Real You: Book Parties!

     Don't you just love a party? I do. And I have had a blast this past month at launch parties for HERE, HOME, HOPE at friends' homes and at amazing small businesses across the country. If you're interested in hosting a party - and having me there - please let me know! We have a Book Party Kit and more to help make your event a fun, memorable summer soiree! Please contact me - kaira AT for more information or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter.      Coming up this month are stops in Dallas (June 8 and 9), Los Angeles (June 10-13), Scottsdale (June 14 and 15) - followed closely by Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Jacksonville, Orlando, and then a huge swing through the Northeast: Portland, Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket and more. I would love to join you, your friends, your book club and more for a party. I'll also be making appearances at book stores across the country all summer and I'd love to see you there. Book tour here.   

I wrote about how much fun the parties have been, and how it's been a great excuse to reconnect with friends for Girlfriendology, and my friend Debba Haupert. See you in Cincinnati, Debba!!

Real You: Choices

I am stuck. Doesn't happen much, because I try to be a woman of action. Afterall, my refrain is put your passion into action. But here's the problem. I need to choose a cover for my novel - Here, Home, Hope - being published in May 2011. But there are two good choices and I'm not sure which one to go with.
People do judge books by their covers. It's arguably the biggest, most important decision surrounding a book. The cover conveys visual cues about tone, subject, substance and so much more. And well, that's why I'm stuck. Please, if you like to read women's fiction and you have an opinion one way or another, please let me know! The choices are here, on my Facebook Fan Page, Kaira Rouda Books. And, of course, I'd love for you to become a fan. Pick a cover, become a fan and help a writer out. Thanks!

Ready, Set, Launch – Gulp

As an entrepreneur, you know the feeling! Whether you're a solopreneur, mompreneur, intrapreneur (an entrepreneur within a company), a multi-million dollar entrepreneur—whatever level—that moment when the project is finished and you launch it to the world is daunting. You *think* you've thought of everything, dotted all your I's as they say, but invariably, something isn't quite perfect.

But it's still great. That gulp feeling, that nervousness, is all because we put too much expectation on ourselves, and our team, to be perfect. Perfect isn't sustainable or real. Perfect is a place where there is no room fo
r improvement, and there always is. Always. So if you're like me, and you've for too long held on to that perfectionist feeling, try to work it through. Realize, as I had to, that each mistake is a chance to learn and that when you're being realistic, you realize nobody—and no product or service launch—will ever be perfect.

Guess who reminded me of the whole problem with perfection? My middle school son. He is one of those guys—straight As, great at sports, a mentor, teachers love him, tons of friends. That guy. One night, tucking him in, I said something to the effect of you're just such a perfect kid. He looked at me, incredulously, and said: “Mom, nobody's perfect. I'm not. That's too much to expect from yourself.” Yes, he said it. Now I call him my “almost-perfect” son, with a smile.

That said, there's nothing wrong with doing your best. I just launched a new Web site for my Real You business—GULP. It's a work in progress, but it's a great start. I say that even while I acknowledge to you right now that I wasn't going to tell you about it today because it's not perfect. It isn't. But, then again, it never will be.

So, with pride, and a nod to imperfection and the entrepreneurial spirit, I hope you'll check out my new site: and watch with me as it evolves. Because a Web site, much like the business it represents, always evolves. And once you realize that fact, and the fact that your best is good enough—even if it isn't perfect—you'll be able to share more of the Real You with the world.

The best of you. The real you. And believe me, that is as close to perfect as you need to be.

Learn how Successful Women put Personality into Business

Does your business reflect your personality? My business, Real Living, does—it’s spunky, like me! And it is part of a new eBook that was recently released, called The Personality Project: “Women of Personality”. This free eBook, by Rohit Bhatgava, author of Personality Not Included, features 20 women who have successfully melted their personalities into their businesses.

Find out how they did it by downloading it from the Personality Project Web site.

Bhatgava is currently accepting submissions from women to be part of the second edition, scheduled to launch in early June. To submit yourself or someone you know, send an email to or post a short introduction to yourself on the wall of the Women of Personality Facebook Group.

Be your best salesperson

Remember, you are your brand. So embody it wherever you go, and be its biggest fan. Carry your product around. Give it away when possible. People want instant gratification, and they love the ability to touch and feel the product. It helps make that emotional connection that leads to the sale.

Estée Lauder, who started her business in 1946, was frustrated when large advertising agencies wouldn’t take on her relatively small company (at the time). So she started her own campaign, which consisted of free samples and gifts with purchase. It was a huge success. She knew if a woman liked it, she would tell a friend. “If you put the product into the customer's hands, it will speak for itself if it's something of quality,” said Lauder. She strongly believed that in order to make the sale, you had to touch the customer. She personally went to every counter opening and trained the staff. “I’d make up every woman who stopped to look,” she said. “I would show her that a three-minute make up could change her life.” Lauder never stopped selling or showing her passion for her brand. “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” Today, the company sells in more than 100 countries and controls 46% of the cosmetics market in U.S. department stores.

Follow Lauder’s lead. Especially in today’s tough economy, you must believe in your product and show your passion for it. Carry it around if you can, and don’t be afraid to give it away once in awhile.

What are your tips for being a good salesperson?

Planning Your Future Business Now

Is entrepreneurship in your future? Start preparing yourself and your business while working for another company.

While at your current job, you can hone your entrepreneurial skills. Start by observing your surroundings, what works and what doesn’t. What aspects of your current job would you like to incorporate into your future company? And while you’re sitting through all those corporate meetings, think about what you like and dislike about them. Make some mental notes about what’s good and bad so you can take that knowledge with you. Start thinking about how you will define your personal brand and your company’s brand. What does the Real You look like?

Developing a business plan, researching your target audience and creating a vision for your business are easy ways to start preparing for what’s ahead—your business and life as an entrepreneur!

Also, while you’re still in the corporate arena, find a mentor—or two. You’re surrounded by successful people. Find out how they got started. What have they learned? What would they do differently? And finally, don’t forget to network. Take advantage of every possibility to meet and converse with other entrepreneurs and professionals. Remember to network with a diverse group of people in order to build a strong network. Something as simple as a friendly hello could evolve into a strong business relationship.

So tomorrow, when you walk through your office doors, don’t think “just another boring day at the office”; instead think, “What will I observe and learn today that will allow me to make my future business awe-inspiring?”

Snark Alert- time to sound the alarm

Have you recently been the victim of a sexist remark? It sounds like you have a sexist snark on your hands. Ah, those pesky snarks! A sexist snark is another person in your organization who is trying to bring you down. This type of snark resorts to making sexist comments; and as a result, they appear near the top of my snark scale.

First, you’re probably shocked, like most of us, that sexist snarks can still exist in this millennium. Don’t be intimidated by their behavior. Instead, report them. If you don’t get a response or if no action is taken, move on. That’s obviously not an environment you want to be in, so cut your losses and get out. To help you navigate through the tension and stress at work check out Snark Guides.

And to find out more about snarks, visit

Everyone has a story. What's yours?

In my book I talk about telling your story and I have gotten various questions regarding this topic. Most asking “why tell your story?” And to that I respond…

Because it’s unique! It’s yours and you own it. The important part of defining your personal brand is to understand how to bring it to life as a competitive advantage. Without that, you’re just another entrepreneur. With your story, you are fully formed.

Within your story you find perspective. I tell people to look in their rear-view mirror. Why? Because that’s where you’ll find perspective. That’s where you’ll find answers. Define your personal brand. Make it real. Then, put the real you in your business.

What is your story? I’d love to hear and be inspired.

Change the world for other women.

You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to make this happen. It’s as simple as reaching out and empowering another woman with a kind word—or a reference. Perhaps you’d consider taking a mentee to lunch. Maybe you could find time in your schedule to volunteer with a professional woman’s organization in your community. Or, it may be time to start your own. And if you’ve attained a level of success that allows you to give your money—do it. Time and money combined are unstoppable. Throughout the last century and continuing today, women everywhere are making a difference for women of the future. Think Gloria Steinem, Hilary Clinton and local women in your community. You, too, can be one of these change-makers. Get involved now.

Once you’ve reached a certain level in your career, it makes sense that you’ll learn the most from your peers. The concept is simple: Peers share their knowledge and their experiences in a valuable exchange of ideas that benefits both parties. Marsha Firestone, president and founder of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), has witnessed this firsthand. She started WPO specifically to help those women who had already achieved success. But prior to that, she worked for the American Woman’s Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit that helped start-up and young women entrepreneurs. So, Marsha made it possible for professional women at various levels to network successfully, and she knows that it works at any stage of a woman’s career. It’s all about branching out, a concept that Marsha—and others—have instituted so well.

Real You Incorporated is another organization that connects professional women. Share your story and tips so that others can learn from you in the Share Forum. Together—we are unstoppable!

Your Business, Your Brand, Your Culture

If you happen to be in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 9, I'll be presenting "Putting the Real You in Your Business" at the National Association of Women Business Owners luncheon.

I'll be sharing insights on:
• Establishing a successful brand for yourself

• Putting yourself at the center of your business
• Giving your company a competitive advantage
• Building a great company culture
• Creating lifetime relationships with your clients

The meeting will be held from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Smith and Wollensky at Easton Town Center.
For more information and to RSVP, visit NAWBO Columbus. I hope to see you there!