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7 Business Success Secrets

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It’s no secret, I just love hearing women’s success stories and am all about sharing them in an effort to uplift the next woman. I stumbled upon a very interesting piece recently on that I knew you’d be inspired by. The story was about Linda Hollander  – known as the “Wealthy Bag Lady.” Before she started her custom-shopping-bag business she hid in her rent-controlled apartment and according to, was so deeply in debt that her hands shook when she found bills in the mailbox. She was also in an abusive relationship.

Hollander recently spoke about her business beginnings and her secrets of success at the Institute for Women Entrepreneurs’ first-ever Women’s Summit in Anaheim, Calif., an all-day meeting that attracted more than 400 women. Here’s what she had to say:

You’ve already got what it takes. The seeds of greatness are already inside you. To grow those seeds, Hollander says, you have to invest in yourself. “Invest regularly–and without apology,” she says. Attend seminars, spend money on expert advice. “Do it,” she says. “Invest in yourself and it will pay off exponentially. ”

Your business is a lifetime self-improvement course. “School is never over for the pros,” Hollander says. “If you don’t keep learning, you don’t grow, and your competition will leave you in the dust.” 

Don’t worry about making mistakes, she says. Don’t let fear stop you. According to Hollander, fear has many different faces, including perfectionism, arrogance and procrastination.

A woman’s yardstick is different than a man’s. Women measure success differently. “We internalize success,” Hollander says. For women, success might be running a day-care center and shaping the minds of the leaders of tomorrow. For another woman Hollander knows, it was knocking off work at 3 p.m. so she could be “fully present” for her kids. “The ultimate victory,” Hollander says, “is to live on your own terms. Having the independence to live on your own terms is the No. 1 reason for starting a business,” she adds.

Wealth only corrupts the corruptible. Some women stop short and sabotage themselves because they fear that being wealthy will change them. “Wealth doesn’t corrupt,” Hollander says, “It exposes. It makes you more of what you are.

”Wealth gives you the opportunity to make a difference. You can donate anonymously to charities,” she suggests.

Sales is nurturing. “If you’re not comfortable selling yourself, think of it as nurturing your clients. In sales, clients are coming to you with a pain. Listen to their problems and offer brilliant solutions. Sales are a validation that people trust you with their wallets.”

The octopus is mightier than the elephant. There are three types of marketing: high-tech, low-tech and no-tech, Hollander says. Both high-tech and low-tech marketing have their uses, and they make use of the octopus’s multiple tentacles. An elephant only has one trunk. High-tech includes your website, e-mail blasts, social networking, blogs and chat groups. Low-tech is direct mail, display ads, public relations and trade shows. “I like sending postcards once in a while,” Hollander says. No-tech is “elephant marketing–it’s waiting by the phone,” she says.

The heart weighs more than the wallet. Value people more than money. “You’re not going to get time back, so spend time with your family. Dedicate yourself to giving back.” And if, like Hollander, your passion is world travel, then put vacations on your calendar, along with your business appointments. 

Hollander says her one regret is that she didn’t spend enough time with her family in years past. “I could have made the time,” she says now.

Hollander left the audience with a call to action that spoke directly to my soul:

“Knowledge is not power. Action on that knowledge is power. Take action–step into your greatness.”

Let’s make it a great week!

As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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