Entrepreneurial journeys are often long and arduous. If you’re now in the process of launching a business, be ready for the mistakes you will inevitably make along the way. The good news is that for every failure you will learn a valuable lesson that will make you grow over time.
Even though you cannot build a business without facing difficulties, there are a few secrets that will help along the way. This is why we asked ten women entrepreneurs to share the advice they wish they knew when they first launched their brands.
1. Let your first 18 months be about discovery
Chardét Ryel, CEO and podcast host at Feel Good Nakd and Chardét Ryel, two podcasts about women’s wellness and empowerment, suggests avoiding chasing profit, especially at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. “It’s easy to forget that breaking even IS success at the beginning of your business. If you solely chase profit, you neglect the research, operations, and processes that are essential to creating a thriving company that doesn’t depend on you working twelve-hour days.”
2. Be strategic from day one
Another fundamental skill to succeed is to make sure to be strategic from the very first day. “A smart, result-driven whole-business strategy not only significantly increases your chance of success. It also saves you time and money, consistently increases profit, and, even more importantly, safeguards your everyday joy in life and your health,” says Heidi Holvoet, a strategic business coach and founder of HeidiHolvoet.com. According to her, a good business plan includes your vision as well as a very precise outlook on your future work and personal life. “That way, instead of working towards a vague idea of ‘big success & a lot of money’, (…) you focus 100% on the tasks and investments that effectively get you where you want to be,” says Holvoet.
3. Start now!
Before launching their business, most entrepreneurs often spend months evaluating whether this is a smart choice. Even though this is a necessary step, you need to make sure not to get stuck in this phase. Jo Harris, conversion copywriter, and coach at The Virtual Mama, a platform helping people become confident copywriters, was exactly in this situation. “I was afraid to invest valuable time into something not knowing the results that would come out of it. Now I would tell my former self, jump in with two feet! Go all in, and don’t hold back,” says Harris. “The thing is, you will never know if you can be successful if you don’t try.”
4. Embrace what makes you different
Growing up as a neurodiverse person is never easy. You have to face more challenges than others and constantly wonder why you seem to be so different. Neurodiverse Renee Rosales, M.Ed, founder and CEO of Theara, an organization that supports neurodiverse people from infancy to graduation and beyond, spent a long time beating herself up for not being like everyone else. But everything changed once she managed to embrace what made her different. “Once I was able to accept myself, I adapted better coping strategies and flourished as an entrepreneur. I realized that I had unique gifts, qualities, and insights which I could use to make the world a better place, and I was inspired to use these.”
5. Don’t underestimate yourself
At the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey, Luisa Zhou spent lots of money hiring the best copywriters and salespersons on the market. With time, she soon realized she was a better fit for all these tasks. “Ultimately, I know my business best and when you’re in that starting phase, you want to be on top of your business. For example, you are the best person to talk about your business in your copy, on sales calls, and so on – because you’re YOU,” says Zhou. Following this tip, Zhou managed to co-found a marketing agency known as Zalstrom and create a multiple 7-figure business, LuisaZhou.com, teaching people to turn their skills into profitable businesses.
6. Prioritize Personal Time
Especially when launching a business, it can be easy to overwork yourself. According to Breanne Millette, founder, and CEO of the jewelry brand BISOULOVELY, taking time off is critical to avoid burnout and make it big. Even though she also struggled with this at the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey, with time, Millette understood the benefits of rest. “I think it’s critical to spend even more time on self-care when starting a business because of the immense pressure it presents. Don’t let anyone make you think you have to sacrifice your life for your business, your professional passions and needs should be able to co-exist,” says Millette.
7. Start taking chances
Even though at the beginning it is normal to be cautious unless you start taking chances your brand will never scale up. Marie Ysais, founder of the SEO and marketing company Ysais Digital Marketing, says, “you need to be a risk-taker if you want to succeed in the world of entrepreneurship.” According to her, only by taking chances, you are able to learn the valuable lessons you will never find in textbooks. “Taking chances is an integral aspect of being an entrepreneur, and without them, the experience wouldn’t be the same. You only get one shot at living, so make the most of it,” says Ysais.
8. Don’t let emotions control you
“I’ve encountered moments where I let my emotion outweigh reality and got defeated in business because I was too emotionally attached to a component of the business,” says Cason.
“Your business should only be knowing the facts language. The overly emotional attachment towards a particular structure, employee, or strategy should be restricted.”
9. Constantly innovate your brand
According to Kristy DeGina, artist, interior designer, and founder of the interior design company franklinAve, to succeed in business you need to constantly innovate your brand. “Act on popular trends in your niche as quickly as possible,” said DeGina. “Being at the forefront of anything will place you in a category of other experts on that topic or product.” According to this entrepreneur, it is never too late to act on popular trends. “It takes time for trends to spread. (…) My best advice is to trust your instinct and then act on it quickly. Don’t hesitate, don’t wait, and don’t overanalyze.”
10. Have grit!
According to entrepreneur Alyssa Brody, one of the most important qualities to succeed as an entrepreneur is to have grit. Brody is the Co-Founder of the Development Marketing Team, a data-enabled real estate sales and marketing brokerage based in NYC.
“As a female entrepreneur in the real estate industry, I’ve had to overcome many obstacles,” says Brody. This business owner had to work long hours every day, sometimes even at night and during weekends to establish her reputation in the industry. But it was thanks to her grit that she managed to achieve success. “Turn challenges into lessons and keep moving forward. It truly is all about your mindset, the energy you put in is what will come out,” says Brody.