Ladies Who Launch is the first company to define the feminine approach to launching a business and to make the connection between starting a business and bringing creativity into your life with self-esteem and happiness.
The nationally acclaimed Ladies Who Launch program has enabled thousands of women across the country to break out of the nine-to-five mold and thrive in entrepreneurial enterprises that reflect their true passions, skills, and desires. Located in more than 40 cities in the United States, the Ladies Who Launch incubators, workshops that give women the support and encouragement they need to embark on making their dreams reality, have inspired women to start businesses, grow existing companies, and tap into their creativity to develop essential services and products and enjoy the lifestyle of their dreams while doing it.
Available for the first time in book form, the four-step incubator process, using self-tests, inspiring stories, and practical information, gives women the courage to follow a cherished but unfulfilled dream. Through this unique program, women are encouraged to:
Imagine it: allow a secret desire to come to light Speak it: choose a dream to pursue Do it: take effective action to make it a reality Celebrate it: revel in successes, reward effort, and be good to yourself along the way
Ladies Who Launch provides a proven approach to igniting a fire under a long-smoldering dream, having more fun, and catapulting a lifestyle, relationship, or occupation to an infinitely higher level.
Introduction to Launching
We don’t like to limit any area of our lives that could be launched. For one person it’s a business, for another it’s a social life, and for someone else it might be an exercise program. Launching means getting anything off the ground, or at least into a more evolved state than it’s currently in. Anything can be launched once you understand the specifics of how to do it. You will no longer be the person who catches herself, years down the road, wishing she’d learned French, made a documentary, or started a matchmaking business. Once you have the tools to launch you will have the tools to get anything up and running, now and for the rest of your life.
Our philosophy is that launching doesn’t have to mean writing a business plan, selling the house, moving to another city, or even leaving your job. Launching is a state of mind, a way of thinking. If you don’t have the luxury to go away to a deserted island to write your novel, there is no reason you can’t get started in some significant way today. Too often we put off starting something because it seems too far-fetched or would take too much energy. Some of us don’t know how to follow through or fear it might change our lives too much. The reality is that when you have a map of how to get somewhere, it immediately seems much more attainable. If Everest were simply some Goliath peak in the sky, with no guidelines on how to scale it, do you think anyone other than crazy explorers would dare climb to the top?
Authors’ Note: How long can you stand to let your dreams go unnoticed? What daydream comes to you again and again? If wishing could make it so, what would be yours? Is there something you’re waiting for? How long are you willing to wait? How long is too long? Is now soon enough?
We’re giving you a map. You can go to the base camp or all the way to the summit. How high to go will always be up to you, but our experience has shown that once a woman figures out the launching process, she can’t be stopped. Launching becomes a verb that describes both her appetite for creativity and her ability to execute.
We are fanatical about launching because we know that the movement toward your desires and dreams is the key to happiness and self-esteem. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his landmark book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, says it best when he writes:
Contrary to what we usually believe, the best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.
He goes on to say that optimal experience is something that we make happen and that is how you get into the flow of your life. Nothing is more active than launching; it is how you make things happen. It’s critical for your self-esteem and happiness to get you thinking about your dream right from the start, and get it out there as soon as possible. It’s one thing to have a dream locked somewhere in your head, be a decent human being, and feel good about yourself and your life. It’s quite another to let it out so that it can actually happen and so you can see what this does to how you feel about youself.
To further support our theories that women launch in different ways and for different reasons than men, and that launching brings happiness and fulfillment, we conducted a nationwide survey of Ladies within our subscriber base (women who have or who are developing an entrepreneurial spirit). We then surveyed corporate women outside our subscriber base as well as gentlemen, both those in corporate environments and others launching outside the corporate arena. The results were fascinating, challenging, and at times surprising. We also surveyed women who have been profiled on www.ladieswholaunch.com (the Featured Ladies) as our “success” stories. We consider them successful for reasons beyond their bank accounts or business models. These women are living their dreams; they enjoy amazingly rich lifestyles, have fascinating, industrious friends and supportive families, many have children, and naturally many of them have been rewarded with the financial success they so certainly deserve for their efforts. Key, though, to each of them, is the sense that a dream was imagined and carried out. Their particular “project” could have just as easily ended up a passing fancy . . . not a nationally known brand!
Launching and Self-Esteem
We knew that we felt better about ourselves after launching our businesses, so we wondered if launching could be a prescription for boosting self-esteem and happiness. In our survey we asked all the women and men if they felt good about themselves, and we all know that people who felt good about themselves are happier and have higher self-esteem.
The answer was a resounding yes, launching is good for self-esteem, especially for women. Look at the difference between the self-esteem index of Launching Ladies compared to their friends in the corporate world. Wouldn’t you like to feel almost 20 percent better? This isn’t to say that you feel down or bad, you just might feel better if you are taking actions that lead to a new venture. When you’re birthing something, from a new room in the house to a lemonade stand, your inner magic wand is in action. It’s not about what, but more about doing. This means that going out in the world, making things happen, and stirring the pot is more than just fun and possibly lucrative; it could save you big bucks on therapy bills and also fill in a few of
the holes that crop up and make you feel like something might be missing.
Shades of Gray
Some people see launching as black or white. You may be thinking, “I can’t launch because if I do, everything else will fall apart, or things will change so much that I won’t be able to handle them. Conversely, if I don’t, life will stay the same forever and fail to inspire me sometime down the road.” Propelling ideas outward doesn’t require sacrifice and perpetual change. The bottom line here is that reaching for dreams makes you feel good, and for a long time. So, if launching is so good for your self-esteem, why wouldn’t you launch? We asked that question of our corporate sisters and brothers in the context of entrepreneurship, one part of the launching concept, to find out what it is that holds people back.
It is scary to leave the stability of a paycheck and your health insurance and to put yourself on the line, to take that risk, when you may have a family at home or not a lot of cash in the bank. If you are in the corporate boat and not ready to get off, this book will help you think about launching in a slightly different way, and you can even use these skills and mind-set within a corporation. In the traditional model it’s been black and white—either you’re an entrepreneur or working in a corporation. We see things in a beautiful shade of Weimaraner gray. This gray area could be working full time in the corporate world, and possibly doing something toward your passion on the side, or perhaps pursuing something creative as a hobby. Looking back to the self-esteem question, those who work in a corporate environment and who are pursuing a dream and launching something on the side feel better about themselves. When we talk about launching, it’s easy to think we are only addressing it in the “start your own gig” sphere. This is partly true, but not completely. We know that women can launch in hundreds of ways that don’t necessarily involve work at all. There is a mind-set of launching that involves figuring out what you love and infusing some action in your life that isn’t necessarily pragmatic, obligatory, or purely functional. You may also be someone who has a burning desire to launch but doesn’t know exactly what it is you would like to do. If that’s the case, this book will help you sort it out.
Copyright © 2007 by Victoria Colligan and Beth Schoenfeldt. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from "Ladies Who Launch: Embracing Entrepreneurship & Creativity as a Lifestyle" by Victoria Colligan. Copyright © 2007 by Victoria Colligan. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.