Want to join the ranks of female entrepreneurs but don’t know where to start? Follow the 5 steps below from another women who started from scratch to start her own company:
1. Come up with an idea
Does it seem like all the good ideas are already taken? Don’t get discouraged. Take a note from how people approach creative writing – write what you know so your story is authentic and real to your audience. Use this same advice if you are trying to figure out an idea. Pay attention on a day to day basis to what happens in your own life and what interests you and then build from there. It’s ok if it takes a while.
When I had my first job interview out of college, I went to find a suit and it was a miserable experience. I went to a bunch of different stores, tried on so many suits, and ended the day with a suit that didn’t look or feel very good and was out of my budget. For years I asked other women where they bought suits and everyone complained of a similar story. I realized I found a hole – there needs to be a company focused on women’s suits.
2. Figure out why you care about that idea
You came up with an idea. Now why do you care about it? Figure out why your idea matters to you and how you can explain that to other people. Your excitement about your product or service, whatever it is (even if it’s something that seems boring), will make the people you’re telling about it excited too.
When I started my company, I didn’t necessarily care about women’s suits, but what I did care about was women succeeding in the workplace and that is why I am excited about my product.
3. Figure out how to be able to do it
This will look different for everyone depending on where you are at in life and what responsibilities you have. Make a list of your priorities, school, job, family, working out, dog, etc. and see where you can create room in your life. Maybe it is going part-time at work or hiring a part-time nanny or taking one less class this semester. Once you identify where you can make room, make it happen.
I was working a full-time job when I decided to start my company and went through this exercise. The only area I saw I could make room was my job. I asked to go part-time and they agreed.
4. Don’t beat yourself up when you start
Trying to start a business is going to be fun and a new challenge to enjoy. You’ll also feel disappointed in yourself a lot. You’ll start hearing other people’s stories of success and their hard work and you’ll compare yourself to that. You’ll be tired and not stay up those extra few hours to work on your business when you said you would. You’ll feel like you’re not making any progress. All of those feelings are ok, but don’t dwell on them.
If you didn’t get your work done one night, then let it go and figure out how a different schedule might work better or an incentive that will help you do the work next time. Be inspired by other people’s stories but remember that they were in a different situation with a different idea. Your context, story and business are different and the beginning will look different (and rocky and up and down and tiring and fun).
I go through these emotions a lot. And I have to talk myself through them a lot. The more I remember the next step, the easier that is.
5. Enjoy it.
You’ll go through a lot of emotions whenever you do something new. Remember to enjoy it. Celebrate little milestones, get excited when you learn something new or you break through a new barrier. Remember it’s fun to try (even if you fail)!
After every new milestone I get past in my business, I get a special drink and have a little celebration of the milestone and remind myself how much fun this new challenge is.
Mallory Briggs is the founder of Slaton, a company dedicated to women’s suits and the women that wear them.