question 4

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?

ALEXANDRA SENES - kilometre.paris

I can reinvent myself everyday.

Agatha Kulaga - Ovenly

When you start your own company, you can shape the business based on the vision you have, which is empowering and deeply satisfying. This means it's also essential that everything we do is aligned with our values, both personally and professionally. Defining your vision and values will shape the decision-making process throughout the life of the business. 

AMAN ADVANI - MINISTRY OF SUPPLY

It’s not about achieving the mission tomorrow. It’s about enjoying the journey of getting there.

CHRISTINA BRYANT - ST FRANK

You have to a ton of perseverance and confidence and passion about the brand you are building. I am my customer. I believe in the products. That allows me to go through tough times. You can’t do it alone. You need a strong team around you. You need to feel comfortable letting go a huge chunk of the business and let them run with it. It has taken me and Steph a lot of time learning to build our team. They are essential to our success. You can hire someone who’s amazing in a corporate environment, but it might not be a right match for an early stage start up. Building a group of people who can thrive in an early stage company and also believe in the brand and bring in unique skill sets to the table is essential. 

KATIE DEMO - BRASS CLOTHING

Relationships are really important.

LINDSEY MARTIN - BLOOM

I tried to do too many things at once, which took my focus off of the big picture. I come up with ideas all the time, but until I can have a team of people, I know I need to be disciplined and stay focused. Another challenge is motivation and perseverance. Finding that every single day not only for myself but for my team can sometimes be a challenge. What has really helped me is to surround myself with other women in the same position working on their passions. It helps to have a support network.

lisa ann markuson - the haiku guys + gals

As an entrepreneur you feel like you are alone in a lot of ways, especially when you have a small team or work solo. I don’t have a role model or boss telling me what to do. But, try to remember, you are actually never alone. There are many people around you who want to help you and support you all the time. It’s usually just your own ego and issues that keep you from asking for help when you need it. You keep asking for help and keep building the connections around you to keep you strong and afloat.

MAX POLLACK - MATTE PROJECTS

People can be caught up by trying to make something perfect in one take. They should but also keep in mind that things all evolve overtime. One thing doesn’t have the be the end. We can keep refining it.

MIA DAVIS - TABÚ

I need to be patient and honest about what I can handle. I know we can’t be successful overnight. It takes time. I worked at a few startups in college and have had friends start companies, so I was familiar with the startup life. But you can only be so familiar with it until you are actually the founder of a company. Working for a startup is very different from starting a company, and if something goes wrong, it’s on me. I have to do a lot and constantly think about it. It takes lot of emotional and physical energy.

OLIVER MAK - BODEGA

I learned to take care of my health and stress and find some balance between work and everything outside. I can’t internalize my business as my own ego and personality, or else I would go crazy.

RITA PINTO - VANITY PROJECTS

Whatever you do is going to take its own shape. I have built a platform and created a framework for that platform, but it has its own life. I make sure not to micromanage.

ROSE WANG - CHIRPS

I learned how to ask questions. People often try to stop at the answers they are given, but I would dig deeper and ask more why. Now I think you can give me any problems, and I can get to the solutions. A lot of students are concerned about their credibility, but you need to make sure to connect with people as people. All they care about is if you have something valuable to say and if you care about the same mission as they do. I push them as much as they push me, and it becomes a mutually beneficial learning experience. The background, experience, and age really don’t matter.

RUTA LAUKIEN - LIQUID ART HOUSE

I think for every entrepreneur you think you would do well and better than you anticipated, but that’s not always the case. For example, I think I would be good at finance because of my background, but my projections are always wrong. I expected this amount of growth so I staffed according to how much I thought I would make, but in the end we came short and had more costs. So I learned to adjust the size of the team and expenses to match the revenues.

You will make mistakes. Everybody does. You need to make decisions and make them quickly. Ultimately you are the decision maker but you don’t know the right answer. I was used to having a boss. Originally I didn’t know what the right decision would be, so I would wait and try to figure out the answer, but time is essential. There are no perfect timing or perfect information or perfect answers. Another key is to recognize when you make the wrong decision. Admit it early. Make changes and move forward instead of being stuck with the mistakes.

SOPHIE ZEMBRA - ANTIDOTE

You have to find good people and mix everybody in order to build a good team.

ZACH MACKLOVITCH - SAINTWOODS

There will be haters in everything you do. Don’t let people dissuade you from following your dream. If you are good and have the confidence, bet on yourself.