5 Leadership Lessons from a Founder Who Built Her Empire from Nothing

I learned about an amazing woman this month by the name of Gail Corder Fischer. She began her commercial real estate career as a marketing director and from there onto becoming a leasing agent. She helped grow a once local real estate firm into the now renowned global strategic corporate real estate firm, Fischer & Company. She was named one of the Top 50 Women Nationally in Commercial Real Estate by Real Estate Forum. Currently the co-founder and executive vice chairman of Dallas-based Fischer & Company 

She has had many successes throughout her life. During her journey she discovered many things about herself. She was good at sales, building relationships and had great self-confidence. The skills that she had were sharpened and the skills she needed were developed. Years later she has a few great tips to share about being persistent with the things we want to accomplish. Below are her 5 Leadership Lessons from a great write up done by The Oracles. 


Image credit: Michael Weschler 


  1. Double down on due diligence.

Before getting on the phone, Corder Fischer stresses the importance of researching everything about the company you’re calling, their decision-making process, and the person you’re speaking to. She learned this the hard way after cold-calling an important prospect when starting out. “I immediately jumped into my pitch,” says Corder Fischer. “He interjected, ‘Young lady, if you’d bothered researching us, you’d know we just started building new headquarters,’ and hung up. I was mortified.” 

Gathering intelligence and building a relationship with a prospect can take time. Be patient. Aim to become their personal, indispensable thought leader who consistently provides meaningful value. Forward useful articles with highlighted passages of interest, and your thoughts or ideas. Send them a handwritten note or thoughtful gift. You could even offer to work for free and say, “If you like my work, just pay whatever you think it’s worth.” These are all “hooks” to entice someone to give you a face-to-face appointment with the decision maker. Corder Fischer recommends having three hooks. 

Another hook could be a personal connection like the same alma mater, hometown, country club, vacation spot, hobby, or even your spouses’ common interests. Your unique approach to solving the prospect’s current challenge is also a hook; maybe you have proprietary software that drastically reduces the prospect’s costs beyond what they thought possible. 

“Meeting someone who can’t approve your proposal isn’t a great use of anyone’s time,” says Corder Fischer. “But if you offer uncommon value through well-positioned hooks, people will want to hear what you have to say.” 

  1. Nurture your company like a child.

Corder Fischer shares that building a business is like raising a child. “The first 10 years are the hardest,” she says. “I slept on a couch after my first-born and kept a baby bed in a spare office. 

“When starting out, a relentless work ethic is critical. You’re not only competing with entrenched industry behemoths, but also every other tenacious entrepreneur, Ivy Leaguer or better-funded startup on a mission to disrupt your industry.” 

For Corder Fischer, the great equalizer is time. “God gives everybody 24 hours in a day,” she says. “You must be prepared to outperform your competition by working longer hours. It’s tough, yet fun; you’re building something and will be rewarded eventually—when clients see you as indispensable.” 

  1. Conserve your cash.

Cash management is the key to scaling. “If you can do something yourself, don’t hire someone for it,” says Corder Fischer. “In the beginning, you’re the accounting department, the marketing department, the envoy—everyone. Only when you start having consistent success do you make your first hire, then the second.” But hire cautiously. Corder Fischer recommends keeping an eye on your margins, so you don’t scale too quickly. 

She also advises using technology to help, but make sure to keep it simple. “There are billion-dollar companies that run on QuickBooks. You don’t need an expensive or complicated accounting system,” she shares. 

  1. Stand firm in your opinions (use your ‘big girl’ voice).

As your company grows and you assume a greater leadership role, be firm in your ideas and opinions; Corder Fischer stresses this is especially crucial for women in male-dominated fields. 

“If you’re the only woman in the room—and you have an opinion—be confident in your delivery,” she says. “A meek or deferential communication style is ineffective. Use your ‘big girl’ voice. Don’t be swayed from what you know is true. The person who speaks the first and loudest usually wins.” 

  1. Never take ‘no’ for an answer.

Although tenacity is a must-have trait, Corder Fischer suggests matching it with manners. “When you’re persistent, be equally polite to the gatekeeper.” To do so, Corder Fischer suggests using phrases like, “With all due respect, Sir,” or, “I understand you don’t want to focus on this, but in our experience, beginning this process six to 12 months in advance helps.” 

Ultimately, Corder Fischer insists people respect hard work and persistence. “They’ll eventually come around. I don’t care how angry they get; don’t stop calling. If they say “No,” it could mean, ‘No, not now,’ or ‘No, I’m too busy to consider your request right now,’ or, ‘No, you haven’t asked me enough questions or politely bugged me enough to believe you really want this.’” 


For the full article visit here:

Entrepreneur – 5 Leadership Lessons from a Founder Who Built Her Empire from Nothing 

4 Steps People Who Weren’t Born Rich Can Take to Get Rich 

In this world we are either born into wealth or not. We are lucky to come across some form of big funds or forced to work multiple jobs. We either live comfortably in our beds or on a bed mat trying to survive. We have all seen or been in one of these situations. If you feel as if you have drawn the short stick then there is good news. If you are willing to change your situation then it does not have to last forever. For those of us who are willing to work for our dreams, Entrepreneur guest writer Toby Russell has four simple steps to help us along our journey towards a better life.  

“The path to wealth for most people is more nuanced, complicated, riddled with hurdles and unique to personal circumstances.” … “We have to make smart decisions with the money we do have and build wealth over time. Here is the swiftest way to do it:” – Toby Russell  



Image credit: Akira Sakamoto | Getty Images

  1. Pay down high interest debt.

The first step to wealth is to settle outstanding debt. Holding significant debt inhibits people’s ability to make new investments and buy assets. Start with high interest loans and work backwards. Low cost debt can be okay — think under 3 percent — but high-interest loans, with rates between 5-20+ percent, should get paid off as fast as possible. In order to sustainably gain control of your finances, pay down debt until you have paid off all loans with higher interest rates. 

  1. Spend less than you make.

This step is perhaps the easiest to say and hardest to do. Get a handle on what your monthly expenses are and look to get that amount to be less than your monthly income. The key is lowering spending to less than your income so you can build a savings cushion. Start slow by putting away a certain amount every month that allows you to keep enough money on hand to pay bills, pay off debt and live somewhat comfortably. 

  1. Build a savings cushion.

You never know what could happen to your income. Maintaining a savings cushion to cover three to sixth months of expenses in savings is an important contingency plan. Small business owners take a similar approach. Many work to build a three to six month liquidity cushion so they can stay afloat while establishing their businesses and scaling their operations to meet growing consumer demand. 

  1. Become an owner.

Start investing after your savings cushion is built. We have all been told “work hard and you will be rewarded,” but that doesn’t mean you will be wealthy. Wealth comes from ownership. Take savings above your cushion and buy a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds and other assets that will grow. Monitor the progress of your investments, and keep expanding your portfolio. 

People don’t build wealth just by working hard. They build a nest egg by owning things that become more valuable over time and investing responsibly. In order to become an owner, you need to pay down debt, spend less than you earn, save enough to live for three to six months without an income — just in case — and invest in attainable assets.  


For the full article visit here: 


Some Advice: Maximize Your Schedule!

In the book “How Successful People Think”, John C. Maxwell provides us with an example of how he uses his schedule to maximize his time. I believe we could all use his format in order to get the best out of our days and maximize our own schedules to there fullest.

“At the beginning of every month I spend half a day working on my calendar for the next forty days. Forty days works for me rather than just thirty. That way, I get a jump on the next month and don’t get surprised. I begin by reviewing my travel schedule and planning activities with my family. Then I review what projects, lessons, and other objectives I want to accomplish during those five to six weeks. Then I start blocking out days and times for thinking, writing, working, meeting with people, etc. I set times to do fun things such as seeing a show, watching a ball game, or playing golf. I also set aside small blocks of time to compensate for the unexpected. By the time I’m done, I can tell you nearly everything I’ll be doing, almost hour by hour, during the coming weeks. This strategy is one of the reasons I have been able to accomplish much.” (50) 

*(The bold areas are what I found to stand out the most and are not represented in the book.)

3 Important Business Skills They Don’t Teach You in School

Back in 2016 I read a great article written by the CEO and Founder of ReadersLegacy.com (GoRead.com), Ken Dunn, titled “3 Important Business Skills They Don’t Teach You in School.” It has been nearly 2 years later and as I reread it there were important nuggets that I thought should be implement in my daily life. Gaining a new appreciation for his words, I realized that many others could benefit from it as well. Below I have posted his three skills and there explanations that every entrepreneur or someone looking to go into entrepreneurship should practice.



Image credit: Neal Stimler | Flickr

1. Communicating  

Entrepreneur are only as successful as their ability to explain their vision. Communicating with other people is likely the most important skill of any entrepreneur. Knowing when to communicate — and when not to — is the difference between the business have’s and have-nots.  

Your communication skills will be needed in every aspect of your job.  You will have to inspire your employees with your words, build confidence with your investors and explain your actions to your shareholders. 

Now, make sure that you are not committing the worst sin of communicating. I have consulted for CEO’s in the past who fancied themselves as great communicators, however, what they really did was run over people and talk everyone around them into submission. I have seen executives who waste hours of time over-talking in meetings. They feel like they have to be heard and over-explain everything. They do not let others get heard and, as a result, end up creating a suppressive environment, where other people’s thoughts never get heard. 

Do yourself a favor and find a good mentor or executive coach to help you do a personal check and work on increasing your communication skills. You can never be a good enough communicator. 

2. Multitasking 

As an entrepreneur, you are going to be expecting to know everything, about every part, of your endeavor. In the early days, you will be the “chief cook and bottle washer.” As your enterprise grows, so to will your personal tasks.  

In the early days, you will have to run the company and take care of shipping / receiving. As your business grows, your tasks will change, and you will still have a multitude of them. If you are lucky enough to get into the big leagues, you will eventually get to manage your business and your shareholders at the same time. 

Regardless of the stage, you will need to be involved in many different things at the same time. You have no choice — so get good at it! I have never met a successful big-league founder or CEO who didn’t have a great handle on time management and keeping important things — like family and health — in perspective. Again, if you are struggling in this area, hire a coach or consultant to help you. 

3. Attention to detail 

We’ve all heard the old saying — “The devil is in the details.” I personally believe it would be better to say, “Your ultimate success is in the details.” Managing details is likely the most important skill of any successful business person.  

People who are weak in this area will tend to ignore the details. They will categorize them as “little things.” But if you let enough “little things” build up, they will turn into a “big thing.” Big things kill businesses! As the primary of your own business, you need to become an expert (and example to others) of how to deal with the details. 

Examples of important details are reviewing, and understanding, your daily financial reports, emailing your key people with little “thank-yous” for a job well done, managing email in general and about 1000 more things. 

If you are struggling in any of these areas, you already know it. Let this little piece be your slap in the face. Your company, and employees, are depending on you to make the venture successful. The fastest way to improve these skills is to hire one of the many awesome management consultants or coaches that are available.   


For the full article visit here: 


 More from Ken Dunn:



Be Successful, Accomplish Your Goals!

To be successful we need to think outside of the box. Forget about the average way of living and focus on becoming the best versions of ourselves. If you have a long-term goal or dream, as we all should, there might be things that must be done that are intimidating. In order to achieve the things we seek, we must break through the wall(s) that block our success. The easiest way to get ahead is awareness.

Make a list of 5 things that make you uncomfortable that will help bring you success and execute them. 

One could be talking to people, networking, in order to promote a business or idea. Maybe making calls, asking someone to spare 10 – 20 minutes of their time to hear you out. Or even asking someone for something as simple as help. We all have a ‘thing’ that stops us. Let’s push through those fears and let this be the first step in achieving our goals and dreams.


“Money does not bring happiness but it helps bring a better life to you and the ones around you.”

8 Ways To Develop Mental Toughness!

This article talks about 8 individuals that have persevered through their challenges to become who they are today. They used their fears as strength, pushed beyond their limits, and made the decision to become better then who they were yesterday. Some of these people you may know and some not but remember that no matter where we are or where we are going there is a lesson to learn from someone.  

 From Business InsiderTim Ferriss:

  1. If you want to be tougher, be tougher. 

— Jocko Willink, former Navy SEAL Commander 

“If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.” 

These words of Jocko’s helped one listener—a drug addict—get sober after many failed attempts. The simple logic struck a chord: “Being tougher” was, more than anything, a decision to be tougher. It’s possible to immediately “be tougher,” starting with your next decision. Have trouble saying “no” to dessert? Be tougher. Make that your starting decision. Feeling winded? Take the stairs anyway. Ditto. It doesn’t matter how small or big you start. If you want to be tougher, be tougher. 

  1. I wasn’t there to compete. I was there to win.

— Arnold Schwarzenegger 

TIM: In my interview with Arnold, I brought up a photo of him at age 19, just before he won his first big competition, Junior Mr. Europe. 

I asked, “Your face was so confident compared to every other competitor. Where did that confidence come from?” He replied: 

“My confidence came from my vision. . . . I am a big believer that if you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, then the rest of it is much easier. Because you always know why you are training 5 hours a day, you always know why you are pushing and going through the pain barrier, and why you have to eat more, and why you have to struggle more, and why you have to be more disciplined… I felt that I could win it, and that was what I was there for. I wasn’t there to compete. I was there to win.” 

  1. Push beyond, share privation, tackle fear.

— 4-Star General Stanley McChrystal 

TIM: The following from Gen. McChyrstal was in response to “What are three tests or practices from the military that civilians could use to help develop mental toughness?”: 

“The first is to push yourself harder than you believe you’re capable of. You’ll find new depth inside yourself. The second is to put yourself in groups who share difficulties, discomfort. We used to call it ‘shared privation.’ [Definition of privation: a state in which things essential for human well-being such as food and warmth are scarce or lacking.] You’ll find that when you have been through that kind of difficult environment, you feel more strongly about that which you’re committed to. And finally, create some fear and make individuals overcome it.” 

  1. Put fear in line.

— Caroline Paul, luger, firefighter, and more 

TIM: In the 1990s, Caroline illegally climbed the Golden Gate Bridge, rising to ~760 feet on thin cables. She’d mentioned “putting fear in line” to me, and I asked her to dig into the specifics. 

“I am not against fear. I think fear is definitely important. It’s there to keep us safe. But I do feel like some people give it too much priority. It’s one of the many things that we use to assess a situation. I am pro-bravery. That’s my paradigm. 

“Fear is just one of many things that are going on. For instance, when we climbed the bridge, which was five of us deciding we wanted to walk up that cable in the middle of the night. Please don’t do that, but we did. Talk about fear—you’re walking on a cable where you have to put one foot in front of the other until you’re basically as high as a 70-story building with nothing below you and . . . two thin wires on either side. 

“It’s just a walk, technically. Really, nothing’s going to happen unless some earthquake or catastrophic gust of wind hits. You’re going to be fine as long as you keep your mental state intact. In those situations, I look at all the emotions I’m feeling, which are anticipation, exhilaration, focus, confidence, fun, and fear. Then I take fear and say, ‘Well, how much priority am I going to give this? I really want to do this.’ I put it where it belongs.It’s like brick laying or making a stone wall. You fit the pieces together.” 

  1. Is that a dream or a goal?

— Paul Levesque/Triple H, WWE superstar and executive 

“[Evander Holyfield] said that his coach at one point told him, something like his very first day, ‘You could be the next Muhammad Ali. Do you wanna do that?’ Evander said he had to ask his mom. He went home, he came back and said, ‘I wanna do that.’ The coach said, ‘Okay. Is that a dream or a goal? Because there’s a difference.’ 

“I’d never heard it said that way, but it stuck with me. So much so that I’ve said it to my kid now: ‘Is that a dream, or a goal? Because a dream is something you fantasize about that will probably never happen. A goal is something you set a plan for, work toward, and achieve. I always looked at my stuff that way. 

“The people who were successful models to me were people who had structured goals and then put a plan in place to get to those things. I think that’s what impressed me about Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. It’s what impressed me about my father-in-law [Vince McMahon].” 

  1. Pain tolerance can be the force multiplier

— Amelia Boone, 3x World’s Toughest Mudder champion 

“I’m not the strongest. I’m not the fastest. But I’m really good at suffering.” 

  1. Who do you surround yourself with when your ego feels threatened?

— Josh Waitzkin, chess prodigy, push hands world champion, first black belt under BJJ phenom Marcelo Garcia 

Back in the world of combat sports and Brazilian jiu-jitsu: 

“It’s very interesting to observe who the top competitors pick out when they’re five rounds into the sparring sessions and they’re completely gassed. The ones who are on the steepest growth curve look for the hardest guy there—the one who might beat them up—while others look for someone they can take a break on.” 

  1. The magic of a single decision.

— Christopher Sommer, former men’s gymnastics national team coach 

TIM: We all get frustrated. I am particularly prone to frustration when I see little or no progress after several weeks of practicing something new. Despite Coach Sommer’s regular reminders about connective-tissue adaptations taking 200 to 210 days, after a few weeks of flailing with “straddle L extensions,” I was at my wits’ end. Even after the third workout, I had renamed them “frog spaz” in my workout journal because that’s what I resembled while doing them: a frog being electrocuted. 

Each week, I sent Coach Sommer videos of my workouts via Dropbox. In my accompanying notes at one point, I expressed how discouraging it was to make zero tangible progress with this exercise. Below is his email response, which I immediately saved to Evernote to review often. 

It’s all great, but I’ve bolded my favorite part. 

“Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence. In fact, it is essential and something that every single elite athlete has had to learn to deal with. If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it. In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations time-wise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process. 

“The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. 

“A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. 

“Refuse to compromise. 

“And accept that quality long-term results require quality long-term focus. No emotion. No drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps in the road. Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moments of triumph at the end. 

“Certainly celebrate the moments of triumph when they occur. More importantly, learn from defeats when they happen. In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough. And absolutely refuse to accept less than your best. 

“Throw out a timeline. It will take what it takes. 

“If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to. Clear, simple, straightforward. Much easier to maintain than having to make small decision after small decision to stay the course when dealing with each step along the way. This provides far too many opportunities to inadvertently drift from your chosen goal. The single decision is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox.” 



Millionaire Model!

Back in 2016 I read an article from a guest writer on the Entrepreneur website. Chris W. Dunn, Founder and CEO of Skill Incubator, wrote simple tips on how to obtain a millionaire status through will power and change. Being almost two years ago I had forgotten about this article until I scrolled through my bookmark folder named Success.

In this folder I have saved many articles related to personal growth, building people and becoming successful. After re-reading and realizing the potential of this article I had the need to share it. There is a lot of great information written but I will just leave you with the highlights to spark your interest. I highly recommend you read the full article to get a full appreciation of the authors thoughts.

Here are the “10 Ways You Can Model the Success of Millionaires

  1. Hard work trumps talent.
  2. Become motivated by passion.
  3. Diversify income streams.
  4. Never stop learning.
  5. Invest resources in successful people.
  6. Find a mentor.
  7. Model physical and psychological traits.
  8. Create clear goals.
  9. Reclaim ownership of your time.
  10. Learn to accept failure and persevere.