Kaira Rouda knows the essentials for women entrepreneurs. As an award-winning entrepreneur, marketer, consultant and speaker, she's guided women to business success for 20 years. Kaira's book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs was a bestseller, and she is the founder of Real You and president and brand creator of Real Living-the first national women-focused brand in real estate. She's appeared in Entrepreneur magazine and on FOX Business, ABC, NCB and other media outlets speaking about the essentials for business success for women entrepreneurs. Kaira was recognized in Entrepreneur magazine's Top 50 Fastest-Growing, Women-Led Companies list and won Best Entrepreneur from the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. This busy mother of four took time out of her many engagements to share her thoughts on entrepreneurship with LovetoKnow.
Advice for Women Entrepreneurs
First, Kaira shared her opinion about the right time for women to start a business.
Do you think that today's business climate is conducive for entrepreneurs to start a business?
There has never been a better time to be a woman starting a business. It's the decade of the entrepreneur, and women are leading the way.
What differences do you see between male and female entrepreneurs?
Women have a natural gift for community building and networking. We've been doing it since the dawn of time, in communities across the country you'll find charities and services created by women. We are now harnessing those skills, adding the internet, which levels the playing field, and connecting for business like never before. Your laptop and my laptop plus a social network are now just as powerful or more powerful than any good old boys' network. Women are great multi-taskers, a wonderful skill for entrepreneurs, and we're intuitive. Business in general is beginning to embrace collaboration, intuition and emotion, it's the rise of the creative class. Women bring those qualities to their businesses naturally.
Do women bring different strengths to entrepreneurial endeavors?
In addition to all the strengths women entrepreneurs bring to their businesses that I just talked about, women understand the importance of personal branding. In my book, I walk readers through the eight essential steps I believe every entrepreneur needs to define for herself and her business. The first three steps of the Real You process are dedicated to Finding it Within - defining yourself in one word, defining your passions, and defining your personal brand. Much of this self-discovery work involves exercises such as story-telling, vision boards and looking in the rear-view mirror. Women, once we give ourselves permission to spend time on ourselves, rock at these exercises!
Do women need to be careful of any weaknesses?
Often, as women, we are accustomed to handling everything - being in charge of everything at the home, at the office, with the kids, with social obligations, you name it. The biggest obstacle to a woman entrepreneur's success is when she tries to do it all alone. No one in business is an expert at everything. If you're a marketer, you might not be a great accountant, to use my personal example. To know when and in what areas you need support and to ask for help are critical to success - and a common pitfall for superwomen!
Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs
Kaira's best-selling book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs provides readers with many tools and resources. We asked Kaira to share more about the essentials women entrepreneurs need.
What do you consider the top two essentials?
I created the Real You chart to help women entrepreneurs envision their personal brands and their business brand as one powerful, authentic force in the world. So, you can't really pick and choose the essentials - they are all essential. The process starts with defining yourself in one word. So, I'd say, that's the first essential and where you should begin. There are exercises in the book to help you determine your word. That's where the heart of the process begins.
What personal advice could you share with women entrepreneurs?
Don't feel as if you need to jump in all at once. If you're working for someone else, but you know you have that entrepreneurial passion, you can start pursuing the business of your dreams after hours and on weekends. Many women I talk to say they have a passionate entrepreneurial business dream, but they just can't leave a job, risk no income, you fill in the blank. The best part about being an entrepreneur is that you define the rules. You decide how and when you start your business, whether it's all in at the start, or a slow build to your dreams. You can do it, as long as you start to put your passion into action.
In your book, you include a Snark Scale. Can you elaborate?
When you pursue your passion, you attract snarks. Like sharks, snarks circle when they think they can attack! Check out the snark scale in my book - a handy guide to recognizing a snark attack when you have one! And you will. The stronger your personal brand becomes, the more you stir up the snarks.
You include a lot of personal success stories. Why?
Visit my website to read success stories of other women entrepreneurs. Throughout my book, successful women entrepreneurs share their stories and help illuminate key life lessons and essentials. Reading other women's stories inspires me and I hope it will inspire others, too.
The best part of writing a book is when someone writes or tweets or comes up to me after a speech and tells me that my words have helped them to pursue their dreams. I've heard from many women entrepreneurs that they, too, would like to write a book. And to that I say: get going. Just like starting your business, you must put your passions into action.