Best Ever You Network
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino is the founder of Best Ever You Network, a multi-faceted network of media sources that provide inspiration, life-coaching, and social tips and tools to help people looking for information on a host of self-help and life-improvement topics.
From a very simple website, written by four people in 2008, her business has become a network of sites that receive millions of hits every month. In 2010, she was named a “top influencer” in Fast Company magazine’s Social Media Project. Her rank was 1,620 out of 33,000 websites.
“The whole idea is that it is written by anybody for everybody,” she says.
Hamilton-Guarino, 42, lives in Falmouth with her husband and family. They moved to Maine from Truckee, Calif., in 2004.
Q: What were your most important needs in getting started?
A: My most important needs in getting started were seven key things The first was to do something I absolutely loved to do, so that it didn’t feel like I was working, which ties right into the second thing, which is family and family support. As a mom of boys that were then 6, 8, 10 and 12, who are now 10, 12, 14 and 16, it was (and still is) very important to all of us that my business didn’t crazily detract from my husband’s job, children and family life, but instead was flexible. The next four are having a solid vision, having tremendous faith and infinite amounts of courage and integrity. How you are carries through anything you do in life. The seventh point is having an understanding of how you personally define and measure success. For example, success to some is money and to others it is completing a task. It is important to not let others define your success, but stay true to how you believe you are doing.
Q: What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
A: Overall, I don’t think it was any particular thing about my upbringing that sparked the courage to venture out on my own, but probably all of it collectively. You see, I’m a firm believer in your adulthood being an extension of your kidhood. You might be a grown up in all outward appearances, but that little kid is still there and takes hold in everything you do as an adult. For example, my inner kid comes out in my children’s books and writing. It comes out when I sing loud silly songs in the kitchen and my kids roll their eyes. Part of my childhood was spent quite seriously in school as a talented and gifted child who went to college starting at age 13. By the time I was actually in college, I had skipped a year of high school and landed in college at the University of Iowa well ahead also. Then chaos hit when my parents went bankrupt and the chain of video stores in Iowa and Illinois they owned closed. It was devastating to all of us, which includes my 10 brothers and sisters and my parents, who have now been married for nearly 40 years.
I’m not the neurosurgeon I set out to be, but I take an extreme interest in health and sciences, which is also woven into The Best Ever You Network heavily. I’ve also always been in commercials and television since I was very young, which is where my love of TV and all things media stem. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve again chosen children over acting, but I do spring up from time to time on TV here in Maine, with EZ Pass or Bath Subaru, The CW or “Good Day Maine.” I really love opportunities like that.
I must also mention my strong desire to not schlepp to work for eight to 10 hours per day. I did that for a whole bunch of years. So, for me it was about being creative with my background and using my knowledge, education, job skills and more to create something from home that used that and complemented our lives. I’m strongly using my background in TV and media, journalism and knowledge of social media and in the process teaching our kids about it. One of my kids has a YouTube Channel with over 700,000 views at http://www.youtube.com/communuitygwks, so you could also say we all teach each other!
Q: What do you think the advantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
A: There are many advantages to being a female entrepreneur, with the most powerful one being the connections with other women and our power of communication. My co-host and co-best everything is Deb Scott in Massachusetts. Let me get back to Deb in a second and just also share that personally, for me, I’m just not into commuting each day. Commuting to me is a complete waste of time, so if you can do something from home, I say, go for it. So I think that one of the biggest advantages of being a female entrepreneur is that we not only have an incredible ability to multi-task and have broad vision, but also to use the power of social media to connect with each other from the comforts of our PJs and homes. I mean, I’m running a global company from my house and on a daily basis, I’m connecting with people from all over the world. This is how Deb and I met. Here is an example of our work together Without ever having met personally, I, Deb and Gary Reichel created The Motivation Marathon that ended on Jan. 22, which had 47 experts and celebs from all various countries and connected with others all over the world via social media.
Women also have a code. I affectionately just call it the “woman code.” We are much better off if we collaborate and support instead of rip each other apart or worse, be fake. I think women who are successful stick to women who collaborate and don’t detract from common goals, dreams and visions and also share compassion for each other. Surround yourself with people like actress Brianna Brown, Shea Vaughn, Emily Janson, Liz Foley, Dr. Katie Eastman and the Deb Scott’s in the world. These are women who have been critical to our success.
Q: What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
A: My advice for any entrepreneur is to find humor in everything, even in small amounts. Keep a keen sense of wit and humor about you because it is not easy. The hours are like the hours in a 30-hour day and the money doesn’t happen as fast as you dream it will. Aside from humor, I’d advise people in that moment of hopelessness, to find gratitude, more courage and more faith and to never, ever, ever, ever give up. You might not be able to see success clearly at all times, but if you stay consistent and determined you will have a very interesting journey and it may be a path you could have never in a million years planned for. The possibilities in life are endless.
Q: If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?
A: I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I think I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve licked my wounds or helped others bandage theirs and I keep on learning. Best Ever You doesn’t say Perfect Ever You. I give everything I do my absolute best. Mistakes are a critical part of everyone’s success. Oh, OK, one thing differently. I would have hugged Oprah instead of just touched her arm and said hello at the Matrix Awards in New York City. She has paved a way for us all to be better.