Sometimes losing it all can be a blessing in disguise.
When the real estate bubble burst in 2008, Felicia Phillips, founder and owner of The PinkPower Institute, found herself divorced, with two kids, a disabled father and no money coming in.
Instead of giving up or making excuses, she dug in her heels and decided to discover what she loved to do. She tapped back into her roots of knocking on doors at the age of 19 selling medical equipment to pay her way through college and built a business coaching other entrepreneurs, primarily women, on how to effectively leverage technology.
The PinkTech institute was born. As part of this new venture, Felicia has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FDIC, Georgia State University, The Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s Entrepreneurship Center and many others. In 2011 she was recognized for her leadership and received the Phoenix Award by Mayor Kasim Reed for exemplary commitment to sustainability in the city of Atlanta.
During her interview on my biz1190 radio show, I asked Felicia how she lifted herself up and what she learned during the process:
1. Do what you love.
If you enjoy what you do, then it doesn’t feel like work. You are far more likely to be successful at it and the hours you put in won’t feel like a waste or drudgery. Entrepreneurs who love what they do gladly invest their time for a future payoff.
If you don’t love what you do, it’s time to start over.
2. Join a Mastermind group.
All through her youth, Felicia grew up listening to her family members sit around comparing ideas and formulating business strategies. She didn’t think of it as a mastermind group, but that’s what it was.
When she started over, those very people were the mentors who were there to help her turn her dreams into a reality. Her advice – don’t attempt to go at it solo.
3. Consider Your Resources.
Once Felicia realized she didn’t need to have all the answers, but could seek help, it opened up a world of potential. She created a focus group and invited people who could offer different perspectives to develop solutions and establish contacts.
Approaches like this reduce your learning curve and give you access to others and their ideas. Want to know what your customers need or how to accomplish something new? It’s simple–just ask!
4. Be Clear and Intentional.
Have an agenda.
Working with women taught her the differences between men and women and how they network. She said women are nurturing and not always agenda-oriented in their intentions. Men are hunters who go into a meeting with a “kill and conquer” mentality.
By teaching women to be intentional and accountable, they network more efficiently, producing better results.
5. Recognize your Brand.
Whether you realize it or not, you have a brand. The way that people identify you. Your personality, your appearance, your demeanor and abilities all define you.
No matter where you are – in the workplace or life – work hard to recognize what “brand” you are selling. You are the message they read – make it a good one.
“The speed of the leader is the speed of the pack” says Felicia.
Get started on that race today. Jump into a new year by embarking on a career doing what you love.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.