Biz With Grace Founder Grace Napolitano, CPC, has embraced the opportunity to help female business owners, like herself, generate revenue and create business impact. MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Grace about how and why she launched her business in Connecticut.
NAN PRICE: Let’s start with a little background about your entrepreneurial journey.
GRACE NAPOLITANO: I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I began my career in Chicago in corporate media sales. I was a 100% commission-based salesperson who always had my own book of business. I fell in love with that. While most people shied away from the 100% commission and wanted a base salary, I negotiated so I could get more commission because I knew I could make more with a commission-based structure.
In corporate, I always dealt with male figures who called the shots. I knew I wanted to do something that helped women continue rising to the top as high-power executives—and enabled them to juggle being amazing, present mothers.
In November 2-17 I created a five-year plan to launch my own coaching business. That quickly became a five-month plan when my husband was offered a position in Connecticut. I finalized my certification for coaching here in Connecticut and I launched my first LLC, Biz with Grace, in 2018.
My idea was to continue down that road of helping corporate women maintain at a level after returning from all too short maternity leaves, but I wasn’t in the corporate scene in Connecticut. While I was developing an online presence, many of my former colleagues who had become entrepreneurs reached out and asked if I could help them sell like me, with grace and integrity.
That’s how I transitioned from one niche into becoming a sales coach for women entrepreneurs. While the why is the same, keeping women at the top, I just changed the type of women I’m coaching from corporate to entrepreneurs.
NAN: Tell us more about finding your niche.
GRACE: A lot of entrepreneurs shy away from finding a niche because they want to serve everyone; they don’t want to lose any opportunities. But my 15 years of experience tells me I’m at my best when I’m focused on one thing.
Moving to Connecticut, I wasn’t in the corporate arena. I had two young kids and I knew I wasn’t going back into 9-5 corporate work. So, I pivoted to a niche that I knew I could easily reach through social media channels and could greatly benefit from my corporate sales knowledge.
I took my 15 years of experience as a top sales earner and taught my way of selling with integrity to women entrepreneurs. The passion to keep money in women’s pockets was the driving force for me becoming an entrepreneur. I just changed who I taught that lesson to.
NAN: What’s your biggest lesson learned or advice to others?
GRACE: Don’t judge yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Show up. We are our biggest critics.
With marketing online, it can feel like so many people are invested in what you’re doing and watching your every move. And they truly aren’t. With branding, there’s a rule of seven: You have to be seen seven times before people stop and notice.
To grow your business, you have to be seen, you have to be heard, and you have to be in front of potential customers consistently. So, give yourself that grace to make a mistake publicly and show up the next day. Don’t get caught up in your own self-judgment and trick yourself into thinking other people are judging you.
The other thing is, be ready to pivot. As entrepreneurs, we need to be light on our feet and not stick with something that’s not working—that could be a team member, a niche, or a program/product you’re offering. Don’t be married to anything. Be ready to be nimble.
Pivoting doesn’t mean anything negative about you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t creative. It doesn’t mean you’re not productive. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It actually means quite the opposite. It means you’re able to look at things from an objective viewpoint and move quickly. And that’s the most important part of being an entrepreneur.