Charlene Walters, MBA, Ph.D. is a business and branding mentor and entrepreneurship coach on Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Ask an Expert” platform and through her own consulting business where she enjoys working one-on-one with a variety of entrepreneurs, businesses, and professionals. She is also a consultant, speaker, corporate trainer, and the author of Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur (McGraw Hill). Additionally, Charlene is a TV host on Launch with Charlene Walters (D B & A Network) now streaming on Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Charlene Walters: Right now, I’m working on so many exciting projects. I’m continuing to do book signings and events related to my new book, Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur, and just began hosting a new show called Launch with Charlene Walters which streams on Roku, Amazon Fire, and AppleTV (DB&A Network). It’s on M-F at 9 AM EST and is also available on demand. In addition to that, I’m consulting and doing some one-on-one work with individual clients who are growing their businesses. I also have a few collaborations in the works (more to come on that). All in all, it’s been a great year for me personally and I’m meeting more incredible people and growing my network every day!
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Charlene Walters: The jump into entrepreneurship was a big decision and a giant leap. It required me to have lots of confidence and faith in myself and my business (which I do) and to ignore the naysayers and those who didn’t support me. I guess it’s the same for everyone in business ultimately. Without the right mindset, you will never be successful so I’ve learned to develop a number of strategies to help me navigate through tough times. And yes, there were many setbacks and obstacles that made me wonder if I should turn towards a path that was filled with less risk -but what fun would that be? Being successful is all about having the right attitude.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Charlene Walters: I work with lots of entrepreneurs and business professionals so I know how challenging it can be when they are first starting out. Some of the most common mistakes that I see are trying to tackle too many goals at once and the failure to focus on revenue-generating activities first and foremost. We want to do so many things- we’re full of ideas, after all, us entrepreneurs, but the problem is that we need to ease into them slowing focusing on 3 or 4 major goals at a time and then outlining the micro-steps to make them happen. We can also get hung up on the more glamorous aspects of being an entrepreneur, when in reality, and particularly in the beginning, it’s the less glamorous work that will make us successful. Finally, a lack of patience can derail an entrepreneur. Nothing is going to happen overnight so it’s important to accept that up front.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Charlene Walters: Resilience is the ability to bounce back and overcome obstacles- and there will be so many trials and tribulations during your journey as an entrepreneur. It’s not that we can’t ever feel sad or discouraged when they happen, we will and should. It’s just that we can’t set up camp in that negativity and live there. The journey of a business owner has many setbacks so we must come up with ways to pivot and keep going. As part of that, it’s important to always have a plan B, C, D, E, F, etc., and to look for new opportunities and methods to evolve. We saw so many businesses get creative during the pandemic and that’s what we all need to do every day as entrepreneurs. Business changes constantly and we have to keep up!
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Charlene Walters: My company stands out from the competition for all of the same reasons that I stand out as a person. I pull on my strengths which include the fact that I really like people and want to help them. I look for mutually beneficial partnerships and solutions. I get behind people, root for them, and do what I say that I will do. If you love what you do, and have a passion for it, it shows. That’s what makes me different. Plus, I give whatever I do my all and my heart is always in it.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Charlene Walters: One of the biggest strengths anyone can have when dealing with all people- staff, colleagues, customers, and senior management- is building rapport. Take some time to get to know the people around you- what makes them tick, what they like, and what motivates them. It also helps to always approach every situation with the idea of reciprocity- what’s in it for both parties- try to find some common ground. It’s also important to roll up your sleeves and work side by side with others- it shows commitment, respect, and kinship. No matter what level you’re at, you should never be above it.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Charlene Walters: I could talk all day about this one!!! It is so extremely important for a leader to be mindful of their personal brand. You can’t get away from it today. Personal branding can feel overwhelming for some at first, but it’s critical to begin building one if you haven’t already. You can start by identifying your skills, expertise, values, and passions. From there, brainstorm about how you can share your thoughts related to the areas that you want to be known for. There are so many ways to do so- blogging, podcasting, writing, speaking, and more. Choose what you feel comfortable with and then work to grow your influence and presence. It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll eventually get there. Personal branding is a must for today’s leaders and entrepreneurs.
How would you define “leadership”?
Charlene Walters: A leader is someone that people look up to and admire- an individual that others want to make happy and are inspired by. Leaders are so much more than managers who simply tell people what to do. A leader leads their team towards greatness, challenging them to go above and beyond. They put their team first and ensure that everyone feels valued and accepted.
Leadership involves getting your team to see and execute your vision and giving them the opportunity to grow and take the business to new heights. Anyone can be a manager, but it takes someone special to be a true leader.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Charlene Walters: I truly believe that the journey to entrepreneurship is unique for everyone. Some people start when they are young, and others turn to it later on in life when they are ready. There is not a one size fits all pattern for entrepreneurs. We are all so different. Everyone takes their own path. The one thing that’s for sure is that if you really want to become an entrepreneur and are willing to do the work and stick with it for the long haul that it will take to make your business successful, you’ll get there. No matter when you began, you will continue to learn and grow throughout your journey- that’s a given.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Charlene Walters: “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” A client told me that early on in my career and it’s so true. You will never get anything in life if you don’t ask for it- that sale, that promotion, that (insert anything here). And it is especially true for entrepreneurs. We have to constantly seek and ask for opportunities and partnerships. If we just kick back and let opportunities come to us, we will be waiting a long time! And, we can’t be discouraged by the word “No” and rejection. There will be plenty of both before we get to where we want to be! Keep asking.
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Charlene Walters for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Charlene Walters or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Did you enjoy this article? Check out similar stories:
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.