You don’t need dozens or hundreds of employees to be a boss, says financial expert and serial entrepreneur Nicole Lapin. Hell, you don’t even need one. You just need to be confident, savvy, and ready to get out there and make your success happen. You need to find your inner Boss Bitch — your most confident, savvy, ambitious self—and own it.
A Boss Bitch is the she-ro of her own story. She is someone who takes charge of herself and her future and embraces being a “boss” in all senses of the word: whether as the boss of her own life, a boss at work, or the literal boss of her own company (or all three). Whichever she chooses, being a Boss Bitch isn’t something to apologize for—it’s something to be proud of!
We all have what it takes to be a boss bitch, says Lapin. The problem is: we don’t learn how to do it in school. Even if we study business, we’re not getting enough real-deal business education. Until now. Here, Lapin draws on raw and often hilariously real stories from her own career and experiences starting businesses—the good, the bad, and the ugly—to show what it means to be a "boss" in twelve easy steps. In her refreshingly honest and relatable style, she first shows how to embrace the boss-of-you mentality by seizing the power that comes from believing in yourself and expanding your personal skillset. Then she offers candid no-nonsense advice on how to kill it as the boss at work whether you have a high-up role or not. And finally, for those who want to take the plunge as an entrepreneur, she lays out the nuts and bolts of how to be the boss of your own business—from raising money and getting it off the ground to hiring a kickass staff and dealing office drama to turning a profit.
Being a rock star in your career is something that should be worn as a badge of honor. Here Lapin shows how to crush it in our careers like like a Boss Bitch!
|Publisher:||Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Owning the Boss Mentality
Be a Boss Anywhere You Are
I didn’t create a multibillion-dollar company. I’m not the founder of some groundbreaking tech invention. I haven’t been on the cover of any business magazines or in society pages. I consider myself a pretty ordinary girl who’s just figured out how to do some pretty extraordinary stuff in my career, making more money on my own than I ever thought I would.
The truth is, I wasn’t dealt the greatest hand in life. Quite the contrary. My father died of a drug overdose when I was 11, and my family was far from stable (but I’ll save that for my memoir). There were days growing up when I didn’t have a proper meal, much less a silver spoon, to put in my mouth. When I was starting out in my career, I didn’t have fancy connections or a big financial safety net. I simply played my hand the best I could, beat the odds, and succeeded in ways that my childhood self would never have imagined.
Along the way I fell flat on my ass . . . a lot. That is, until I learned that the only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping-stones is how you use them. In the first step of “Being the Boss of You,” I’ll show you how to feel like a boss no matter where you are.
Stop Stumbling and Start Stepping
I started working pretty early, by traditional standards, with the goal of being a network news anchor. In my late teens (yes, teens), I bounced from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Lexington, Kentucky, hustling hard for any local news gig I could get.
At 18, I thought I was ready to be on air in a “big market.” So I harassed a broadcasting company in Chicago that had a station in big(ish)-market Milwaukee until they would take a meeting with me. I walked in thinking I absolutely looked the part with my shoulder-padded Ann Taylor blazer that was way too big for me and hair teased to epic proportions. I didn’t want anyone there to know how young I was, so I tried to dress older. I even developed some weird thing with my voice that I thought made me sound mature and more legit.
I’m sure the station chief secretly laughed at my ridiculous getup and affected voice. “Where is your accent from?” he asked. “Um, Los Angeles,” I said. Then he told me I didn’t get the Milwaukee job. I was devastated. So devastated, in fact, that I didn’t even pick up on the fact that he wanted to offer me another job instead.
Because I didn’t have the aforementioned financial safety net, I would have taken any TV job I could get, including the one he was offering me in . . . business news. Yes, he offered me a job as a business reporter on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for a nationally syndicated morning show in lieu of the Milwaukee one. It was a much bigger deal, but it felt like a death sentence at the time. As the daughter of immigrants, I knew nothing about money except feeling like I never had enough of it, so talking about it freaked me out. It was a topic I hated but one I was determined (and needed) to learn ASAP.
I felt like a fake when I started my on-air job as one of the youngest journalists to ever report from the floor of a stock exchange. But the truth is, we all do a little “fake it till we make it.” No one is ever truly ready for any big career move that comes their way. We are all terrified that we are frauds and that it’s only a matter of time until someone finds us out. It was only once I realized that I knew more than I gave myself credit for that I could quiet the haters inside my head and take on this challenge.
Confessions of a Boss Bitch
Before I started working at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, I’d never seen a trading floor. The energy there is unlike any other: a combination of a raging nightclub, a horse auction, and a Middle Eastern bazaar.
My job was to write scripts about the latest business happenings based on the wire reports that came out every morning. I read them from atop a crate perched over the roar of a live trading pit so that the camera would actually see my face (there was a height restriction on heels women were allowed to wear on the floor . . . seriously).
I was so concerned with following the news writing style I learned in journalism school and coming up with clever puns that the gist of the actual story was sometimes totally lost on me. Except I didn’t even realize it until my boss called me out on it.
He was the master of making me laugh even while he was criticizing me—which happened a lot. He frequently called me into his office to watch my on-air tapes together so he could critique my work. He made fun of what he called my “robot arms” and mimicked my awkward anchor cadence. But nothing was as bad as the day he played me back one of my stories and said, “Lapin, what is that story about?”
It was a story about Gillette coming out with a new razor. So naturally, I replied: “It’s about a new razor.”
He then pointed me back to the tape where I was on air saying, “It’s a new razor that is sharp enough to whack off the hairs closer to the skin than the previous version.”
I looked at him quizzically. “What’s the problem?” I was proud of myself that I had used a visual word like whack instead of something obvious like shave or remove, and I told him as much.
He started hysterically laughing.
“What?! I thought it was more of a visual image and good writing.”
“Lapin, you’re in business news now. You are talking to guys. Never say ‘whack off’ anything,” he said.
Oh. My. God. I was mortified. And even now, recalling this story, I am cringing.
“Whether you just made more male fans or not because you tried to be cute and clever with your words, the point is that you weren’t thinking,” he said. “The reason we are doing the story is that Gillette is a massive publicly traded company. It is rumored that it will be acquired by the even-more-massive $100 billion (yes, BILLION) consumer products company Procter & Gamble (P&G). New products move stocks, and this is a big one. That’s why we are covering the story.”
I was speechless. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“C’mon, Lapin, I know you know this is an important story, you don’t need to try so hard.”
“You’re right; you’re the boss,” I said, defeated and deflated.
“Wrong,” he answered. “I’m not there day to day with you. I’m not holding your hand. I’m not looking at every story and walking you through it. Believe it or not, I have more to do than mock your robot arms and unfortunate use of words. I don’t want to be the boss of your every move. You’re the boss of that. I’m just here to tell you when you’re moving in a crazy direction.”
I nodded, still trying to process what he was saying, and got up to leave.
“I’m keeping the Gillette story for our year-end blooper reel, Lapin.”
I forced a smile and went back to work.
I kept repeating to myself, “I’m the boss, I’m the boss.” But I wasn’t excited by that idea—I was terrified.
It took me a few years to come to terms with what being a boss—without technically being the boss—actually meant. I came to see the boss mentality as a state of mind more than a title or anything else: one we can have no matter where we work or who we work for, whether it’s a massive corporation or a three-person start-up.
You might think I’m about to tell you that the boss mentality means having unshakable confidence and a go-getter attitude at work every day. I won’t do that because, let’s be serious, no one loves going to work every single day. There are shitty days, shitty people, and shitty circumstances that come everyone’s way. Anyone who tells you they love work every. single. day. is either a damn liar or totally delusional. It’s easy to get caught up in work drama, which can put you in a funk and make you hate your job and/or life. But if you adopt the mentality that you are the boss of you, it’s just as easy to put your drama blinders on and fall in love with the work life you create for yourself.
As corny as acronyms can be, I am a big fan of them (and alliteration, as you’ll see) because they help me to visualize what words and ideas mean. For me, BOSS stands for Bold, Obsessed, Self-Aware, and Strong:
BOLD. An important quality of a boss is the ability to make a decision. Right or wrong, be decisive. As they say, the road of life is paved with flattened squirrels who couldn’t make a decision. Boss Bitches drive the car; we don’t get driven over.
OBSESSED. Be obsessed with finding what makes you happy. Figuring out what you don’t want to do is just as important as figuring out what you do want to do. Until then, love the shit out of everything you have an interest in.
SELF-AWARE. One of the telltale signs of the ultimate boss is someone who has total self-awareness of her flaws. We all have them. Boss Bitches don’t hide them; we own them. We don’t pretend we are something we are not; we flaunt the imperfect originals we are.
STRONG. Real strength is knowing that there are times when you haven’t been your strongest, and that’s okay. Forgive your former self for not knowing what you know now. Be kind to yourself for not being perfect, and accept the fact that you never will be.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but confronting my fear of business head-on and discovering my inner boss were the best things I could have done for my career. It was only then that I could use my perceived “stumbling block” at the Chicago exchange as a “stepping-stone” to my dream job at CNN.
I was all of 21 years old when I started working at CNN. And I was all of 25 when my entire division there was shut down. That meant that I was let go, along with twenty or so of my incredibly talented colleagues. I remember mourning the “good thing” I had going on there, but as OG Boss Bitch Marilyn Monroe said, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
It might sound like a high-class problem, but getting and losing my dream job so young forced me to come up with newer, bigger, and bolder dreams. And, just as unexpectedly, the ones for the rest of my career would revolve around the very subject I once feared: business.
I was all sorts of verklempt (that’s Yiddish for “jumbled up with emotions”) when my agent told me about an offer to host my own two-hour global finance show on CNBC, one of the major financial news networks, making a starting salary of $150,000, which was double what I was making before. But better than the money (not that that wasn’t nice) was having the confidence to speak the language of money fluently—and the readiness to speak it to the world.
Needless to say, I had come a long way from the 18-year-old money-speak scaredy cat I used to be. Covering the greatest financial crisis of our time during 2008–09 turned my proficiency in business news into real passion.
What I was not passionate about, however, was the call time. My show at CNBC started at four a.m. Yes, I had to be on the air, bright-eyed, with fake lashes, bouncy barrel curls and all, not just coherent but well-read and researched at four in the freakin’ morning. That meant I “got up” at midnight to get to the station and get ready physically, mentally, and intellectually.
At first I was like, “Okay, that’s not ideal, but it’s such a great opportunity because four a.m. Eastern time means nine a.m. in London and five p.m. in Singapore.” That meant pre–trading time in the States, the open of trading in Europe, and the end of trading in Asia. That lineup was like catnip to the business lover I had become.
In the two weeks I had before starting on air, I had become a madwoman, preparing pitches for all of the series I wanted to do. I felt like a boss going into the job not only ready to rock my show, which was a combination of anchoring major headlines and interviews with CEOs and politicians, but also poised to create entrepreneurial reports after it wrapped.
I’d never lie to you: the “I’m the boss” mentality didn’t come out all day, every day, but I tried to channel it most days. I was a totally different woman from the terrified and confused one I was when I walked out of my boss’s office after being chastised for saying “whack off” on national television. Reminding myself that I was the boss helped me keep a positive attitude during the less-than-ideal hours.
Over the next year, I launched special series like “Made in America,” which followed companies that kept manufacturing in the United States even if it was more expensive, and “States of Pain,” which took me from the governor’s mansion in Seattle to the statehouse in Maine as I tried to figure out why states were in so much financial trouble. I also took my show on the road to LA and DC, which had never been done before.
Needless to say, I was burning the candle at both ends. I got to the studio at one a.m. and wrapped around nine or ten a.m., then would literally jump on the first flight to whichever source I needed for the series, do my interview, and jump back on a plane to make my call time back at the network later that night. There were times when I didn’t sleep for days. The travel and my perpetual zombielike state took a massive toll on my body. But I didn’t complain. I really wouldn’t have had it any other way. The stories I came up with and the content I created made all the wear and tear worth it. It made the job my own.
Table of Contents
Section 1 Being the Boss of You
Step 1 Owning the Boss Mentality: Be a Boss Anywhere You Are 7
Step 2 Be the CEO of You: Run Your Life Like a Business 17
Section 2 Being the Boss at Work
Step 1 Think Like a Boss: How to Be Entrepreneurial Within Only Company 31
Step 2 Talk Like a Boss: Being Queen (Worker) Bee 62
Step 3 Be a Goal Digger: How to Get-and Crush-Your Dream Job 88
Step 4 You Better (Net)Work, Bitch: Making Friends While Making Moves 132
Step 5 The View from the Top: Owning Your Role in the Corner Office 158
Section 3 Being the Boss of Your Own Business
Step 1 Every Day I'm (Side-)Hustlin': How to Explore Your Passions and Make Extra Money 195
Step 2 I'm Not a Business(wo)man. I'm a Business, (Wo)man: Deciding Whether Your Own Business Is Viable 212
Step 3 How the Heck Do You Start a Business, Anyway?!: The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Your Gig Off the Ground 243
Step 4 Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: #Winning with an All-Star Team 275
Step 5 Girls Just Wanna Have Funds: Making Money and Losing Money (Without Losing Yourself) 311
The Business Dictionary (That You Don't Need a Dictionary to Understand) 343