If you received the announcement email from Women’s Leadership Exchange, you know that I have officially resigned from my role at WLE this month to pursue new stimulating opportunities. Like many entrepreneurs, I love creating a vision, setting goals, and then moving on to the next challenge when those goals are met. About 10 years seems to be my business cycle. Today with the speed of technology, perhaps most entrepreneurs’ business cycles are much shorter than that. I thought it might be useful for me to share a little of my experience, along with some insights I learned along the way, for those of you contemplating or already in the throes of growing a business. You’ll find my insights in italic.
Since starting WLE in 2002, it has been a remarkable 10 years. The idea for WLE was actually conceived in 2001, and sparked into action by 9/11. Like so many, I was shocked by that life-changing event. I was one of the lucky ones, whose life was not directly impacted by that horrible day. My family and my closest friends were not lost. Just the same I was devastated and decided that although I had a marketing agency with a pristine reputation, my passion was to help more women become economically secure by growing $1 million plus businesses. If you have a vision, go for it.
WLE was launched in the summer of 2002 and, as some of you know, started with holding large conferences around the country and a huge Internet presence. My partner for the entire 10 years was Andrea March, whose strength was in planning large events, and is great in conference logistics. Happily, Andrea continues to lead WLE today and into the future. Find a partner (or employees) with different strengths than yours.
Ultimately more than 65,000 signed up to received our newsletters over the 10 years, and at least 35% of those attended WLE conferences and events in NY, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, LA, Boston, San Fran, Ft. Lauderdale and other cities. What we didn’t know at the time, was that WLE sparked a movement, by stimulating the birth of many other conferences around the country, and, therefore, today, there are many events, online and offline programs, to benefit women business owners and professionals around the U.S. That is great news, because the more resources there are for women, the faster goals can be achieved. Be the first to conceive of a business, but be ready for your competition to be on your heels – then it’s time for ensuring you have a competitive edge.
Since WLE’s goals were achieved, I realize that it is time for me to move on to new pastures. I am still figuring it all out, though of one thing I am certain – I am committed to continuing to contribute to people’s success. I also know that while I was focused on women at WLE, I am now concerned about men as well as women. The recession and global economic woes have impacted everyone. We are in this together, and all of us need to support each other generously.
That’s one reason, one of the first things on my agenda, is completing my book due out winter 2013, Link Out: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connectors. The book contract with Wiley seemed to appear out of thin air, which is why I know this book is so important to help everyone of every age solve the problems of moving forward with their careers no matter how bad the economy is. Of course, I am continuing to speak around the world (see my previous blog post about my trip to Japan) – spreading the messages of entrepreneurship, building strong relationships, and becoming the leader of your own life, and more. Be the spokesperson for your company, or find one, to ensure your business is highly visible to your target audiences.
I am also exploring other opportunities where I can make a difference in the world. While this in between time can be somewhat insecure, it is also very exciting with potential promise. One never knows what each day will bring. Yes, it’s a roller coaster ride, but it is filled with thrills. Stay focused on your goal, and despite the ups and downs, you can achieve it.
To all of you that are on a similar ride as me, I say, hang on tight. Let’s keep going on this amazing journey called life and continue to support each other to achieve our goals. I know that our paths will continue to intersect. Stay in touch. — Leslie Grossman, email@example.com, www.lesliegrossmanleadership.com