Believe it or not, I believe we are in the midst of a fear epidemic. I have had more than a few conversations in the last two weeks with women who are passionate about what they do, articulate about their ideas, but scared to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. They have come up with a product, service or way to do business that could turn into a sustainable, highly successful business. But something is preventing them from following through on their dreams. I can’t even say it’s exclusive to women, because I know a few men who are just as gun shy. But for the purposes of this post, I’m referring to the women.

So why are we victims of failing to move forward with great ideas? There are lots of reasons. It surely isn’t due to a lack of creativity or passion. All of the women I have spoken with over the last few weeks had this certain something in their voices. You know, like that sound of pride a mom exudes when speaking of her baby being on the honor role. They want so bad to tap into their inner CEO and share their “baby” with the world. But something is holding them back.

  • Fear of Failure. This one is a biggie! Trust me I know. There were many nights in the beginning I sat up wondering what people would think of me if I failed. It’s a huge burden on women’s minds. Women are held up to a higher scrutiny than men. We are the Moms, the caretakers. So if we fail at a business, it can be perceived as something that was expected of a Mom with a “hobby”. Hey, *I* didn’t say that, but I’ve heard it. I say to hell with what people think. Many prominent people (women AND men) have failed…on more than one occasion too. Failing should not be feared. It should be used as a learning lesson to prepare you for your next steps. Don’t let fear of failure keep you on the sidelines.
  • Fear of Success. Once again, guilty as charged. Even worse than the fear of failure is fear of success. This is a bit more psychological for some people than others because it’s all about the expectations others put on you. Once it became obvious that I was on the cusp of something big, the expectations of others crept into my head. I worried so much about letting people down, which is a lot different than worrying about what people will say. I felt that pressure hard. A lot of time women panic because they feel if they grow too fast too soon, it will take away from their family obligations or that there will be such great demands on them that they won’t be able to deliver. Don’t fall victim to this. Success can be wonderful if you manage it right.
  • Lack of Support. Single Moms are hit hardest by this. They are already doing it all on their own, raising the kids, being the breadwinner. It’s hard to move forward with a business idea if you feel nobody supports or believes in you. But don’t let that stop you. There are many women’s and moms groups that are out there that would love to support you. You can look on the internet and find local groups that fit your needs.
  • Lack of Money. I learned from a great friend that it’s not always necessary to have the funding to start a business. There are ways that you can creatively finance. There are microloans, business plan competitions, small business loans, angel investors and joint ventures. You can also offer equity, commission, revenue sharing or deferred salary to key staff. Not being capital rich, doesn’t mean you can’t move forward with your idea or business.
  • Fear of Losing a Stable Paycheck & Benefits. This is without a doubt the worst excuse of them all. I know you’re saying “but the economy!!” and yes we are in a bit of a jacked up economy. But that’s no excuse to not move forward. First of all, you can probably search online for better benefits at sites like EHealthinsurance.com for insurance, and Fidelity or Sharebuilder for 401K programs. I have consistently found better coverage than what companies can offer by researching online. And if you are passionate enough about your company, willing to market like crazy, and are hungry enough to get out there and close clients, the money will come. What gets lost is that you have to potential to make MORE money. I don’t think anyone deliberately goes into business to make less money or to fail. Do you want someone determining the most money you are allowed to make? I didn’t think so.

Don’t let fear keep you from bringing your idea to market. Many of us have the capability to be business owners. True entrepreneurs are OK with taking a risk because they know the rewards greatly outweigh them. You can overcome any of the excuses listed above. It starts with changing your mindset. Believe in yourself and you will be on your way to succeeding. Fear is nothing but False Evidence Appearing Real. As I always say no limits, no boundaries, no fear.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

When a woman decides it’s time to leave the corporate world and head off for entrepreneurial pursuits, it can be an exciting time in her life. She gets visions of freedom and no boss or time clock in her head. She imagines what it will be like when she gets her first big six figure order. She even thinks about the day when her business is given an award for being outstanding in her industry. The first couple or months or even years are filled with wearing the many hats of the business and facing some hard realities. Then she hits that wall. You know that wall. Where you feel like a tons of pressure is on your shoulders. You’re doing the accounting, the marketing, the networking, the client development, the sales calls, the HR, and every other hat that comes along with running a business. And you stall out. There’s a disconnect between where you want your business to be and where it is at this moment.

Well, shortly after Thanksgiving 2009, 8 phenomenal women took a chance on me, their businesses and themselves and enrolled in the Next Level Business Coaching Program. Each had different concerns about their businesses and were at different points, but the common trait they had was that they were stalled. Between the intensive weekly one on one coaching sessions, monthly group calls, special guest education calls, etc, the ladies initially didn’t know what to expect. But as we got a rhythym going, each started experiencing phenomenal breakthroughs with their businesses. I am so very proud of the success they’ve all achieved and my only regret is that I don’t get to work with them longer. I made a promise to them at the beginning of the program that we would take this journey together and that I would be brutally honest. And I was. While it is a business program, we worked on strengthening their confidence and the way they looked at their businesses.

If you listened to my radio show this past Friday, Views From the Top, I had the ladies on the show (yes all 8 of them) to talk about their experiences in the program. They shared their initial fears, obstacles they had to overcome and the milestones their businesses (and they) have reached. Below is a brief introduction to the ladies and what they had to say:

Mel DePaoli is the president of Omicle, a change management company and author of CONTRACTORS: Doing it Right Not Just Getting it Done. She works with companies on the various aspects of how the core of their business directly affects the perception of their brand, which in turn affects their bottom line.

“Adrienne was a great resource for finding new technologies to help me grow my business. She also is very successful at making you step outside of yourself so you can look at how to approach situations in new ways.”

Quantane Higganbotham is the owner of Virtual Possibilities, LLC. With over 10 years of administrative, customer service, sales and legal experience, Virtual Possibilities, LLC provides administrative support solutions to business owners.  She supports business owners who are looking for me to partner and grow with their business.

“The Next Level Coaching Program has challenged me to take my business to the next level. I appreciate Adrienne for taking the time to direct me and challenge me to not only look at what my competitors are doing, but also what they are not doing. You have no idea how much you have helped me. You have carved years off the development time in relation to my concept. She is awesome. The coaching program is not mediocre. If you are not ready to take your business to higher heights, this program is not for you.”

MaryBeth Reeves is a busy mother of quadruplet 3 year old daughters and the Chief Executive Mamma of Scrapbook Mamma, a custom photo book company. When she found herself without a job a the end of 2008 she took the entrepreneurial plunge.  Scrapbook Mamma makes custom photo books for those who want to do something wonderful with their pictures, but don’t have the time or the inclination to do it themselves.

“Working with Adrienne was the kick in the butt I needed to put my business growth into overdrive. I had stalled in my pursuit of a major development of my company before working with her and I did not even realize it. In 2 months of working with Adrienne, I accomplished more than I had in 9 months on my own. Her direction, motivation, encouragement and deadlines propelled me to the next level faster than I could have imagined. I just hope I don’t lose the momentum on my own.”

Cynthia Coleman is the Founder of Coleman Communications is the media brand of Cynterprise. We have plans for cookbooks, magazines and other print media along with to television and radio broadcasts. Our first release, Sports Cynts, is a sports talk cooking show where listeners can follow along with her as she prepares recipes and engages her audience in sports conversation.

“The Next level Coaching Program has helped me to focus what I need to do to take my business to where I want it to go.  With the information I received, I have no doubt that my company will be a success and I recommend it to anyone who is thinking about starting a business, who’s business is already running and needs a boost or a business who is looking to grow and take it up a notch or to the next level.”

Esther Phahla is a Certified Public Accountant with broad experience in all phases of taxation and accounting . She works with clients in a variety of industries including:- Health care (physicians, etc), manufacturing, construction, real estate, distribution and service. She is interested in small businesses and their owners.

“This Coaching has helped me to get out of my comfort zone and take action in growing my business. By implementing the strategies that I have learned from Adrienne Graham, I have grown personally and professionally.”

Bernie Frazier is the President of CareerVolution, LLC, a career navigating and job search skills training company, Bernie offers a comprehensive curriculum for people who are seeking their next career opportunity but aren’t sure how to make it happen.  She offers effective; “can do” insights that can help jump start a career, propel it to the next level, or catapult it in another direction.

“Adrienne has been a God-send!  Her willingness to share her experiences and ideas has been very valuable in helping me develop my own business.  She has an uncanny way of taking your ideas and stretching them and you beyond the comfort zone in order to reach the next level.  Adrienne is a walking “rolodex” of great resources; it’s remarkable!  I feel much more confident in where I’m going and what I can do, and I know Adrienne has played a key role in bringing this to life.  I can’t thank her enough.”

Kristina Cox is the Founder and CEO of Prime Accumen Creations. P.A. Creations is for business professionals and individuals seeking a lasting impression with their audience and is a one stop shop for marketing, design and communications.  Kristina was named VIP Woman of the Year for 2009/2010 by The National Association of Professional Women.

“The business coaching program has been a blessing. Adrienne was the miracle worker I needed to help me restructure my company. She brought out the six figure mindset that I needed to get to the next level.”

Maisha Hart is the owner of Legal Plus, a boutique staffing company in Los Angeles.  Legal Plus (also known as LP Staffing) has been in business since 1979 placing administrative support personnel with companies both small and large throughout the southern California area.  LP Staffing, offers temporary, temporary to hire and direct hire services and in addition to personnel services, they also offer our clients payroll services.
Now, don’t just think this was all about me “teaching” these ladies anything. It was a learning experience for all of us. They helped me put the finishing touches on this incredible coaching program. From well known special guests to candid conversations to the group interaction, this program is designed for women serious about stepping outside of themselves and focus on doing what needs to be done to get to the next level.

Not everyone can be accepted. There is an application process and only ten women are chosen each quarter. So if you’re ready to take it to a whole other level, stop by the website today and complete your confidential application. Applying is free and everyone who applies is interviewed and screened.

So, are you ready to go to the Next Level?

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham

Well we come down to the last month of the year. 2009 was a hell of a year for a lot of people. Some people lost jobs, some lost businesses, some even lost homes. We ushered in a great new beginning with the swearing in of our new President Barack Obama in January and many people thought he was going to be the answer to everyone’s prayers. But as with all incoming presidents who inherit a big mess, he was hit hard by reality…WE were all hit by reality. All of the damage done will take years, decades to repair. So a lot of people will be grateful that 2009 is coming to a close.

Well, as bad as it all seems, I choose to focus on the positive. I too have had some extremely difficult times this year. But I look at everything as a learning experience that prepares me to survive the tough times. As many of you know, I’m launching Fearless Woman Magazine and an Internet TV station in January. I’m also launching Empower Me Institute as well. Regardless of how this economy is I am plugging ahead to make these launches successful. See, now is the time a lot of people would run and hide from the big bad economy. But as I told my audience on my teleconference the other week, it’s times like these that successful businesses are launched. Some of our greats (Proctor & Gamble, Sears, etc) have been launched during down economies.

See, this is not the time to run and hide. So you lost your job. Are you going to sit around and feel sorry for yourself, or worse, hold on to anger for a company that made a supposed business decision that was nothing personal? Are you diversifying your skills? A common mistake people tend to make is believe that they are so specialized they can’t be replaced. Guess what…NOT! Everyone is replaceable. I don’t care how skilled you are. No man or woman is immune. The best defense to coping with this situation is to diversify. Add new skills that are transferable and in demand now. I’m not saying go out and get a whole new degree. But you can get the skills you need to make you more marketable. Now is not the time to be complacent, afraid or paralyzed in your old ways. Things change, people change, situations change. You have to be prepared to change and flow with change.

So instead of waiting out the month of December hoping for better times in 2010, use this time to reflect. Decide what you want to accomplish and start laying the groundwork for it NOW. December should be a month of preparation. I know it may seem like the easiest thing to do may be to just sit and wait it out. Inaction is very detrimental. Don’t give up now. You’ve made it this far. Think of December as the testing ground. And in January, come out swinging.
Til next time.
Adrienne Graham

Adrienne Graham’s Empower Me! Corporation Wins Top Ten Honors in Business Competition in the Savviest in Social Media Category

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Atlanta, GA– Nov 17, 2009 – Atlanta, GA – Empower Me! Corporation http://www.empowerme.org has been recognized by StartupNation http://www.startupnation.com as a Top Ten business in its 2009 Home Based 100 competition under the category of Savviest in Social Media. http://www.startupnation.com/homebased100/contestant/7515/index.php

Many of the StartupNation Home-Based 100 submissions revealed that business owners are bucking the current economic downturn and finding business success in these tight times. Historically some of today’s most well known businesses started in a downturn, including Microsoft and General Electric.

“The 2009 ranking shows that the home-based business is more relevant than ever. The current recession has spurred a new wave of home based businesses as a response to loss of jobs, the need for supplemental income and the sheer passion for blazing your own trail and running your own show,” said Rich Sloan, co-founder of StartupNation.com, one of the leading small business networking and advice websites. “Home based businesses are the biggest block of all businesses in existence and we expect numbers to grow ever greater as extra bedrooms, kitchen tables, basements and garages become host to the innovative thinking and pursuit of success by millions of Americans.”

“Being selected as a Top 10 winner in the Savviest in Social Media category is an incredible honor for me”, says Adrienne Graham, Founder & CEO of Empower Me! Corporation. “It shows that small business is what the country is built on, and that Social Media has leveled the playing field for more small businesses to grow and be created. This award has further solidified my expertise in Social Media and I am excited to see what’s to come as the field develops”.

The StartupNation Home-Based 100 highlights 10 top-ten lists making it not just your ordinary business ranking. From the wackiest, to the most innovative, to the savviest in social media – this unique and diverse list highlights the home-based businesses that usually go unrecognized, but still play a vital role in the economy today. MSN publishes the ranking as well in an editorial collaboration with StartupNation. The ten categories for 2009 include:

• Recession Busters

• Savviest in Social Media

• Most Innovative

• Boomers Back in Business

• Greenest

• Yummiest

• Wackiest

• Highest Vote-Getters

• Most Slacker-Friendly

• Most Glamorous

Empower Me! Corporation was selected from among thousands of contestants by a StartupNation judging panel, which issues the ranking results annually in the November. The full results of the Home-Based 100 ranking are available on StartupNation’s website at http://www.startupnation.com/homebased100/. The 2009 ranking was sponsored by Microsoft Office Live, Infusionsoft and FedEx Office.

About Empower Me! Corporation

Empower Me! Corporation (www.empowerme.org) is a media, publishing and professional networking organization for the upwardly mobile professional woman. Empower Me! is the top resource for Professional women and the companies concerned with initiatives for the advancement of diverse Women in the work place. We celebrate the diversity of all women of all ethnicities and are sure to keep it fair and balanced showing all of our stories. Empower Me! is a professional lifestyle brand for the upwardly mobile Professional Woman who epitomizes & strives for professional success. It’s about Professional Women connecting and effectively netWORKING for the empowerment and success of self and others. Building relationships is vital. THAT is empowering. “Your success is my success” is the attitude we live by.

About StartupNation

StartupNation (www.startupnation.com) provides over 175,000 pages of business advice and networking for entrepreneurs and serves millions of entrepreneurs annually. StartupNation is a free service founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs with the intention of providing a one-stop shop for entrepreneurial success, including blogs from small business experts, podcasts, forums, webcasts, eBooks, award-winning step-by-step advice, online and offline networking groups, and more.

StartupNation co-founders and “chief startupologists,” Rich Sloan and Jeff Sloan, are two of the country’s leading small business experts and run StartupNation from home to this very day. They speak frequently at entrepreneurial forums and act as sources for top media venues nationwide. They are authors of StartupNation: Open for Business, published by Doubleday, and provide their insights online at www.startupnation.com. The Sloans are regularly quoted and featured in media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX News and many others.

About Microsoft Office Live

Microsoft Office Live is the award-winning service that offers a complete, affordable set of easy-to-use Internet-based tools that help small business owners create a professional web presence. More information is available at http://www.smallbusiness.officelive.com. Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft, the leader in automatic follow-up software, helps small businesses grow fast by putting email marketing, CRM and e-commerce on auto-pilot, backing it with the ‘Double Your Sales’ guarantee. The privately held, three-year-named Inc. 500 company is based in Gilbert, Ariz. and is funded by Mohr Davidow Ventures and vSpring Capital. Marketing and small business insight from the Infusionsoft team can be found on the Infusionsoft blog at www.infusionblog.com.

For more information, press only: Rich Sloan, for StartupNation, (248) 766-2905, rich(at)StartupNation(dot)com

# # #

womanshakinghandsNominate a Power Brok(H)er

She’s savvy, successful and WELL CONNECTED. She always gets the job done and there’s nothing she can’t negotiate. She closes deals and never uses the glass ceiling or the “Ol Boys Network” as an excuse for her not to succeed. She is fearless and accountable. She takes no prisoners!

Do you know her? Maybe you ARE her!

Empower Me! is hosting the Power Brok(H)er™ contest. We are looking for women who personify just what it means to be a power broker.

Entry is relatively easy. Prepare a short video (under 5 minutes, no exceptions) showing key highlights of what makes you or your entrant a Power Brok(H)er™. It can include day to day business or job activities, closing deals, networking with key influencers, mentoring others, etc. You only get one shot, so make the video as meaningful and powerful as you can. Remember, it’s about Power Brok(H)ers, women of influence. It’s not for the timid or shy! The video must include the person being nominated, the reason why they are being nominated and what makes them a Power Brok(H)er™. We want to feel your message!

Go to our YouTube Channel and submit your video. You must SUBSCRIBE to our channel, add as a friend, and sign up for the newsletter to have your submission accepted. When you submit your video, please leave a comment on the page introducing your entrant and the video. Videos are accepted through November 30, 2009. The winner will be announced December 5th.

What’s the prize you ask?

Well one lucky winner will receive the Power Brok(H)er™ Package. It includes: a one year scholarship to the Power Brok(H)er™ Club ($25,000 value), be a guest on Views From the Top Radio Show, be a guest blogger on our Blog to chronicle her journey through the program, and be in a feature article in Fearless Woman Magazine. We’re talking MAXIMUM EXPOSURE! For more information about the contest, please email us at info@empowerme.org. Good luck!


Power Brok(H)er ™ Club
members receive exclusive high level services not made available to regular coaching clients or Basic Members. Please visit the site for more information.

24036885Hi ladies!

It’s that time of year again.  It’s almost the end of June. Have you met your goals and objectives for 2009 yet?  I usually stop and take a look at my progress at the mid-point in the year to see where I have succeeded and where I may need some help. I’m pleased to say, I’m on track!

At the beginning of the year, I made some decisions that I didn’t know I’d be able to accomplish this year. I have to admit, at times I felt discouraged and overwhelmed, and felt like I was in over my head. Admittedly, even with this network, I felt like I was failing. Maybe I was missing something. But you know, at one point I had to shake that #$&^%$ off!  For one thing, I have a ton of great and hugely supportive people behind me. I am eternally grateful to them for sticking by me every step of the way of this journey. Even when I feel “blah” they are wildly excited about the things I’m doing.

I have a strong determination to succeed. This country has been hit with some pretty brutal times this year. We all know there is no quick fix and that we have a long road ahead of us. But I proudly stood up and declared “I will NOT participate in this recession”.  Some folks say “easier said than done”. True, to an extent. But I think attitude and mentality play a huge role in success. It is often said that times like this is when great companies are formed, and when people reach down deep and come up with that fighting spirit to succeed. I’ve had that in me and continue to have it in me. And it is my hope that you all have it in you…or dig down and find it and bring it to the surface. I run two businesses, a recruitment firm and the publishing/media/professional network company that is Empower Me. Recruiting has taken a hit, but strangely, I am not phased by it. I continue to have clients, just not as intensely as before. I know that the market will pick back up. I’ve been through this before. Not as intense, but I have. Ironically, other opportunities have surfaced. I’ve seen an uptick in coaching (or rather strategy consulting) and brand building through social media. So my consulting firm is working itself out. In fact I have recruiting clients in the wings for when the economy picks back up.

In terms of Empower Me, wow, what can I say. I’m AHEAD of my goals. While the network part is still moving along slowly (I’ve learned to not blame that on myself as much), other areas are picking up. My first book was written and released this year. I’m working on two more to be released by fall. I’ve developed a whole brand based on the premise of the first book Go Ahead Talk to Strangers- The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fearless Networking, which is Fearless Networking. Participation in the webinars and requests for the book and companions books are growing. I’ve been asked to speak at events and conferences and share my knowledge of Fearless Networking. I’ve been traveling meeting new people to network with and in some cases, taking our online relationships offline (finally). I debuted my radio show Views From the Top. I had NO idea I’d be doing a radio show at the beginning of the year, but it was a pleasant and scary surprise. I’ve been getting some wonderful feedback on the show. We are 6 shows in and I am just getting started. I’m very excited about the upcoming show. I’m in talks to consult on a pending tv show idea. I won’t go too much into that as not to jinx it. But this was another unexpected twist that wasn’t in the plan. I’m loving it!  And the plans are underway to launch the magazine! That has long since been my dream and I am pleased to say that it is well on it’s way. Look for a January launch! This one is more personal to me because it’s something I wanted to do for years and to see it unfolding now brings tears to my eyes.  So Empower Me is morphing into this publishing/media/professional network. Just watch out for what’s next. Trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Am I done yet? Heck no! This is only June. I can’t wait to see where this road leads me. And while I’m not a millionaire (yet) I’m enjoying the ride.  It’s not about money for me. That will come in time. My son has graduated from high school (May) and on his way to college this fall. So now my parental role shifts and will allow me to step into the mogul/businesswoman/power broker role that I can freely assume. Life without restraints…wow, what a concept. I hope you all come along for the ride with me.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

In life, we are called upon to make decisions. As an entrepreneur, decision-making is a daily part of life’s agenda. I speak to so many women on a weekly basis. Many want to chat about their experiences, some want to express fear about moving forward with an idea. Some want to just have someone to bounce ideas off. I welcome it all.

I have always been one to take risks and go against the grain. Sometimes to a fault. I went home to New York last week to attend another funeral (twice in two months).  While speaking with my various cousins, I was amazed at how some of us had excelled, and some of us had remained stagnant.  One cousin, Debbie, is older than I am.  She was commenting how she had never been out of the Bronx and that she knew there was a whole world out there but never made an attempt to step out beyond the borders of New York.  It made me sad.  Here she is, a grown woman and a grown child and two teen granddaughters, and she had never ventured out of her comfort zone.  I told her “Debbie, there’s a whole world out there.  Live your life.  Do something you never thought of doing before.  Go to Atlantic City.  Take a trip up the coast.  Go to Disney World.  ANYTHING!”.

My point in sharing this story is simple.  There IS a whole world out there.  The sky is the limit if you believe so.  You’re not happy in your current job? Do something about it.  Build your skills so you can explore other career options, companies or departments.  Corporate isn’t your thing?  Take a leap of faith and start a business.  Do something today that you never imagined yourself doing.  Whatever you do, don’t remain still.  When you’re still, you’re stagnant.  When you’re stagnant, your trapped.

I don’t know about you, but I am compiling my “Bucket List” and I’m going for broke.  I plan to do things to push my intellectual limits.  To stretch my skills.  To expand my horizons.  Not sure what you want to do, consult a coach.  So do your thing.  I know I’m doing mine.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

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