Liz Long is the founder of Bag the Habit and Learn to Make a Product. Liz helps people turn their product ideas to reality. She has helped many entrepreneurs in turning their concepts to successful manufactured goods. At age 23, Liz came up with the idea of selling reusable shopping bags to big retailers. The term ‘reusable shopping bag’ was relatively a new term at that time.
How did you come up with this idea?
Liz has always been environmentally minded, she was brought up that way. She spent some time in Europe and noticed how people bring their own bags and baskets to the grocery store. This was before the time reusable bags had become common. She started working on this idea properly in the year 2006. By 2008, reusable shopping bags had become a norm. When Liz started the business, she specifically had to explain the concept behind this business to everyone around her. Back then, it was something different. Many people were unaware of reusable shopping bags back then.
How did you convert this idea of reusable shopping bags to an actual product?
It was challenging, Liz says she had to learn about many things. She was very naïve to the whole process. She did everything on her own. She remembers sewing her first prototype using an office stapler. She looked for online bag suppliers. Back then, only Whole Foods Market was using these reusable shopping bags and Liz wanted to know who made these bags for them. However, it was not easy to find the suppliers. Liz spent a lot of time to find the right supplier; it was a long process, many phone calls and countless hours spent on Google searching for the right supplier.
How did you manage the money factor in the beginning?
Liz was not thinking about saving for retirement so she could take the risk and not worry about her savings. She also did some part time jobs like copywriting and worked in a teashop while launching her business. She managed to save a lot of money through these part time jobs. If needed, she would borrow money from her friends as well.
How did you manage to sell your products to big media outlets and companies?
Liz believes her early entry to the market with this niche was a big factor in getting the right amount of recognition. Her brand also focused on design from the start, it was one thing they were good at and made sure they invested quality time in coming up with unique and creative design. Liz says she has worked with many product entrepreneurs and most of them do not invest in the design. Making early entry in the market and having a solid brand identity helped them attract bigger clients.
What do you think is one common mistake people make when starting a new business?
Ignoring quality control is a big mistake. People work with a factory and they assume everything would go smooth. They over trust the factory and their production. However, you have to make sure the right quality is achieved, never take it for granted. You should implement all sorts of quality control practices even as a startup. The quality of your products will go a long way in helping your business grow.
How do you help people design a product?
Many factories often have design teams with them but many people do not know about it. Therefore, when we are looking for a factory to produce our product, we can always look for a factory with a design team, because then we can do kind of everything. This is one way of how Liz helps people design a product by looking out for factories with design teams. The other way is to look for an independent product designer or technical designer. You can search for them easily online and then they help people with the development process.
Where do you see yourself in the coming years?
Liz aspires to create more products that people can purchase affordably. Working with a consultant like Liz herself can be very expensive especially if you are trying to run a startup. Most of the courses are pricey for people who are just starting their business. Liz intends to create lower cost high volume products.
What does living your purpose mean to you?
For Liz it means working with creativity and without constraints. It means she gets to do what she wants to do without any restrictions. She prefers to live life on her own terms.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Not to rush, approach things steadily. You just have to live your life; do not try to skim through everything in life.
How can we connect with you?
Her website’s URL is
You can also follow her on Instagram
Find more about Bag the Habit from the following URL
Sarah Ancalmo Ashman is a brand and business strategist, creative director, designer, stylist and writer. With over 15 years of working with big brands like Esteem Lauder, Coach, Madonna, Ted Baker London, Jimmy Fallon and more… she waved goodbye to her commercial career and Public Persona Studio was born to provide the very same strategies, techniques, and discerning eye that she brought to big brands to rule-breaking, name-taking female entrepreneurs + thought-leaders. She works with clients to capture and convey their one-of-a-kind personality, transforming their stories and inspirations into a cohesive brand that captivates and communicates all the important info on their behalf. In other words, she aims to help her clients stand out—miles (and millions) above the competition.
What is the definition of branding from your perspective?
There are various definitions for branding. Usually people think of branding as coming up with a new logo whey they need branding. However, the process of branding is a deep and thorough process. Designing a logo is usually the last thing you do in the process of branding. For small business owners, who are the face of their brand, branding is extremely important. It is all about making sure people get to know more about you, your ideal clients/customers and the services you provide. If it is done right, branding is a deep and lengthy process. The main purpose of branding is to lay down solid foundation for your business, help you to distinguish yourself in the market.
How do you help people brand in accordance with their business?
Sarah previously worked in advertising world for about 15 years and learned the traditional branding methodologies, which are applicable for big businesses and brands. After she started her own business, she found out that the traditional rules she learnt do not really apply in her own business. When you are trying to start a business, trying to brand or rebrand yourself, it is so hard to be able to see yourself for who you are, what makes you unique with respect to your business. Sarah helps people pull out such information by asking tons of questions, lot of self-analysis is involved. Another good way to know about yourself is to ask people who are around you, who work for you. Ask them what makes you unique, what is it you do that makes you unique and always look for the patterns.
What is the biggest mistake you see people make in branding their business?
Skipping the branding process is a big mistake, Sarah says she often see people making themselves believe that they know what their work is about, who their ideal clients are, they gloss over it, but it eventually leads them to jeopardy. So imagine what would happen if a business owner fails to acknowledge the importance of branding, moves on to the next steps of promoting their business that in most cases is going to a copywriter to help you write web content for your website. Now all the work done by the copywriter would be from a total different perspective, it would be through the lens of that copywriter. Similarly going to a designer for a logo will yield results that would be in alignment with how the designer perceived your business and created a logo. The result is extremely unsatisfying, people get frustrated and feel like they still cannot express themselves of who they really are and what they do even after investing a good amount of money. The reason for this is obvious. Not giving enough importance to branding which could have helped these business owners to discover more about the brand, to articulate what the brand is, to develop guidelines about the brand.
How did you get into branding?
Sarah started out as a designer, studied design in school. Sarah worked in entertainment industry and her first job was at MTV. She got a chance to do work for bigger brands. After a while, she started directing TV commercials and got some work in fashion industry. While she was doing all this work, she realized how much she loved expressing herself and at that time, she started a fashion blog. She realized how passionate she was to build a brand from start to finish. She felt like she could do something better rather than helping the bigger brands that did not even matter. She felt like she should do something that could make a bigger impact on people and they could somehow benefit from what she was able to do.
How do you exercise your creativity in branding?
Sarah believes she has always been creative but she believes there are a few exercises that can help strengthen the brain. She even wrote a book for this purpose ‘The Little Black Book of Creativity’. You can find it on her website (URL attached below) as well.
What are some tips related to creativity that readers could find in your book?
Sarah says she has emphasized on lateral thinking in her book. Sometimes, just a little shift of perspective lets you think properly and productively. She shares her childhood story of how she and her family would do crossword puzzle or a word scramble at the dinner table. Throughout this activity, she would always see the newspaper upside down. It was not intentional but merely because of the fact that she always sat next to her father and she always got an inverted view of the newspaper from that seat. Therefore, when she tried to do a word scramble with the right side up, it was a complete different experience. Sometimes, looking at things differently forces your brain to think about it differently.
Who is your source of inspiration?
Sarah says she tries not to look at other people and so she really does not have any real source of inspiration. As a creative person, someone who does visuals for others, Sarah thinks it is better if she does not get under the influence of anyone to keep her work pure. However, she admits to learning a lot from films and movies with reference to her business.
How can we connect with you?
You can connect with her through her website.
Her website’s URL is:
You can also find her book on her website.
Caitlin Cogan Doemner is the founder of Virtual Coaching Sales. She helps entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their business for greater profitability and social impact. She has helped dozens of entrepreneurs scale their revenues and operations into the multi-millions by building consistent sales processes that continuously deliver better qualified leads, more reliable year-round profit, and higher customer satisfaction so that they can enjoy the lifestyle that originally attracted them to start their own business.
After studying philosophy from Oxford University, Caitlin thought she would not get a job with this degree and went on to complete her Master of Business Administration. After completing her MBA, she was sure of landing a job. She needed a job so she could pay off her student debt, which was around seventy thousand dollars. However, after a long job hunt, she was still unemployed and owed a large student debt. With no job opportunities and a debt to pay, Caitlin started thinking of ways to start her own business and earn money. She quickly realized that three years she spent learning business in class was very different from running your own business. The fact that she did not have a single class on sales throughout her MBA degree was unfortunate for her. To run any business, sales is a crucial part and Caitlin says she has never met a successful entrepreneur who has not mastered the art of selling. Back then, Caitlin had no idea how to become a better sales person. Over the years and with experience, she realized that as a sales person you should be able to sell your vision to people. If you can do that, you can sell your products and services as well. Mastering the art of selling becomes even more important if you are a life coach or a consultant. Always ask yourself how much can you ask someone to pay for yourself, for your time; can you get the results in time and in budget?
How did you make the transition and stepped into selling?
When Caitlin realized she lacked the essential sales skills, she hired a coach to improve her skills. She believed in her coach and did exactly what he told her to do. With his mentorship and training, Caitlin was able to sell two programs each of thousand dollars to family and friends. After this initial success, Caitlin realized she could become a good sales person and along with the help of her coach and support from her husband, she founded Virtual Coaching Sales, a virtual company that has helped small business owners grow their business for greater profit. Caitlin says sales is an act of love and service. You need to listen to people’s stories, find out what is not working for them, inspire them and suggest possible solutions.
How do you usually close a business deal?
Caitlin believes she is serving her clients in her business. She rarely thinks about the conversations with her clients from a business perspective. “I do not think about it as closing, I am serving and loving them” is what she says. She loves to help people in their problems, suggest possible solution. Caitlin thinks you will always end up doing business with clients who have been divinely appointed for you and you are meant to provide service to them. She thinks when we start understanding our client’s problems, closing a business deal become effortless.
Caitlin focuses on three areas in her work when making a conversation with a client.
How do you motivate your clients to embrace their challenges and motivate them to take actions?
People who are in discomfort for long get used to it. Due to the continuity of pain, they start thinking it is normal. Caitlin thinks, as an expert it is her job to let her clients feel that their current situation is painful, undesirable and they deserve better. She believes only way to deal with these problems is talking about things that are the source of discomfort and pain. You cannot eliminate pain without activating it. We as human beings cannot look at our misery for long and tend to ignore our challenges and start living our lives with limitations. As an expert, the best gift you can give someone is help them acknowledge the pain and the suffering, what is holding them back from achieving their goals. Only after a person can acknowledge it, the problems can be fixed.
What is your mantra in life?
Caitlin recently came across the quote “I never lose, either I win or learn.” She has been meditating on this quote and she thinks this quote has helped her to explore new challenges and not set limitations for herself in her life. Caitlin believes that the perpetual fear in selling is rejection but if you take this rejection as a stepping-stone towards success, you will never fail, you will only learn.
How can we connect with you?
Her website’s URL is
A free version of her book ‘Sell with Heart’ is available on her website. The book is about the art of selling, principles of selling and about her story of how she came in this business.
You can also contact her through Facebook
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/Caitlin.doemner
Jillian Turecki is a yoga teacher and a certified coach. Through her tough life experiences, Jillian has empowered herself to understand her own emotional patterns and that is how she helps others as well. She is certified by the Robbins Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention/Coaching. Jillian helps individuals, couples and families in finding solutions to their problems.
Anna (host of the podcast) has known Jillian from a very long time. They lived in the same building, would often see each other and interact on routine basis. Podcast starts with Jillian sharing a story that took place three years ago on June 3, 2014 when Anna saw her sitting on a bench outside the building. Jillian looked devastated and as a friend, Anna tried to console her.
That day would have been the second wedding anniversary of Jillian but just a day ago, her husband broke up with her and that too on a phone. Jillian recently had a miscarriage, her mom was suffering from lung cancer and she was left shattered with this news. Anna sat there with her and they had this particular conversation which was about to reach its conclusion when Anna suggested Jillian to become a coach and mentioned about following Tony Robbins. Jillian recalls that memory and remembers back then, it made no sense as to why Anna suggested her to follow Tony Robbins and become a coach herself. Over the course of next few days, Anna sent her a few videos of Tony Robbins and watching those videos helped Jillian to start a new chapter of her life.
What in the video helped you to start a new beginning?
The video she often watched was about an intervention. That video is also a part of Tony Robbins coaching. He talks about an older woman who had become very masculine over the years because of the beliefs she had about her father and her sister. The beliefs were quite limiting. He talked a lot about masculine and feminine energy and the extreme pain you undergo when you are not living in accordance with what you really ought to be, whom you really feel in the core. The questions he asked and his ability to read patterns is incredible. Jillian loved the fact that Tony Robbins videos were always on point and very easy to understand. She started watching his videos regularly.
Throughout this transformative journey, Anna helped Jillian as a life coach as well. She was the one who encouraged Jillian to enroll and become a coach herself. The events that led to Jillian’s separation from her husband greatly helped her to bring about a positive transformation in her life and help others around her.
How did you manage to turn your grief into driving force for bringing a positive transformation in your life?
Jillian says it has not been easy to overcome her trials and tribulations. She believes the strategy to follow when going through enormous grief is to let yourself feel the grief, to acknowledge what has happened with you. That is one way to become emotionally resilient. If you stuff the feelings, if you do not embrace the challenges and difficulties you face, it will come back stronger. Jillian always believes in performing some ritual when undergoing such an experience. A ritual can be anything you do on daily basis; it can vary from person to person. For Jillian, it was watching and following Tony Robbins Ultimate Edge program. She did this thirty-minute ritual every morning.
How has your relationship with your parents impacted your belief system?
Jillian believes parents play an important role in our belief system. She shares her personal story of how her mother was always very gracious to everyone who would do something good for her even if it were something very small. Jillian developed this belief earlier in her life that it was very important for her to be gracious as well. Similarly, she developed another belief because of the fact she did not get enough attention from her father as a child. Growing up, she thought she had to act a certain way to get attention from men and get their love. Her father was a successful child psychiatrist and he wrote a book. The book was a huge success but surprisingly it was inspired directly by Jillian and the name of the book was ‘The difficult child’. Jillian thinks she was a kid with high amount of sensitivity. She grew up in a home where her parents did not get along. That affected her personality; she had poor sleeping and eating patterns. As a kid, all she knew was that there was a book written about her and she grew up with this limiting belief that she must be a difficult person with strange traits, that she was difficult to get along and there was a book out there to prove it with her name in it. Jillian thinks this belief had a major impact on her relationship with her husband and other men.
What is your advice to people who want to feel positive but cannot? How can they make that shift?
If you are someone who in unwelcoming situations has a tendency to say to yourself or to others to stay positive, you should stop that because it triggers the opposite behavior. It will only make you feel more depressed. Jillian thinks that if someone is in undesirable state, the first thing they should ask themselves is the reason, which brought them to it. Sometimes, we have no option but to accept and embrace grief. The coaching Jillian is trained into is called ‘strategic intervention.’
It is based upon six basic human needs. These are psychological needs and they exist in every person regardless of age, gender, culture, religion and economic status. They change in terms of where you are in life but they remain six. First four are the needs of the personality and we as human-being will do anything to get them.
If you are feeling a low vibe, you are frustrated or angry for some reason and you do not feel like being positive, it means one of your needs is not being fulfilled. Figure out why you are not feeling positive, make the decision, snap out of it because you deserve to be in a high vibe state and the quickest way to do this is to move your body in some way because that always worked for Jillian.
“Life is not simple, it’s not easy. But it really is what you make of it”-Jillian Turecki.
How can we connect with her?
Her website’s URL is
You can follow on her on Instagram as well
Catherine Just is an award winning photographer, artist and mentor. Catherine's work has been published on the cover of National Geographic Magazine, inside Oprah.com and PDN.com as well as galleries around the globe including her most recent collaborative show in Paris, France. Catherine believes that photography can be used to gather up evidence of what's living in between the words and to document the unseen but deeply felt spaces and places within the internal and external landscape. She teaches workshops and courses both online and in person as well as creating images for highly visible creatives for their websites, books and creative projects.
When was the first time you realized you liked taking pictures?
Catherine was in art school and had to pick a major. She had no previous experience of photography and studied painting and drawing in high school. When she was asked to pick a major in college, she recalled an incident from her childhood when she was moving away and took pictures of all her friends and teachers. Catherine says it was a very strong memory and after she recalled this memory from her childhood, this idea of picking photography as a major literally came out of the blue. It was not something that someone was doing in her family or that she had a family history with photography. She developed a love affair with photography and especially conceptual photography. Conceptual photography helped Catherine to express things and feelings visually what was difficult to express verbally and that is when she realized how powerful images are.
How did you make a business out of your passion for photography?
Business was a natural evolution for her. It took her time and many years to take this gift of photography and turn it into a profitable business for her. When she was 18 years old and in high school, Catherine was struggling with drugs, alcohol. She thinks photography helped her achieve sobriety. Photography helped her process things, enabled her to share her feelings through a different medium.
What is your favorite portrait lens to shoot with?
Catherine prefers her 4*5 camera and says looking through it is like if she is dreaming. The frame is big so you see a big image rather than a tiny image at the backside of a digital camera. However, the image is upside down and reversed so you have an alternative experience of what the film is catching and it is a unique experience. When she shoots for her clients, she uses a 35 mm camera and 85 mm camera, which lets her capture tiny little details and focus on one thing so whoever sees the picture; they see one particular thing in the frame. That is the whole concept of conceptual photography. Catherine loves how photography can help her to capture tiny details and focus on small things.
How do you make sure people look perfect in their photo shoots?
It takes a while, once you put up a lens, people are confused as to what to do with their hands or neck or arms because they want to look perfect in the photo-shoot. People are very self-conscious about certain things especially women and Catherine says, as a woman, she understands why they are uncomfortable so she tries to create an environment where people feel comfortable.
What has been your favorite and most interesting photo-shoot?
For Catherine, her personal projects have always been very special for her and had a complete different connection with them. With clients, however, every photo-shoot taught her something different. However, her best experience was working with Daniel LaPorte. Daniel LaPorte is a bestselling author of The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul. Catherine had this creative personal project and wanted Daniel to work with her on it. Catherine went to Vancouver, it was out of her comfort zone and she had never been through this process of photography. Catherine used a process called Wet Plate Collodion and hired a mentor who helped Catherine to do this kind of photography. Danielle also helped her a lot in this photo-shoot by being there and going through the process with her. Catherine says this experience helped her grow as an artist, as a photographer.
How can an aspiring photographer improve their photography?
In a digital world, we have lost the ability to look at things properly before taking a picture. We prefer to take many pictures and then choose the best, but you need to look at everything that is in the frame, the light, the people or the things. Then decide for yourself what needs to be in the frame and what does not need to be in the frame, move yourself and adjust your camera until and unless you do not get that feeling of taking the perfect picture. See how the light is moving, Catherine believes we have lost all of it now because now we can take hundreds of pictures and it will not cost to take more pictures.
Can you tell us more about your recent project ‘Capturing Breath on Film’?
Catherine will be offering thirty photo-sessions in thirty different cities as a part of this project. She has already started this project. She celebrated 29 years of sobriety on August 18, 2016. As she moves in her thirtieth year of sobriety, Catherine came up with the idea of this project to mark thirty years without using any mood altering substances. She thinks photography is a great way to show passing of time. Catherine thinks it is a miracle that she has stayed free of all drugs for almost thirty years. Now she wants to acknowledge this achievement through photography and hopes she can let other people feel the experience she has had with photography. Catherine is currently working on this project and you can find more about her tour locations for this project through her website. Website’s URL is given at the end of show notes.
What is the best advice you have even been given?
Miguel Ruiz who is the author of ‘The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom’ helped Catherine to open up a whole world for her and all of his teachings were the best advice for her. They were more than a single sentence.
How can we connect with her?
Her website’s URL is:
You can find more about her work and her ongoing projects through her website.