On the road with RVGrrl
Aliza Sherman: Cybergrrl at the wheel
(CNN) -- That's "RVGrrl" to you.
Aliza Pilar Sherman, while still leading women through online landscape, has taken her act on the road for some face-to-face contact.
"I think for too long," Sherman says, "women didn't have either access to the right tools or to the right positions to truly have success at the highest levels in business. Now with the Internet, we always say that the playing field is leveling."
Considered by many to be a great leveler, herself, Sherman's development in 1995 of three Web sites -- Cybergrrl, Webgrrls and Femina -- today has been parlayed into a singularly visible career. Her professional persona is almost synonymous with the title of her first book, "Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web" (1998, 272 pages, Ballentine Books).
Her new book -- "Cybergrrl@Work" (January, 218 pages, Berkley Publishing Group) -- builds on the first, asserting that "your best job tools are a modem, mouse and computer monitor." Much attention in this book goes to job-searching, instructing women on how to translate a traditional resumé into a "miracle resumé."
And the readership is there. Webgrrls International, the networking sister group to the Cybergrrls site, now has some 100 chapters worldwide.
'All hours were work hours'
But a funny thing happened on the way to success. Sherman discovered the dark side of self-employed happiness, something familiar to independent careerists everywhere, including readers of Daniel H. Pink's new book, "Free Agent Nation."
"I loved the ability to set my own hours," she says. "What I didn't realize was that starting an Internet company meant all hours were work hours."
The dreaded no-rest-for-the-entrepreneur syndrome had set in. She'd started at a time when online careerism still was new, particularly for many women.
"The goal of that (the development of the Webgrrls network) initially was just to meet other women who knew what the Internet was beause at that time there were so few women online and even fewer women who had Internet companies like I had."
With her companies up and running, Sherman decided it was time to take a different path -- this time, an RV instead of a PC.
"I'm living in a house on wheels. And I'm relaxed, I'm taking time, I'm enjoying what I'm doing and appreciating what I'm able to do."
And so that her regular site visitors and network members can appreciate it, too, Sherman is wired with a laptop, a cell phone and a PDA (personal digital assistant). All that feeds into her "RVGrrl" column on the Cybergrrl site.
"Aliza back in New York, Buffalo" reads one online diary entry, for example -- New York City is her home. "Books-a-Million and Frank Lloyd Wright all in one!" reads another entry, this one from Orlando, Florida. "Rain, policement or the flu can't stop her!" proclaims a third entry, from Charlotte, North Carolina.
"There are a hundred stories from women around the world who are really using the Internet for their careers, or for their businesses," she says. And on tour, she meets many of those women, hears many of those stories. Some may have an impact on her third book -- "PowerTools for Women in Business: 10 Ways to Succeed in Life and Work" is due out from Entrepreneur Press in October.
Sherman also serves on the Advisory Board for the Oxygen/Markle Pulse, advises several nonprofit organizations for girls and women-owned businesses, among them Vozxxy.com, HipGuide and College Broadband. She was on the American Association of University Women's gender and technology task force and is read in publications including USA Today, Executive Female, Self, Ms. and SimplyCity magazine.
"Woke up early, loaded up the RV and went to the Metrolina Charlotte Dodge dealer to get my oil changed," she tells readers on the Cybergrrls site in her "RVGrrl" column. "So far so good."
Sherman says her mission is to unite women by showing them the advantages of the Internet, both professionally and personally.
And if leaving something of the hectic pace of the tech world behind when getting back into that RV and pulling out of the dealership -- with Bert the Chihuahua along for the ride -- Sherman nevertheless says she'll always be connected.
"So far so good."
CNN Career Editor Porter Anderson contributed to this report.
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