Stacia Pierce started her first business at just 13 when she opened an arcade and ice cream shop in her Michigan neighborhood. Now the author and entrepreneur counsels thousands of women around the country on profiting from their passions. See her secrets for your business breakthrough.

The gig: I am a business and lifestyle coach, and I help women grow their business, increase revenues and achieve their most-desired goals. With books, seminars, and specialized training, I empower women to profit from their passions. It still amazes me to see a person go from just having an idea to earning an income. Once I started, everything began to take off.

The journey: Since I was a teen, I’ve wanted to impact women in a positive way, and I’ve always been an entrepreneur. My first business was opening an ice cream shop and arcade when I was 13. I was also a boutique window dresser, a Barbizon modeling instructor, and owned a beauty salon.

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Success 101: Develop lots of systems to get things done. Plan out every detail. Flush out a new idea by writing down every detail of the process. Then put it into what I call a Success System binder. This saves lots of time and money. It’s amazing what a 3-ring binder with all of your process notes can turn into.

Confessions of a Black woman in business: In the beginning, I had challenges raising capital to start my business. It caused me to become very creative and resourceful. Because of that experience I learned that I can self-fund my success. We launched the online business before we were really ready—but that’s what I teach. You can’t think too long, you have to get going on your new ideas while energy and excitement is high. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll talk yourself right out of taking action.
Her biggest lesson learned: When I was 19, I self-published my first book and ordered 15,000 copies with no marketing plan. I had no idea how I was going to sell them. Eventually I came up with a plan and overcame this big blunder by using my beauty class instructor background to empower women to look and feel their best. I landed about twenty different speaking opportunities where I built a following that I could market to. Some engagements were paid and some were free. It took a while, but I eventually sold them all. My biggest mistake taught me my biggest lesson: Your marketing plan is just as important as your product idea.
Her best time-saving tip: Nothing happens until something moves. Take at least one action daily to get you closer to your goals. Decide what’s important right now and don’t let anything get in the way of accomplishing that one thing. Also, get started before you’re ready. There’s no perfect time, take action, implement, then adjust as you go!
Her smartest advice: Peter Daniels, one of my mentors from Australia, advised me to get up every day and meditate, sit, think and always journalize my thoughts daily. I took his advice to heart and for over a decade I’ve kept journals. I can truly attest that when you think thoughts of gratitude more things just keep showing up in your life to be thankful for.
Her career milestone: The biggest highlight of my career so far has been when I received national recognition from the U.S. House of Representative, Congressman Mike Rogers, with a congressional tribute for service as an Exemplary Life Coach. I also got a letter from President Bush recognizing my efforts to empower women at my Women’s Success Conference. Getting the awards were an ‘aha moment’ that I was making a national impact as a life coach.
Her network tip: The key to success is getting out and making connections with people in your desired industry. You have to be seen in order to be considered. When you increase your visibility, you increase your opportunities. You are much more effective in face-to-face meetings than you are over the phone or online. That’s why showing up to events with industry insiders and influencers can be very beneficial to your success.
Her stress relievers: In my downtime I enjoy reading magazines. All of the fashion magazines, the weeklies and of course ESSENCE! I also love shopping. My family and I travel a lot for relaxation. We love trying new restaurants and going to new shopping malls.
Her secret superpower: My gut instinct to generate ideas. If you talked with me for a few minutes about your business, I can assess your business situation and help you create the perfect product or service to create leverage in your business.
Her tech must-haves: As a gadget girl, I must have my iPhone, iPad, Macbook Pro and my Samsung camera.  My Amazon Prime subscription allows me to order books and products and have them delivered in two days. I love the quick turnaround especially when I’m working on projects and need things fast. My Instagram feed is a streaming lifestyle guide for entrepreneurs. Tripit Pro has been a real life-saver. Especially when it comes to gate changes and keeping our plans on track.
Her beauty bag: I can’t live without my Derma Topix face cleanser. Not only is it the best cleanser I have ever used, it also gets makeup stains out of my clothing. It works like magic!
Her power style accessory: My power style accessory is a great pair of big sunglasses. I never feel complete without a bold, bright necklace set.
Her theme song: “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled and “Happy” by Pharrell.