Beate Chelette

Her German countrymen said she should have been a roofer but they had to eat crow when she sold her photography business to Bill Gates for Millions$

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Sold Biz to Bill Gates

“Entrepreneurship — the path of blood, sweat, tears and hard labor. But it’s worth it. I was able to sell my business to Bill Gates for millions of dollars.”


Business at the Bar – Cinderella Law

“Best place to do business…the bar. Say what?!? I follow the Cinderella rule. Always dress up. 3 drink maximum. In bed before midnight. For women, Go back to your room alone.


Woman Roofer or Millionaire Entrepreneur?

“When I knew…a standardized test I took in Germany said I should have been a woman roofer. That’s when I knew for the first time that what other people do didn’t fit me.”

Why listen to her:

Beate Chelette, a nationally known Gender Decoder,  is a respected career coach, successful entrepreneur, author of Happy Women Happy World, and founder of The Women’s Code.

After selling her creative company in 2006 to Bill Gates for millions of dollars, Chelette pursued her mission to build a global community of women who will collaborate and support each other.

In business and in her personal life as a single mother, Chelette witnessed first-hand:

– how women treat other women,
– how they boycott,
– bully, and
– backstab other women’s careers and personal lives.

She is fiercely determined to turn that around by creating a new Core Code of Conduct by which women will live happier, more successful lives and as results show – have better relationships with other women and men.

Drawing on the tools, hard knocks, and strategies she learned on her road to success, Chelette founded The Women’s Code. Chelette has created programs to improve Work-Life Balance, Leadership on C.U.E., and Career Advancement for Entrepreneurs and Creatives.

Some Shareables from Beate in this episode…

“If you have weird things happening to you and things don’t seem to actually work out it may not be you… it may be the system doesn’t work for you. So create your own system.”

“I’m something of a business whisperer. Business likes me and I like business back. Working with great ideas and helping entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses is something I love.”

“Conference connecting — even as a small fish I could connect with the biggest players at the bar. I learned how to be a woman, stay in my power, and keep my mouth shut when men would reveal things after drink number 5 and beyond. I gained an excellent and trustworthy reputation with industry leaders this way.”

“Business whisperer — Victoria came to me with an idea to do beauty branding for cosmetics companies. She’s a former model and her husband is a famous plastic surgeon so she knows a lot about beauty. I advised her and now she’s producing multimillion dollar campaigns for pharmaceutical companies’ beauty products. They were scientists and geeks so her positioning was beautiful. Helping entrepreneurs gives me the greatest joy.”

“Best place to do business… the bar. Say what?!? I follow the Cinderella rule. Always dress up. 3 drink maximum. In bed before midnight. For women, Go back to your room alone.”

“Success comes when you’re prepared and hopefully get lucky at one point. Rapid success is possible when you’re well-connected and have a mix of luck.”

“You have to keep business and personal separate. The big mistake entrepreneurs make is attempting to clone themselves when hiring other people. Instead, Hire others who complement your skill set.”

Biggest Entrepreneur’s Mistake

“Biggest mistake — an employee got too close to a key vendor. They stole from me so I sued them both. 1 year and $100,000 out of my pocket later, the lawsuit settled covering my expenses but nothing more.”

Favorite Part of my Entrepreneurial Journey

“Favorite part of being an entrepreneur — I love creating. I’m something of a business whisperer because people can tell me an idea and immediately in my head I can see how the business should be set up and the first product.”

CounterIntuitive —- things that worked

“Where to invest time — it takes as much time and energy to sell a $9.98 e-book as it doess to sell a $2,000 coaching program. Plus there’s much better margins in the high dollar products.”

“The solution to many business problems is finding side door or alternate solutions and walking away from what people commonly do. It’s a mindset. I’ve gotten pretty efficient at thinking about problems in a different way than other people.”

“On hiring — if you hire people like you, your business is destined to fail. You set your business up for success by hiring many people who execute smaller, foreseeable, well-defined repeatable tasks. Then if 1 person goes your whole business doesn’t fall apart.”

“Unless you’re well-connected and incredibly lucky just be prepared to put the work in to build a successful business. I’m a 13 year overnight success.”

“When you have this really great idea sometimes the path is unexpected. Or the idea you’re working on now may not be the ultimate perfect idea, it might just be the idea that gets you to your success idea.”

Biggest Myth

“Biggest myth — many people believe the Internet can lead to quick riches. It’s not true. There is no get-rich-quick. You have to master a skill and put the work in.”

Passive Income

“Passive income — when my stock photography representation business cratered after 9/11, I moved into stock photography syndication because it was trending up and was more of a passive income.”

“Passive income — it’s really important to try different things because a lot of it won’t work. But as you learn more about what your customers want, you create successful passive income. Going forward for many entrepreneurs this will be via online education programs.”

“The best opportunity often comes from our darkest times. Losing my photography representation business forced me to come up with a new idea. Because of my trials I understood how to set the business up to sell for millions. Troubled times are often blessings in disguise, it’s just hard to see that when you’re going through them.”

“Passive income — my stock photography business was working as I envisioned. I left at night after sending my offers. In the morning I had 20 sales and made $20,000. Passive income isn’t easy so I suggest building your business first, then exploring passive income opportunities inside it.”

“I own power tools and know-how to use them. Sometimes I even go so far as doing some electrical work including fixing dimmer switches and putting new outside sensor lights on.”

“Work on your business — I would never spend time learning programing. It’s way too much work. I spend my time doing what I do well and hire others for the rest. I enjoy working around the house and love my power tools”

“I’m a serial entrepreneur. I believe people in this group are misfits, they’re unemployable. They have too many ideas which doesn’t mesh well in a corporate environment.”

“I like beauty, harmony and the arts. So I started out as a photographer. Living in Germany, this didn’t go over well. Things were very engineered and they gave us an aptitude test. I was supposed to be a roofer.”

“Do tests work? — my aptitude test asked if I was scared of heights, did I mind being outside, did I mind physical labor? No to all 3 of these. So instead of following my mission and being a successful entrepreneur, the standardized tests said I should have been a roofer.”

“When I knew… a standardized test I took in Germany said I should have been a woman roofer. That’s when I knew for the first time that what other people do didn’t fit me.”

“I immigrated to the US from Germany to be a photographer. I married an alcoholic and divorced him when our daughter was one half years old. Then I only had to focus on raising her and business. I got clear and realized how good I was at the business side.”

“I did photo shoots for Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Macy’s, Homeboy and many others. Unfortunately, I let an employee get too close to my main vendor which led to a crippling lawsuit that destroyed my business. Lesson learned.”

“Big lesson — don’t let employees solely handle your business’ most critical relationships. I got entangled in a multi-million dollar lawsuit that wiped out my photography representation business when an employee took off with 1 of my main accounts.”

“On strength — you can’t control the external factors. When September 11 rolled around I lost $500,000 in business in 24 hours. My dad died soon after. It took me a long time to break out of this negative state but you must persevere because it’s worth it.”

“On perseverance — my decade of bad luck included $500,000 of canceled business within 24 hours of September 11, my dad dying, and my multimillion dollar lawsuit settled with zero coming to me. It was tough to persevere but I’m so glad I did.”

Selling to Bill Gates

“Entrepreneurship — the path of blood, sweat, tears and hard labor. But it’s worth it. I was able to sell my business to Bill Gates for millions of dollars.”

“I sold my business to Bill Gates — people think I came from a privileged background. But my decade of bad luck ($500,000 loss in 24 hours after September 11, dad died, lawsuit settled for zero) preceded that gratifying sale.”

“Why did Bill Gates buy my company? I became the world leader in architecture, interior and celebrity at home features. That attracted Bill Gates’ attention because we sold celebrity at home stories in 80 countries worldwide.”

“Selling to Bill Gates — my company became the number one provider of celebrity at home stories being featured in 80 countries worldwide. I developed this system to bring the most talented, recognized and established photographers on board.”

“On retirement — after selling my celebrity at home photography business to Bill Gates for millions I retired for…1 day. Then I started consulting and founded the Women’s Code to help female entrepreneurs.”

#1 Business Activity

“#1 business activity — if I had to start over I’d focus on finding customers before anything. I’d worry less about the engineering and perfecting the system at the start.”

On Starting Over…

“On starting over — I’d focus on selling it first. Buyers tell you if the market is receptive to your product or idea. Once customers buy your idea, then you perfect your system.”

“If I had to start over… the 2nd thing I’d do is really learn how to sell. I’d get very comfortable with charging, pricing and overcoming objections.”

“If I had to start over… the 3rd thing I’d do is hire really fantastic writers from the get-go. The best writers are so important today because of the Internet. Finding your ‘writer’s voice’ is key to everything.”

“The best writers are so important today because of the Internet and your online profile. Once your message and your ‘writing voice’ is clear everything else becomes so much easier. I’ve found writing is the key to everything.”

“Getting a business off the ground — it’s always about figuring out where the money’s going to come from. That has to come first because without cash you’re dead.”

“Lawsuits — after I delivered the flowers to my lawyer, my bank account was at zero. I could have started the business a year before that and been well ahead. Before going into legal action, no matter how bad it is nor how right you are, really consider if it’s worth your time and money investment.”

“I face a branding situation that could turn into legal action. Legal action costs even if you win. Before going down this road, consider ‘what am I defending?’ ‘Is it worth defending?’ And ‘is there any other way?’

“Wrong shortcuts — people who lie, cheat, take advantage or steal tended to not survive. The woman who stole from my photography company is still an executive assistant 10 years later. The photographer who took the images didn’t get paid by the company he went to.”

“Energy decisions — be very discriminatory about where to invest your energy. I had the moral high ground in my lawsuit but had I waited karma ended up taking care of the woman who stole from me and the photographer who stole from me.”

“At conferences — I couldn’t get meetings with the people I wanted to meet because I was a small fish. I noticed all the men ran to the bar the moment the day was over. Very few women were going so I decided if the guys could go to the bar I could too. Funny enough, people who wouldn’t give me the time of day earlier were now talking to me.”

“What is the women’s code? It’s all about women and leadership in business. It can really help women inside large corporations.”

News Media Beate has been featured in:

– Huffington Post
– Examiner

– A Band of Women interviews Beate Chelette
– Blog Talk Radio – Current Entrepreneur Podcasts with Tim Gillette
– Boomers Braintrust with Johnny Dean on “Men vs. Women Workplace Leadership Roles”
– The Maria Sanchez Show on “Understanding Women In 5 Simple Steps”

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