Shasta Nelson, of San Francisco, launched in 2008, is a women’s friendship matching site.


Laura Orsini, Write Market Design

My business, Write Market Design, was founded in May 2002 in Phoenix, Ariz., but I can service people worldwide virtually. I am an editorial/marketing consultant. I specialize in working with socially conscious speakers, coaches and authors, whether it’s helping them get their book idea onto paper and into print or marketing the book once it’s written.

‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching the business: One morning nearly 10 years ago, I got up and looked at my reflection in the mirror as I brushed my teeth. To my horror, I noticed a pimple on the very tip of my nose, the most obvious place possible. It was there for the world to see, like a big Rudolphian neon sign. Bemoaning the fact that at the age of 33, I still got the occasional zit, I looked up at the mirror again, this time to discover, with even more horror, that I also had not one, but two, gray hairs! No way! Acne is the curse of the young, and gray hair speaks one word to me: old. How ironic! I wasn’t really young anymore, but I certainly was not yet old – and still I had these two antithetical things happening at once. I wondered at that moment how many other women were, that very day, experiencing this same exact age-related concurrence. I spent that whole day wondering which other women were sharing this or that experience with me. Out of that wondering came other questions about every topic imaginable (and perhaps some that seem unimaginable). And out of those questions came the idea for my book, 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women: A Self-Exploration Workbook to Make You Laugh, Cry, Ponder, Ruminate, & Consider.

Elisa Balabram,, founded in 2003 in New York, is an online magazine featuring successful women entrepreneurs and providing advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and women business owners. I’m also starting to host training programs.


Ara Farnam, Rock Paper Scissors Events

Rock Paper Scissors Events, launched in 2010 in New York, produces ‘wow’ events that are thoughtful, personalized and beautifully cohesive.

‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching the business: While doing a scale drawing of my friend’s tablescape for her wedding, I realized that I was adding tremendous value, and that not everyone had a friend with a design background who would do this for them for free.

Diane Wasilisian, The Social Expert

The Social Expert, launched in 2010 in Windham, N.H., helps organizations expand, define and leverage their online footprint for increased profit and optimal return on relationships.


Lori Redfield, FreelanceMom

FreelanceMom, founded in 2002 in Putney, Vt., is a free informational service and community that helps woman achieve their dreams while following their hearts.


Jessica Constable, Jess LC

Jess LC in Chicago, IL. is all about naturally graceful and affordable jewelry designed in Chicago. Blog: Make Under My Life is devoted to helping people design a life with intention.  Website:

‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business: The jewelry business actually was an accident. As a 15-year-old, I sold some (ugly) ankle bracelets I was making for myself at a local pool to several women. I had no intention of selling them at all, but the women approached and asked me to sell them. After selling those first ankle bracelets, I decided that it was a simple way to make “fun money” in addition to babysitting in high school.   […]

Karen Whittier, Embrace Activism

Embrace Activism in Sammamish, Wash., was started in June, 2009. The business promotes health, wellness and cures by combining online sales of yoga products with charitable giving.

‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching the business: I had the idea to start Embrace Activism when I was out on a long training walk for the 2009 Seattle Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk.