucks, not to mention all the damage that was done. That day I learned a very important lesson. To protect myself, homeowners and clients because at the end of the day, this business works best with long term relationships and commitments.

What inspired you to go after the luxury renting Industry?

Tal: I wasn’t born into a luxurious life style but growing up I always knew that I wanted to have more. It just so happened that my father’s advice along with my connections gave me a perfect platform to launch Maimons Group.

What has been the biggest challenge and, on the flip side, the biggest reward of starting the Maimons Group?

Tal: The biggest challenge was transitioning from nightlife to luxury services. Of course, it’s a completely different clientele and of course, we all know how much doubt there is with starting a new business. But I truly believe that if you aim for perfection and set high standards for your own performance, then you will succeed

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? What lesson did you learn from them?

Tal: Adrian, who has been my friend for over 10 years was the one who introduced me to this market and really showed me the ins and out of what it takes to have a successful rental company business. It is because of him that I used my connections in the city and applied it to this business. An I am immensely thankful for him. It’s a blessing to be around people who support you and help you to reach your end goals.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Tal: The best advice would have to be the one my father gave me. I remember his words vividly.

“Pick your partners wisely, everything is good when its good and everything is bad when is bad. to get in to partnership or a relationship is easy, to finish them is where it gets hard and ugly.”

What were the biggest entrepreneurship lessons you learned from your experience with Maimons Group?

  1. The biggest lesson for me has been to deal with homeowners and clients directly. This way you’re minimizing misunderstandings and you’re also building a connection that will essentially bring you returning clients.
  2. Always make sure to have the payment and deposit before the client checks in. In this way you’re protecting the homeowners and yourself. So many people in this city bypass this very basic step and end up with damaged property and extended stays that will never be paid for. My goal has always been to protect the homeowner and provide a nice experience for the client.

What’s the best way for our readers to find you?

 

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