Bluemercury Founder Marla Beck on Why You Should Do the Things That Terrify You

By Nina Zipkin, Entrepreneur Staff

Editor’s Note: Inspire Me is a series in which entrepreneurs and leaders share what motivates them through good times and bad, while also sharing stories of how they overcame challenges in hopes of inspiring others.

Marla Beck’s whole reason for starting Bluemercury, a retail company for cosmetics and beauty products, was to break the department store model. “I was in my 20s, and I hated shopping for cosmetics [in department stores], because everybody would be rude to me because I didn’t have a nice handbag or nice shoes,” Beck says.

She wanted to create a space where beauty junkies like herself could feel comfortable asking questions and find the products that would make them feel their best. However, her success was a slow burn. When she started Bluemercury 19 years ago, ecommerce was just beginning.

So much so that when she launched the brand’s first website, the response was essentially “crickets,” according to Beck. Less than a year in, she decided to open a single storefront in Washington, D.C. in order to keep the business afloat. “We saw the future, but we were wrong and so we had to survive,” she recalled to Entrepreneur.

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4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Overcome Exhaustion

By R.L. Adams, Contributor at

Whether you’re a budding future entrepreneur, or you’re deeply embedded in the fray, you likely know just how easy it is to get overworked. With so much demanding our time and attention, it’s easy to get exhausted. It’s easy to allow the million-item to-do list to overwhelm you. Couple that with the existing demand from consumers that’s constantly diverting our attention, and the question that beckons us is, how do we actually overcome exhaustion when it hits?

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably experienced a bit of overzealous enthusiasm in the past. As an entrepreneur, I dive deep into certain projects, not really ascertaining at the outset just how much of me it will demand. But once you’re knee-deep in that project, it’s hard to extricate yourself from the often-frantic situation. As entrepreneurs, we’re naturally inclined to get excited about projects until we realize how much of an energy drain they can become.

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A Body Language Expert Analyzed Popular TED Talks to Uncover the Top 5 Nonverbal Cues

By Jeff Haden, Contributing Editor at Inc.

Want to be a better speaker? (Possibly even hope to one day deliver your own TED Talk?)


Obviously, what you say is important, but so are the nonverbal signals you send. The right body language can enhance your credibility, reinforce your message, and even make you more likable.

Just as the wrong nonverbal cues can make your audience ignore your message.

That’s why the folks at the UK Domain, the largest domain registry in the United Kingdom, asked body language expert Carole Railton to determine the ways 10 of the most popular TED Talks of all time can help you be more persuasive, more credible, and more engaging.

Railton analyzed TED Talks by Angela Duckworth, Bill Gates, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jeff Bezos, Naomi Klein, Sarah Kay, Sheryl Sandberg, Steven Pinker, and Tony Robbins.


From those presentations, she determined the top five positive nonverbal cues, and explained why those body language signals are so effective.

Read more here.

How the Fear of Failure Can Bring You to New Heights — According to Your Brain

By Patti Fletcher, VIP Contributor for

People with entrepreneurial mindsets cannot help but see the impossible solution at the next possible supernova. We laser-focus on differentiated innovation, often losing hours and friends in the process. We also sometimes lose our mojo and the ability to cope with the anxiety entrepreneurs often feel during times of failure and stagnation. While some forms of anxiety require the help of medical professionals, entrepreneurs can learn to enjoy and even benefit from flops or even catastrophic attempts at innovation by knowing which levers to pull to change how they view and experience failure.

Related: Neuroscience Tells Us How to Hack Our Brains for Success

Get to know your neurons.

Our brains contain 1 billion neurons that ignite each of our five senses. Neurons learn from the past to create the present. Someone with entrepreneurial tendencies, you will have tried something new several times in your life. Sometimes, those new things work out well and sometimes they do not. In either case, the experience leaves a footprint of positive, negative or indifference that get transmitted and translated as fact by your neurons. Every time you enter a similar experience, your neurons send signal to your brain of what to feel based on previous experiences and mounting, resulting perceptions.

As you enter into a potentially anxiety-inducing experience, learn to preemptively orchestrate a new conversation in your head. You are not the victim of your neurons. You can control what your neurons signal to your brain. Be willing to question your fears as well as your sources of inspiration. Neurons create habits. Your job is to test your repetitive reactions, get rid of habitual feelings that no longer serve you and replace them with ones that do.

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What Not to Do When You’re Trying to Motivate Your Team

By Ron Carucci, Harvard Business Review

When I speak to large groups about leadership, one question I often ask is, “How many of you have ever received a compliment from your boss that actually offended you?” Without exception, more than two-thirds of the people in the room raise their hands. When I probe further on what people found offensive about their boss’s praise, the most common responses I hear are “It wasn’t sincere” and “They didn’t know what they were talking about.”

When leaders look like they are just applying some “motivational technique” they read about, people see right through the superficial, obligatory effort. It looks like they are checking off the “I motivated someone today” box. Motivation is not something you do to people. People ultimately choose to be motivated — when to give their best, go the extra mile, and offer radical ideas. The only thing leaders can do is shape the conditions under which others do, or don’t, choose to be motivated. But the final choice is theirs.

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Build the 8-Pillar Trust Edge Framework

By Trust Edge Leadership Institute

CLARITY: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous. Clarity unifies, motivates, increases morale, and inspires trust. Clear communication leads to trusted colleagues, happy employees, and satisfied customers.

COMPASSION: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves. Caring leads to trust. Think beyond yourself and put people before things to improve relationships.

CHARACTER: People notice those who do what is right over what is easy. Building integrity takes work but gives the biggest reward. Always ask yourself, “Is this the right thing?”

COMPETENCY: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable. Stretch your mind with new ideas, fresh thoughts, and different perspectives.

Read more here.

10 Ways to Avert Hiring Disasters and Ensure a Perfect Cultural Fit

By Marissa Levin, Founder and CEO of Successful Culture & WPO North Virginia Chapter Chair

As a regional facilitator for Women Presidents Organization (WPO), I have the opportunity to guide 16 women business owners who own multi-million dollar businesses through their leadership and organizational challenges.


In a recent meeting, a member shared that she was struggling to hire the right COO. She asked for guidance from the group on how to ensure a strong cultural fit when going through the recruiting and interviewing process.


Every member in attendance could empathize with her situation, and I could as well. Here are 10 strategies all leaders can use to strengthen their hiring process, and improve their ability to identify candidates that will culturally fit with their companies.

Institute a 360-degree hiring process.

At my first firm Information Experts, I was always the last person to interview key hires. Employee perspectives are critical to the hiring process because our employees see and experience things we don’t. Our 360-degree hiring process ensured that the employees with whom a new hire will be working would be able to voice their opinion regarding the candidate’s overall organizational fit.


Read more here.