Monthly Archives: October 2015

From Food Stamps To $500 Million Digital Beauty Tycoon: The Michelle Phan Story


Michelle Phan got her start the way many young entrepreneurs did a decade ago, via a blog. In 2005, Phan took to Xanga to offer tips and tutorials on makeup application. In 2007, she took her act to YouTube and became a sensation with her makeup tutorial vlogs. Today, she runs the subscription beauty business, Ipsy, which she founded in 2012. Last month, she raised $100 million to value Ipsy at more than $500 million. But who is this 28-year-old entrepreneur who is head of her own cosmetics company?

Michelle Phan was born on April 11, 1987 in Boston. Her parents are Vietnamese immigrants. Her father worked in construction and her mother was a manicurist. The family was on food stamps. Her father had a gambling problem. They got evicted multiple times and moved again and again before settling in Tampa, Florida. She attended Tampa Bay Technical High School and focused on dermatology because her mother wanted her to be a doctor. Being a doctor is prestigious, something her mother wanted desperately for her daughter and their family. Michelle explained art school to her and promised she would make it work. After high school, she enrolled at Ringling College of Art and Design.

Phan started her YouTube channel eight years ago and now has more than eight million subscribers. In a video that has 1.5 million views, Phan turns her almond shaped eyes into the big round doll like eyes in anime. It started as a hobby, but Phan turned posting makeup tutorials on YouTube into an empire and a personal net worth of $50 million. She is one of the highest earning YouTube stars of 2015.

Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Michelle films the videos in her bathroom, sitting on her porch, cowering in drug store aisles, driving her car – pretty much anywhere she feels inspired. She goes undercover in drug stores to review makeup. She is ruthlessly honest. She will tell her audience when a product makes her turn orange or causes her to break out. She doesn’t use products in her videos that she doesn’t like.

She has said that she recognized early on that YouTube was going to be the global television of her generation, so it made sense to her to build her brand there. She gained notoriety for her series of instructional videos, including a Lady Gaga makeup tutorial that caught the eye of Buzzfeed and went viral.

After that, Phan was signed by Lancôme as their first official video makeup artist after she featured some of their products in her videos. She was Lancôme’s first Vietnamese spokesperson. She later launched a makeup line with L’Oreal called Em. All of this she managed to do based on the perceived purchasing power of her built in fan base.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

By far, her most lucrative business to date has been Ipsy. When she launched it, the industry doubted there was an audience for another subscription beauty service. Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club were dominating the space. However, Phan had something those two enterprises did not: 8 million YouTube subscribers. Today, Ipsy ships 1.5 million of its glam bags monthly in the U.S. and Canada.

While Ipsy may be the main source of her income, it is not all Phan has going on. Her book, Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success – Online and Off, came out in 2014. She has a deal with Endemol Beyond USA to build The Icon Network – a talent network culled from YouTube that creates content for Millennials. The network was launched April 1, 2015.

Phan was named to the Inc. and Forbes 30 under 30 lists in 2015.

She didn’t lie to her mom. She found a way to make art school pay off and in the process lifted her entire family out of poverty.


Five Things You Should Know on Your Way Up

Five Things You Should Know on Your Way Up
by Lawrence Powell

I want to talk to you about 5 Things You Should Know On Your Way Up. Each one of us is on a journey up FROM somewhere GOING somewhere. I’m going to share some helpful insights regarding things to consider while you’re on your trip. These things will–if you’ll pardon the pun–keep you from tripping, so that you may finish your journey victoriously. The five truths are found in Luke 19:28-40, which details Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Number 1: The way up is costly. Jesus was heading to Jerusalem, fully aware that this trip would end in his death at Calvary. You and I aren’t headed toward that kind of cross, but we each have our own cross to bear. And our experience on this journey called Life will have its own sacrifices as well. Jesus got on the cross willingly, and it cost Him everything He had. If you are to walk this road and fulfill your purpose and destiny, it’s going to be costly. It’s going to cost you some so-called friends. You’ll be lied to. And if you’re doing something worthwhile on your way up, people are going to talk about you. Some people will stab you in the back. Betrayal is on this road, my Friend! People will smile in your face and then, when your back is turned, they will criticize you or hate on you. I’m just being real here; cost comes with territory. If Jesus went through it, then you’re going to go through it. Keep your eyes on Jesus and be willing to have your own Garden of Gethsemane proclamation, Nevertheless not my will, but Your will be done. The rewards far outweigh the price of sacrifice many times over. In the Kingdom, understand that the way UP is DOWN. If you want to go up in Life, then you’re going to have to come down. He who exalts himself will be abased, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. That’s the Word of the Lord.

Number 2: God loves to use ordinary things and ordinary people. This second truth is found in the selection of the donkey. Jesus requested a donkey– a symbol of humility and servanthood–to ride during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. So, what’s the point? Friend, if He could find a donkey and use that lowly animal, surely He can find you and me…and use us! You may think you’re too ordinary, that you have nothing to offerCongratulations – You’re just the one He’s been looking for! God wants somebody who’s not stuck on himself. He’s looking for somebody who’ll say, Lord, here I am: use me! Let Him use you, then give Him the glory for the job done.

Number 3: On your way up, expect revelations of Jesus Christ. You are journeying in the School of the Holy Spirit. God will take you to certain places and through certain classes. You’ve got to attend those classes, my Friend. You can’t tell God, No, thanks, I’m opting out! There are no electives! God will usher you into environments and circumstances to teach you what you need to knowabout Himself…and about yourself. If you hunger and thirst for the Lord (and I hope you do!) eventually you’re going to see something of Him that you’ve never seen before. He’s going to reveal things to youabout life, about people, about yourself. You’ll learn you’re not flawless; you’ve got imperfections. I’ve had to learn that about myself. Honestly, I’ve got a lot of flaws. Now that doesn’t mean I’m out there practicing sin. I’m just saying that if you catch me on the wrong day, tired and hungry, I may not be as pleasant as I am right now. God will allow certain experiences in your life to show you that if you’re not mindful to keep your flesh down, you can say some things that you might regret later. Or do some things that will be shameful–and you don’t want to go there! Whatever God allows in your life is not meant to bring you down, but to show you that you still have room to grow. And, along the way, Jesus will reveal Himself to you as your: Comforter, Counselor, Deliverer, Healerand so much more!

Number 4: Everybody shouting your praises is not your friend. People started spreading their cloaks on the road as Jesus drew near, and the multitudes began shouting and rejoicing, praising God. People took palm branches, threw them in the streets and waved them. But some of the people shouting Jesus’ praises that day were later that week shouting, Crucify him! So, when people are talking about you and saying how wonderful you are, don’t take it seriously! Because people can celebrate you one day and hate you the next. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t be fooled by the praise of men.

Number 5: If you’re going to make this journey and come out victoriously, then you’ve got to do so with praise. The Pharisees disapproved of the praises to Jesus. They said, You need to rebuke those people! They’re calling you ‘Messiah!’ Tell them to shut up! Jesus replied, If these were to be silent, the very rocks would cry out! Your journey must be one of praise. Along the way, you’re going to meet some people who won’t like your praising self. Keep on praising! I’m grateful I had the privilege of being taught about praising and magnifying God. There have been times in the supermarket when I’ve been so overwhelmed by the presence of God that I found myself leaning over the shopping cart; and people thought I was just trying to decide what can of Pork ‘n Beans to buy that day. But I was really just thinking about the goodness of Jesus and all that He’s done for me. And something just starts welling up on the inside of me that says, You’ve got to praise Him! Maybe for you it’s optional, but for me it’s mandatory! I’ve got to praise Him! It was praising God that got me this far. It was praising God in the good times and in the bad times. It was praising Him when I felt like it and when I didn’t. I don’t want the rocks to cry out for me! I’m going to give Him the praise! We were created to make His praise glorious. Something happens when you and I praise the Lord: When the praises go up, the glory blessings come down! And for this we should praise our God for now and forevermore!

About Your Reputation

About Your Reputation

By Cooper, The CEO

Early in your career, things like the college you attended, your GPA and your social circle weigh heavily on your career opportunities. Over time, these are replaced by something far more enduring, your reputation — or what some refer to as a “Personal Brand.”

There are many blog posts and even entire books devoted to personal branding. Most of it’s trivial… Things like how to stand out in a crowd and playing politics to manage people’s perceptions of you. But lipstick-on-a-pig approaches won’t work for building the kind of reputation that opens doors to rich and unexpected career opportunities.

So how do you build a personal brand?

You’re building a reputation every day by what you do, what you say, and how you say it. For most people, personal brand is an accident of personality and preferences.  But, for the truly successful, personal brand is a conscious act rooted in personal values and cultivated behaviors.

Our personal brand is rooted in our personal values. I think of personal values as ‘quirks of personality.’ And our individual quirks cause certain things to be important us… sometimes unreasonably and irrationally important.

We may or may not be able to control our values. That’s above my paygrade, so I’ll stop the armchair psychology and focus on something that certainly is in our control — our words and deeds. 

Building a great brand takes time. So, the sooner you get started, the better. 

What do you want to be known for? What do you want your personal brand to be?

Think about your job… Somewhere there’s a person with your job that is literally the best person at that job in the world. What specific behaviors make them great? 

  • What time do they show up for work?
  • How do they plan their day? 
  • How do they talk to their colleagues?
  • How do they prepare for meetings?
  • What does their finished product look like?

This is probably a new concept for many of you. But take some time to think about the way you conduct yourself. Are your words and deeds creating the reputation you want to have?

How to Find the Big Money Idea

How to Find the Big Money Idea

By Mary Ellen Tribby

Everyone has plenty of ‘ideas.’ In fact, you may have a great idea right now that you’ve been itching to get started on. But, wait!

The real problem isn’t coming up with a great idea. It is recognizing when you have a good one. My friend, Joe Polish, calls these “Elegant Ideas”. I call them “Big Money Ideas”. Because all it takes is one good idea and you can make a fortune.

So, how do you know when you have that one good idea? You know, the kind that you can start or grow a business around. First, you come up with lots of ideas and sift through them to find the best one. That’s the first step in coming up with great ideas – brainstorming.

To help get you started, answer the following questions:

Idea Brainstorming Made Easy 

1. What are my hobbies and interests?
2. What are some of my life experiences and achievements?
3. What problems, big or small, have I solved in my life?

You may be thinking, “Gosh, that’s cute, that’s quaint. I would love nothing more than to have hobbies and interests. But, I work so hard that I don’t have time for any of that.” If so, let me ask you, “What would you like to do if you did have more time?”

Maybe you don’t get to these things right now. But, don’t limit yourself by not thinking of them. You might be saying, “I would love to have my own business and one of my favorite hobbies are kites. I love flying and building kites, and I would love to teach others how to do the same. I would love to do an inbox magazine (yes, the exact business model we use here at Working Moms on everything about kites.

“But who would want that?” Well the answer is that plenty of people would want to ready that. Did you know that hundreds of thousands of people search on the term “building kites” each month? That’s right. So go ahead… put down every idea you have to start out. Later I’ll tell exactly how you can determine whether your idea might make a good business or not.

Your Life Experiences are Worth Big Money

When you think about your life experiences and achievements, don’t overlook anything. No matter how simple or obvious you may think it might be it constitutes as a worthy experience. Did you raise children, start a business, stay married for 50 years, plan your own wedding, learn a complicated software program, home school your kids, or fly airplanes?

Whatever you did, that’s something someone else would want to know about, so put that down too. These are all good life experiences and achievements. You don’t have to have climbed Mount Everest. Just think about the little victories in life.

I knew a student who started a business that, literally, explained how to get your child into an Ivy League school. She had gone through every step of this with her own child – from teaching the right way to study for the SAT test to preparing for the in-person interviews. Because she had already gone through that process, she wrote her first special report and sold it online. Later, she turned her idea into a working business.

Now think about some significant problems you might have solved in your life. Did you lose weight, help a loved one through an illness, find a great job, rebuild your home after a natural disaster, survive bankruptcy, or start over after divorce?

Maybe you just know how to solve seemingly minor problems like getting rid of rodents from your house or garden. There may be some painful memories, but those areas in life where people feel the most distressed is where you can make the most money. Plus, you can help the most people by doing the most good.

Turn the Negative into a Positive

Often times when people have been beaten down by life they may feel negative and say, “What? Are you kidding me? I don’t have time for hobbies and interests. Life experience? Achievements? I haven’t been able to do anything and that’s why I’m so frustrated. Problems big or small? I’ve got problems, but I haven’t solved them.”

I knew a woman who kept resisting these ideas of writing down her hobbies or achievements. Finally, I asked her, “Who is someone in your life that you really respect? Somebody in your life that you truly admire and love?” After much thinking, she finally told me about her friend, Cindy.

Then I said, “Okay, tell me something about Cindy, what are her hobbies and her interests? What are some of Cindy’s life experiences and achievements? And, what problems big or small has Cindy solved?”

Suddenly this lady started going through this exercise by thinking about other people in her life. Just by going through this exercise, she soon realized that ideas are limitless.

While you may not always like to give your friends credit, you probably know some pretty smart people. You might know somebody who is a really good salesperson, realtor, or mortgage broker who has survived this most recent down turn, and are still making money despite all of that.

Maybe you know someone who got divorced or lost one hundred pounds. What process did they go through and what is their life like now? As a matter of fact, most people have already forgotten their great ideas until they make a conscious effort to recall them.

Ultimately, most businesses are about someone else, so it doesn’t always have to be about you too. When this lady started thinking about her friend, Cindy, she started thinking, “You know what? I’ve done something like that as well!”

So try to get out of your own head and think of someone else. Often, that can get you thinking a lot bigger. Pretty soon, you will have several ideas to choose from.

And, that will be the first step in starting your own business.

Letter From Catfish

Dearest One

My Angel how are you today, i am happy to see your message infarct i must say that i am more than happy to talk with you i just want to tell you that love is something that grows between two people that agree to be together, when i saw you i like you and since then you cant get off in my mind i am in love with you, i know that you are thinking how this will be possible but i want to tell you that the possibility depends on us i give you my love if you can love me the way i do to you i promise you that nature will perfect it all in our life. I want you to know that the affection i have for you is not by accident or just for you to say yes to me but is from my heart to love you , is now burning in me like a fire and i know that nothing will ever stop it i want to make you the one and only in my life if love is being sold you know i cant buy it but since is a free gift of Nature to love whom your heart desires i must say i really love you. Angel i have come to love you please do give me the chance to tell you that i really love you, i don’t know how else to tell you this in such a way that will make you know that i am in love with you in all just know that i need you in my life to make my life complete. I love you my angel.