#InspiralizedBoss, Episode 2: Don’t be Afraid to Ask For Anything

#InspiralizedBoss, Episode 2: Don't be Afraid to Ask For Anything

#InspiralizedBoss, Episode 2: Don't be Afraid to Ask For Anything
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Every Friday, we’ll be posting short and quick business stories, tips and resources that have helped us grow Inspiralized. The series will be called #InspiralizedBoss and we hope they inspire others!


Asking is easier said than done.

I used to have a hard time asking for things. I hated inconveniencing people and putting them on the spot. I’d also feel anxious whenever I knew the time came to do the asking.

It could be anything from asking a friend, “Hey, can I borrow your cute sweater?” to closing a business deal.

My grandfather was an entrepreneur (he started an injection molding company back in the day) and my father is an entrepreneur (he started a landscape and design company from scratch in his hometown, where I grew up.) Also, Lu (my husband) is an entrepreneur – he started an outdoor advertising company with a few business partners about 5 years ago – and he heads up Sales.

So, you’d think it’d be in my blood and my nature to be sales-y, but in fact, I don’t have that natural gift. Thus, I’ve had to do a lot of “growing up” with Inspiralized, because if something doesn’t get asked for, it won’t happen.

If something doesn't get asked for, it won't happen. #inspiralizedboss via @inspiralized Click To Tweet

How did I overcome my fear of asking? Honestly, once I started Inspiralized I immediately came over that fear, because my livelihood and the success of my business depended on it. When you have absolutely no one to lean on or do anything for you and it’s all dependent on your actions, you become empowered. It’s like a fever that takes over your system and you become a confident, powerful person! I think most entrepreneurs feel this way – it’s exciting to see your hard work turn into success stories.

If anyone’s hesitant to “take that leap” into entrepreneurship because of their lack of confidence, shyness or inexperience, I’m here to tell you that you will be surprised at your “business instinct” (like a maternal instinct) that snaps into action when you need it most.

My most notable example: When Williams Sonoma first starting selling a spiralizer in their stores (about December 2013/January 2014), I immediately took notice (because I set up Google Alerts for every possible term relating to Inspiralized/spiralizing.) I knew I wanted to work with them (who wouldn’t?!), so I looked up the Chief Marketing Officer online, guessed the e-mail cadence and sent the e-mail.

This was my original e-mail, on January 8, 2014:

Dear Ms. Sellman,

I hope this message finds you well. My name is Ali Maffucci and I am the blogger behind Inspiralized, the food blog dedicated to cooking healthy and creative meals with the spiralizer, a new product that you carry online and in stores.

Inspiralized is the only resource out there dedicated to the spiralizer exclusively.

I started my blog on June 26, 2013 and have already grown a sizeable readership. I have attached my media kit for your review, but I am currently receiving around 7,500 average daily page views. I have over 6,300 Instagram followers and 2,930 Facebook fans.

I was elated to learn that Williams Sonoma is now selling the spiralizer, and I even have a link on my blog to direct readers towards your store.

I would love the opportunity to work with Williams Sonoma and do cooking demonstrations at your locations. I would love to give exclusive content for Williams Sonoma blog (Taste) and hope we can discuss other possible opportunities.

I look forward to hearing from you. I am based in Jersey City, NJ.

Thank you,

Ali Maffucci

From this simple e-mail, a lot has changed in my journey with Inspiralized. I have been featured on Williams Sonoma’s blog, I’ve had their support in-stores (their sales people tell almost everyone about the blog!), I’ve written a cookbook (see story below,) I’ve done an Instagram takeover with their marketing team, I’ve visited their offices multiple time sand now, the Inspiralizer is sold online at Williams-Sonoma.com.

All from ONE single e-mail with a simple ask to collaborate!

In November 2013, I decided to self-publish a cookbook to offer my readers something to gift along with the spiralizers they were buying for friends and family. I published this and after being connected with Williams Sonoma for a few months (via that e-mail!), they took notice and offered me a cookbook deal. I’ll never forget the moment – I was sitting outside on a patio at my parents’ place in Singer Island, Florida and I got a random call from a San Francisco number. I didn’t take it, it went to voicemail. When I opened the voicemail, it was Williams Sonoma offering me a cookbook deal!

Long story short, this accelerated my quest to be an author, I got a literary agent the next day and the rest is history. Well, still history in the making!

Furthermore, from this original connection made, it eventually led to me asking the head cookware Buyer at Williams Sonoma, “Can you carry the Inspiralizer at Williams Sonoma?” THAT was the biggest ask I’ve ever had to do. That full story is for another #inspiralizedboss post.

Now, if I had just thought, “Who am I? Why would Williams Sonoma want to work with a nobody?” and hadn’t sent the e-mail and had the courage to ASK, where would I be today? There’s a great chance I wouldn’t have a cookbook or it wouldn’t have come at as quickly as it did after starting the blog. I probably wouldn’t have my product sold online at Williams Sonoma, either. Now, Williams Sonoma is one of my strongest partners and I’m so honored to be a brand they support.

Thank you for tuning in, and I hope you learned something new from this week’s #InspiralizedBoss post.

#InspiralizedBoss - Business success and failure stories from the founder of Inspiralized

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Karen says:
Great story, with equally important messages.
Ali Maffucci says:
Thanks for the feedback, Karen!
Becky says:
Ali, Love your story!! Love everything about Inspiralized!!!! (I tell your story to everyone i send your way :) I happened upon your blog early on, after purchasing my first spiralizer. It's been fun watching you grow and watching how the Inspiralizer is changing the lives of so many in a healthy way! So proud of you, keep up the GREAT work!! Merry Christmas to you & Lu! Hope it's the best ever!! Becky
Melissa says:
I love the message! I was so afraid to ask questions when I first started my career- the best advice I ever received is- 'if you don't understand why your doing what your doing- you shouldn't be doing it'. It's the best way to think of out of the box solutions but also really making sure what your doing makes sense. Never be afraid to ask or ask why.
Ali Maffucci says:
That's great advice, Melissa! Thanks for sharing!
SIBY says:
I just love you, inspiralizer, your story and your snapchat.. Thank you for this I truely needed to hear this.. I am growing my small business myself.. Helping and supporting people getting fit from home and eating cleaner.. So thank you for your inspiration!!
Ali - Thank you SOOO much for writing this post. It rang so true for me. A couple of months ago I set a goal to really focus on and grow my blog, CaliGirl Cooking, so that I can make it my primary source of income by summer of next year. As a self-proclaimed "perfectionist," I've really found myself having to go out of my comfort zone to put myself out there and ask for things. As you said, how do you know if it can happen or not if you never ask? I'm very inspired by your story and look forward to continuing to follow your growth! XO
Ali Maffucci says:
Thanks Robin - and good luck with CaliGirl, all you need is passion and it seems like you have that!
Marcia says:
Fantastic story, I can hardly wait to read more. You inspire(lize) all of us! Fantastic story, I can hardly wait to read more. You inspire(lize) all of us! Since we are in the "ask" mode, I would like to ask if you have someone on your team that enjoys proofreading? If you do not, I would like to submit my name for consideration. I have proofread any number of newsletters, training books, and marketing materials for a variety of professionals. This allows them time to create their message and move on to the next challenge...think FREEDOM! Your freedom to create nonstop is just the beginning of how my joining your team will benefit you. Give it some thought and lets talk soon. Remember: Your team is there to make your star shine and I want to be a part of the journey. Sincerely, Marcia L. Moreno testarosa@embarqmail.com
Marcia says:
Ali, I am so embarrassed that the first line of my message appeared twice. I tried to correct it, but just succeeded in posting the message a second time. It sure speaks well for someone who has a love for proofreading doesn't it. I hope you can see beyond this and give some thought to my request. Thank you.
So inspirational! Ideally, I'd love to work for myself when I get out of college, because I know I have that driven, entrepreneurial mindset. I love seeing other strong badass women following their dreams!

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air fried shrimp tacos with pineapple mango salsa and guacamole, another meal made fully from a @wholefoods shop! 🌮🍍🥑🍤⁣

~ corn tortillas⁣
~ guacamole⁣
~ pineapple & mango salsa (fresh prepared foods)⁣
~ sliced red cabbage (pre-sliced container)⁣
~ @sirkensingtons chile lime crema⁣
~ cleaned & deveined shrimp ⁣
~ panko breadcrumbs ⁣

preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. dredge the shrimp in egg and dip in panko (toss the panko with paprika, onion, chili, & garlic powder, salt, and cumin.) add in a single layer to the air fryer and cook for 7-10 minutes, flipping halfway through (they’re done when golden brown and C-shaped.) spread some guacamole on the tortillas and top with shrimp, cabbage tossed with juiced lime, pineapple mango salsa, and drizzle with the bottled crema. easy peasy! 👏🏼 ⁣

what’s your favorite easy weeknight taco combo? 🌮 #inspiralizedwholefoodsmealideas

super easy lunch idea, made (almost) entirely from the freezer and 100% from @wholefoodsmarket, so next time you go there to shop, grab the following items and make this Teriyaki Tofu and Pepper Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry👇🏼👇🏼

~ frozen riced cauliflower, stir fry style⁣
~ frozen three pepper blend (sliced bell peppers)⁣
~ organic teriyaki sauce⁣
~ @wildwoodfoods teriyaki baked tofu⁣
~ for garnish: white sesame seeds, red pepper flakes⁣

heat a tablespoon of neutral oil in a medium skillet. add the bag of riced cauliflower and sauté until softened to your preference (about 5 minutes for rice-like, IMHO.) set the cauliflower aside in a bowl. add a couple handfuls of bell pepper strips and half the package of tofu, cubed. pour over some teriyaki sauce (I use about 1/3 cup), stir, and let cook until peppers are totally soft, another 3 to 5 minutes. top the riced cauliflower with the teriyaki tofu and peppers. garnish with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. enjoy!⁣ 🥡

do you like easy meal ideas like this from specific grocery stores? 🤔 I'll start a hashtag for them - this one will be #inspiralizedwholefoodsmealideas

probably my favorite part of parenthood is seeing life through my children’s’ eyes. everything is new and they live a life of exciting discovery. and nothing beats the merriment of Christmastime! 🎄🎅🏻 luca and roma had a blast ice skating today in NYC - luca got the hang of it quickly and he loved pushing roma on the little plastic bear seats they had at @rinkatbrookfieldplacenyc. ⛸❄️ the twins were angels and slept the whole time, so I could be present with my older kids. 👼🏻👼🏻

and we’re building a holiday bucket list calendar, what should we add to it (aside from meeting santa? 😉)

cauliflower and carrot masala, totally normal meal on thanksgiving eve, right? 😅🥄

tomorrow we’re going to my BIL’s to hang out with Lu’s side of the family, and I’m excited to see everyone (it’s been YEARS!) and have the kids spend time with their cousins, aunts and uncles 🙏🏼

for the curry, simmer cauliflower, carrots, a jar of @mayakaimalfoods, and 2 cups of @bonafideprovisions veggie broth in a large pot for 20 minutes or until thickened to your preference. add cooked lentils, stir, and serve with jasmine rice, chutney and toasted naan. easy 30 minute meal 👏🏼 not exactly thanksgiving-friendly, but worth a share!

safe travels today and tomorrow and wishing everyone a safe and happy thanksgiving 🦃 I’m so grateful for you