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6 Business Rules For Alpha Women

"You are way too talented not to be achieving your full potential."

Workin' Girl

"You are way too talented not to be achieving your full potential." - Gabrielle Deculus

In 2015, I experienced many high and lows which ranged from receiving a bomb promotion and an increase in my salary, to ending up in a financial hell hole and experiencing personal insecurities. Despite all of this, I am looking forward to this new year. This year and next, I plan on living up to my highest potential and creating more opportunities for myself. In all areas of my life, I plan to become what I aspire to be: The Ultimate Alpha Woman.

This is why, I had to sit down with with Gabrielle Deculus, a visionary, businesswoman, and entrepreneur. She is currently the Development Director with Habitat for Humanity, has her own marketing and business consulting agency, and is also the founder of Business Rules for Women, a new platform geared towards elevating and educating entrepreneurs and business women (and men) alike.

During our chat, Gabrielle gave me her six business rules in becoming your own version of an Alpha Woman and why it is so important.

The Alpha Woman is a strong, bad-ass, fearless female.

She can often be intimidating to those around her, yet she still isn't afraid to ask for what she wants and work hard until she gets it. The Alpha Woman is doing well professionally and always strives to become better. She is brilliant, has confidence in herself, and has ambition. She isn't scared to speak her mind and doesn't put up with anyone else's shit.

As Gabrielle says being called an "Alpha Woman" is not an insult - it is a compliment. In order to become an Alpha Woman, you have to know that if there isn't a door, you need to build it. If life doesn't give you a door, you need to climb out the window or do what you can to reach your goals. As an Alpha Woman, it is important to create your own opportunities and go for them. You have to know that people are not going to give you what you want all the time, and if you are not careful you will end up just settling. As you are setting goals for yourself, you should seek opportunities (or make your own) and then just make it happen.

In order to become an Alpha Woman, use the tips below by Gabrielle Deculus and apply them to your life.

1. Invest In Yourself

"People take risks daily. We spend money on things that will never help us grow as a person or accomplish our goals. Investing in self is much like investing in a business. No banker will give you a loan if you have not saved or invested your own money - you have to bring something to the table. You are your best product, service, brand, and self. If you are not investing in your mind, body, spirit, skills, perspective, then why would a person who has (invested in themselves) take a chance on you?"

2. Dare To Go For It

"I remember when I started my firm in 2010 with my business partner, Lisa Valadez. I was in undergrad and she was well into her career with twin teen boys, three dogs, and a husband. With our new business, we created an opportunity for ourselves. (With my background in grassroots event marketing/branding and hers in community outreach, no one would still give us an opportunity to work for their company.) As Alpha Women, we knew we had to develop a client list, portfolio and deliver results. Six years later, I am sharing business content via Business Rules for Women (BRFW), and I recently relocated to Atlanta to step in as Development Director at Habitat for Humanity and managing clients around the world. Lisa quit her job and stepped into a career with flexibility, travel, and social activism... Just as we did, YOU have to go for IT!"

3. Avoid Putting Yourself Down - You Are Your Biggest Cheerleader

"'Change your language, change your life' is a quote that sticks with me daily. I do not speak negatively on myself. Some people actually think that when you say, 'Life's good' or 'I'm doing great' that you are bragging. Fuck that. You have to be your biggest fan, your thoughts are truly an ingredient used to manifest your life... and future!"

4. Desire A Partner Versus A Boyfriend

"I've dated, like most people. It's draining. The thought of a boyfriend, based on my experience, is nothing like having a partner (in crime). One of the most attractive things a guy can do is actually know me and what my dreams are, and then be able to articulate it to someone he knows. Him wanting me to succeed and helping propel me into great situations/relationships is huge! That means HE is investing in ME. There are other great things I desire in a partner in crime, but wanting to help me achieve is priceless."

5. Know When To Let Go

"Letting go or walking away from something you wanted or thought you wanted is tough. Sometimes we fight it and make excuses, but that moment when you realize that it's a lesson is the moment you open many doors of opportunity. Be bold enough to call it quits and move on when you have exhausted all solutions. Be aware of how other people's negativity can effect your life. Lastly, be confident that you will be alright and whats for you is FOR YOU!"

6. Avoid Competing Against Others - Instead, Strive To Be Better Than You Were The Day Before

"Social media has amplified our desire for instant gratification and the desire to be seen. Workplaces and work-spaces have become a war zone where women are stepping on each other only to have their male counterparts to acknowledge their work. Being in touch with your uniqueness is directly related to your confidence. When you know and love yourself you don't need anyone's validation. Other people can tell when you have tapped into this and trust me, there is an undeniable energy and aura you exude. It's queen-like."

In the new year, do what you can to make it the best 12 months. Every time we are given a new year, we are getting the opportunity to better ourselves. By trying our best to become an Alpha Woman, we are taking the necessary steps in becoming the best version of ourselves. For more business rules on becoming an Alpha Woman, check out the graphic below.

Featured image by Getty Images

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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