Walk A Mile in Her Shoes
Reprinted from Stilettogal
Today we are walking a mile in the sparkly stilettos of Stephanie Michele, founder of SocialBling. SocialBling inspires people to communicate with purpose, inspires leaders to implement process that helps people communicate consciously, promotes the value of relationships and brings people together to make better decisions to impact communities locally and globally.
SG: How did you start SocialBling? What was the inspiration behind this business?
SM: I started SocialBling in 2009 with a shoestring budget and a wealth of inspiration and knowledge about the future of relating. I could see how advancements in social technologies would change how products and services are marketed; shifting the emphasis from mass marketing to one-to-one relating. With the spotlight on one-to-one relating the dynamics of personal and professional relationships would also shift. I wanted to help individuals and companies understand the shift and respond to it in the most effective way possible.
SG: What is the most challenging business decision you have ever made? How did it turn out?
SM: The most challenging business decision I have ever made was to put my head down for almost a year to research and develop a program for advanced relating and trust building. The program is called Social Workflow Readiness. When I launched the program it was ahead of the demand in the marketplace. Now that the demand is catching up, the interest for my work and service offerings is rapidly increasing. I am thrilled about this on so many levels. It means leaders of companies are starting to understand the importance of investing in their people in a way that engages employees to consciously take part in identifying obstacles and solutions. Trust is the most important element of high quality solutions. The more trust there is in an organization the less harm is done to people and planet.
SG: What are the three most important things a startup should know or do before launching a new product?
SM: Identify the need for your product or service in the marketplace. Don’t guess about the need. Allocate time to get to know your target demographic and involve them in your development. Craft clear communication messages for EVERYONE that is going to be interacting with other people on behalf of your company and use the feedback you are getting to keep online communication clear and precise.
SG: How did you overcome any failures in your business, if any?
SM: When you are trailblazing a path no one has traveled before, failure is just not option. There are tons of should of, would of, could of in place especially when some people around you want you to operate in norms. I have taken on a lot of risk that have not always paid off. I learn something from every mistake I make and I use everything I have learned to move on. The best advice I have about dealing with failure is to cultivate a support team of people who believes in you, keep you accountable and know the difference between times when pushing or cheering is required. Hint: When you are beating yourself up, don’t wait for someone to cheer you on, call your best cheerleader and ask them to lay it on you! And for God sakes, PRAY. Every time I had no idea how I was going to overcome the next obstacle, I leaned into the unknown and surrender my unknowns to God. The answers always come to me usually in the form of understanding who I should ask for help. I think women entrepreneurs are more fearful about asking for help yet ask any investor who they would rather back; a woman with all the answers who is doing everything herself or the one that has cultivated relationships with supporters, advisers and mentors.
SG: What kind of shoe are you and why?
SM: I love this question. I am a blinged-out stiletto. The shoes pictured here are by Betsy Johnson. They are my favorite pair. For me, it is empowering and liberating to wear great pair of heels. I am competing in a man’s business world but I refuse to do it in a way where I am at risk of abandoning my feminine traits. Some may look at the shoes and see only sparkle yet that sparkle is backed with high voltages of a clear determination, knowledge and experience. I am a firm believer that the world would be in a better place with more women in leadership. I have the most value in service to others when I am bringing feminine traits of listening, empathy and care-taking into the board room. And for the record, I can walk miles in these heels carrying the weight of world on me if needed.