Shut the front door and turn off the lights (lol)! Yes, that is a picture of me and Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter. It’s been about a week since I heard her speak at the Black Enterprise 20/20 Vision forum sponsored by Walmart and I still get the giggles every time I see this picture. I have to start off by saying I was a nervous fanatic when I met her. They were actually escorting her out of the hotel after her session and the “go getter” in me just had to say hello. Who knew she would invite me to walk with her and during that short time my mouth was moving faster than my mind, but it was a great experience.
For the last few posts I’ve been sharing my conversations with some of the wonderful women I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with at this Black Enterprise Event (all posts here) and had to close with this post on 5 Things Lisa Price Taught Me About Smart Business Success.
Lesson #1: Humble Beginnings are Just That … Humble Beginnings
Lisa always talks about how she started her business making products in her kitchen and when I met her I couldn’t help but tell her that I remember walking to my then High School – Brooklyn Tech and passing her first store. As I write this I can remember the first time I saw Carol’s Daughters displayed in the Sephora on 34th Street. The first time I sold my self-published books at the Harlem Book Fair, I remember how excited I was to see her second store uptown. I’ve watched her on HSN, seen her products in Macy’s and quietly followed her journey from a distance.
At the same time in my life, I would never have imagined the quiet little girl that I was; who used to take the 4 train to Brooklyn Tech would now be living in North Carolina with her son, hubby, and home grown business. I used to get so sad and frustrated in my little apartment, thinking no one would ever notice me. Then I stepped out on faith and went to my first networking event Blogalicious. Soon after I was at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference listening to Lisa Price speak and now I can say I have actually spoken to her in person. It’s so amazing how humble beginnings can be and yet, they are only the beginning. Just as everything Lisa has done yesterday and today changes her life, so does everything that you and I do right now change our lives in the future. Who knows? Maybe one day I may get the chance to sit down with her and laugh about our first meeting. This is only the beginning.
Lesson #2: Working with Major Brands Requires Major Work
Whenever I meet someone well known or work with a major brand I can’t help but quietly think, is this it? Will this one chance encounter turn into an Oprah Like Effect on my Business (smile)? It’s a nice thought, but as Lisa explained at the BE Event things don’t really work that way. Established brands are looking to work with businesses that can either help them attract a new customer or motivate their existing customers to buy something new.
From that nugget of wisdom and taking a page out of Lisa’s book, I think the secret to success is to NOT focus on lucky breaks and REALLY focus on developing a product that people love. Even in my still humble beginnings building the Black Business Women Online Social Network and SistaSense Blog, I’ve learned that when you build your own unique audience the brands and the media will come to you. All you need to do is put your focus where it really matters.
As I briefly mentioned above, I talked about my experience hearing Lisa speak for the first time at the BE Entrepreneurs Conference in the ‘Build Your Brand on a Budget‘ issue of SistaSense Magazine. I will always remember her sharing that when life gets crazy and things seem chaotic remember that “This too shall pass.”
Lesson #3: Embrace Technology and Social Media
While I was at this BE event I met an older gentleman who recently passed his business of 20+ years over to his daughters and he was telling me how he’s been resistant to letting them do anything with Facebook or Twitter, but now after hearing the sessions feels he needs to get on board with Social Media. Long before Blogs and Video Streams were popular I remember seeing how proactive Lisa was about using Social Media to build her brand presence. Keep in mind this was before it was “trending and everyone wanted to be social media savvy.” Also keep in mind that she had already had a huge following with a growing list of celebrity customers, but she never got comfortable in the thought that “good was good enough”.
Whether it be my online teaching courses on blogging for business, social media, video, or sales I am always encouraging business women to fight their fears and embrace technology. I even did an audio session on that topic alone (click here) because it is just that important.
Lesson #4: Your Health is Your Wealth
One of the questions posed at this BE Event was how these powerful busy women and moms stay energized! To that question Lisa talked about exercise. Like me, she noted she doesn’t like to exercise, but she does it because it makes her feel good and gives her the energy needed to get the job done! In a recent interview (posting here soon), I was asked to share one recommendation to business women. I whole heartedly recommend that you prioritize health as much as business wealth! I am now 32 with type 2 diabetes. I can’t do the long hours on the computer that I could do when I was 22. I can’t afford to eat anything to give me an energy boost because its the easy quick eats and snacks that through my health off in the first place. I talked about this a little more in the 1st issue of SistaSense Magazine. A big part of my personal 5 to Fabulous transformation was learning (the hard way) that your health is your wealth!
Lesson #5: You Don’t Have to Meet Your Mentor to Have One
Another great question was how to go about finding mentors? To this one Lisa told us that some of her favorite mentors she has never actually met in person. And in many cases the people we would love to learn from are either not accessible or too busy, which means that we have to be creative. She recommended following those people you admire however you can. Read their books, watch them, whatever you can do to stay connected and informed. You don’t need to shake their hand to call them a mentor.
I strongly agree with her on this one. Back in 2007 Lisa Price was one of the first business women that I added to my SistaSense Successful Sista Profiles, now the BBWO Business Profiles Directory. I couldn’t actually interview her, but that didn’t stop me from following her and sharing her accomplishments with my readers.
I’ve spent all day today writing about Lisa Price, Valerie Daniels, Dawn Fitch and all the wonderful women I met at this Black Enterprise event because one of the things I hope to do is motivate you and expand your circle of mentors to learn from and admire.
The SistaSense Power Circle audio series is yet another example of a group of successful business women you can learn from, establish connections with and consider as mentors on your journey to success. A special thank you to Lisa Price, your story in the making is truly inspiring and I will continue to keep watching.
“Each One Reach One Until We All Make it to the Top” – LaShanda Henry