These are the business owners we admire most, watch carefully to show us the next big thing, and those who inspire us to raise the bar in our own business to do great things.
So last week, we wanted to know who you think is
- the bee’s knees
- the cat’s meow
- the entrepreneur who you think is utterly amazing,
- someone you aspire to be more like,
So we asked –
Who is the ONE person who tops your list (looking for living and breathing examples only), and HOW are they inspiring you to rock it out in your business?
Find out who made the list.
Our panel provided some wonderful picks — including “celebrity” entrepreneurs, and up-and-comers. Do you have a favorite to whom you’d like to give a shout out? Please share a rockin’ entrepreneur you admire in the comments below.
Our sincere gratitude to the 19 entrepreneurs who were kind enough to share the entrepreneur they admire the most. Openly providing your expertise and experiences is a huge asset to this blog and the readership. I wish you all a wonderful week and hope to see you here again.
If you would like to contribute to the next post and get some free PR, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to discover this week’s question and find out how you can get involved. We’d love to have you on a future post!
1. Social Media Rock Star
In social media it is all about Chris Brogan. He is a pioneer and leader in the industry. As one of the early starters, he essentially defined social marketing. He is forward thinking and has a highly unique and integrative understanding of how social marketing and business intersect. He also works with some of the biggest companies, names and brands in the world and gets the opportunity to test out amazing new tech. He is a social media rock star and I take a lot of inspiration and guidance from him.
To find out more, visit ChrisBrogran.com
Thanks to Lauren MacEwen of SM Cubed Consulting
2. She Is A Rock Star
I would have to say LaShanda Henry of Sista Sense and Black Business Women Online. I have been following her for a while now, and she is someone who I admire and respect. She has provided me with valuable information when it comes to starting a business from ground up. She is authentic and she is also a mom entrepreneur. I really have learn so much from her and I think she is definitely a Super Rock Star.
To find out more, visit SistaSense.com
Thanks to LaTersa Blakely of Baby Diaper Cakes & Beyond by LaTersa
3. Farmhouse Cottege Chic
BaconSquareFarm’s Shop offers Shabby Cottage chic, coastal & beach, farm house, birdhouse, wedding home decor. Their style ranges from farmhouse cottage chic with a twist of french country to industrial modern plus somewhere in between their own unique flavor in design. love this shop with it’s rustic look and practical bent.
Tanya, the owner of BaconSquareFarm has been very helpful to me in my getting up to speed in my shop. She mentored me for about two months a while ago, and I am very grateful for the time she put into helping me get my shop more SEO friendly and able to sell more comfortably.
To find out more, visit BaconSquareFarm
Thanks to Jacqueline Gikow of ChelseaRainbow
4. Shankman Is The Man
The one person that tops my list is Peter Shankman. Along with being an entrepreneur and an investor, he has brought us the power of HARO (Help A Reporter Out). This nifty morning, afternoon and evening email has given our company and hundreds of other businesses more chances to become sources for reputable media outlets. Not only that, but Shankman is an affable guy who makes you feel like you have been buddies with him for years and years. He truly motivates anyone who sees him or hears about him. I have seen him speak live at a couple events, and was very impressed with the way he motivated the audience. Plus, he skydives and competes in triathlons during his spare time–that’s a cool dude.
Thanks to Ian Aronovich of GovernmentAuctions.org
5. Saving The World One Pair Of Shoes At A Time
Blake Mycoskie is my hero. On a trip to Argentina he met up with some missionaries and agreed to help them distribute some shoes to the poor. He was so overwhelmed by the human suffering he saw that he decided he had to take action. He founded Tom’s Shoes which gives away a pair of shoes for every pair purchased. Many people advised Blake that he couldn’t afford to give away that many shoes but he continued to pursue his vision. In its first year of business Tom’s gave away 10,000 pairs and in 2010 the company gave away over 1 million pair of shoes in 20 countries to some of the poorest people in the world. Imagine if you could say you helped a million people live better lives. Blake I hope I can accomplish what you have some day. You inspire me to do more for others!
To find out more, visit Toms.com
Thanks to John Paul Engel of Project Be The Change
6. Growing A Company? How About Growing A Country!
Salva Dut personifies the literal meaning of \”entrepreneur–to \”take between.\” One of the original Lost Boys of the Sudan, he has founded Water for Sudan, and is literally serving as a bridge between life and death. Because of the wells he has built, Sudanese girls can now go to school. Before, they had to spend their days walking to and from streams (often disease-infected), carrying the water jugs on their heads so villagers would have water to drink.
He is taking anyone who knows his story (and now, you do) between the continuum-extremes of all-about-me and altruism. In the process, he is drawing deep from another well: the essential goodness that is America and her people.
It’s easy for entrepreneurs to become caught up in our own little corner of the world. Salva’s work moves me from a microcosmic to a macrocosmic view of our planet. In my most recent book on leadership, Salva held a prominent position. Additionally, he inspires me to think of ways to support his efforts. I nominated him as a CNN Hero of the Planet and even hosted a dinner to remind my fellow entrepreneurs to “give back” as our businesses thrive and grow.
To find out more, visit WaterForSudan.com
Thanks to Dr. Marlene Caroselli of Center For Professional Development
7. Everyone Wants To Be Rich Happy & Hot
Great topic! So hard to choose. I’ve never been good at these “pick your favorite” games but here goes.
As you may have guessed from the title, my nomination goes to…Marie Forleo. She is sassy and funny and her weekly video is insightful, practical and always gives me a laugh. Marie has reinvented herself throughout her career and her positive, can-do attitude is inspiring. I get the impression that she genuinely wants to help women entrepreneurs.
Marie inspires me to keep trying, stay focused and to have fun along the way.
To find out more, visit MarieForleo.com
P.S. Of course my second nomination goes to you Shannon but I thought that would just be too sucky 😉
Thanks to Suellen Hughes of The Kickstart Business
8. Tough Tony Training Techniques
Tony Paradis, a nutrition and fitness expert and young entrepreneur, is the owner of Food and Fitness Online and is on his way to great success. I had always thought that starting a business was for me, but was apprehensive about getting started. Once I saw Tony transform his business ideas into a reality, I was convinced I could follow suit, and I have.
Tony’s business is on the rise, and for good reason. His ability to communicate his ideas and competitive advantages are tested weekly at Toastmaster’s Club sessions, university lectures, and in one-on-one consultation sessions.
Tony’s style is adaptive to the weak economic atmosphere, and always positive. I am looking forward to watching his business evolve.
To find out more, visit FoodandFitnessOnline.com
Thanks to Alexis Campestre of Best Seafood Supply
9. Tory Burch Rocks!
Not only does Tory Burch design relevant, exciting women’s fashion, she makes a positive difference in the world through her foundation and her commitment to women entrepreneurs through microfinance. She’s also brought the fashion world to it’s knees with a brand that is growing in unheard of ways. Fantastic!
We are inspired to actively give a % of our profits to children’s charities, and invest in microfinance through Microplace (https://www.microplace.com/). We are committed to being a triple-bottom-line company and measure our impact on people, planet, and profit!
To find out more, visit ToryBurch.com
Thanks to Karlin Sloan of Karlin Sloan & Company
10. It’s Not About The “How To”, But The “Why To”
As a professional organizer it is a daily struggle to remind our clients not to get caught up in the quick fixes; the glossy magazine articles that showcase the perfect kitchen or the television shows that have your home and therefore your life turned around in three days. When working with our clients it is crucial to take a step back and remind them to be organized enough. My friend and colleague, Linda Samuels, of Oh, So Organized is just that organizer. Never preachy, always wise, she gives her clients permission to be less perfect, less stressed and have more breathing room so that they can find the balance between chaos and perfection. She motivates me to bring the “Why To” and not just the “How To” to my clients every day.
To find out more, visit OhSoOrganized.com
Thanks to Leslie Josel of Order Out Of Chaos
11. Queen Of Authenticity
From Danielle Laporte’s White Hot Truth website:
I saw Danielle speak and the way she embraces her femininity in an authentic way is so inspiring for someone who doesn’t wish to do business the traditional (male) way. Dare to be the grandest version of yourself while loving and serving others and all good things will follow is what Danielle taught me. You don’t need one head for business and another for life. It’s all the same head, body, soul, and what you give to the world in terms of your business needs to reflect that which you truly care about. Self-realization rocks!I
To find out more, visit WhiteHotTruth.com
Thanks to Laura Connell of For Those About To Shop
12. Picking Just One Rockstar Is CHALLENGING!
I admire so many of my colleagues and mentors… picking just one to talk about here is quite the challenge!
I’ve been really inspired by Andrea J. Lee lately. I got to “attend” the Simulcast of her Wealthy Thought Leader innovation event back in May and she said some really thought-provoking things… like that you should claim your weirdness, be bold and stand out (OK – I’m really paraphrasing here, but that was the takeaway).
Since that event, I’ve been incredibly inspired to stand up for the things I really believe in that challenge my industry. And I’ve been happier than ever before with my work.
On top of that, her presentation style is really approachable, light and lovely. She has a natural curiosity that’s refreshing and non-invasive. And I’m enjoying that a ton!
To find out more, visit WealthyThoughtLeader.com
Thanks to Erin Ferree of BrandStyle Design
13. SRB Is The Man!
I have an entrepreneur idol and I’ve been all his since Rebel Billionaire and this wonderful source of inspiration is Sir Richard Branson! I get stupefied thinking about him and truly, I adopt so much of his business philosophy. Ok, go one step further and confess, I even had a SRB doll made when I was in the toy business – it’s like a Ken doll, only it’s a Sir Richard doll. This doll adorns my bookshelf right at my computer. I even have a saying in our office, “WWSRBD – What Would SRB Do?” I always think how would he handle this and pretty much always end up with “screw it, let’s do it” and life is good again! You can check out his wild website and there read all about him, his amazing, accomplishments and truly get inspired! Richard Branson is the man!
To find out more, visit Virgin.com
Thanks to Elena Patrice of WebsitesGiveBack
14. My Business SuperHero – Jenny Shih
Jenny Shih has the most beautiful message for entrepreneurs and people who have a dream, and she delivers it in a way that’s simple, yet touches a chord in nearly ever person who watches her little videos.
It seems like a small thing, but Jenny keeps things so simple in an arena that can be so complicated for entrepreneurs. She breaks down project management for example, into tiny bite sized pieces. And she inspires me to keep things simple. She reminds me that my message can be stronger, when delivered in a simple way.
To find out more, visit JennyShih.com
Thanks to Loralee Hutton of loraleehutton.com
15. Creating Win-Wins In The Wine Business
My friend Selena Cuffe inspires my business endeavors like no other, and continues to amaze all those around her. Selena is the President & CEO of Heritage Link Brands, which she launched to transform select African products into global brands. On a trip to South Africa, she learned that its $3 billion wine industry had less than 2% black ownership (despite blacks representing 80% of the country’s population). So she sprang into action!
What truly sets Selena apart is her sunny disposition. Her smile and positive attitude have vanquished as many obstacles as her business savvy! Her impressive corporate career and media recognition have not gone to her head – she is still as willing to help anyone (including me!) as she was when I met her over 14 years ago.
How does she inspire me to rock it out in my business? I use her as an example to stick to my values in all that I do. For example, I learned a “special brand of networking” from her, which focuses on meeting people not with the intention of figuring out what they can do for me, but to first really listen to everyone I meet, believing in my heart that their stories and experiences are important, and always focus on how I can create win-wins for the people in my personal and professional life.
To find out more, visit HeritageLinkBrands.com
Thanks to Pamay Bassey of My 52 Weeks Of Worship Project
16. Brand Yourself To Greatness
The entrepreneur that represents a rock star in my eyes has always been Daymond John. He is truly a visionary who is on top of his game. Founder of FUBU, a billion dollar fashion label which was a staple brand when I was a teenager in the 1990’s, John truly understands how to position a brand in front of a mass target audience. I am truly a believer that branding is an essential element of success. Today, Daymond John has diversified into several arenas that have made him a self-made multimillionaire on the rise. He is truly a mentor in my eyes.
Daymond John has inspired me to raise the bar in my own business because we met nearly 17 years ago during the time when his FUBU label was about to be launched in major department stores such as Macy’s and S&D’s. I told him how proud I was of him considering we were from the same area of New York City. He left me with one line that has stayed with me which was “Never take your eye off the brand. Make it more than a product, make it a household name.” I live by this principle in my current practice.
To find out more, visit DaymondJohn.com
Thanks to Carol Sankar of Carol Sankar Enterprises
17. Raising The Spa Bar
Fatesta Bateman is a serial entrepreneur who goes above and beyond the obvious to reach success. Fatesta had a succesful career at IBM making six-figures and walked away to start her own “business.” Her business has blossomed into two businesses including a custom t-shirt and accessory line and an upscale venue called, “The Spa Bar.”
Not having very much experience any in lines of her current business she took her acumen and entrepreneurial spirit and made it work. She still remains humble and continues to learn, despite local and national acclaim. She is not selfish and is always willing to share any and all educational opportunities she is afforded with fellow entrepreneurs. She sees no problems in life just challenges and opportunities.
When I was considering bringing a friend on as a partner into my business she advisied me against it. She explained that good friends do not always make the best partners. Fatesta explained that I could bill her as an asset to the business instead. It turned out to be for the best. This friend treated the business more like a hobby than a business.
To find out more, visit TheSpaBar.com
Thanks to Hope Oriabure of Black-Tie Babysitting
18. Maya Brenner, Designer Entrepreneur
Maya Brenner inspires me to see the bigger picture of my business and to find ways to simplify and delegate so that I can have more time to run my business – rather than have my business run me. She is a former social worker in NYC, her jewelry is worn by celebrities and her appearance on the Today show brought in thousands of orders. She is an amazing mother of two, runs her business efficiently and knows how to delegate. She knows when and what to spend money on, and she is one of the most down to earth people you could ever meet. She is also a designer for stella and dot, was featured in a commercial as a moMPreneur on the OWN network and her jewelry is inspired and beautiful.
To find out more, visit MayaBrenner.com
Thanks to Cyndi Finkle of Sunday Night Dinner
19. Pamay Bassey – Business Owner And Shining Star!
Of all the business owners I know, I admire my dear friend and sorority sister, Pamay Bassey most! Owner of The Pamay Group, an e-learning and strategy company, she has taught me the importance of diversifying revenue streams. Inspired by her faith to go into business for self, I jumped into the entrepreneurial world, starting my core business, acquiring rental properties, and exploring other sources of income for cushion. Pamay has several stunning rental properties, her comic gigs, and more! She has also launched My 52 Weeks of Worship, a project where she visited 61 places of worship to heal from personal tragedy and spark dialogue. Pamay’s unorthodox path and faith-guided business decisions are a true inspiration!
To find out more, visit My52WOW.com
Thanks to Selena Cuffe of Heritage Link Brands, LLC
Thanks so much again to all our wonderful contributors for sharing the entrepreneur you think is really fabulous! We hope to hear from you again.
If you are new to the Question of the Week and would like to get involved, simply follow the link below to get started. We’d love to have you share your knowledge and experiences here too, and get a bit of PR in the process.
This week’s question is –
Taking an Entrepreneurial Leap of Faith
Starting your own business can be a real journey in faith. For most, you put yourself and your financial, emotional, and relationship future on the line. Some entrepreneurs can weather the storm, and others cry “Uncle” and throw in the towel too soon.
In what way has starting your own business been a leap of faith, AND where have you found the strength to take it?
Why should I join the discussion?
Because this online forum is a great place for us to exchange ideas, learn from each other and network. My goal is to unite successful women entrepreneurs to share our insights and solutions to the challenges we most commonly face in our businesses.
How do I get involved?
Every Monday I will post a new Question of the Week. This is a great opportunity for you to bring your expertise to the table. Using the link below, please submit a one paragraph response before the deadline, and the following week I will share our community responses on my blog.
I look forward to your response to this week’s question! If you have any questions you know where to find me. Have a great week!