Spark and Hustle Notes – Denver

I took notes like a nerd at the Spark and Hustle event in Denver and would like to share them with you.  Some may not make sense to you, just sayin.  But some might be very relevant to you and your business.  At the end of all the speaker notes, I have a few words about the conference on how I thought it was and what I got out of it.  I hope this helps you, even just a little bit …

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We started our morning off with a powerhouse keynote speaker, Julie Clark:  Founder of Baby Einstein Company!   And what a wonderful way to start the day!  WOW!  Here is what she had to say.  A little known fact:  She designed the Baby Einstein logo with her daughter’s crayons at her kitchen table!!  LOVE IT!!!

Here’s what she had to say about ‘Raising a Business’:

Are you your own customer?

If you can, get your own focus group.  Ask around.  Pitch your idea to friends or family, neighborhood kids.

Utilize your resources when you can … like at a conference like this.

You need to …

Surround yourself by people who believe in you and your idea!!

You need money.

A good partner who knows you, who can help you with your weaknesses, who cares about your business as much as you do.

A great name


Get it to market:

Where is the number one place you want it to be?
Send it to them.  Go to trade show.

Philanthropy is huge



Two panelists on this topic:  Janet Rickstrew Co Founder of Tomboy Tools and Shannon Cumberland of Rosy Rings

Here’s what Janet Rickstrew Co Founder of Tomboy Tools said about how she uses branding for their company:

Pink for a purpose.

Price points

Who is your target market?

Women homeowners who can’t hire everything out

Average age is early 50s

Not interested in retail more interested in education and inspiring.

They do have some tools hanging in stores, but also has a ‘want more pink tools’ on it

Partnerships and collaborations keeps a brand fresh

Shannon Cumberland of Rosy Rings uses branding for her company:

Target market?  Have a celebrity in mind.  Think to yourself when you’re creating a new piece, would {Kelly Ripa} use this?  Pick YOUR celebrity who you’d love most to have your product and use that celebrity to help you strive for excellence.

Target margin {65%} … can you compete?

Packaging … needs to convey who you are.

Tradeshows … reps want new products.

Core values … to be unique. Staying true to your brand.

Stay on track.


Engagement Marketing

Dennis Nations of Constant Contact



#1 Challenge:

New customers

Repeat customers

Solutions:  thinking about engagements and drive social visibility

Word of Mouth: who do you know, who do you leverage these stories?

81% people trust online comments, reviews, and recommendations even from strangers, not marketing

Customer Engagement

When they engage with you, their friends becomes your new best prospect

Social Media. relevent targeted and qualified

PROVIDE A WOW EXPERIENCE … find a way to wow them

Rise above the ordinary

ENTICE them, keep them, stay in touch!


Hope is not a STRATEGY!  ASK THEM!  Don’t ‘hope’ they’ll {come back} or {sign up for your newsletter}, ASK them to do what you want them to do.

They are more willing and more picky to connect

Sales, discounts, information … go beyond this…

Alert your followers.

Talk about {different workshops in the area} {different shops} something in your realm, your market that your customers/readers might be interested in or get use out of

ENGAGE …. fulfill that promise.  Share information, you don’t always have to be the one providing the information.

Become the curator.  promotions, events, poll,

Encourage participation


Engagement happens in small doses {it happens in small doses}


WOW:  1 thing to do to rise above the ordinary

CONNECT: 1 thing to make it easier for people to connect

ENGAGE: 1 thing to do drive engagement and participation



 Cindy Morrison, Social Media Strategist

Promoted book for free on social media and sold a LOT!!!!


Facebook:  1/2 of the population is over 40 years old…

Your cover photo, make sure it’s amazing.

You facebook “About section” on left side 150 words, use “searchable words” … put blog/website/or shop link at the end.

There are a lot of Facebook APPS to amp up your facebook page.

Search out facebook apps to make your fan page fuller.

A facebook tool:  Pen/pencil {column} cursor can keep it up at the top of your page for 7 days, highlight, milestone {when business was founded}.


RAPPORTIVE: NEW!!!!  It will tell you through your gmail contacts and messages, all of their social media outlets.  So this tool can make sure you’re connected with all of their social media.



Holly Hamann, VP of Marketing for BlogFrog, Inc.

Denon Moore, founder of Cake Crumbs/The Denver Cupcake Truck

Carrie Rocha, founder of

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People are searching online mostly.  Not so much brochures.

Skip Print and go online, you can update it immediately.

How do you attract people to your site?:  finding a way to turn the virtual online relationship to a personal connection.

About “Appearing busy” … automated emails, etc.  Try to get away from this.  It’s a turn off for so many.  Many people/businesses do this to make it look like they’re soooo busy, when they could simply reply with a quick and easy email and take of an issue/question immediately.  This would make the customer so happy and really ‘surprise’ the customer.

“A business should have a blog/website FIRST before fb, twitter, etc as it’s YOUR place!  YOUR real estate on the web“  Carrie Rocha: Pocket Your Dollars

The more you give, it comes back 10 fold.  Make sure you pat eachother’s back.  I’m going to give you this, but I’d like you to give me this.  It’s great to volunteer, donate product, and help out the community and most times the company you do this for will recognize you for your effort with a shout out or a listing in their brochure or on their website.

Making money on your blog:


affiliate marketing

sponsored posts

Send in ‘cold emails’

“Email marketing is not as successful as it used to be but we have genuine and continued relationships the companies we initiated through this route”  Denver Cupcake Cupcake Truck

Put yourself out there.  Don’t be afraid to take up some space.


How to Secure PR

Diane White, founder of Diane White PR & Events

Deborah Sherman, CEO of Media Zone Consulting

{I have to quickly tell you that I was LUCKY to WIN a $50 Gift Card to Target from their table!!!  It is all spent now, so thank you ladies, very very much!!}

 Ask yourself these questions….

Why are you doing PR?

Build brand awareness?  Build strategic plan?

Who is your audience?

Choose your station … some target certain demographics: young and hip, older generation, etc.

Figure out who you’re going to pitch.  Don’t call the investigative reporter for a creative business story.  Know who the reporter is and what s/he is about … do they have kids, what’s their background, what college did they go to, etc.  You might be able to connect with them on a different level which might open a door for you.

You can create a spreadsheet to keep track of the media outlets you’ve contacted, when, who, and what about.

Look for trends, topics, tips.

Pitching as an expert

Press Release {what to include} …

Do’s who, what, where, when, how, cell phone, email

Who cares and why

Short and sweet.

Core fear: tell me what this matters, does it affect me, my paycheck, does it pull on my heartstrings, etc



Kim Duke, founder of The Sales Divas

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8 Sales Diva Secrets for Follow UP

1/ It starts when it starts!  ask them what they want.  Have they been referred or is it a Long shot?

2/ What’s their Motivation?  Why should they buy from you? Bonus product

3/ Create Curiosity!!!

4/ Sell 90 Days Ahead … Planting seeds for 3 months ahead!!!

5/ DON’T SAY THIS “I’m just touching base to see….”  Don’t minimize yourself!!!

6/ Follow-Up Strategies – 2 Areas



-Direct Mail

-Social Media

-Seeding {using the post office, send your top 10-20% customers a thank you card, etc}

Right now

-In person



7/ How often to contact?  Enough to stay on the RADAR… 90 days ahead, weekly ezine, HOT LEAD, 24 hrs or so

So, when to quit?  It depends … how bad you want it, Lady????!!!!!!

8/  Take Some Risks

She who doesn’t Risk never gets to drink wine



Debra Benton, president of Benton Management Resources

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Great entrepreneurs control the effect on others.

How you are received makes or breaks you.  How genuine you are.  They are funding YOU.  Are you trusted, liked, credible, genuine?

When you talk to friends, investors, etc, you are expecting acceptance.  If you want a chance in the world, you come in equal!  Don’t come in to a meeting thinking you’re below someone on the totem pole, believe you are equal.  Don’t think you are above someone either, you are equal.

When you are listening to someone talk, mouth the words “Cheese Whiz” and keep the shape of your mouth the way it ends.  Your facial expression is more inviting rather than a closed mouth intense attentive look.  Try it!  {Try it the next time you’re listening to your spouse or partner ‘go off’ on you.  See if it changes things}

Expect and give acceptance

You are a leader, a mentor, a role model to others.



Nell Merlino, founder of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence

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Leaders have a plan …

5 steps:

1/  Vision … what do you see, who are you selling to, how much do you want to make, what do you want to do? Why did you decide to do this? What do you want to have happen?

2/  Mission … why are you doing it?

3/  Objectives … how will you know you’re making your vision come alive … why are you not selling what you though you would? How will you measure it? What’s working or not?

4/  Strategy … how are you going to sell your stuff?  Branding, communication, etc

5/  Action Plan … How much money, must put a number!

You can make your action plans for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years away


Decide to do it!  You can do this!!!



{nope, I didn’t get a shot of every speaker, but please go to the Spark and Hustle site to read more about these amazing speakers}

I would like to say that I think Tory and her team did a spot on job targeting the right people to speak at the Denver conference.  I love the fact that most of them were local with a few that weren’t.  It gave me, personally, a boost knowing of ALL the amazingly talented, smart, and empowered women in business that we have RIGHT here in our great state!!  I honestly did not know that the founder of Baby Einstein, the movies my sons watched when they were babies, lived RIGHT here in my back yard.  SERIOUSLY!

So, if you are trying to decide to go to a Spark and Hustle event and are on the fence, please, take a look at the speakers that will be at the event closest to you and you’ll be amazed and inspired to go.  Some of the speakers are on tour with her, but most are from the local area near the event.  Then when you actually are there listening to their stories and their tips, ideas, and experience, you’ll leave knowing that YOU CAN DO THIS.

YOU can make a go of your business.

You are a WOMAN.

YOU can drive this business!!!


xo Tara

© 2012, Tara. All rights reserved.


  1. I think your notes were very helpful! I can’t wait to attend my first blog conference here in the Dallas area (bloggy boot camp). I’ll be sure to take lots of notes like you did! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Tara I love your blog and this post has so many take always in it!

    Funny thing is I’m a dude and own a business where all of these hints and tips can be applied!

    I understand that the majority of your audience is made up of women, but you are doing such an amazing job that us guys are learning from you each and everyday as well.

    Keep it up! ;)
    James recently posted..Road To 100 – BACK – LadiesMy Profile


  3. wow.. such great information. Thank for sharing
    hena tayeb recently posted..Ramadan MubarakMy Profile


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