Tom Clairmont

Tom Clairmont

Helping you pivot through your small business journey.

Small Biz Startup Essentials Podcast


Author Christine J Gilbert

Episode 8- Interview with Adult and Children's Author Christine J. Gilbert

In this episode, she shares with us her experiences through the writing, publishing and product development process and gives aspiring authors tips on how they can get started with their journey to being a published author as well.


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Christine J. Gilbert grew up in a small town in Missouri. She was a corporate executive and then later became a successful entrepreneur. 

Christine is the author of six books- 3 books for the adult series and 3 for the children’s series. 

Her 3 book adult series titles are:  

• MANipulated Into Fear, There Is Always A Pattern, that was Book 1, 

• White Roses In A Dream, Traits, Patterns, and Action Plans, that was Book 2, and 

• DEEP SEEDED SECRETS, Corruption Lies, and Murder, as Book 3. 

Based on a true story. Her books were written under her pseudonym, Marvela Dawnay.

She wrote a children’s series to educate children and adults about safety and awareness with a super magical power theme for fun.

In 2015, Christine published the 3 book series:, 

• Super Grandma and Super Grandpa, The Unknown Superheroes,  as Book 1 on September 11, 2015, 

• Super Grandma and Super Grandpa, The Unknown Superheroes, Book 2 on September 11, 2016, 

• and Super Grandma and Super Grandpa, The Unknown Superheroes, Book 3 on September 11, 2017. 

All three books have 911 as the published date inside the book because in the story she educates on the 911 emergency phone number. The story also educates stranger danger, cyber-bullying, stop, drop, and roll, and much more! 

She was also in the Army reserves for 6 years.

Kari Schwear

Episode 7- Interview with Discovery Coach Kari Schwear from Graytonic

Kari Schwear has spent most of her professional life helping people find the story they want to tell about the choices they make in their lives. For the past two decades, she has helped companies grow by finding new ways to serve clients.  Kari believes the best way for a company to expand is to help its clients expand.  She founded GrayTonic and Question the Drink (QTD) in 2018 for professionals like herself that are using alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress. Kari is a Discovery Coach, speaker, and a co-author of the book, The Successful Mind, Tools for Living a Purposeful, Productive, and Happy Life.

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Kari discusses the transition she went through from the corporate life at Porche to being self employed, the obstacles she faced, the steps she took to build a team, take on a business partner and how her husband supported her through it all. 

She provides some encouragement for new entrepreneurs on what they can expect when they start a business and to not give up on the dream, but stay focused through the good and the bad days, knowing that if they keep working at the business, things will eventually get better.   


Zone of Genius

Episode 6- Finding Your Zone of Genius

Have you reached your true potential? 

If not, what is holding you back?

Do you know what your true potential is?

In this episode, we will be diving in to the possibilities of aiming higher and achieving much, much more than we ever thought possible.

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There is a very popular book that hit the shopping carts in 2009 called The Big Leap, by personal growth guru Gay Hendricks, that refers to a  concept called your “Zone of Genius”. In Hendricks’ book he explains there are four zones we all operate from:

1. The Zone of Incompetence: In this zone, you are engaging in something you inherently do not understand or are not skilled at.


2. The Zone of Competence: In this zone, you are doing what you are efficient at, but recognize that many people are likewise efficient at it, thus not distinguishing your capabilities in any significant way.


3. The Zone of Excellence: In this zone, you are doing something you are tremendously skilled at. Often, the zone of excellence is cultivated, it’s practiced and established over time.


4. The Zone of Genius: In this zone, you capitalize on your natural abilities which are innate, rather than learned. This is the state in which you get into “flow,” find ceaseless inspiration, and seem to not only come up with work that is distinguished and unique, but also do so in a way that excels far and beyond what anyone else is doing.


Now, he’s not talking about how to become a genius, but how to enter into that special, personal ‘zone’ as we’re calling it, that uses your best skills to the fullest and what will bring you the most fulfillment in life.

Most successful people build their careers in their zone of excellence, the area of life in which your skills are proficient. The problem with the zone of excellence — and the reason why so many people in it are most unhappy — is that it doesn’t take you into that special place…that ‘I feel the most fulfilled’ in. If you can pinpoint, the one skill or talent in your zone of excellence that you feel most comfortable with, and at ease with, then that is the place where you can actually thrive.


As you can probably imagine, highly successful people function in the ZOE, in which they are doing things at which they are highly skilled. But staying in this zone is ultimately unsatisfying, though, because it does not engage the innate genius of the individual.


Also, in the book, Mr. Hendricks poses four questions to help you start to identify your Zone of Genius:

·        What do you most love to do? (In other words, this one thing, you love so much, you can do it for long stretches of time without getting tired or bored.)

·        What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? 

·        In your work, what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to amount of time spent? (Even if you do only ten seconds or a few minutes of it, an idea or a deeper connection may spring forth that leads to huge value. Whatever that one thing is, find it  and put the highest priority on doing some of it every day.)

·        What’s your unique ability? (There is a special skill you’re gifted with. This unique ability, fully realized and put to work can provide enormous benefits to you and any organization you serve.)

As with any other kind of lasting, meaningful change, commitment is the gateway to the zone of genius. Make a commitment to blocking out just thirty minutes a day in their calendars to devote to cultivating their genius. The thirty minutes can involve journaling, meditating or any number of other activities, just as long as you are focusing on your genius for thirty uninterrupted minutes. After you have gotten your thirty minutes a day you’re your routine, then, bump it up to forty five minutes. Ultimately I want to see people I work with spending 90% of their time in their zone of genius, but you’ve got to start somewhere and my recommendation is to start with 30 minutes a day.


Your zone of genius is what is most effortless for you. If you are truly able to relax and begin the work, you recognize that you are able to create almost instantaneously, and without too much thought. When you combine this natural talent and skill with hours of practice and repetition, you find yourself among the small percentage of people who can break through and redefine an industry.

Episode 5- Interview with Bed and Breakfast owner, Janice Clifton of Virginia Cliffe Inn

Occasionally, we will interview successful business owners and find out how they went through the startup process, to hear about the obstacles they had to overcome and how they were able to turn their dream into a reality.

Listen to get some inside tips on how to start your own B&B business. 

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 Janice explained the history of the building and that when it was built, some of original beams from the former building were used to keep the legacy alive. Since their kids became adults and moved out, they had extra rooms and wanted to start a B&B business with event planning to make better use of the space and building as a whole.  

Some of the questions we asked were:

1. What made you want to have a Bed and Breakfast business?

2. How did you turn your dream into a reality?

3. Did you have any help along the way?

4. What kind of obstacles did you face, and how did you overcome them?

Contact Information:

Virginia Cliffe Inn
Tel: Events 804-382-0500
Lodging 804-332-1567
2900 Mountain Road Glen Allen, Virginia, 23060

what is your mission

Episode 4- Starting a Business From the Inside Out

Some people may be struggling with not only developing your mission, but not even knowing what the mission is supposed to be. But where does the ‘mission’ fit into the bigger picture here of our lives? 

I like to look at it this way.. 

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We all have a purpose in life.. even though many struggle to figure this out. But if you separate the perspective into layers and look at it this way, it may help. For example.. I like to think of life this way. 

·        A Vision

·        A Mission

·        Goals

·        And Tasks to accomplish the goals. 

Our ‘vision’ is the greater purpose.. why we think we are here on this planet. What are we ‘called’ to do? 

The Mission is defined as how we are supposed to focus on fulfilling the vision. 

For example.. I have been helping a non-profit org for a few years now called Fresh Water Friends and the Executive Director has a ‘vision’ to serve humanity. 

The ‘mission’ is to install water wells for impoverished villages in India or Uganda. 

The goal, is one well per week. 

The tasks are all related to the goal.. raising money, communicating with the field manager in India or Uganda, supporting them with their problems and installation issues.. etc.. 

If you are unsure at to what your mission in life would be, knowing what your strengths are…and weaknesses… will help you decide. Everyone is good at something.. whether you are born with a certain talent or skill, or if you have some other talent that gets developed over time and turns out to be something that you love to do.. or maybe it’s some sort of hidden talent that you never even thought you had. 

You can take these talents… whether they are natural or developed.. and capitalize on your specific business niche. Learn your strengths and build on them. Too many people focus on their weaknesses and try to make them better, instead of taking what they do well and capitalizing on those skills. I recommend taking the Kolbe self evaluation test for about $50. They have a great personal evaluation test that will highlight your strengths and give you a better understanding of yourself

Knowing yourself better will help you get from where you are, to where you want to be. 

You are the only one who is going to get you out of your situation. Only you can turn your dream into a reality. If you are serious, you will stop making excuses and open your mind to the possibilities.. 

Mike Kim 

Kolbe Self Evaluation Test-Take the Kolbe A™ Index Click Here

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Episode 3- What is Your ‘Why’?
As I talk to people about the startup process, I hear a question over and over ‘How do I decide if I should start a business?’

This all comes down to ‘what’s your motivation?’ In other words.. what is your ‘why’?

Many reasons motivate entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams of launching profitable companies. Some reasons are better than others while others are downright awful.

Before making a decision that is difficult to undo, it’s important to ask yourself difficult questions about your underlying motivations for starting a business. By doing so, you can protect yourself from unnecessary risk, and you may just confirm why you definitely should become an entrepreneur. 

Hopefully, this episode will help you with your ‘why’ for starting a business. 

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Episode 2
When I started my business in 2002, I didn’t rely on people and other resources as much as I should have. As a result, the business startup process was harder and profitability was delayed. This episode will help you with recommendations on resources that are available to you now so that you can start your business and be profitable sooner.

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Episode 1-Premier Episode- Welcome!
Welcome to the premier episode of the Small Biz Startup Essentials Podcast. Being that this is the first one, I’d just like to go over a few things on what you can expect for the theme and format- topics we’ll be covering, the length and frequency of the episodes, so that you won’t have any surprises. 

The length of the episodes will be about 15-20 minutes long so we’ll be getting right to the point. We won’t waste your time. And if you decide to download a bunch of episodes at one time and then play them back later, you’ll be able to cover more ground faster with shorter episodes. 

Interviews are lining up from various business types for the same theme. ‘ How did you work through the Dream phase of the startup process and get your business launched.’ 

So with this concept, every successful small business is a good fit for being interviewed for this podcast. 

Stay tuned, stay encouraged… life’s a journey, enjoy the ride. 

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