Beginning their careers as a civil engineer and educator, respectively, Bert Calhoun and Fatima Salaam have become leading entrepreneurs within the Network Marketing industry with LegalShield and help others do the same through their companies (www.bertcalhoun.wearelegalshield.com and www.gowomenglobal.com).
During this link up, they share their paths to entrepreneurship, including background on the businesses they have been involved in, the key drivers for them and how they ultimately found the right business venture.
As mentors for many up and coming entrepreneurs, they share how they identify new talent as well as some of their key processes for development.
- [02:45] – Bert shares his road to entrepreneurship and the three things that helped him overcome the two major epidemics in Southern California at that time, gang violence (Bloods and Crips) and Crack Cocaine. Family, teachers/education and identifying what he wanted to do.
- [6:30] – Fatima shares her road towards entrepreneurship, growing up in a family (in particular her father’s side) that believed “education was the solution to everything.” While that became her initial focus, she gained an understanding that for women to truly have efficacy, they must also have economic empowerment.
- [9:50] – Fatima shares the unique challenges that women experience in both the job force and entrepreneurial roles. Within the job force, she explains that many women cite experiencing pushback around the age of 35 in terms of being able to advance up the career ladder. Within entrepreneurial roles, she explains that many women have a gender role-based mindset that dictates who does what within a household (e.g. if the couple has a child, the woman takes the maternity leave while the man continues to work towards career advancement).
- [12:30] – Bert shares details about the early days of the journey, making his way through several entrepreneurial opportunities, each of which had some connectivity to his core interests. He underscores some of the lessons learned around financial risk and that being a leading reason for choosing what he calls “self-franchising,” also known as network marketing. Further, Bert shares his why relative to persisting in entrepreneurship – – the flexibility it provides, allowing him to continue to pursue his other passions such as making a difference in the community through programs he has helped create and/or is involved in.
- [17:30] – Personal Development
- Self-Awareness: Fatima stresses the importance of this in term of identifying your strengths and weakness in order to create a plan tailored to meet your specific needs.
- Mentor Insights: Bert shares the insights provided by his mentor, which in and of itself, underscore the value of strong mentors. Further, this mentor provided direction relative to the importance of oral and written communication skills; prepared him in terms of the diversity of the people he would be working within that particular industry; and essentially establishing the discipline to learn on a regular basis.
- Drive Time University: Bert talks about turning his car into a “drive time university.” In other words, using what would have been time for listening to the radio, music, etc., during his commute to listen to audiobooks, etc., to learn.
- Belief: Fatimah shares, with clarity, the focus on helping new would-be entrepreneurs start with an understanding of belief as the basis for everything. In her GoWomenGlobal program (spoken about later in the interview), that is the very first thing that happens. An examination must take place, removing beliefs that limit you and your potential. Further, an action plan is executed to help that new entrepreneur get to their first income in their new business, which they appropriately call a “belief check.”
- [24:00] – Interviewing and Grooming new entrepreneurs: Bert acknowledges that many people are coming from another career and a traditional education (K-12) that has not trained them for self-employment. Over the years he has developed a three-part formula for interviewing and grooming new entrepreneurs: 1) Ensure you are bringing a strong work ethic. 2) Be open to what will appear to be non-conventional concepts, don’t judge them, try them for 90 days. 3) Tap into your burning desire and your dream machine.
- [28:00] – Identifying new potential entrepreneurs: They both share some of the tangible and intangible things they look for as they recruit new would-be entrepreneurs they are going to invest time in.
- [31:20] – GoWomenGlobal: Fatima shares deeper insight climb the career ladder, be able to discover their passion, find their purpose and put a plan in place to go after it, whether that is within the workplace or as an entrepreneur.
- [33:00] – Personal development tools of choice
Fatima’s list, with a focus on women: