Hi there! My name is Felicia M. Lopes and I am an internet entrepreneur as well as a producer and general manager of theatre.
I am the owner and CEO of BusyGal, which was founded to empower and galvanize women, especially women over 40, to become entrepreneurs through our unique association with Market America and for those who already are business owners, opportunities to become vendors working with our branded services!
In 2014, when my mother got sick, I decided to head back to Dallas, TX to care for her. However, upon returning to my home town after living in NYC, Los Angeles and London over the last 30 years, she soon realized that I was displaced due to the fact that the theatrical industry in which I'd worked for over 20 years both on and off Broadway and in Hollywood does not currently exist in the DFW marketplace, so I had to "rebrand" myself and find another dream!
So I founded BusyGal because the more I spoke with other women my age and above, the more I realized something,... most women after 40 find that they too are displaced and are not fulfilled because we're asking ourselves, "Is this the life that I'm meant to live?" Because I also was experiencing this malaise of middle age, I knew that I had to build something that could last to help myself and others "get out of the Middle Age Funk".
That's how BusyGal, LLC was born.
Soon thereafter, a friend introduced me to the Market America business opportunity and I saw an opportunity here to create women's empowerment initiatives around this business - creating the BusyGal Solutions division. Additionally because the Market America business had maWebcenters which allows its business owners to sell top of the line business websites coupled with my experience having worked many years on a "day job" as an administrative assistant in corporate America and being certified in social media marketing, thus was formed both BusyGal Friday Websites and BusyGal Friday VA Services of which BusyGal BizVids is a sub-division.
As stated before, I am a Certified Social Media Strategist and Website Designer. Additionally I am a member of the International Virtual Assistant Association and the National Association of Professional Women.
The Be-A-BusyGal Blog is written to empower you and me! It is a call to action for Women Over 40 to connect. Because so many of us find ourselves feeling dis-empowered by our personal circumstances, I invite you to help me inspire women to aspire towards greatness and take back the reigns of our lives!
This blog is written either by me or our writers to inspire Women Over 40 to become business owners and build personal foundations for victorious and independent living! We want to inspire and provide resources for Entrepreneurial Women-Over-40 to start businesses. We help them gain financial knowledge and independence, while enriching their personal and spiritual lives. By connecting through social and digital media, and through networking at special events, we offer a foundation of encouragement upon which like-minded women can ultimately build lasting professional and personal relationships in solidarity.
The Irresistibility Blog is the written to let people know about BusyGal Friday VA and our services. It is dedicated to highlighting basic best practices to make our clients irresistible to their target customers.
BusyGal Friday VA Services is a division of BusyGal, LLC, our mission is to give our clients PEACE OF MIND so that they can focus on the business of their business. Our committment is to teach and connect Small Business Owners to their target clients through responsive Social Media Marketing and Social Video Marketing while at the same time leveraging technology through Website Development and Design. Lastly we provide the highest small business services by harnessing the “high-tech” of today’s technology with the “high touch” of human interaction through Virtual Assistance and Business Receptionist Services.
Outside of the world of BUSYGAL, I have more than 25 years of work and leadership experience in the areas of theatre and event production management. I hold the unique distinction of having been the general manager of the internationally reknowned theatrical awards show, The Drama Desk Awards, for 10 years (2001-2010). As General Manager of The Drama Desk Awards, I oversaw all production and administrative areas of the awards show which was televised by PBS in 25 markets nationwide; and coordinated hospitality, arrivals and logistics for celebrity hosts and presenters. Outside of my tenure with The Drama Desk Awards, I was the Theatrical General Manager for the Broadway bound show JUDAH BEN-HUR and I was an Associate Producer on the Broadway show, ANGELS The Musical. I am proud to have also managed the World Premiere, Off Broadway of Magis Theatre Company’s CS Lewis’ THE GREAT DIVORCE which received NY Times critical acclaim in January 2007. Additionally, co-produced the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway show, KING DAVID, at The Promise Theatre in 2009.
In tandem with these shows, I have served as Vice President of Theatrical Management for TheatreSport, Ltd., representing nationally touring productions of Shades of Harlem: The Cotton Club Musical, The Luigi Board, Me & Jezebel, Fan’s Mate, and Earl Wilson Jr.’s YOU’RE IT!
In 2012, I was honored to project manage an event for Walt Disney Imagineering | Creative Entertainment. I produced a Programming Charrette for Disney's newest theme park - the Shanghai Disney Resort. I was mandated to gather a wide variety of participants (Disney executives, nationally and internationally renown theatrical producers and performing arts programming directors) from within and outside of Disney, with the objective of developing a unique programming strategy for the theater that is authentic to a Disney property while at the same time due to its location and surroundings, distinct to Shanghai.
Outside of NYC theatrical, project and event management, I have also acquired experience in Film Distribution because I had a short assignment working with with writer/director Derrick Warfel wherein I was hired as the interim VP of Theatrical Distribution and Marketing on a 10-week assignment. I was able to garner a ten city national theatrical distribution deal, for his made for DVD independent psychological horror film, MIDNIGHT RECKONING.
Serving as a consultant to Red Carpet Media Partners in 2006, I jointly conceptualized, developed, and produced, with the partners of RCMP, high profile charity events, national media campaigns, charity photo shoots, benefit concerts and tours, charity singles, audio podcasts, video projects, and televised programming. Celebrity partners with whom I have worked include, Don Cheadle, John Legend, Iman, Ben Jelen, Djimon Hounsou, Denise Rich and The Roots. Non-profit clients include the American Diabetes Association, Save Darfur Coalition, and the United Nations.
I am an MFA graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts’ Theatre Management and Producing Program. While in school I worked on the original Broadway cast production of Disney Theatrical’s THE LION KING and CHICAGO, The Musical. At Actor’s Equity Association, I served as a Business Representative and successfully wrote and executed over 85 Off Broadway theatrical contracts.
You know that you have a choice to stay in that dead end job or start your own business, right? If you’re thinking about starting something, do you know what you want to do? Right now, your job is paying at least some of the bills and you’re barely making ends meet. To encourage you to continue thinking about alternative income generating ideas, think about this….
Did you know that most women after the age of 40 will experience some form of ageism in the workplace – be it subtle or overt. In fact now that the Great Recession is essentially over, most of us can get a job — a job with no power, low pay, and absolutely no social prestige! If you’re okay with that don’t read any further!
It’s a known fact that ageism at work begins for women at 40 when your boss no longer considers you for promotion or training! Imagine that! You’ve given 10+ years of your life to a boss, who after you get to a certain age decides that due to your age you are no longer promotable! Does that get you pissed off? It should!
Do you want to know the real reason the job market bounced back? Millions of Americans have simply left the workforce to strike out on their own as small business owners – specifically middle aged people – and leading the charge are women over 40!
Now obviously starting a business is NOT EASY at any time in life, much less when you’re at this age! You also need to KNOW yourself.
To that end, which statement sounds more appealing to you?
“I want the comfortable life. I want or need stability in my life. I do not want to risk my well-being, and I value my free time to be able to relax.”
“I bet on myself and that excites me! I like taking risks because I want the rewards they offer. I love to work, and I want to keep growing. I am very ambitious, and I can handle being in a position of discomfort a while.”
The first statement best describes employment. It is an easy path to follow because you know all the steps, and if not, you can find all the steps. You will encounter comfort if you are doing your job right, and if you don’t age out of the work and get laid off as the work force gets younger than you. You have a set schedule, and you know exactly when you switch your mind from work to family (usually 5PM Mondays to Fridays).
The second statement describes entrepreneurship. To be an entrepreneur you kind of need to embrace the fact that your schedule will be all over the place, and you will be thinking about 100 things at the same time while usually never knowing when the next time to relax will be! Additionally, the work is a grind – but you love it as you’re pursuing your dream because you love that what you are creating is yours! Your life will be unstable and unexpected, but you will love everything about it because your ambition and dreams are too big not to be pursued.
As you can see, these lifestyles are very different.
Entrepreneurs and employees are both necessary in this world, so no matter what path you choose, understand that you are still valuable to the society.
My name is Felicia Lopes and I am the founder of an online business where I coach Women Over 40 to re-establish and re-invent themselves as entrepreneurs through my online classes, small business services and opportunities, as well as events. I can help you!
Capital is pivotal for the success of any entrepreneur to launch a sustainable and lucrative business. Traditional routes of access to capital are changing as technological development creates new avenues and the distance between entrepreneur and investor decreases due to an increase in fast and efficient communication.
Women entrepreneurs have notoriously faced hardships in gaining access to capital, from lack of information and resources and local and state government assistance, to facing cultural biases from investors. Without adequate capital, women cannot make their creative ideas a reality, nor can they afford to maintain the businesses that provide jobs for a significant portion of the population.
U.S. Census Bureau data reveals that women own 36 percent of privately-held businesses and contribute $3 trillion to the economy due to job creation—creating 16 percent of jobs in the nation. As more women become their own bosses, they compose a larger share of small businesses, of which 80 percent have no employees other than the owner. In 2013, there were 28.8 million small businesses in the U.S.
Traditional means of gaining access to capital, which typically involved a long and cost-intensive process, are being expanded with online options, which provide smaller loan amounts faster and at lower costs.
Here are some new, innovative tools for women entrepreneurs seeking financing:
Crowdfunding Crowdfunding is an efficient way to gain capital from many individuals through small donations, and is low risk compared to venture angels and banks. A 2015 Massolution report estimates that $17.2 billion was invested in North America through crowdfunding websites, a number that’s increasing each year. Top crowdfunding platforms include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, CircleUp, Patreon, Crowdrise, Razoo, AngelList, and many more.
Gender Lens Investment According to Veris Wealth Partners, investment of this type has risen 41 percent in the past year, up to $910 million. In addition, the number of mandated publicly traded gender lens investment strategies has reached a total of 22, after five years of steady growth. This is an incredible increase from 1993 to 2012, when there were only five strategies for gender lens investing.
Online Lending Tools An emerging means for access to capital for small businesses in particular are online lending tools. The 2017 Kauffman Foundation report states that many businesses are in need of funds to manage cash flow and to access short-term financing, and the most commonly used tools are loans and lines of credit. Fintech companies like OnDeck and Kabbage are facilitating small businesses’ access to credit in online lending by providing fast online vetting for small business loans, utilizing personal data and credit scores.
Whether they decide to leverage crowdfunding, merchant cash advances or sector-focused angel syndicates like gender lens investment, women entrepreneurs in need of funds for their startup—or capital for their business—have new tools at their disposal.
Commentary by Desiree Patno
Originally post on RISMedia
Desirée Patno is the CEO and president of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE), as well as chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). With 30 years of experience in housing, Patno is a champion for women’s economic growth and independence. In 2017, Entrepreneur.com named her the Highest-Ranking Woman and 4th Overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow. For more information, please visit www.nawrb.co
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, What Women Artists Knew About Work, Mason Currey cites Harriet Beecher Stowe’s (“Uncle Tom’s Cabin”) letter to her sister-in-law with these words…
“Since I began this note, I have been called off at least a dozen times – once for the fish-man to buy a codfish – once to see a man who had brought me some baskets of apples – once to see a bookman… then to nurse the baby –then into the kitchen to make a chowder for dinner and now I am at it again, for nothing but deadly determination enables me to ever write – it is rowing against wind and tide.”
As I sit at my desk and computer hashing it out with a multitude of to-do’s nipping at my feet, I feel very close to Harriet. It requires determination and sheer work to find the time to read, think, research and write but I am compelled to do so by the pounding drum within me.
Finding time to create was difficult for many women throughout history. In many ways we have it easier today but media distractions can be one of our fiercest opponents. Technological advancements have disrupted and loaded our lives with interruptions and the one highest on the list is the smartphone in our hands. Its unrelenting grasp hooks us. We often get blindly swept away following social media, watching YouTube or are mesmerized by video games.
Women of the past had multiple distractions since so many worked from home. Most were solo entrepreneurs who produced in their own creative spaces. They had to learn to discipline themselves and learn business skills on their own.
The entrepreneurial spirit continues today. According to a 2017 survey by Remote.co, 28% of women who work remotely are CEO’s and leaders of their own companies compared to 5.2% of women working in S&P 500 companies and 6.4% of women in Fortune 500 companies. Interestingly, 90% of women surveyed chose to work remotely because of the barriers they felt from men in top leadership positions. Another reason was the inability to be a family caregiver due to conflicts in the workplace. The New York Times reported in 2017 that “half or more of the women who earn an M.B.A. that year would drop out of the full-time workforce within a decade.”
I had several distractions, including children, before I was able to fully pursue my first passion: theatrical acting. The balance of work and home responsibilities often continues to deter women from pursuing artistic and business endeavors. However, my dad, a basketball coach, often inspired me with these words from his mentor, former UCLA coach John Wooden, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” My dad taught me to be persistent and not to be deterred by interruptions. My heavenly Father has also taught me that when you are pursuing what you are called to do by God, interruptions won’t deter you either.
Completing a project of any kind may have momentary interruptions, many of which can’t be controlled. Some may only last moments and others, years. But one thing I have discovered is that there is real joy and contentment when you are in the zone of creative work doing what God’s called you to do. When you are in the middle of where He wants you, it doesn’t matter if it gets difficult. You’d do it again and again because it breathes life into your soul. It allows you to communicate with God fully.
At the end of editing my devotional, Hope 4 Today: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture, I was given a 24-hour deadline by the publisher due to printing issues to complete the final draft. I was forced to stay up and work all night, shoving all other responsibilities aside. Surprisingly, the time flew by. I found myself energized within the sleepiness because I was driven to submit a manuscript that I felt had been inspired by God.
Headwinds can never deter those who are “called according to His purposes.” (See Romans 8:28.)
There are times that your life changes suddenly. At those time I feel like my stomach kisses my backbone and my hands start itching and aching like crazy! I can still remember my life going into total upheaval mode when I was told unceremoniously by my boss 4 years almost to the day that I’d been hired at my job, “I’m sorry, but you’re fired!”
A few days ago, those same feelings came rushing back at me like an avalanche as I sat in Starbucks drinking my favorite coffee, scrolling through my iPhone, when Jennifer Lopez’s new film, which is coming out this Holiday Season, came up on my news feed. It looks hysterically funny (that’s code for I can’t wait to see it!), because as a women, now in hermid-50s, that moment in 2006 when I was 42, utterly changed my life! I still wince from the financial aftermath — the sting of losing my job — remembering it so clearly as if it were yesterday, because it was the start of a Herculean uphill financial battle that lasted many years!
Check out the trailer below and see if it doesn’t resonate with you:
Getting back to my story. Apparently the Executive Board had lost their contract, so, through no fault of my own, I was laid off! As most people do after a job lay off, you start marketing yourself furiously so that you can get another job — any job to pay the bills, especially if you live in Forest Hills, Queens (NYC) where I lived at the time, and where my rent for my 2 Bedroom apartment was over $2800 a month!
I’m a “glass is half full kind of gal”, so to tell you the truth, I was actually kind of excited and hopeful about the prospect of finding something new. As I have a Masters from Columbia University which I’d earned only 7 years previous to that time period in my life, I figured that it would take me no more than 3-6 months to find another position.
Sister… How wrong I was!
To this date… I have NEVER been able to get another permanent full-time job with benefits! I physically have documented that since 2006, I have sent out well over 2500 resumes to employers for positions for which I am absolutely qualified. I was interviewed several times for high level positions in NYC and even called back for additional follow-up interviews at several companies – a few up to 5 times! But every single time I was informed a few weeks later, that they’d hired someone else for the job via a letter like this…
You get the drift!
The ultimate humiliation came when I was told “off the record” by a well meaning head hunter, that my problem was that those hiring want to hire people younger than me, because I reminded them of … wait for it… their “Mom” as I was now 46!
Can you just image being told that!?!
It took me a long while, but I finally woke up and realized a truth.
The only way to guarantee income into my household, was to be in business for myself!
So after much prayer, reflection, research and re-education (I call it PrR&R), I bootstrapped my own business and I vowed to make three essential changes to my life.
Change #1: Develop A Positive Mental Attitude Reading Regimen
Change #2: Hang With and Listen to Successful Business Owners
Additionally, as I build my business I know that the more I listen to successful people who’ve built fantastic businesses of their own, the better I become at my business. I listen to podcasts like The Big Shift, The Marie Forleo Podcast, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, and She Did It Her Way because I need the inspiration to keep on keeping on! Additionally, I schedule into my calendar, local, regional and national meetings and conferences to go to, where I can meet successful people and associate with them. This way I can model their success habits into my own business.
Change #3: Focus on the Spiritual
Lastly I started focusing more on the spiritual needs of my life by becoming more grateful and thankful. I remember when this epiphany occurred. I was sitting in my basement apartment in Santa Monica. I had just moved there, I had no money in the bank, and I had no job. Real inspirational success story there, right?! What’s crazy is that I woke up and I heard God, speak to my heart and I realized that though I had nothing in the bank, I had a roof over my head, food in my belly (not one day did I go hungry) and clothes on my back – and stylish clothing at that! Though I had no job lined up, I had hope and good prospects that some how or some way soon, He would provide for me. I started saying to friends – tongue in cheek, “God is letting me ‘suffer’ in style while living in Santa Monica” – which is one of the most expensive areas of the country to call home!
As I continue to build my business – now in my hometown of Dallas, Texas (that’s a whole other story for another time!) – I have come to realize that I am not alone as a middle aged female business owner. According to New York Times writer Kerry Hannon’s 10/3/2017 Article, which is absolutely worth a read, check it out HERE, “in 2016, there were an estimated 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States — a 45 percent increase since 2007, according to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express.” The article goes on to state,…
“Female entrepreneurs, particularly those over age 50, are igniting intergenerational entrepreneurship partnerships and collaborations among women of all ages,” said Elizabeth Isele, founder and chief executive of the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship. “Intergenerational partnerships between women dispel age-related stereotypes and build strong bonds across age, race and ethnicity in our increasingly diverse workplaces,” Ms. Isele said.”
If you fit into this demographic – being a a women who wants to start your own business and you’re in your 2nd or even 3rd chapter of life being in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s – take a minute to ask yourself and answer these 3 questions:
When you were a young girl, lying in your backyard looking up at the stars in the sky, did you imaging living the way you are living now?
Is your Income Circle as large as your Dream Circle?
Can you honestly state that you are happy and financially secure with where you are in life at this stage of life?
I believe that all Women Over 40, 50, 60 or even 70 need a second chance because 9 times out of 10, most of us did not “get it right” in our 20s and 30s and we aren’t necessarily where we dreamed we’d be at this age.
If all your answers are YES to the questions above… then “Hooray for you!!!! You got it right in your 20s and 30s!!” But I bet, 90% of you have answered, NO.
So please for your sake and for your sanity, consider starting your own business and push hard for your own dreams! I know I did it, and though it is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, it is also the BEST thing I’d ever done because…
My business became my second chance in my second chapter of life and it can also be that for you!
Felicia Lopes trains and empowers Women Over 40 who want to start businesses and become entrepreneurs nationwide through her robust online learning management system which features 3 Curriculum, 8 Core Courses, and over 70 individual classes (or modules). Join her this coming 12/20/2018 for her webinar — Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Mindset where she will walk you through the minefields and mental hurdles most Adults Over 40 face when launching a new business. Register here to attend this information packed webinar.