In this book Sharon includes the same chapters as Napoleon Hill did in his classic original. However, she interviewed over 300 contemporary women to use their stories, experiences and quotes to explain Hill’s principals to a modern female audience.
“While the steps to success may be the same for men and women,” Sharon said, “we tend to approach them very differently.”
In this video we talked about Sharon’s quote, “To worry is to pray for what you do not want” and how this applies to Hill’s principals of success.
Sharon also explained how important it is to brand yourself as a knowledge expert, similar to what Hill discussed about the importance of specialized knowledge.
Hill coined the term “mastermind” and we discussed how that is just as important today. Women often already use an informal mastermind of girlfriends but a formalized approach can yield even better results.
We also discussed how decision is the opposite of procrastination. I struggle with this vice and it was good to hear how to beat it.
Finally, Sharon spoke about her final chapter, one that was not included in Hill’s original. What I liked best about this is how Sharon said that the idea of a balanced life – and the guilt women put ourselves through trying to achieve it – is a false idea. Balance means standing still and we want to keep moving forward. Some days we’ll work too long in our business and neglect our families; some days we’ll play hooky and spend the day at the beach. “If you don’t like the decisions you made yesterday, make new ones today,” is Sharon’s prescription for dealing with the lack of balance.
If you liked Napoleon Hill’s original book, you will love Sharon Lechter’s version. It’s a definite must for any success library.
Sometimes just noticing trends in the market and realizing they apply to you is the first step to creating a successful (and profitable) marketing campaign.
Bed & breakfast owner Marsha Barrow is a prime example of this. By recognizing a trend in the market and taking action she made an important impact on her bottom line.
It first started with a gut feeling. As a Canadian Marsha felt that she needed to remember Canada is a bilingual country: both French and English. It was probably this feeling that made Marsha pay attention to tourism statistics showing an increase in visitors to Canada from France. In spite of the fact that overall overseas visitors are down, visitors from France are increasing.
Julia-Isabel Davenport comes from a long line of educators and entrepreneurs. As a child, she was either playing teacher or store owner. She even made and sold necklaces.
Although the seeds for entrepreneurship were already there, after Julia-Isabel got her degree, like many Boomer women, she didn’t feel entrepreneurship was an option. “I was expected to get a job.” Which is exactly what she did.
And while her job as a “bean counter” wasn’t exactly a passion, it did allow Julia-Isabel time to work on her MBA. Her course work exposed her to marketing and entrepreneurship – tools that would lead her to her first business.
After she married, having a second income made it easier for Julia-Isabel to take a risk and start her first business – as a computer trainer. She partnered with different training firms for six years. But this still wasn’t quite her passion. “What I really enjoyed about this business was publicizing myself,” says Julia-Isabel.
Then she had the opportunity to take a Public Relations job for Census 2000. She took a chance and quit her computer training to accept the position. And discovered she loved it. She enjoyed all aspects of marketing and PR. And she was good at it.
After the 2000 census, it was time for Julia-Isabel to find another career so she began a job hunt. While she was looking for a job someone asked for help promoting their medical practice. Julia-Isabel took them on as a side project – something to keep her busy until she found another job. She never got another job. Word of mouth began to spread and soon she found herself starting a public relations company.
She focused on women and small business as the target audience for her newly launched PR firm. However, although Julia-Isabel enjoyed working with small businesses and they have a great need for publicity, many didn’t feel they could afford to pay for publicity. And they didn’t always understand how publicity works.
“I had the same discussion so many times I got tired of it,” Julia-Isabel says. “I’d explain how publicity works and then clients would be disappointed that one particular press release didn’t get published in the particular paper they wanted.”
In 2007 Julia-Isabel had a brain wave. Instead of doing PR for individual clients she would focus on teaching small business clients how to do their own PR. She started monthly networking meetings that are more like group coaching. Her Business Strategy LunchesTM usually has six to eight people in attendance. People come with their questions about publicity. It’s not a mastermind group because membership is fluid. Occasionally one or two people attend several months in a row, but usually people come only occasionally.
As part of her plan to teach people about publicity, Julia-Isabel has written How to Maximize Your Publicity and the Publicity Planner TM. She has joined the National speakers association as a professional speaker and holds seminars to help people tell their stories to the media.
For clients with more money than time she continues to offer publicity services, but at a higher rate than when she first started out. In fact, she doubled the price. “The same day I doubled the price and mailed my existing clients I got a call for PR,” said Julia-Isabel. “I told them about the increase and they said okay.”
How does Julia-Isabel handle her own publicity?
“I have a marketing plan,” she says. “The biggest part of my marketing is the PR. I look at my marketing plan twice a year. But I update my publicity plan monthly. I send out at least one press release per month and sometimes as many as three.”
Clearly Julia-Isabel practices what she preaches.
Andrea J. Stenberg
If you want to learn more about how to use publicity for promoting your small business, join me and Julia-Isabel on July 29th for another edition of Andrea’s More Effective Marketing Podcast recorded before a live teleseminar audience.
One thing I’ve learned about entrepreneurs is that we’re always learning – about our industry, about marketing, about business. We go to courses and seminars and conferences. They’re a great way to learn as well as to network with other entrepreneurs.
But one of the easiest and cheapest ways to learn is by reading business books. Look in any entrepreneur’s office and you will find a variety of business books on the shelves. My office is no different. As a writer I’ve got tons of books about writing. But I’ve also got marketing and business books. Added to the books I’ve borrowed from the library and books colleagues and friends have lent to me, and the number is immense.
I just finished re-reading one of my favourites: Secrets of Six Figure Women by Barbara Stanny. Stanny has written a number of books about women and their relationship with money. As entrepreneurs, if we don’t have a comfortable relationship with money, we’re going to be in trouble.
Secrets of Six Figure Women is the result of hundreds of interviews Stanny had with women earning over $100,000. Over the course of these interviews, Stanny discovered seven strategies women (and men) need to use in order to earn big money.
Have an intention to make good money
Have a profit motive if you will. Now we all know money can’t buy happiness. But poverty doesn’t help either. And while Baby Boomer entrepreneurs have many reasons for starting a business, making money has to be one of them. If you’re not making money, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby. And if you’re going to work hard and make money, you might as well have a goal to earn enough to be comfortable now and when you retire.
Letting Go of the Ledge
This means you need to be willing to lose the security of the familiar to take the leap needed to raise your income. Stanny writes: “Their ledges took many forms, both concrete and intangible – from unfulfilling jobs to unpleasant relationships, from inappropriate goals to inaccurate beliefs, from damaging habits to detrimental emotions.”
Get in the Game
Stanny writes that people are basically playing one of two games: Not to Lose or To Win. The game Not to Lose is about playing it safe; avoiding risks, not looking bad, not making mistakes. As with investing, making safe choices as an entrepreneur may limit the risk you take, but it also limits how much you can gain.
When playing the game To Win, it’s not just about the Donald Trump style accumulating more money than the next guy. It’s about doing your best and seeing how far you can stretch. Yes, money is part of it, but not the whole deal. A key part of playing To Win is being willing to take risks and to keep going even when you’re scared out of your pants or your friends and family are telling you you’re nuts.
This strategy is about asking for what you want. For employees it can include asking for a raise. For entrepreneurs, it’s about raising your rates, not cutting your fees, setting boundaries.
Stanny writes “High earners are keenly aware of the immense power of audacity, which comes from the Latin word audace, meaning to dare. The women I interviewed somehow intuitively (if not always early) embrace this strategy as common practice: Stretch, dare to do which you think you cannot.”
If you’re an entrepreneur and are going to last, you’re going to have to stretch at some point. Maybe it’s speaking at a networking meeting or making cold calls; maybe it’s negotiating your fees or learning to wrestle your bookkeeping figures.
Whatever it is about business that you hate, that you’re not good at, that you’re afraid you can’t do, you can be sure you’ll have to get a handle on it before you can be truly successful.
This strategy has always been a hard one for me. I have a tendancy to want to do it all myself – a trait many entrepreneurs share. However, if you want to be truly successful, this is something you need to overcome. No one can do it alone.
Stanny writes about two types of help the successful women she interviewed talked about: True Believers, people who encouraged and believed in them whole heartedly, and Way Showers, mentors who served as proof that success is possible. These supports help us implement the other strategies.
“They inspire us to set our intention high and stick to it when our faith falls short. They gently pry our fingers loose when we cling too tightly to safety and then lead us into the game, explaining how to play. Maybe most important of all, they assuage our fears so we can stretch even farther.”
Obey the Rules of Money
Being successful isn’t just about how much you invoice – it’s how much you get to keep, how well you get to live as a result. Stanny’s rules of money are simple: Spend less than you earn, pay yourself first, put your money to work.
If you’re thinking, “I can’t spend less than I earn because my basic expenses take up all my income”, then you need to earn more. Then you need to make sure you spend less than you earn – save more. Once you’ve saved some money, don’t let it sit in your chequing account – you must invest, wisely.
If you’re an entrepreneur – man or woman – who’s not quite earning what you’d like, Secrets of Six Figure Women is a must read. The stories about how these women applied the strategies Stanny writes about and the successes they’ve had as a result are inspiring and motivating. This is definitely a book you need to add to your shelves.
Sharon Evans, owner of Kinexions Holistic Health Studio, has broken every rule in the book; she has no business plan, makes snap decisions and follows her gut. Not a smart way to run a business – right?
Wrong! Although Sharon doesn’t have a written plan, she DOES have the one thing very successful entrepreneur must have – a very clear vision about what her business is and should be.
Kinexions is here to help people in a holistic and natural way.
Every decision Sharon makes about the business is measured against this vision and philosophy. If something doesn’t measure up, it’s not right for her business. On the other hand, if something matches her vision and philosophy Sharon jumps at it, no holds barred.
Like many women-owned businesses, Sharon started part-time. Her path to self-employment began when her employer gave her six month’s notice. Since she had been a part-time fitness instructor for a number of years, Sharon decided to pursue this field rather than look for another office job. During the six months, she took courses to become certified as a pilates instructor and began teaching at the local YMCA.
At the end of six months, Sharon was informed she wouldn’t be laid off after all; but the ball was already in motion. Sharon continued to teach part-time until the two jobs became too much. She approached her employer about working part-time so she could devote more time to her business. A year later, she turned in her notice and began her business full-time.
Flexibility has been one of Sharon’s strengths. When she noticed a number of her pilates clients had brain injuries, she took courses on treating people with brain injuries. While hosting a bridal spa day, the maid of honour mentioned she worked for a company selling natural soaps and lotions. Sharon loved the products and decided they’d be a perfect fit. She immediately placed an order and started selling them from her studio. Both these actions fit with her vision so Sharon could easily make the decision to act.
Purchasing the house she works out of was another “gut” decision based on her vision. She was renting a room in a nearby business and saw a sign for an open house. She came in and immediately felt she needed to have the house.
“People come in here and just go ‘ahhhh.’ We’re here to help and serve people. They are pampered; this is a place to just relax,” says Sharon. “I felt it when I first walked into the house.”
Service to the customer is an essential part of Sharon’s vision. “I think women-owned businesses are different because women are nurturers. We work hard at making sure people feel good,” says Sharon.
This service is key to Kinexions’ success. Whether Sharon’s just had an argument with the bank or her husband, the customer never sees that. From the moment they step through the door, everything is geared to making sure people feel good.
Another key to Sharon’s success is getting support. She has a friend who started her business about the same time. They share their struggles, joined the Chamber of Commerce together and give each other encouragement. “We borrow each other’s energy,” says Sharon. “Otherwise, you can get caught up in negativity.”
As with any business, getting customers through the door is Sharon’s biggest challenge. While she did some advertising and had an article written about her in the paper, they really haven’t been effective for her.
Her connections from teaching prior to opening her studio, word of mouth and networking have been her biggest sources of new business. The challenge with networking is the time. It takes time to network – time away from her business.
Many women entrepreneurs struggle with balancing family and work. Sharon feels she could only have started her business now. Her children are grown and don’t need her as much which allows her the time and energy to focus on her business. This is something she couldn’t have done when they were younger. The demands of family would have been too much to allow her to give the business the focus it needs.
The success of Sharon’s business shows that having a clear vision for your business is key to making it work. Even if you have a business plan, if you don’t have a clear vision and a philosophy for your business, you may not make the right decisions. If you really know what your business is about and where you want it to go, you can make even major decisions easily.