You may know about Lisa Nicole Cloud from Bravo TV’s Married to Medicine, but this vibrant entrepreneur was leaving an impression on legions of people for quite some time before the show debuted. As a published author, direct sales guru, motivational speaker, life and success coach, fashionista, wife and mother, Lisa Nicole is always on the move with something new. Her annual Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN) conference has grown from a popular Atlanta-based event to a national tour which will kick off on Saturday, May 30 in New York City.
We found some time to learn more about Lisa Nicole’s personal and professional motivation, and how exposure on reality television and love for inspiring others will never take away from her family duties. She also lists some of the good habits she practices in order to stay positive each day. Read on…
Tell us a little about your tour and what inspires you to take your motivational program on the road.
LN: So last year from watching [Married to Medicine], so many people were inspired by the Women’s Empowerment Network. They felt like, “Yes that’s exactly what I need”, because winners become this conference of women looking for a breakthrough. So women attend the conference, they leave with a renewed energy for themselves and their life; they have a plan of what they want to do and what they’re passionate about. Women go on to write books, start businesses, start TV shows, you name it.
There are so many testimonials. What women kept saying to me is, “Oh I want to get to your conference. I’d love to come to your conference. I need your conference.” But in their mind they wouldn’t make the sacrifice to come to Atlanta. So what we decided to do was take it on the road. Let’s give people a taste of what winning’s all about. Then they’ll realize that they need it to really go to that next level of success. They need to be in that environment where they’re around powerful million dollar-earning business women who are committed to pouring back into them, being that mentor, and teaching some of their success strategies.
They need to be in that environment that celebrates and elevates women and sisterhood. They need to get in that environment where get content that helps them grow personally, professionally, financially and spiritually. So I decided last year at the conference that we were going to add a tour, and this year we added six cities. We’ve got some great partners that are going to be working with us as a strategic partnership. Then we finish the tour in Atlanta in October for the three-day conference. We kick it off in New York on May 2nd in Miami, and then California, Chicago, Boston, New York and Raleigh.
What made you decide to bring in a company like 5LINX into the fold?
LN: Well 5LINX was actually the springboard. When I was working on corporate America, I had a good job and made great income, but I was unfulfilled. I really had that entrepreneurial spirit, so being in corporate America I felt like I was in a box. I entered into the world of entrepreneurship by way of direct sales. Right now my organization has over 170,000 representatives worldwide, and that’s really where I made my money. Direct sales is really where I got the resources and capital to be able to go out and start my own business outside of direct sales.
You always hear two stories in network marketing. You hear people that make a lot of money, and those that make no money. Well in the last 11 years not only was I able to become a millionaire, I’ve helped 16 other people to become millionaires through the vehicle of direct sales. But I don’t just teach people how to make money in direct sales, I teach them how to turn it into wealth. So from there I started teaching people about entrepreneurship, how to take the resources that you have and invest in businesses that make sense for your brand, that make sense for your passions and align with your life’s purpose.
Hence, from direct sales I got into fashion, because I was mentoring professional women and dressing for success is very important. I think first impressions are lasting impressions, and so as a public figure it’s something that I always had an eye for. I always stayed on the edge of what was fashionable, and said that I was going to do my own collection geared toward career wear and professional women. And that’s how the Lisa Nicole Collection was born, and that’s also how D for Doctor D, which is our menswear line, came to be.
Then from there, because of the success that I had from other business, that’s when the TV show came to me and said, “Hey we want to follow your success. We want to showcase your Women’s Empowerment Network movement that you’re doing. We want to talk about the success that you have in your fashion line and direct sales.” And I said, “Well ok I’ll look at reality TV, but only if you allow me to be who I am. I’m not your drama queen on reality TV. I am the person that can talk about entrepreneurship and mentor people. I’m the person who can be the positive voice of reason amongst all the chaos.” [laughs]
A couple of shows came to me. Housewives of Atlanta came to me, and it wasn’t’ a good fit because I was very strong about who I wanted to be on reality TV if I was going to do it. Then Married to Medicine said “that’s exactly what we’re looking for”, and that’s how it came to be.
When you got started, were you ever worried about being successful in direct sales?
LN: There always these stereotypes. Even my peers would say things like “Why are you doing that? You’ve got a degree from Emory, you’ve gone to John Hopkins, you’re above that.” But what they didn’t understand was the business model of it. In my research I had discovered that more millionaires have been created in the direct sales space than any industry in the U.S. People like Warren Buffet owned multiple direct sales companies, Donald Trump… Ronald Kiyosaki endorsed the industry.
There’s a business model to this, and if you can tap into the system of it, then you can teach the masses. So I always took the approach that I’m going to come in with a very corporate and business minded, and I’m going to help to legitimize this industry so people see it as viable business, and that’s what I did. I started developing systems and I worked with people who had never done direct sales before; but yet by following systems that I created, they became very successful in this industry.
With your life coaching work, what is the most common challenge you find that people have?
LN: Most people have not figured out what their purpose is. They have gotten sucked in a job because either that’s what they went to school for, or as life would have it that’s just the career they ended up in. But they’re not fulfilled in it, and they are just there going through the motions. A lot of people that I talk to that are at that point where they’re just trying to figure out what’s the next level for them, it’s just a matter of helping them figure out what they love doing.
I always tell people to focus on what you love and the money will follow. Let’s craft the business around your natural gift and things that you enjoy doing. Let’s figure out the business model and how to make that profitable. So that’s one client that I deal with.
I also deal with women who are very successful, but they are trying to figure out the next level. So they’re looking for someone to sit down with them and create a think-tank space where we mastermind what is the evolution of their brand and more business development. Who are the relationships that I have to help them get that book deal or an help them launch that app or whatever it is that they are looking to do. Your network is your net worth, and the one thing that I’ve learned to do very well is cultivate a very strong network.
Do you have any other projects coming up?
LN: In every city that we go to on the WEN tour, we are doing the Fashion for a Cause event and that is because we are raising money for this medical mission trip to Haiti. We’ve also adopted two schools in Haiti. That’s something that’s going to be getting a lot of attention the next couple of months, because the medical mission is going to take place in November and its probably a 95% chance that they’re gonna shoot it for the show. That’s my way of saying “Yeah we have our challenges with each other, but let’s share some of the good and positive things that doctor’s and doctor’s wives do to make a difference in this world.”
What are some things you do to keep yourself positive each day?
LN: 1. Pray. The first thing I do is wake up every day is pray. I think its very important to understand that success is not mine alone. There’s definitely a Higher Power that’s ordering my steps. I’m walking in my divine purpose but m also very faithful and very devoted, so I take that time in the morning to get still and have that moment of gratitude. When you start off with that humbleness and that humility and realize that, yes, you’ve got a lot of great things going on, but easy come, easy go. You’ve got to have a spirit of humility so I always start out in prayer.
2. Center and find stillness. The other thing I do after I come out of prayer is [have]stillness. I try to get clarity about what I want to accomplish over the day. So I really think about what I need to do to have a productive day. Not an active day, but a productive day, because there is a difference between activity and productivity. That way I can command my day as opposed to the day controlling me. A lot of people look up and say “It’s 5 o’clock and I haven’t gotten anything done!” That’s because they didn’t take command of their day in the very beginning of the day and be very directive with what they wanted to accomplish.
3. Focus. I also spend a lot of time making sure that I’m very focused. Life is gonna throw you tons of distractions, so I’m very focused when I’m working on something not to let something else come in and get me off task. I focus and finish what I start before I jump to the next thing. That’s another way the day gets away from you and you get nothing accomplished.
4. Pay attention. Throughout the day I make sure that every area or everyone in my business gets some attention. It can be a period of time that I’m working on something with the Women’s Empowerment Network or making sure my traveling business is moving and my team is on track for that. There’s a point in time where I focus on the clothing line. Those are the three areas that I’m really busy in right now because we wrapped filming. During the time that I’m filming, of course a lot of my time is focused on that so I just make sure that all of my brands get attention and the team knows what the visionary wants to have executed.
5. Communicate effectively. Making sure your team knows the plan is also very important. Beyond all of the work though, I have a family and I’m a wife, so it’s very important to spend time with my family. Whether or not that’s taking an hour to sit down with the kids and have dinner together or taking time to pray with them before bed. I’ve been on a 13-city tour and every morning before my kids go to school, they call me and we pray together. I want to make sure that even though mommy is not there, my presence is there and they feel me and know that I’m still very aware of everything that’s going on with them. Family time is really important to me.
How do you balance that time each day to make for your family even when you’re on the road?
LN: Of course in this day of modern technology, Skype is such a blessing. And you know sometimes you don’t even have to see them. They can hear my voice and feel my energy and spirit. When I’m on the road I definitely have communication. When my daughter gets home from school she calls me on the phone and tells me what she learned. The same thing with my son, so I know what’s going on with them.
But when I get home, it is important for me to have quality time which means my cell phone gets turned off, my computer is off. So often times people are with their families, but they are so distracted with their cell phones, social media, and checking their email, that it’s like your body’s present, but you’re not present in spirit and mind. Here’s what I’ve learned: If you don’t do that, then your family will begin to resent your success. At the end of the day, with all of the work that we do and all that we’re striving for, we can lose what’s most important to us which is our relationships with our children and ourselves. It’s not worth it, so you’ve got to have balance.
What are some of the ways you and your husband work together to keep your relationship good?
LN: A couple of things. One, we do things together like our Fashion for a Cause Initiative, which is really a vision that he had. He wanted to do international mission work, and what I did in my way of supporting him was helping him accomplish that by helping him raise the money to get it done. That’s how we integrated the fashion shows that we’re doing around the country. I have to be mindful of my goals as well as his goals and I have to support him. We work as a team and support each other.
Another thing is we take date nights. We still date each other the same way we were dating before marriage. We take that time away from everybody where we just spend quality time together. People will resist what I’m about to say, but the money that you make – whether you’re the breadwinner or not, because I am in my household – it doesn’t determine who’s the head. The Bible says that the man is the head, and as such, that’s how I live my life.
I go to him and defer to him on matters regarding our family. I am his wife, I’m there to support him, I don’t have a problem submitting. I think that in this time where women have become so modernized, so focused on their careers and their education, I think that is very important, but you still have to have the foundation of Biblical principles in your marriage.
How do you win the battle of sharing your messages without falling into the drama trap on reality TV?
LN: It’s very interesting, because last season I was very true to who I am, and it’s funny how being positive also gets lumped into being boring. They say that people don’t want to watch that, and they don’t watch reality t to get inspired and empowered. They watch reality TV to be entertained. That was a lesson for me after the first season.
What I try to do is stay true to who I am, and no matter what, I make sure that the messages are Lisa Nicole, the Women’s Empowerment Network, Lisa Nicole the business mogul, Lisa Nicole the philanthropist. Those are the messages that you hear the most and any opportunities that I have in an interview on TV or radio. I’m just leveraging the platform to put out positive messages.
Ultimately I didn’t do reality TV to make money. I did reality TV to push out the brand and businesses that I already had and because I had two media projects of my own and I wanted to really immerse myself in the reality TV industry to learn as much as I could about producing successful shows, to create those relationships with network executives.
Ultimately the only way we’re going to be able change what we see on TV is to produce our own content. Then we can have more control and not feed into the stereotypes of what some production companies want to portray out there. I’ve done just that. We have two media projects that are in the works right now which have positive messaging in them.
What do you want people to know most about you as woman and entrepreneur at this stage of your life?
LN: My mantra is “live your dream, its possible”. I believe that with all my heart, and I think that people need to understand that the first step to really living the life you dream about is to know what that life looks like. That’s really what I help people do is figure out what is it that fills you up every day and gives your life purpose and meaning.
Once I help people discover that, then I’m very good at helping them execute plans and strategies to achieve it. That’s really where I am as a coach. I just help people really figure out what it is they wanna be when they grow up and then put together strategic plans to accomplish it.
Beyond all of the success, I just tell people that I’m this ordinary girl from Baltimore who had extraordinary ideas that I wanted out of life and I put action behind those extraordinary ideas and brought them to life.
For more information on Women’s Entertainment Network Conference go to WENwomensConference.com