Extraordinary Women TV
- Website: http://www.extraordinarywomentv.com/
At what point in your career did you make the decision to become self-employed?
I was in my late 20s, while working at a PR agency and I decided to strike it out on my own as a freelancer. It did not take long to discover how isolating it can be. And so, I went back into the agency world. Some months later, I put a shingle on my door and officially started my own communication company. Much has changed in my business since then, but that is how it started.
What was the driving force behind that decision?
When I first decided to leave the PR agency world to freelance, I wanted to have more freedom to be who I am creatively. At the time, I was studying film studies at Ryerson, which was a growing passion of mine, while working at the agency. Working in an agency is a high-octane, highly demanding career, which left little time for nearly anything else in my life, let alone an intense program such as filmmaking. I was also becoming somewhat burned out (at a young age), and needed to re-energize my heart and soul with a new creative outlet.
Shortly after my first attempt at self-employment, an enticing offer had drawn me back into the agency world; one that seemed to satisfy my growing need to spread my creative wings. But, eventually, I officially launched my own business to have more control over the demands on my time to do what I needed to do in other areas of my life.
Describe the greatest challenges you faced when making the transition.
Probably the greatest challenge was believing in myself; believing that I could do it and that others would see my value and want to hire me.
The other challenge I faced going it alone was isolation and the lack of the exciting, stimulating energy one gets when working in a creative environment like a PR/advertising agency.
Which skills did you need to develop in order to become effective in your role as an entrepreneur?
Developing an entrepreneurial mindset. For the first few years of having my own business, I saw myself as a communicator who had her own communication business, but I never referred to myself as an "entrepreneur." I did not resonate with the word as it pertained to me.
Next came putting a system into place. For someone who is highly creative with various talents, systemizing seemed counter-intuitive -- and it still does, in fact. However, I have grown to appreciate the benefit of creating systems.
Also, just like any entrepreneur, the art of "sales" is a must. I had excelled at the ability to sell ideas, being in the world of ideas, but to sell my services - or myself - is something I have had to work on. It takes courage to sell yourself because, in a way, it is like opening the kimono and exposing ourselves and all sorts of fears to the surface. As women, in particular, we seem to be more reluctant, or less skilled, at putting ourselves out there.
Which networking groups do you belong to?
I prefer to move amongst groups when it feels right and supports my values, rather than commit to one networking group. I am particularly interested in connecting with women entrepreneurs and high-achieving business leaders, artists, entertainers, scientists, healers, academics and humanitarians; they do not necessarily belong to the same circles.
What is the best business book you have ever read?
"Think and Grow Rich," by Napoleon Hill. It's a classic. Any book that has stood the test of time, as this one has, is worth a read.
What does the future hold for your industry?
As the host/creator of the popular web TV talk show, Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner, I can say that while internet television is in its infancy, it is most certainly the way of the future for broadcasting.
How do you feel about the current status of women in the workforce in Canada?
Although I am not a mother (I am a mother of an Old English Sheepdog), from what I can gather, I believe our society has not yet fully accommodated the working mom. For many - or most - women, family is their top value. Therefore, the workforce is not a kind place for these women; but it is ever-evolving. However, we live in a country where women have the right to work, own businesses and own land -- some do not. We have much to be thankful for.
When you are featured on the cover of Time magazine, what will be the headline?
Shannon Skinner, the world's top paid female talk show host.