Jessica Tierney

North Iowa Women In Business Series Featuring Jessica Tierney

I love it when I meet women that are rocking the business world in North Iowa. Jessica Tierney is one of these women that is a mover and shaker. Her passion shows through her love of what she does and I know you will enjoy getting to know her. There is never a dull moment when you are near this entrepreneur that is making a positive difference 365 days of the year, wherever her business takes her.

WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS?

North Iowa Women’s Self-Defense Initiative

WHY DID YOU START YOUR BUSINESS?

I spent 13 years working with victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse, which is what first got me interested in self-defense. I have been in the self-defense field for 20 years. I had gotten more into training other self-defense instructors across the country over the past several years and wanted to get back to my roots of working directly with women. I wanted to help them with personal safety and self-defense skills, which is why I founded NIWSDI. Violence against women is a prevalent issue in our society, even here in rural North Iowa, and I am passionate about empowering women.

Jessica Tierney

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A WOMAN WANTING TO START HER OWN BUSINESS?

You’ll probably be spending a fair amount of time and energy in your business, so I think the most important thing is making sure it’s something that you are passionate about, something that excites you and makes you happy. A strong support system is vital, as well; a group that is going to celebrate your successes and give you strength and support during the times it’s not going as well. Surround yourself with strong, positive, supportive women. Organizational skills and good time management are important as well. Your business should be your passion, but that doesn’t mean you want it to take over your entire life.

DO YOU BELONG TO ANY BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS?

I am a member of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce. I am also a member of the Polka Dot Powerhouse, which is a networking group of businesswomen that has given me a ton of support and assistance. It’s an organization that I would definitely encourage every businesswoman to get involved with.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY:

I have been married to my very supportive husband, Jeff Tierney, for 24 years. I have 18-year-old twin sons, Drew and Xander, and a 113 pound dog named Turner.

 

Michelle Hartman

North Iowa Women In Business Series: Featuring Michelle Hartman

The North Iowa Women In Business series continues as we introduce you to Michelle Hartman. Michelle is known as the “Crazy Tupperware Lady” all around the world. She is a go getter and never lets any grass grow under her feet. Michelle is a proud Star Director with Tupperware and she works as the leader of an organization with more than 160 consultants.

Michelle Hartman

When did you start your business?

I started my Tupperware Adventure in April 2008.

What advice would you give a woman wanting to start her own business?

Starting your own business is so rewarding!  I choose who I work with & enjoy partnering with local organizations! I highly suggest getting involved in your local Chambers.  I am a member the the Greater Franklin County Chamber & the Clear Lake Chamber.  Having my own business has allowed me to have FUN with marketing & customer service.  I grew up with my parents running 2 home businesses.  My mom is the owner of Cathy’s Country Cook’n & yes this is where I get my LOVE for baking from!  I was always her right hand gal, from making cookies to making labels to helping her at local shows by selling cookies.  My parents also own the Carlson Christmas Tree Farm & have always allowed me to be part of the business, from selling Christmas Trees during the holidays to making the open house flyers and designing posters for advertisements .  This I feel has been a huge asset in me wanting to start & run my own business. One of the neat things is now I am seeing my daughters wanting to be involved in my Tupperware Business!  In fact I take my oldest daughter with me to some parties & I LOVE to see what she is learning just by watching me.  If I am busy she is selling & explaining Tupperware products to the ladies at the parties!  This truly warms my heart as you just never know the skills you learn as you grow up that will be so influential in your life & career!
Who has mentored you through the process of building your business?
I work with a great group of Tupperware Directors with-in my region and we learn from each other. I also enjoy listening to marketing and customer service trainers, both online and at local events.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to a very hard working man named Mike & he is a concrete foreman for Larry Adams Concrete.  We have two beautiful daughters, Hope is 13 years old & Ivy is 8 years old.  They attend West Fork School and are very active in sports, 4-H & Girl Scouts.  We are a very active family & love the outdoors!  We LOVE the Great State of Iowa & spend much of our summer vacation time visiting the neat places we have within our state from county/state parks to the Iowa State Fair.  We also enjoy ATV trips to Wisconsin.
December North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club

How Small Businesses Can Work With Bloggers

Small businesses owners often ask me how they can work with bloggers, as they have no clue where to start. They then ask me why they should work with bloggers. From my personal experience and helping business owners work with bloggers, I have put these tips together for you, the small business owner. Let’s start with the why.

CUSTOMERS ARE ONLINE

Your customers and potential customers are on the world wide web. When a blogger writes an article about your product or a business, you now have an article promoting your business across the globe. Bloggers will also share their article through their social media platforms, which will give your business additional exposure.

For example when you google “how to spend a day in Webster City,” four posts that the North Iowa Bloggers wrote appear on page 1. The North Iowa Bloggers visited Webster City, Iowa in December of 2014 and shared their experiences through blog posts and social media. They visited local businesses, ate in local restaurants and shopped.

Amy in shop in Webster City

Another example: Natural Plus Nursery, of Clear Lake, Iowa, hosted the North Iowa Bloggers for an afternoon in Spring of 2015. Mary, co-owner of the nursery, shared the history of Natural Plus Nursery and showed the bloggers what they offer. Google, “what does Natural Plus Nursery have to offer”. On page one through google search, you will find three blog posts written from this visit and on page two, you will find two more.

Google anything similar to these keywords for these two businesses and you will find posts written by the North Iowa Bloggers. This is just one way that small business owners can work with bloggers. Your imagination is the only thing that is stopping you, when it comes to how. Social media and the world wide web offer endless opportunities for both parties.

Now, let’s tackle the how.

HOW TO FIND BLOGGERS

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, as they often have bloggers that are members. Here is where you can get connected with bloggers that can help you grow your business. Attend social media breakfasts in your community, bloggers attend these and love meeting new businesses owners at these types of events.

December North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club

If you hit a road block with these two venues, ask on your personal Facebook page. Trust me, you will be connected with a local blogger or two in a relatively short period of time

HOW TO CONTACT A BLOGGER

Bloggers will have a contact form on their blog, which is a great way to reach out to a blogger. You can also e-mail them, as they usually have this in their about section or how to contact me section. If you can connect with them through social media, send them a direct message through their Facebook Business Page or a private message through Twitter. Bloggers love interacting with small business owners and will help you.

TEAM PLAYERS

If you are a small business looking to grow, bloggers can help you grow in ways you never imagined. Bloggers are team players, just as small business owners are. Keep in mind that traditional marketing still has its place for many small businesses. Be ready to expand and grow, as your online customers are waiting to meet you.

Bloggers offer a “new way” of marketing and I hope you will give it a try to see how they can help you. If you don’t try it, you will never know what could have been.