The Real Housewives of… Big Business

People usually have a strong reaction to reality television.  Most are ashamed to admit that they watch it while others proudly watch it.  I admit that I watch reality TV not because I enjoy the drama but I do learn something from watching these women.  I have seen many of them build businesses and using their time on the show to build brands.  Here are my favorites:

1. Bethenny Frankel.  When we first saw Bethenny on the New York series she was a struggling chef trying to launch a brand around her food.  She created the Skinny Girl Margarita which turned into a family of cocktails that she sold in 2011 for millions.

2. Kandi Burruss.  We all knew Kandi from the music group Xscape but when she joined the Atlanta series we found out that not only can she write songs but she launched her adult line Bedroom Kandi.

3. Teresa Guidice.  We we first met Teresa on the New Jersey series she was a stay-at-home mother but when her family got into financial trouble she published several successful cookbooks and launched alcohol brand Fabullini.

4. Gretchen Rossi.  When her fiance died, Gretchen, of the Orange County series, started a cosmetic line Gretchen Christine Beaute, which has expanded into handbags.

5. Lisa Vanderpump.  We we first met Lisa, of the Beverly Hills series, she was already an established restauranteur. She open her new spot, Sur, and then got a spinoff reality show to promote it.

No matter how you feel about these shows you have to admit that these women are doing big business.

Photo Credit Vibe Vixen

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2013: The Year of the Women Entrepreneur

Since Sheryl Sandberg gave her wonderful TEDtalk about women leaning into their careers two years ago. Many conversations about women entrepreneurs have been had.  The number 1 question that is asked very often is, ‘Why aren’t there more women-owned businesses?  Last week American Express release their annual report for The State of Women-Owned Businesses and their findings were pleasantly surprising.  Here are some key stats:

  • The number of Women-Owned Businesses has increased from 41% in 1997 to 59% in 2013
  • There are 8.6 million women-owned businesss in the U.S. employing over 7.8 million people.
  • These businesses generate over $1.3 trillion a year
  • The number of businesses owned by women of color has double since 1997 from 17% to 31% in 2013
  • The states with the fastest growth for women are:

Georgia

Texas

North Carolina

Louisiana

Nevada

This report proves that we are making progress and we have come a long way.  Women-owned businesses are making an impact on the economy.  Instead of focusing on ther lack of women in corporate America we should start focusing on the women who are already building their own companies.

 

 

Photo Credit American Express Open Forum

Resource for Women: Entreprenista

 

I have been searching for more resources for women who want to start their own business.  I found one that I like called Entreprenista.  Founder Tara Holling, started the site because she loves entrepreneurship, she is passionate about helping other women, and she became frustrated by building successful businesses.  Her entrepreneur Manifesto is awesome!

 

I am an entrepreneur. I am a dreamer. I am a visionary. I am a leader. I am a creative. I am a rebel. I am a firestarter. I am a wild card. I am a bold and courageous risk-taker. I am passionate. I am fierce. I am powerful. I am brilliant. I am wise. I am worthy. I experience success, and I experience failure. I experience joy, and I experience pain. I experience confidence and pride, and I experience self-doubt and fear. I call deep on my courage. I make mistakes with gusto. I live out loud. I leap before I look. I buck the status quo. I BURN THE DAMN BOX, and I burn the midnight oil. I run confidently and steadfastly and boldly in the direction of my dreams, and I do not-will not-must not accept defeat as an outcome.

I. AM. Unstoppable.

To join this great community go here!

Photo Credit Madame Noire

Are You an Entrepreneur?

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The word “Entrepreneur” is so easy to use because it is so easy to just call yourself one.  Either people will congratulate you or they will know you are BS-ing them when they probe further into your business.  Here are five questions you should ask yourself.

1. Am I easily discouraged when things don’t go my way?

2. Do I procrastinate or find excuses to push things off for tomorrow?

3. Do I find myself constantly changing my business ideas?

4. Do I hold myself back from taking instrumental steps because I am afraid of failing?

5. Am I afraid of change or the unknown.

 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you may want to rethink being an entrepreneur or try to figure out how to get pass these obstacles that are blocking your success.  For more questions go here.

Photo Credit Wikipedia

Three Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

7 Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Sunday Steinkirchner recently wrote an article about what she has learned over the past 10 years as an entrepreneur.  Here are my favorites:

1. Find out what you want to do.  I think this is the most important one because if you don’t know what you want you will waste time wandering aimlessly into different situations.

2.  Just Do It. Fear can often be conquered by just doing.  If you start you will figure the other stuff out.

3. Keep Doing It. Keep playing the game! You never know what could happen if you don’t keep trying.

Being an entrepreneur is hard and requires courage.  If you want to live your dream you have to put fear aside and go for it.

Photo Credit Forbes

In the Arena: Pam Byford and Vicki Cord

Vikki Cord and Pam Byford own Scottish Rose Florist in Millbrook.

Mother and daughter team Pam Byford and Vicki Cord opened their flower shop, Scottish Rose Florist, in Millbrook, Alabama in 2010.  They have over 60 years experience and divide the responsibilities, mother, takes care of the customers, while, the daughter focuses on the flower arrangements.  The business has grown very fast but they are dedicated to what they do and they enjoy it.  In honor of her son who serves in the military, they have set up www.scottishroseflorist.com to serve military families.  This site will allows thier military customers to save money by waving the extra charges that other sites may charge.

This mother and daughter team step in the arena when an opportunity came along to do what they love.  They are also doing it with a purpose to serve military families by helping them save some money.  I salute them because they rock!

 

Photo Credit Montgomery Advertiser

Put On Your Big Girl Panties and Go To Work!

Ellen Rohr, President of Bare Bones Biz, recently wrote a blog post that asked, “What Qualities Gauge a Woman’s Success in Business?”  In the post she gave examples of women who didn’t worry about traditional business theory.  They just jumped in and went to work.  Here are some examples:

1. Mary Kay Ash. Everyone is familiar with the Pink Cadillacs given to women who meet their sales goals by selling large amounts of Mary Kay Products.  She started her business because a man that she had trained refused to promote her.  She didn’t worry about the numbers she went out and built a successful business and brand.

2. Sara Blakely. The founder of Spanx, built a brand when there were people reminding her about the barriers that could affect her success.  She blocked all of that out advice and like Nike, Just Did It. Now she is worth a $1 billion.

3. Arianna Huffington.  The founder of the Huffington Post, just followed her heart and did what she felt was best for her.  The secret to her success is doing what she loves and not worrying about all the other things.

The one thing these women have in common is that they put on their big girl panties and went to work.  They didn’t worry about what people said or the things that could derail their businesses they just keep going and they became successful women.  Just keep going!

Photo Credit Zazzle

What I Learned at TEDxLSU Part Two

Saturday will be one week since the TEDxLSU event and I still can’t stop talking about it.  I find away to work a TED talk into every conversation.  At this point I know that I have gotten on some people nerves.  But I promised to blog about so here are five more things I learned:

6. Kenny Nguyen, entrepreneur, Big Fish Presentations, shared his thoughts on the benefits of saying “No”. No one really likes saying it but sometimes you have to choose to say this word.  When you say “No” to something you may be opening up to other opportunities that will allow you to grow.

7. Dr. Brian Dixon, Executive Director of the Mentorship Academy in Baton Rouge, talked about completing the impossible. According to him, anything you want to do is possible, he would know because he was in a terrible car accident where he shattered his hip.  Doctors told him that he would never walk again. Triathlons became his impossible.

8. Mary Stein, reminded us that the library is a free resource that we can tap into to breed our creativity.  Whatever you “geek” the library can help hone your passion and interest.  She also talked about how the library is rebranding itself to become a place where you want to hang out.

9. Tucker Barry spoke about amateurs.  People are driven by their motivation to do what they love.  They can be dismissed because of the lack of experience but when they are connected and invested the they can surprise you.

10. Dr. Jensen Moore, gave one of the most interesting talks about what happens to people’s digital profiles when they die.  Some people like the thought of keeping their loved ones Facebook profiles up after they past.  It is a way for people to still communicate with them and allow others to share their memories and grieve publically.

The inaugural TEDx event was inspiring and gave me hope that people in my community care and are bringing change. I am just counting down the days until the next TED event in Baton Rouge!

What I Learned at TEDxLSU Part One

Treosha TEDxLSU

I consider myself to be a sucker for a good TED talk so when I found out LSU was hosting one I knew that I had to physically be there and experience it. I first heard about the TED conference in the weirdest way. I was watching Kathy Griffin’s reality show (My Life on the D-List) and Rosie O’Donnell was on there talking about TED with great enthusiasm that I had to find out what this “TED” was. I did a search in google that led many TED talks, I told myself that if a TED event was ever hosted in Louisiana I would find a way to get there. eOne day in February I opened one of my emails and I see that TED was coming to Baton Rouge I immediately purchased my ticket and counted the days until the event.

On Saturday, March 9, 2013 I made my way on to LSU’s campus in search of the Reilly Theater after getting lost I eventually found my way to theater and saw the big TEDx sign in red letters. I went to check in and I realized that I was apart of something big happening in Baton Rouge. As I waited with a group of people to go inside I observed their excitement which caused my excitemehnt to build. I didn’t know what I was going to hear but I was anxious to hear it. As I walked into the theater I was deciding on should I tweet this event or give it my full undivided attention and write a blog about it later. Towards the end of the event I sent out one tweet which said “Can’t wait to blog about #TEDxLSU!”

I decided to blog about because I didn’t want the ideas to die I wanted to do my part by spreading them. The Curator for the event, Joey Watson, opened by saying a movement was happening so I just want to keep it going. This is what I learned at TEDxLSU:

1. Jacques Rodrigue, Executive Director of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, talked about the arts being an integral part of children’s education. This is not a radical idea because I begin to think about all the things that I was taught in school and most of the things I remember are connected to a art form. This is an easy idea to implement and I am glad that there are people in Louisiana who are advocates for the arts.

2. Zack Kopplin, Sophmore at Rice University, spoke about his fight for science. During his talk he said something that stuck with me throughout the whole event, “Don’t stand on the sidelines. Speak out.” He has taken on a cause that many have told him that he will not win but because he is passion about he is gearing up to fight again. He want Louisiana to be great and he is doing his part.

3. Zack Godshall, filmmaker, shared the best filmmaking advice he’s ever received, “Rid yourself of lofty aspirations, and just be vulnerable.” I was say that this is some of the best life advice I have heard. I’m taking his advice right now with this blog. Just writing what I feel not caring whether it is grammatical or politically correct. I am sharing my experience with you.

4. Camille Manning-Broom, Urban Planner, shared her decision to invest in some of the worst apartment complexes in the city. She shared her vision about the community she wanted to live in and she took the steps necessary to make it happen. I really enjoyed her story because I like to hear about people taking interest in Baton Rouge.

5. Dr. Gary Shaffer, Professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, had a very interesting title for his talk that will stay with me forever. “Take a Few Good Shit’s on America’s Delta” explored the idea of how a mixture of poop and cypress trees can save our wetlands. Our wetlands are declining at a rapid pace and we all need to do something to save them. According to Dr. Shaffer, an easy way to do that is to take a #2.

Part Two coming Friday.

Five Things I Learned Watching MAKERS

MAKERS

I recently watched an interesting documentary on PBS called Makers: Women Who Make America.  The documentary focused on women like Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Oprah Winfrey, and others who were responsible for change the way society viewed women’s roles.  I am very grateful for these women who chose to fight for equal rights.  Here are the five things I learned:

1. Sometimes a simple action can start a revolution.  The story of Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathan in 1967, wasn’t trying to be political. She just wanted to run the marathon, in doing she she open the doors for many women such as Billie Jean King, Venus and Serena Williams, and Danica Patrick.

2. Know Your Worth.  In the 1960’s women could only get jobs that required them answering the phone or typing memos but Lorena Weeks changed all that when she sued the Southern Bell when she was denied the chance to become a Switchman, a job that paid more money simply because she was a woman. She decided that the reason wasn’t good enough and fought for a job that she knew she could do.

3. Who you marry is very important. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, has said that a supportive husband can determine how far a woman can go her in career meaning if your husband isn’t on board your career can be derailed.  I remember when former President Bill Clinton was elected he said that the country was getting a 2 for 1 deal in regards to his wife Hillary. At the time he was saying that his wife could be president if she wanted to and when she ran in 2008 he was very supportive of her campaign.

4. When you have children is important. Deciding to have children is a very big decision. Children have great impacts on their parents lives and things that women used to do such as come in early or stay late will change.

5. Make some noise.  Oprah told a story about her job as talk show co-host in Baltimore.  She went to her boss and told him that she thought that she should be making the same money as her male co-host because they were doing the same job.  Her request was denied but she didn’t get mad she used as motivation to be the best in her field.  Don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers from time to time.

Photo Credit Storyville