In honor of International Women’s Day, I want to recognize a few great women who are inspirational because they’re changing the world by pursuing their dreams. From #GirlBoss babes who run their own companies to successful gals who excel in their fields, today’s career guide features motivational tips and rock-solid advice from talented ladies who lead by example.
Motivational Tips from Inspiring Women
I asked these women to share their motivational life and career tips with us. Read on to discover:
- What inspired them to follow their dreams
- Their tips for building a business
- Advice on how to overcome challenges
- The perspective on developing a personal brand
- How they handle the work-life balance
Kat Tanita – Blogger behind With Love, From Kat & Creator of WLFK Travel App
As a successful, full-time blogger, Kat inspires her nearly 500k followers every day original eye-catching images, a girl-next-door personality, and helpful advice on everything from styling outfits to entertaining at home. She regularly collaborates with top brands like Nordstrom, Banana Republic, Neutrogena, and Julie Vos. From fashion and beauty posts to travel tips on WithLoveFromKat.com, Kat made the leap from pro-blogger to app creator when she launched the With Love, From Kat Travel App (which has been featured on Harpers Bazaar).
- Follow your dreams. “My mom always told me to dream big. She said I could do anything I put my mind to – the sky is the limit! (This) really stuck with me.”
- Build a business. “In order to build a business, you must be insanely passionate about what you are working on – because you will eat, sleep, and breath that topic and your business for hours, days, weeks, months, years to come. Nothing is an overnight success and nothing is as easy as it seems. So be prepared to put those hours in, make sacrifices, and roll your sleeves up to do anything and everything to achieve your goal.”
- Overcome challenges. “When I feel discouraged or challenged, I take a step back and either meditate, play with my dog, call a friend or go for a walk outside. These tools help immensely and I come back refreshed and ready to tackle what’s in front of me. When you face challenges – do not be afraid to ask for help!”
- Develop a personal brand. “Personal branding is extremely important now more than ever. Create a vision board, a Pinterest board, and write down what you want your company to stand for, look like, etc. Get really detail-oriented when you’re doing this so you have a clear vision of what you want and can go after that. This will also be a great set of visual tools to share with someone who is working for you or with you.”
- Create a work-life balance. “Until last year I had no work-life balance. I was building my business and loved doing it so I didn’t mind sacrificing here and there, but after the years went on, it took a toll on my mental health and happiness. I found myself on the verge of a burnout, tired, and single – so I made major changes and started to put myself and my well-being before my business. This shift positively impacted my business and I have never had more campaigns in my life! I feel grateful that I took a step back and made room for the most important piece of my business – ME!”
Image credit: Vince Trupsin
Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith – COO of Smith Entertainment Group
As a 12-year staple on the television show, “The Price is Right”, model and actress Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith recently said goodbye to being on-camera, to transition into a different side of show business – behind-the-scenes. She’s now the COO of Smith Entertainment Group, a production company she runs alongside husband and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and former NBA player, Kenny Smith. With a new multi-year development deal inked with ITV America, she’s busy working up and executing an array of new lifestyle, reality, docu-series, and competition shows for broadcast, cable and streaming platforms.
- Follow your dreams. “We all have our own individual magic! Make sure to take the time to discover that, once you do then your dreams will start to come to the realization and you will start to believe in your magic and want to share it with others!”
- Build a business. “It’s never an easy fete but, as they say – nothing great comes easy and if it’s truly your passion, the work that comes with building your business around what you love to do will happen naturally. Keep sharing your visions and dreams so others can see the passion behind what you love and before you know it you’ll have a team!”
- Overcoming challenges. “There will always be challenges! I like to think they’re like putting obstacles on an assault course, to see how determined you are to get through to your ultimate goal or destination. Try not to feel discouraged as you’re dealing with these but remember that they come with the greatness you are trying to achieve. Remembering the overall picture during tough times can really help you get through. Stay grateful for where you are in your journey in life and that may help you to stay focused.”
- Develop a personal brand. “With the market being so saturated with products and marketing strategies these days due to social media it feels like everyone has a way to have a reach for their product or products to be seen. This is a great thing in some ways because it allows us to have access in ways we didn’t have before social media became so accepted. It definitely makes it more important for you to find that individual magic you have that makes you different from anyone else and inject it into your branding as much as possible!”
- Create a work-life balance. “Balancing life as a working Mum is an everyday challenge. Hear me loud and clear – BALANCE IS A CONSISTENT ACT NOT A DESTINATION! Once you take the pressure off of yourself to keep reaching it and realize it’s something you’re doing already you will feel such a sense of relief. So take a big breath and feel good about yourself!”
Donna Gonsalves & Daniela Garofalo – Inventors of CollagenBLU
As the inventors of CollagenBLU, Donna and Daniela’s company was founded on the belief of healthy anti-aging through clean and effective products. The company philosophy is to provide the very best in anti-aging supplementation through extensive research, careful sourcing of raw materials and the highest standards in production. Their marine collagen is sourced from wild-caught fish and blended with superfood derived vitamin C, which they claim helps to create smoother skin, stronger nails, and thicker hair.
- Follow your dreams. “Surround yourself with positive people. Life is challenging enough without having to navigate the hurdles of bad attitudes and negative energy. People can still offer criticism and differing points of view in ways that can help expand your learnings and experience.”
- Build a business. “Understand cash flow and have a plan for growth. As an entrepreneur, most businesses start with enough money but don’t fully grasp cash flow and how that affects their ability to grow. Then when they realize “oh we need more capital to grow” and haven’t planned properly, they either run out of time or find themselves having to borrow on unfavorable terms to keep the business and dream alive.”
- Overcome challenges. Focus on what you want vs. what you don’t want. When we are faced with challenges so many of us play the victim card vs. going out and focusing on what we want. A simple example is being sick. Focus on “feeling better” and working on eating better and reducing stress vs. whining about how crummy you feel and which person at work gave you the cold.
- Develop a personal brand. “Be aware of your image. We need to be aware that everything we do publicly is a reflection of our personal brand. Whether it’s going to your child’s baseball game or a ladies night out, Ask yourself the question – “is this photo opportunity, video, or public activity a reflection of my brand?” If the answer is “no”, you may want to reconsider.
- Create a work-life balance. “Prioritize. At the end of the day, that’s what our days are made up with – priorities. If your priority is finishing a project and you had made plans for happy hour with your girlfriends, finish the project and be done with it. No guilt trips, no second-guessing. We are always going to be torn between what we want to do vs. what we need to do. If we prioritize a balance of these activities they can and should work in harmony.
Suzy Goodman-Pollack – Creator of Yankee Doodle Dandy & The Dandyland Characters, Illustrator/Author of Life on a Lucky Star, EVP & Product Designer for Creative Balloons Mfg. Inc., and Singer/Songwriter SuzyOnCue.
Not only is she my mom (and a great one at that), Suzy’s also a multi-hyphenate career-woman (who’s the modern-day Wonder Woman in my opinion). She’s a talented artist, musician, children’s book illustrator/author, and consumer product designer (for Creative Balloons Mfg. Inc., our family-run international balloon & accessory manufacturing company). She’s also the creator of a cast of inspiring patriotic children’s characters – Yankee Doodle Dandy and The Dandyland Characters.
- Follow Your Dreams. “To have an overview of your dreams is great, but focus on realizing one dream at a time.”
- Build a Business. “Many people are successful in business, but I have always noted that individuals do not build great businesses; teams, do.”
- Overcome Challenges. “We are faced with challenges every day. Address each challenge when it’s presented.”
- Develop a personal brand. “Branding is only important if you are. Branding is ego fulfillment. Some of us are relevant when we put the branding aside and focus on excellence.”
- Create a work-life balance. “Ask yourself the question, is my “work”, or is my “life” my goal? Determine this, and follow suit.”
Gabriela Mekler – Co-Founder of mumi
As a co-founder of mumi, Gabriela is a hands-on mom who is committed to making people’s lives easier, by delivering an efficient and practical way to organize. “Amidst school (and after-school) carpools, grocery runs, and a myriad of other daily chores, we founded our company in 2014 to satisfy our shared entrepreneurial drive. Being subjected daily to grueling logistical challenges, we decided to create a company whose purpose is to share with the world the liberating feeling of being well organized.”
- Follow your dreams. “My dreams were never about being an entrepreneur, I never imagined I was going to be where we are now. My dreams were about being a Mom and caring for my children. Following these dreams has inspired me to discover my potential and reach my goals.”
- Build a business. “Building a business is not easy. There are so many things involved in the process… Learn to be flexible, humble, and focused.”
- Overcome challenges. “Accept what life throws at you as learning opportunities and not give up; you’ll come out on top, stronger and wiser.”
- Develop a personal brand. “Good and strong branding will set you apart from others. It’s like having a strong sense of self, knowing who you are and where you come from. It doesn’t matter how far you go, you will always find your way.”
- Create a work-life balance. “I feel like every day I wake up and try my best to balance it all. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t.”
Erika Szychowski – Founder of Good Zebra
As the Founder of Good Zebra (a producer of high-protein animal crackers), Erika is fearlessly striking out to disrupt the snack food industry. She is a global branding expert that has worked with a diverse clientele base from The Rolling Stones to the Olympic Games. Her passion for baking and strong brand vision are helping to bring her tasty protein bar alternatives to briefcases and backpacks across the nation.
- Follow your dreams. “Visualize visualize visualize – see where you want to go – and the path truly will begin opening. Don’t look a day, week or month out; look years from now. Feel what you are seeing and then trust the process. You must truly let go of expectations, timelines and outcomes and trust that over time it will all unfold – keeping an eye on the end prize and trusting the route regardless of how bumpy it may be.
- Build a business. “Say yes. There might be days that you feel weren’t worth your time, but more often than not – you will learn from it. Make a new connection, feel gifted to have someone support your journey, find a new idea or simply have a creative burst.”
- Overcome challenges. “Surround yourself with other female entrepreneurs. We are launching The F Project – the force behind female founders to create a space where consumers, founders and eventually investors can all work together to lift one another up. After having founded Good Zebra, I was shocked at how challenging it is to raise funding as a female founder – so I decided it was time to do something about it. I choose to surround myself with hundreds of other founders chasing their dreams, for I believe firmly that the more we work together, the more change we can create (vs. trying to forge forward on only my merits and that of my brand).”
- Develop a personal brand. “I am a believer that personal branding is often times more important than the brand the person works for/on or owns. The reason is simple – we are at a point in history where social is driving the initial engagement on every marketing funnel, and people sharing through their personal brands are seen 5-6 x’s more frequently than if a brand says the same thing themselves. As you develop your personal brand, keep in mind that you truly are able to influence your friends – near and far. Having a strong personal brand is turning into a requirement vs. an option. Bottomline is – we trust people more than we trust brands as a society. Putting that all aside, your personal brand is integral to your career strategy. One tip: don’t start at the end. Don’t start with the “brand” start with the “personal”, define what is important to you so that you can stay true to your personal brand as you continue your journey.”
- Create a work-life balance. “Accept that as an entrepreneur your day will never be as scripted as you would like. However, it’s up to you to create the patterns that work best for you and your priorities.”
Kim Landi – Founder of ModerneChild
ModerneChild Shoppe‘s founder Kim Landi is a CPA by day, super-mom and fashion designer by night. As a hard-working certified public accountant and mother of two young girls, she spent a great deal of time styling outfits for her little ones and learning about kid’s clothes and fashion trends. She began posting pictures of her stylish children on Instagram and soon garnered a large and loyal following. The social media attention encouraged Kim to create her own online children’s boutique, and with that ModerneChild Shoppe was born. Three years later, the company continues to increase in popularity, with their outfits frequently seen on celeb’s children and with a fanbase of 183k+ Instagram followers and 76k Facebook followers. Kim believes that every little girl should feel beautiful both inside and out and their styles are meant to help children achieve a healthy self-esteem and encourage girls to express their unique style.
- Follow your dreams. “Make sure you share your dreams with as many people as you can. You never know who’s around the corner with tools and connections that may be able to help you. Getting alignment with your closest family and friends is key. You will need a big support system to help you when times may get rough.”
- Build a business. “Once you find the gap in the market and your product or service fulfills that, being well~rounded and well-versed in your market is key and adding strong acumen in finances, sales, operations will help you tremendously and will set you apart from most. Build a strong team that compliments your style and skill and empower individuals that bridges your gaps.”
- Overcome challenges. “(Use your) drive to troubleshoot new challenges based on previous obstacles you overcame. Break it down into small pieces and attack by section with a cohesive strategy.”
- Develop a personal brand. “The value of personal branding is so key. People want to know the person behind the brand. Can they relate to you? Do they respect you? Do they trust you? Let people into you and your life a bit; it makes you more real and tangible and the brand will become more relatable.”
- Create a work-life balance. “Focus on trying to do activities that meet both needs or purposes. Killing two birds with one stone will keep you more balanced and fulfilled. A leader without energy and clear thought is not a leader at all. Always give yourself a break; it will make you a better mom and build a stronger business.”
To read more tips from inspiring women on how to become the ultimate #GirlBoss of your life, check out the Career section on Inspirations & Celebrations.
[Images c/o featured experts.]