We all need help in life. We need people to motivate us, guide us and challenge us. No one can really succeed without the backing of some very trusted advisors. This goes for life and business life.
My advisory board is made up of a team of people, each with a specific area of expertise that helps to guide me in a particular area of life or business. I have chosen them deliberately and carefully and their place on my board is no accident.
My advice when you sit down to think about your advisory board is to consider your own skillset and the gaps you need others to fill. How big is that role and where you’re at in your business or personal life. What is that person’s role? What do you want to get from them?
The mistake many entrepreneurs make is including family and friends on their advisory board. Now, this is not to say you can’t seek advice from family and friends, but you should keep in mind two things.
1. What are their qualifications to advise you on this topic?
If Mum’s an accountant and we’re asking her about tax, then go for it. But if Mum is a surgeon, well she’s clearly very clever, but may not know heaps about your business finances, so maybe try someone else.
2. Can they be impartial?
Family and friends want what’s best for you and often in business, they may not want to hurt you or challenge your ideas and so they may not give unbridled honesty. Or, they’ll be afraid to see you fail and so will counsel you against making a big business move or trying a new idea.
VIRTUAL ADVISORY BOARD
I have a special subgroup of my Advisory Board that is my Virtual Advisory Board (VAB). None of these people know they’re in my team and in fact, I’ve only met two of them.
I have chosen each of the people on my VAB just as carefully as I have those on my main advisory board. I picked those on my VAB because each of them have a special style, skill, business acumen or have done something which has resonated with me this year. Each of them has walked a path which I am interested in either personally or professionally.
These women (because they’re all badass ladies) are on my board to help with questions or decisions that usually only I could answer, in life or in business. When these considerations come along, I’ll ask myself:
What Oprah would do?
Yep, Oprah is on my board and why not! She’s an incredible strategic businesswoman. So when an Oprah-like issue comes along, I put myself in her shoes and make my choice based on what I think she would do.
MY VIRTUAL ADVISORY BOARD
An incredible speaker. The best female speaker in the world in my opinion. Mel has an unbelievable phoenix from the ashes story. Unemployed and broke at 41 to a world-renowned entrepreneur, one of the highest-paid female speakers in the world, TV show host and bestselling author and all before she turned 50.
Not that I want abs like Jill, but she worships her body and that’s what she’s on my VAB to inspire me of.
Nigella is a goddess in the kitchen and who wouldn’t want that! A journalist who pivoted and changed cookbooks from technical manuals to a more relaxed style which celebrating home-cooking.
Do I need to say why Oprah is on here? Smart from the get-go, strategic and built an empire from the ground up. Every move she made led to an undeniably successful career, which has lasted decades.
The creator of Spanx is on my VAB for creating a business from her dining room table with only $5000. Her business is not only successful, but became a world-wide phenomenon.
Dita von Teese
I once met Dita in a New York bathroom and it was like seeing someone photo-shopped in real life. Dita is not just here for her looks though. She created an incredible business, based on a niche style of entertainment. She elevated burlesque from an old-fashioned strip-show, with all of its judgmental connotations, to an elegant and fashionable art form.
Marie is an entrepreneur who puts a lot of goodness out into the world. She built her business based on what she wanted to do and is a very smart operator in the world of motivation.
The divine Ms. Midler of course. She’s on my VAB for her attitude and her staying power in an industry that eats people alive fairly regularly. She’s my go-to when it comes to any show business conundrums. What would Bette do?
Queen B. If you only needed one source of inspiration, this woman could be it. Sexy, talented, super smart. Her business acumen and negotiation skills alone make her worthy of my list. Consider the deal she did with Netflix for Homecoming. She may not have been paid as much as other artists for Coachella, but she negotiated this back-end deal with Netflix and that shows how clever she is.
CHARACTERISTICS TO INSPIRE
Now you know the specific reason I chose each of the women on my VAB, I’ll tell you what they all have in common. These are part of the reason I chose them; traits I wish to be able to embody in my business or personal life.
They all know within themselves that they are doing exactly what they were put on this earth to do and they do it in a manner which is absolutely unwaivering.
The ability to fail
These women have all failed. Look at Mel Robbins, who was in crippling debt from a failed business venture before becoming them woman we know today. Each of them has built their mountain of success of lots of small failures and they all keep going.
Charisma is about how you make other people feel and these women have it in boatloads. You are drawn to them at the back of a concert hall full of thousands of other people, through a computer screen or via their written words. They make you feel something, create a connection and it’s all about that charisma.
It takes courage to succeed, to run a business or be in the public eye. It takes courage to follow a dream and smash it out of the park. You have to chase it daily and work hard once you’re there.
Think about Beyoncé dancing and still singing perfectly. How much she must train, practice and rehearse. How many recipes did Nigella make that tasted terrible? Each of them was persistent and committed to their vision and that’s how they got where they are.
Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to sit down and decide who would be on your Virtual Advisory Board? What traits and characteristics inspire you? Is it hard work? Is it being clever financially? Whatever it is, find your advisors and the next time you need a bit of advice, ask yourself:
What would Oprah do?