Charlene Lazewski is a Media & Entrepreneurial Expert, and Owner of Charlene & Co. Media. She took some time out to talk with The Industry Leaders and provide some golden rules for business owners in 2023.
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
My background is in media, mainly editorial and publishing. I started out my career in corporate publishing. But, I felt being in the corporate world suppressed my creativity. So, once I started a family, I decided to start doing freelance writing, and other editorial services for clients. I quickly grew a very diverse and amazing portfolio of clients from all over the world. The majority of my clients were from the fashion, beauty, and hospitality industries. I continue to work with clients today, and I also provide current and potential entrepreneurs with consultations in order to improve their branding, direction, profits, and much more. I am also in the process of creating a platform that caters to all things Entrepreneur lifestyle. I have observed other entrepreneur editorial sites focusing too much on the business side, never the lifestyle. I am excited for this new project!
What does an average day look like for you?
I work with several editorial clients, so my first priority daily is to check off what I have scheduled for them. I then work with entrepreneurs one-on-one to support them in their current or potential businesses. I also have two boys who I am quite busy with :)
How do you balance the needs of your business with the needs of your personal life?
I'll start by saying that as an entrepreneur, it's very easy to lose grasp of your personal life, as your work life takes over without even noticing. Sure, as an entrepreneur you gain freedom from an overseeing system, but that can also work against you. Therefore, the key to maintaining a balance between your business and personal life is impeccable organization, grounding for mental clarity, and having your goals be 100% clear.
I love using project management platforms such as, Trello, Click Up, Airtable, or Monday, to help me outline all my work, detail my goals, set deadlines for timeliness, and maintain consistent productivity. I set time slots in my day for work, and once those slots are gone, I close up shop no matter what. I then dedicate the next time slots for self care, my husband and children, friends, etc. I always commit to my pre-planned schedules, which has led me towards having a happy and healthy personal life, as well as a successful work life. You may not have a boss as an entrepreneur, but you ARE the boss, so be fair and good to yourself. You deserve it!
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
I once was concerned about other entrepreneurs launching a platform similar to mine. I quickly panicked and asked, "now what"? I discussed my concerns with a friend who is also a business owner. She said, there are plenty of businesses across the globe that are similar to one another, but that hasn't stopped them from succeeding. Although they might be similar, they have stood out because of their different branding, services, signatures. Businesses mow over their competition because of the few factors that do differentiate them from their competitors. Those personal twists we add to our businesses are what keep us levels above. Since then, I never second guessed my business nor the intention behind it.
What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?
The biggest challenge I faced within my career was during the Covid Pandemic in 2020. Many of my clients decided to pause their contracts, or decrease the project size. Before 2020, I never had trouble getting clients, or having consistent work. It was then I realized how important networking regularly is for an entrepreneur. I never really had a need to network before 2020. But, the truth is networking should be done even if work is good. Don't wait for work to be slow to network. By networking regularly, you'll always have a backup plan to support you and your business. You'll never fall.
Are there any well-known Books, Podcasts, or Courses that you credit your current success to?
For podcasts I recommend Jenna Kutcher's "Goal Digger. And, Amy Poterfield's "Online Marketing Made Easy".
For books, I recommend "The Minimalist Entrepreneur: How Great Founders Do More With Less"
"Branding Queens: Discover Branding Secrets From Twenty Incredible Women Who Built Global Brand Dynasties"
What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful business owner or executive to have?
I think the most important qualities for a successful business owner to have are creativity and passion. Creativity will be what keeps your business always unique and enticing to the public. And, passion is what gives your business life and love, helping it flourish.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a business owner?
That you must commit to not comparing yourself or your business to anything or anyone else. Have tunnel vision on your passion, your business. Stay focused, and you will no doubt manifest something incredible. Distraction is poison for a business.
What are the top three things you think are essential for business success?
The top three things I think are essential for business success are:
Solid drive and motivation
Be a consistent researcher
Do you think someone can be a great business owner without having many years of experience first?
Yes, all it takes is passion, a great idea, and stellar branding.
In general, do you think the world is producing better business owners in 2023 than it was fifty years ago?
Mainly yes, but also a little bit of a no. Why Yes - because there are far more resources for business owners today. And, the rate of new and better resources coming out is incredibly fast and consistent. It's just a matter of trial and error for business owners to figure out what works for their business. Some business owners find their magical concoction of resources instantly, for some it can take quite a bit of time. Some business owners never find any resource concoction that works, and the close up their businesses. This is why investing in business consulting is so important for your business's solid foundation, and success.
The No - While the digital age has most definitely made entrepreneurship a lot easier today, it has also opened the doors wide open for a lot more people to jump on the business owning bandwagon. Hence, drastically increasing competition. More competition means that your business's success won't come as easy as it might of 50 years ago. There's a lot more to power through as a business owner today.