So I was recently named a Top 25 Leading Woman Entrepreneur. Much of the response was either “well deserved” or “how did you do that”. Now I can’t tell you what went on in the back room of the nominating committee, however, I will share this insight IF YOU ARE THE woman who aspires to be a successful profitable flourishing and celebrated entrepreneur.
Below are the seven things I THINK went into me BECOMING a leading woman entrepreneur, and I believe this insight may do the same for you.
1. Create a vision
I quieted the voices in my mind that brought up negative reactions, assumptions and predictions so I could envision a business without limits. When you think of your future … who you want to be, what you want to have and do, you need to silence the doubts that might come up to your ideas. You want to do something that hasn’t been done before, something new and bold, and that requires defying the limits you set for yourself. Ever since I can remember being a young 20 something I had a vision committed to paper. Is your vision beyond what you see right now and is it committed to paper?
2. Invest in Yourself
Once I had my vision, I had to be bold and do what needed to be done. It takes audacity, courage and strength to act on the vision you’ve created. Lots of people have dreams and ideas … what has to separate you from them is your willingness to step out in faith and play bigger and pursue the vision. Ignore the doubts, fears and worries so you can own your vision and make it a reality. This required me doing my own personal development work. Working on yourself will help you get clear on who you are which will help you build courage and increase your confidence. How much time are you investing in your personal development daily?
3. Show up
As a young professional I had a very natural curiosity and was attracted to networking (meeting people and learning new stuff). Much later after networking my way down to the Obama White House (seeing the fruit) I became much more strategic about showing up offline and in-person to connect with leaders, influencers and interesting people who I could learn from and grow with. As a result, I was introduced to the organization that essentially names the top 25 leading women. If I hadn’t connected with them I wouldn’t have known about the award and they wouldn’t have known about me. The best jobs, leads and access come from connecting with people … you have to be visible. Do you hide behind your computer and rely on Social Media to connect with people? How many times per month are you attending networking events?
4. Be persistent (not pushy)
I didn’t succeed because I never faced any hard times and everything was easy. I’m realizing seasons of perpetual wins because I’ve stayed in it long enough to outrun failure… and long enough to be celebrated. I never gave up although I had a near meltdown just the other day (like real tears). There will be trials, hard times and even mistakes, but you must stay the course. When the fear rises or a situation looks impossible, push past the panic point and continue on. Are you persistently pushing past the breakdown, meltdown point? You have to build in your back-end system (your mind) a solid resolve that quitting is not an option.
5. Build around your gifts
Business is not for the faint at heart. It’s can be difficult although it’s sooooo worth it. The difference maker is I built a business around my gift, passion and purpose. When you are on purpose you can’t quit… the work is bigger than you and that is the juice you need to get up and go for it. Every day I’m working primarily in my core genius. I’m not in a business that doesn’t fit me. You have a core genius too. Instead of building a business around what you think you should do or your family wants or what would make the most money, develop your business around your natural gifts. Do what you’re already good at and you’ll be celebrated.
6. Give back
Another key part of my business model is I always give back. Even while I was scaling my business, I made sure to serve, to volunteer, to give back. If you want to build influence and become a standout entrepreneur, give without expecting anything in return. In fact, I’ve volunteered early with a girl’s program, then I served my church for many years, then I founded an organization Girlfriends Pray and for over eight years I’ve been serving there without expecting anything in return. But you know what? Giving my time to serve women through Girlfriends Pray is how I gained access to The Obama White House which made me a “person of interest”. Are you giving your time and talent to some charity? This is how you add value to your character and expand your conversation beyond business.
7. Be a disrupter
Last year, after I announced the launch of a new brand Money Power & Respect one of my friends says “Dee you are officially a disrupter”. I had never thought about it before that moment but looking back I could see it. I had done what was typical, normal and predictable in the growth and development space. I have my core business in leadership coaching for professional women and diversity consulting with big businesses, but then I was invited to step out of my comfort zone and do something unusual … I built an entire brand to empower men, even though my experience had been in working with women from the very beginning. That brand solved a problem and filled a void. That’s a disruption to the market… doing something that hadn’t been done before pre-cursor to other big brands and then being invited to a big conference like Black Enterprise Black Men Xcel to be a part of their first conference for men. You have to see a void in the market and be willing to step into it, take the risk and disrupt the ordinary.
So while I can’t be certain how I became TOP 25 LEADING WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR this is what I believe to be true and my advice if you aspire to do the same. In fact, Leading Women Entrepreneurs recognizes Intrapreneurs, Entrepreneurs and SocialPreneurs every year. If you think you think you are ready let us know and we’ll pass along your name.
See you at the top! by Dee C. Marshall
PS. Do you have a goal that requires you to increase your visibility, expand your network? Email Jenelle@DeeCMarshall.com and ask how we can work together.
March 6-8, 2018 Win Rock & Rule Live Stream Summit, Online Event
March 16, 2018 TNJ 25 Influential Women in Business Guest Honoree, NY
March 19, 2018 WBENC Guest Speaker, TX
March 28, 2018 Win Rock & Rule Women’s Empowerment Host, NJ