Noun: Someone who creates a business where there was none before.
Lessons I have learned along the way …. So far.
1.) You can’t do it for the money, you can’t do it for the fame; you must do it for the love. Very true!…As long as it pays. If you follow your dreams and do what you love but it doesn’t make money- your business will fail. Passion, determination, and focus will accomplish the goal. And if you hate what you do but it makes money…something inside of you will fail and so eventually will your business too. Don’t settle. Make sure what you do has passion and profit! Passion + Profit + Patience.
2.) It is better to be a failure at something you love, than to be a success at something you hate. Neither success nor failure are final, but make sure your mindset is such that your desire to succeed is greater than your fear of failure. The sooner you can dismiss failures the closer you are to the ultimate goal. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” But what a wonderful joy when it finally does!
3.) Listen to everyone and anyone who has experience and insight. Women have a history of being open-minded and good listeners so that was a nice ‘built in’. But never ever put what they say ahead of what you think! Always think for yourself and research, research, research then plan your course and stay on that course! … Go with your gut. Naysayers will line up when you start, but in the end they may be the ones coming to you to be mentored.
4.) Be intrepid. A business will feed off of your confident hits and misses better than uncertainty and waffling where to aim. As the slogan goes, “Just do it.” This is not to say you should not have a plan, but once you have one just move forward. If making decisions is something you are afraid of…Go get a job.
5.) Have a partner. Now this is personal, but I swear by it. Women have always loved to collaborate. Historically women like to do things together from working together in the fields, to book clubs, to the stereotypical group trips to the ladies room. I was lucky enough to find someone who is my “business soul mate”. Where I end…she begins. We share the vision… we share the passion …we share the work and know when to maximize each other’s talents. To add to that, never do something that someone else can do better!
6.) Weigh every deal’s pros and cons, and make the decision to go forward based on that balance. If the deal is a bust, the loss must be predictable and fixable. If the deal is a gain- it must be a tremendous gain! So take on opportunities that have the odds of success more than 50/50. As in #4… level headed risk taking is a “must have” for entrepreneurs.
7.) Customer Service is what it is all about. My business card says “Customer Service Representative.” Part of our passion with our product is we believe we can and DO change peoples’ lives. If you believe that, you truly feel a drive to get your product or service to as many people as you can. We have also learned that putting our personal stamp on our product means a lot to people. They don’t want a celebrity endorsing our pillow, they want to hear about how our pillow helps people just like them. Marketing means nothing without customer service. The Logo is not what will make the customer come back, it’s the answering of the 1-888 call and the active listening to why they can’t sleep because of pain. The bottom line is only as good as the front line!
8.) Shaking hands is sometimes better than contracts. I have learned that there are a lot of great people out there, who really want to partner with you and to see you succeed as much as they want to succeed themselves. I have lost a lot of my cautious armor and have embraced many joint ventures with a warm handshake. Trust is important and hasn’t failed me “often.”
9.) Be organized. I can’t stress this enough!
10.) Lastly, don’t skimp on your equipment. Your desk, your chair, or your lighting. You will spend a lot of time using them.