Starting a Business? Advice from women who’ve been in your shoes.
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
~ Estee Lauder
Have you had your fill of corporate jobs? Is the urge to jump ship getting too strong to ignore? Starting your own business can be exhilarating…and scary. Leaving the security of a job for the relative insecurity of being on your own, takes guts. And smarts.
Advice from WNA Chapter 150 Members
At a recent meeting, we had a MasterMind Session on the topic: What is the #1 piece of advice you would give a woman starting her business.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Have a business plan…and get everything in writing. I had verbal agreements with my business partner and that didn't work too well. Always document in writing!” Rachel Gingold, owner, Artistic Home Studio and Boutique
“Leverage your network. Make sure you work your connections and keep in touch with people you meet and respect in your industry. Be passionate in what you do.” Kathleen Schultz, principal, Kathleen Schultz Marketing
“Learn how to manage your time and manage your clients. Work time is work time and family time is family time.” Alonya Buford, Realtor, The Bridge Group
“Have a solid plan, but don’t get bogged down with analysis paralysis. Be sure you understand how to make a profit, but you don’t have to answer every question or have every potential problem resolved before you start. There will be many twists and turns as you move forward, and many of them will not be ones you’ve thought of yet. Be flexible, creative, and resilient!” Mary Ann Bautista, President, Bautista Direct Marketing, Inc
“Find a mentor or a mastermind group, and join a networking group. The first will help you not get bogged down and can help you keep the business moving forward. There are lots of resources from the Small Business Association, to women’s business groups, Solo2CEO, SCORE.org, or someone you know in business. Joining a networking group helps you connect to the local community and start to grow your business.” Maureen Ladley, Maureen Ladley & Associates
“Expect to work really hard in the first couple of years. Be prepared to have your business be primarily a labor of love for at least 6 months. The money will roll in eventually, but maybe not right away.” Dr. Tehea Robie, D.A.O.M., L.Ac., Thea Wellness & Acupuncture
“Understand that it will probably take a year before you start seeing a profit, so be prepared for the long haul.” Elyse Tager, Solopreneur to CEO
“Delegate. One thing that’s hard when you manage people is understanding that just because they don’t do a task the way you do, it doesn’t mean their way is wrong. For example, while I expect my team to use basic etiquette, such as opening an email with “hi so-and-so,” as long as they communicate well I don’t need to read every email that goes to a client.” Barbara O. Stephenson, CEO, 300 Feet Out
“Love what you do; it’ll sustain you through tough times. But don’t be afraid to fire a client if it isn’t working out. And have fun!” MB Deans, owner and Chief Wordsmith, MB Deans & Company
“Have a professional website and a fully filled out LinkedIn profile. Post frequently and strive for 500+ connections. Visibility is key!” Lanny Udell, Content Strategist/SEO Copywriter, Copywhiz
“Hire a financial advisor, have a relationship with a banker, and have a line of credit set up even if you don't see needing it. You never know when there might be a pandemic!” Josephine White, Senior Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Insights from a new business owner
A friend of mine who is in the process of launching her own business has shared some very personal and insightful advice:
Be open and humble to pivot and change your mind
Be clear with the core values for yourself and core values for the business
Be prepared for personal and professional growth
Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses
Trust in the process. If things are not working out the way you envisioned, it doesn’t mean nothing is happening. It just means timing for the ‘right’ person or situation to appear is working itself out.
Ask for help when you need it. Remember, you’ll know if it isn’t right; you can always choose to use the advice or not.
One last tip: join a networking group such as Women’s Networking Alliance. You’ll have support from a group of women business owners who have been in your shoes, whether they’re sneakers or stilettos!
Lanny Udell, Lanny Udell Marketing Communications, Chapter 150
Lanny, aka Copywhiz, is a content strategist and SEO marketing writer based in San Rafael, CA.
Lanny specializes in helping businesses find their voice, and craft their messaging for website content, blogs, e-newsletters, and more. Her diverse industry experience—B2B, B2C, nonprofit-- demonstrates her ability to write strategically for different audiences in a variety of media. Lanny loves helping clients apply on-page SEO to their websites to help drive traffic and achieve their business goals. She especially enjoys working with WNA members. Learn more: https://copywhiz.com