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Kelly Ripa's Lesson for Tory

When my kids Emma and Jake were younger, they attended a YMCA pre-school here in New York with an adorable little kid named Michael, whose mom is Kelly Ripa.

How cool would it be, I said to myself, if Kelly could mention Women For Hire during her opening chitchat with Regis Philbin one morning. I’ve got to get her to do a little plug.

Then week after week passed.  It turned to months.

I’d give myself one excuse after another for not asking Kelly for this favor. Finally, my husband said he was so sick of me practicing my request in front of the mirror. He said if I didn’t ask her, he would.

So I took the plunge. It wasn’t the right time, I thought, but it was going to have to be “good enough.”

Guess what Kelly said when I finally spit it out?

Of course! No problem! And she’s been a great supporter of Women For Hire ever since.

I’m reminded of this often because I routinely hear from women who have all kinds of wonderful excuses for why their lives and dreams are on hold.  The timing is not right, is a common refrain.

If you’re waiting for some mysterious “perfect time” to makes its debut, take it from me: it’s not going to happen.  Do as I did: think “good enough” because chances are right now is truly a good enough time to speak up and take action on your needs and goals.

In the same vein, “I have no money” is an excuse that many would-be entrepreneurs use as a reason why their businesses never get going.

Last week a woman sent me an email asking me to help her find a grant that would cover the cost of converting her garage into an office space for her direct sales business. I told her that no such grant existed and that she should dust off a table, switch on a lamp and create her own office anywhere in her home.  She said my negativity killed her motivation.

To me, the thing that kills motivation is delaying action because of excuses.  If she’s waiting for a grant, she gets to delay taking action until that grant miraculously appears.  How convenient, right?

To that I say: Assume the money isn’t coming…and get moving anyway right now.  How often have your kids looked in the cabinets and declared that there’s “nothing” to eat?  Yet, you manage to whip up something for dinner, even when nobody thought a meal was possible.  The same is true in business.  Sometimes taking the simple approach – bootstrapping, being resourceful – is the only way to go.

The third excuse I hear a lot lately is: I’m just stuck.

That’s probably the excuse that most of us can relate to best.   In this stressed economy, where there are far more job seekers than jobs and long term unemployment is at historic levels, finding work or creating your own business takes courage and determination – both of which are often hard to muster.

The short answer: Just do it. There really is no other way.   Pick up the phone and ask for help.  Place that cold call.  Pitch yourself for a project.  Get talking online.  Contribute to the dialogue in your industry.  Leave your house. Make some noise.

Do you have ways of getting yourself unstuck and making things happen? Let us know. We’d love to share your ideas.


  1. Jo-Ann Fair

    I think that’s great advice Tory. My office is in my apartment. I converted a spare room into an office. I have a desk, computer, file cabinet, phone, fax and copier. I rented my own mail station so my mail can look professional with my company name on it for a small fee. And, I decorated it with plants. It looks just like an office. Most entrepreneurs work this way. Waiting on a grant, that may never come. I agree wholeheartedly!

  2. Sometimes what happens even when you have been in business for over 12 years like myself, you find that you are stuck. When the bad economy hit and I lost my biggest client and 3/4’s of my revenues I thought I was going to have to find a job. I had people working for me and didn’t know what to do. I realized that I needed to reinvent myself again as I had before. But when I did before it was suttle because it was to adjust to a certain market need, now it was to start my business basically all over again. I went back to basics. I had been paying people even though I was not getting paid so now I am starting from ground zero. I have redefined my offerings, writing a book on social media awareness something I am passionage about, networking with intelligent hard working women and giving workshops on social media to those who are learning it for the first time or those who are trying to put together a strategy.

    So now is the time to “reinvent” who you are and start making a living for yourself doing something you love.

  3. Sometimes getting stuck can be based out of fear or getting to settled in one’s comfort zone. One thing that works for me staying connected to me team/or a mentor. Working on personal growth is also key it helps move you past the fears & gets you out of that comfort zone. I always keep an ongoing reading/audio list so I never run out of resources. There are tons of resources for free or low cost reading.(gently used books or audios are just as good)

  4. Erica Chism

    Diversify and Join Forces to get unstuck and make things happen!
    First, pursue more than one channel to get business and clients. I incorporate shows/ expos, home parties, online media, calling on salons/ spas, and building 1-1 relationships with clients to get new Stream business. Some people get frustrated when they only do one form of marketing their business, because they put all their eggs in one basket the stress is high and it is easy to feel defeated. Be resourceful and diversity to include ways to market that are paid for and some that are fee-free.
    Second, join forces with other entrepreneurs who can share ideas and resources. I joined Women Entrepreneurs of America, Inc (WEA) nationally and now I am starting a chapter in Chicago. I also attend Spark and Hustle conferences and joined Tory’s “Make Money At Home” coaching series. I get great advice from Michelle Pippin and Tory Johnson to “Partner For Profit” and network with other business that serve my same target market BUT do not have a competing product. Partnering and networking in groups like WEA gets you out and talking about your business. PLUS, good relationships hold you accountable and call you on your excuses about why your business cannot get started or grow.
    Tory, as always, great article! Thanks!

  5. KMayer

    do something — anything and you’re ahead of the game. I write for moms returning to the workforce and the woulda, coulda, shouldas are holding them back big time. If their efforts fail, they’re no further behind. But what if they don’t fail? What if they succeed????

  6. RL Nicholson

    Potential direct sales business owner can write to the Nate Berkus and/or other design/decorating shows on network and cable TV to renovate her garage to an office. I’m sure the very relevant angle of helping a struggling entrepeneur will get shows to respond.

  7. Sandra

    Hi, two years ago I needed to find work, I had been self-employed (owned a restaurant) which I sold in 2006. Divorced and with three children still in school, my new business was not yet providing enough income. My daughter made a resume for me and put it on, I did not think I qualified for anything and did not really want to work in a restaurant again. A few days later Delta Airlines contacted me as they were looking for Italian speakers, I went through the interviews, and amazingly they hired me on the spot! Went through 7 weeks of training and have been flying since an loving it. It gives you the flexibilty to create your own schedule, putting in as few or many hours as you like. A GREAT company to work for. I was 49 years old at the time and a classmate of mine was 62!
    Delta is hiring now and are looking for language speakers, I thought maybe someone might want to consider it.
    Delta is recruiting for the following languages: Arabic, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

  8. ruoiled

    Hi, I know some would balk at what I am about to say, but I have done great moving forward by using a Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil that has been proven to work, called Highest Potential. It has an amazing ability to work on a cellular level and is back by a money back policy. The Essential Oils Desk Reference says it helps you gather your possibilities and achieve your highest potential. I use it on the days that I feel stuck or trapped and it really helps me and others I know, find the next steps to moving forward.

  9. DK Rigrish

    I agree that you just have to suck it up & go for it. A few years ago I started an online shop selling my Glittered Photographs of nature. While I haven’t sold to many online I have sold quite a few at 2 somewhat local shops in my area. One shop is about an hour away. After about a year of selling just online I got up the gumption to go to 1 shop here in town. I talked with the shop owner about consigning a shelf from her. After seeing some of my photos in person (I did take my portfolio with me) we signed a contract on the spot. The other shop out of town was through a friend that knows the owner and she took some of my photos down to show her. We met the very next weekend and I’ve done well down there also. You just have to finally get the mind set that it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and see what happens. You just never know. I’ve even had 2 of my photographs sold at this past April’s Kentucky Derby Art Auction for charity. That was way cool to have them contact me about doing it. In no way have I been able to quit my day job, but I love doing this so who knows in the future. May come in handy when I retire in years to come. You just have to do it (whatever “it” is). One step at a time.

  10. Diana M.

    Hi Tory, Just wondering,do you only find jobs for women or can men apply to these as well? I have watched since you premiered on TV, and have recommended people to your website which have resulted in jobs for them! Our son had his job eliminated and has been searching for quite awhile. Like everyone struggling, he’s supporting his wife and 2 children. If there’s not a “Men For Hire”, then I’d love to work with you to get one started. I’ve been in the Corporate business world for 30 years, this would be the perfect time to have the same opportunities for men. Thanks for your time.

  11. Char

    Sounds like the woman who needed others to fund her business was just using you as yet another excuse. I’m not bashing, but it’s time we stop depending on others for our well-being, and get off our backsides and do it ourselves. My “office” is a table in the living room with a “family computer”, in a room filled with kids’ toys, and of course pre-school kids, and I managed to build a successful business…didn’t need a pristine, pretty, or even new, desk, chair, office space, computer, anything…just the determination to pull it off. It worked!

  12. Emily

    When I’m “stuck” I try to get a good nights rest. I wake up during the earliest hours of the morning (5AM) when the house is quiet and my husband is still asleep. I go to “my-space”, which is the dining room and I pray, I read from the Holy Bible, and I date and write in my journal about the feelings that I have. What really helps me to get “un-stuck” is when I look pack at previous entries in my journal and read about other times when I felt “stuck” and I read the entries from how my prayers were answered and I had so many great opportunities after I thought I was stuck. I just needed to network with the right resources – GOD the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

    Case in point: I am working full-time and completing my bachelors degree at the university where I’m working. This morning I had a quiz that was listed in the syllabus, so I knew about it well in advance. I procrastinated, and did not review the few notes from class until this morning. I look at the subtopics of the 3 or 4 of the 8 chapters that we were to be tested on, as I rode in the passenger seat on the way to work/class. I prayed this morning that what I needed to know for the quiz would be brought back to my memory during the quiz. I arrive for class but the professor was about 10 mins. late getting to class. I found a chair outside of another classroom. I pulled out my book and looked at one or two more pages of one of the chapters to be covered on the quiz. The professor arrived, checked attendance, and distributed the quiz. I read over the quiz one time. Made my selections from the multiple-choice, “T or F” options. I did not change any answers. I was the first to stand and turn in the quiz. I have never done that before. I usually quibble and second guess my choice, but not this time. The professor thanked me and I sat down. After our first break the professor returned the quizzes and I discovered that I made a perfect score. No longer was I stuck on discouragement. Now I’m stuck on success!

  13. Carmen

    After being fired,I have become very angry. How do I get the anger out. I love the field that I am in and I know my job, but I doubt myself a lot these days. I use to be very fiesty and would speak my mine, lately I have become shy and insecure about everything I do I am second guessing myself for everything. How can I regain my dignity and not be ashame anymore.

  14. Marilyn

    I am about to open my own business. I have surprised alot of people. And it feels good.

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