Angela of Bee Happy

North Iowa Women In Business Series: Featuring Angela Stephen

Bee Happy Video Productions on the job

The series continues here… North Iowa Women In Business. The new year has been exciting here in North Iowa.  I’m excited to continue this series, as we introduced you to Donna Hup last month. Each month I will be featuring one North Iowa Woman that has a business in North Iowa. I hope you will be inspired and challenged to see where your business can take you.

February 2016 features Angela Stephen of Bee Happy Video

Angela of Bee Happy

When did you start your business?
October of 2015

Why did you start your business?
I have worked for other companies being a videographer and editor. I have also done some freelance video work for the past seven years and decided that I wanted to start my own business doing what I am passionate about.

What advice would you give a woman wanting to start her own business?
There’s going to be lots of learning experiences along the way, and that’s ok, as we all have to start somewhere and learn as we go.

Who has mentored you through the process of building your own business?
Networking with other entrepreneurs has been a huge help in starting my business. It’s nice to be able to talk to people who understand and have been where I am now. These people have given me guidance for a successful business. My husband, Ryan and my long time friend, Libbey Patton with the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, have both been a big help. Also, the North Iowa Bloggers have been very helpful with tips and advice.

Do you belong to any business organizations? If so, which ones? 
Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, Mason City Jaycees and North Iowa Bloggers

Tell us about your family.
My husband Ryan works for the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health as the IT Manager and luckily for me he uses his IT skills to help me with my business. Ryan has been a huge support helping me get my business up and going and I can’t thank him enough. My son, Bryce, is 12 and is my pride and joy. I love watching him play sports. Bryce enjoys playing percussion and piano. He has also been a big support with my business and is always interested in what I am doing with the business. Both of my boys can always make me laugh. I want to thank all my family and friends who have supported and encouraged my business.
Anything else?
I received my AA at NIACC and my BA at Waldorf majoring in Communications with an emphasis in electronic and print media. I worked at KIMT, one year in production and four years as the marketing producer. I have also freelanced for multiple companies.

Bee Happy Video offers: wedding videos, videos for businesses, event videos, VHS to DVD transfers, and social media for businesses.
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Donna and bloggers

North Iowa Women In Business Series: Featuring Donna Hup

A new year with new goals brings lots of exciting things to my home base, which is in North Iowa. I’m excited to start this series, which is called North Iowa Women In Business. Each month I will be featuring one North Iowa Woman that has a business in North Iowa. I hope you will be inspired and challenged to see where your business can take you.

January 2016 features Donna Hup of


  Donna Hup


When did you start your business?
About 10 years ago, although I wasn’t aware that I was starting a brand.

Why did you start your business?
I started as a blog for my family. I was a cross-country, over the road, semi truck driver with my husband. I was taking pictures and posting so my family could see where we were. not long after someone showed me Google Analytics and I found out that people were reading my blog. It just grew from there.

What advice would you give a woman wanting to start her own business?
Do it! Seriously, if you have a dream or want to start your own business, do it. Do your research, take your time, and most importantly don’t listen to the naysayers.

Who has mentored you through the process of building your business?
I can’t say that it was one person. My husband is an entrepreneur an has always given me really good advice, as well as encouragement and any help I have needed along the way. I like to read and watch. I read a lot of books and watch other women in business in how they do things.

Do you belong to any business organizations, if so, which ones?
I’m on the board of our town’s Chamber of Commerce

Tell us about your family: Myles and I live in the small town of Northwood, Iowa. I love small town, midwest living. We also have two cats.

Anything else?
I’m also a volunteer with the Middle School and High School students at our church in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

I hope you have been inspired by Donna’s story. Donna is a go getter, as she does not allow time for much grass to grow under her feet. She is an active participant in the North Iowa Bloggers and is always willing to share her knowledge with others.

Feel free to connect with Donna on the following places online.

I hope you enjoy this series, as next month you will meet another North Iowa Woman that is going places with her business in North Iowa.



Tips For Making 2016 Your Best Year Ever

The New Year seems to come and go like lightening speed. 2015 shaped up to be an awesome year for myself. I’d like for you to have your best year every in 2016. I am personally eyeing 2016, as I know it is going to be better than 2015! Here are some tips that helped me grow my business in 2015. If you do these things, you will have a great chance at making 2016 your best year ever. Find new partnerships and let the magic unfold.

Midwest Summit Team


When it comes to you and your business, be yourself. People want to get to know you and who you are. You can look at things your competition is doing, but it’s never OK to copy them. I see this a lot. People want to be like someone else. Truth of the matter is the fact that these people are making things work for their customers, and you need to reach out to your customers in your way. Find someway you can make you and your business stand out. Look at what your competition is not doing and then see how you can find a way to implement that into your business.

Social Media


We all hear that networking matters. I’m here to tell you, that it does matter. When you attend an event, make a point to meet someone new. If you are attending a conference, challenge yourself to meet one new person in every session you attend. It’s fine and dandy to sit by people you already know, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to help you grow your business. Make new connections through social media. When you nurture your online relationships, magical things do happen.


A vision board helped me in 2015. In September of 2015, I checked off item number 9 of my 2015 vision board. I had met all of my 2015 goals. How did I do it? I challenged myself by setting goals that I knew I would have to work to achieve. This list eyed me daily. Place your vision board where you will see it on a regular basis and talk about it. You can reach all of your goals in the New Year. If you don’t, just add them on to the next year and ask yourself why you did not meet your goal. Change things up and meet that goal first thing in the New Year.

I’m excited about 2016 and can’t wait to see where it goes! I’ve loved helping several clients in 2015 reach their business goals and it’s also been fun to explore new travel destinations. I am so grateful for those that have supported me in 2015 and can’t wait to see where 2016 takes all of us.

When we work together, great things happen. I’m always looking for new ways to partner with other businesses, and 2016 is no exception. If you have a business idea, I’d love to hear about it. If it’s not a good fit for my business, I would love to help you make that connection.

So… tell me! What one thing would you like to see happen in your business in 2016? I’d love to hear about it and be a cheerleader for you and your business.


Lori Lite Twitter

How Social Media Has Changed Me For The Better

People often share why they have opted to hop out of the social media world and it makes my brain begin to spin. I hopped on the social media wagon long before many of my friends and neighbors did in North Iowa, but that’s ok with me. I managed to find business connections when many in my local arena, were not. Social media provided that avenue for me. A few years later, I realized that I had grown a business. I did not take my pedal off the gas, I kept pushing forward, and I still keep moving forward today!

Business connections through social media

Social media has shown me that there are many good people in this world. It is through Facebook and Twitter that I have been able to stay in contact with people that inspire me on a daily basis. It may be through a status update or a Tweet that inspires me to keep chugging along. I appreciate that!

Through Twitter I quickly realized that I could follow people that had the same interests as myself. I engaged, had a conversation and woooahhh, next thing you know, I was meeting people in real life. And that my friends is where the magic happens. Build a relationship through social media and then continue to build it offline. Had it not been for Twitter, I can tell you that Lori Lite, of Stress Free Kids, and I would never have connected. We took our relationship off line and magic happened. She spoke at a conference here in North Iowa this past Fall, all because of Twitter!

Lori Lite Twitter

Social media is a place where I can share a little insight into life on an Iowa farm, which is very important to me. A wise business coach once told me, “Why would you forget about where you came from?” True… Iowa is very important to me and I will keep Tweeting about Iowa and posting those status updates. Our state is not heavily populated, but we are home to more than 3 million people. And my little voice is heard, once in a while.

I do think about others more often because of social media and that my friends, is a good thing! Any business person will tell you that it’s not because of you, the business owner, it’s the people that you do business with that help you grow. Every single one of you that is reading this has made me a better person and I thank you for that!

Keep Tweeting, posting those status updates, as you inspire me to make a difference in our sometimes crazy, chaotic world! Go out and be “that person”- the one that makes a difference in your community! If you are one of those that has opted to jump off of the social media world, I hope you will consider hopping back on. There are good people waiting to get to know you and inspire you to do good in the world.


Tony Halsted

What To Expect At The Midwest Social Media Summit

Marketing Midwest Logo

The Midwest Social Media Summit is slated for October 24, 2015 at the Muse Norris Center at NIACC in Mason City, Iowa. You may be wondering what this day is all about. Here’s a quick run down of what you can expect and what you can do to prepare for the day. It’s also important to note that lunch is included in your ticket price.

First of all, the Midwest Social Media Summit is being organized by Social Connections, LLC, NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Webster City Chamber of Commerce. We want folks in North Iowa to understand how to market their businesses when it comes to social media. Marketing today is much different than it was 15-20 years ago.

Just yesterday I read a quote that said that the seven most expensive words in business are- “We have always done it that way”. Can you relate? Like it, love it, hate it- Change is a part of our daily lives. When social media is used as part of your marketing program, your business can grow. Notice I said the word part. Social media cannot be all of your marketing, it’s a small slice, yet extremely important part of your marketing program.

If you think your community is to small for social media, think again.

Tony Halsted

Speaker Tony Halsted runs Hoover’s Hatchery in Rudd, Iowa (population 360) and his topic is: How we used social media to reinvigorate a 70-year old family business to multiple year-over-year sales growth greater than 30%. This is just one example of what you will learn while attending the Midwest Social Media Summit.

Attendees that want hands on help in setting up a Facebook Business Page, the North Iowa Bloggers will be on hand to assist. They will also offer tips on how you can be successful using your Facebook Business Page.

Want to learn more about Twitter and Instagram? We’ve also got that covered.  Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids  met with the sharks on Shark Tank during Season #1. Lori has used Twitter to grow and evolve with her business.

Lori Lite

Social media gives business owners the chance to have daily conversations with their customers. Come and learn how to begin the conversation and grow your business. We want to see you at NIACC on October 24th.

What to bring:

Business Cards

Laptop or tablet (especially if you would like some one on one assistance)

Notebook/writing utensil

A willingness to learn

There you have it! Be ready to have fun and learn. Social media is a fun and exciting topic and I look forward to meeting all of you on October 24th.

SM Breakfast February 2015

Tips For Making New Business Connections In Your Community

Making new business connections in your community should be one of the simplest things you can do. With social media and local coffee shops there is really no excuse for not making new business connections. The one thing that will stop you in your tracks, is you! Social Media Breakfast Club in North Iowa is one of the easiest ways to meet new people to do business with. We meet the fourth Wednesday of every month from 8:30-10:00 a.m. at First Citizens National Bank(Heritage Room) in Mason City, Iowa. If you don’t have a Social Media Breakfast Club in your community, the best advice I can give you is to start one ASAP!

SM Breakfast February 2015


Fact of the matter is, if you want to get better at what you do, you will have to put yourself out there. And I mean that in a nice way. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, attend functions that fit you and your business profile and most of all, talk to people. Starting those initial conversations is easier than ever. Follow a new to you connection on Twitter and let the conversation happen. From there, take the conversation off of Twitter and meet up at the local coffee shop. Seriously, Twitter is where I have personally made more business connections than any other social media platform. By connecting online and then taking the conversation offline, magical things begin to happen.

If you are a blogger, introduce yourself to a local business. Chances are they have no clue what a blogger does. Show them your blog and offer to showcase their products on your blog. Once this local business sees that you are serious and you do have reach, you will more than likely find yourself working with this local business in some way, shape or form.

If you are still with me, you have probably picked up on the fact that this is not rocket science. It involves reaching out to people within your community and making things happen. You are your only stumbling block and once you take that first step, the doors will open up in ways you never imagined. When you take the necessary steps to put yourself out there, your business will grow through local business connections.

So, tell me- Are you involved in your community? I’d love to hear how you are meeting new people and making those business connections.

Your Time Is Now – Make It Happen

If there is one thing we are promised it is the moment we are in, right now! I often see people asking when they should start a business or a blog. Really? Why waste all of your time and energy asking, when it would be much smarter to invest your time and money into the doing! I am an entrepreneur. I get that you want the time to be right, but in all honesty if you wait for the “right” time, you will be waiting your whole life.


Make It Happen

When you dig in with all you have, that’s when things begin to happen. Your blog will not magically appear when you spend all of your time asking others about a title, a hosting service or even when or how often you should post. I see this over and over again…seriously, just do it!

I have learned more from the mistakes I have made by doing. Sure, I have asked a lot of questions along the way, and will continue to ask. Most importantly I will continue the doing part. Once you stop doing, your business comes to a halt. Many people stop because they don’t understand that their customers are changing, yes, that does happen!

There is nothing wrong with evolving. Most successful business owners will tell you that in order to be successful you will need to continue to evolve. I have learned this myself, as I have dug in and made things happen. In 2009, I can tell you that the words North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club never crossed my mind. In 2012, the words began to cross my mind and in 2013 I dug in and made it happen.

When you actually take the time to DO, that is when the magic happens! By doing you learn what works great and you also learn what does not work so great. The best things I have learned, as a small business owner, is that in order to grow, mistakes will come and I have learned from them. By doing, I have learned so much more than anyone else could ever show me. I could spend 24 hours a day asking questions of others on social media and get absolutely nowhere. Instead, I have chosen over and over again to dig in and make things happen!

So, if you are caught up in asking others what you need to do to get your business going, why not just do it? Life is to short to spend time doing nothing. Share your passion with others and live your life! Trust me, you will be grateful that you took the plunge to make it happen. The people you meet will continue to bless your life in ways you never imagined. Making a difference in the lives of others is a terrific feeling and I hope that each of you can experience the joy that I have been able to experience.

What are you waiting for, Christmas? Please don’t, get out and make it happen TODAY!

SM Breakfast February 2015

An Entrepreneur Is…….

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately in regards to who I am. I started blogging a little more than six years ago and out of my blogs I have grown this business. It has been a fun journey and I have learned so much about myself that I thought I would share it with all of you. I have never seen myself as a successful entrepreneur until this morning.

Entrepreneurs Think Differently

You are probably asking, how so? When I have an idea I literally take it and run with it. I do not sit around and analyze how it may or may not play out. I look at it this way, if I never try, I will never know how it would have been. And you know what? 98% of my most successful projects have happened this way. The other 2% happened out of a project not working out as I learned what I had to improve on to make it happen and BOOM- Success!

Entrepreneurs Do Not Know The Word Never

The word never is not a part of my vocabulary, as there is always a way to get things done.

Entrepreneurs Love The Word No

The word NO literally opens a new doorway of opportunity. When I hear the word No, I am instantly trying to figure out where and how I need to find the word YES! Believe me, I have heard the word No more times than I care to tell you.

Entrepreneurs Surround Themselves With Awesome People

I know the term “good people” sounds kind of vague, but in all seriousness find people that have integrity and have the same work ethics you do. Honesty and integrity will carry you more miles than you will ever imagine.

Social Media Breakfast Group With Jody

Being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding life experiences I have ever had. Day in and day out I get to dream big, meet inspiring people and create my own destiny. How cool is that? I’d love to hear about your experience as an entrepreneur and why you love what you do.