Categorized | Business Authors

Ask Others, Trust Yourself – The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Key to Success

Elisa Balabram

About the Author:

Elisa Balabram is the founder and editor of WomenandBiz.com, a seven-year-old online magazine for women business owners. She also is a spiritual business/life coach and public speaker. Balabram was named the 2008 Business Champion of the Year for her commitment and support of small business by the NY District of the US Small Business Administration. She has an MBA in Entrepreneurship Management from Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, CUNY, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. Prior to moving to New York, she helped run her family’s coffee shop and chocolate business in Brazil.

Book Synopsis:

This complete business resource guide provides women small business owners/entrepreneurs with the elements needed for them to achieve their goals and grow their businesses.

Components of success covered include:

  • Asking for business advice and help.
  • Listening objectively and taking action when appropriate.
  • Transforming criticism, opposition and negativity into positive action.
  • Moving forward by doing what’s necessary to achieve success.
  • Trusting one’s instincts.

Why should readers buy “Ask Others, Trust Yourself” and what they will get out of it after reading it?

Too many women entrepreneurs are uncertain about themselves and are afraid to ask for help. The book provides them with a roadmap for getting the assistance they need, and guides them to reflect before taking action and to develop self-trust.

Why did you write this book?

My own experiences as an entrepreneur and business coach inspired me to share what I have learned with other women. It was clear to me that many business people, especially women, don’t know where to go for help and what to ask, thinking they have to figure out everything on their own. And, when they do ask for advice, many of them have had negative experiences.

I saw this first hand while still in college, when my parents hired a consultant to help them grow their company. He caused a lot of disruption, providing them with a plan that was not really aligned with their vision and goals. Some strategies worked, but most didn’t. The experience made me want to become a person who could listen to small business owners and help them achieve their dreams.

This passion to make a difference in the lives and businesses of entrepreneurs led me to start WomenandBiz.com, become a coach and write a book. The core of my work is to convince entrepreneurs that they should not lose sight of their values and goals…that being true to one’s self is the key to business success.

My hope, in writing the book, was to reach as many people as possible and give them the tools and self-confidence they need to succeed.

What would you tell someone who is stuck because he or she received negative feedback?

We all have to deal with negative feedback. If the negativity input has come from a consultant or coach, I recommend that the person investigate the subject further or find someone else to guide them. Just because a person is a consultant or coach does not mean he/she is a good match. Choosing an advisor is like choosing a physician, it should be a process that includes referrals and due diligence.

I also recommend that people put together a professional advisory group made up of experts that can help the entrepreneur brainstorm strategies. Not everyone is going to tell you what you want to hear, but it’s important to listen and respect others’ opinions, filter the information received, do your own research and seek out those who you think can provide you with the information you need.

What is the link to your blog and what do you talk about?

My blog is www.askotherstrustyourself.com. I blog about my past and present challenges, how people can learn to trust themselves and their business acumen, as well as my journey and experiences as I grow my business and pursue my personal and professional goals.

Do you use social media?

I’m on Linkedin and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/womenandbiz). I recently used LinkedIn to get input from people about an overhaul of the WomenandBiz site. The responses were great and very helpful. I find Twitter a terrific tool for keeping in touch with people with the same focus. It allows me to keep informed about what’s happening in my areas of interest, share my thoughts and post my articles. I also enjoy Twitter “hash tags” and posting Tweets when I’m at business conferences. I encourage my workshop students to Tweet as well.

What free online and offline tools do you use?

I use a couple of free tools provided by Google – google.com/analytics, which provides website statistics, and google.com/alerts, which notifies me when someone mentions my name, book or business name online. The alerts are also great to get ideas for blog posts and/or links to articles you would like to comment on.

What is the best advice you never got?

That I would have to be as passionate about promoting my book as writing it and getting it published.

What was the biggest transition you had to make?

I had to completely commit to the book-writing project. I wrote it while working full-time and managing my business part-time. In order to get it done, I wrote at least 15 minutes a day seven days a week. I didn’t allow myself any excuses —I had to do it every morning before I went to work and on weekends. I did it for several months, and then it was time to start editing.

What is the one thing that you did right?

After months of writing and editing the manuscript by myself, someone told me it was time to hire a professional copy editor, and I did. She helped me better organize the chapters, and edited the content without making my own voice disappear. I also asked a few friends in similar industries to read the book and they provided invaluable feedback that I incorporated before publication.

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