Friday, October 31, 2008

My Favorite Halloween Costume: Freudian Slip

Today is the day to let your imagination run wild and allow your inner child come to life. Reminiscing about the past is the best place to start! Remember the good old days of pillow cases full of candy corn, Mary Janes, Clark bars, candy buttons and Bit-O-Honeys? I miss those days.

One of my most memorable Halloween moments is when I dressed up as a Freudian slip, and I have always loved Trick-or-Treating with the kids. What are some of your favorite Halloween memories? Feel free to share. I love hearing your stories!

Do you know:
How much candy is purchase annually in the U.S.?
What is the most popular candy in America?
Where the concept of the Jack-O-Lantern originated?

Check out my Happy Halloween – Traditions and Memories podcast to find out!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Which Book Won a 2008 Best Book Award?

Real You Incorporated did!

The 5th Annual National Best Books Awards, sponsored by USA Book News, announced the 2008 winners, and Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs won the “Business: Entrepreneurship & Small Business” category.

The book was also a finalist in the business categories of "Careers", "Management & Leadership" and "Motivational” and in "Self-Help: Motivational".

I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this possible. Your support of me and the book have not gone unnoticed. It is your words, actions and inspiring stories that keep me going.

So, again, thank you. It is an honor to know that my book is helping to energize women’s lives.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rally your troops around a clear vision statement

It all begins with a vision statement, and if you’re a business owner—or you plan to start your own business—you need a vision statement. Fortunately, a strong vision statement typically consists of only one sentence. Begin with three vision words or adjectives that you readily and easily associate with your vision for the business. Define them, write them down and then keep them handy. They are the building blocks for your company’s vision statement.

Sandy Clary, founder of Columbus, Ohio-based Clary Communications, masterfully developed a vision for her company when she started her public relations business back in 1983. By putting the vision in writing, both she and her employees were able to stay focused and on task. Perhaps most important, Sandy made sure that creating the vision statement was a team process. That only makes sense, according to Sandy, since team member involvement in the process increases understanding and buy-in of the concept. Now, 25 years later, Clary Communications is still strong, fast-paced, focused, fun and very creative—all traits that were part of the original vision statement.

Set the tone for your employees—and for yourself—by reading more about Sandy and other women entrepreneurs in Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs.

Have you purchased your copy yet? You can pick it up at any book store or conveniently order it online at! If you’re interested in learning how to create your vision statement, which is part of the larger strategy map for your company, check out Life Lesson Nine!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Letting Go is Hard to Do

Eventually your small business may turn into a booming company. As your company grows it becomes more difficult to control every aspect on your own. Never forget that working smarter—not harder—is the answer to your dilemma.

Remember that team you built? Trust them to get the job done. Successful entrepreneurs know the difference between leading and managing. Sure you’re still going to be there, offering them the direction they need. But now that your company is growing, you can’t be everywhere at once, and you certainly can’t do it all. So give your team the breathing space they need to put your plans into action.

You created a plan and a vision. Now let your team members carry it out. For more tips on building and managing a stellar team, check out Life Lesson 14 of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials For Women Entrepreneurs.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When the brand gets in the way of the message

I want to say this upfront: I LOVE the YWCA and everything it stands for. The mission statement, emblazoned proudly in persimmon, is empowering women, eliminating racism. I’m honored to serve on the board of my city’s YWCA, and champion the organization’s causes whenever I can. So, in the story I will tell you today, don’t think I’m disparaging the Y in any way, I am simply relating a cautionary branding tale.

To read more about this branding dilemma, check out my eBrandMarketing post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Change the world for other women.

You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to make this happen. It’s as simple as reaching out and empowering another woman with a kind word—or a reference. Perhaps you’d consider taking a mentee to lunch. Maybe you could find time in your schedule to volunteer with a professional woman’s organization in your community. Or, it may be time to start your own. And if you’ve attained a level of success that allows you to give your money—do it. Time and money combined are unstoppable. Throughout the last century and continuing today, women everywhere are making a difference for women of the future. Think Gloria Steinem, Hilary Clinton and local women in your community. You, too, can be one of these change-makers. Get involved now.

Once you’ve reached a certain level in your career, it makes sense that you’ll learn the most from your peers. The concept is simple: Peers share their knowledge and their experiences in a valuable exchange of ideas that benefits both parties. Marsha Firestone, president and founder of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), has witnessed this firsthand. She started WPO specifically to help those women who had already achieved success. But prior to that, she worked for the American Woman’s Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit that helped start-up and young women entrepreneurs. So, Marsha made it possible for professional women at various levels to network successfully, and she knows that it works at any stage of a woman’s career. It’s all about branching out, a concept that Marsha—and others—have instituted so well.

Real You Incorporated is another organization that connects professional women. Share your story and tips so that others can learn from you in the Share Forum. Together—we are unstoppable!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Don't Forget to Dream

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

Begin by asking yourself this question: If you could be anyone else for a day, who would it be? What is your dream? Start defining it. What are you passionate about? What business activities feel most like fun and least like work? Of course, this requires some soul-searching. Take it to the next level. Write down the names of three people you admire. It doesn’t matter if they are family members, friends or business acquaintances. Then, determine what characteristics you admire in each of them. The attributes you list should be closely aligned with the heart of your passions! When you define your passions and dreams, you begin the planning process, and that in turn opens the door to exciting possibilities.

This tip, from Gloria Steinem, is definitely one to live by. Anytime you create and build a business, you dream—or plan. It’s part of the natural course of events. And leaps of imagination are necessary for making it happen. There are, after all, endless possibilities, and it’s up to you to steer them in the direction that fulfills your dreams. I spend a great deal of time talking with women entrepreneurs around the country, and I am able to witness firsthand the incredible success they are experiencing. As you know, women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. Why? The reason is in part because they can, but also because they are dreaming and planning. It’s the excitement of the possibility. And today, more than ever, they know that it’s possible for a woman to own and operate her own business. Thanks to women like Gloria Steinem who forged the way for women like me—and you.

What about you? Are you dreaming and planning? Is your imagination working overtime? Get your mind in gear by reading about other women entrepreneurs and sharing your success story at

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's in a name?

Let me say this: Naming your company matters. It’s part of your real brand; it’s your essence. What you need to do is begin with your company story. Write it down; record it. From the first twinkle of an idea to the people that have played a significant role, get it on paper. This is important because you’ll want employees to know about and understand your brand. They need to know the real story.

After you’ve got that down, coming up with a name for the company should be easier. You’ll want it to define your real brand—the genuine, truthful, authentic you that your company is all about. Remember those dreams? Sure you do! Let them unfold—in your company name.

To share your success story and company name leave us a comment, or check out for some inspiration from other female entrepreneurs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Remember Mom's Rule?

It’s better to give than to receive. At least to give first. Then receive. It’s the way to build real relationships, deeper relationships, but some of us have forgotten that principle during the boom years. It’s probably time for a reminder.

Consumers are unsure, and in many cases, just plain scared. What are you doing as a business to give back to your customers? To read more about reaching your customers, check out my eBrandMarketing post. I’d love to hear what you’re doing, leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Subscribe to great magazines that energize you with new ideas.

Begin by visiting your local newsstand or bookstore and browsing through the periodicals. Make some choices about the magazines that relate most closely to you and the life you are living. Then, jot down the titles and subscribe to the ones that speak to you most. But don’t stop there. Get online and find out what’s happening in business, fashion, home living, parenting and more. Try sites like and With a computer at your fingertips, nothing can stop you from accessing great articles and features that will inspire you and help you grow.

There are several magazines—both print and online—that appeal to me. That’s why I make every effort to subscribe to those publications that speak to my heart. Some are business related, while others address family and the personal side of my life. Often, a good read is all I need to get inspired. Pink magazine is a personal favorite of mine, with its tagline--a beautiful career; a beautiful life. It emphasizes the fact that my personal life and my business life are not separate; in fact, they are intertwined. And that’s how I keep it real—by refusing to differentiate the two. Instead, I focus on my passions and my goals, putting first the things that matter most.

There’s no shortage of inspiration at the Real You Web site. In addition to the many great magazines and Web sites you’ll find online and at the newsstand, you’ll be inspired by our stories of women entrepreneurs who are putting the real you in their lives!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Your Business, Your Brand, Your Culture

If you happen to be in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 9, I'll be presenting "Putting the Real You in Your Business" at the National Association of Women Business Owners luncheon.

I'll be sharing insights on:
• Establishing a successful brand for yourself

• Putting yourself at the center of your business
• Giving your company a competitive advantage
• Building a great company culture
• Creating lifetime relationships with your clients

The meeting will be held from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Smith and Wollensky at Easton Town Center.

For more information and to RSVP, visit NAWBO Columbus. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dear Advertisers. It's me, Female Consumer.

Every month I’m excited to read my favorite magazine. I open the glossy cover with its witty teasers to find: full-color, beautiful woman, product, no substance (flip). Repeat. Repeat. Great content (finally!). Flawless woman, product (flip). It’s a vicious cycle. I quickly move past the ads to get to the good stuff.

It’s disappointing to say the least. Here you are with your great brand, prime real estate in a highly-circulated magazine, an over-paid advertising agency on retainer and a full page ad that says … nothing. Hello? Anyone listening out there? What happened to the emotionally captivating messages that accompanied the great imagery?

To read more about emotional branding and which companies are doing it right, check out my eBrandMarketing post and tell me about some ads that speak to you!