Geraldine Carter | She Thinks Big

The first time I met Geraldine Carter, I watched her stand on a stage and tell the story of the night she spent in the cab of a stranger’s tomato truck during a solo bike trek in southeast Asia.

She was noticeably pregnant and didn’t need a microphone. She had a presence. 

Since then, I’ve had the good fortune to become Geraldine’s friend and colleague.

I say good fortune because Geraldine is a business coach for women entrepreneurs. At Focused Business Coaching, she helps her clients find clarity and focus on what matters, something she knows all about. In 2008 she co-founded Climate Ride, a charitable biking organization, and helped bring it to seven-figure success.

Now Geraldine’s a mom, an entrepreneur, and has a badass podcast called She Thinks Big. She talks the talk and walks the walk and regularly gives me and many people I know straightforward, gold-standard advice.

Here she is to tell you how she moves the world:


BB: Geraldine, you created a podcast called She Thinks Big. Tell us what we’ll hear in your upcoming episodes.

GC: You’ll hear from amazing women who are at all stages of business and success, from spark, to screw up, to success. Some episodes are interviews with entrepreneurs who have made it, some are just in the early phases and doing Kickstarter, and others are just honing their idea.

I also do on-air coaching calls to help women move past hurdles and solo episodes to teach women about the ins and outs of running a successful business.

Listen to She Thinks Big here.

BB: You’re a business coach who focuses on women entrepreneurs. What led you to work with women?

GC: Men get enough help. It’s harder for us – we had fewer role models growing up, we aren’t expected to be in business, we aren’t invited to play golf, and sometimes we’re not welcome at the table. Women need a place to turn where they can just be themselves and not have to worry about being man-splained to or shut out of the conversation.

BB: What is it like helping women entrepreneurs create their professional identities?

GC: It’s the best ever. There is so much latent potential just waiting to be tapped in women and it’s a joy to tap the well and watch the success spout high.

BB: What challenges do you think are particularly common for women entrepreneurs?

GC: Most women I hear from have deep levels of self-doubt running below the surface. Above the surface, it may not be apparent, but once we get into it, there are all kinds of topics and areas they avoid because of a deep unconscious belief that certain things  — [like] numbers, business, negotiating, etc. — aren’t for them.

BB: The first time I met you I heard you give a presentation about a night you spent in the back of a tomato truck in a foreign country. How has your adventurous spirit served you in your work?

GC: After years of traveling around the world, I know that the fear of exploration precedes the joy of discovery. In travel, there can be real danger and real risks that one need pay attention to, especially as a woman alone.

But in business, what’s the real risk? Embarrassment? Losing some money? Those are just ego and/or first-world problems. I take the fear along with me and go exploring anyway, because there is the joy of discovery on the other side.

BB: You’re a mom to two adorable kids, Hazel and Remy. What can you tell entrepreneurs who are considering balancing kids and work?

GC: Scale back your expectations or risk making yourself nuts.

BB: You and I have spoken about what it’s like to go through IVF (in-vitro fertilization), you on the recipient side and me on the donor side. What was that experience like for you?

GC: It forced me to get real about the fact that I’m just not in control of certain things. The universe doesn’t care how badly I want something. All that fretting is just wasted energy. Letting go is hard, but holding on is pointless.

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BB: What are your hopes for Hazel as she grows up?

GC: That she doggedly pursue her own path and not listen to me.

BB: She Thinks Big is all about women with momentum. Who are your powerful female role models?

GC: Oprah. She is as successful as they come and still has her feet planted firmly on the ground. Her authenticity is inspiring.

BB: What do you hope your listeners will take away from She Thinks Big?

GC: A better appreciation and deep-rooted trust in themselves and their talents.

BB: Okay, now for the traditional Badasserie questions. What motivates you?

GC: The joy of creation and discovery, and the deep belief that we are talented beyond measure and have a s**t-ton of problems requiring urgent attention.

BB: What inspires you?

GC: People who think beyond what has already been created. People who go where no one yet has.

BB:  Amen, sister! What makes you feel like a badass?

GC: There’s a fine line on the spectrum of risk between daring, and cavalier. I don’t like being cavalier, but I do like testing myself. Biking from Burma across Thailand, Laos, and Viet Nam and into China by myself comes to mind, as does skiing steep chutes while six months pregnant come to mind.

But, generally, I just do my thing and try not to consider how others view my choices.

BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

GC: The Periodic Table.

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

GC:  Nope! Baby crying. Gotta go.


To schedule your own free 25-minute call with Geraldine, click here.


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Badasserie author Micah Larsen is a rogue persuasion scientist who teaches people easy ways to persuade in about five minutes.

Get free persuasion tips from Micah by texting APISPLEASE to 22828 or by clicking here.

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Sheila Cornwell // Montana Adventure Shuttle

Sheila’s got restless feet. The kind of feet that were made to wander, to pedal (she’s a bicyclist, too), and, now, to drive.

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Last year, Sheila blessed the Rocky Mountain region with the Montana Adventure Shuttle, a ready-to-go-anywhere 11-passenger van whose slogans include “endless roads, endless possibilities.”

Here’s Sheila herself to tell you more about how she moves the world:


BB: Do you remember the moment you decided to create the Montana Adventure Shuttle? What brought you there?

SC: I was tired of living in survival mode with the feeling that I had no control over my ability to succeed. Add to that the steady, growing feeling of losing my creative spark and feeling stifled by walls, proverbial and literal. Then, in late 2016, I was growing weary in my situation, missing the freedom of self-employment, and reminiscing about the previous summer’s five-day kayaking adventure in Glacier National Park. The urge to get out from behind a desk, coupled with my need for more physical movement, outdoor time, and my insatiable love for travel collected in my mind.

I soon felt this inescapable urge to break out of a failing pattern of attempts at success in the traditional workplace and allowed myself the creative freedom, my YOLO mindset, and my entrepreneurial spirit to take the lead.

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BB: What has been your favorite adventure you’ve taken with the Shuttle?

SC: I truly enjoy every shuttle trip! However, in November of 2017, I experienced my first overnight adventure with what was my first group of passengers from Missoula. A local film crew needed transportation to Helena and Bozeman and to visit some breweries for their show.

We stopped in Helena first, profiled a local hot spring, then headed on to the first brewery and filmed there. [In Bozeman] we … stayed the night at an amazing, historic bed and breakfast, then back to Bozeman’s brewery the next morning to complete filming. The crew was fun and friendly and the entire trip was full of camaraderie and laughter … beautiful scenery and singing on the way back! I remain friends with some of them, and the opportunity to serve my fellow Missoulians was invaluable!

BB: What kind of music do you listen to when you’re alone in the Shuttle?

SC: I have a varied collection of songs downloaded on my phone that I tend to listen to most. Artists and genres also spread across many genres, but mostly I listen to:

… Currently, I’m hooked on the song “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. I like to think of this as the theme song for all of us entrepreneurs!

Get persuasion tips from persuasion scientist & Badasserie author Micah Larsen

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BB: What inspires you?

SC: First and foremost is the beauty of this place; Montana, the Rocky Mountain environment, and Mother Nature. A close second to the environment we live in is the healing effect it has on me as well as the energy it feeds me. … I am inspired by other Montanans who also enjoy the numerous opportunities we have here to enjoy outdoor recreation. Their participation is a wonderful, daily reminder of what we can do here.

As a business owner, my fellow entrepreneurs are a huge inspiration, as they have a sort of energy of their own, which is kind and generous.

My children also inspire me, though they may not realize it. They are the reason I give instead of just take in this life! They need me to succeed as much as I need to succeed and I try to be a good role model for them.

Finally, but not least, my passengers inspire me to keep going with what I’m doing. They have offered a wealth of positive feedback and encouragement and ideas. Just their participation in my shuttle is validation and proof of the accomplishment.

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BB: What would you say to young women who are considering becoming entrepreneurs?

SC: Do not let the world intimidate you. I emphasize that word, “let.” Nor should you let the amount or type of work … prevent you from seeing your dream through to the end. There is a reason you are considering this option in life, so give it its due attention and examine not only who you truly are but what you want out of this life.

Your uniqueness is meant to shine, not hide behind fears.

BB: What makes you feel like a badass?

SC: Seeing this dream of mine becoming a reality. From what once seemed like a crazy idea. The idea coming to fruition.

The process itself is equally satisfying [and I’ve been] faced with big challenges every step of the way. With little funding, step by step I have been able to conquer each challenge by listening to my own instincts, and often with the help of others’.

Ultimately, I have to allow courage to spur me to take the actions necessary … instead of letting my fears hinder me. When I watch the desired outcome occur, there are feelings of pride and joy that rush over me. Then I feel like a badass!

I have also been known to squeal with delight, “This is working!!”

 

BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

SC: Oh, I would love to say, anything about bicycling or music, but I’m really more inclined to say that I’m a person who knows a little about a lot.

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

SC: I am incredibly grateful for the people who have shown me support in this community. That includes Missoula [Montana] as a whole, and the entrepreneurs and tourism organizations and other business owners I have met and become friends with.

Support is key when starting your own business and I have benefitted not only from emotional support but their combined wisdom and willingness to network as well!

I extend a hearty thank you to all of you who continue to help me, including you, Micah!

BB: Aw, gee, thanks! Ditto.

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Book your own memorable shuttle adventure with Sheila here and sign up for Montana Adventure Shuttle’s inspirational newsletter here.

 

 

Mallory Ottariano // Kind Apparel

Mallory is a mover and a shaker. And as a mover and a shaker, she needed clothes that could move and shake, too, so she created Kind Apparel, a women’s adventure clothing company based out of Missoula, Montana.

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Mallory is wearing a Fjord dress of her own design. Get yours here.

Kind Apparel isn’t your run-of-the-mill clothing company (though her clothes are perfect for the runners among us). Mallory designs her own fabrics as inspired by nature and printed on recycled material made from plastic bottles.

Here’s Mallory herself to tell you more about how she moves the world:

BB: Tell me about Kind Apparel.

MO: Kind Apparel is a small women’s adventure clothing company. We design and make colorful and functional wearables for the outdoor-ist in you that are focused on celebrating the uniqueness of every woman. Our fabrics are what make our products special! Everything is made from stretchy Lycra that’s made from recycled plastic bottles and printed with my own graphics and artwork.

There is not a single solid colored fabric in our offerings and everything is very bold and very bright. Think psychedelic moonscapes, citrus fruits, paisleys, water reflections, and succulents.

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Kind Apparel skorts are designed for running, swimming, hiking, and backpacking.

BB: What do you do when you’re not working on Kind stuff?

MO: Honestly, these days I’m working most of the time, but I do make time for exercise every day, whether that’s in the gym or on a run during the week or a ski tour or bike ride on the weekends. I try to fit in as much skiing as I can during the winter/spring, and I play soccer all year round.

In the evenings, you can find me out on a Missoula trail taking my dog for a walk with my fiancê! I love to be in motion, whether that’s physically or just tackling many activities during a busy day. So when I’m not working, I’m usually moving in some capacity.

BB: What drew you to design specifically for women?

MO: Personal experience. I believe we can design best for ourselves, so as a woman it’s easy for me to know what is wanted and needed in the market. I also think — although this is certainly changing — that there is a significant lack of functional and technical yet cute clothing out there. Most women’s outdoor clothing tends to be available in frumpy fits and bland colors and I wanted to change that to include the colorful prints of lots of casual women’s clothing.

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BB: Have you ever had a “lightning bolt moment” or a sudden flash of inspiration?

MO: Yes! I had known I wanted to transition to custom printed fabric eventually, but when an opportunity dropped into my lap I certainly became inspired by how my company could grow.

On a backpacking trip, I was looking around at all the texture and color in the lichen on a rock I was taking a break on and I thought, “My prints should be inspired by nature and the amazing places where women are wearing the clothing I make!” So my next two collections have been entirely inspired by the natural world.

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Kind Apparel’s swim tops are reversible and versatile.

BB: Has being an entrepreneur changed you?

MO: Yes, in so many ways. It’s given me greater confidence. It’s taught me to be my own champion and cheerleader, and it’s taught me introspection and humility.

The most profound change is accountability. I used to, and still do, pass blame, decisions and challenges to everything and everyone but myself. But when you work for yourself and things go wrong or there are big problems, you must confront them.

There isn’t anyone else who can make the decisions that need to be made and any fault is almost always my own. I’m learning to own my mistakes and grow from them.

BB: What makes you feel like a badass?

MO: When I live up to my expectation of myself. Ha! I’m hugely competitive and set a very high bar for myself. It’s also an amazing feeling when I see women around Missoula — or abroad — wearing my clothing. Or when I introduce what I do and someone says, “Oh, that’s your company?! I have one of your dresses and I love it!”

I used to derive a lot of pleasure from physical or athletic accomplishments and as I get older this mentality and associated high do, too. Now, I feel like I badass when I see an impact I’ve created.

BB: What would you say to women who dream of starting an apparel company?

MO: It definitely sounds narcissistic, but I would say to anyone starting a business, “Put yourself first, love yourself the most, and believe in yourself the hardest.”

Certainly, you should have compassion and care for others, but no one is going to be as big of a supporter or believe in you as much as you will have to in yourself. You are your own best asset and the biggest tool to your success. Have confidence in that! Some people will dislike you and that’s totally okay.

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BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

MO: I am absolutely terrible at trivia. If there were somehow a category that allowed you to create your own questions and answers or a dream interpretation category I would be amazing at that. I’m good at bullshitting, but you can’t bullshit facts.

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BB: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

MO: I’ve been reading this incredible collection of stories lately that really inspire me as a creative woman in business. It’s In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. If you ever need a pick-me-up or validation, you’re on the right track. The pages contain so many amazing stories of creative women living out their dreams and the journeys they’ve taken to get there.


Shop Kind Apparel and get your own unique, environmentally-friendly design by Mallory here.

Order In The Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs from your local bookstore or from Amazon here