Join me at the Personal Branding Summit!

I am thrilled to share that I have been invited by Marlon Smith, one of the best motivational speakers on the planet, to join him on stage at his Personal Branding Summit on May 30 in Charlotte, NC. If you’ve already heard about it and are ready to register, click here to sign up now. Watch this video to learn more.

Today, I am the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a nationwide trade and organization that coaches and mentors thousands of Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs across North America. I started my business 15 years ago, I had no blueprint. You don’t have to have that problem.

I am excited to be speaking at Kenna Cote’s Central Soaper’s Workshops in March, along several other speakers, many of whom are also members of the Indie Business Network. I hope you can join us!

Date: March 20, 2015—March 22, 2015
Time: 2:00pm
Event: Central Soaper's Conference 2015
Topic: "Authentic Leadership for Handmade Entrepreneurs" and "Your New Career: Publisher"
Sponsor: Central Soapers
Venue: Residence Inn
Location: 10300 North Ambassador Drive
Kansas City, Missouri 64153
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

“Announcing the “Speaker Author Blueprint” with Marlon Smith”
by Donna Maria

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Announcing the "Speaker Author Blueprint" with Marlon Smith
January 29, 2015

I am so excited to tell you about my friend, Marlon Smith’s, new training program: Speaker Author Blueprint.

In addition to serving as a professional for two decades and speaking in 14 countries, Marlon was hand-picked by Tony Robbins to be one of the speakers at some of his exclusive events, including those hosted at his exclusive resort in Fiji. He has shared the stage with people I’m sure you have hear of, including Les Brown and Dr. Willie Jolley.

Press the arrow above to listen to my quick 10-minute interview and learn a bit about Marlon and how he can teach you to be a successful speaker.

Register for the Speaker Author Blueprint here, and enter code: 1007 for a 50% discount!

I am Not Closing My Site After All

In this post, I drew a line in the sand. I decided to close down this website. I expected it would be a forwarded link by now, but a strange thing happened on the way to the domain forwarding pop-up window. Every time I opened it, I just kept staring at it. I could not shake the feeling that there was a purpose for this website.

not closing down site

No matter what I did, that feeling would not go away. I talked it over with my head. I talked it over with my heart. I talked it over with my coaches. I talked it over with my gut. I’m still not exactly sure what will happen with this site, but I am persuaded (at least for now) that it needs to remain open as a place where I can express myself publicly — but apart from my business: The Indie Business Network.

Why I Am Closing Down My Website

I am closing down this website. I am not kidding. While enjoying the sun and surf on Hilton Head Island last week, I had a chance to unwind, relax, and consider how my life is going. In short, it’s going well and I am loving every minute of it. But like all things, there is plenty of room for improvement. One of the areas I am going to improve this summer is the manner in which I use my online real estate. I’m starting today with this announcement that I am closing down this website.

closing down my website

Though difficult, I believe that closing this site will allow me to be more efficient. It will also better position me to deliver on my promise to serve IBN members to the best of my ability, and to help as many people as possible (whether IBN members or not) to be successful in life and in business.

I am launching some new and exciting things for you over the next few months, and all of them will take place at Indie Business, leaving little space for this site to exist on its own. If you are a subscriber or just enjoy stopping by to read my posts now and then, here are a few things you need to know:

Mango Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Dressing

It’s time to lighten things up a bit around here. Did you have a nice Memorial Day weekend? I got some much needed rest and enjoyed hanging out with my children. Their final tests of the year are coming up this week, so before we got back to work, I fired up our charcoal grill and got busy. While my chicken and burgers were a big hit with the kids and our guests, my personal favorite dish was this Mango Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Dressing salad. I made it up as I went along, and it’s the perfect summer treat.

mango fruit salad with honey lime dressing
It’s so easy to make. Here are the ingredients for the salad and the dressing: a pound of strawberries (tops removed), two mangoes (pitted and sliced), two cups of seedless red grapes, 1 banana (peeled and thinly sliced, and a handful of torn fresh basil leaves. After you put all of that in a big bowl, drizzle a tablespoon of honey and the juice of one fresh lime over the fruit. Toss gently, and then eat some before everyone else gets to it. It’s that good. I think this is destined to become a beach and poolside favorite at the Johnson household this summer.

My friend is sharing his family success secrets

In 2006, when my family and I moved to Charlotte, I met Marlon Smith, a wonderful person who has become my dear friend and mentor. Over the years, we have enjoyed connecting at business and family events. I’ve watched Marlon and his wife grow their businesses and their family, and it has been a pleasure. In this quick post, I want to tel you about a new program they are offering to help empower families like mine and yours. Watch the video to learn more, or skip below to get the link and registration details.

Marlon is one of the most sincere and passionate people I know when it comes to families. To give you some idea of the depth of his passion, consider my passion for empowering small businesses. If you understand that, then you have a picture of Marlon’s passion for helping family members achieve their best, individually and together as a unit.

Purchase a Telephone Consultation

I have numerous opportunities for my Indie Business Network members to easily access phone consultations with me. A monthly Access Q+A Coaching call is included with their annual membership (you can join IBN here if that interests you) and I answer many of their questions as I can in our private member Facebook group. But people who are not members do not have an easy way to ask me questions … until now. I recently created a account to make it easy for non-members to book a consultation with me.

It’s super easy to use too. Just click “Request a Call” below, and choose your time frame. You can pay for my time by the minute too, which is super useful if you have an urgent and concise question. Thanks, and I look forward to speaking with you!

10 Signs Your Small Business Will Be Successful

This article is for all Makers and handmade entrepreneurs, but mainly for the newbies. One of the questions I get most often is: “How do I know my business will work?” The short answer is that you don’t know. No one knows. Entrepreneurship is about many things, and one of those things is risk. When you start a business, you take a chance that it won’t work out. It’s like life. Every time you get behind the wheel of a car, or buy a new smart phone, or seriously date someone, or whatever, you take a chance that things won’t work out. The difference with entrepreneurship is that you have to work a lot harder and longer to find out if things will work out, and that scares a lot of people.

plants growing with coins underneath
And really, it should scare you. No one should start a business on a lark or whim. It should be something you are willing to commit yourself fully to, understanding that there is a great deal of risk involved. It’s also a helluva lotta fun … but I digress. While we cannot know for sure that a business will or will not be profitable and sustainable over the long haul, there are some signs to look for early on. Here are 10 of them.

Grit Trumps Everything in Business

I was not a high performing young student. It’s embarrassing to admit, especially since today, I insist that my children pursue high levels of achievement in elementary school. (Translated loosely, this means “as many A’s as you can get.”) When I was their age, I did well, but after sixth grade, I started getting B’s and C’s — and even a few failing grades. Things improved a bit in high school. I graduated with a solid C average, yet managed somehow to get into college and law school, and then pass the Bar exam on the first try, and continue to serve on the prestigious Law Review. The only way I can explain how that record has allowed me to achieve nearly every major life and career goal I’ve set is, that I have grit. I have thought this way about myself for years, and now, there seems to be some scientific validation of it. Watch this video of Professor Angela Lee Duckworth’s six-minute Ted Talk to see what I mean.

See? I wanted to share this with you because I know how you feel sometimes in your business. You see other people making all kinds of money. They post Facebook pictures of their trips to exotic destinations. They share a picture of how they took their car to the shop — and the car just happens to be a Lexus. They post Instagram photos of all of the things they got their kids for their birthdays. It can be very disheartening to watch when you are just starting out or have been struggling to put all the pieces together.

This message should inspire and encourage you. Angela Lee Duckworth, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Psychology, has studied inner city high school students and high level executives, and the conclusions are the same. Grit trumps smarts. What a relief.