Inspiring People: Chloe Hung, author

Sometimes our ‘true calling’ doesn’t lie in the area we trained in. But that doesn’t mean your training was in vain…often it’s a stepping-stone towards your bigger picture, as Chloe Hung has discovered. 

1. Tell us your story:
I am an author and an actuarial consultant from Malaysia. When I first graduated college, I wanted to put my actuarial degree to good use to help me land a great job and advance within the ranks of the corporate world quickly. After 2 years of working within the corporate sector, I realized that my true calling actually lies within the educational sector. My area of specialty lies in actuarial and financial education.

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I attended a boot camp organized by my publisher, and their presentation made me realize that I should step out of my comfort zone and do something to achieve my dreams. I was sick of having my work go unappreciated at my workplace and I was sick of having to depend on a job that I hate for income. I wanted a change and I set 2 specific goals during my publisher’s boot camp: becoming a published author and achieve financial freedom for my family. My publisher showed me the resources to make this dream become a reality.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?
My publishing team was always there for me as I embarked on my author journey. It was difficult at first as there were so many new things to learn but I followed the system created by my publisher and it worked wonderfully. I am now a published author and I have created a business to help me achieve financial freedom in the long run.

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
My biggest challenge was staying focused as there were just so many things to do and so many new things to try. I ended up burning half of my savings jumping here and there trying out every single new thing that came along.

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
Having a clear set of goals and making a decision to achieve them. As the saying goes, “When there is a will, there is a way.” This saying kept me going during my tough times. I firmly believe that life is always happening for us and not against us. Therefore, any challenges that come my way are thrown at me to make me stronger and better in the long run.



6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
It’s easy to give up when nothing seems to be going your way. If you are on the verge of giving up, pause and re-evaluate that particular goal of yours. Ask yourself why is that goal important to you? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the importance of that goal? What do you ultimately want to achieve through that goal? What do I need to do now to achieve this important goal of mine?
These questions help me focus and push forward when the going gets tough.



7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
I hope to travel the world and help everyone around me achieve financial stability in the long run.

Chloe Hung wrote the book Strength in Numbers to help people-especially students learn what actuarial science is all about. Chloe firmly believes that knowledge in numbers is a very powerful tool especially if you are looking to multiply your own income.
Speaking to groups and coaching clients, Chloe loves showing others how they too, can leverage their actuarial skills and knowledge to multiply their own income.
Learn more about Chloe at www.myactuarialresource.com

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Inspiring People: Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls

When you build your own business, it can be hard to let go of the reigns, even for a moment to take time out for yourself. But scheduling ‘white space’ into your calendar is essential for  long-term success. This week Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls shares the story of her journey and other lessons she’s learned along the way…

“I did not plan on starting a company. I always wanted to go work for a large multi-national business and be a Fortune 500 CEO. When I was a student I looked at leaders like Meg Whitman & Ursula Burns as my role models. I started a global marketing company in Cambridge, MA 16 years ago after starting my career on Wall Street in the 80s and having a successful career in Corporate America at companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola and working at 3 different startups as the head of marketing. 

I took the leap right after 9/11 when the company I worked for cut their marketing. I had nothing to lose. Being an entrepreneur provides me a platform to do work I truly enjoy with and for people I respect. I get to set my priorities, I have time to travel and hang out with my inner circle, and work out every day. 



It has been a journey to get here but I am lucky to have found it. I love the autonomy, flexibility and the fact that I know every day the impact that I have on my business. When I worked at big companies I always felt the ball would roll with or without me, that if I got hit by a bus someone new would be in my office right away. Now my DNA is in everything we do and I can trace every decision and sale to something I did or a decision I made and that is incredibly gratifying and fulfilling. Like most entrepreneurs, I am working harder and longer than ever and I have never been happier. Working for yourself and building a business you started in incredibly rewarding and gratifying.

For the first 5 years I was scared to go on vacation for fear all my hard work would unravel. Then my in-laws, father, mom and stepdad all started to get sick and I wanted to be there for them. They all lived thousands of miles away so I started to work less. After years of decline they each died about 6 months apart and I became executrix which is like having another job at times. So I had to take very good care of myself or I would not have been helpful to anyone else. 

I started working out every day. I started planning me time on my calendar. I became more comfortable with white space in my day and stopped over scheduling myself. And guess what? My business did not suffer, in fact it has become stronger. We moved up the food chain and have better clients. I do not think I could ever go back. I am so much happier and more productive as an entrepreneur than I ever was working for others. 



It is all about controlling your calendar. I no longer try to squeeze in more meetings or hit multiple events at night. As an entrepreneur, I can be selective. Less really is more. I’ve chosen quality over quantity. It sounds trivial but it is true. I created a platform to do work I enjoy and feel energized by. I feel I have found my purpose because I used to work all the time and life was passing me by. I got raises and promotions but I was all work and no play and I did not feel fulfilled. 

Since starting my business I have joined boards and volunteered at several organizations. I am a mentor to the next generation of leaders and have helped build a very successful anti-bullying program that >50,000 middle school aged kids have gone through. I am happier and healthier than I have been in more than a decade. As a marketing consultant I am able to write articles, contribute to books and speak at events to share my experience and lessons learned.

I self-funded the company and have learned so much. Beware because the people you start with are not always the ones who grow with you. The biggest mistake and hardest lesson I learned when I started my company is not getting rid of weak people earlier than I did in the first few years of my business. I spent more time managing them than finding new customers. I knew in my gut they were not up to snuff but out of loyalty to them I let them hang around much longer than they should have. It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there. They became more insecure and threatened as we grew which was not productive for the team. As soon as I let them go the culture got stronger and the bar higher. “A” team people like to be surrounded by other stars. It is true that you should hire slowly and fire quickly. I did not make that mistake again later on so learned it well the first time. I wish I had known it even earlier though but lesson learned for sure!

Prospective customers can come from anyone anywhere anytime so you should always be on your best behavior & make a great lasting impression. Be nice to everyone & make friends before you need them, you never know who is in or will be in a position to help! It is true you should never burn a bridge, that really is great advice and I can tell you dozens of stories over the years where that has served me well. You just never know when your paths will cross again with old colleagues, former bosses, etc. Kill them with kindness and don’t ever burn that bridge, trust me it pays off! Also, be the best prepared at every meeting, work your butt off and smile. It has worked for me at least!



Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing firm Mavens & Moguls (www.MavensAndMoguls.com) based in Cambridge, MA. Their clients include Microsoft, Virgin, venture-backed startups as well as non profit organizations. Paige started her marketing career at Procter & Gamble and was Assistant Chief Marketing Officer at Coca-Cola. She also ran marketing at 3 successful startups previously. Paige graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. She is a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes.

Inspiring Mums: Roxanne Gately

It feels like we’re constantly racing against the clock these days – how quickly can we tick off everything on our ‘To Do’ list? Our Inspiring Mum, Roxanne Gately from Glenhaven, Sydney is the founder of Nurture Cards.

Whilst sharing her story of how she created her cards and achieved her goals, Roxanne makes a good point that we shouldn’t rush our journey. Although it’s important to have a rough idea of when you would like to achieve your goal by, Roxanne says it’s important “To take each step slowly and be sure that each step is completed before moving on – basically don’t rush into achieving your goal”. This way you can take your time to really think about what you want to achieve and ensure that you take the right steps to get there, rather than running around frantically trying to tick everything off your list.

Here are some of Roxanne’s other tips…


1. Tell us your story:

I am a mother of 2. I have created my own unique product / business, Nurture Cards – affirmation cards for children.

I have created a box of 40 positive affirmation cards, designed for children, allowing them to create their own inner self-belief, self-love and learn positive self-talk. This is such an important tool for children to develop self-confidence, and shine for who they are as individuals.

2. How did you identify the goals you wanted to achieve?

My goals came from my heart. I wanted to provide children with more positive thoughts each day, as well as the chance to be confident and happy within themselves, in world that is moving too fast. I could identify the need as divorce rates climb and I saw some children close to me struggling with this. I could also see the effects of bullying becoming far too common and horrific, as well as such a focus on body image. I hoped to help children become more resilient to negative life issues.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? 

There was no deadline for my cards, I knew they would take some time to create and I did not want such an important tool. I looked at what tools I had personally to create them. I had passion for my product, and found that I could create drawings that children would relate to.
I researched any competition in this area and found very little, so the demand was there.
I connected with parents and child counsellors for advice and suggestions and read a lot of books to help create the right affirmations.


I took it step by step and began jotting down the affirmations, then set about drawing the pictures to express the affirmation, after 1-2 years I found I had completed 40 cards that dealt with issues children were facing and needed help with…in between raising my own 2 beautiful girls and creating a happy family.

I must say that many things fell into place from there. I found that a mum I knew was a graphic designer, and was able to put my cards onto a program for printing, and before I knew it I had 1000 boxes of Nurture Cards delivered.

Roxanne’s Nurture Cards range also includes inspirational notepads

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?

I feel my main challenge was creating awareness of my new and unique product and how they can actually assist children in so many positive ways. I found that a flyer designed with a paragraph of information was a good way to help with this, and creating a Facebook page allowed me to share a lot of information about my product. 

I feel that a lack of finances had also been a challenge. I was able to create my product and website , but I had underestimated the cost of advertising my product, and how much advertising was required for a new product. I overcame this to a certain extent by selling wholesale to stores.

Oh, and I have also had to face my greatest fear of public speaking! I have been invited to do talks on my cards, and have embraced the opportunity to explain my product benefits of Nurture Cards. That was a huge challenge, but I found when you are sharing something you believe in, it is quite easy to do, after you shake away your nervousness.

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?

My absolute passion to help children be happy with who they are. We don’t need a world of children all the same. We are all important just being who we are, and that keeps me going. My children inspire me – all children I see inspire me. I must say the beautiful feedback I receive on my cards certainly inspires me to keep on working hard to get my product ‘out there’.

Roxanne’s Nurture Dough is infused with essential oils to relax and calm the mind

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?

I certainly believe that if you have a passion for something or feel strongly about achieving your goal you will. You may need to face many personal fears, such as failing or even being successful, to have faith in yourself talking with people you may feel are intimidating and so on.

To take each step slowly and be sure that each step is completed before moving on – basically don’t rush into achieving your goal. Be confident that YOU can achieve your goal, because you CAN.

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?

I have many new goals for Nurture Cards. I am putting them into order as to what I can afford to do, and what I feel is most important.
1) Continue to find stores to sell Nurture Cards.
2) Create a ‘sleep time’ affirmation cd (almost complete)
3) Create inspiring t-shirts for children
4) Develop inspiring workshops for children
5) Be on a TV show, sharing my work with everyone.
6) Contact the government education minister, and suggest Nurture Cards are introduced

into all classrooms, in all primary schools, to raise a generation of children who can connect positively with themselves, create self-belief and love who they are. Would there still be bullies if all children felt self-worth? Bullies usually bully to make themselves feel better… 

There will always be more goals, and I enjoy the challenges and journeys to complete them.

Check out Roxanne’s Nuture Cards at www.nurturecards.com.au

Inspiring Mums: Caroline Africh, Attipas Australia

Three years ago, I’m sure that Caroline Africh wouldn’t have pictured herself being where she is today. Over the last couple of years, she has transitioned from a fast-paced life as a banker in London to life as a Mumpreneur back in Sydney. But I bet she’s pleased with her journey so far: valuable experience in the corporate world, a gorgeous son and a sensational business idea that will help her fulfill her dream of having a career and being a mum. This is Caroline’s story…



1. Tell us your story:

As a career focused, hardworking 20-something banker in London, I thought nothing of the fact that I was pregnant and worked right up until 40 weeks. Yes, I literally finished a conference call with the CFO of EMEA as I popped into the maternity unit and had my baby. Up until that point, the thought of NOT returning to work was out of the question. Why WOULDN’T I want to go back to my well-paying, highly demanding job at RBS? Surely I could blackberry AND breastfeed simultaneously? How hard could this baby stuff really be?
Well, rumour has it that having a baby is life-changing, and that I can now vouch for. The moment I returned home with a bundle in my arms, the thought of returning to work was NOT an option. It was out of the question. I didn’t want to be away from my baby for even a micro-second.

Time went by and before I knew it, a year had passed. In that space we had moved back to Sydney and I started thinking about returning to work.  I had always loved working but the sad reality was I could not fathom returning to banking. That type of career does not cater well to the stay-at-home mum. It was at this point, as I was hanging washing on the line, the idea of Attipas Australia was born. A pair of shoes that I had casually purchased in Japan on a holiday had become the talk of the town. These shoe-socks, as I coined them, were unlike anything on the Australian market. Mothers were particularly in awe of how well my 14 month old was walking in them. I would start importing and selling those very shoes.
As a banker in London, I had little knowledge of the retail market aside from fluttering away my hard-earned cash on shoes during lunch time. But my career HAD taught me to be confident, perseverant, and most importantly, had given me that ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ attitude (a necessity when one is blonde in a male dominated industry). So I bit the bullet and emailed the manufacturer.


Within a day I had a response. No, they did not have an exclusive distributor for Australia as yet, and yes, they were interested in working with me so long as I could meet their buying criteria. A quick call to the bank and a few minor tweaks to some numbers and I was certain we could do it.

Within a week, I had signed the exclusive distribution agreement and we were up. Or so I thought. My to do list was now reading like a mini novel and not even close to the finale. A business plan, a business name, a bank account, shippers, a warehouse, a fulfilment centre. To name but a few. Sheer excitement kept the momentum going but I still had one very demanding one year old to look after. And THAT workload certainly wasn’t lessoning.
Drawing upon my banking experience, I again discovered the key to success is outsourcing. And outsource I did. I outsourced babysitting to family, graphic design work to Pakistan and web development to India. I approached old colleagues to do photo shoots and friends for PR. I even had the local Australia Post team running around for me, knowing I was a local mum with a very small car and yet a very big business idea.

Time went by and I gradually I took the role of a ‘mumpreneur’ into my stride. It has been a hard slog, considering being a mum alone is difficult enough. On average I now work 6-8 hours a day, on top of minding a toddler. But with passion, enthusiasm, and a loving family, I have been able to achieve my dream. Our first batch of functional toddler shoes are now available online via (www.attipas.com.au).

I now wake up in the morning and am driven by passion, rather than caffeine, blackberry messenger and a daily rate. Life is good.


2. How did you identify the goals you wanted to achieve?

My true goals are still a work in progress, however from the beginning I knew that I wanted my business to be a success. Success can be measured in many ways and is different for every person. As a ‘mumpreneuer’, success is measured by the ability to run a profitable, long-lasting business, as well as finding a balance with my family life.



3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?

I didn’t have a plan per say; just an idea in my mind. I am still working towards achieving profitability (though having been operating only 6 months, our figures show we are on the right track). In terms of maintaining a balanced work and family life, this is something I am still working on but can definitely say that time with my son is never jeopardised, and it is only my personal time that gives way to work.

Attipas have a great selection of styles and colours available for girls and boys


4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?

Running your own business is a fulltime job, as is being a mum, so having two fulltime jobs is rather challenging! Having said that, I have slowly managed to find balance between the both. I also have had negative encounters along the way with dishonest contractors, but am better at learning how to trust people.

Attipas shoes make the perfect unique gift


5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?

When I encounter obstacles such as knockbacks, or a slow week, I try and not left self-doubt get the better of me. I have always been a high achiever and know that self-doubt is your biggest enemy. On ‘off’ days, I reassure myself of my successes to date, which gives me the confidence to keep going.


Attipas shoes are made from high-quality, durable materials and can be worn outdoors

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?

Put your mind to it and you will achieve it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They do not know you like you do. Write a detailed plan, but don’t be afraid to deviate if required. Listen to knowledgeable mentors and utilise advice wisely. Don’t less self-doubt get the better of you, and most of all, be patient. Most successful entrepreneurs are years in the making.

The gorgeous gift box that Attipas shoes are packaged in

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?

After Attipas toddler shoes become more known and business starts to take care of itself, my next goal is a sister site called ‘Things 4 Bubs’, which will showcase new and unique products from around the world.

Caroline lives in Paddington, NSW, with her husband John and son Henry (2 years, the face of Attipas baby shoes online).

Check out Caroline’s ‘second baby’, Attipas Australia: www.attipas.com.au

Inspiring Mums: Melinda Dunlop

Setting effective goals starts with identifying what you want and what’s important to you, advises copywriter and online marketing consultant, Melinda Dunlop. Establish these foundations and you’ll be well on your way to success. Melinda chats about her journey to launch two online businesses this year, whilst sharing some of her advice on setting goals…


 
1. Tell us your story:

I’m a mum of 2 (single mum) and I have recently accomplished two major goals. I have created 2 new online businesses and I’m in the process of building a 3rd. My first business relates to my own freelancing services as a copywriter and online marketing consultant, and the second business offers resume writing. I wrote the content, built the websites and created both businesses from scratch in a matter of three months this year (I owned an online virtual assistant business before, but closed it down at the end of 2011).
I’m well on my way to achieving what I set out to achieve this year and I couldn’t be happier!

2. How did you identify the goals you wanted to achieve?

Last year, I was working in a part time role which I really enjoyed, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted more. I had the desire to work for myself in my own business, but I knew that if I was to run a business again, it had to be structured very differently than the one I ran before. I also knew that I would have to be 100% committed to making it work, as there is no back up option! Before taking any action, I spent time working on my own personal development to become clear on what I wanted in my life and in my career, because I had to be certain that running a business was really what I wanted. So, I did lots of brainstorming, planning and ‘thinking’ to gain absolute clarity on what I wanted and why I wanted it. This is where the passion and excitement comes from!  Once I started to explore the possibilities, it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ it was a matter of ‘when’ I was going to get started.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?

After becoming clear on what I wanted, I set about planning & goal setting. I can’t say it was very ‘structured’ and I had so many ‘lists’ at times I felt completely overwhelmed. I just gave myself time and removed some distractions from my life and just kept going. I had a deadline to have two websites and businesses up and running by June this year. In around February, it came to the point where I thought ‘right, enough with the planning! If this is going to happen, then it’s time to take action” and just I started building the websites. I kept working through my action lists and I’ve put together a 12 month plan for growth. I have only just launched both websites, and I’m focused on building up the social media profiles and basic marketing at the moment.

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?

Obviously as a single mum, time is a challenge for me! Trying to fit in my work schedule around school, preschool, weekends, swimming, sickness and dealing with the unexpected means that some weeks are a real rollercoaster ride! I wouldn’t change a thing though, I feel as though my work life balance is pretty good, as I make sure I do take time out for myself when I’m feeling stressed out. Trying to work at 11pm at night is not a good use of my time – a good night’s sleep is way more important so I don’t work crazy hours. My sons are 4 and 6, so with my youngest going to school next year, there will be another adjustment to the daily routine. This is my year to lay the foundations, get the websites up and running and build a solid platform for growth next year.

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?

I feel inspired because I know this is just the beginning. I have the freedom right now to explore, and play and really test out what works and doesn’t work in terms of the services I offer and how I promote the businesses. Because I have such clarity on why I am going down this road, that keeps me feeling motivated & energised. My plan going forward is to reinvest back into the businesses and have a complete brand overhaul and ‘re-launch’ next year, so that goal keeps me focussed on what I need to do now in order to get there.

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?

My advice is to just get started. Have fun, explore different things and test out different approaches. When you find something that works, stick to it! Be clear on what you want and why you want it. Keep working through the emotions that are likely to come up, such as “what if it doesn’t work, what if I fail, I’m not good enough to do this, my friends will judge me” – these emotions are all based on fear. Sometimes you have to work on your own personal development to bust through those issues and actually explore what is holding you back. Set yourself achievable and realistic goals and check in on your progress regularly. Celebrate your achievements and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn occasionally! Tell your friends and family what you are working on, and they’ll naturally be proud of you and they’ll help to spread the word in those early days. Make a commitment to yourself to take action, every day towards your goals.

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?

My next big goal for this year (aside from launching business number 3) is to work on my health and fitness. I have just signed up with a new life coach and I’m very excited about the coaching program I’m about to go through. I’m pretty certain I will look back on 2013 as my best year yet.

Check out Melinda’s websites: www.melindadunlop.com.au and www.getmehired.com.au

Inspiring Mums: Natrice Grosvenor, MiniMoh’s Online Marketplace

There are some super-cool mums out there, achieving some pretty amazing things. Whilst Mother’s Day is a great opportunity for families to recognise the wonderful things that mums do at home and for their families, we thought we’d dedicate some time to recognising some of the personal and professional goals women are achieving. We hope you enjoy our following interview with Natrice Grosvenor – the first in our Inspiring Mums series.

I have first-hand experience of the challenges that new online businesses face when they first launch. Being a ‘small drop’ in the big World Wide Web ‘ocean’ is quite daunting (I think there are around 630 million websites in existence at the moment). Natrice Grosvenor, founder of MiniMoh’s also recognized this challenge, and addressed it by creating her online marketplace for brands retailing products for babies, children and women. This is her story…

1. Tell us your story:

MiniMoh’s is Australia’s Awarded Online Marketplace for babies, children and women. Discover. Connect. Shop. We have some funky, fun, gorgeous and unique products showcased, come and see for yourself, we know you’ll fall in love with something.

2. How did you identify the goals you wanted to achieve?
When I became a mum I needed to find a balance between work and family. The business was born out of a gap in the market and developed from there. The business has allowed me to achieve my most important goal of quality family time. The business has only been live for 6 months and in that time we are constantly surprised with the support from the community we have developed. The business model also supports other self-employed men and women by offering them a risk-free platform to grow their brand and business.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?
I have a marketing background and was very detailed in the research and development process for our business model. We wanted to ensure that we planned appropriately rather than learn expensive mistakes along the way. We had a deadline we wanted to achieve and stuck to it. I think if you don’t put time frames on things, there will always be something that comes up to push your deadline back.


4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?

Getting our name out there. As a start-up we had very limited funds in our marketing and advertising budget. We spent a lot of time in forums, social media and networking events trying to gain momentum. Constant change in the SEO world is another challenge. The game is constantly moving and changing, we need to keep on top of it and move with the times.

Wooden Cupcake and Icecream Set from redberrykids on MiniMoh’s Online Marketplace

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?

The businesses that we showcase – there are some amazing, talented entrepreneurs around Australia with some very innovative products. We are constantly inspired by the small wins and their appreciation when we help them achieve their goals.

 
6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?

Success is not based on luck. Wins take time and a lot of hard work. There is no such thing as instant success. It takes time to build trust, awareness and belief in your business and products. If you make mistakes along the way, learn from them, don’t give up.


 
7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?

We have just launched a magazine as an extension to the marketplace and look forward to inspiring other businesses to join our community. I have been nominated as a finalist in the ‘Practical Parenting’ Mumpreneur and hope to win this – drawn September 2013. We also hope to start a sponsorship program to help kick-start a small business entrepreneur and give them the leadership and mentoring to become a success.

Check out MiniMoh’s Online Marketplace: www.minimohs.com.au or catch up with them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/minimohs