SOUTH JORDAN — Amy Rees Anderson remembers the lean years when she first tried to start her own business as a "hungry" time.

"I went into business because I wanted to eat and I wanted my kids to eat," said the woman who founded MediConnect Global.

Her role as chief executive officer at the digital medical records company is visionary. But Friday, speaking to close to 100 women entrepreneurs, she was billed as a "fairy godmother" — an able and willing mentor who offered advice as keynote speaker at the Startup Princess "Touchpoint" conference.

The conference is an annual event that Startup Princess founder Kelly King Anderson kicks off with magical words: "Make a wish." To which attendees respond enthusiastically, "Make it happen."

But the goals shared by the women — and the companies some have already founded and the products many of them have already created — are grounded in reality, not fairy tales. So was the advice offered by Anderson, who said starting a new venture is a scary process, so you need to "feel the fear and do it anyway."

Passion, positive thinking and persistence were themes as she recounted her own journey from Child No. 6 of 10 to struggling single mom to head of a company that employs 1,000 people. There were some memorable flops, she said, and some victories. She adopted the theme that "everything will be OK in the end and if it's not OK, it's not the end."

There is power in being positive, she said, adding that studies show that people who believe they are lucky will be. The reason? They create and notice opportunities, they listen to their intuition, they have positive expectations and through resilience they turn bad luck into good.

The first step, she said, is to "do something, do anything, just make a start." Almost any direction will eventually send you in the right direction. And she urged audience members not to "limit yourself to the picture in your mind" — it might be too small.

The conference attracted a wide range of women — and a couple of men — who are at various stages of starting businesses. For instance, Kim Grisham wants to enhance marketing of her KT Naturals line of mineral makeup products, a business she took over two years ago. Some of the women were at the idea stage, while others were in business but hoping to expand. And some were there primarily to offer encouragement and share what they've learned building their own businesses.

Heather Bailey of Heather Bailey Designs talked about creativity in life and business, while Janice Crose, co-founder of "5 Minutes for Mom," discussed networking. Afternoon breakout topics included negotiation, funding and other business fundamentals.

e-mail: [email protected]