Bravo TV Married to Medicine Star, Mogul, Millionaire Maker Lisa Nicole Cloud
Business mogul, self-made millionaire, author, direct sales expert, fashion designer and founder of the Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN); these are just a few words used to describe Lisa Nicole Cloud. She is the visionary behind Elite Marketing Strategies, Lisa Nicole Cloud Enterprises and the Lisa Nicole Collection. Lisa Nicole Cloud’s college years and corporate America background set the stage for her colorful career as an entrepreneur. After graduating college, she worked in the banking and pharmaceutical industries, but when Lisa Nicole Cloud was introduced to direct sales she further developed her entrepreneurial skills. Her hunger for more coupled with her passion, vision and 5Linx, came together and were a perfect match. Lisa is now the #fabulouslyfearless multimillionaire, founder of a multifaceted brand and co-star of the hit show on Bravo TV, “Married to Medicine.” Lisa Nicole is passionate, sharp, driven, beautiful and inspirational; and I am both honored and excited that she took time out of her busy schedule to share in-depth, how she swapped the corporate world for entrepreneurship and her secret to keeping it together. Reminding us that we shouldn't settle, and to always go after our dreams.
Full Name: Lisa Nicole Cloud Location: Atlanta, Georgia Current Title/ Company: CEO of Elite Marketing Strategies, Lisa Nicole Cloud Enterprises & the Lisa Nicole Collection
What is your educational background?
I am originally from Baltimore and my father is from the Virgin Islands, but I grew up in Atlanta and I went to undergraduate at Emory University and I went did my graduate work at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, where I am from. And then from there I started the various businesses.
What was your first job post college and how did you land it?
Actually my first real job was during college. One thing that pretty much help to mold me into the person that I am today, is that even though I had a relationship with my dad, I lived with mom and she really couldn't afford to pay all of my tuition at school. I had to work my way through college [undergraduate as well as graduate] and so that just really gave me that drive and determination, that if I can do this I can do anything I put my mind to. School was academically very hard and challenging, plus I had to work a full time job. I worked for a bank, where I started off as a sales rep and then got promoted to management. That continued even after I got out of school. I stayed with them in a management capacity, and eventually I did end up leaving the bank to go into the pharmaceutical sales industry. I did that for about eleven years before I retired from corporate America and then went full time as an entrepreneur.
When did you first develop an interest in entrepreneurship?
Even though I had a great job, I still a lot of times felt unfulfilled. The reason I felt unfulfilled was because at my core I was an entrepreneur. And so, I started studying really successful people. All of them would always say, “Wealthy people don't work for other people, wealthy people work for themselves.” And so I started trying to figure out what kind of business I could start. I didn't have a lot of capital and I didn't have a lot of experience, but then I was introduced to the direct sales industry, which was really my first introduction to the world of entrepreneurship. I started off doing direct sales on a part time basis with a company called 5Linx.
I've been doing that for the last eleven years, and made a lot of money. I was able to become financially free, and became a millionaire from it, and have helped sixteen other people to do the same thing; and hundreds of people to be in a position, where they are exceeding the income that they made on their job. I took the money that I made in direct sales, [which has really been the crux of my success] and invested it. I Used the platform of direct sales and took that money as seed money for other entrepreneurial endeavors.
Today you are an elite business woman, tell us a bit about the journey?
It is very important that as you are evolving your businesses and your brand, that there be some kind of cohesiveness. So from direct sales it was very natural that I go into speaking, because it’s what I did - I motivate, I inspire, I teach. Direct sales really launched my speaking career. It also launched my clothing career, believe it or not... because dressing your best is always very important. First impressions are lasting impressions, that even before you speak a word out of your mouth they are looking at your exterior appearance, and making the decision as to whether or not they want to do business with you. It was very easy to move into fashion because my line is for professional business women.
From there what happened was the T.V. show. They found out I was a woman that was very successful plus I was married to a doctor. And as they did more research on me they said, “wow! This is different! A doctor's wife who makes way more money than the doctor." They found that to be an interesting element which differentiated me from some of the other ladies on the show. So they began to follow me as a doctor’s wife, but also as a successful business woman, and that's where my role on Married to Medicine came about.
WEN (Women Empowerment Network) was founded to help women find their passion, purpose and power. Can you tell us about the organization’s mission and how it started?
Sure! WEN is really not just an organization, it's really a ministry to me. For years I coached women and gave them the business advice and strategy that I knew to give, yet some of them were still getting stuck. They weren't moving beyond where they were. And as I started to really explore why that was, I realized it was because they weren't growing any balanced passion. You know they might really be focused on their careers but their personal lives and their personal development were suffering, or maybe they were focusing on their personal development but they weren't spending time communing with the higher power.
Tell us about the WEN conference and when is the next one?
WEN is that event for women, where we focus on helping them to grow personally, professionally, financially, and spiritually. I bring in a network of women that are at the top of their game in all of the different areas, to pour back into the other women that are aspiring to get where they are. The women that speak at WEN are million dollar or more earning business women. They have already achieved a level of success, and they understand that to whom much is given much is required. These women are very passionate about helping other women, know that it is possible and share some of their success strategies.
This year the WEN is upon us again, what they call the conference of breakthrough. We do our three day conference in Atlanta, October 16 to 18. We also added this year, the WEN Experience Tour. We will be going to New York City, New Orleans for Essence, and Miami, Fort Lauderdale in July. We will be in Boston and Raleigh, North Carolina in August; and then will be in California and in Atlanta. The previous WEN event were such a success that people realized wanted be a part of something like this. They sent me so many e-mails hoping to bring it to their city, and so this year we are doing the six city tour, which we are really, really excited about.
Your keen sense of style and a sophisticated eye for design led you to create the Lisa Nicole Collection. Tell us about what’s on the horizon?
On Sunday, May 31, the day after the WEN conference in NYC, we will be doing an event called “Fashion for a Cause.” We are marrying the world of the fashion with philanthropy while showcasing the spring/summer 2015 collection. My husband is very passionate about doing medical mission work, and so we are doing a medical mission trip to Haiti at the end of the year - which will probably be shown on Show. We are sending about two hundred fifty thousand dollars’ worth of medical supplies and equipment to Haiti. So when we do these fashion shows, the ticket sales go towards supporting the Haiti mission project.
What advice do you have for women who are not sure how to marry their talents and passion to start a business?
First thing I do when I am coaching women about how to figure out what type of business they want to start, really have them go deep and ask themselves… What do you love doing? What would you do even if you didn't get a paycheck? What is that thing that you are most passionate about? I believe when you find that thing you are most passionate about, when you tap into what your natural gifts are, you can always figure out the strategy to make it profitable. So once they figure out what that thing is they love and they are passionate about, then we start to talk about what we do strategically to make this thing come to life. I tell women, you don't have to have thousands and thousands of dollars to begin down your journey of entrepreneurship, just figure out what you love first, then take baby steps. As long as you're having forward progress, then you are on the right track.
What about those who are financially challenged?
They can be very resourceful, I have people who comes to me all the time and say I would love for you to mentor me, and I may not be able to do that but I have programs where they can kind of shadow me and learn the real life lessons of being in that environment. Where there is a will, there is a way.
What is a typical workday like for Lisa Nicole, and how do you balance your career with being a wife and mom of two?
Well, I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is have my time with God in prayer, because I believe that in the stillness is where you find your peace; and where you find your clarity. So that is usually how I start my day. Then I go to my office where I work with my team. I do believe that success is certainly not my own, I cannot take the credit alone for it, because I do have an incredible team of people. We have our meetings, we strategize every single day. Family is also very important to me. So when I'm not traveling and I'm not on the road, I try to turn it off at a reasonable time and spend some quality time with my children and my husband. We have dinner together and once the house to gets still again, I would probably do some more work before I close my eyes to sleep.
For women who are very career oriented, I found that balance is what they have to learn to master most. A lot of times when an area of your life is out of balance, you cannot achieve success and experience success in its fullness. There were years when I was one hundred percent focused on my career, but I didn't have that special person t0 share it with, so I still felt unfulfilled. There were years when I was really focused on my career and then my family suffered. I learned over the years that you have to have balance because if you don't, you're still not going to feel fulfilled; and at the end of the day if you have success in one area and not another, you won’t be happy. I really try to make quality time with my family. When I say quality time - the phone is turned off, I’m not texting, I’m not on email and not on social media, I am focused one hundred percent on them. When my husband is not working we both always try to set our schedule, so we can do those quality things, like sit at the dinner table and eat dinner as opposed to eating dinner in front of the T.V. There is a difference between quality and quantity of time.
What advice would you give your 23-year-old self?
When I was 23, I was just out of college. Actually I was out of college for a few years but I was a business person. I was really stressing myself and challenging myself, because what I thought I was supposed to do was go into medicine. Medicine is what I had studied in college, it’s what I thought I wanted to be when I grew up; and I was really trying to force myself into a box. A box that I was placing myself in, not the world, but I was placing myself in that box. The thing is even though I loved medicine, even though I loved science and helping people, I loved being able to have my own business. There were other things that I realized that I could do that could use the skills and gifts. I stopped trying to fit into this box that my family thought I should be in or that I thought I should be in, and I just started doing what I loved; what I was naturally gifted at – business, talking to people, motivating people and selling. When I started doing what I was naturally good at, the doors of success just opened up.
I think a lot of times people find themselves doing something that for years they hate doing, but they're doing it because it generates a big paycheck. And even though they hate doing it and they are unfulfilled doing it, they won't step out on faith and do what it is they love. I believe that if you do what you love, the money is going to follow; and if you practice your gifts, you can craft a business around it.
Once you figure out what you love people will say, "OK then what?" And my next advice to them is, find someone who does what you are doing and study their strategies. I really believe you don't have to reinvent the wheel, you don't have to come up with this idea that’s never been done. You can do what you love and put your own touch on it, and it can be hugely successful even if it's already been done before. Just find someone that’s doing what you want to do, and is where you want to be and duplicate it.
Lisa Nicole Cloud fun facts…
Favorite quote? Your attitude determines your altitude.
Favorite beauty product? Lancôme
The best advice received? It was advice from my mom, she told me that, "if you really, really want something in life, then you will figure out a way to make it happen. And don't ever let money be the reason you don't do the thing that you love or go after your dreams."