7 Questions with Melinda F Emerson

Name: Melinda F Emerson

Current title: President

Current organisation: Quintessence Group

Melinda F. Emerson, “SmallBizLady” is America’s #1 Small Business Expert. She is an internationally renowned keynote speaker on small business development, social media, and marketing strategy. Melinda is also the president of the Quintessence Group, a marketing consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA. Her small business advice is widely read reaching more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week online. She hosts The SmallBizChat Podcast and the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months and her latest book is Fix Your Business, a 90 Day Plan to Get Back Your Life and Reduce Chaos in Your Business.

7 Questions with Melinda F Emerson

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1. How would you summarise your area of expertise in a few paragraphs?

Melinda F. Emerson, “SmallBizLady” is regarded as America’s #1 Small Business Expert. She is an internationally renowned keynote speaker on small business start-up, business development, social selling, and online marketing. Melinda is also the president of the Quintessence Group, an award-winning marketing consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA, serving Fortune 500 brands that target the small business market. LinkedIn named her a Top Voice for 2019 in Small Business and Entrepreneurship. In addition to being a former NY Times columnist, she is frequently quoted by media organizations including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Inc, Entrepreneur, MSNBC, CNBC and Fox News. She is the host of The SmallBizChat Podcast. A prolific writer, Melinda has published more than 5000 articles on her blog www.succeedasyourownboss.com. Her small business advice is widely read reaching more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week online. She is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd Edition and her latest book is Fix Your Business, a 90 Day Plan to Get Back Your Life and Reduce Chaos in Your Business. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech and holds an Executive MBA from Drexel University.

2. One big idea: Can you please unpack the one big idea from your work that seems to resonate most with leaders?

She is very passionate about helping entrepreneurs understand the difference between failing vs. failure. Her favorite saying is, You never lose in business either you win or you learn." Some lessons just get to be more expensive than others. She is focused on helping business owners respect the spiritual journey we call entrepreneurship.

3. How did you become a thought leader? Can you please briefly tell the story and share ONE tip for any leaders out there who'd like to become thought leaders themselves?

I became a thought leader because of my blog at

www.succeedasyourownboss.com. I have posted on my blog three times a week since 2009, and you never know you are reading your work. I was invited to write a regular column for Entrepreneur magazine, and two years later I was given a column in the New York Times You’re The Boss blog. Both opportunities came thanks to the strength and reputation of my blog. It’s my secret sauce in my business. My editor at Entrepreneur said she read my blog for a year before contacting me about writing for her publication. When you demonstrate your expertise well, you don’t have to sell. You also do not have to explain how you'll solve your customer’s problem—because he already sees you as a resource. My one tip is to determine what kind of content you can develop on a regular basis to demonstrate your expertise. That's the best thing you can do to build your thought leadership.

4. You're sitting down over a coffee with a leader and you can only give them ONE tip to help them as a leader. What would you say to them?

50% of all business problems are not well hidden personal problems. What kind of boss are you? Work on your leadership skills and pay attention to your communication style. You want to draw customers and employees who want to work with you.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your thoughts on leadership? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted you?

One of my favorite leadership and business books is Disrupt You by Jay Samit. In it he says in order to disrupt the world, you need to start by disrupting yourself. I read and listened to this book, and I thought it was remarkable. I've been in business for over 21 years and been teaching small business owners for the last 12, and this book inspired me to change my thinking. I recommend everyone read this book to keep your competitive edge.

6. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

I learned that you are never too old to learn an expensive lesson. Since the Pandemic started my business was the victim of COVID-19 Scam. It was devastating, but it also made me work harder and become more strategic. In business no matter what happens, you must be grateful for the journey. Business ownership forces you to push yourself to grow and change in ways you never thought you would, as you must always rise to the occasion.

7. What is one meaningful story from a reader or someone who's been influenced by your thought leadership so far?

As a book author, I am very fortunate to hear from people who have read my book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months. Often, I receive letters and emails from readers telling me they have been working a side hustle for years, and thanks to my book, they finally have the courage and a plan to pursue their dream business full-time. I must tell you that all of these emails inspire me to continue my mission to end small business failure. I feel it is a privilege to be a SmallBizLady and help people live their dream lives as entrepreneurs.