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6 Non-Negotiables for Women in Power

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6 Non-Negotiables for Women in Power

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As I’ve started to reach new growth milestones in my business, I’ve had this growing realization: Knowing your non-negotiables isn’t just important; it’s essential. Not having them clear? Well, that’s a straight ticket to Discontent City, which, let me tell you, doesn’t do any favors for your success, present or future.

It’s way too easy to let things slide, isn’t it? You make excuses for others (and yourself) and turn a blind eye to signs that all’s not well because, hey, losing a client sounds like a nightmare, right? Or maybe you’re so dazzled by what could be that you compromise what is without even realizing it.

These thoughts have been swirling in my head ever since I attended the Black Women’s Power Summit. The stories I heard from these incredible women, who’ve faced and conquered massive hurdles to secure their spots in positions of power, really hit home.

Here are six non-negotiables from myself and some of the powerful women we all look up to that will help you maintain your success and help you push through to the next level.

Related: Stepping Into Your Power as a Female Leader

1. Have uncomfortable conversations immediately

Let’s have uncomfortable conversations. I used to dodge them like a pro. But, facing them head-on? That’s where the magic happens. More often than not, I’d find out I was missing a piece of the puzzle. Whether they changed my view or cleared the air, those talks always left me feeling lighter, ready to focus on what matters.

2. Wait 24 hours before making decisions fueled by emotion

And here’s a rule I live by now: If a decision is riding on a wave of emotion, I hit pause for 24 hours. It’s amazing what a little time can do for perspective.

3. Don’t accept less than the energy you bring

Accepting less than I’m giving? No more. That’s true for work and life. Steering clear of toxic people sounds obvious, but we’ve all been there, keeping someone around when, deep down, we know they’re just bringing drama and draining our energy.

Related: 5 Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Top Advice for Finding Your Path to Career Success

4. Don’t be afraid to ask things that enable you to show up as your best

When national talk show host and actress Sherri Shepherd was asked to be on tour with Babyface, the local glam team was not equipped to style a woman of color. The team could not style her wig, and the foundation didn’t match her skin. Can you imagine having to host a large-scale event, looking up at the monitor, and being distracted because the reflection is not of your standard?

As women, it’s often implied that asking for anything more than what is provided is considered “high maintenance.” Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to show up as your best self, and don’t expect anyone to understand your request as they’re not on your path and they’re not the ones who have to show up in your shoes.

5. Understand that work-life balance is a lie

I listened to Thausandra Brown Duckett, CEO of TIAA, talk about how work-life balance is a lie. Her suggestion is to treat your life like a diversified portfolio. She said work-life balance is a lie because it never reconciles. She suggests living your life like a diversity portfolio. Write down everything that matters to you, and allocate based on your priorities. Over time, you will outperform in all areas. Do not put all your time or energy into one thing. Don’t forget to give yourself the grace to recalibrate your portfolio as needed.

6. There must be incentives to innovate

And there’s one gem I picked from Thai Randolph, who co-founded HartBeat Productions with Kevin Hart, that’s become a mantra for me: She said that in every opportunity, there must be something intrapreneurial. What that looks like is having the opportunity to build things, break things and scale things. There has to be a real incentive to innovate.

Related: 5 Trailblazing Black Women Entrepreneurs Share How They’re Breaking Barriers — And How You Can Too

Honestly, my non-negotiables aren’t groundbreaking, but ever since I’ve put them front and center, communicated them to my team and decided to live by them, the difference has been transformational. Thanks to these non-negotiables, my company, Society22 PR, made it on Inc.’s Fastest Growing Companies list, and we have been able to nurture a company culture that’s beyond what I dreamed.

So yes, these reflections on my non-negotiables have reshaped my approach to business. It’s not just about setting boundaries; it’s about creating a space where you, your team and your business can thrive. And let me tell you, the result has been pretty great.

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Invest in a Lifetime of Learning for $100

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Invest in a Lifetime of Learning for $100

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

What is Skill Success?

Skill Success is an online learning platform with more than 4,000 online course videos on a wide variety of topics. Entrepreneurs looking to grow their understanding of given industries or fields can come here for video courses on business, finance, technology, cooking, music, and so much more.

How does Skill Success approach learning differently?

Skill Success makes learning new topics immersive and fun with gamified learning. By giving users incentives like earning badges and showcasing achievements, Skill Success keeps making progress fun and motivating.

Are the courses easy to access?

Skill Success courses are accessible from any device, anywhere, and at any time. All that’s needed to log in and watch a video course on a given topic is a reliable internet connection. The one-time payment for a lifetime membership makes it easy to revisit when you need it without any extra worry or planning.

What if I get tired of the Skill Success course catalog?

With thousands of courses on a variety of topics, it would take a lot of time to review, let alone get tired of the content available. At the same time, Skill Success also continuously updates its catalog with new options so that you always have something fresh to learn.

Is Skill Success recommended?

It is. Skill Success has been recommended by PCMag, Entrepreneur, and CNN, among other notable names.

Invest in a lifetime of learning with this lifetime membership to Skill Success, which is on sale for only $99.99 (reg. $540), the best price for this subscription online.

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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The 7-Step ChatGPT Formula for Peak Productivity and Profit

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The 7-Step ChatGPT Formula for Peak Productivity and Profit

Tackle AI’s toughest questions with Ben Angel, mapping the business terrain for 20 years. Master the AI landscape and reach peak productivity and profits with insights from his latest work, “The Wolf is at The Door — How to Survive and Thrive in an AI-Driven World.” Click here to download your ‘Free AI Success Kit‘ and get your free chapter from his latest book today.

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How I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue By Being More Transparent

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How I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue By Being More Transparent

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It’s a common nightmare — you’re walking through a busy hallway or giving a presentation only to look down and find yourself completely naked.

We’re inherently fearful of revealing too much about ourselves, and as an entrepreneur, this likely extends to your business as well.

But based on growing my own business from nothing to over $100 million in annual revenue, I can tell you less is not more when it comes to business transparency — more is more. Being open builds trust, and trust fosters customers and relationships in droves. The only exception is not giving away your trade secrets to competitors.

Here are three effective ways to build trust with clients and prospects by being more transparent (without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed).

Related: How Transparency In Business Leads to Customer Growth and Loyalty

1. Increase sales by 18% or more by increasing your Google reviews

Nearly everyone reads reviews before purchasing. One study found a whopping 93% of people read reviews before making a purchase, and on average, reviews produce an 18% uplift in sales. In today’s online landscape, people put almost as much weight on a Google review as they do on a personal recommendation.

The best way to increase your reviews is to simply ask! According to research, 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked.

About four years ago, we had 486 reviews after servicing more than 90,000 clients. We started using Podium to send out texts or emails — based on customer preference — asking to leave a review on Google, the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

By May 2024, we’d accumulated 2,312 five-star reviews, an increase of 375%. Keep in mind that our account managers have been very diligent about sending review requests to clients and only ask the clients most likely to give positive responses.

Another good way to increase reviews is to automate postcards at the close of an order thanking someone for their business and encouraging them to leave a review. A physical mailer is likely more effective than an email — one study that surveyed 1,200 consumers found that 76% trusted direct mail the most as opposed to online methods.

You might be wondering, “What about the negative reviews?” You’re always going to have a handful of bad reviews, but people look at the ratio of good vs. bad. If you have far more five-star reviews than one-star reviews, they’ll disregard the negative ones and assume it’s not the norm.

2. Improve lead generation by 105% by sharing your clients’ success stories

Sharing real marketing results has always been a priority for my business, PostcardMania. We currently have 944 marketing case studies and 139 video case studies that document real people sharing campaign specifics that led to more leads, revenue and new customers for their businesses.

We share these case studies far and wide with prospects via email and postcards in the mail to increase trust. But more recently, we began incorporating these stories into video social media ads. During a recent earnings call by Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said 50% of all people’s time on Facebook and Instagram is spent watching videos, so naturally, we went that direction to gain more eyes on our services.

We put our 139 video case studies — real business owners talking about their successful campaigns — to work for us on Facebook and Instagram.

As a result, our social media leads doubled. In 2022, our average number of social media leads per week was 174, and then in 2023, the average lead count increased to 356 a week! That’s a 105% increase.

Of course, our use of social media in this case is part of a larger multi-channel marketing strategy that ties direct mail and digital ads together, so I suggest a similar approach if you want to see the same results (we’ve actually packaged our successful approach into a single affordable marketing bundle called Everywhere Small Business due to high demand from our clients to replicate this method). Campaigns that uniquely combine print and digital advertising using hyper-targeted mailing lists and lookalike audiences have been proven to work time and time again, so I highly recommend them.

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, your customers’ success stories can be compiled and incorporated into your marketing plan to grow your customer base.

Related: How Problem-Solving Case Studies Help You Market Your Business

3. Convert prospects faster by dropping the velvet rope and inviting them in

Being transparent online will help build a positive image of your brand and bring in more customers — but you can also take this one step further and let prospects visit your business and interact with your products or services in person. One report revealed that 79% of customers want brands to go above and beyond what they are required to reveal and give more information, with two-thirds of them saying they would switch brands for more in-depth data.

At PostcardMania, we welcome clients to visit us and take a tour of our in-house printing facility. We also have a marketing conference twice a year where clients can meet their marketing consultants face-to-face and learn more about our business behind the scenes. These clients often end up being some of our best and longest-lasting relationships! You can do the same by hosting an event and opening your doors to the public. It doesn’t have to be a conference — you can start small with something as simple as a night of snacks and entertainment.

Related: 3 Ways to Personalize Your Marketing for Higher Engagement

Free samples are also a great way to show customers exactly what they are getting before they make a commitment. This doesn’t always apply to every business, but you can try to find a way to allow prospects to interact with your product or service on a deeper, more physical level.

Incorporate any of these tactics, and you’ll show prospects the most authentic side of you and your business. Believe me when I say trading in your fears about being super transparent for bold authenticity will reap real rewards in long-term growth and customer loyalty.

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