With so many books on the market providing advice about how to succeed in the business world, it has become increasingly difficult to produce something different yet relevant. With Sweet Expectations: Michele Hoskins’ Recipe for Success, Michele Hoskins and Jean A. Williams have managed to do just that. What makes Sweet Expectations different is that it doesn’t just tell a story, it tells Hoskins’ story; it doesn’t just use graphs and charts to make points, it tells a personal story. In it, Hoskins talks about what worked for her.
Hoskins’ rags-to-riches story is familiar to many. She has, after all, been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show three times and has been profiled in many publications. Sweet Expectations tells her story in detail, exploring every defining moment and every struggle in Hoskins’ bid to become a successful entrepreneur. Divided into 42 chapters, reading Sweet Expectations may seem like a daunting task at first, but don’t be discouraged. The chapters are short and, while there is a lot of text, Hoskins’ story is fascinating enough to keep you reading. There is a list at the end of the book with 42 ingredients for the recipe for success–one for each chapter. This list condenses what was discussed in the chapters down to the core point being made.
Chapter 1, “A New Sense of Purpose,” discusses Hoskins’ realization one day that she was not satisfied with the life she had had up to that point. Although unclear about what she wanted to do, Hoskins decided to at least start ridding herself of the things she knew were not working for her. Having determined that she had to strip away the layers to get to what was really important, Hoskins divorced her husband and started a new life with her three daughters. The corresponding success ingredient is: Be open to change, and be ready to embrace it; change can wreak havoc in your life, but it can also bring you life’s greatest gifts.
Chapter 4, “The Success Formula,” describes Hoskins’ first attempts to start her company. She describes how she tried to get friends and family members to be as excited as she was about her new venture, and how no one seemed able to see or understand her vision. Hoskins speaks of the three P’s–patience, passion and perseverance–and how they got her through this time and helped her to maintain her vision when everyone around her tried to dissuade her. Hoskins continued trying to find the correct way to market her product and how to raise capital. Eventually, her family, impressed with her dedication, started to come around to her vision and even lent her money to help with start-up costs. The corresponding success ingredient is: Find the right people to help you on your journey, and be patient with those who might be resistant at first. They can’t always see your vision.
Chapter 25, “Betrayal,” is particularly interesting as Hoskins realizes that the investor behind her company was not as honest as she believed. In fact, she had signed documents that basically stated the investor owned 100 percent of her company until she repaid the initial money invested plus exorbitant interest fees. At this point, the company was up and running and the product was already on the shelves of some chain stores. Hoskins had to fight to regain control. She also learned an important lesson about being naïve and gullible. The ingredient here is: Success does not make you immune to attack.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Hoskins’ story is that she shares the bad as well as the good. She acknowledges the mistakes she made along the way and the decisions that were not financially sound. Hoskins also points out that even when it seems that the end is in sight, it is possible to start sliding back down the hill. She documents every disappointment along with every success. This is crucial because it is realistic and prepares any reader interested in embarking on a journey like Hoskins’. By mentioning the setbacks, Hoskins is able to describe what helped her to get past them. She mentions her faith, her prayers and her spirituality–things most business tomes do not discuss. However, she does not depend blindly on these; Hoskins did research about every aspect of her business and tried to always have legal consultants.
Overall, Sweet Expectations: Michele Hoskins’ Recipe for Success lives up to its title. Like any recipe, some tweaking will be necessary to adapt it to individual tastes, but the basic ingredients are sound. If Hoskins’ tale is any indication, following this recipe will result in great benefits to all who use it.
Sweet Expectations: Michele Hoskins’ Recipe for Success
Author: Michele Hoskins, with Jean A. Williams
Publisher: Adams Media
Reviewed by Soroya Brantley