Female Entrepreneur’s Day – My Lessons

Female Entrepreneur’s Day – Lessons I’ve Learned to Date

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In honor of Female Entrepreneur’s Day, I wanted to share a recent experience I had attending an event. PINC recently joined United Women In Business and attended the Ladies Who Launch event at Facebook in NYC.

The Ladies Who Launch event consisted of some amazing stories from panelists, Alexandra Wilson of Gilt and GLAMSQUADCarly Heitlinger of the College Prepster, and Zara Terez of Zara Terez.

I left this event with new ideas buzzing in my head and a renewed entrepreneurial spirit. I realize being an entrepreneur has particular personality traits and many rites of passage. In the beginning it can be very lonely and you’ll battle moments of feeling completely defeated. However, in true entrepreneurial spirit there are no problems only innovative solution, and you have the ability to find and push yourself to stay motivated when you least expect it.

Below I have shared some of the points the panelist touched on and even my personal expereince:

  • Prioritize your time according to your own goals. You will have to make sacrifices, but if you figure out what matters most to you then you can be strategic about how you spend your time. I know this sounds super general but I interpreted this as how I spend my “down-time”, which in sum DOESN’T exist. Taking the subway is spent replying to emails, listening to podcasts like #askgaryvee, or reading books like “Thrive” “LeanIn” “If You Are Going To Cry, Go Outside”. When I watch reality TV, I spend it on shows like “Shark Tank” to see if I can answer all the questions that “the sharks” ask, research terms or vocabulary that are new to me, or how I would approach a possible invest opportunity in the future. I feel guilty when I spend time on tasks or activities that I don’t see can help further my business knowledge or expand my brand because if you aren’t hustling for your company no one else will!
  • Don’t paying attention to the “haters”. Turn it around and try not to compare. People that tell you being an entrepreneur is a bad idea can help you hone your pitch or even better explain your mission. For example, I’ve found that when you do anything “out of the norm” people all of a sudden have a strong opinion about your choices. Like, when I moved to Madrid, I had some friends and family all of a sudden become expert international economists, immigration lawyers, and quick to judge the Spanish lifestyle, all without having lived or even visited Spain. I quickly learned to shuffle through those truly concerned and those who just didn’t want to understand my bold change. I took this experience and learned to listen to others, then trust myself enough to make my own decisions. When I started PINC and described it as a female-only experience, many were quick to comment “What?! No guys!” “Do you hate guys or something?” “Why so sexist!”. I didn’t plan for this type of response but I’m so happy I got them. Now, my response is clear and succinct “I personally have nothing against boys. In fact, I love men for many reasons. However, I’ll never know what it’s like to be a man in business, not even for one minute. For that reason, I feel this experience will be even more beneficial to young women who are surrounded with successful females who are like minded and can provide insight and support.” POW! Convo ends there.
  • Conversely, don’t be surprised when people start to come out of the woodwork. Your true friends will be there to support you. It may take some time to filter out the real supporters and the people who will try to take advantage of your success. I personally only spoke about this interesting point to a select few. But, listening to the panelists speak so candidly about their experience hit home and now I want to express my interpretation of this experience. I appreciate when people contact me looking for advice, help, insight, feedback, etc.  It means they find my knowledge valuable and trust me. To be honest, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to hear from people who I’d known many moons ago and those who were more recent acquaintance looking to talk business. With that said, there is a fine line between those who are supportive looking to create a collaborative relationships and those who looking to further their own agenda. As I mentioned earlier, as early entrepreneurs if you aren’t working on your business no one else is and time really becomes a huge asset. Sometimes you have to say “no” because to be honest if I am going to be sitting around about an hour to have coffee with someone on my “free” time – I’m first going to want that to be with my mother. It’s important to create a mutual relationship when asking to meet an entrepreneur to talk about business, even I ask how I can help first before requesting a meeting. At the end of the day it’s not personal, it’s business.

I want to wrap this up with what I found to be an inspiring quote from Alexandra, “If you’re ok with the worst case scenario, you’re in a good place!” – I can happily say “I’m in a great place!”

 

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