It’s International Women’s Day and I couldn’t be more pumped to celebrate the incredible women in my life and around the globe.
Everything I do in my business revolves around creating freedom to spend time with my beautiful wife and daughter (and my lovely son too, of course).
So you could say women are at the centre of my universe!
Today I’d like to celebrate International Women’s Day by sharing some of my favourite advice from 10 inspirational female entrepreneurs who I’ve had the privilege of working with.
As the founder of Female Entrepreneur Association, Carrie Green is a huge advocate of women’s success in life and business. Carrie supports female entrepreneurs from all around the globe and I’m very proud to know her as a client and friend.
I’d also like to congratulate Carrie on the release of her new book, She Means Business.
Carrie started a successful business while she was in university, however…
“I wasn’t remotely passionate about what I was doing. I loved learning all about marketing and building an online business, but I felt really empty inside. I also felt really lonely. I didn’t know any like-minded people. That was when the idea popped into my head to create my own community and get to know other women who were building businesses.”
Did you get that? Carrie was craving a community where she could interact with likeminded people… so she built that community herself!
Needless to say her community was a success. Now Carrie supports female entrepreneurs from all around the world.
Create the community you want to be a part of.
Carrie’s website: femaleentrepreneurassociation.com
Kris Carr’s life as she knew it was changed forever when she was diagnosed with a rare, incurable, stage IV cancer. But she didn’t waste any time wallowing.
Instead, Kris embarked on a journey of mental and physical healing and documented every step of the way, a journey that has involved 5 best-selling books and an award-winning film, among other accolades. Heck, Kris has even been featured on Oprah! (how cool is that?)
14 years since her diagnosis, Kris continues to kick butt in her business, lead her wellness revolution (and her die hard fans – me included!), while staying hyper focused on teaching others how they can thrive too.
The other thing I love about this woman is how down to earth and humble she is. Despite all her success, she’s real (and that’s why we all love her). After every call or chat I end up giggling like a school girl, laughing hysterically or walking away a little inspired. She’s definitely one of my favorites.
Kris gives a lot of incredible advice but here’s some that stands out for me:
“Your purpose has nothing to do with what you do. There, I said it. Your purpose is actually quite simple, it’s to awaken. To discover and nurture who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way. The more you do this, the more aware and present you become, which creates more harmony in your life… Your self-worth has nothing to do with your craft or your calling and everything to do with how you treat yourself.”
Kris’s website: kriscarr.com
Few people could be more qualified to run a website that supports travellers than Zim Ugochukwu.
Zim was born in Mankato, Minnesota to two Nigerian immigrants. She’s lived in New Delhi, Greensboro, Bangalore, San Francisco, and Dharamshala, and currently resides in Chicago.
She’s cloned genes as a biologist, run a national anti-tobacco campaign, helped open a Civil Rights Museum, and traveled 90% of Asia.
Now Zim is the CEO of Travel Noire, a digital publishing platform for travellers of colour that supports over 2 million travellers a month. She’s featured as one of Oprah’s Super Soul 100 and is working every day to provide new tools, resources, and experiences for travellers.
One of Zim’s special abilities is truly understanding her audience and how to serve them:
“We spent most of our startup life building our audience, understanding their needs, desires, fears, pain points, aspirations & learning about who they want to become. We’ve created customer avatars for each product and gave them names. If you want to be successful at selling anything, you have to prioritize getting to know your customer — intimately.”
That’s SO important. If the number one aim of your business isn’t to know and serve your audience, you don’t have a business, you have a profit scheme. #Boom.
Know your customer – intimately.
Melissa Lanz is someone who’s business has actually affected my life personally. You see, my wife and I, we like eating healthy food… cooking, not so much.
That’s why I was ecstatic when I discovered Melissa’s business, The Fresh 20, which delivers weekly meal plans to families that are affordable, healthy, and easy to follow.
Melissa is a grassroots entrepreneur who started as a stay-at-home mom and took her business all the way to the top without any budget for marketing. She’s a perfect example of someone who identified a problem or a need and come up with a simple solution that her customers couldn’t wait to share with family and friends.
Melissa talks about how she marketed her membership business in the early days:
“We went to events in the food industry or events in the wellness industry and literally kept telling everybody about what we were doing. Because if you can’t go out and talk about your membership and let the world know what you’re doing and how you’re solving other people’s problems, then you can’t attract your subscribers, right?”
That’s so obvious but you’d be surprised how many people miss this. You have to TALK about what you’re doing! You can’t expect the world to just show up for your business, especially in the beginning.
Go out and talk to your potential customers.
Like myself, Susan Garrett designed her business to give her more time with her family.
She was (and still is) one of the world’s top dog agility trainers. But that used to mean she would spend most of her time travelling the world teaching others how to train their dogs. That all changed one day when her husband started having heart troubles and Susan realized she didn’t want to spend so much time away from home.
That’s when she transitioned her business to deliver the same trainings online. Now, she’s built a very successful business providing courses and membership for her audience – all of which has allowed her to serve more dog owners around the world while having a LOT more time at home. With her vast expertise and her community-building skills, Susan’s membership, SusanGarrettDogAgility.com, quickly became a massive hit with her audience.
In fact, Susan initially launched her membership to a very small list of only 1800 people and 1100 signed up right away… that’s a 60% paid conversion rate! That goes to show just how much Susan is loved and respected by her tribe.
Susan’s advice about getting your business off the ground:
“That’s what people are afraid of, they want to get things perfect. I just wanted to get something out there. I was going to launch to a small group of people that knew my language so I could just get started.“
That’s so important! Whether it’s a membership or any other sort of business, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it perfect right away. Get started and tweak as you go.
Just get started.
Susan’s website: susangarrettdogagility.com
Marie Forleo is one of the most vibrant personalities in the online entrepreneurship world, so there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of her.
Marie’s career path brought her to the corporate world where, like most entrepreneurs, she felt like she didn’t fit in. So she decided to give up the 9-5 security to bartend and wait tables while building her own business from the ground up.
A self-proclaimed “Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur,” Marie’s colourful list of accolades include choreographing hip-hop on MTV, being one of the world’s first Nike Elite Dance Athletes, penning an international bestseller, and founding a digital education company named in the Inc. 500. She’s also met with big names including Richard Branson, Oprah, and Tony Robbins.
Marie nurtures a lifelong interest in human potential and helping people succeed. Every day she’s sharing amazing content with her audience to help them reach their full potential.
Marie urges everybody to believe in their own potential and to share that potential with the world:
“I believe you must bring your whole self to the table if you want to thrive in today’s world.
That includes your unique set of gifts, your personality, your sense of humor and most importantly, your heart. I believe that whether you run your own business or not, a creative and entrepreneurial approach is critical to fully blossom in the modern world and to experience the happiness and fulfillment you deserve.”
Amen to that. There is no perfect image of what an entrepreneur should be. You define your business and your life. I’ve always admired how Marie has done things her way. You go girl!
A creative and entrepreneurial approach is critical.
Marie’s website: www.marieforleo.com
Amy Porterfield is one of the world’s elite social media strategists and online business coaches.
(she’s also pretty hilarious if you can get her to open up 😛 )
Amy had what you might consider a “unique” career path. After her first job out of college – doing event marketing for Harley Davidson – Amy travelled the world with Tony Robbins planning marketing campaigns… what a gig!
But the day eventually came when Amy new she had to do something on her own, so she left Tony’s team to start her own agency. Like many consultants, Amy quickly discovered that meeting clients face-to-face is time consuming and limiting. So she decided to offer her expertise to the public instead.
Now she helps entrepreneurs from all over the world grow their businesses with social media marketing. And she’s damn good at it as well.
She’s been a great friend over the years and it’s been awesome watching her grow her business and blossom as a leader in the online space.
Amy’s advice for those who are thinking of taking the leap into entrepreneurship is something she learned from Tony Robbins:
“Everything I had only dreamed of was suddenly possible. I just had to get there.
Tony himself taught me one of the most important tactics I’ve ever learned: it’s called ‘Burn the Boats.’ When you want to make something big happen, you have to commit—burn the boats and storm the island. Burn any vessel that could take you backwards or make you change your mind.”
To say that entrepreneurship is a commitment would be a huge understatement. Sometimes in life, you just have to go all-in.
Burn the boats.
Amy’s website: www.amyporterfield.com
Patty Palmer’s success story is a very special one to me because I’ve had the honor of working closely with Patty through my TRIBE Training (where I share all of my expertise about launching and growing a successful membership site).
Patty was working as an art teacher when she realized that other art teachers had an ongoing need for lesson plans for their students. So she started her blog, Deep Space Sparkle, and eventually grew that to the point where she had a pretty big business selling PDF lesson plans. But… it was hectic and disorganized and something just didn’t feel right.
About a year after quitting her teaching job to work full time on the website, Patty realized that a membership model was the missing piece for her business. So she took the plunge and reworked Deep Space Sparkle to include a membership component that automatically delivers lesson plans to art teachers.
Her initial launch of her membership was a huge success… she enrolled over 900 members! And in less than six months she had over 1800 members. Crazy right?
A big lesson Patty learned from this process is that being transparent with your customers is crucial:
“I had all of these customers who were sensing a change in the website. Things were moving around. They’re like, ‘Patty, what’s going on?’ I’m like, ‘Okay. Here’s the deal. I’m switching to a membership model.’ I went through this process with the customers and I realized I need to get them to be the early adopters, because I wanted them to go on this journey with me.”
By simply being honest with her customers and involving them in the evolution of her business, Patty quickly enrolled hundreds of people in her membership site. Rather than feeling alienated by the changes to her site, Patty made her customers feel included and they rewarded her for it.
Involve your customers in your journey.
Patty’s website: www.deepspacesparkle.com
Victoria Labalme is a world-class communication coach who has helped me tremendously with my own presentation skills.
Victoria graduated Stanford University and went on gain to two decades of professional show business experience. She’s performed one-woman shows across the USA, appeared at Caroline’s on Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club, a TV special with Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keital, 27 television commercials (including a Super Bowl spot), a cameo on “Sex & The City” and more.
It’s her unique show business experience that helped Victoria transition to become one of the world’s top communication coaches. She’s helped bestselling authors, elite executive and entrepreneurs, TED speakers, agencies, Hollywood directors… and little old me 🙂
Her unique blend of performance ability and communication strategy helps her craft presentations that are outstanding and memorable, leaving a lasting impression on audiences everywhere.
Recently she gave a talk of her own at TEDx Santa Barbara. You can watch that talk here.
Victoria’s stand-out advice for me:
“The first thing you want to think about is, ‘how can I help?’ and when you do that, it changes everything.
Whenever you’re nervous on camera or on stage or on a phone call or in front of your team, it’s because you’re thinking about yourself. ‘Am I enough? Am I saying ‘um’ too much?’
But the moment you focus on helping, all of the nervousness drops.”
Focus on helping.
Victoria’s website: www.victorialabalme.com
There is no secret that this female entrepreneur has a HUGE place in my heart.
Because she’s my wife!
Over the years I’ve witnessed her take her love of travel and education and combine them together to form our charity World Teacher Aid. And through that vision, the charity has raised millions of dollars, providing daily education for thousands and thousands of kids… and in the process, transforming communities all across Kenya.
The crazy part is, Amy never really considered herself “entrepreneurial”.
“Initially I just saw a need. There were so many rural communities full of kids who desperately wanted to learn, but they just didn’t have a school nearby. I knew there had to be a way to bring that to them.”
Here’s the takeaway for all of us…
Wherever there is an unmet need, there is an opportunity. As entrepreneurs, we’re just problem solvers.
Now, Amy is about to start another entrepreneurial venture called TravelThreads.com. It’s a clothing line of unique items for women from around the world. Each are connected to a powerful story.
Look for a need.
Your turn: Who are the women that inspire you?