100 episodes

Join award-winning small business mentor Donna Maria Coles Johnson as she shares her best advice for creative entrepreneurs on making money selling handmade products, starting a business, increasing profits, effective marketing strategies, leadership, confidence, and more. Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a trade organization serving handmade entrepreneurs. She has been featured in dozens of media outlets including ABC World News, National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Houston Chronicle, Ebony Magazine, and more.



Through this podcast and the Indie Business Network, Donna mentors and coaches thousands of women on how to maximize their potential in life and in business. Enjoy your life! Build your business! Have your way ... Join us today at IndieBusinessNetwork.com

Indie Business Podcast Donna Maria Coles Johnson

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 26 Ratings

Join award-winning small business mentor Donna Maria Coles Johnson as she shares her best advice for creative entrepreneurs on making money selling handmade products, starting a business, increasing profits, effective marketing strategies, leadership, confidence, and more. Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a trade organization serving handmade entrepreneurs. She has been featured in dozens of media outlets including ABC World News, National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Houston Chronicle, Ebony Magazine, and more.



Through this podcast and the Indie Business Network, Donna mentors and coaches thousands of women on how to maximize their potential in life and in business. Enjoy your life! Build your business! Have your way ... Join us today at IndieBusinessNetwork.com

    Patty Liu of Free Flow Botanicals [Indie Stories: Episode 84: Podcast]

    Patty Liu of Free Flow Botanicals [Indie Stories: Episode 84: Podcast]

    Welcome to Episode 84 of the Indie Business Podcast! Today's Indie Story introduces you to Patty Liu of Free Flow Botanicals, in Santa Cruz, California. As an educated herbalist and product formulator, Patty believes in offering a product line that helps people tend to their bodies from the inside out. In addition to a line of skincare, she also offers holistic coaching services and distance Reiki sessions to assist her clients in maintaining maximum well-being.















    Managing multiple income streams requires consistent self-care, and Patty dives into her personal self-care rituals in this episode. Her brand relies heavily on the ancient practices of her Asian women ancestors, and in this episode, Patty describes how this very personal connection is integrated into every product she makes. Enjoy my interview with Patty NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast











    Episode Show Notes







    Here are the topics discussed in this episode, with time stamps to help you find the information that interests you most:







    * Patty's professional and familial herbal and biochemical background and training (starting at 2:12)* How Patty selected her brand name. (starting at 8:34)* Patty's income streams: products, classes and services (starting at 9:39)* How Patty stays organized, in particular based on her energy flows, and how you can organize your activities based on your energy flows. (starting at 12:16)* Daily morning and evening rituals. (starting at 15:00)* Patty on maintaining momentum. (starting at 19:28)* Impact on Patty's business of Asian culture. (starting 21:27)* Some of Patty's products and services, including courses, consulting, Reiki, etc. (starting at 27:58)* Patty on Instagram. (starting at 35:37)* How Patty gets help in her business. (starting at 42:55)* What is on the horizon for Free Flow Botanicals. (starting at 44:30)* Patty's startup tips. (starting at 46:06)







































    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Patty and I mentioned the following resources.







    * Free Flow Botanicals website* Free Flow Botanicals on Facebook* Free Flow Botanicals on Instagram* 3-year clinical herbalism training program: Berkeley Herbal Center* Versatile design tool: Canva* Video and photo: InShot* Social media planning tool: Later* Hiring tool: Hubstaff Talent







    Important entrepreneurial insights from Patty







    Let's unpack some of the most significant business insights Patty and I discussed in this episode.







    1. The power of a morning ritual







    Patty gave us an in-depth look at her morning ritual, including how she uses it to focus and prepare herself for the day. She credits her morning routine for sustaining her energy level throughout every day and into the evening.

    • 51 min
    Sara Jennetten of Blank Mason [Indie Stories: Episode 83: Podcast]

    Sara Jennetten of Blank Mason [Indie Stories: Episode 83: Podcast]

    Welcome to Episode 83 of the Indie Business Podcast! Today's Indie Story introduces you to Sara Jennetten of Blank Mason, in Park Ridge, Illinois. With a newly proposed lease in her hand, Sara literally started her business the month the pandemic hit. She made an impressively quick pivot to the Internet and has not looked back. Her brand is all about the personalization and customization of scent.















    In this episode, you'll love hearing not only how Sara pivoted quickly to get her business off the ground in the middle of COVID-19, but also, how she has complemented her core line of fragrance offerings by adding a “choose your own fragrance” option so customers can select a scent formula that appeals uniquely to them. Enjoy my interview with Sara NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast











    Episode Show Notes







    Here are the topics discussed in this episode, with time stamps to help you find the information that interests you most:







    * About the Blank Mason brand and the pandemic pivot from brick and mortar to e-commerce. (starting at 2:15)* Why a candle business? (starting at 4:43)* The importance of customization and DIY. (starting at 5:56)* The in-depth story of pivoting during the pandemic. (starting at 6:23)* Customizing the website using WordPress and WooCommerce. (starting at 9:06)* How Sara's eye for color and aesthetic helped her design her brand. (starting 11:33)* Sara's approach to brand building by strategically focusing on what makes her brand unique. (starting at 14:20)* Sara's plan to return to her original brick and mortar business model, including her approach to the experience she will deliver to her customers. (starting at 15:30)* Sara's sales channels. (starting at 20:07)* Sara's favorite social media channels, including use of Reels. (starting at 23:43)* New products in the making. (starting at 25:00)* Sara's right hand team members. (starting at 26:13)* Aromatic cement beads! Cement! (starting at 25:46)* Popular fragrances. (starting at 29:05)* What Sara sees in the future for makers and creative entrepreneurs. (starting at 30:17)







































    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Sara and I mentioned the following resources.







    * Blank Mason website* Blank Mason on Facebook* Blank Mason on Instagram* Website hosting: WordPress* E-Commerce platform: WooCommerce







    Important entrepreneurial insights from Sara







    Let's unpack some of the most significant business insights Sara and I discussed in this episode.







    1. The power of learning to do tech things yourself







    Sara's technical service providers not only help her design and maintain her website, but they also teach her how to perform some of the maintenance and updates herself. This empowers Sara, and is one of the main reasons she selected WordPress over Shopify. With her WordPress site, she has more control and ownership, and can use plugins and learn how to customize and organize them herself without having to pay a monthly fee for the...

    • 39 min
    Nadja Renise of FEMMENOIRE [Indie Stories: Episode 82: Podcast]

    Nadja Renise of FEMMENOIRE [Indie Stories: Episode 82: Podcast]

    Welcome to Episode 82 of the Indie Business Podcast! Today's Indie Story introduces you to Nadja Renise of FEMMENOIRE, in Alpharetta, Georgia. Nadja's personal business story begins with the low self esteem she once felt, especially where her hair was concerned. Not only did a stylist leave her with a style that can only be described as a painful disaster, but at one point, Nadja became so frustrated with her hair that she chopped it all off. While the “big chop” solved some problems, it also created others. But it led Nadja to empower herself as an entrepreneur through what has become the FEMMMENOIRE brand.















    You'll love hearing about how Nadja has leveraged her naturally introverted personality to engage her target audience and create more sales oportunities And for those of you who may be feeling the stress of job insecurity, Nadja, who was laid off not too long ago, has some words of advice for you as well. Enjoy my interview with Nadja NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast











    Episode Show Notes







    Here are the topics discussed in this episode, with time stamps to help you find the information that interests you most:







    * The “accidental” birth of the FEMMENOIRE brand (starting at 2:50)* The connection between self care and hair care, and self esteem — especially where black women are concerned. (starting at 6:39)* How Nadja, an introvert, built the confidence to go from making a few products to actually starting a business. (starting at 12:44)* Selling vs. serving. (starting at 13:45)* Nadja's advice for leading a business while your children are young. (starting at 17:00)* How to stay in your own lane. (starting at 18:27)* How Nadja selected her brand name. (starting at 19:51)* How Nadja markets and sells her products, including Instagram and using alerts and quizzes. (starting at 20:41)* Nadja's post COVID-19 vision for her brand. (starting at 32:30)* How adding body care products to complement hair care products has boosted Nadja's wholesale accounts. (starting at 34:00)* Making connections through being open and educating people. (starting at 37:26)* Working a traditional job while leading a business, then getting laid off. (starting 39:39)* Best selling products. (starting at 43:06)* Nadja's words of advice for would-be entrepreneurs who are facing potential job loss. (starting at 45:50)







































    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Nadja and I mentioned the following resources.







    * FEMMENOIRE website* FEMMENOIRE on Facebook* FEMMENOIRE on Instagram* Quiz app: Octane AI* Website hosting: Shopify* Text message marketing: Postscript







    Important entrepreneurial insights from Nadja







    I want to review some of the significant business insights Nadja and I discussed in this episode.







    1. Serving vs. selling







    Nadja says that the stress of selling was wearing her out,

    • 52 min
    Ayanna Jackson of Arbria Creations [Indie Stories: Episode 81: Podcast]

    Ayanna Jackson of Arbria Creations [Indie Stories: Episode 81: Podcast]

    Welcome to Episode 81 of the Indie Business Podcast! Today's Indie Story introduces you to Ayanna Jackson of Arbria Creations, in San Leandro, California. While Ayanna has a full-time job, which she enjoys, she has always had the itch to have a business of her own. As she encouraged her daughters to pursue their dreams, she realized that she was not pursuing hers. She decided to change all that, and Arbria Creations was born.















    Ayanna makes all of her products herself, and is fortunate to have the full support of her husband and daughters, each of whom helps in some capacity in her business. You'll love learning how Ayanna has changed her business model to accommodate the realities of the pandemic. And for those of you with a full-time job and a business, you'll enjoy hearing how she manages to integrate work, business, and family without losing sight of herself. Enjoy my interview with Ayanna NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast











    Episode Show Notes







    Here are the topics discussed in this episode, with time stamps to help you find the information that interests you most:







    * The story of the Arbria brand name. (starting at 2:24)* How Ayanna “took the leap” to entrepreneurship, and integrates working her full-time job and leading her business. (starting at 5:58)* Best selling products. (starting at 10:54)* A typical day for Ayanna — doing all the things during a pandemic. (starting at 11:49)* Ayanna's self-care routine. (starting at 16:24)* How leading a business is setting a positive entrepreneurial example for Ayanna's daughters. (starting at 17:35)* How Ayanna educated herself before starting her business. (starting at 23:56)* How Ayanna sells her products, and how things have changed since the start of the pandemic. (starting at 27:59)* How Ayanna ensures that her customers get to sample products they have never tried before. (starting 34:30)* How Ayanna uses social media to connect with customers and prospects, and market her business online. (starting at 35:55)* What Ayanna sees for the future of Arbria Creations. (starting at 41:13)* Ayanna's advice for people who want to keep their full-time jobs, but want to start a business of their own. (starting at 42:55)* What Ayanna expects to see from her traditional job as the pandemic begins to wind down. (starting at 49:47)







































    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Ayanna and I mentioned the following resources.







    * Arbria Creations Website* Arbria Creations on Facebook* Arbria Creations on Instagram* Education: School of Natural Skincare* Education: Formula Botanica* Social media marketing app: Preview* Social media marketing app: Hootsuite* Inspiration from Dolly Parton to start your business: a href="https://youtu.be/-NjmTzWMAbs" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer n...

    • 54 min
    Mindy Cheng of Fyve, Inc. [Indie Stories: Episode 80: Podcast]

    Mindy Cheng of Fyve, Inc. [Indie Stories: Episode 80: Podcast]

    Welcome to Episode 80 of the Indie Business Podcast! Today's Indie Story introduces you to Mindy Cheng of Fyve Beauty, in Cupertino, California. In numerology, the number “five” represents humanity, and Mindy's Fyve beauty brand uses five ingredients in every product, “for all of humanity.”















    Mindy started her business in 2011 after creating a simple formula that helped her daughter's skin condition. By 2016, she had gone part-time at her traditional job, and at the start of 2017, she quit her job altogether to pursue her business full-time, and she never looked back. Mindy makes all of of her products herself and has the full support of her husband who occasionally helps her pack and ship out larger orders. You'll love learning about the intentionality with which Mindy leads her business, and how she combines running it while mothering two active children. Enjoy my interview with Mindy NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast











    Episode Show Notes







    Here are the topics discussed in this episode, with time stamps to help you find the information that interests you most:







    * From motherhood to full-time job to part-time job to full-time Fyve (starting at 2:30)* Discussing the latest news of women leaving the work force due to the pandemic. (starting at 8:22)* How Mindy selected her business brand name: Fyve. (starting at 13:00)* An overview of how Mindy stays so organized, and learns how to do ANYthing. (starting at 15:15)* Mindy on confidence. (starting at 18:00)* How Mindy sells her products. (starting at 22:19)* The products in Mindy's line, and what's hot right now. (see below for a chance to win a jar). (starting 25:02)* Mindy's approach to packaging her products for that awesome customer experience. (starting at 26:00)* Mindy's favorite tech tools. (starting at 30:18)* Who helps Mindy in her business. (starting at 32:20)* How Mindy manages it all. (starting at 33:30)* Mindy shares the therapeutic process of making. (starting at 35:45)* The power of defining your life however you want to define it. (starting at 37:17)* Mindy's words of advice to product Makers. (starting at 39:48)







































    View this post on Instagram A post shared by Fyve, Inc. | Clean Beauty (@fyvebeauty)







    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Mindy and I mentioned the following resources.







    * Fyve Website* Fyve on Facebook* Fyve on Instagram* Learn anything: YouTube* Social media scheduler: Later* Online content editor: Can...

    • 47 min
    Patricia Nizalowski of Green Valley Herbal [Indie Stories: Episode 79: Podcast]

    Patricia Nizalowski of Green Valley Herbal [Indie Stories: Episode 79: Podcast]

    Welcome to Episode 79 of the Indie Business Podcast! Today's Indie Story introduces you to Patricia Nizalowski of Green Valley Herbal, in Grand Junction, Colorado. Patricia is a massage therapist and health and wellness coach who purchased her business based more on her enthusiasm for the brand and less on on traditional business and financial considerations.















    You'll enjoy hearing about how Patricia purchased her business under less than desirable circumstances, and is slowly turning the financial corner. You'll also be inspired by her passion for the brand, and the courage and fortitude she is displaying as she manages a business that came with so many unforeseen challenges. Enjoy my interview with Patricia NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast











    Episode Show Notes







    Here are the topics discussed in this episode, with time stamps to help you find the information that interests you most:







    * How Patricia came to Indie Business, and how she started her business. (starting at 1:35)* Patricia shares the process of purchasing Green Valley Herbal. (starting at 3:25)* What Patricia considered when buying the company, which had been in financial distress. (starting at 6:24)* How Patricia figured out how to handle the financial distress by changing product pricing. (starting at 9:00)* Patricia's typical day. (starting at 11:22)* Patricia's background as a massage therapist and natural health and wellness practitioner and coach (starting at 14:00)* How Patricia markets her products and massage therapy services. (starting at 16:06)* How Patricia's family members help her make products and manage the business. (starting at 23:05)* How Patricia decides what products are good enough to be in her line. (starting at 25:18)* Customizing products for consumers and for private label. (starting at 28:12)* How Patricia has pivoted during COVID-19. (starting at 32:40)* A bit about some of Patricia's products. (starting at 37:22)







    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Patricia and I mentioned the following resources.







    * Green Valley Herbal's Website* Green Valley Herbal on Facebook* Community: Goddess Girlfriends Network* Education: Evergreen Clinic of Natural Medicine* Entrepreneur services: Energize Colorado







    Important entrepreneurial insights from Patricia







    I want to emphasize something Patricia said that I thought was especially insightful.







    1. About buying a business …







    Patricia didn't know what to look for as the potential buyer of a company, but she had a passion for the brand — so much so that she didn't want to pass up the opportunity. She's happy with her decision as she looks back on it, but one of the issues she's having trouble sorting through is a full restructuring of the company's product pricing by doing such things as raising prices, standardizing packaging, and in some instances, keeping the same price but decreasing product size. It's a massive undertaking. Costs and product pricing are two of the important things you'll want to in advance if you're considering buying a business.







    2. Filling a market need

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

MelissaR05 ,

Inspirer

Love listening to Donna Marie and the Makers on the Podcast. I am always inspired as I hear their stories and learn something more about them and their products!

ecoofficegals ,

Jennifer Smith

Donna Maria provides wonderful insight for small businesses and hosts informative guests! Love the Indie Business Podcast.

Jennifer Earth and Aether ,

Business Inspiration

I'm enjoying listening to these podcasts - they are positive and inspirational, and I love how Donna Maria recaps some of the business tips discussed during the interviews! Thank you for this resource!

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