With the recent celebration of the third annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), and a new year just around the corner, reflection and goal setting will soon be top of mind.
Awareness, education and support for women in business are important and can help empower future female founders. As 2016 comes to a close, many women will be thinking about the new year and making that leap of faith into entrepreneurship. Starting a business is a worthy goal and can lead to an incredible life-long journey. But let’s not forget that the endeavor is not always glamorous. Grit, perseverance and fearlessness will be key components to your success.
I had a chance to talk with three prominent entrepreneurs about their journeys and what piece of advice they would give their 24 year old selves about starting a business:
Wendy Diamond, Founder of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day
“I would say the most important thing is to do what you love and then have a side job to pay the bills. And to always follow your dream, meaning, it’s not going to be easy and will be one of the hardest thing you ever do…”
Katia Beauchamp, CEO & Founder of Birchbox
“The time you spend agonizing over decisions, being afraid, being worried, it’s impossible to bypass them, but I wish, even for my young employees, that I could give them the perspective that everything is going to be OK and there’s no such thing as one right answer. The most important thing is that you make decisions, you move forward and when they’re the wrong decisions, you act quickly… It’s given me a lot of fearlessness to feel less tied to “there’s one specific way of doing this…” It’s allowed me to move faster and move freer.”
Ramya Joseph, CEO & Founder of Pefin
“You should’ve had more confidence to do this sooner. And the reason for it is a lot of it came from how I was brought up. You grow up in a middle class family, you see the family go through ups and downs financially and you realize, oh, getting a job at corporate, getting benefits, getting that salary, it means so much. Like that itself was a successful thing. And then you see this idea in your head where you can help millions of people, but then you don’t do it because you’re scared. You’re scared of all the risks, you see how hard other people have struggled and then wonder, “Am I giving up what other people would love to have?”
“So I would say to my 24 year old self to take that risk and it’s far worse to have that regret that you never did it.”
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day has funded nearly 100,000 microloans through their Choose Women platform, which is an online shop that dedicates proceeds to helping women start their businesses in impoverished areas. You can support this global initiative on “Choose Women Wednesday, on November 30, by visiting ChooseWomen.org.