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
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:
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
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!
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When Yahoo made Marissa Mayer CEO in July 2012, there was praise and excitement for her. Women were especially eager to see what she would do and what changes she would make in the company. They expected her reign at Yahoo to be groundbreaking since she was 5 months pregnant when she took the job. Instead she was criticized because she choose to return to work 2 weeks after she gave birth. Then it was announce that she had a nursery built next to her office. The choice to return 2 weeks after was a unrealistic choice for women who were in her situtation. Would they be expected to cut their maternity leave? Did she set the bar too high?
This week she made another “controversial” decision by ending telecommuting for employees. Many of her employees are not taking this well. Personally I think that this is a simple reasonable request. How can she turn the company around if all the key players are not there to discuss new ideas. It has been in my experience that good ideas are cultivated at the coffee pot, walking down the hall, or on the way to bathroom. Working from home may have been a perk that Yahoo provided to keep some of its best talent but now times have changed. Yahoo is no longer the number one search engine people use and if they goal for them is to return to that status then they way they do things will change.
We have to remember that Mayer did not ask to be the Poster Girl for women in the workplace. She is not the savior for this movement but she is one of many women who will come behind her. Instead of criticizing her we should support her because she is still a trailblazer.
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