Customer Spotlights

October 27th, 2014 - Customer Spotlights

Meet MJ Summers, a Bestselling Romance Novelist Who Went from Working for the Federal Government to Signing a Four-Book Deal with HarperCollins in Less than a Year

MJ Summers is the author of the Full Hearts series, whose first book was an instant Amazon bestseller. When she needed to publicize her debut novel with a small budget, she created a Onepager, helping launch her into the literary star with a multipage site she is today. Her third book, Breaking Love, comes out Tuesday, and what better way to embrace fall than by curling up with a good read?

When did you start writing?

I started April of last year. It’s a new thing for me, to be totally honest. I have a general science degree and after a long and windy path, found myself working as a mediator for the federal government. Then I had kids and stayed home to be with them for close to eight years before I began writing. I read a couple of contemporary romance novels and was inspired to give it a try.

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October 1st, 2014 - Customer Spotlights

Meet Christina Vuleta, a 40-Something Who’s Teaching 20-Somethings to Be More Disruptive, Part 2

Christina Vuleta is the founder of 40:20 Vision, a non-profit dedicated to bridging the gap between 40-something women and their 20-something counterparts. Christina had too many interesting stories to fit into one post, so we’ve published her interview in two installments. Here’s the second half!

If you were to give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell her?

To not box yourself in or think that you have to follow a certain path. Just because there’s one traditional path in an industry, doesn’t mean that you need to take it. The best thing you can do is figure out what your strengths are and where those strengths are valued. You can be in companies where the people that get the most attention are the people that bring in the most business, but you don’t have to be good at new business to succeed in a company. If you’re really great at customer relationships, that’s really important too. Where the most noise is isn’t necessarily where your biggest values and successes will be. It’s really more about figuring out what your strengths are, what you like to do. Then figuring out where those are valued so you can really flourish and grow.

Also, not to get sidetracked by what everybody else is doing. And to put money in your 401K or savings or whatever you have. Just to know that there’s always going to be more opportunities. Every time you have a failure, it feels like the end of the world, but pretty soon you’re like, “Ah.” If you go through enough ups and downs, you know there’s going to be an up. Just know—as hard as it is at the time—there will be an up, and if you’re relatively smart and good at what you do, you’ll be able to create something.

Is there a past failure that you’re really grateful for now?

When I was in my 20s, I had a career at the job that I started after college. It was at an agency here in New York City, and I progressed pretty quickly and was doing well. Then, as things happened, I was thinking, “Okay, maybe I want to switch.” I was in advertising, but I wanted to switch from media into account work. Strategic planning didn’t exist yet, so I was still working my way towards that. Anyway, I was a little bit afraid to quit my job. It was bad times. There was this fear of, “What if I quit and don’t get another job?”

Then my boyfriend got transferred to California and he wanted me to move with him. At first I was thinking no, but then I thought, “What the hell.” I quit my job and I moved to California and got a job over there. Then I decided, “Shit. I really miss New York.” I never thought I was going to stay in New York, but moving away made me realize how much I loved it.

Where’d you grow up?

Ohio. I came here by accident. I always was like, “I’ll live here for a while, then I’ll move to Chicago.” When I came back to New York after California and got a new job, it just took away any fear of quitting and gave me so much more confidence. It also made me realize how much I love New York. I had friends that would say things like, “I’m sorry California didn’t work out for you,” but I’d tell them it was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you’re successful, you’re ambitious, you’ve done something that shows that you’re learned something new, don’t be afraid of quitting to do something.

The same thing happened with 40:20 Vision. I would worry, “What if it doesn’t work out?” So what? What if it doesn’t? I built something. I did something. I went around the country and talked to 200 women. I have something to show for it. Some people would consider that a failure, but I consider one of the best things to ever happen to me.

Sometimes it’s easier to worry about the known things you’re going to “lose,” rather than the unknown things you’ll gain. Why do you think that happens?

Just because you had dreams or you had a plan of what you thought your life was going be at 20, doesn’t mean you’re the same person when you’re 30. You’re holding on to what you thought your life would be like, but maybe where you want to be has changed. It’s important to not have such a set path. To think, “Maybe I’ve made some decisions that got me here. Why did I make those decisions?” There must have been some reason why you did, so you must have enjoyed the things that got you here. How do you look at that and reassess and make new goals?

I guess that’s one of the biggest things that happen during a big change. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, why not focus on what you do have? It just opens so many more opportunities and creates better energy.

September 29th, 2014 - Customer Spotlights

Meet Christina Vuleta, a 40-Something Who’s Encouraging 20-Somethings to Be More Disruptive, Part 1

Christina Vuleta is the founder of 40:20 Vision, a non-profit dedicated to bridging the gap between 40-something women and their 20-something counterparts. Christina had too many interesting stories to fit into one post, so we’re publishing her interview in two installments. Enjoy the first half!

The Forty Women to Watch Over 40 list is an outgrowth of your organization, 40:20 Vision. When did that get started?

That started four or five years ago. I worked at a consultancy and we did a lot of work with generational research and trends, helping companies develop new white space or better positionings that are more future-focused.

I was out to brunch with some of my friends, all 40-somethings, and we were waiting for our table when these two younger girls, who were also waiting, started asking us questions about careers, boyfriends, dating in New York City, all that. We sat down, and I thought, “I wish we could just bottle it and give it to them.” They had this bravado, but they still didn’t have confidence. They were still asking the same questions we asked—they just didn’t know how awesome they were.

When I started talking about my idea, everybody was saying, “Oh, you can’t. You have to live it to learn it. 20-somethings don’t want advice.” I wondered where that came from. When you look at generational research, the boomer attitude was, “Don’t trust anyone over 30. It’s us versus them.” With millennials, it’s much more of a friendship with their parents, not an authoritarian relationship. They’re more focused on continual learning. Why wouldn’t you want to get more perspective from people who have been there and done that?

But I also didn’t want to be telling them what to do. At that brunch, I thought, “Look at us, there’s seven of us around the table. We’ve each made completely different decisions. There’s people who are married, not married, having a baby on their own, getting divorced, just getting engaged, starting a company, consulting. We’re all in totally different places, but the one thing we have in common is that now we’re making decisions for ourselves. Now we have that confidence to say, ‘This is what I want to do,’ rather than, ‘Oh, everyone’s getting married. I should get married.’” Our generation is the first that really had so much freedom to make the good choices.

How long did it take you to start 40:20 after that?

I ended up quitting my job and going around the country and interviewing 150 to 200 40-something women on what they know now that they wished they knew then. It was originally going to be a book. I met with a couple agents and they said, “This is great, but you need a platform.” So I ended up starting the blog and getting involved in mentoring events here in the city. As I interviewed more entrepreneurs, I realized that there’s so much more mentoring and sharing and freedom of knowledge exchange. I certainly didn’t have that growing up in advertising.

I came up with this insight that everybody deserves to have their own advisory panel, and I decided to create them. I got seven older women and seven younger women together for a night focused around career growth. I flipped the model of the panel where you listen and then ask questions. Instead, I made the 20-somethings’ questions the event for the evening. The seven of them would come with one question each, and we would sit at the table and moderate the discussion.

That was called “7 on 7.” That’s when I first started using Onepager, because I had my blog that somebody else had designed, and I didn’t know how to build on my own. When I wanted to publicize the 7 on 7′s and was doing them regularly, it became a great way to easily go in and change the content, then link to the page on invitations.

Then I had the idea of Forty Over 40 and found a group of women to start it with. I told them we could just use Onepager. It’s easy. I just made a logo and played with it. But when we started getting ready for this year’s nominations, we needed to migrate to a bigger, multi-page site to be able to show not only last year’s winners, but this year’s winners, too.

What do you look for in nominees?

Whitney, the woman I partnered with, works on disruption. She worked for a consultancy with Clayton Christensen, who wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma. She had also written the book called Dare, Dream, Do and had started her own practice around personal disruption, looking at how to take the same theories and apply them to your life. Actually, if you look at the stages of development, the period in your 40s to 50s is a very productive era. It’s where you’re harnessing all the knowledge that you’ve collected and you’re better able to apply it to a broader arena.

I had a stake in thinking about being a good role model. We didn’t want it to be Arianna Huffington and Hilary Clinton, people that have already achieved a lot. We wanted it to be up-and-coming. You also hear the same stories of Sheryl Sanbergs of the world and the stay-at-home moms, but there’s never anything in between.

In the end, we decided on three criteria: one is that you’re creating momentum, impact, or new growth in your area of work. Another is that you’re creating a new type of role model and that you’re bringing new women up with you. The last one is a sense of personal reinvention, taking stock of your life or taking on new challenges, not resting on your laurels or repeating the same things.

The first year, we just opened nominations up on social media. People asked why we didn’t align ourselves with a magazine and get sponsored by them. We wanted to do it on our own the first year, and we were really passionate about it. We had a thousand nominations, and we had to get everyone that contacted us to fill out the official form. We’d get their names, and then send them our Onepager site where they could find the link to the form.

How did you determine the winners?

We had a committee of four of us. We got 20-somethings involved because we wanted it to be cross-generational, too. Once we narrowed down all of the nominations to 80 or so, we got a panel of judges to provide an outside perspective.

Where did the judges come from?

We just went for the stars and asked. We got Dave McClure from 500 Startups, the CIO of GE, some really good people. We also made sure that it was all people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. It was 50/50 men and women.

That’s so cool. There are all those “30 Under 30” lists which are limiting because it poses an arbitrary age as an end point. But then you get there and it’s not.

I talked to so many 20-somethings and they’re like, “Oh my God, I’ll never have the chance to be on the 30 under 30 list.” That’s so depressing. You have so much more in front of you. So many women believe their choices are getting narrower and narrower in their 20s, but they’re actually not.

September 8th, 2014 - Customer Spotlights

Meet JohnPaul Bennet, an Education Enthusiast Who’s Taking a Page From Your Book

Ever gone through your old college notebooks to discover that most of them are half-used? Instead of letting them sit in storage purgatory, JohnPaul and his non-profit Turn the Pages Foundation will take them off your hands and turn them into new supplies for students at underserved schools.

Tell us a little about Turn the Pages and why you started it.

Turn the Pages is a non-profit dedicated to improving the pursuit of knowledge for students who lack access to essential school supplies. Every year, we collect supplies from sponsor schools, which we call “Page-Turners,” and match them with the needs of underserved schools, both locally and globally. We collect notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, binders, art supplies, textbooks, and reading books.

Lack of access to basic school supplies is a big reason children at underserved schools fail to advance to the next level, which is why we started the movement. We also wanted to give people who traditionally throw out supplies the opportunity to recycle by allowing children to reuse them.

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July 28th, 2014 - Customer Spotlights

Meet Laurie Scott, a Sarode Player Who Studied North India Classical Music with a Master for 25 Years

After returning to the States from India in her twenties, Laurie Scott wasn’t quite sure what to do with her life. Luckily, she discovered the Ali Akbar College of Music in California and has been devoting herself to its music ever since. Now with a new website, she’s teaching others about this form of music and its rich history.

How did you become interested in North Indian classical music?

I was surrounded by music as I grew up. As a teenager, I attended a concert of Ravi Shankar, the great sitar player, and it completely enthralled me. It affected me like no other music has. In my twenties, I lived in an ashram in India. We had really great musicians come and perform. My love for the music grew from there.

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February 26th, 2014 - Customer Spotlights

How Q-cord’s Onepager is Breaking Down Barriers for New York’s Most Famous Museums

Evan Stender is a product designer at 10-31 Industries, who builds museum displays and products for the likes of the MoMA, Sotheby’s, and the MET. But when the company realized that one of its most useful products was practically invisible on its own website, they used Onepager to increase product awareness.

Tell us a little about how Q-cord got started.

Q-cord is a retractable display barrier that was created by 10-31 Inc., a company my father founded almost 30 years ago. 10-31 sells a lot of items for the museum display market, but we rebranded Q-cord to set it apart as a unique, high-end product so that people weren’t coming to the same company for everything.

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October 10th, 2013 - Customer Spotlights

How Donny Uses Onepager To Help Local Businesses After Success With His Own Lawn Care Business

Donny Dauphin, owner of D3 Lawn Care in Bethlehem PA, grew his business through his website and social media. Now he’s helping other small businesses in the area get more customers by using Onepager and other online tools.

How long have you been doing social media marketing?

Officially, for about eight months to a year; unofficially, about three years. I have friends who own anything from a pet-sitting business to a local pizza place. They love what they do, but they need help distinguishing themselves from similar business. I’m specifically referring to creating an online presence. My goal is to get your small business visibility. Visibility increases customers. More customers equals more profit. If your business isn’t online, you’re missing out.

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October 2nd, 2013 - Customer Spotlights

Why Farmer Rick Quit His Desk Job To Start An Organic, Sustainable Farm

When Rick Reddaway realized he was born to farm, he left his office job and set up shop on a quarter acre of land. Since starting Abundant Field Farms, he’s been selling his fresh produce at farmer’s markets and local restaurants, taking “growing business” to literal and figurative heights.

Rick Reddaway Abundant Field Farms

Tell us about Abundant Fields Farm and how you got started.

It’s a very small farm, less than an acre.  I grew up on my dad’s property farm and loved it, but ended up working in the construction industry, specifically with elevators. I was in the project management side of that, then a couple years ago I kept realizing over and over that I didn’t like sitting behind a desk, that I’d rather be digging in the dirt. I just had this urge to farm, which was spurred by visiting farmers markets and buying organic and local products. So I took the plunge and quit—what to me was—a high paying job. I started out very small, selling at one farmer’s market and one small restaurant account.
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August 20th, 2013 - Customer Spotlights

How Harvester Barber Shop Used Onepager to Bring an Old-Fashioned Family Business Online

Amy Balentine built a website for her dad’s barber shop as a Father’s Day gift and found a simple website builder that worked across generations.

After recently moving back to Kansas City from San Francisco, Amy Balentine was thinking about a father’s day gift for her dad.

“I just started to think I should do a website for him,” Amy recently told us in a phone conversation.

Amy’s dad George is the owner of the Harvester Barber Shop in Saint Charles, Missouri. After working at the shop in the mid 60′s, he bought it a few years later and has owned it ever since.

“My dad is 70 and being that he’s a barber, he really doesn’t have much use for email,” she said. “He doesn’t have an iPhone or a Facebook account. He wasn’t very familiar with Yelp. He didn’t need a whole bunch of links or features. I had to explain to him that this is like a digital form of a billboard or newspaper ad.”

Here’s the rest of our conversation about how she used Onepager to bring her Dad’s business online.

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August 15th, 2013 - Customer Spotlights

Meet Sam Stone, the co-founder of a startup that helps businesses with their digital and social media strategy

Sam Stone is the co-founder of PromoteU, a startup that helps other businesses figure out their digital and social media strategies. Here’s his expert advice on why an online presence is the best initial investment, how to expand your audience with the right tools, and where to find the best gelato.

Sam Stone

Tell us a little about PromoteU and how you started it in the first place.

PromoteU was born out of experiences of my co-founder Sebastian’s father, who’s a dentist. Dentistry, like many other small businesses, is an industry where there’s a lot of interaction with customers, but it’s tough to figure out the best way to reach them. Sebastian found that some basic, really simple digital marketing—a Facebook page, text messaging marketing, basic web development—helped his dad’s business grow a lot.

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