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eMinutes Client Profile: Lisa Lillien

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Please tell our readers about your business.

I run a lifestyle brand called Hungry Girl. The core of the business is a daily email with “tips & tricks for hungry chicks” but the brand is multi-faceted and is about guilt-free eating. In addition to the daily emails, there are 6 Hungry Girl books (5 cookbooks and a supermarket guide) — and 7 more on the way. And Hungry Girl content can also be found at yahoo.com, weightwatchers.com and in various weekly and monthly print publications. The Hungry Girl TV show airs on both Food Network and Cooking Channel, and I make regular appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, Rachael Ray and more…

Tell us about the project you’re currently working on.

Well, there are always many projects being worked on. There’s lots of content being churned out – so at any time we are working on the daily emails, books, weekly content, TV projects and more. There’s also a Hungry Girl app on the horizon!

Why did you become an entrepreneur? Is starting a business something you always wanted to do?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial in spirit… always wanted to go out on my own (mostly because I am a control freak) — but also because I am a complete workaholic. I LOVE working and I love being the captain of a ship. To have your own business and to be able to run it the way you want, is an incredibly cool opportunity.

What is the number one thing you wish you could learn more about, and how will you learn about it?

I tend to like to have a little bit of knowledge about so many things. So I research a lot and Google things daily and learn and absorb info every single day. I don’t set out to learn about one particular subject though… That’s not me really.

How has technology impacted your business?

Well, my entire business was launched on the web, so I would say technology has greatly impacted my business. It has essentially allowed me to launch a multi-media empire without spending a penny on marketing.

How do you use social media in your business?

I use Facebook and Twitter as a place for HG fans to connect with me. Those social media outlets allow me to connect on a very personal level with the HG subscribers/readers/viewers. It’s not a core piece of my business but a fun little supplement… and it is NOT a direct revenue stream for me…

Did you have a business plan when you started your business, and, if so, how much did you vary from it?

No.

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

I have had a few instances of trusting people/not having contracts when I should have… it’s easy to get burned if you do that. It has made me more careful — and a little more cynical as well.

What advice would you offer to a first-time entrepreneur?

I would say — only become an entrepreneur if you (a) LOVE working, (b) LOVE what you are building/working on, and (c) are very good at making decisions and staying focused… I would advise people against doing something solely for money.  It should come from a place of passion.

Have you received funding from an outside source, and how has funding  (or the lack of funding) impacted your ability to achieve your objectives?

No. No outside funding. And I launched my business with only around 10K – 15K.

How do you spend your workday?

If I’m in the office there’s a lot of editing, recipe tasting/development, phone meetings, etc. If I am on the road I am often doing media appearances, book signings,  or meetings with clients.

Who do you rely upon in your business most, and what does he or she do for you that is so invaluable?

Day to day I mostly rely on my Director of Advertising and Marketing — who is the person responsible for overseeing most of the deals that bring money into the company. And also my Managing Editor who makes sure all the trains are running on time and all the content is being churned out effectively and in an organized fashion. But I have a staff of around 12 people and because the staff is so small every single person plays a super-important role in the Hungry Girl world.

Do you believe that “luck” played any role in the success of your company?

There’s a quote I love that is very true — “The harder you work, the luckier you are!”  I believe, for the most part, that you make your own luck…

If you had an extra $25,000 to spend on your business, what would you spend it on?

A fun party for the staff!

How neat or messy is your desk? 

WOW. VERY VERY messy. So embarrassingly messy that it is mostly unused… :(


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