Now You Can Be A Part Of Bootstrapping A Dream

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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The bootstrappers bible by Seth GodinWhen I was a little girl I used to invite my best girlfriends over and then make them play dress up in 1950s dresses and accessories my mother found at Goodwill.

Some were old ballet and Halloween costumes I’d outgrown, others were these amazing ball gowns donated by women who only wore them once. I’d invite my girlfriends ensemble cast together in my living room and proceed to direct them in some sort of play, or dance recital.

It’s a wonder that 3 of those 5 girlfriends are still friends with me today.

I’d gather the contents of the chest in my closet, full of gowns, slips, shoes, jewelry, hats and gloves – then steal every safety pin known to my mother and her sewing kit and we’d proceed to create our own costume combination.

Lipstick was optional.

Hours flew by like minutes as we danced, sang and performed our way into living room stardom, or until my brother complained, or it was time for dinner.

At the end of the day when I’d return the dresses to the chest in my closet, I’d find myself smiling at what we created from nothing. Me and my childhood friends bootstrapped a musical from the contents of my closet. Bootstrapping is a term used to describe entrepreneurs who stretch limited resources – or almost nothing – and thrive.

This theme of “creating something from nothing” or “bootstrapping” came up over and over again when I tested my own dream-finding worksheets featured in my upcoming e-book.

Fourteen months ago, it began to be very clear to me: I love creating something from nothing.

But not just any “something.” I like creating the kind of somethings that inspire people, change their day and make them look at themselves differently.

It’s probably why I love writing and blogging as much as I do. Out of thin air thoughts and words are woven together over my keyboard, and when I hit PUBLISH – whooosh! – my words go out into the world. And if I am super lucky, the words touch someones soul and make them laugh, cry or motivated to do something to change their situation.

It’s a truly satisfying feeling to create something from nothing.

I have plans, just like that little girl tossing dresses at friends yelling, “What if you play Alice in Wonderland, and you Cinderella and I’ll be the evil pirate princess and . . .”

My dream is to make 8 Women Dream the go-to web portal for women trying to re-start their lives and invigorate their dreams. There are many women out in the world, who have done what they thought they were supposed to do – and for many this isn’t working. These women have come to the the realization they need to change, and do the things that made them smile when they were kids.

Some women are lucky enough to know exactly what they want from life. That wasn’t me, and maybe it isn’t you either.

Just like you, I got lost along the way. I’m good at many things, but I want to be more than the sum total of those things. In my 20s I found myself decorating houses for men I didn’t love – but in love with decorating their houses. No matter how many times you move a couch or paint a bathroom, that guy isn’t getting any more special.

There was an emptiness that engulfed my belly, along with a nagging voice in the back of my head, saying yelling, “Catherine, why in the hell are you doing this? You know you don’t want to. Be brave. Do something else.” But I’d do it anyway and five years would race by like a dog chasing a cat up a tree.

Eighteen months ago I started this idea of a website for dreamers. I gathered together a group of women and said, “Here, can you put this on?” To my great relief they said yes. We’ve seen some dreamers come and go, but this current group of dreamers is a steadfast ensemble to my dream quest.

But I don’t have a big- time funder to my dream. I am bootstrapping 8 Women Dream, and this means I need your help. I am funding this dream on a wing and a prayer.

The best part of bootstrapping is I get to ask you, our readers for your valuable feedback and in the next couple of weeks I will be placing an ad for my ebook. Since Bootstrapping also means you ride the wave of another popular brand I need to test some marketing phrases out on you.

For the ebook ad, should my tagline say –

1. The Find Your Dream e-book – “It’s the salt to Jack Canfield’s soup.”

2. The Find Your Dream e-book – “It’s the spice to Jack Canfield’s soup.”

3. The Find Your Dream e-book – “It’s the noodles to Jack Canfield’s soup.”

Bootstrapping also means you associate yourself with another brand by comparison and save on a non-existent marketing budget.

Tell me which one you like, or if you come up with one we like better and I use it in the e-book, I will give you a free copy and attribute the phrase to you.

And for any of you out there trying to Bootstrap your dreams too, take the following manifesto from Seth Godin (from his ebook called, The Bootstrappers Bible) and put it on your bathroom mirror –

The Bootstrapper’s Manifesto

“I am a Bootstrapper. I have initiative and insight and guts, but not much money. I will succeed because my efforts and my focus will defeat bigger and better-funded competitors. I am fearless. I keep my focus on growing the business – not politics, career advancement, or other wasteful distractions.

I will leverage my skills to become the key to every department of my company, yet realize that hiring experts can be the secret to my success. I will be a fervent and intelligent user of technology, to conserve my two most precious assets: time and money.

My secret weapon is knowing how to cut through bureaucracy. My size makes me faster and more nimble than eny company could ever be.

I am a laser beam. Opportunities will try to cloud my focus, but I will not waver from my stated goal and plan- until I change it. And I know that plans were made to be changed.

I’m in it for the long haul. Building a business that will last separates me from the opportunist, and is an investment in my brand and my future. Surviving is succeeding, and each day that goes by makes it easier for me to reach my goals.”

Are you in?

I think I have a blue TuTu over hear in your size, or you can put on my dad’s suit and be the banker. Please leave me your feedback – we need you.

Hell, I need you.

Keep on Dreaming Bootstrapping,


PS. For those of you financing your dream on a wing and a prayer, Seth Godin offers, The Bootstrappers Bible. (pdf) for free.

I’m sorry about the delay in this post. We’ve been having some technology issues that should be solved very soon. Your overwhelming support in visiting our site is noted and felt on the server – and we love it – thank you!

Catherine HughesCatherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Monday mornings.

  • Bella

    Seth Godin is amazing! So is this website.

  • Heather Montgomery, CEO & serial entrepreneur

    The boiling point of Jack Canfield’s Soup

    I still laugh at the chicken feet! Congrats Cath! – H

  • Laurie

    Jack Canfields soup with some Uterus soul! Buy a Bitches Book. Actually I like the spice one. The salad that goes with Jack Canfields soup. The hot garlicky bread that goes with Jack Canfields soup.
    Never mind, must be hungry!
    Can’t wait to read the book, because I already know what kind of knowledge and insight you have into this crazy business of dreaming.
    Love, Laurie

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      LOL. The dark chocolate after jack’s soup . . .

      Love it – you made me laugh through my nose! Thanks for your unwavering support!


  • Donna McGovern

    I liked spice… simply because it’s jazzy. We all know spices liven things up. It’s clear & simple & it works. My immediate reaction to salt… I think about wounds. The salt of the soup could compare to the thorn in my side. I’m not really connecting with it. However, I am just one person and I never said my thought pattern was normal, so maybe I stand alone on that conclusion. If you recall, I stated that I LIKED spice… that is, until I read Toni’s post. Pardon the pun, but a little mystery from a “secret ingredient” really stirs the pot ;-)~ It sparks curiosity… very intriguing & catchy. Good job, Toni ♥

  • Toni Schram

    I guess Laurie and I have been intuitively doing the bootstrapper thang all along…

    I agree with Daniel because it’s hard to know what tagline is appropriate when you haven’t read the e-book yet.

    How about: “It’s the secret ingredient to Jack Canfield’s soup?”

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Look two posts up – the quote from the book is in bold. Basically you are tag lining for advertising off of another product. the one I picked was Chicken Soup For the Soul.

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      And by the way – that’s an AWESOME bootstrap tagline my dear – Heather and I both like it. Maybe you have another talent calling you.

  • Mariska Smith

    It’s the soul food to Jack Canfield.

    It’s the chicken feet to Jack Canfield’s soul.

    It’s the chicken pot pie of Jack Canfield’s soul.

    Jack Canfield’s soup on steroids. Oh wait you are doing this for women, right?

    More soup goodness than grandma and Jack Canfield

    It’s chicken soup on steroids. I did it again.

    It’s like grandmas chicken soup for the dreamer.

    It’s chicken soup with zip.

    Gosh this is hard! – M

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      I am hysterically laughing – those are hilarious. Heather and I are still laughing about the chicken feet. We’d certainly appeal to an Eurasian audience.

  • Tamela Newman

    I do not normally post feedback on posts, as I prefer to read only. However I find the website that you have created has very insightful information, and it is full of moving articles. I was searching on Google for information on goal setting and discovered your website or blog here. I would like to add: if you need to get a push to achieve your ebook selling goals, make everyone around you knows your goal so that there’s sufficient support on a consistent basis while you are selling your book. Reporting to them would definitely make you think twice about letting go of marketing and pushing your ebook. Many people today rarely set out to reach their desired goals, or never set goals to begin with, mainly because they have got a fear of disappointment or rejection. Maybe they don’t really imagine that they can easily accomplish this, or perhaps they erroneously believe that if they just tell themselves what they wish plenty of times, those ambitions will be fulfilled. Good luck with the launching of your book. ~ Tamela Newman

  • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

    Great ideas! So here is what I am looking for –

    From bootstrapping –

    “Brand equity – Position yourself against a brand leader. Be “cheaper than Frito’s” or “faster than Federal Express” or “cooler than Levi’s” The more the other guy’s brand gets publicized, the more your positioning statement increases in value. Be brazen in the way you compare yourself to the market leader. Your story should be short, solid, and memorable.

    You’ve probably already seen the Internet analogy. Almost every single dot come failure is due to studied ignorance of of the points that lie above. Well-funded Net start-up companies didn’t act like it. They figured they had enough money to act like a big company. They were wrong.”

    Have at it – I think your ideas are great!

    Keep them coming –


  • Cath! I LOVE this post! I am such a sucker for DRESSING UP! I would STILL do that today if you asked! ;) (drag out the tutu – I’m there! ;)

    Lemme think over which slogan I love most… None of them quite HIT it for me yet… I will mull this over and get back to you! Did we ask Bonnie about it? Will Jack endorse it, write a blurb, send it to his lists???


  • I like spice…it’s a wonderful part of life:)

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Thank you shellie!

  • Cath —

    I’m not sure this is really a fair challenge. I mean, after all, we haven’t read the book, so how do we know what a good tagline would be?

    And, besides, who needs Jack Canfield?

    — Daniel

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      AH the book is free, and it’s not about understanding marketing, it’s whether your target audience gets what you are trying to say. Brenda is our target audience and look how she responded – perfect. You always test everything on perspective audiences. Like your website – you should find someone who doesn’t understand anything about what you do and has a difficult time with computers. Sit them down, ask them to go to your website and tell you what your website is about and what you want visitors to do – on every page. That will tell you everything you need to know about whether your website is working or not. Website owners and bloggers are famous for doing what they want and terrible at looking at everything from what their target market wants. It can be a tough bad habit to break. Thanks for your comment Daniel – now go read the free book ;-) Cath

      PS. I adore Jack Canfield and his agent. Bonnie is wonderful.

  • Remy

    I like spice vs salt or noodles. Tutus are AWESOME! how about some boas??
    I’m thrilled to be a part of this wonderful amazing project. Dont you give up – ever
    xox Rem

  • Brenda

    I think #2 appeals to me the most. I like the “spice” idea.

    Or maybe….”It’s like Jack Canfields chicken soup with a twist” or “It’s Jack Canfields chicken soup kicked up a notch” or “Jack Canfields soup on steroids!” or “Jack Canfields chicken soup with dumplings!” Lol, just kidding on the steroid and dumpling ideas. I’m not so good at this, but it was fun. Now I’m hungry though.

  • KB

    I like number 1 the best of the three. But I’ll keep thinking about it and post another if I come up with anything interesting.