Author: Noelle Stary
Publisher: Open Door Publications – 96 pages
Book Review by: Kumar Balani
Noelle Stary begins this book in her Introduction – The Day the World Stopped by recalling events sometime from January 2020 onward about events that were affecting her business:
“I started to notice reports on the news about a new virus somehow related to bats that was being seen in China: A wet market. What was that? I barely noticed. I was too busy with the openings of my two new (co) working spaces…”
“And then it was March. Everything changed so suddenly. On Monday, March 9, it was business as usual. By Wednesday I started to worry. What was going to happen? Was there going to be quarantine? What would that look like?
“The whole concept of the (co) working space was shared office space. Would people want to share a space and potentially spread this frightening disease? Could I, as a business owner, take the risk of allowing people who were members of my space to get sick? What about my employees?”
I have known Noelle since 2002, when BIZ INDIA began. To say that she has a strong and independent character would be an understatement. Yes, she’s got guts, but with it, a practical path to success.
She writes: “The road to success isn’t straight. It zigzags, takes detours, and curves around obstacles as it moves forward. It would be foolish to not expect challenges in business, but 2020 has proven to be a far different kind of challenge for Main Street business owners. For some, giving up became the only option, while for others, it was not an option at all.”
Which type of person are you? Are you the ‘give-up’ type? Or the ‘never-give-up’ kind? Whichever you are, if you want to succeed today, and keep on succeeding in an ever-changing business landscape in the future, this book is for you.
When I first saw the cover page of this book and started reading it, I was reminded of the striking remark made about New York City (when I had arrived from Manila and was still new in New York) by a sorority sister to me and a group of fraternity brothers and sorority sisters who had gathered in someone’s Manhattan apartment seeking some refuge, lessons on success, as well as to enjoy dinner and some camaraderie.
That startling remark went something like this:
“New York is like a paddle that beats you all over your limbs when you are being initiated into a fraternity or sorority. You better be prepared to be beaten, take the pain, and be beaten again and again. And I don’t mean just physically. Yes, you may even suffer from the pangs of hunger (from temporary unemployment maybe) but more than that, better be prepared to have your ego badly bashed by your employer (or someone else) and handed it to you on a platter”
At that time, I had been accepted into Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism program, but didn’t have the financial resources for it, nor a job yet due to not having a green card. I was contemplating what to do next. Creative thinking-and-problem-solving eventually gave me the answers I was looking for.
‘Moxie’ is defined as ‘force of character’, ‘determination’ and ‘nerve’ by Google’s English dictionary provided by Oxford Languages. Yes, you need guts to not only survive, but to thrive, to prosper, and to make it. How will you make it when all you see are obstacles around you?
For starters, acquire this book right away. Then read it from start to finish. And make it your keepsake, re-reading it from time to time. This is a book based on Noelle’s personal experience. I’ve believed, based on my experience that learning from a real-world character is often the best form of learning. Below is a nutshell of what you will find inside this book:
Introduction: When the World Stopped
- I am a Jersey Girl: Hear Me Roar
- Where Are You Now?
- Understanding Your Personal Brand
- Dressing for the New Main Street
- Perception Is Reality: Your Online Presence
- Finding Your Village: Networking in Real Life
- It Takes a Tribe to Raise a Business
- Show Me the Money
- The Elephants Under the Rug
- Failing Forward
- Self-Care and Coping
- How Big Is Your World?
- From Main Street to My Street
- Conclusion: Why Are We Doing This? Building a Legacy
“Many businesses are teetering on the brink of collapse, and people are asking ‘How can we make it through these difficult times?’ Noelle writes.
For the ‘Moxie’ Noelle who started her first business in the middle of the Great Recession of 2008, she went on to become the successful owner of not one, but two companies.
Yes, she got success, in spite of the fact that in the Great Recession, capital investment dropped a whopping 23.2 percent year-on-year, and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plunged by 8.4 percent in the last quarter of 2008.
I recall one day in that year when more than 50 percent of our advertising revenue was lost. Ad orders were simply cancelled (until ‘further notice”) by customers, in phone call after phone call after phone call, in reaction to overall bad news that dominated that day. But we survived, with what is often termed ‘out-of-the box’ thinking. Do whatever it takes, period.
Noelle Stary opened the first (co) working space in New Jersey earlier in 2010, and is currently bringing her licensing model to small downtown locations. She is also a market leader with a full-service marketing company called 20 Lemons, which uses a community-focused approach to help businesses develop marketing plans and roadmaps to gain more traffic and recurring business.
She has worked with hundreds of businesses with a strong focus in hospitality. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Maryland.
Noelle Stary is an engaging speaker who has spoken nationally in the co-working space trend and on how to develop action items that can be put in place immediately.