Founder and CEO of Smart Girls Smart Moms Yoshi Holland talks to us about the focus and the mission for her abstinence education program by giving us the brief on what led her to action to pursue her interest in mentoring, speaking and coaching.

We don’t just watch films for entertainment. We watch movies because we want to see ourselves and people we relate to on the big screen. If you’re an entrepreneur, you definitely like to indulge in stories of success.

Whether these main characters are successful or not, they’re all featured in movies related to business that can teach us valuable lessons about our craft.

“Norma Rae”

One of my favorite female-focused movies, Norma Rae tells the story of a single mother who works at a textile mill to make ends meet. The conditions within the mill are abhorrent, the pay is measly and the hours are long. What does Norma Rae do about this? She doesn’t take it lying down — she rallies her fellow workers and fights for unionism. She always fought for what she believed in and wanted to be treated fairly, and that’s definitely a great takeaway.

“The Founder”

“The Founder” is perhaps the most relatable “rags to riches” story simply because we all know the success of the end product. It focuses on Ray Kroc, the salesman that founded the global fast food chain, McDonald’s. While he didn’t start the first McDonald’s, he helped the McDonald brothers Mac and Dick franchise their business, turning it into the empire it is today. This illustrates the lesson clearly: always look for new potential, and jump at the chance to get in on the ground floor of something.

“Tucker: A Man and His Dream”

This 80’s film might not be one that you’ve seen before, but it’s certainly worth watching. After long-time inventor Preston Tucker sells a design for a World War II turret gun, he decides to achieves his childhood dreams: inventing the car of the future. While he has the clout to get started on his dream now, he certainly learns a valuable lesson: the path to success is filled with obstacles and sacrifice. From manufacturers to the legal system, Tucker is challenged multiple times along the way to his dream reaching fruition…but does it ever come true?

“Citizen Kane”

While this movie is iconic for its cinematic innovation and famous “Rosebud” spoiler, Citizen Kane is a business story at the heart of it all. Charles Foster Kane was a successful business magnate, and the story is told through his narration of his life on his deathbed. Starting out as nothing, Kane becomes a tycoon, and learns his own valuable lesson: being in business means your ethics will be questioned. Will you lose your moral fiber, or double down on what you believe in?

“The Godfather”

Finally, I would normally never advocate following the examples given to us by the mafia, but The Godfather is actually a business-esque movie that we can learn a lot from. First, building and fostering relationships is paramount to success. Typically it isn’t as do or die in the world of business, but it’s still important to network and foster these connections you make. Another lesson? Always know what your competition is up to. Being one step ahead is how you beat out your business peers.

Summer is here, which also means we all need to make an effort to start checking books off of our summer reading list…that is, if you have a summer reading list.

Having more free time in the summer means it’s the perfect time to get to reading again. However, you may not know what to read if you aren’t up to date on the latest and greatest books on the market. While 2017 isn’t over yet, 2016 is — and here are five of the best books released that you still have time to jump on the bandwagon for.

“Here I Am” — Jonathan Safran Foer

Perhaps the most attractive thing about “Here I Am” is its inventive narrative structure. Instead of being told through a typical novel format, this work of fiction is told both in a “kaleidoscopic fiction” format and through multiple narrative media forms. Foer tells the story of a Jewish family, spanning several generations, and how they adjust to the changing cultural structures in modern America.

“In the Darkroom” — Susan Faludi

A nonfiction addition to the list, “In the Darkroom” is a very personal journey for Faludi that she’s put into book format. “In the Darkroom” explores the journey of her transgender father, who left her family to move to Hungary and transition to a woman. Not learning this until her father was 76, Faludi goes through her past to discover the true story of Stefanie.

“Homegoing” — Yaa Gyasi

In “Homegoing,” Yaa Gyasi writes about the 18th century black experience from the perspective of two half-sisters living in West Africa. One goes on to marry an Englishman while the other is shipped to America to become a slave. Born in Ghana, Gyasi explores the racial history of America and Africa while painting a portrait of characters who are individuals as well as examples.

“Known and Strange Things” — Teju Cole

“Known and Strange Things” is a collection of over 50 essays that cover a wide variety of subjects. Within the pages of this book, Teju Cole discusses politics that affects us all. Each essay is written with passion and precision, and readers can enjoy the engagement that this book brings. It’s definitely something to add to your summer list if you’re one for thinking, not just reading.

“Swing Time” — Zadie Smith

Finally, we again revisit West Africa with Zadie Smith. “Swing Time” first discusses the friendship and path of the unnamed narrator and her friend Tracey. Both are biracial and both wish to be dancers, though only Tracey has the talent for the skill. Their friendship eventually crumbles, though the two never forget each other — especially when Tracey travels to West Africa and discovers her roots.

These are only five books of the millions you could pick up this summer. Don’t forget to pad out your reading list and broaden your horizons with books covering a wide range of topics and including many genres. What books are you going to crack open this summer?

DJ Iceberg shares some great music industry and general advice on how to achieve your goals. Originally from New York, the DJ/Producer picked up the turntables in Atlanta while attending college. The Hot 107.9 DJ gives us some priceless tips on how to get ahead. Connect with him on Twitter @TheDJIceberg

There are various types of fitness. Some of us like to focus on long distance running, others are all about quick cardio boosts or cross fit. One form of exercise training that I find to be very effective and rewarding is endurance training.

What is endurance training? According to Wikipedia, endurance training can be defined as “the act of exercising to increase endurance. The term endurance training generally refers to training the aerobic system as opposed to anaerobic.” Aerobic exercise refers to exercises that get your heart really pumping — swimming, skiing, running. Exercises that really work out your heart and your lungs.

Now let’s ask another question: what exactly are the benefits of endurance training?

● Obviously, endurance training is a health benefit. Training your body for endurance means you’ll have to make lifestyle changes in order to take up the cause. No more drinking, smoking ,excessive eating and fatty foods. You need healthy lungs and healthy blood to get the full benefit of endurance training.

● By training your muscles and growing them, you also develop your bone density. This is also helped by changing up your diet and eating better.

● When you train your body, you train your immune system. You may not know it, but being unhealthy in a variety of ways can also make you more susceptible to diseases and bacteria.

● Have you ever complained about your metabolism? Your metabolism isn’t something you have to just live with. Endurance training actually enhances your metabolism, making it easier to burn fat and build muscle.

● If you have diabetes, endurance training helps you improve your insulin sensitivity. If you don’t have diabetes, endurance training can help to prevent its onset.

● Finally, endurance training gives you…endurance! The more you train, the easier exercising becomes. This also applies to all forms of exercise because your muscles build and your lung capacity grows.

How to Get Started on an Endurance Training Journey

Now you know the incredible benefits of endurance training…now how do you go about making it work for you?

● First, get used to drinking lots of water. You’re doing to need it if you want to begin endurance training.

● Start small, then work big. You won’t be running a marathon after only a month of endurance training.
● Warm up before you exercise. Stretches, squats, jumping jacks, lunges…they all help prepare your body for harsh training.

● Get the right wardrobe. You don’t have to spend lots of money — just make sure you have the right footwear and clothes that help you stretch and stay cool.

● Also focus on strength training. See those weights up above? You’re going to need those to regularly train your muscles to be strong and flexible.

● Endurance training isn’t a game of working out three times a day. It’s about the quality of your training and the longevity of your training program.

● You’ll also need to add more protein and carbs in your diet. These promote energy, and you’re going to need a lot of it.

Endurance training sounds sort of intimidating, doesn’t it? Don’t worry — while it’s a commitment, and certainly not easy in the beginning, the results are certainly worthwhile.

You can’t call yourself an entrepreneur if you haven’t gone to at least one business meeting. Business meetings are a useful tool and standard part of business. They allow you to share ideas, knowledge and projections with a team of people or your staff so that everyone is on the same page.

As an entrepreneur, you’re likely to be the one heading these meetings, which means you’ve got some responsibilities here to set the tone and lead the team. If you can’t successfully accomplish this? Your meeting is in trouble.

The best way to fix this problem is by knowing what mistakes NOT to make before ever setting foot into your meeting location. Here are a few that are common, but that should be avoided at all costs.

Not Being Prepared

This is one of the biggest meeting sins: not being prepared before starting the meeting. As the meeting leader, it’s your job to make sure that you know exactly what you’re talking about. You need to be able to answer questions correctly and inform the team as accurately as possible.

Whether you can achieve this by writing an outline or using notecards, know that you HAVE to make sure you’re prepared to the best of your ability. There’s no faking it until you make it in meetings — if you aren’t prepared, it WILL be obvious.

Being Robotic

On a similar note, there is such a thing as being TOO prepared. Let’s say you write down all these important facts and figures on notecards and read them off to your team. Someone asks you a question about the information…but you totally draw a blank and have no idea what to say.

You can’t just go into a meeting with hard facts — you also have to have comprehension and confidence. Be able to talk about what you want to discuss fluidly and accurately at the same time. Be prepared to answer questions that you may not be totally confident in.

No Purpose In Mind

It’s great to have weekly staff meetings…but why? Do you have an objective every time you call your staff together?

You should. Whether it’s something as simple as refining an existing business practice or talking about a new partnership, every meeting should have a clear purpose and talk about a problem to solve. Without an agenda, you’re really just rambling co-workers.

You Don’t Listen

Finally, one of the worst things you can do in a business meeting is make it all about yourself. When you bring people together, the idea is that you can all communicate and share ideas with one another. Many bosses decide to use business meetings to push their own thoughts and agenda, but that’s not respecting their employees.

Even if you have explicit directives you want to give employees, make sure that they also have time to share their thoughts. Listen to what they have to say. Even in cases where you disagree, employees appreciate knowing that you listened and thought about what they had to stay instead of not caring to listen at all.

Tenzin Seldon is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kinstep – a company focused on matching immigrant talent to great job opportunities and improving the employment rights for immigrants to the United States. Be sure to check out this episode to find out what spurred Tenzin into action. For more information on Kinstep, visit the company website at Connect on Twitter at TenzinSeldon_ and Kinstep.

Summer is here, and so is the heat! The hotter it is and the more you exercise, the more likely you are to get dehydrated. That means staying hydrated in the summer is more important than ever.

You already know that you need to drink lots of water when exercising, but the necessity is two-fold during the summer, when you’re likely to sweat more when exercising outside and in general. However, drinking enough water every day is difficult enough as it is. How do you stay hydrated during the summer when you’re also someone who exercises a lot?

First, understand WHY hydration is so important. When you exercise and don’t stay hydrated, your ability to exercise is compromised and your body gets tired more quickly. As you lose fluid in your body through sweat, your heart rate increases exponentially. Sweat is also how your body cools itself, so without ample water you’re very likely to overheat.

Pre- and Post- Workout Water

There are certain rules that are suggested to be followed, like drinking three cups of water before and after your workout. But who actually measures out their water into cup-sized rations?

A good way to make sure you get the water you need is to either buy bottled water or a self-filled water bottle in comparable size. Drink one water bottle or a full self-filled water bottle serving before you allow yourself to workout. Afterwards, drink another bottled water or the same amount of water that you initially filled your own water bottle up with before you get out of your workout clothes.

Eat Your Fruit

Most fruits have a very high water content value. They aren’t called juicy for no reason! When you bite into a pear or apple, the moisture you feel inside is the water naturally contained within the fruit itself.

It can be tiring to have to drink glass after glass of water every day, but you have other options. Fruits like kiwis, berries and watermelon all have high water concentrations that can’t replace your entire day’s water needs, but they can supplement them. Other fruits with a high water concentration include grapefruits (and other citrus options), plums and cantaloupe.

Start Eating More Soup

It’s a pain to have to eat hot soup when it’s already so hot outside, but trust me — soup is a great way to stay hydrated. Cold soups are also a great option if you want to go with a dinner option that’s cooler than steaming broth.

Unlike water, broths and soups come pre-packed with nutrient value, include sodium that can help stabilize your levels in moderation. Depending on the soup ingredients, you’re also getting those added nutrients as well.

Dress Up Your Water

Finally, you don’t have to drink straight water all day long. Using lemonade or tea mixers in moderation can add some variety to your daily drinking while still giving you a lot of water that you need for exercising and hydration. For added health benefits, look for drink mixers that don’t contain calories or artificial sweeteners.

Every Fortune 500 company existing today started as an idea — a dream, even. But with hard work, diligence and the right plan, these business owners turned their tiny startup idea into a multimillion dollar company.

The point is that everyone starts somewhere, and who’s to say your tiny idea won’t one day grow into the next big thing? It’s possible…you just need to know where to start!

It takes a lot to become a successful entrepreneur. These are the first four baby steps you need to take in order to get your idea off the ground, but remember: hard work is required throughout your journey!

  1. Settle on Your Startup Idea

It’s one thing to have a tiny idea or a concept, but before you can truly be an entrepreneur you have to have a fully realized business idea on your hands. It’s not enough to think “what if something existed that solved this problem?” It has to be more concrete: “I have a solution to this real world problem.”

This isn’t to say you have to have the entire business ready to go from the jump. Worry about branding and packaging design later; these are extemporaneous details at this point. The very first thing you have to do is fully realize your startup idea and get it onto paper.

  1. Set Some Realistic Goals

Now that you know what your business is going to be, ask yourself this question: what do you want to do with it? Is it a restaurant franchise you want to take global? Is it a QVC-type product you can sell in rotations? Or is it a social media management company that you wouldn’t mind selling off in five years?

No one’s saying you have to plan out your entire business’ longevity and stick to some rigid plan, but a business made without goals in mind is a business that won’t succeed.

  1. Gather Data

Before you can shop your idea around to people who can help make your dreams reality, you have to have some sort of hard data on hand that proves your idea is a good one. For instance, you’ve made a prototype of a small machine that professionally cleans toilets, sinks and other bathroom fixtures. How does it work? Who all have you gotten to try this product?

Now think about harder data: what is the market for this product? Who will buy this product? How much does it cost to make vs. how much you’re willing to sell the product for? From concepts to facts and figures, you need to gather data that will convince people your product is worthwhile.

  1. Pitch Your Idea

Finally, you can’t truly know how the market will react to your product or business until you actually pitch the idea. Depending on the type of startup you have in mind, this could be distributors or partners interesting in pushing a product. It might be your initial group of startup employees or a company that you want to B2B partner with.

When you pitch your business idea to interested parties, some may not be enthusiastic — and that’s okay. Listen to feedback. Sometimes you need to start all the way back at square one, but this information is vital to creating a startup that truly succeeds.

Welcome back! Check out my two cents take on the powerful use of creativity. Everyone has the ability to create – use this power to your advantage.