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Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Entrepreneurial and Female? Discover Your Inner Samurai

By Holly Buchanan
January 15th, 2008

Have you ever been sad to read the last page of a book — one you just didn’t want it to end?

That’s how I felt after reading Dr. Susan L. Reid’s Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success. I felt like we’d been having this great conversation, and I didn’t want it to be over.

So I picked up the phone and called Susan. I felt comfortable using her first name because I felt like I knew her after reading the book — and more importantly, I felt like she knew me.

How cool is that?

Not just another new-age analogy…

Discovering Your Inner Samurai is for women entrepreneurs, but it’s also for anyone who wants to understand — or market to — female entrepreneurs (which is why I read it). The book will also give you deep insights into who they are and why they start businesses, while uncovering their deepest fears, challenges, passions and joys.

Think that might be helpful if you want to market to this group?

If you’re a woman entrepreneur, Susan will help you with the five biggest questions you’re likely asking:

  1. Is my idea good enough?
  2. How to I obtain the money to start up?
  3. Can I run a successful business and still have a life?
  4. Do I have the necessary education and experience to do this?
  5. What if I fail?

Respecting Your Inner Samurai

“How many times have you known what was right for you yet made another choice – one that was wrong for you? How many times have you gone against your inner knowing? How many times have you heard yourself say, ‘I knew I should have gone that way, done that thing, or spoken my truth?’ It happens to all of us – women more than men. Why? Because women generally worry more about the opinions of others.”

Sound familiar? That’s why getting in touch with and trusting your Inner Samurai is so important.

“Our Inner Samurais are the repository of all our life experiences, alchemized from lead into pure gold. A woman’s Inner Samurai is her place of absolute knowing and personal power. It is the seat of her inner wisdom and strength. It is also the place of her extraordinary uniqueness. The journey to discovering your Inner Samurai is the connective thread that unites us all.”

Insight About Women In General

Women are looking for a way to better integrate all aspects of their lives into one whole being that reflect who they really are. Dr. Reid calls this a “whole-istic” tendency.

“Women are polymathic by nature. They view their lives form a whole-istic viewpoint. They don’t break their lives down into separate pieces. Women create lives, not life parts. Our ability to unite seemingly contrasting parts into a whole is one of our greatest strengths.”

Women have a harder time with resistance when building their business. When things aren’t working out as they hoped, they have a different response than men.

“The man most likely would try to figure out what was going on by taking a hard look at his business. The woman would turn inward and look at herself. The man would look at his business with a critical eye toward what is going wrong. The women would turn a critical eye towards herself.”

Women have different priorities in their buying process.

“Women like to buy-in before they buy. Men do, too. Men, however, will more likely buy into value of the product before they buy. Women are more likely to buy into the seller. This is a key difference between marketing to men and marketing to women.”

Advice for the Would-be Samurai

• Create only two priorities per month. What are the two things you are most passionate about doing? This will help you prioritize and focus by aligning you with your “Inner Samurai Priority System.”

• Check in with yourself often. If you hear a lot of chatter, explanation and justifications, that’s the voice of doubt inside your head. Learn to recognize and ignore it. If you check in and feel a one-word pulse, pay attention! That’s your Inner Samurai.

• Three vital qualities that have contributed to the success of Susan’s clients:

  1. They have the courage to take the Start-up journey
  2. They have a vision
  3. They are guided by an inner-knowing (Inner Samurai) that what they have to offer to the world matters

Susan ends with three qualities that will always lead you down the right path:

  1. The importance of knowing who you are
  2. The value of accepting yourself as you are
  3. The significance of daring to be who you are

Inner Samurai is full of real life examples and practical advice, inspiration, and support. If you’re a woman entrepreneur or want to market to them, you must understand the fear of start-up seppuku in order to transcend it — and that’s why you should buy the book today.

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Comments (14)

  1. Wow, Holly! That’s the best book review I have read on my book, to date! Not only can I tell you read the book, I can tell that you read it, took it in, and made it your own. Mi viaje es tu viaje. Thank you!

  2. I felt the same way about Susan Reid’s book! I read it while away on a long weekend getaway. It was a very nurturing experience to step away from my computer (and recently launched site/business) to take a breath and reconnect with my inner samurai.

    Susan shares so much of her personal story that you really do feel as though you KNOW her. Her descriptions of how she felt as she walked away from her “job” and into a new entrepreneurial life are so rich with feeling and experience.

    Although my new venture isn’t my first business, Susan’s stories reminded me of my first business and gave me compassion for what I’m experiencing in my recent launch. Creating a strong relationship with your inner knowing/inner samurai is such a key to business success.

    Thanks, Susan! And thank you Holly for reminding me how good it felt to read Discovering Your Inner Samurai.

  3. I love that drawing on the cover of Susan’s book! She used all the methods and theories she writes about to help me discover that I wanted to draw it. Then she helped me transform my vision into a successful business. I just had to say “Yes!”

  4. I actually helped edit Susan’s book. I got to learn all about my Inner Samurai during the process! Until I read Holly’s review, though, it didn’t occur to me that this book is a great resource for those who are marketing to women entrepreneurs, not just for the women entrepreneurs themselves. Thanks for the new perspective, Holly!

  5. Sounds like a great book, and I will definitely check it out. I’m sure it has valuable insights for men as well…

    I would point out that I think a “samurai” metaphor for ANYTHING entrepreneurial is misguided, if well intentioned. The class system, warfare tactics & strategy, and isolationism inherent in a “samurai” orientation are pretty much what we entrepreneurs are fighting AGAINST. As a 25+ year tech veteran (largely focused on Japan), former Japanese translator, Chairman of a Japanese corporation and President of the American Electronics Association (AEA) Software Committee, I’ve seen the glaring downside of the vestiges of samurai culture in global business.

    I have long held that if you want to use an “asian warrior” metaphor, the “ninja” is a far better model for entrepreneurs and “new marketing” (including Web 2.0) types. In fact, I’ve taught university-level classes on (and “maintain” an admittedly inconsistent blog on) the topic of “SHOUNINJUTSU– The Fine Art of Ninja Marketing.”

    http://shurikensystems.com/wordpress/2007/07/15/what-is-ninja-marketing/

    Kudos for apparently addressing the need (especially, though not exclusively) among women entrepreneurs to exercise the inner strength, confidence and discipline represented by “bushido” and the samurai ethic. As I said, I look forward to reading the book. Just consider that some aspects of samurai culture carry baggage you may not want to lug around on an entrepreneurial journey…

  6. By the way, there ARE no female samurai,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onna_bugei-sha)

    but there ARE many famous female ninja, including heads of powerful ninja clans

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunoichi)!

    Women ninja marketers, ganbare!

  7. Thank you, Kurt, for your balanced and informed comments. As you said, there are some aspects of samurai culture, even the word itself, that carry baggage that is not of benefit to the modern entrepreneurial world. The essense of “bushido” is what my book is conveying to women entrepreneurs, and it is this essense that could, perhaps, be setting the stage for a new model of warrior. An inner vision warrior.

  8. I, too, love the way Holly draws out the essence of Susan’s book and quickly points potential readers to the very things that would attract them to want “more”. In my life coaching practice I have found, time and again, that vision and courage, combined with strong awareness and action of intuition (Inner Samurai inklings and knowing)can give most people the added boost of energy to begin the steps toward their goals. They learn to move forward “with” thier fears riding in the back seat, rather than trying to remove the fears beforehand. Eventually they find the fears they thought to be mountains were just molehills behind the magnifying glass of their own making. Susan gives us, through her book, all we need to know to get our fears OUT of the driver seat and she inspires us to be strong drivers towards our most desired destinations!!

  9. This is an outstanding look at Susan’s book. I profess I am the publisher, and proud of it. Holly really gets to the nitty-gritty of it. I have learned much from Susan and her writing, and I share with others freely because this idea of an Inner Samurai has real power to it. Holly, thank you for showcasing the upbeat nature of this book and why it should be on every entrepreneur’s reading list.

  10. I completely agree with Kurt Haug’s comments. As a thirteen year resident of Japan, I encourage Americans to be careful about using terms out of their original context even though it might be tempting to do so. Even the term “inner samurai” is not something I think appropriately reflects what bushido is about. I might add that most non-Japanese are not able to fully grasp the concept of bushido and even if they could, would not be able to live their lives by following that code today.

  11. Jina, I really like your turn of phrase, “fears riding in the back seat.” It’s not about working through your fears (takes too much effort); it’s not about pushing through your fears; it’s about, as you said, taking your fears out of the front seat. That leaves room for what it is you really want to ride shotgun with you. In my book, I call that reaching beyond your fears. Not ignore them. Reach beyond them to what it is you really want.

  12. thanks holly! i will be picking up this book!

  13. [...] I've been studying up on women entrepreneurs. Why? Because they are one of the fastest growing segments of the business [...]

  14. good post awesome

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Holly Buchanan is a marketing to women consultant specializing in marketing to women online. You can read her blog at http://marketingtowomenonline.typepad.com She is the co-author, along with Michele Miller of The Soccer Mom Myth - Today's Female Consumer - Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

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