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A NEW LIFE BY DESIGN
A Heart Warming Women’s Fiction
BY CHERYL PHIPPS
Can an unexpected encounter give them the second chance they need?
Four women, each with a personal connection to the devastating effects of abuse, come together to start a small business that designs and creates clothes for women of all sizes. As they work to build their company, they find strength in each other and a shared purpose that helps them heal and fight back against the forces that have hurt them.
Follow Lara and her friends as they pursue happiness while using their talents and an unshakeable bond to make a positive difference.
Lara stood outside the local community center, firmly holding her entry ticket. Should she go in? She wanted to, but she was scared. Of what, she wasn’t too sure.
“Since when has being scared stopped you from doing something?” Gary or a gust of wind, she was never quite sure, nudged her towards the door.
She straightened her shoulders and marched inside. Nothing was set in concrete. If she didn’t think it was worth listening to, she could leave, and even if it made perfect sense there was nothing to say she had to do anything.
The room was already full, and she was grateful when an usher came to collect her ticket.
“This way, please.” He led her down the middle aisle and all the way to the front, where he pointed to the first seat on the left.
“There must be some mistake.”
He checked her ticket once more. “No, this is the correct seat.”
Lara didn’t want to make a fuss, but she felt exposed as she took her seat. She’d always been a middle-row kind of person.
There was no time to think of an escape, as a few moments later Mark Stanhope took the stage. He was every bit as impressive in person as he was on television. From the start he captivated the whole room, her included.
“Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining me. Some of you may have heard of me and others not. That’s okay. All you need to know about me is that a) I’ve been where you are, b) I’m where you want to be, and c) You don’t have to get where I am, but you do need to decide what will be enough for you—in regard to success. That is your biggest question. What does success look like for you?”
He didn’t sugar-coat it. If they chose to start a business, it would be hard work. He wasn’t mentoring these days, which deflated her a little. Although she couldn’t imagine being able to afford the fees a person like him would likely charge. He gave them many tips and guides to getting started, including how to deal with councils and other bureaucrats. His own tales were often wrapped in humor, which lightened the mood and made everything seem potentially doable.
“There will be many of you in the last stages of making your visions come to fruition, while others are still teetering on the edge of whether or not to take the first step. Is that scary or simply overwhelming for anyone in this room?”
He seemed to be looking at her, so she nodded, and he smiled encouragingly.
“Of course it is, and it should be for all of you. Not that I want you to feel overwhelmed, but if there was no fear I’d say you were fools to even consider it. Fear is healthy. If you do the groundwork, glean knowledge about your chosen field from the many resources I’ve listed in the handout, and eliminate as many possible surprises, which generally revolve around money, or should I say the lack of it, then you will be as prepared as anyone who tried to do this before you.
“The next set of questions you need to ask yourself are personal. Is this what I really want? Am I excited about the hard work? Am I willing to sacrifice time with my friends and family? Because even after your business opens its doors, you will still have the responsibility of making it viable on a daily basis. If you can’t answer yes to all these questions, I respectfully suggest that you don’t pursue running your own business any further, because you don’t want it badly enough. That may sound harsh, but why waste your time and money on something that will fail? How do I know it will fail? Because anything that you are not committed to one hundred percent eventually fails. Now, are there any questions?”
There seemed to be a lot of attractive young women in the room. Lara wondered if it was the seminar or the man himself that had brought them there, especially when several asked extremely personal questions.
Mark smiled professionally, his voice cool as he deflected them, making it clear he was there for business only. There were some decidedly disappointed faces. Lara was irritated by them and felt sorry for Mark. It had been a great seminar, and she felt she’d learnt a lot, even if it had been wasted on others.
Surprising herself, Lara put her hand up. Mark noticed it right away, which ridiculously she hadn’t prepared herself for.
“How can I help?” He gave her a kilowatt smile, and she suddenly found it difficult to speak.
“I…I wondered, if you went in to a partnership with a few people—wouldn’t that make things easier?”
“Good question.” He took a couple of steps towards her. “It could make it easier or harder, depending on the people. In my experience, there always should be one person who takes control. The others could be financial partners and have roles, but I still think you need the person with the vision to lead them. Is that a good enough answer?”
“Yes, thank you.” She nodded, hoping she didn’t sound as awestruck as she felt.
“You’re very welcome. I’ll leave things there, but you’re welcome to stay for a coffee or tea and some informal chat.”
Lara knew he meant everyone, yet it sounded like he was talking specifically to her, which made her very uncomfortable. Until she remembered he did this on a regular basis. It was a money spinner, so naturally he knew how to make the audience feel special.
“Maybe that’s true, but guess what? You just did step 1 on your list!”
Lara chuckled, surprising the pretty blonde standing nearby. and not caring. “Yes, I did,” she muttered on her way out the door.
Cheryl Phipps is a USA Today bestselling romance author from beautiful New Zealand. She lives in a quiet suburb with her wonderful husband, who she married the moment she left school (yes, they were high school sweethearts). With three adult children and seven grandchildren to keep her busy when she’s not writing, there is just enough space for a crazy mixed breed dog who stole her heart!
You’ll find her Billionaire Knights, Family Ties, Dreamers Bay, High Seas Weddings, and Sycamore Springs series at cherylphipps dot com and join her newsletter to pick up a free sweet prequel to Dreamers Bay.
Cheryl also writes cozy mysteries as C.A. Phipps.
Links to Cheryl’s websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:
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