You might say I’m a bit of an adrenaline junky. You have to be to be an entrepreneur — of any gender. It’s a nonstop rollercoaster with ups and downs, highs and low.
But I can’t stop. I crave it. I crave that ride. It’s wired into my DNA.
But trust me, it’s not for everyone.
As a female entrepreneur, I face many challenges. Most are not that different from male entrepreneurs – funding, limited hours in a day, deadlines, sales, payroll. But as a woman I have to prove my street cred. Sometimes I work too hard, some times I don’t leave my office. But I know at the end of a project, I will deliver excellence. It’s a commitment I made to myself and to my business.
Some days the coaster of entrepreneurship leaves me nauseated. Other days I want to throw my hands in the air, let loose a victory scream, and then relive the wacky ride all over again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
If you are going to jump on this ride, you need to accept the rollercoaster ups and downs. More importantly, you need to learn how to take risks. In the beginning of my entrepreneurial years, risk meant a highly unstable and unpredictable bank account. There were days when my bank account would overflow (happy dance days), and other days when my accounts were so empty I had to look for quarters in my couch cushions.
It was then that I discovered a bigger part of myself. One who would do outrageous things to get deals done and capture the exposure and brand awareness I needed.
Work with me on this. I’m a public speaker and book author. So, naturally, the first zany thing I did to get my business off the ground was to pretend to be my own publicist. I would call people, publishers, and speakers bureaus pretending to be Holly Grant, publicist. Guess what? It worked. To this day I still shamelessly self-promote my ideas, wins, and fails publicly.
Ok, so the Holly Grant routine was maybe somewhat inauthentic. However, I will say one of the greatest lessons of being a founder and an entrepreneur is the authenticity with which you conduct your business and yourself. If I cannot be authentic I don’t want any part of something, whatever it is. Many entrepreneurs find this braggy, but that is why so many of them struggle. And honestly, be fearless when it comes to self-promotion–and use the tools of the digital age to do it. Embrace the risks. Embrace the authenticity. You will make an impact. Also, listen up – this is hard, but it’s also fun! Have some fun.
Now for the insomnia part. Lack of sleep is the norm in this world of startups and entrepreneurship. It’s a brain thing. At night, I will lie in bed and my brain won’t stop churning. Sometimes an idea will hit me at 3:00 am. Waiting until morning is not an option. I always write my ideas down when they happen. And yet, I wouldn’t change a thing. It is a rewarding and challenging endeavor.
One of the other tricks I use for problem solving is seeking out other female entrepreneurs as mentors or guides when I’m lost, confused, or need to talk through stuff. Being a successful female entrepreneur also means that if I ask this of others, I must mentor with the same values I seek. I urge all female entrepreneurs and founders to seek a mentor. It will truly change your trajectory (in life and in business).
The most important thing you can do is to stay curious and keep learning, keep asking. And read everything you can — not just business books. An active mind is one where ideas blossom.
About the author: Starr Hall is a serial entrepreneur, brand ambassador, and personality. She has worked with an assortment of blue-chip companies, such as Sprint, UPS, NHL, Activision, Samsung, and Lucky Brands. Starr has also participated in over 400 keynotes, trainings, and events with teams from Disney, Dell, Microsoft Small Business, Chick-Fil-a, Verizon, Sprint, Langham Hotels, Downtown Las Vegas, and Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino.
Women’s entrepreneurship is at the core of Creative Business Network’s thames. It is a major initiative for 2020. Learn more about our thames here