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Business Lessons From the Life of Joan Rivers

Joan rivers
A successful business is often about finding the right key to open the right door. Joan Rivers once said, "If I can't make it through one door, I'll go through another door — or I'll make a door." She doesn't mention anything about finding a key, probably because she'd just knock the door down.

The passing of this feisty, much-loved woman brings up a wealth of knowledge on how to navigate the business realm. Here are five business tips for women based on the legacy of this dynamic business woman.

1. Know When and How to Act

Ms. Rivers was a flamboyant gossip at all the right times. Good gossip catches all sorts of buzz, right ladies? Her red carpet interviews always caught attention. Instead of acting straight-laced and professional, Joan would joke and judge. She knew exactly which buttons to push to get the right kind of attention.

Professionalism can mean a lot of different things. For Joan, it meant being the bull, not grabbing the bull by the horns. She knew that she had to stand out to be a successful actress, comedian, and all around Hollywood superstar. What can you take away from this for your business career? Do you need to be more outspoken or do you need to listen more often?

2. Strengthen Your Work Ethic

According to Fortune Magazine, Joan made over $1 billion with QVC over a 24-year period. How did she do this? She worked her tail off. Everyone knows that a successful business involves a lot of hard work. But somehow, this all-around colorful lady found time to stretch her career fingers into publishing, acting, comedy and philanthropy, among other things.

Even an introvert has to learn how to stand out from the crowd to reach new career heights. If you don't take anything else away from this, just remember that successful people are often good at more than one thing. Take some classes online or go to a seminar and reach just a bit broader with your next lesson. Learning new things can only help you.

 3. Stay Relevant

Do you work in the fashion world or for a scientific journal? Do you keep up with the latest trends? This fiery fashionista was never behind the times. At 81-years young, Joan was still stirring up gossip about the latest celebs. She was always in the thick of things, and she always made it clear that she knew exactly what was going on.

Keep up with events in your industry and you'll stand a better chance of staying ahead of the pack.

4. Embrace Humor

A sense of humor goes a long way in any business, and Joan certainly had enough to get her through some interesting events. It can reduce stress and bring coworkers closer together. Humor can also be an ice breaker — or a deal breaker, so watch the line! — and can really help you survive the business landscape.

Just because you're at work doesn't mean you can't have a good time. That wasn't a joke. Honest.

5. Stop Apologizing So Much

According to a 2010 study, women apologize more frequently than men. Think about Joan Rivers — she wouldn't apologize for anything. This might not always be the best tactic in the business world, but business women in particular should stop apologizing unnecessarily.

Pantene grabbed on to this concept for their "Shine Strong" marketing campaign, which has some nice examples in a business setting. This isn’t a bad idea for day-to-day life, either.

Take inspiration from the life of Joan Rivers. Hard work, persistence, humor and a creative mind go a long way in the business realm. Go find a key to your own business, or just kick open the door yourself!

Written by Ali Lawrence.

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