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As the CEO and Curator of MAH, Ondina Montgomery works with a broad range of artists, designers and photographers In a tribute to US mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, who asserted that all mythical heroes experience the same 12 steps on their adventures, Ondina Montgomery draws parallels between Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and that of the entrepreneur.

Part 3 of the Hero's Journey describes the protagonist's Refusal of the call, where the hero attempts to refuse the adventure because she is afraid. Click here to read the second part of Ondina’s series, The Hero’s Journey Part II: Call to Adventure.

Image to accompany Krissy Charles-Jones article for The NextWomenIn December 2011 Krissy Charles-Jones, Founder and CEO of Bright Assessing, launched a Government funded course helping those who were unemployed to retrain to get back into employment. Despite the amazing work being done to help the unemployed, Bright nearly lost everything due to a Government subcontractor. Female Entrepreneurs are fantastically strong women and Krissy Charles-Jones wasn’t about to go down without a fight…

We spoke to Krissy about why it hasn’t always been easy, how to overcome the challenges and move on.

Anita Skinner, Founder of Not So Skinny BitchAnita Skinner is a Publisher and lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada with her husband, Dan. She previously owned a magazine called Niagara Life, which she sold in 2004 to a large Canadian media conglomerate – Torstar, despite having had no formal training in the publishing industry. She started her publishing life by producing a small newsletter, called The Downtowner, for a residents’ association she started in 1984.

Anita spoke to The NextWomen about her new venture: Not So Skinny Bitch which provides stylish, comfortable, practical women's plus size sports wear.

Britt Hogue talks to The NextWomen about how she learned to pivot her business modelBritt Hogue talks to The NextWomen about the surprising circumstances in which she was taught to pivot her business model.

Since I left the corporate world to design and implement organizational strategies for non-profits, I’ve sometimes found it difficult to separate my personal life from my work. I imagine that’s what happens when you indulge a passion and find a way to blend it with something you’re good at; marrying your personal and professional motivations into a full-time business initiative. Still, I’ve always been careful about sharing too much of my personal story at work, so I am cringing as I write this article.

Despite all of that, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly is the very nature of the Startup Diaries, so I embrace my discomfort as I impart how my ex taught me how to pivot my business model.

We all have things that we've learned from our exes - most of which fall into the category of: Things I'll Never Do Again. Believe it or not, I learned the art of the pivot from one of my ex-boyfriends back in 2005 - long before pivoting had become the hottest trend in business strategy and the "P" word was rolling off the tongues of everyone from Eric Ries to President Obama. I think I counted it used 22 times on MSNBC's ‘Morning Joe’ a few weeks ago. Fast Company even ruled Detroit’s bankruptcy filing as a well-manoeuvred pivot. And even as I'm hearing it all around me as the new must-do in business, I don't think I would have been as willing to consider a fairly drastic change to my own startup had I not witnessed it up close and personal almost a decade ago.

Misty Gibbs, creator of the Hype This Track appMisty Gibbs talks to The NextWomen about the inspiration for starting her own business and the creation of her app Hype This Track. 

I’ve always loved businesses. I love the idea of coming up with an idea and researching and refining it until you’ve created something you are proud of, and that the world can enjoy.

My first ever business plan was at age five. I decided I was going to make and sell those colorful candy-coated spinning top bubblegum. I remember working out how much I’d sell them for (five for 5c.) and writing a list of things I needed. The list was:

1. The recipe

2. An adult to help me with the oven… I just assumed you had to bake them!

I knew it would be hard finding the recipe, and thought I might have to wait until I was older before I’d ever know. This was all before Google of course. For some reason, I’ve never ever looked up the recipe. I guess I want it to stay that elusive five-year-old dream!

Leah Goold-Haws with Lawrence Umukoro, Head of entrepreneurship training in South Africa Leah Goold-Haws tells The NextWomen how putting her intentions ‘out there’ has brought her some amazing opportunities.

As I mentioned in my previous post (which you can read here) my initial entrepreneurial ventures – running my marketing firm LGH Marketing / Strategy and launching my board game, Know Opportunity – have taken me well beyond my initial expectations.

I continue to be amazed and grateful for the unique opportunities that are presented to me along the way. Most recently among these was the offer to participate in a TEDx conference as one of the presenters. My topic was on global connectivity in the 5 minute format. It was an exciting challenge and I was able to describe many of the experiences I’ve shared here on The NextWomen.

Aaradhee Mehta runs her business from her home in IndiaAaradhee Mehta tells The NextWomen about starting up her business BUYSTORIES from her Mumbai house, and shares her top tips on handling working from home.

When I started off on my own and announced that my office would be in my house, people often told me how difficult it would be to work from home, for the following reasons:

It takes discipline to work from home. I am still given that kind of feedback when I tell someone I took a short nap this afternoon. But, I start my day early; I enjoy my 6am green tea, get to work by 6:30am and try and arrange client meetings for the afternoon so as to not miss my 6 to 12 work hours.

Mavis Amankwah, Owner of Rich Visions Diversity CommunicationsMavis Amankwah, an award-winning multiple business owner, is no stranger to the struggles of life and business. Here she shares her personal journey along with 10 practical steps on how to overcome adversity.

I was born and raised in Canning Town, east London, a tough borough which in the 70's was extremely racist. As a young black girl, I was bullied and received racial abuse on a daily basis from other kids my age. Even in school, one of my teachers told me that I’d “never amount to anything”. My only real comfort was my mother who also had to adjust to becoming a single parent after my father walked out on us. My resolve was also hardened through having suffered traumatic childhood experiences – too much to go into here - sufficeit  to say, as clichéd as it may sound, these situations made me stronger.

Trinkets founders Genevieve Murphy and Kate BarryA chance event led Genevieve Murphy and Kate Barry to be approached by high profile angel investor William Reeve. The two Founders of Trinkets tell The NextWomen what impact he has had on their business and share their 7 tips for those seeking an angel investor. 

Our first encounter with William Reeve stems from a great story about being in the right place at the right time. I was attending a free marketing week put on by Start Up Britain and during questions they encouraged the audience to state their name and company as the entire week was being streamed online. On the last day, I asked a question and a business friend of Williams was watching and went on to Google Trinkets. Discovering it was a subscription based business, she forwarded it to William and he got in contact with us.  

Lia and Margaret at SnailsIn Jeanette Sklivanou’s second post for The NextWomen, she discusses the impact of austerity in Greece, with particular reference to how the plight of unemployed women with children has helped inform her hiring strategy.

Recently I watched a BBC television programme featuring celebrity chefs who briefly share the lives of families getting by on poverty-level wages. They try to help the hard-pressed households with advice on cooking nutritious meals with very little money. It made for disheartening viewing.