Television star and now entrepreneur, Laura Govan is on top with an upcoming book and new business. Govan’s luxury accessory collection, Shop in Real Life, is not just a business for her. It’s proof that she can do anything. We got to chat with this beauty and former star of Basketball Housewives about her journey to writing Don’t Get Mad. Get Sexy. We also got the scoop about her upcoming episode on the hit show Millionaire Matchmaker in which she explains her desire to get married again.
MM: Have you always been an entrepreneur?
Laura: Well, I’ve always had a job since I was about 14 years old. Whether it was babysitting in the neighborhood or working for my dad, I always had a job. Becoming an entrepreneur was just the next step. Also, I feel like I had to at this point in my life. I had not worked in a really long time, because I was raising my kids. The situation with my ex came about. So, I had to refocus and figure out how to make money. I’ve always been destined to do something for myself.
MM: How was the transition from being a full-time stay at home mom to a mom who is an entrepreneur?
Laura: You know, I just had to make time and effort. I work when my kids are in school, and when they go to bed. You have to have scheduling, and it has to make sense. I don’t spread myself too thin anymore. I don’t say yes to everything anymore. If I can, I can. If I can’t, I won’t. For the most part I work around my kid’s schedules. That’s how the balance comes.
MM: What inspired the name of your company, Shop in Real Life?
Laura: I have a real life. I live in my own real life. It’s not so much about being foo foo or having a life that people think I live or what you see. That’s not always the case. I cry. I bleed. I’m a mom and I don’t always get it right. I’m not perfect, and that’s not what’s portrayed or shown. My life is real. I walk in the house, and my kids don’t give a damn about where I’ve been or who’ve I been with. When I walk in the house my kids are like, where is the food?
MM: Did being on Basketball Wives help you create your brand and launch your business?
Laura: There’s not many people who can do it without branding themselves on social media. It didn’t really reflect who I was 1000%. It reflected who I was at the time, but not really branded. It’s a gift and a curse.
MM: What is something you have learned about yourself in the last few years, since the divorce?
Laura: That I can do anything. I didn’t know then when I got separated after 16 years. I hadn’t paid bills in a long time. I had not done a lot of things in a really long time, but I believed in myself. There’s a lot I had to do on my own. I had to create this life as a single mom with my kids, and figure it out. People think I have a millionaire baby daddy, but that millionaire man doesn’t help me like that. I had to dig deep. I turned my entire life around by myself. It has made me feel amazing. Now, I can tell my kids, “How you think you are going to give up? I didn’t.” It’s a story to tell and I’m appreciative of that story.
MM: What’s coming up next for you?
Laura: I wrote a book and it comes out at the end of the year. It’s called Don’t Get Mad. Get Sexy.
MM: Wow. How long have you worked on the book?
Laura: It took me about a year. Most people ask me how did I do it? You were in a relationship for 16 years, and he had a baby on you. The separation was very open. All I wanted to do was protect my children. Don’t Get Mad. Get Sexy. really isn’t about him. I wasn’t mad at him. I was moreso like what is my next move. That was the question to myself. My biggest thing was that I wasn’t going to get mad. I wasn’t mad at him or myself. I’m just going to get sexy. Not in the sense of go show your breasts or something. I was going to get sexy in every way. Work on my mind. Work on me internally. All of my sexiness oozes out in the way I carry myself or speak.
MM: Was it hard to revisit some of those tough moments?
Laura: No, things like that are my therapy. I utilize it as a tool to get it out and tap into my emotions. It’s therapy.
MM: Would you get married again?
Laura: Oh gosh yes! And I want to have more kids. I’m going to have more kids. I’m going to get married, and I can’t wait.
MM: What makes you unafraid to get married again?
Laura: Who am I to deny myself of love and that butterfly feeling. God just closed one door. Another has to open and I’m going to open it. I just believe that why should I stop my life yearning for a feeling I know I deserve. I’m not meant to be by myself. I can’t wait until my husband finds me. I love love. I’m not bitter. I mean, at first I was like who are these people. I was walking around all angry. But Laura Govan loves love. Laura Govan loves being pregnant. Laura Govan loves to make love. Why would I deny myself of an experience that taught me how to do those things better?
MM: You sound so grounded. What would you say to a woman who is in a place of recreating her life?
Laura: The conversation I had with myself was, ‘okay Lord, now what? Where do I go from here?’ I literally wrote down on a piece of paper that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Then I had to decide what it meant to be an entrepreneur. Did I just want to be a mom and show a great example of living life and who am I? And teach my kids there are phases to life, but the only thing guaranteed in life is death. No matter what you go through in life, it’s not going to be perfect you just have to live.
You can check out Govan’s luxurious line at www.shopinreallife.com. Be on the look out for her book release at the end of this year.
Summer is almost gone, and you may still be looking for the right love connection. Maybe you think you found him, and need a few tips on how to keep the interest going. We couldn’t think of a better person to ask about getting your dream man, and how to create a lasting relationship than April Masini. Masini is a highly sought after relationship and etiquette expert. She has shared advice on CNN, Fox News, USA Today, Telemundo, Forbes, The New York Times and many, many more including her forum at AskApril.com where she has answered over 28,000 questions. Masini is also the author of 4 books including Think & Date Like a Man. In 2016, Masini served as TD Bank’s Love and Money expert giving advice on how finances impact relationships, and how to best cope with financial issues. We got the chance to ask our most burning questions including what are the 3 common mistakes women make when they are dating.
MillionaireMatch: Recently, an article series was released about focusing on money and marriage (http://www.refinery29.com/trophy-wife-salary-comparison ). Most of the women in these articles expressed their discomfort of money talk with their now husbands who make more money than them. When is a good time to talk about money? How should a woman feel if she doesn't make as much as her partner?
April: More often than not, it’s less about how much someone makes and more about what they value. What people spend on — equally, what they don’t spend on — tells you an enormous amount about them and their values. So, be honest with yourself. Are you a spender or a saver? Are you generous or thrifty? It’s important to understand how you feel about money and what you value — and then assess your dates' relationships with money. For instance, how would you feel about being in a relationship with a man who does very well, and can afford to stay at the Four Seasons, but elects to save and stay at a Holiday Inn? Or, how do you feel about a man who doesn’t tip well versus a man who is generous — regardless of his incomes and assets?
And, are you a woman who spends $750 on pair of Manolo Blahniks or $100 on a pair of Jessica Simpson pumps. More importantly, do you spend the $750 whether you can really afford it or not? In other words, are you willing to run up credit card debt to buy luxuries? Are you someone who values “keeping up with the Jones”? Or are you someone who values having an emergency fund and savings for retirement? A spender married to a saver will be in for some very challenging times because your values are not aligned.
Debt — and the kind of debt — tells you as much about someone’s values, as does the way they spend. For instance, are they contentious about debt, or cavalier? Is the debt because of medical bills, medical school tuition bills, or luxury items on a minimum wage salary? There’s responsible spending behavior and irresponsible spending behavior, and the way people handle money and debt, can transfer over to other areas of life too. So, reconsider debt and a credit score as just financial numbers, and see it as a window into other behaviors a date may have.
At some point the subject of prenup agreements will probably come — whether it’s between the two of you or in relation to one of your prior relationships. This is a great topic to talk about and you shouldn’t shy away from it. It’s also important to discuss spending on any potential or existing children. For some people, stepchildren and the way money is spent on them can be a deal breaker. If one partner is saving for retirement or a vacation as a couple and the other is spending on their children — your stepchildren, prepare for problems!
MM: What are 3 common mistakes women make when dating?
1. Not knowing what they want. Self-knowledge will save time, energy and money — for all parties involved! When you know you’re looking for a certain type of partner — whether it’s someone who’s funny, a health and fitness nut — or not, has kids, doesn’t have kids, is wealthy, is middle-class, is not interested in money or has homes all over the world — whatever it is you’re looking for, know it and be able to articulate it.
2. What’s on paper isn’t the way he treats you, and that’s the make or break point. Believing a man is “the one" because he has everything a woman is looking for, as opposed to the way he treats her. Women may think a guy is “the one” because of how he looks on paper — what he has — but in truth, a man becomes “the one” because of what he does and how he treats her— not based upon what he looks like or what stuff he has.
3. Falling for a man’s potential. The P word — potential — is a relationship killer. Men are not fixer-uppers. Don’t take on a guy thinking you’re going to change him, because you’re not. The only person you can change is you. When you talk about his potential, you’re talking about everything he doesn’t do or doesn’t have that you want a guy to do and have. Be brutally honest with yourself. Accept a man for who he is, not who you hope he will become.
MM: Several versions on how to meet your dream man have been offered over the years. There are tons of advice books, seminars and workshops for women encouraging them to better themselves as they wait. How do you think it's best to be 'found' by the man of your dreams?
April: Have shared interests — and then show up. In other words, assume you have succeeded with number 1 above — specifically, you know the type of man you want — figure out what activities he likes to participate in and take them up. If your guy is into golf, learn to golf. If he’s an art collector, frequent galleries and gallery openings. If he’s into politics, get involved with campaigns and causes. If he’s into self-improvement, subscribe to a lecture series and join a gym. You get the idea…. I am not a believer in opposites attracting. That paradigm might be interesting for the short term, but for a long-term, committed relationship to be successful there needs to be shared values, goals and interests.
MM: Men and women are using online dating more and more. How do you go from text messages to date?
April: Have a time-limit rule, let it be known, and then stick to it. People waste far too much time and energy emailing and texting only to discover there is no chemistry face-to-face. Or worse, they spend weeks and months, even years, texting, emailing and calling — but they never meet in real life. If you are looking for a real life relationship, and not a cyber-only one, make it clear you have a rule about limiting time spent texting —— and when you reach the limit, stop texting. Just stop.
MM: We all have gotten the memo that men are visual. Is there extra pressure for women today to look a certain way due to social media?
April: Social media isn’t responsible for the fact that men are visual — that goes way back and an anthropologist can probably talk with more authority about how animals use appearance to attract mates — as do human beings. So, this is one of the few items that is not the fault of social media!! However, because of technology, it’s super easy to share your image and that creates a need to look good more often. Selfies, Skype, FaceTime, Instagram, and all other social media where your image is tagged is going to make your face and your body and your actions and the crowds you keep more public. So…. social media just enhances what’s already there — men are visual and they get to see you a lot more because of technology, including social media.
MM: You get tons of emails and messages asking for your advice on dating. What's one question that comes up often from women? Why do you think that is?
April: One of the of the tough questions that comes up is how soon to sleep with a date? I recently heard from a woman on my relationship advice forum, https://forum.askapril.com, who was accomplished, attractive and articulate — and she didn’t want to sleep with a guy until there was a commitment from him that they were a monogamous, committed couple. She’d been divorced and wanted a committed, long-term relationship, and she felt this “filter” of no sex before commitment, was going to help her to not get hurt and find her Mr. Right. After eight dates with a guy she really liked, she still didn’t have a commitment from him, and she didn’t want to go all the way on a weekend date/get together because of that — but she knew enough about men to know that they don’t want to have “the talk” about the status of the relationship. Unfortunately for her, and probably no surprise to anyone reading this, her guy moved on. Nine dates, no sex, and he was out. Sex and dating is definitely a balancing act, and expecting a commitment too soon is a big mistake that many people make. Besides, sex doesn’t necessarily imply a commitment. However, most men will feel rejected if you don’t sleep with them after about six serious dates. Is there an insurance policy that a guy you date and sleep with won’t break your heart? Nope. So there’s risk…. and you have to do what’s right for you — but understand that men want to know if you’re sexual, how important sex is to you, if you find them sexually attractive, and whether you’re sleeping with other men at the same time. So, when you decide to sleep with a dating partner or not sleep with them, try to empathize with what they’re going through, as well as what you are as you make your decisions.
MM: Is it okay for the woman to make the first move? If so, should she prepare to lead the relationship?
April: Sure, but it depends on how it’s done. For example, there is a giant difference between asking a guy his opinion about something (as a conversation starter) and asking a man on a date. I’m a firm believer that men are competitive and have the hunter gene in their DNA. All men want to win the prize. If a woman pursues a man — she’s made him the prize and taken his hunt away from him. In addition, many women who ask men out and have a great time, write me for advice when he doesn’t call. They think they had a great time, and don’t understand why he’s not picking up the ball. So, they ask him for a second date. Same thing happens — the date goes great, and he doesn’t call. Now, they’ve made the first move, but expect him to pick up where they left off and when that doesn’t happen they write me confused and upset. If you wait for a guy to make the move, you may be uncomfortable waiting, but you’ll know that it was his idea to date you!
MM: Dating a powerful, successful man can be exciting for some. The entrepreneur, businessman, or CEO can be appealing. How do you grab their attention when their focus is on work and building an empire?
April: Make sure you fit into his life. In other words, be the woman he would be proud to take to business functions and events. Imagine what he wants to call his friends and tell them about you — be the woman he can’t wait to show off to everyone he knows! What that means is — look the part, act the part, and know the part. Be interested and interesting. Read and learn about his business. Keep abreast of current events, and participate in activities he enjoys. Powerful, successful men are more likely to notice you when you’re at their golf course, or working out at their gym or with their trainer, or eating at the restaurants they frequent. If you’re looking for a powerful, successful man to date, go where they go and be available and engaging.
MM: What's the number one thing men look for in women that isn't usually mentioned?
April: Intelligence and a sense of humor. Yes, I recognize that’s two things. But, I think they are both worth mentioning. There’s this myth that men like dumb women. They don’t. That said, nobody likes a know-it-all. But everyone likes to laugh.
If you want more of April Masini, follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to send her your burning questions!
Twilio has been called the mightiest unicorn, and we think that may be true. Twilio is a cloud communication company that has attached itself to some of the biggest businesses that you use everyday. From Uber to Walmart, the cloud company is a developer’s dream, merging telecommunications, cloud and web services. Co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson has had an interesting entrepreneurial journey to creating a billion dollar company, and MillionaireMatch has the scoop.
Twilio is Lawson’s fourth company that he has started. In 1996, he came up with the idea to launch Notes4Free.com, eventually transforming to Versity.com. It was an online business that gave college students lecture notes. Lawson admits he was curious about the internet, so he started an online business. It went so well he dropped out of school, and moved the company to the Bay area after raising capital. He grew the company to a $30 million valuation and sold it later to a competitor. Unfortunately, the company tanked due to the dot-com crash. That’s when he went on to help with starting StubHub.
Lawson worked at StubHub as chief Technology Officer. After working 20 hour days for weeks, he realized he lacked passion for a company built around live events. He left the company and ran off to the Hamptons to brainstorm for a full year. He had a thousand ideas and twenty business plans. In 2008, Twilio launched.
“Trust is the number one thing you sell as a company,” Lawson said. This is one principle he believes Twilio offers: trust. “We started Twilio to really bring communications from that legacy of hardware to its future in software. Developers are going to build this software's future,” he said. They focused on connecting with developers and building their trust. If they could win them over, developers would bring Twilio in as a tool. “Friction is the thing that inhibits experimentation. Experimentation is the prerequisite to innovation.” Lawson said they wanted to remove friction for developers, because innovation leads to new customers.
“We haven’t changed our business model for years. We’ve been scaling up a similar model. For us, it was about was trying to align the pricing and business value to the audience,” Lawson shared. “As the founder you have the opportunity to control the values,” he continued. So why did Twilio go public? “I wanted to take the company to the next level,” Lawson said. “If you raise venture capital, you’re making a commitment to your investors that you are going to give them a return if the business works out. That means one of two things: get acquired or going public," he added.
His advice to younger entrepreneurs is simple. “Do what you say you are going to do. That’s how to get people on board,” Lawson said.
If you haven’t used Twilio, then head over to www.twilio.com.
If you’ve ever had a website that got attacked by cyber hackers, then you understand how devastating it can be. CloudFlare protects website owners from all kinds of threats. Some of the biggest companies like Yelp, Zendesk, and Nasdaq use CloudFlare. Launched in 2009 by Michelle Zatlyn, Matthew Prince, and Lee Holloway, CloudFlare gains about 7,000 new customers daily. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on how Zatlyn helped changed the way we use the internet.
“It was an idea that was spun out of something that was a problem,” Zatlyn said. She recalls speaking to Prince about project honeypot, which was an idea of creating computer security to help detect and protect against unauthorized use of computer systems. She asked him more and more questions as she gained interest in what she thought could be a really big thing. “What became clear is that if you were a big enterprise, people spent lots of money on solutions. But if you were the rest of the internet, there were no solutions out there. It was a school idea. We were at business school,” she said. Soon enough she and Prince packed up their things in Boston and headed to Silicon Valley. All they had was an idea and a lot of passion. “It was so audacious, we would get a lot of push back that it was too audacious of a goal,” she said. They wanted to create a service that was for everyone, and not just the big companies.
The three of them had very different backgrounds, and Zatlyn being the non-technical co-founder had to find what she could uniquely offer in getting CloudFlare off the ground. So, the first three months she talked. She went out and talked to communities that were interested in cyber protection. As their execution got better, the team grew to seven people. They soon realized no one knew what everyone was working on. Zatlyn said this was eye-opening.
“We had a shared vision, and we trusted each other,” Zatlyn said about her co-founders. This definitely helped, but in order to execute well they implemented an accountability system. Each Friday, everyone would meet and individually stand up and say what they were working on. They would also share any challenges or what things didn’t get done. This allowed them to not bump heads to be able to move forward. “The foundation of any business are your co-founders. Choose your partners wisely. You should have complimentary skill sets,” said Zatlyn.
Today, they have six offices across the country in San Francisco, London, Singapore, Austin, Champagne, and Washington, DC. Zatlyn had quite a bit of advice to share for entrepreneurs looking to make a disruption. “If you have an idea that you are really passionate about, you have to follow your own gut. People will give you different advice all the time, but ultimately it is up to you. Ask yourself, what problem am I solving, and is that a meaningful problem. I think that’s really important. Sometimes, when you solve a problem where it feels like you can really get your hands around all of it, and you know exactly where the problems are and you can answer everything, sometimes that’s not quite big enough or meaty enough. By meaningful, either it’s a large market size or challenges to overcome that would create barriers for others. Second, can you attract the right team? Attract other talented, passionate people to do all the things necessary to execute on solving that meaningful problem,” she said. She also added on taking advice from others, “Be yourself. If you are doing a good job, and are around the right people, people will take notice.” Zatlyn also recalled a time when a friend reached out to her for advice. Like many entrepreneurs in the first stages, they think about intellectual property. “Stop worrying about whether someone is going to steal your idea. That really isn’t your problem. Ideas are cheap,” she advised.
We’d say she knows exactly what she’s talking about. CloudFlare landed their first round of funding with Venrock Associates, and walked out with $2 million. If you want to know more about CloudFlare, go visit www.cloudflare.com.
Gilt Groupe is responsible for many women falling in love with the words-flash sale! Founded in 2007 by Dwight Merriman, Kevin Ryan, Alexis Maybank, and Alexander Wilkis Wilson, Gilt Groupe grew exponentially in a few short years. It was the 50% off sale for Christian Louboutins that placed them on everyone’s email radar. Now ten years later, the internet has made it easy for a lot of thriving competition to exist. In 2013, Gilt brought on a new face as CEO, Michelle Peluso. With an amazing track record, MillionaireMatch got the scoop on her rise to the top.
Peluso was an entrepreneur at an early age, mostly due to her father being a huge influence. “My dad was an entrepreneur, and he was always obsessed with two things - his team and his clients,” she said. During the holidays, she remembers her dad personally signing checks, and writing letters to all the employees. Peluso inherited this same personal touch and this just may be one of the main reasons she has been so successful. Peluso was CEO of Travelocity for six years, and also served as Global Consumer Chief Marketing and Internet Officer for Citigroup. She also sits on the board for Nike. Her personal work style includes not having a desk. She prefers to sit with different teams. “I’m passionate about transparency and getting to know the team. I want people who work at Gilt to give their all, and for them to give their all they have to believe that they are part of a vision and mission and that the people at the top of the company are looking out for their career paths,” she explained. “I love the notion of creating something. I love building cultures, teams, learning from other people, and being inspired. I’m endlessly curious,” Peluso added.
“How strong is the team? How good is the team? Are they on a mission? Are they focused?” This is one of the first principles that Peluso looks at. The principle also falls on her. “When you think you are on top or the best, you become complacent,” she advised.
Gilt Groupe has been rumored at times to go public, but that most likely will not be happening. With so many sites using the flash sale to gain new customers who love an impulse buy, the company hasn’t seen as much growth as in the early years. “If you are bold, aggressive, have big dreams, if you want to accomplish great things, if you reach high you will fail and occasionally misstep. It’s the hard times that define who you are as a leader,” she said.
She offers advice to other entrepreneurs on how to be a great leader whether thriving or surviving. “Leadership is this sort of endless journey. You are never as good as you can be tomorrow,” Peluso said. “This is a fabulous time for a woman in business. I think it’s fine to be underestimated a bit,” she added.
If you need to spruce up your wardrobe now for the summer, you should head over to Gilt Groupe at www.gilt.com.