Enterprising Women Vol 10, No 2, 2009

66 enterprising Women B Y KAR EN F R I EDMAN I t was not all that long ago, I left a vis- ible and lucrative career as a television news reporter. Last stop was ABC TV in Philadelphia where my stories ran on Nightline, Good Morning America and CNN as well as the local news each evening. It was a career, like many, that had taken a long time to build. And probably like your own careers, there were many scary times that I doubted my ability to succeed. Given I have a degree in journalism and no initial background in business, starting a coaching and training firm was chal- lenging, to put it mildly. While I’m fairly savvy, balancing the checkbook is not my strong point and my family has banned me from helping our 6th grader with his math homework. When I quit ABC, colleagues and friends called me “nuts”. After all, why would you leave a highly visible, coveted job in a major market to sit in your home office and try to get people to hire you to teach them how to talk? In fact, as I just wrote that sentence, it does sound like a fairly dumb idea. But entrepreneurs are always looking for the next door. If it’s cracked open just a tiny bit, we want to see what’s on the other side, even if stepping through that door means never turning back. It reminds me of the imprints on our automobile rear view mirrors that say: “Caution: Objects are closer than they appear.” Truth be told, what we strive for is usually closer than it appears. All we have to do is reach out and grasp to make it happen. This year I will celebrate my 13th year in business. I’ve made a few mistakes along the way, but I have also learned a lot which I would like to share with you so you can continue to grow, enjoy your own successes and share them with others who aspire to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs. 1. Be a sponge. Read everything you can get your hands on. Attend as many professional development sessions that time and money afford. Watch the news, listen to the talk shows and then talk to everyone and anyone. Every person from every walk of life, regard- less of what they do, has knowledge to offer. 2. Believe in yourself. Fear is a power- ful motivator. Be motivated and chal- lenged by all of the people who tell you it can’t be done. 3. Don’t try to be everything to every- body. Focus on what you’re good at and what you love to do. That’s what you’ll excel at and that’s how you will provide the most value to your clients and customers. 4. Look forward. There is no such thing as coasting. Worrying about keeping current clients forces you to bring new ones in the door. Your worst enemy is not the competition...your worst enemy is yourself. 5. Always strive to re-invent yourself and your product . Look for new ways to spread information, offer services and change the way you do things so you remain fresh, innovative and can provide new services for your clients. 6. Integrity is king. Never compromise your values and beliefs. There is no such thing as an easy road to success or making an easy buck. No one gets discovered. But, they do earn suc- cess. 7. Leave your ego at home. I come from an ego driven business and I have an ego. That’s not bad as it has served me well in television and in business. However, the priority is the client. They don’t care about how great you are. They care about what you can do for them to fix their problems and make them better. 8. Know when to say no. Not every client is worth keeping. Some will drain time, energy and money away from you, your family and your business. So, learn to say no because compromising what’s important to you can make you unhappy and cause you to compro- mise your own values. 9. Do what you say. So many people are so focused on getting new busi- ness that when they do get it, they lose sight of what they told the cli- ent they would accomplish for them. Remember what you said you would do and make sure you do it! 10. Have fun. Love what you do and love to get out of bed in the morning. If not, you’re in the wrong business. While sales, marketing, client develop- ment, public relations and so many other business considerations are necessary to climb the ladder of success; real success bubbles forth from your gut. KAREN FRIEDMAN is an international com- munications coach and former award winning television reporter who helps executives, spokespeople and celeb- rities shine in every interview, appear- ance and presentation. President of Karen Friedman Enterprises, Inc. and co-author of Speaking of Success , she is frequent- ly quoted by publications including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times . Contact her through http://www.karen- friedman.com. Ten Simple Steps to Become a Successful Entrepreneur notes End