Entrepreneur Maribeth Kuzmeski got tired of being the proverbial “only woman in the room” serving the financial services sector as President of Red Zone Marketing. She created a foundation to provide women in business witth female role models and mentors they need to succeed. Today she puts on the “advice wings” to talk personal brand and how to command a room.
Melinda Wittstock: Welcome to Wings, Maribeth.
Maribeth Kuzmeski: Well thank you for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: I am excited to talk to you. I always begin these minisodes with what is inspiring you right now.
Maribeth Kuzmeski: Well, what is inspiring me is teaching. In my business, we do a lot of ‘I speak, I teach, I train.' I'm also getting into doing some university teaching and teaching younger people how to market themselves, and how to brand. I'm affiliated with several universities, and it is so amazing; I absolutely love it. I'm so passionate about it.
Melinda Wittstock: That's excellent, because so many younger kids and teenagers and what not, they're so savvy on social media; but they still need to know the rules of the road a little bit. What are some of the things that you find that are challenging about that?
Maribeth Kuzmeski: One of the things is, is that there's this big distracted society today. You really have to be a different kind of professor to get people to pay attention, and to get people to learn. It's a real challenge for universities. I've got two millennial kids, so I get how you have to really work hard to engage them; but I think it's good practice for everyone. I mean engaging students is the same thing as engaging our prospects and our clients. We have to be really, really good at doing that today; because without it, no one pays attention.
Melinda Wittstock: No, it's really difficult, actually, to be heard and stand out in all that noise. That's a good segue into what are your top pieces of advice for women in business, entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs, anyone thinking of reinventing themselves as an entrepreneur.
Maribeth Kuzmeski: Yeah, so the first thing is … and I always say this, and it's a hard lesson. It's always a hard lesson for me, too; but number one is … don't be afraid if people don't like you. Everyone's not going to like you. You have to be able to do things without having that sort of skew to, ‘Well, if I say this, maybe someone will,' … There's always going to be someone who's not going to like you. You have to do what you think is best.
You got to promote yourself. No one is going to promote you if you don’t promote you. #WINGSPodcast #WomeninBusiness @MBKuzmeskiClick to tweet
The second thing is you got to promote yourself. No one is going to promote you if you don't promote you. I'm a big proponent in promoting yourself. It's hard to do because we're humble. We don't want to go out there and bang on the drum, and talk about how great we are.
Melinda Wittstock: [crosstalk 00:03:26 Women have a really … Yeah, women have a really hard time with that. I think a harder time than men. Why do you think that is?
Maribeth Kuzmeski: I just think it's the way we were raised in a lot of cases. I think that men are just okay about talking about themselves, and no one scrutinizes it. If a woman talks about herself, other women will scrutinize it. Men will, ‘Oh wow, look at her. You know, talking about herself.' You have to. You just won't … I mean I work in a … Almost 90% of my clients and the business that I do is with men. If I didn't stand up and try to say something, no one would ever hear me. I've got to be able to take credit for the things that were mine. That's definitely [crosstalk 00:04:07 …
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, so true; so advice number three.
Maribeth Kuzmeski: Develop your personal brand. I think that everyone has a brand. You can work inside of a company and the company has a brand, and it's not your brand; but you have a personal brand. What are you good at? What are your unique skills? Be able to know that and talk about it. It's really critical; so brand yourself.
Again, the whole … with all the three things that I talked about, the bottom line is don't be afraid of standing out, stepping up, talking up. It's not easy. I'm not suggesting that it's easy. I'm not suggesting that you should go out of your way to be something that you're not. It's just being able to take advantage of the things that are right in front of you.
Melinda Wittstock: So true. Maribeth, so many women need help with personal branding and standing out, finding their voice, all of that sort of stuff that you helped them do. How can they find you and work with you?
Maribeth Kuzmeski: My website is RedZoneMarketing.com. My twitter is @MBKuzmeski. That's M-B-K-U-Z-M-E-S-K-I. I'm on Facebook and all over the place; but RedZoneMarketing.com is the best place.
Melinda Wittstock: That's great, and do you have any kind of special offer for our listeners today?
Maribeth Kuzmeski: Well, there's actually a free messaging worksheet that you can get, which helps you message yourself better, promote yourself more. That's on our website, RedZoneMarketing.com/messaging.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Maribeth, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Maribeth Kuzmeski: Thank you.