Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How To Break Through The Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling is a phenomenon small business owners feel when they their business seems to hit a plateau, and they aren’t quite sure why they feel stuck where they are. Not moving forward. Not moving back. Just stuck. Recently I had the privilege of chatting with Cherie Hydzik, a long time Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Here’s what she had to share with us about breaking through the glass ceiling and getting unstuck.

Q 1: Have you ever got to the point where you felt stuck or trapped under an invisible ceiling?

In my previous work I was an administrative assistant in cardiology at a busy hospital. It was a great position but didn’t fulfill me inside. I had been operating a home business as a hobby that started gaining momentum. I made the decision to leave my “real job” and manage my home business full time. I love meeting people, being a part of their lives, being there for them when they need someone. It also gives me the flexibility to help my in-laws who are aging and need more assistance.

I have been in business for 10 years but really working it for just over three. It has been a cycle of ups and downs. I wish I were one of those who jumped into it, and then bam their business is booming day after day! That’s not how it happened for me. Typically I would push really hard to get my business going and then the push would wear me out. I’d relax and tend to end up in la-la land, my business somewhere in the shadows. Have you ever been there? Then I finally recognized where I was at and how much momentum I’d lost. I’ve learned it’s much harder to prime the pump to get the water running again, than it is to just keep pumping steadily.

Q 2. What did you do to break through and push your business forward?

I had to go back to the basics of why I was running my business and start all over again. Yes, I had a customer base, but it wasn’t enough to keep the business going. I realized there are two options when you’ve lost momentum and aren’t going anywhere: prime the pump (in other words, start again from the beginning) or quit. I am not a quitter, so I invested my time and energy into getting my momentum back.

It can be depressing to realize that you’ve let your business go a bit. I found I could kick myself and condemn myself for losing some of my passion, but then it will only take longer for me to get back up and go again. I had to wrestle with the questions: What now? Is it really worth it? Do I really have what it takes to do this business? I learned that’s when I should be asking: Will the benefits of this business be worth the effort for my family and me? Where will I be 5 years from now if I DON’T go ahead with this business? Has it proven to be a good venture for others who have pursued this business?

Knowing why I was in business in the first place pushed me forward, out of my rut. I started over with a renewed passion, taking baby steps, and steadily doing the tasks that lead me to success in the past. It’s not easy. It’s very humbling. It is what it takes though: consistent work, daily steps, going forward little by little until the momentum is back.

Q 3. What is the key ingredient to your success?

When I have tried to move my business ahead on my own strength, it doesn’t seem to go. I have found that I need to take time every morning to ground myself spiritually. The days when I start the day doing this, fantastic things happen: I meet people that need what I have to share with them. The calls that I make reach the people who are interested in getting together with me. I pour my heart and time out to those around me, and it pays off. When I have a downer of a day, I realize that I skipped that very important part of my day; the time of reflection and realizing whom I feel is really in control of my life, my business, and my success.

Q 4. What do you now do to make sure you don’t get stuck in a rut or trapped under that invisible ceiling?

I start each day by creating my “6 most important things list”. I write down everything that needs to be done in the day and then I number them 1 to 6 in priority order. Then I make sure to get started on the most important things first. The things that don’t get done get pushed until the next day. This helps me to stay on track and not get side tracked with unimportant tasks. I consistently do those things each day that are needed to move my business ahead. I know if I stop – so does my business. It’s far more exciting to move forward each day than to fall into a sad, depressed state thinking, “I haven’t done this and that…” and to get stuck again where nothing is happening. It doesn’t take much – just consistency of the right things daily! 

Cherie Hydzik is a Sales Director for Mark Kay Canada. She is a wife and a mother of 3 young adults – AND soon to be grandma! You can connect with Cherie on Facebook or on her website at http://www.marykay.ca/chydzik.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making IT Happen Isn't Always Easy – But It's Worth It!

Taking your vision and bringing it into reality isn’t always easy. Even harder is making the right connections to make it possible. After all, the most successful people didn’t make their success on their own. They brought in the right people, at the right time, to support their ideas.

It takes a lot of courage to make things happen, especially when the odds are stacked against you. Many businesses and initiatives fail within the first five years. Most don’t even make it off the shelf.

In 2008 I went to Nairobi, Kenya for a month. I met a beautiful and lively woman who I saw so much potential in. I spent most of my time there working with and learning from her. I taught her whatever I could, and she in turn taught me about the realities of life for young women in Kenya. She was articulate, bright, thoughtful, and determined to make a difference in the world. I am sure that at that point in time she didn’t know she would go on to do work that would support and enhance the lives of so many.

I left Kenya and returned back home to my work in Canada. Several months later I was sitting in my bed with my laptop one Sunday morning and I received an email from this young woman. She wrote about some recent experiences that quickly brought tears to my eyes. Not only had she lost her job because she did not have the skills necessary to be successful, but several weeks later she was kidnapped and raped by a group of men and left on the roadside.

This beautiful, intelligent, and strong woman had everything taken from her but her belief that she had a purpose. Broken and at a complete loss, she wrote to me asking for support. She did not want money. She did not want me to save her. She wanted me to support her in stopping this from happening to others. She asked me for more tools, more connections, and more resources. She was willing to put in all the work and time needed to create her own initiative.

And so I did.

And so she did.

Over the next couple years I continued to assist where I was needed. In 2010 I went back to Nairobi to do more work with young women, and I met with this young woman once again. Within two years she created her own vision. She brought in supporters, volunteers, and resources. Together they supported over 500 girls and young women in Kenya to have a voice, to share their feelings, and support one another. She took time each month to provide sanitary napkins, to support them to stay in school, she offered workshops based on Passion materials, and brought in other resources where needed.


There were and are many challenges that this young woman has faced and will face on her journey into self employment and fulfilling what she believes is her mission in this world. With the support of her community and her own internal resources she will work through them all.

A few things we can learn from this young woman’s story:

· Take time to get clear on what your mission is; envision it, dream it, feel it… THEN get practical about it.
· Align yourself with the “right” people not just anyone who comes along. Gget clear on your intention and theirs.
· Stay focused on the value you are creating for others and yourself
· When you put 100% into what you do and it doesn’t work out – don’t give up. If you believe in what you do, there is always a way to make it happen. But, it might look differently than you thought at first.

Loretta Cella is an International Facilitator, Advocate, and Life Enhancement Coach who has spent the last 11 years dedicated to the empowerment of individuals, families, and communities. Having worked with diverse individuals and groups in Canada, New Delhi, Kenya and Uganda, Loretta has developed a deep appreciation and passion for diversity and connecting the human spirit to purposeful action. Loretta holds her Child and Youth Care Counselling certificate, CCDP, and is currently working toward her Masters at Royal Roads University. You can connect with her at www.lorettacella.com and www.passionfoundation.org.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

An Interview With Erin Kelly

What skills and attitudes are required to be successful in online sales? Do successful business owners always believe in themselves, or do they ever consider quitting? I had the opportunity to ask Erin Kelly, founder of Karmin Hair Tools, a few questions about how she climbed the ladder to business success and what keeps her there. Here’s what she shared with me:

Q 1. What key factors made you decide to start your own business?

Erin: Several years ago my brother and I started selling items on eBay. We received a shipment of hair straighteners through a trade and decided to sell them on eBay too. They quickly became our top selling item. This was when the flat iron was becoming a popular, must have tool for home users and not just for salon professionals. We saw a great potential here and decided to start our own brand of hairstyling tools called Karmin. With this, we needed a website to market it on and it all grew from there. I currently own and run three websites, marketing to Canada, the US, and the UK.

Q 2. Why are you great at what you?

Erin: I enjoy what I do and that in a way makes me better at it. Not every aspect of running a business is enjoyable (adding new products to a website is a daunting task!) However, the enjoyable tasks outweigh the daunting ones. I would have to say that I excel most in the social and creative aspects of my business.

Q 3. How much of your talent is learned or innate?

Erin: It is definitely both. As far as the marketing aspect goes, it has taken a lot of learning, as there are constantly new ways to get my business out there and to reach my potential customers. As for the customer service, social, and communication aspects of my business, I would say it comes naturally; I have always been outgoing and enjoy talking with and helping others.

Q 4. Were you ever afraid of starting your business, was there a point you almost changed your mind/quit/or gave up?

Erin: Afraid no, quit never, but yes, there were definitely times at the beginning where I would think to myself, “Is all of this work worth it?” It turns out it sure was and continues to be. If you want to run a successful business of any type it’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of hours, and a lot of commitment, but in the end – it is worth it. There is nothing better than the sense of accomplishment, well besides getting to be my own boss and work from home!

Q 5. What has been the secret to your success?

Erin: A positive attitude is key! Believing in yourself and your goals is important and what will make you a successful business owner. I also found that surrounding myself with like-minded people, and reaching out to successful business owners was a great way to stay on track and continue to believe that I too, could do this.

Q 6. What have you learned about yourself through all of this?

Erin: I have more patience and determination than I thought in the beginning. Thinking about the last 6 years I realize how hard I have worked to get where I am and how much further there is to still go!

Erin Kelly is the owner of Rylees.ca and co-founder of Karmin Hair Tools. The Karmin brand is currently sold online and has become one of the most popular brands of hair tools around the world. You can find Erin and keep up with her business ventures on Google+ under Erin Kelly.