Last week I interviewed Ali Brown, an entrepreneur who built a multi-million dollar business from the success of one e-book more than 10 years ago.
Tired of the limitations of working at a small New York City ad agency, she started her own ad copy business in 1998. “Marketing is more important than the mastery,” said Brown. Fortunately for her, marketing is her mastery.
After a period of struggling to land clients, Brown began sending an e-newsletter to a mailing list of contacts she met at networking events. Ali’s proficiency at marketing herself with e-newsletters inspired her to self-publish an e-book on the subject. The e-book was such a hit, she began attracting big clients such as New York Times Digital, Adweek Magazines, Scholastic Books, and Dun & Bradstreet. Brown leveraged that success to build a vast enterprise that serves other women entrepreneurs. She produces business and personal success training workshops and seminars, such as her Millionaire Protégé Club retreats and SHINE, a three day conference (November 2-4) in Las Vegas. She also recently launched Ali Magazine, a publication that features content on business, beauty, and fashion.
During our interview, Brown told me it took her five years to make her first million. That first million was a tipping point for her, both personally and for her business. It was reaching that milestone that prompted her to make a decision - stay small and keep a high net worth for herself or reinvest in the business in order to keep growing. “I just knew that holding back was going to hurt my soul, so I decided to go big,” said Brown.
Helping other women entrepreneurs find the ability to take risk and “go big” is part of her mission. “I want to help women feel safer with risk,” said Brown. She explained that for women, personal and professional development are intertwined and working through personal issues is necessary to get your business to the next stage.
She also said that running an enterprise is not everyone’s aspiration and some choose to stay small. “[Women] don’t have to fit into business anymore,” she said. “Business has to fit what we want. It’s all about our choices and designing a business or career around them.”
In the weeks and months to come, NY Report will be speaking with a lot more inspiring women in business and will feature the 2010 Most Influential Women Entrepreneurs in our April issue. If you know of an inspiring and influential business owner we should be speaking with, please let me know.
Daria Meoli is the Executive Editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at email@example.com