Over the past 20 years of practicing family law I’ve worked with many female lawyers. Most of whom were either their own bosses, or part of a small law firm. We don’t often think of solo practitioners as entrepreneurs, but the truth is that any professional who hangs out a shingle, is in fact an entrepreneur.

I have coaching client who is a family lawyer and we’re re-building her business, positioning her into a niche that will bring the clients she wants to work with, and can provide the revenue she needs to provide for her family. It’s funny how these relationships develop, we met almost a decade ago in the Santa Monica courthouse on opposite sides of the table, but both fighting for the same thing, – the best thing for a special needs child. Family court is crazy sometimes, in this case the parents haven’t gotten along for years, but the lawyers are great friends now!

The problem for most people in business is that they are never taught what they need to know about marketing, positioning and advertising and I dare say that it is probably worse for women who have a lack of female mentors and role models in business. But that is changing as more and more women are reaching higher levels of the corporate ladder and for those who are building their own businesses.

My friend Maggie Georgopoulos is the author of Up The Ladder In A Skirt which chronicles her experiences in the hyper-masculine world of engineering and the petroleum industry, and was written to help other women climb the ladder. She’s an entrepreneur who is a global professional speaker on the topics of diversity and mental health in the workplace. I met her last year in Auckland when we were both presenting at the Global Speakers Summit. We then were in Johannesburg, South Africa speaking at the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa. As entrepreneurs we have travelled the world to create opportunities for ourselves, which is what entrepreneurs do.

I was reminded of that as I spoke this weekend with my friend Heather Wetlzer of CUECareer.com. She and her husband Nick Hare founded the Santa Monica based edu-tech company when she saw the opportunity to help students find and explore different career paths. Heather has volunteered for various education based non-profits, notably Black Girl Code, which teaches entrepreneurship and pitching in underserved communities. That experience led her to realize that there was a need to match students with internships. The twist that CUECareer.com puts on it is to work with the community of associations. In America there are over 100,000 associations that have training programs and opportunities for students to learn about potential careers – CUECareer.com is providing that information to schools and school districts at no cost through a model that provides the associations with a pool of candidates for their programs.

I asked Heather about the impact female mentors have had on her career and she said, “Coming from the Hearst family of publications, which was a very female heavy environment I had some wonderful female mentors who helped me learn how to navigate the corporate world. We need champions and to have other great women who believe in us. I’ve been very lucky in having great male and female mentors throughout my career.”

Finding great mentors is not easy, and it can be even harder when we start screening for female entrepreneurs. Luckily my friend and fellow National Speakers Association member Jen Devore Richter was able to give me some insight, since she is a leading business coach for women. Her company BossWomenRock.com is designed to help women hit the ground running to build their companies with a solid foundation of a clear market dominating message. Jen runs three programs for women to position themselves for maximum success. She has an online course at BossWomenRock.com, that’s a 52 week video training program which teaches the fundamentals of marketing. For those who want to “Git ‘er done!” right away, there’s the RisingInfluencer.com program which is either a One Day intensive influencer program or you can do that material on a one-on-one basis over 30 days.

“Helping women become the Boss Women they want and deserve to be is my life’s mission. I took all that I have learned over the years from various mentors, and now share it with the women who want to succeed. I speak at Women in Business luncheons (of which there are a ton!) and always leave feeling like I’ve helped someone achieve their dreams. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that” she told me.

I have to agree with her. I know for me, helping people achieve their dreams, whether it’s like my friend who wants to be a more successful attorney working with kids in the special needs community, or building a marketing company that specializes in medical non-profits like SixSecondStories.com, the gratification means more than the paycheck.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.  He welcomes your questions and comments.  He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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