Any entrepreneur will tell you that startup life is not for the easily daunted. Rejection, product failures, and isolation are just a few of the tests that many entrepreneurs are put through on a routine basis. Add youth and inexperience to the list of things working against you—and you can see how a startup can seem like nothing but a harsh, uphill endeavor. Luckily, entrepreneurs tend to be more optimistic than other workers, a factor that keeps them pitching to prospects and looking for ways to prove their value.
Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, co-presidents and co-founders of Juicy Couture became famous for their celebrated casual clothing line, which they went on to sell in 2013 for a whopping $195 million. Sure, their story of success has had its share of ups and downs—like any other business—but according to the best friends, the greatest decision they ever made was to go into business together. Noted Skaist-Levy, “You spend more time with a business partner than almost anyone…When you’re together, the highs are even higher and the lows don’t seem so bad.”
Launching my own business has meant gathering some unexpected lessons along the way. Sure, there’s plenty of conventional wisdom that advocates you use certain financial statements or funding strategies to scale your business, but ask any real business owner about their hardest won lessons and they will probably give you less tactical advice. Below are some of the more counterintuitive things I've learned while growing my training and consulting business, NextGenWomen, LLC, opened in 2009.
Today, as I release my new book, PUSHBACK: How Smart Women Ask-and Stand Up-For What They Want (Jossey-Bass), I can't help but reflect on the ways that book writing has changed me — both personally and professionally. Yes, some of these changes may sound intuitive, as though they're natural byproducts of taking on a big writing project, but many others have come as a surprise. As I stand at the finish line, taking a needed breath, here are the 4 book-writing lessons I'm most grateful for:
Office politics. Glass ceiling. Layers of management and indecision. Pick a feature of corporate America, and you'll find a woman who's left it behind to start her own venture. Certainly, there are known tangible and intangible benefits of running your own company. The opportunity to increase wealth, capitalize on an idea, work on your own terms, and enjoy less rigidity in terms of lifestyle are just a few. But when it comes to women, are corporate expats-turned-entrepreneurs repelled by their experiences in big business or simply drawn to launching their own enterprises?
Enter your email address below to subscribe to our Next Gen Women blog.