By Holly Hammersmith
Photo by Thomas Skernivitz
That’s the VIP treatment that members of Red Carpet Women, a Northeast Ohio networking group, can expect to experience as they learn to better market themselves.
Cindy Earl, a marketing coach by trade and founder of Claim Your Spotlight, started the group two years ago, with the intention of putting a spotlight on women in business. Earl, a solo businesswoman for more than a dozen years, has led networking groups in the past. When she rebranded her business, it felt like the right time to pursue a new group.
“I had really been wanting to start up again another networking group that I was a primary owner of,” she says.
Right now members of the group enjoy bi-monthly networking events across the city. Typically women meet up at various locations throughout the Cleveland area to enjoy drinks and appetizers, social hour and a formal networking component.
Plans are already in place to expand the networking group’s offerings by fall to include quarterly speaker events and a mastermind group. The first quarterly speaker will be Maryland-based Laurie Forster, aka. “The Wine Coach,” who will lead a comedy and wine tasting event.
The expanded offerings will run in conjunction with a membership drive, Earl says. As part of those added perks, a formal membership fee will be put in place.
Members of small mastermind groups will meet monthly for a year as Earl, a certified Book Yourself Solid Marketing coach, takes them through the program of the same name. Participants in the mastermind component, coined Red Carpet VIP Members, will be female business owners actively seeking to grow their business.
Following completion of the program members can choose to continue working on their marketing efforts by joining another group or to stay active by simply by attending networking events.
“I’ve just found that it (a mastermind group) is a really powerful way to build your business quickly,” Earl says. “You are in the mindset with the other people of building growth. It’s really effective to grow your business quickly in 12 months.”
Earl’s personal work focuses mainly on working with micro-businesses and solo entrepreneurs. “They (solo business owners) do what they do really well, but they don’t really know how to market their businesses,” Earl says. “The whole idea was to use Cleveland as a pilot for the group and eventually launch to other cities as well.”
Those expansion goals will likely develop in 2015 and beyond.
From life coaches to canine massage therapists and psychologists, members of Red Carpet Women are ladies in business for themselves. Group membership hovers around 200, according to Earl, with anywhere from 20 to 50 people showing up for each social networking event. “Primarily they are women business owners or entrepreneurs,” Earl says. “They either know what they should be doing to marketing their business and they don’t do it or they really don’t know how to market their business.”
Anyone in business for at least one year can join Red Carpet Women. For entry into the Red Carpet VIP Membership, members will pay a monthly membership fee. Members are primarily from Northeast Ohio and regularly include women from Stark and Summit counties, Earl says. But no matter their location, the businesswomen are all entitled to star treatment.
“The whole brand is around a movie theme or Hollywood theme about getting into the spotlight,” Earl says. “A lot of times women are afraid to put themselves out there. They feel like they are bragging or boasting, but really they need to put themselves in the spotlight.”
For more information: redcarpetwomenconnect.com