Entrepreneurs are a funny bunch. The good ones are endlessly upbeat and optimistic. They honestly believe they can manufacture their own success, even when someone or some circumstance throws a wrench in their plans.
But it can be a lonely pursuit, one that requires fortitude and faith in purpose.
And maybe a pep talk or two.
At least that’s what I thought last week when I stopped by “The Power Conference: Women Doing Business” at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center near the White Flint Metro station.
Here were 600 women from around the region, networking and learning from each other at a day-long event that featured seminars, exhibitions and a luncheon. The logo for the session showed the silhouettes of three women striking Charlie’s Angels-like poses, and there were plenty of women displaying that swagger, thrusting their business cards in my hand and trying out their elevator pitches. (Capital Business sponsored a related business plan competition).
The keynote was equally high energy. Mikki Taylor, editor-at-large at Essence magazine, and the president of her own strategic branding, consulting and communications company, offered a summary of what it takes to be successful in life.
Her tips were all things you’ve probably heard before, but judging from the “mmm hmmms” from the crowd they still struck a chord. Own your life, don’t try to be all things to all people. Know your value. Develop your brand. Don’t let negativity drag you down. Cultivate your spiritual side.
She urged women to share their goals so others could offer support when needed.
“Relationships are reciprocal,” she said.
I liked her advice for to-do lists. Keep them all in one place, to keep priorities straight, she urged.
“Don’t be the ‘yellow stickie’ girl,” with notes pasted everywhere, she said to knowing laughter in the room.
At the start of her talk, Taylor acknowledged the men in the room but said she was directing much of her remarks to the women.
They certainly seemed receptive, but I came away thinking everybody can use a good motivational pick-me-up from time to time.