Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted. It takes determination, commitment, vision and passion. Add a large dose of tenacity, and you might make it. There will be days when you feel like you’ve beaten the odds in your quest to reach the top, and you envision yourself in a Rocky-like, exultant climb up the art museum steps with Eye of the Tiger playing in the background. Twenty-four hours later, you wake up from your celebratory high to a client email canceling the deal. Throwing in the towel suddenly seems more appealing than staging a great comeback. Such is the life of an entrepreneur.
I reached out to 6 unstoppable award-winning women, recently honored at the NAWBO SJ Beyond the Glass Ceiling Gala, to gain their start-up advice.
Donna Cristino – Trailblazer, Mom, #PureLove Evangelist
CEO/Founder Jing Ai Organic & Natural Cosmetics
My advice: Believing in yourself and never giving up on your dream is key to being unstoppable. The going gets tough all the time. Being an entrepreneur is not for the weakhearted. When obstacles occur, you must figure out a way to climb over the fence to get around the hurdle. There is always a way to do something; however, sometimes it takes a while to figure out the correct way. Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP!
Fran Davis – Mom, Personal Chef, Food Blogger
CEO/Founder The Flavorful Fork, President NAWBO SJ
My advice: To get through those emotional ups and downs of starting a business, surround yourself with supportive, smart, successful people. Share your struggles and be open to their advice, then listen to your own heart and choose the path forward that feels most comfortable for you.
Katie Walsh – Pint-sized Italian ice connoisseur with a glass-half-full mind set
Owner of 3 Rita’s Water Ice Stores
My advice: Contingency planning is key! As a business owner, your second title quickly becomes Chief Problem Solver. Positively embrace this aspect of your role before you open your doors. A deep understanding of your business will allow you to anticipate each problem before it exists, so you can either avoid it or have the proper plan in place. Detailed contingency planning will allow you to concentrate your efforts on your clients, your product, and your vision!
Mindie Barnett – Former TV Anchor turned sought-after PR Pro
President & CEO, MB and Associates Public Relations
My advice: I kill them (the customer) with kindness and accept blame, even when it’s not my fault. I’ve definitely found that I can get more with sweetness and by smoothing over controversial situations, than opting to stand my ground just to prove a moot point. If it’s a very important issue – that’s different. When it’s just a matter of keeping the peace between the media and a client – I take the heat, even if I didn’t start the fire.
Molly Hayward – Social impact entrepreneur and the outspoken Founder of Cora
Twitter @corawomen @molly_hayward
My advice: Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or you’ve been running your business for a while, act on the great ideas you have. Stop researching, stop planning, stop analyzing. Create/build and start selling as quickly as possible, no matter how imperfect your product may be. You can always iterate or course-correct as you go. For now, just start. Time is your only truly limited resource.
Dr. Donna Pellegrino – Innovative Marriage & Family Therapist, Speaker, Educator
Founder The Psychology Group
My advice: Being a small business owner is an exciting, but challenging, prospect. When the going gets tough; I spend time with people who love and support me. I take a “fun break”, pray, think about inspiring people and remember previous successes. Then, I ask myself, “what’s the worse thing that can happen if I continue on my path?”
What’s keeps you going when the going gets tough? Share your start-up advice in the comments below.