Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
Oprah. I look up to Oprah because she created a brand and an empire for herself. She wasn’t born into privilege and had to struggle a lot to get to where she is now. I tell myself if Oprah can do it, then I can too.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
There are a lot of uncertainties and stress that you will encounter along the way. You might come to some crossroads. What is the basis for making these tough decisions? It’s about knowing what you stand for. You have to know yourself. Know who you really are, what it is that you believe in and what you really want. If you don’t know what you want, go and isolate yourself in the woods and spend time introspecting to figure it out. Once you know your values, you have to make sure everything you do and everyone you surround yourself with aligns with those values. And be firm! You have to cut off those people who don’t fit in with your values. If that means firing someone, then it means firing them. I’ve read that life is based on the hard decisions you have to make.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Running a business is hard. The hardest part is keeping your expectations aligned with reality. The most heartbreaking part is working and sacrificing everything only to realize that your business didn’t come out the way you expected it to. To keep myself mentally positive and disciplined, I see everything as a learning experience and try my best not to keep expectations too high. Understand that your business has its own journey; don’t compare your journey to someone else’s highlight reel. Don’t be frustrated when things don’t happen the way you expect them to. It’s not the end!
I’ve had times when I paid a lot of money to a contractor to accomplish a task, but it ended up being worse than I thought it was going to be. I was so frustrated and I noticed that it just drained my energy. This was my mentality: I pay “X” amount of money, so I’m going to get “Y” results back. Now I think of it as a learning experience to see whether that contract was worth it. Don’t be too hard on yourself for making mistakes; you will make mistakes. Learn from every experience. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, dip your toes in different baskets (things) and see which one fits your needs best.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I check my emails and coordinate with my colleagues about the tasks for the day, possible issues we have to face and the important things I have to deal with. I also check my schedule to make sure that I’m right on time and set for the day. In the morning before breakfast, I check my emails, read news on social media and check my calendar schedule before I even get out of bed.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
I go by the 80/20 rule. I check where most of the revenue is coming from and focus my marketing efforts on those categories. I try not to be distracted by other marketing channels. As much as possible, I don’t stray away from my effective market strategies because when I do, I don’t see good results on my investments. For a small business, figure out what channel works for your particular product and industry. Not all businesses will have the same marketing strategy. Find one that works, stick with it and don’t try too many things at once.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
As an entrepreneur, your to-do list would take ten years to complete. There’s always more to do and you don’t have a boss enforcing the deadlines. Because I am human and I only have 24 hours in a day, I have to focus on my strengths and delegate the rest. Know the value of time, and spend it on things that only YOU can do and nobody else can. Know your weaknesses as well. Delegate the tasks that you’re not really good at so you can focus on the more important things. There are many times when we as entrepreneurs want to do everything just to make sure it’s done the way we want it to be. That is why it’s best to find a suitable person for each role in your company so you can trust your colleagues to meet your standards. Then you don’t have to spend your time on things that aren’t productive for your business.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success is when I’m able to be the best version of myself, and in turn use my gifts to help other people. My goal is to make an impact on the world, so as long as I find what I’m talented at and use that talent to impact others’ lives positively, then I will have succeeded.
My biggest personal success is starting and growing a company. I always thought I was going to graduate from school and work a job and live a typical life. I had no idea that I would create a business from scratch, and then have employees who rely on my business for their livelihood. It’s a great feeling to know that you are providing a product and service to people who will pay for it. I still remember my first order. I couldn’t believe someone trusted me enough to give me money for something I had created.
When I see my company grow in the next five to ten years and expand into different states and countries, I can say that I’ve finally succeeded. I’ll see more happy faces and transformed lives through my skincare line. A great skincare product may change your skin, but if you change the way you feel about yourself, you can change the world!