We all need coaches and guides when it comes to our careers and personal lives, wardrobes, and images; especially during difficult times.
Having just the right coach or mentor can make the difference between floundering and succeeding to meet even your most lofty goals. This is why professional athletes keep trusted coaches in their corner and also why these four remarkable female business owners have not only pivoted during COVID-19, they have expanded their reach and not just survived, and even clearly thrived!
Inspiring Philadelphia-based business owners — Marina Stamos and Felicia Shanken — are true role models who have many vital life lessons for us on how to find the ‘Silver Linings’ as we continue to navigate the choppy waters of COVID-19
For many of us, our families and business lives were put on pause or lockdown at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in mid-March. Now, after nearly seven months, we are still dealing with social distancing, wearing masks, virtual learning for our children, and numerous Zoom calls and webinars that have temporarily replaced in-person workshops and conferences; the way we were formerly accustomed to connecting with colleagues and prospective clients.
With an estimated 100,000 U.S. small businesses permanently closing their doors since March, these female entrepreneurs used their gumption, determination, fortitude, and moxie to find new ways to serve current, new, and future clients.
Their ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, creativity, tenacity, and hard work, are sure to help us as a blueprint for our own personal and career journey.
Please take inspiration from their stories and use their journeys as a roadmap for your success in business, and in life!
CEO, Marina Stamos Business Coaching
Founded in 2017 – 19 years of overall business experience
Business coaching is clearly a labor of love for Marina Stamos, who has been encouraging entrepreneurs and business owners for nearly two decades. She enjoys every step of the process, even the more difficult aspects. So much so that she has been able to help clients who have been stuck for months, and even years.
I love taking my clients from feeling overwhelmed, stuck, and wondering when their life is really going to start — and guiding them to a new understanding of how to make money in their business,” explains Stamos.
“When a client of mine has just had their first financial win – one that had eluded them for months or even years, there is no better feeling. I get an email that is exploding with smiley faces and exclamation points.”
She also appreciates that her clients who represent a wide range of financial backgrounds. “I love that I do this for people who are having their first $10,000 year as well as people who are already having a $2 million or $40 million year, but have hit a snag and need a new strategy on how to monetize their idea.”
She discovered business coaching 15 years after working for others or in a traditional consulting capacity and knew it was time to start her own business.
“From the moment I heard about [business coaching] I loved how it allowed me to productize my knowledge, have a mostly laptop lifestyle, and make my knowledge more accessible and affordable to business owners,” she says. “I knew I could serve so many more people with this model!”
She is a testament that each of us can use our gifts and talents to pivot and reinvent ourselves during good times and bad. Stamos had a rich background in real estate and is an Emmy-nominated former TV news producer.
“I have fulfilled my dream that I get to use these skills to serve self-employed women, (and men), and turn their dreams and passions into a profitable business that serves people at such a high level.”
So, exactly how does it help her clients? They have a new understanding of what really makes them appealing to their clients,” she says. “When they understand this, they attract clients who really get them and are excited to work with them.”
For those who may be uncertain about exactly what business coaches bring their clients, Stamos is ready to clear the air.
“I teach my clients the right thing to say, and who to say it to. I teach them the power of using their personal stories,” she explains. “It is also about how to make their value known in one minute or less. This is key. It’s not an elevator pitch. It’s a way of going from zero to a new client in one minute. Today’s hyper-saturated markets demand this kind of laser communication skill.”
“Finally,” Stamos added, “I teach clients how to stop being afraid of the word “sales.” I had to overcome my own issues with ‘selling’ so I completely understand their struggle!”
She said she received numerous referrals from happy clients because “they start making money within weeks of fully implementing my methods. And, because I am so high-touch, very intentionally holding my clients’ hands through their journey.”
When social isolation, closings, and lockdowns began in Philadelphia, and around the country, Stamos was ready to pivot, an action that kept numerous business owners around the U.S. in the game.
“Prior to COVID-19, I relied on in-person speaking events as my main source of income. When COVID-19 hit and all my events were canceled, I was scared! Really scared,” she reveals. “I didn’t know if I would make any money. Would anyone be buying coaching? Was it even OK to ask? I pivoted to all online events. I ran my own and became a paid sponsor for other events. And it worked! I’m on track to have one of my best years ever.”
In addition, she has helped her clients “find new ways to monetize their expertise. They are selling high ticket packages, in ways they never had before, and they are ecstatic!”
While we are all sympathetic to the heartache caused by COVID-19, Stamos has found a ‘silver lining’ that she is eager to share.
“The silver lining of COVID 19 is that it forced me (and my clients) to get even more laser-focused on communicating their value well. When everyone is ‘Zoomed out’— the person who wins during COVID-19 and beyond is the person who gets out there with a powerful, profitable message that makes people drop their info in the chat-box and say ‘let’s talk.’ “
Here is a tip: Go to virtual networking events and have a 1-minute talk ready to deliver. Coaches, pro service providers, consultants, and others–you can find high-dollar clients right now if you use your time in front of others wisely!”
Please click below to find out how to create your own 1-minute talk. https://freegift.stamoscoaching.com/oneminute/
Felicia Shanken, Founder of Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection, LLC.
Founded in February 2018; PWNC Foundation, Inc. was founded in October 2019.
TV host on RVN-TV
Check out her Linkedin here
Check out her website here
Felicia Shanken is an expert at networking and building relationships, especially with the women in the Corporation Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection, LLC.
She started PWNC for “selfish reasons” after attending networking events that really didn’t meet even her most modest expectations. “The music was too loud. A lot of people hung out at the bar; which is fine if there is one since we all have to decompress. But then I would get some business cards and maybe there was a follow-up and I left unfulfilled. I felt something was missing.”
She began pondering what she actually learned from the event; if there was anything that she could apply to her business to help it grow, and the answer was a resounding no.
“So, I had a vision of doing something different in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, which was to start a networking group that not only offered networking events but provided women entrepreneurs with speakers who would talk about the tools and techniques of their businesses on various subjects that the attendees could implement right away,” explains Shanken.
Her aim was to offer different types of events, including fashion shows, hair and beauty events, sip and shop nights, breast cancer awareness events, and more. She also quickly saw how PWNC was able to make a major impact.
“PWNC helps solo entrepreneurs and business owners to know that they are not alone in handling their business affairs. If PWNC can offer a course, workshop, or event to help others grow their businesses then why not? If we have the resources to share, then I am all for sharing the ‘wealth of knowledge.’ “
“It doesn’t matter how much you make in your business, if you don’t know how to continuously grow it, then you are already behind. Every person that owns a business or calls herself an entrepreneur knows how challenging it can be,” she explains. “PWNC offers the support that she needs to help her succeed if that is what she wants.”
What value does PWNC bring to participants? “PWNC builds relationships and forging quality connections, whether they are new or long-time clients. Our motto is ‘Business, Connections, and Resources.’ “
Shanken is extremly proud that all of the workshops, events, and courses offered to the community are from business owners who are experts in their fields, are established in their business and they get results.
When COVID-19 caused in-person events to go virtual, including those planned by Shanken and PWNC through November. Some of the events were canceled, but others were offered virtually. “The beauty behind that is where before networking events and workshops were done locally, we now have the opportunity to extend our reach nationally and globally, which I am extremely excited about.”
In addition to all of her work for PWNC, in September 2019 Shanken received the opportunity to host her own show on RVN-TV, a digital television platform. The show is called “Power Up Your Passion” and is the opportunity for her to bring guests on to talk about their passion in life and how it led to where they are now in their business and their career. “What I love about this platform is that it gives individuals the opportunity to share with the audience who they are as a person first (not their brand) so others can relate to their story.”
Like many women business owners, Shanken appreciated having more quality time to spend with Paul, her husband of 11 years. “Before COVID-19 I was so busy attending events, workshops, and building my brand that I didn’t spend too much time at home. The only time it seemed that my husband and I were able to connect was on the weekends and we all know how fast that goes.”
During COVID-19, one ‘Silver Lining’ is that they are able to eat both lunch and dinner together, ask one another about their day, since both of them are currently working from home.
“Another silver lining is that I can really focus on building and marketing my business more. I have the time now to give it a ‘tune-up.’ I can focus on where the gaps are and begin to fill them. I am more conscious of my boundaries when it comes to my personal and business life and happy to say that I am staying very firm on them. I am more comfortable with saying “no” and definitely focusing more on self-care, which is huge for any business owner.”
What sets her apart from others who operate similar businesses is simple. “The authenticity and relationships that PWNC builds with others,” she explains. “Is that my ladies amazingly like one another and enjoy each other’s company. They also love helping one another, and collaborating, when possible. We cheer one another on because we know how challenging running a business can be; especially if you have a family to take care of.”
When she wonders if she is doing a good job at supplying what PWNC needs, Shanken is thrilled to hear from PWNC members about how her programs and events spurred them to new heights.
“I will then receive a call or a text letting me know that something I posted on social media motivated them to either start a business, step up their game in their business, inspired them to do more or be more, whatever it was that they needed in order to be encouraged and successful in their business,” Shanken says. “The best feeling to me in this world is when someone tells you that you made a difference or inspired them in their life!”
There are many ways PWNC helps its community, especially during COVID-19, so much so that she becomes highly emotional when sharing about it. The corporation is continuing to bring great content, speakers, and connections.
“We have made our workshops and events more cost-effective because of the country’s current financial situation. We know a lot of small businesses will be closing because they haven’t received any financial assistance from the government and keeping a business going with no revenue coming in is hard.”
Among the well-attended programs was a recent six mini-workshop series on topics such as Growing your Business on LinkedIn, Public Speaking, Leadership Training, Learning Canva for Graphics, Managing Stress, and Podcasting. All of these topics are crucial in growing your business.
The donations for these workshops were $10 each which included a digital copy of the workshop. Some of the proceeds are going towards our PWNC Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund. We are awarding two community members mini-grants to assist them financially.
On October 6, there is a workshop on alternative ways of funding a business. PWNC is in collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Commerce’s, 36th annual event called MEDWeek (Minority Enterprise Development). MEDWeek, which is a national event, is also hosted in Philadelphia. For one full week, there will be 42 events that are free to attend, to help owners grow their business. http://bit.ly/pwncevents.
For more on MEDWeek go to https://www.phila.gov/spotlight/philadelphia-minority-enterprise-development-week-2020/
PWNC has been asked to participate in the Virtual Philadelphia Small Business Expo, on October 27. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/philadelphia-virtual-small-business-expo-2020-registration-110513721516
Says Shanken: “We are looking forward to all of it!”