Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Kathy McShane.
Ms. McShane recently authored “The Survival Guide for Female Entrepreneurs” (CreateSpace). She is the Founder and CEO of Ladies Launch Club; since 2005, its mission has been to make entrepreneurship available to all women by providing the exposure and connections they need to develop strategic relationships. Prior to that, McShane was the Founder and President of Kendrew Group, Ltd., a multimillion-dollar, award-winning marketing services organization. In 2013, she created the nonprofit Exceptional Woman’s Series to motivate, mentor and network with women who are starting a new business or transitioning to a new career. McShane has a Certification in Public Speaking from the National Speakers Association and is a motivational speaker for women’s organizations. She is also an adjunct professor at New York University where she teaches Competitive Intelligence. Her blog, Fempreneur, is posted on MasterCard International Smallbiz. Ms. McShane and her family make their home in New Canaan, CT.
“The Survival Guide for Female Entrepreneurs” was published in October and has received a warm response from fellow trailblazers. Rita Cosby, Emmy Award-winning TV/radio host and bestselling author, noted: “Kathy McShane has done more for female entrepreneurship in Connecticut than any woman I know, through her leadership roles in Ladies Launch Club and Mastermind Workshops, and her inspirational blogs, articles and personal appearances. This book is a natural next step in her efforts to help women become successful business owners. Every woman considering the entrepreneurial journey needs to read this powerful and inspiring book!” Further, Marcia Clark, attorney and bestselling author, praised: “It’s a compendium of great advice – not just for women entrepreneurs but for all women. No matter what your goals are, be they personal or professional, this is a book that will help you achieve them. Buy it for yourself and for every girl and woman you know.”
From the publisher:
This book helps female entrepreneurs avoid some of the traps encountered by other businesswomen. It’s practical as well as motivational and includes a section on the mechanics of starting a business. The author assures women with both sensitivity and humor that the challenges they are facing are normal. If you are thinking about launching a business or trying to grow your business, this is the book for you. It points out many mistakes that female entrepreneurs make and it showcases success stories. The book has advice for women who work from home to women who have large businesses.
Now, Kathy McShane shares some entrepreneurial survival tips …
John Valeri: What inspired you to write “The Survival Guide for Female Entrepreneurs” – and how do you think a book like this would have benefited your younger self?
Kathy McShane: I love mentoring and teaching. When I was in the corporate world, I always mentored women. When I started to work with entrepreneurial women, I found that many felt there were no resources available to them. Worse, they thought that they were the only ones who felt isolated and scared. I wanted to write this book to assure them that they were not alone, that there were resources available and other women who wanted to help them. I also wanted to give them some examples of women who had successfully navigated their way to success.
This book would have benefitted my younger self by giving me permission to not be so hard on myself. The idea that other women had many of the same challenges that I was experiencing would have made the process a lot easier. I also would not have felt so guilty about having a great career and moving on to start my first business.
JV: Though you’ve found yourself largely surrounded by men throughout your life, you’ve made it your mission to empower women. To what (or whom) do you credit this passion – and what are some of the common misperceptions about female relationships that you hope this book might dispel?
KM: I credit my passion to my mother. I contracted polio at 18 months of age. I could have used my illness to justify taking an easy career path; however, that was not how my mother had raised me. She told me that I could be anyone I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to do. Guess what? I believed her. I went into sales and marketing, a place where not many physically challenged people played. I never let my physical challenge define me. As a matter of fact, I was one of three women in America who accrued the most American Airlines miles in the US! This achievement is symbolic for me. I wanted to become a model for other women who wanted to achieve great things.
Many women believe that they can’t work together. They feel that women are catty, jealous, back-stabbing, gossipy, and see other women as competitors. Launching this book is a great example of women working together. They donated their time and shared their expertise simply to help other women. I believe women work well together when there are common values and ethics.
JV: You highlight the professional achievements of other women throughout the book. How do these stories enhance your message – and what, if anything, new did you learn by putting the focus on others?
KM: These stories enhance my message in a number of ways. They show that women are willing to “share” in an effort to help other women. The stories are authentic and transparent. The women who contributed were not worried that by giving out information, readers would take their clients or their thinking. I believe that my women contributed to the book because their values, intellect and authenticity are in line with mine.
I am not sure that putting the focus on the women taught me anything new. This is part of the way I do business. Shining the light on someone else does not dull my glitter. There is room for everyone, and frankly it’s much more fun working with other women. I love being an entrepreneur; however, I am not thrilled about being a “solopreneur.” I love working with other people.
JV: While this book was written for women, there are lessons to be learned for all entrepreneurs. What do you see as this book’s universal appeal – and how might reading it benefit men?
KM: A friend of mine is married to a senior executive at a large hotel chain. He read the book and said it is fabulous for any man who manages women. It provides incredible insight into how women think and manage. This type of insight enhances understanding of styles and will increase productivity. The book also contains the nuts and bolts of how to start a business, which is beneficial to all entrepreneurs.
JV: Please share a few final words of wisdom that might allow our readers to take the first steps on their journey to the next level, whatever that may be.
· Be prepared to hear “no” a lot.
· Be sure that you know there is a need for your product/service.
· Clearly define your target market (both demographically and psychographically).
· Have funds in reserve because it will take longer than you think to gain traction.
· Be part of a Peer Advisory Group.
· Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.
With thanks to Kathy McShane for her generosity of time and thought.