Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
There are a lot of people in my life that I look to for advice and mentorship. However, I am truly inspired by powerful and successful women like Sheryl Sandberg. She spawned an entire generation of women to “lean in,” to not be afraid to speak your opinion, work hard, and be a leader. As she once said, “Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential.”
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Stick to your word. It may sound so simple, yet I find that very few people practice it. If you say you will get a project done by Friday at noon, you better send that project no later than Friday at 11:59 a.m. Being trustworthy will lead you to success faster than you can imagine.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Being too quick to hire. At eLuminate Marketing, we were growing so fast and I needed someone for the job quickly; however, the person I hired was not the right fit for the job or the company culture. I thought hiring someone quickly would alleviate the problem, but it did quite the opposite. I spent more time training, fixing issues, and handling the job responsibilities. Both the person and I were not happy.
Who you hire will make the difference between an average company and a thriving one. The main reason eLuminate Marketing is doing well is because of the people I have in place. Ever since then, I have learned to take my time when hiring and really make sure that person is the right fit.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
On an ideal day, I wake up at 5 a.m., work out, come home, and tackle the hardest projects on my to-do lists before anyone is still up. There is nothing more satisfying than getting a good workout in and crossing off those big projects before 9 a.m. Between the emails, phone calls and meetings during the day, it can be impossible to really focus. Those few hours while everyone is sleeping are key to getting real work done.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Keep costs down. When I started my company, I sat down and calculated exactly how much I needed to get started as well as my personal expenses — what is the minimum I can spend each month until I started seeing a profit? I really buckled down and focused and didn’t carelessly spend money.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Networking. Most of our clients have come from being out in the community and meeting people. Join local charities or a Business Network International group — or, take mentors or other entrepreneurs out to coffee. The more you build your network, the better.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I take goal setting very seriously. The last week in December, I go to a restaurant by myself and write out my goals in categories. What are my goals in business, financial, health and personal? In addition to writing those goals, I write out how I am going to achieve them. Then throughout the year, I go back and see what I have accomplished. It is always extremely satisfying to hit or surpass the goals I intended for myself.
Additionally, celebrate your successes, big or small. I am always looking for an excuse to go out to dinner and cheers with my team on a job well done. That is what life is all about!
Regarding finally “succeeding” in business, I don’t believe there is ever an endpoint. I am always looking to make new goals and achieve them.