Barbara Corcoran and I sat down (via Skype) during my radio show for some straight talk about entrepreneurship and success. We had some fun too, joking about our matching blue dresses and not-so-natural blond hair. Barbara Corcoran shared that successful people have the ability to move on and overcome obstacles quickly. She said, “The most successful entrepreneurs have street-smarts; they can think on their feet when they hit a wall. Unlike some of the Harvard MBA's, entrepreneurs with street smarts don’t waste time licking their wounds when they fail.” My takeaway? It's better to swim with the sharks than to swim in self-pity.
Watch the highlights of the interview to learn Barbara’s business advice:
Reprinted from Consumption Conversations, which shares insights, expertise and inspiration through entertaining Q&As with great business thinkers, social media ninjas, biz experts!
There is only one Million $ Party Girl…and it's Lynn Bardowski! You can meet Lynn, if you do not know her already (shocking!) at her site, Milliondollarpartygirl.com. Lynn is an energized person who literally shines! One of Lynn's sayings that she adores is, "A candle loses none of its light by lighting another candle" and, in Lynn's case, she is certainly the embodiment of that expression. Lynn motivates. She inspires. Lynn leads by example – with no excuses or exceptions!
Who is Lynn Bardowski? Lynn is a mother. Lynn is a friend. Lynn is an award-winning entrepreneur – and a best-selling author! Lynn is a motivational and inspirational speakers at scores of business events and networking galas. Lynn is a mentor. Lynn is one of the South Jersey Biz Magazine Top Women To Watch! Lynn is also the force behind VISIONISTAS IN PINK – a cause that speaks dearly to Lynn.
Interview: The Million$ Party Girl Talks on Succeeding In Business, Lighting Candles & Empowering Your Inner Visionista
republished with permission from Consumption Conversations
There is only one Million$ Party Girl…and it's Lynn Bardowski! You can meet Lynn, if you do not know her already (shocking!) at her site, www.milliondollarpartygirl.com. Lynn is an energized person who literally shines! One of Lynn's sayings that she adores is, "A candle loses none of its light by lighting another candle" and, in Lynn's case, she is certainly the embodiment of that expression. Lynn motivates. She inspires. She leads by example – with no excuses or exceptions! Who is Lynn Bardowski? Lynn is a mother. Lynn is a friend. Lynn is an award-winning author. Lynn is a motivational and inspirational speakers at scores of business events and networking galas. Lynn is a mentor. Lynn is one of the South Jersey Biz Magazine Top Women To Watch! Lynn is an entrepreneur…And she is the Million$ Party Girl!
How would you describe yourself, if you had one minute?
I describe myself as a Visionista. (Visionista is defined in my book is “A woman who knows who she is, where she’s going, and guides her tribe of leading ladies to the top.) By the way, I’m a Maxxinista too.
What is your philosophy for marketing and branding…yourself?
My philosophy is you can’t build a million dollar brand with a $10 Vision. Start with your vision, create a brand that communicates your vision and “show up” as your brand. Then, market the crap out of it.
What mistakes do you feel most people make when it comes to telling the world about their superpowers?
Ego is our kryptonite. Men are very good at telling the world about their superpowers, but make big mistakes when they use their superpowers to feed their ego. Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong come to mind. For women, our egos work in reverse, feeding our limiting beliefs. We tend to feel pushy and see sharing our superpowers as bragging, and feel guilty about tooting our own horn. The biggest mistake women make is not letting the world know what their superpowers are. I’m on a mission to change that.
Now what do you feel are the biggest mistakes most BUSINESSES make when telling the world about their superpowers?
Not delivering on what is promised. If your superpower is leaping tall buildings in a single bound, you better be able to leap really high, and look good doing it. If you don’t, say you’re sorry and work hard to make it right. As a result of social media, consumers want brands to speak directly to them in “social-speak” vs. salesy marketing lingo. Domino's Pizza is a great example of this. They built a brand on fast pizza delivery. It turns out their superpower tasted pretty bad. After listening to customer feedback Dominos basically said, “My bad. Our pizza stinks.” To fix it they created an ad campaign called Pizza Turnaround that was a huge success. Consumers love it when brands share their faults and keep it real.
What is your greatest achievement as an entrepreneur?
I’m thankful and grateful I had the courage to act on my passion, follow my dreams, and more importantly, help others build theirs. That feels really great.
What is the biggest mistake you ever made as an entrepreneur?
My biggest mistake was letting my ego get in the way. When I failed, I took it personally, and let failure define my value and self-worth. It was as if failing was something that happened to me. It took me a long time to learn failing doesn’t make you a failure. Now I embrace failing as part of the success process. You can’t have one without the other.
What are the marketing and branding tips you feel are most important for entrepreneurs today, in terms of defining who they are and what they do – and making sure potential clients realize all they have to offer?
I could write a book about this. Here’s a thumbnail version. It starts with creating and communicating your vision. Vision inspires you, and others, to act. Find your niche and start to build your tribe by launching with a live event. Not everyone will “get you” or want/need what you have to offer. That’s ok. You can’t be all things, to all people. Branding is not about getting potential customers to pick you over the competition, it’s about being perceived as the only one that can solve your clients problem. Avoid the logo-in-a-box trap (no free biz cards from vistaprint please) and hire experts that will help you get your message out. When I created the Million Dollar Party Girl brand I hired a branding expert to create my logo, a lawyer to trademark it, a web designer to create my website, a PR rep to send out a press release, an editor for my book and a professional photog for a branding photo shoot. Within a year of that process I became a #1 best-selling author, radio host, blogger, created LynnTV and Visionista U, won 3 entrepreneurship awards and I’m a sought-after speaker. If you’re the best kept secret in your field, you’re playing too small. If you need help, class is in session at Visionista U.
What is one of your favorite quotes by someone that inspired you in some way?
Amelia Earhart is one of my role models. Did you know that in addition to being an Aviator she was a professor, author and clothing designer? Amelia Earhart said, “The only way to do it, is to do it.”
What is one of your quotes that you hope inspires others?
I have to go with the title of the first chapter of my book: “You’re not who everyone thinks you are.” I hope that inspires women to connect to their passion and purpose, and step into their power.
Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur, best selling author, national speaker, mentor and radio show host. For insights on entrepreneurship, leadership and vision, read her book, listen to her radio show, follow her blog and "LIKE" her Facebook page.
You know who makes the best customer service experts? Bartenders. I had the opportunity to interview entrepreneur Stella Collington on my radio show, Million $ Party Girl Talk. She spent 20 years as a professional bartender before taking the leap to join the ranks of entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams, as a Diamond Independent Business Partner with Rastelli Direct. When describing how she stumbled upon her purpose and passion, Stella’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. Rastelli’s foods have literally been in front of her for almost half her life, but she didn’t really “see” them until she went to an event, Rastelli’s distributor business launch, seeking a business opportunity for her boyfriend (not herself). Stella was going to stay for a few minutes, just long enough to drop off his information. Instead she left with a new business that spoke to her heart.
Her vision is to Stellavate (I love that) everyone’s life by providing quality farm to family food, so you can have more time to Stellabrate your life. 20 years behind the bar taught Stella how to be a great listener and excel at customer service. She doesn’t sell, she serves. Stella’s passion even shows up in the name of her website: eatpaylove.com.
As Stella puts it, the fortune is in the follow up! Here’s some of her tips excerpted from my interview:
Lynn: Most sales, and opportunities, are lost from the lack of follow up. What are your top customer service tips?
Stella: Follow up can be daunting and causes great F.E.A.R (False. Evidence. Appearing. Real.) in many business people. Does this sound like your business? But, there is a fortune to be had! I have a system I follow and it keeps it simple, yet effective.
TOP 3 TIPS
· Contact your connection 24-48 hours after the initial meeting. Remember key words of the conversation by being a GREAT listener. People love to know you actually HEARD what they had to say. It can be business or personal…the key is to keep the conversation about them.
· Ask your clients their preferred method of contact. (e.g. phone call/text, email, social media). If you’re wondering why your contact is not calling you back it might just be because they prefer a text.
· Set APPOINTMENTS to follow up and qualify your leads. Your time and their time are valuable.
When was the last time a business called you after the sale? Rarely, if ever. Continued service after the purchase is very important. It’s one way you can stand out from the crowd.
Make sure you always thank your clients. I have a consumable product so it’s very important for me to make sure it has arrived safe and sound. Once I have been assured I will let my client know I will be back in touch once they have used the product. Good time for that appointment.
The back office of my website provides all the information I need to track purchases from the initial purchase to delivery and is a very valuable tool. Use the resources that are available to you and, if you don’t have them, there’s an app for that.
I question my clients about their needs by asking about their family size, products interests, budget, etc. Serving also means making sure my service is a value for them. By learning who my clients are I can follow up on a regular basis built around their needs and schedules.
We are all so busy with life these days…a valued service that offers convenience, time management and saving money is priceless!
“One unhappy customer is one too many.”
Lynn Bardowski is a 22 year entrepreneur, best selling author, national speaker and business coach. For insights on entrepreneurship, leadership and vision, follow her blog, milliondollarpartygirl.
You’ve been invited to a networking event. You are excited. You know this is what you need. This event is going to help catapult your business to a new level. You are going to meet people who can support you and connect you with the people who need your service/product.
It’s the day of the event, and you are feeling a little nervous. Butterflies in the stomach, you feel like somebody put lead weights in your shoes! What is all of this? You are a successful business person, who loves what you do.
It is the dreaded condition known as “Network-itis”, and you my friend are not alone in suffering from this condition. The good news is that this is a curable condition. It is easily remedied. Why? Because you already know, you have got to “network to get work”
Here are some “cure-alls” to getting rid of Network-itis once and for all.
1. Take small steps. Rome wasn’t conquered in a day and either will your networking skills.
2. Go with a friend or fellow business acquaintance. There is strength in numbers, and walking into a room where you know no one can be a little intimidating. Walk in with a friend, (but don’t hang on to that friend, remember you are here to meet new people).
3. Be Prepared. Business cards? Check. Looking good. Check. Have your 60 second personal commercial ready. Practice it in front of a mirror, to your significant other, your best girlfriend. After 16 years of public speaking I still practice what I am going to say in my car on the way to an event. And yes, people look at me twice. But I don’t care. I am going to go in there and look like I know what I am doing, (even if I am not so sure!)
4. Extend a hand and a smile. You will be amazed what these two simple gestures will do for you in confidence and your business. You are not the only one who has Network-itis. People will remember you for your kindness
5. Be true to who you are. This I know is easier said than done. It will take practice. But when you are true to yourself, people appreciate the honesty that comes with that presence.
You still may not be comfortable with networking but with the above tips, it should help ease the pain. So, whether you like it or not, force yourself to get out there and network, you’ll be glad you did and your business will thank you for it.
Robin Tracey, known as the "You got to Network to Get Work" Guru, is a national speaker, 16 year solo-preneur and
Co-Founder of Interconnections for Women networking group. For tips and tricks on how to get your "network" on go to www.interconnectionsforwomen.org
Hear Robin's inspiring story and expert networking tips on Million $ Party Girl Talk Radio