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Think Results, Not Barriers

We wrapped our fall season of Women For Hire career expos in Dallas earlier this week. I’m home in New York for a few days – and then to Houston next week to speak at the Texas Governor’s Conference for Women – and then to Miami Beach for a couple of days to be inducted into my high school’s alumni hall of fame.

I’m the youngest woman to receive this honor (the other five honorees are all over 65) and I’ll be recognized with the youngest man: Chad Ochocinco. You may know him from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars or his crazy dating show on VH1.

But his real claim to fame is as a star wide receiver in Cincinnati. He and I have the NFL in common: for him it’s the National Football League. For me, I won the state debate championship in the National Forensic League. Slightly different NFLs, right?

Actually, I’ve been thinking a lot of late about my high school debate training. It taught me to think quickly on my feet, which serves me well on Good Morning America every week where speaking clearly and directly is essential. Debate also sharpened my logical thinking skills – from anticipating the opposition and being ready to argue against it, to being able to confidently defend my own positions.

I wish more people had that training and that mindset, especially right now. As I think about my last two months on the road, three phrases stand out: “Yes, but“, “If only” and “I have no money.” I told those women to replace those thoughts with NO BARRIERS —JUST RESULTS. Before you dismiss this as some hokey, power-of-positive-thinking catch phrase, think again. For me – and for many of the women I work with closely — it’s a deliberate approach, a specific way of working.

“Yes, I have a great idea to start a business, but I need to make money right now.”

Uh, ok, so let’s see: How long do you think it’ll take you to land that job? “Well, I’ve been searching for the last 8 months, and now it’s getting serious so I have to find something soon.”

My response is often the same: You have what you say is a great idea, so do you realize how much money you could have been making by now if you had started 8 months ago? And do you have any idea how long it could take for you to get hired into a regular position?

That’s usually met with, “Oh, gee, I see your point.” (And a look of regret over wasted time. Time that none of us can ever get back.)

I wouldn’t suggest that she or anyone get moving on starting a business if she hadn’t said she had a great idea. Starting a business isn’t a viable option if you have absolutely no interest in doing so. But for those who want to, there shouldn’t be any “YES, BUT” in terms of the need – and the drive – to make money right now.

Eleven years ago when I created Women For Hire, I had just three months to make it work. Not just to bring in money, but to actually make a profit. Otherwise, we couldn’t pay our rent and support our family. There was no nest egg. The need was urgent and my actions – my hustle – matched that urgency. I made it happen.

There’s no reason why you can’t start right where you are and begin bringing in money quickly if your tactics and your hustle mirror the urgency to make money. No barriers—just results.

“If only I had the right contacts and connections.”

This excuse always irks me because when I started Women For Hire I had absolutely no experience in this area and I didn’t know a single recruiter or HR professional. (In fact, my only connection to anyone in HR was the contentious conversation I had with the woman in HR who handed me my severance papers at NBC. Not exactly a warm lead.) But now I had a new business to launch and a service to sell, and I needed to figure out how to find and make these connections.

This was way before LinkedIn. I just had to figure out who to get to and then dive in by dialing. I didn’t buy lists, I didn’t have a directory – it was old-fashioned cold-calling. It was then, as it is now, no barriers—just results.

Never ever view lack of contacts or connections as the reason why you can’t make things happen. Most of us don’t start with the right Rolodex; we begin with a blank slate and we build it over time.

Why not commit to five by five—five new contacts by 5pm? I don’t mean build five new best friends. I mean go find the name and contact information for five people who you know you need to reach, and then give them all a call. No barriers—just results.

“I have no money.”

One woman had gotten her final pink slip and was as determined as ever to teach art to home-schooled kids. “Yes, I have a great idea, but I have no money to get started,” she said. When asked what exactly she needed money for, she was embarrassed to say she couldn’t afford the art supplies needed for various projects.

I told her to start pitching her services right now to home-schooled families and to let parents know they’d be given the supply list upon registration. BOOM! No need to have money for supplies; they’ll buy them on their own. That’s an example of my no barriers—just results method.

Cindy Morrison was a TV anchor in Tulsa for 20 years until her station said they weren’t renewing her contract. She completely reinvented herself, starting with writing a book. She had no money to go on a big fancy book tour, no money to run ads, no money for promotion. So Cindy dove into social media—and through Facebook alone she sold more than 1,000 copies of Girlfriends 2.0 in just 3 weeks. That’s what I call hustle. That’s what I call no barriers—just results.

Spark & Hustle with me!

If you’re really ready to break down the barriers and focus only on results, I hope you’ll join me on the Spark & Hustle National Tour. Three jam-packed days filled with exactly what you need to know to get through the brick walls and make big things happen for yourself. I’m humbled by the women who are registering every day, telling us they’re fed up with excuses, tired of not seeing the profit they deserve, and oh-so-ready to turn the tide in 2011.

We can’t wait to watch them—and we’d love for you to get in on the action— NOW. Call Alex Hall at 212-290-2600 or email her at [email protected] for a discount code.

No barriers—just results.


  1. Judy,Staten Island,NY

    I have been unemployed since April 2009. I do not have a firm and clear carreer path and at this point, am very frustrated. I am ready willing and able to work in any office environment in the capacity of customer service. data entry and or assistant paralegal.

    I worked the the staemship business, ocean export documentation coordinator fo 15+ years and, I am sorry to say, I do not have a college degree. With very little money to work with and my unemployment soon to run out, I am n ot sure what my next step should be..

    Please advise!!

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent!!!

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