Lynn Bardowski isn’t going to tell you how to party with the jet set with flowing champagne and chauffeurs like millionaires do in her new book, “Success Secrets of a Million $ Party Girl”. No, this book is a humorous and quick read about a woman entrepreneur who is comfortable in her own skin, full of passion, gets excited about fashion, and likes a good glass of wine, too.
You see, Bardowski sells candles – PartyLite candles – and generates millions of dollars in sales every year. She makes millions not just by selling candles, but by sharing her “visionista” glow. Think of her as an Olympic champion in the sport of extreme candle selling; but that’s not all: she’s a blogger, speaker, and now accomplished author, and still, takes time to develop her sales team to keep propelling herself forward with motivation most people admire, but wonder how they can mirror. That’s what separates Bardowski from others. She’s a visionista.
Two weeks ago, I was on the beach reading her book on my iPad (the hard copy is due out early fall) –and I was captivated. (You can download her book here, and separately get the Kindle app to open it and read it if you’ve got an iPad like I do.) Her words spoke to me, not just as a woman, but as someone who wants to live a dream and not just dream it.
She’s very down to earth telling her story about how she was raised in southern New Jersey, became successful in the world of corporate sales, and then realized she wanted more in life. She wanted to spend more time with her daughters. She finally got her inspiration, or her “vision” after she attended her first PartyLite demonstration, and those candles ignited her inner fire. Bardowski was going to change her life, and the lives of others, one candle at a time.
In order to live this dream, she did something many would consider extreme, and she quit her day job. This meant downsizing her life at home and starting out on an adventure that seemed daunting but totally possible in her mind. She didn’t know how she would do it, but as she states in her book, “I had to take a leap of faith, jump off the edge and figure out how to build my wings on the way down.”
Many people hope that their families will be supportive in their endeavors but many times, those who are closest to you are your naysayers. They are afraid of change for their own reasons. This doesn’t make things easy.
“The first five years in particular were the hardest. We were hugely in debt. There were tears,” remarked Bardowski of those initial growing pains in her business.
All of this may sound daunting. At this point, if you have a vision to change your life or your career, you might think that making a big change like this is not for you. However, this is where Bardowski and her book share her experiences and show you that living your dream is possible despite those who say that you can not become a part of that vision you have. Bardowski shared with me that at the end of the day, those people who are skeptical of the changes you are making in your life are not thinking of you. It’s all about their fears and reservations that they are trying to project on you.
So what do you do to live your dream?
Bardowski’s book is a manual, if you will, that tells women (and I say it also applies to men), how to get from here, to there, to live that dream.
“I never thought of writing a book until a year ago. My vision is just to share my glow. People wanted to know how I network. Most women don’t know the difference between a vision and a goal. Most women, if asked, ‘What’s your vision?’ would answer something like, ‘to make 6 figures.’ That’s not a vision; that’s a goal. It was time for me to walk the walk. There are a whole lot of women entrepreneurs out there that can learn from what I’ve been through.”
So you might be sitting there asking yourself, ‘What is my dream?’ Bardowski offers advice on how to figure out what your dream is in “Success Secrets of a Million $ Party Girl”: “Find something that stays true to your passion, vision, and your brand….Inspired action feels easy and effortless; there’s no doubt because you know in your gut it’s what you’re supposed to be doing.”
And on the way to personal success, remember that, “Your self-worth is not based on one outcome. The outcome might have changed, but what you’ve achieved has not. No one can erase that. Pick yourself up, take control, and focus on your past success. If you did it before, you can do it again,” Bardowski shares in her book. She also reminds us that, “Success is a journey, not a destination.”
“Self sabotage is also a by-product of our fear of rejection.”
Bardowski joked with me over lunch that she wasn’t issued the million dollar PartyLite kit when she started out. She was given the same kit that everyone else was given. It’s not what you sell or what you do, it’s all how you do it. So you don’t have to go out and sell candles. You don’t have to host demonstrations. You can turn whatever your desire is into your passion for making a living – and making a difference.
So what if you know what you want to do, have the talent, but lack the drive an motivation to actually do out and do it? Bardowski offers this advice, “What I tell people is stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about other people. I ask them, ‘What are your gifts and how can you serve people?’ When you hold yourself back, that’s all about you. Share your gifts with other people. It’s all about fear. It’s really very selfish – which is the irony because it’s really selfish not to share yourself and your talents with others. Inside every woman lives a Million $ Party Girl. What I get really jazzed about is women sharing their gifts and the impact they have on the world.”
And as she says in her book, “Feel the fear and do it anyway…Fear of success and fear of failure are the two biggest factors that stop us from moving forward..... To make sure we don’t have to face our fear, we typically sabotage ourselves and wonder why we never get where we’re going.”
Good points. Like Yoda says “There is no try.” You either do it, or you don’t; and if you don’t do it, you will always wonder “what if”.
Bardowski’s optimism is contagious. Even before I finished the interview, I wanted to go out and take on the world. There’s one important thing to remember, though. You can’t do it yourself. You will need help along the way. Just like many, I forget that – a lot. She reminded me of this, and as much as I was doing this interview to share her story with others, I took her advice to heart myself. Now, in my own venture, I’m asking for help. I’m building that team.
“We can’t do it ourselves. It takes a team,” said Bardowski while we were enjoying really good crab salads. “Look towards your family for help. My kids would help. Incorporate your children in your business. As women we tell ourselves we can’t combine work and family and we are bad moms if we do. Then we get guilty and then we do nothing. You are teaching your children about your work ethic and how it takes a team. Include your children in what you are doing. Don’t feel guilty. You’ll teach them great lessons. In the previous generation (1950’s / 1960’s), we all worked in our mother’s business which was ‘the house’. We didn’t go play until we did the dishes or cleaned. Everybody’s got to pitch in. Responsibility is a petri dish for self confidence and self esteem.”
It’s this kind of self-evident advice that rings true as you read her book, and you might find yourself nodding your head in concurrence as I did while taking her words to heart on the beach. You start wondering “Why didn’t I think of it that way before?”
So how do you build this team?
Bardowski says, “You network and you have to know when to say ‘no’. I’ve become very good at connecting with like-minded visionistas. You get better at it over time. Women don’t ask for help. Ask for help and be specific in what you need and want. Don’t just ask, but ask for specifics. You don’t know who you know, who knows somebody who can help you.”
Even once you have your supporters in line, though, something’s gotta give.
Bardowski references Erma Bombeck’s quote in her book, “No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed.” So true. Sometimes you can’t do it all. And it’s ok. She speaks from the point of view from someone who has been there and done that with two adult daughters who now tell her how much they valued being a part of her team as they were growing up. Bardowski remarks, “As long as your family is fed, they will let you go do what you have to do.” She has a point. Sometimes it’s hard enough to take care of the basic “have to’s” and other things have to slide. Perfection is not a requirement in life.
Bardowski followed her vision. There were bumps and setbacks along the way, which she chronologizes in her book. It’s a great story of inspiration and triumph in a modern day setting. And when Bardowski does achieve something wonderful on her journey, she lets people know about it, too!
“Like many of my friends, I was taught at a young age that nice girls don’t toot their own horn. We were supposed to act like a lady.” She further elaborates, “Have you ever heard the saying, proud as a peacock? Males have been strutting their stuff for year; it’s time women did, too.”
One of the reasons why Bardowski wrote this book was because growing up we did not learn about many women entrepreneurs in school. We learned about our men Presidents, male inventors like Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, and other entrepreneurs like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. She remarks in her book how amazing it would have been to have heard Coco Chanel’s story. While we do have women role models whose lives are learned about in school, like Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and Hellen Keller, we need more from modern times so we can relate to their achievements and how they present themselves in society. Now maybe, Bardowski’s book on how to be a success can be on the reading lists of students.
“I’m really excited about building the Million $ Party Girl brand. I’d love to see a Million $ Party Girl brand in schools, teaching girls about great women mentors starting at a young age. I probably have a hundred books I me!”
Besides books, she’s always had a passion for fashion since she was a teen.
“I have a lot of products in my head. I want to build a brand. One of my blogs was on the Visionista brand photo shoot. I see it as the Visionista brand which is about having your own style and really rocking your authentic self. If you give up your power even in your own wardrobe you give up a part of yourself. When you are comfortable in your own shoes, you kick ass!” exclaims Bardowski.
“It’s all coming full circle. I see a whole fun wardrobe for women. You can still be fun and sassy and professional at the same time.”
I think she’ll succeed. Besides her candle sales, her book sales are evidence of that.
“On amazon.com it hit the top of the motivational e-books category in one day! I was sitting there in my pajamas in disbelief looking at my computer screen.”
But it’s not all about her success. Her book sales promote the success of others, as well. 25% of the e-book proceeds go to SERV Domestic Violence Services, which is a NJ non-profit organization supporting women who are survivors of domestic violence.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m just getting started. I’m 50 years old and I have a lot of energy. I don’t know where my journey will take me, but I’m just getting started. I will take a lot of women with me, and there will be a party, and there will be wine!”
You can connect with Lynn Bardowski at http://www.milliondollarpartygirl.com/, follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@leadtheway1) , or LinkedIn. You can also download Success Secrets of a Million $ Party Girl right here.