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.

Carrie Green

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:

Kris Carr

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.” 

Love yourself.

Kris’s website:

Zim Ugochukwu

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.

Zim’s websites: |

Melissa Lanz

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. 

Melissa’s websites: |

Susan Garrett

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,, 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:

Marie Forleo

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:

Amy Porterfield

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:

Patty Palmer

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:

Victoria Labalme

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:

Amy McLaren

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 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. 

Amy’s websites: |



Your turn: Who are the women that inspire you?



  • Stu,
    Wow thanks for sharing this amazing list. I know a few but will take the time to explore what these women are doing around the world. Kuddos to you for acknowledging this special day where we honor women! I’ve certainly had major influences in my life from high-achieving women.

    • Thanks Dan. I honestly don’t what I’d do without the women in my life. And as a father with a young daughter, there is nothing I want more than for her to see what’s possible.

  • Youna Angevin-Castro

    What a great list, Stu. I especially love Victoria Labalme’s advice to focus on helping…that really sums up why most of us pursue the entrepreneurial journey in the first place. 🙂

    • Exactly! And I love how it’s such an easy tool to shift any nervousness away from worrying about “yourself” and instead keeps you focused on why we do what we do.

  • Laynita L Cichy

    Stu… An amazing list of women… There are many women world wide who are doing awesome things. Personally, I have been truly blessed to be surrounded by many extraordinary women in my life and today in celebration of International Women’s Day, I would like to share a video and pictures of an extraordinary woman in my life today. Her name is #LayshaWard and she works for Target Corporation. The love I have for my sister is beyond words and the extraordinary work she has been able to do is awesome and humbling at the same time. Laysha delivered a pivotal speech during the 2016 Catalyst Awards Conference and felt it appropriate to share today in honor of Women and Sisterhood.


  • Great list, Stu! Women bring a TON to the table in the world of business and in many other important areas of life as well.

  • Sandi Johnson Gordon

    I could not love this post anymore. What an awesome list of women, and what great ideas 😃

  • My 91 year young mom…she was brought up in a broken family in the middle of the depression, supported my dad through his 2 tours of service (WWII and Korea) and has dealt with me and my “stuff” very lovingly for 60+ years.

  • Victoria Labalme

    If it was National Men’s Day, Stu, you would be on my list. You are in a class of your own…a category of ONE.

    • Here here Victoria, we can do that on Sunday 19 November. He is such a generous soul and has helped me in my business.


  • Rita Gaving

    What a great post Stu! Thanks for honoring women entrepreneurs and including your wife in the list! You are a class act and thank you for all you do for women AND men!

  • Jocelyn Chouinard

    Loved your list! Loved your kind, appreciate and caring comments about all of these women and was delighted to “meet” your wife!! Thanks so much for the heartfelt inspiration! Jocelyn

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Such a beautiful reflection of strength and unity among AMAZING women Stu. Thank you for sharing! On this National Women’s Day, I pause to honor my Mom, the most remarkable and generous woman I know, Dr. Rezine Keng. Her heart of love, service and excellence run deep and without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

    • Wow. What an opportunity to learn from and be influenced by such a powerful woman.

      • Jevonnah Ellison

        Thank you so much, Stu!

  • Wonderful list and what a great post for women’s day. I knew quite a few of these through your training and I love what Victoria had to say about presenting. Something to remember when I tackle that milestone…

    • Victoria is awesome. Highly recommend learning everything she has on presentations and creating an experience. She is brilliant.

  • Tony

    Wow! There are just so many wonderful women who have taught me, guided me, and morally supported me I couldn’t take up the space here to name them. You have a few of them listed above. Marie and Amy Porterfield have been great influences in my online business building life. I’m still building it, and I have a lot more to learn.

    • Tony

      Thank you Stu for up voting me! There should be a page on 10 Exemplary Male Entrepreneurs sharing their wisdom with you in that list! The heart centered work you do is awesome!

  • Brilliant thank you Stu for giving us an example in honouring these women. All women no matter which country we were born, the colour of our skin, our religious or no religion base, wealthy or poor, everyone is worthy of love and respect and to be all we are capable of. Every woman inspires me. The lady who scans my shopping, the foster Mum raising and loving children who are not biologically her own, Joanna Macy, Rachel Naomi Remen I will stop here as I have far too many and I may forget one and that would make me sad. May we look ahead and plan to be all we can be, our own life and the world needs us to do that. I believe in you all.

  • Stu McLaren, I’m sure you do not need me to tell you that this is a very thoughtful and thought-provoking article. 🙂 Read the whole thing from top to bottom to get the full benefit.

    You have offered some really terrific examples here of how so many women make such an enormous contribution towards the overall betterment and benefit of all of us. I totally agree with your choices and descriptions of these women.

    And your article clearly shows how the contribution that women make in this world goes so far beyond the standard stereo-typical image of family nurturing.

    How ironic is it that the latter is also, in and of itself, an enormous contribution to the world at large such that, without the benefit of which, most “successful” guys would never reach their own peak potential.

    I have also been blessed to have had many wonderful women in my own life, starting with my own Mum – who was fortunately spirited out of Germany during WWII. Then there has been my amazing entrepreneurial Grandmother from whom I learned much about being in business: She not only had a successful retail Millinery business back in the day when it was very unusual for a woman to be an entrepreneur. She also brought up 7 kids as a single Mom.

    And I salute the wonderfully creative Mum of my two terrific kids who put up with my intrepid perambulations through a variety of business engagements in the UK before traipsing across The Pond with me to the US and went from nursing to creative art in Ceramics and Water-Colors,

    And I am most grateful for my current wife who has also enjoyed an incredibly diverse and entrepreneurial career, even as a single Mom long before meeting me, as well as being a really true loving supporter of my own endeavours.

    I include all of my amazingly accomplished daughters, including the in-laws – and even my granddaughters that are all showing great promise even as young as they are. I stand in awe of them all in what they have been able to achieve against many challenging odds and I am immensely grateful for having them all in my own life.

    Lastly, I will be sharing your post wherever I can in tribute to the women whom you have set as examples here and in tribute to the women that have influenced my own life. I can honestly admit that I would not be here today had I not had the benefit of having had the women I’ve mentioned that have been in my own life. Thank you for that. /psb

    • That’s an amazing list of women. What a powerful influence you had surrounding you!

      • Thank you @myideaguy:disqus. I appreciate that, coming from you.

        But I appreciate even more the fact that through your comment here, you’ve shown me that you really do pay attention to those of us in your Tribe – both as a proof of the concept you yourself have been preaching and even more meaningful as a consequence. 🙂 /psb

    • Peter, you are such an encourager and supporter of women! Perhaps of men, too, but I’m a woman and can speak from my own experience — also, in our interactions, you have often referenced the women in your life with such admiration.

      Thank you for sharing this post with me; truly inspiring.

      • Thank you @donnawhite:disqus. Very kind of you to say so.

        My guess has been that you are of an age similar to that of our (Marie and me) own daughters and daughters in law. Through them and Marie’s own life experiences, we know only too well the challenges that women today have to face in bringing up children and making their own way in the unkind business world.

        Ever since I first met you on @fredwilson:disqus’s AVC, and began to understand your own story and see the parallels, I have viewed you and your own entrepreneurial and family challenges in similar light to that of our own daughters so it has seemed only natural to offer you encouragement and support just as we have done for our own family.

  • Scott Anthony

    Stu.. From sitting in a crowd of a thousand and hearing your stories moved me.

    A year later sitting in a room of 15 and watching you be you – confirmed my opinion.

    Meeting both you and Amy in person and to share a conversation at dinner is impactful in so many way much more than you may realise.

    To see the love you have for Amy and your children and your impact on the world you are making – is simply outstanding.

    What you do as a man in this world by embracing and inspiring then praising so many amazing women is testament to the man that they and who we see you are.

    Congrats to all those on this list you beautifully share, and congrats to all the amazing women who are raising the standards to a life in a better world where everything is possible.

    Congrats to you … Men need to see you and the amazing things you do.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks my friend. Super kind of you to drop by and share your thoughts. Appreciate it!

  • My Mom. Mother of 6, Nurse, Thriver after cancer, Artist…Still my biggest hero! <3