Interview With Elizabeth Gordon

 

Elizabeth Gordon Elizabeth Gordon is the founder and President of Flourishing Business ®, an advisory firm for entrepreneurs. A visionary leader with a passion for helping others achieve their entrepreneurial dreams, Elizabeth regularly has the opportunity to share her business acumen with clients and audiences, large and small. She challenges others to reconnect with their true passion and purpose as she helps them to achieve their business goals through her unique flourishing business® philosophy.

Elizabeth is the author of the 21-week Amazon.com business bestseller The Chic Entrepreneur: Put Your Business in Higher Heels." I was introduced to her at a recent networking event that we both attended. I was very impressed with her and asked her if she would consent to be interviewed for this website

Elizabeth, welcome to Women's Book Reviews. Please tell us where you grew up and where you went to school.

I grew up in beautiful Buck County, PA is a historic town called called Yardley, which is a thriving suburb of Philadelphia. So in my upbringing I had a good mix of country, city, and eventually full out suberbia living. As I grew up I watched a lot of local farmers sell their land to developers and houses and shopping malls sprout up instead of the fresh vegetables my mom and younger brother and I used to buy every spring, summer and fall. Yardley, was an ideal city to grow up in and every time I return to visit my parents, I am so grateful for solid roots that it instilled in me. Of course as I kid, I always loved visiting the big cities - Philly and New York, which many of our neighbors used to commute to by train daily - and used to dream of one day living in a big city in a neighborhood just like South Street in Philadelphia, funky, ecliptic, vibrant and fun. When it was time to go to college I decided I wanted to see another part of the country, so I ended up going to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Wake was similarly picturesque - so many people remark that it is what everyone imagines "college" to look like. The liberal arts education coupled with one of the finest business schools in the country has a big role to play in my theories on business and how we can use it as the powerful tool it is for the greater good of society to create more peace and prosperity around the planet.

What brought you to Atlanta?

I moved to Atlanta for a job - actually, I had been offered the job in Princeton, NJ and when I went up for my interview (I was living in Charlotte at the time), it was February and it was cold, and windy and snowy, and just a miserable weekend of slush and snow and sleet. The interview went great and they offered me the job, but when I returned down south, I just couldn't bear the idea of moving back to the northern weather again. The company had another location in Atlanta, which I had never been to, but had heard a lot about. So asked them if they'd make me the same offer there. They flew me down for the weekend and put me up in Buckhead (which was a very fun nightlife scene at the time). I met with the management team in the Atlanta office and spent the rest of the time enjoying the outdoor patios that adorn nearly every restaurant in Atlanta - and just loved it. There are so many fun sections of Atlanta, its not just one city, it's tens of little city squares and mini cities within it. I figured it would keep me entertained for a while ... that was nearly 10 years ago.

Have you always been interested in business and entrepreneurship?

I have always been interested in business, but entrepreneurship didn't come on my radar screen until I was out there in the workforce for a while. I've never really been a big fan of "authority" so having a boss has never been real comfortable for me. After hopping from about 4 years in 10 years, I did a lot of soul searching about what do I love, and what am I best at, and what do I really want to do? These questions led me to the idea of starting my own business - when I looked at the people that I admired most and most wanted to be like, I started to notice most of them worked for themselves. I've always been big into personal development and love reading and learning new things, striving to get the best out of myself, and when you think about investing in yourself - in order to get the best return on that investment, you really do need to be a free agent and own your own company.

What made you decide to key in on the female entrepreneur?

They sort of started to key in on me actually. My initial clients of my consulting firm were men - perhaps because I had worked mostly with men in the past and in male dominated fields. Then a few women clients trickled in - and some striking differences between them fascinated me. I was always raised to think men and women were equals, in fact it was a bit of a shock when I moved to the south and found that not everyone yet shares that enlightened view of equality of the sexes (and not just in the south either). So when I noticed that men and women viewed their businesses differently and themselves differently as it related to their business - it intrigued me. Why did men think their companies were going to change the world and success would come easy to them, while women aimed just to get by and pay the bills and be less confident than about their success than the men? As the business advisor, I could objectively see no difference between them, the women were just as smart as the men, just as experienced (often in more experienced) - so why such a different perspective? My interest and exploration in all this awakened a desire in me to elevate the vision of women about themselves and their potential in business - and thus "The Chic Entrepreneur: Put Your Business in Higher Heels" was born. The heels are an analogy about uplifting your vision.

What services does your business, Flourishing Business, provide for your clients?

I work with business owners and women in business one-on-one or in a group settings through our new Chic Circle membership program to help them make their business flourish. Our work helps them see the big picture of their business and their own big picture potential. We also have books, CDs, manuals, and seminars. Our products and programs give business owners frank feedback and advice on how to get past stuck and move solidly ahead in the marketplace with a clear vision and position. Ultimately our clients follow the model all the way through and make their business a flourishing business.

I understand that you are a motivational speaker as well. What general advice can you give to a women who is about to begin her challenge of forming and running her own business?

Lead with passion and follow up with practicality. As an entrepreneur you need to find balance between dreaming and doing. Spend time getting clear early on your vision - don't just "give it a try" - as Yoda would say, "do or do not, there is no try." Get really clear and what you want and why. Many people just jump in and think they will figure it out along the way, but they end up just going in circles. Clarity of vision will guide you to the promised land - don't let that flashlight of passion burn out or you will find yourself in the dark. That being said - do start, realize that you will never be "ready" so if you've always wanted to start your own business, know that you will never know what will happen if you follow that dream, until you just do it.

Is there any other message that you would like to disseminate to our readers?

Don't let fear of failure hold you back - or fear of anything for that matter - fear is not real - just a made up think we create in our heads. We think avoiding our fears will keep us safe, but it is just the opposite - especially these days - do what it is you fear - there are no mistakes, or even failures, there are only learning experiences. I think starting your own business is one of the greatest personal development journeys you can take on, so it you like learning and growing, and sharing your gifts with the world to create prosperity and joy for yourself and others - entrepreneurship is it.

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