Recessions and depressions, slowdowns and rallies are part of American business life. Each downturn and recovery gives us an opportunity to study the DNA in companies that have thrived, and to gain insight from them.

What types of leaders and business owners survived? What types of companies adapted and remained profitable? How did small business respond to regulation, policy, and the new normal? Who shifted into high gear?

As owners of marketing and public relations firms, the two of us work in an industry particularly hard hit during recessions. Budgets were slashed, marketing investments stalled, and social media took the world by storm and surprise. We both realized, however, that now was an opportunity to be an outlier. For us, it was a season to understand and harness the power of digital and social media. We persuaded our clients to invest more resources into marketing and public relations and not to simply treat these as line items on the company budget.

In separate states with separate business models, we joined Twitter in 2009 and our companies have been transformed. We had high gear goals for our businesses before, but social media afforded us a new tool in our Influencer kit. We immediately realized its potential to be a game changer for our clients and for our own businesses.

Although we are similar in services offered and core values, we are personally dissimilar in how we came to entrepreneurship, and how we each have shifted into high gear. The good news is that there is no better time for women to succeed in business; there’s no better time for entrepreneurs as well.

Whatever your measure of success-profitability, financial independence, economic growth, competitiveness, influence, affluence-it’s time to shift into high gear. One of our favorite quotes is from Jonathan Winters, “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim to it!” We invite you to join us–the water’s fine!

We are writing from a female lens-as businesswomen, wives, and mothers-but we also share a commitment with most of our male business counterparts in our zeal to do better business and to make a difference every day.

We really believe men, women, students, retirees, Millennials, Boomers, and on-rampers will gain something from our experiences. It’s our desire that our stories and the paths to our business success will shorten your own learning curves.

How far you rise in leadership and influence, and how successful you are depends first on you. We believe strongly in a No Whining zone. If you find yourself falling back on these thought patterns or blaming others for your career stalls, this book will help you get past those barriers. We don’t accept the blame game. Rather, we champion relentless hard work, strategic goal setting, genuine relationship building, and an iron-clad belief in yourself.

We are not saying there aren’t people who will try to thwart your success or pass you over for a promotion (it has happened to us); people who will gossip and devalue your services; women who will resent your climb-these are business realities. You will learn to overcome them. If you hit a ceiling-glass, steel, self-imposed-don’t let it hold you back. Reroute. If you don’t like the ground rules in the company you work for, channel your energy into positive change. It may be time to build your own sandbox.

One of our foundations for success is to love what you do. Thomas Edison said, “I never did a day’s work in my life! It was all fun!” We agree.