Introducing Laurie: Our Weekly Woman Entrepreneur

Meet Laurie: Founder of eFlirt Expert, created in 2009.  Laurie Davis has become the ultimate dating lifeline for singles. She fuses her personal experience with her professional background in marketing to help singles date online and transition their digital selves offline for meaningful in-person experiences. She assists men and women of all sexual orientations and ages by strategizing their 2.0 life to create dating opportunities and make the ultimate virtual first impression. What truly makes Laurie special is the amount of personal attention she gives each client.  Laurie meets individually with each lost fish and listens to his or her special needs, concerns, and questions.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I started my business during the recession, but little did I know that I had been grooming myself for this job for 10 years. See, I’ve been online dating since 2000. Yes, I was only 18 at the time. No one was talking about Match.com back then, but I was having  a blast on the site. As it became more socially acceptable, I started convincing my friends to date online too. After a month or two of unsuccessful eFlirting, they would always return to me virtually kicking and screaming. I’d take a look at their profiles, re-strategize their online dating techniques and soon they were meeting fantastic people. Meanwhile, I was in marketing professionally. I consulted for Fortune 500 companies … until the Madoff scandal happened. One of my biggest clients was directly affected and canceled my contract. One unemployed day – while brainstorming what hidden talents I might have – one of my friends called to tell me he was moving in with his girlfriend! The light bulb suddenly switched on; I’ve been helping people date online and transition their flirting offline for years! I developed eFlirt Expert soon thereafter on a budget of $50.

What did your parents or friends say when you told them you wanted to start your own business/about your business idea?

My family is always on my side – they are super supportive. My friends are another story though. Some people called me crazy and some called me brilliant. Now that eFlirt Expert has been successful though, all of the nay-sayers have converted!

What was your proudest moment?

Here are my top three, in no particular order:

1. Taking on my first full-time employee. While an exhilarating feeling – and one that allows me to actually sleep from time to time – it was also initially terrifying.

2. Being featured in the New York Times. Need I say more?!

3. Every time a client meets someone awesome online. It might be sappy, but the real reason I’m in this business is to help singles find love. Even if it doesn’t always blossom to full blown can’t-live-without-you feelings for the two people, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, I’ve helped people smile … big time.

What is the craziest/most interesting business experience you have ever had?

There are so many interesting and funny experiences that naturally occur when you own a company in the dating industry. Some happen daily – like when I’m working from a coffee shop and someone comments on me perusing women’s Match.com profiles or when I take a client on a mock date and pretend to be his girlfriend. Others happen here and there, like when my assistant and I both locked our keys in my apartment/office. We had a posh event later which I was ill-dressed for. Did I mention that it was raining and my umbrella broke? With one hour to go, we went shopping to buy me a new dress and accessories, and then dashed to Sephora for hair product and makeup. By the time I stepped into that party looking polished and poised, party goers were none the wiser.

How do you stay calm when your business stresses you out?

The technique that works best for me is to take a break. When I leave my laptop behind and go see a movie or head to the beach, amazing things always happen in my absence. I love releasing stress at yoga or the gym as well, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. When I schedule “me” time in my calendar, it reminds me to breathe and prioritize. Physically deleting my favorite vinyasa yoga class in my calendar holds me accountable for my
work/life balance.

What is the best lesson you could give a young women who wants to start her own business?

You don’t need an MBA or even an associates’ degree. You just have to be driven, incredibly resourceful and great at what you do.

Laurie Davis.
Founder. eFlirtexpert.com
Co-Host. Lovenation.tv
Twitter. @eFlirtexpert
Tel. 781.603.6703
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The Price is Right…IF You Say So

This week on Embarkability channel:

Speak confidently and the rest is cake.

10 Women CEOs

 
Brenda Barnes
Sara Lee
Orginally PepsiCo’s first female head, Barnes later became the CEO of the largest corporation with a woman at the helm
 
Ursula M. Burns
Xerox Corporation
The first African-American woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company 
 
Andrea Jung
Avon Products
Sits on top of this company with more women in management positions than any other
 
Shelly Lazarus
Ogilvy & Mather
The most powerful woman in advertising for one of the biggest ad agencies in the world
 
Carol A. Bartz
Yahoo
Helped collaborate Microsoft’s Bing as the search engine on Yahoo’s homepage
 
 
Carol M. Meyrowitz
TJX
Fostered T.J. Maxx’s ad campaign appealing to budget-conscious women
 
Mary F. Sammons
Rite Aid
Worked to expand the company’s health services with the wellness+ program
  
Indra K. Nooyi
PepsiCo
Aimed to boost the company during the recession with bold promotion investments, such as Facebook ads
 
Irene Rosenfeld
Kraft Foods
Sorted out the company’s merger with Cabury company (British food maker) and increased profits
 
Patricia A. Woertz
Archer Daniels Midland
Helped turn ADM into the country’s leading producer of the corn-based fuel

Mondays with Jordana

Brought to you from She’s the CEO…

This week: Success. How we define it and what we believe has contributed to our success this far.

Introducing Lauren: Our Weekly Woman Entrepreneur

Meet Lauren: philanthropist, designer, and humanitarian. She is the founder of FEED; all FEED products are made as eco-friendly and fairly as possible. The bags are produced with high-quality, 100% organic cotton and natural burlap. They work with only audited and certified fair labor facilities. It’s important to FEED to visit the places our products are made AND the places our donations are going.

The goal of FEED Projects is to market and sell as many FEED bags as possible and to FEED and educate the world’s 400 million hungry children.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I was inspired to start FEED as a way to give back to the UN World Food Program and support their school feeding program.  It started with a very simple idea- to create a sell a reusable shopping bag that would FEED 1 child in school for one year. So the consumer knows what the tangible impact is of every bag they buy.


What was your proudest moment?

There has been so many milestones and proud moments!  One of the proudest moments happened a few years back when we partnered with Whole Foods Market to sell the FEED 100 bag nationwide in all their stores.  Through this partnership we were able to raise enough money to give all the school children of Rwanda lunch meals for a year!  It was extremely satisfying on two levels- to see a great product being sold in a great store, and then to have such a huge charitable impact through the sales of the bags!
What was the most exciting aspect of starting your own business?

For me, the most exciting moment is seeing someone carrying the FEED bag down the street. It really never gets old!  To see your idea come to fruition and being used by people is amazing!

Where is the most interesting place your business has ever taken you?

My business has taken me to places like Honduras and Uganda, but also to factories in China and Kenya.  There really are a broad spectrum of places that are important to visit for what I do, so it keeps things interesting.

What is the best lesson you could give a young woman who wants to start her own business?

The best advice I can give to someone looking to start their own business, is to follow your instinct and love what you do- the rest will fall into place.

Lauren Bush
FEED Projects
http://www.feedprojects.com

“Creating good products to help FEED the world”

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/feedprojects
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FEEDProjects

The Audience is Your Friend

This week on Embarkability channel:

Want more clients? Speak! Let all of your fab prospects out there know what it is you do and how you can help them!
 

10 Organizations that Promote Women and Business

American Business Women’s Association
An association dedicated to the promotion of women through leadership, networking support, education and national recognition.
 
The National Association of Women Business Owners
Serves to propel women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide
 
Business and Professional Women USA
Promotes equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information
 
Association for Women in Science
Fosters the achievement of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology
 
Catalyst Women
Maintains a goal to advance women in business and the professions
 
American Association of University Women
A national organization of 135,000 college graduates focusing on advocacy for equity and education for women and girls
 
National Associations for Female Executives
Functions to support women in business and to help them succeed in achieving their career goals and financial independence
 
The International Alliance of Women
Serves worldwide as the umbrella organization that unites, supports and promotes women in business and not-for-profit sectors
 
Women in Communications, Inc.
Has more than 12,000 women members active in journalism, public relations, marketing, business and association communications
 
The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women
Empowers women to grow their businesses, pursue greater entrepreneurial ventures, and become more active public policy advocates