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What I Learned From Starting a Business From Scratch

 

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I am a young entrepreneur, a YouTube vlogger and a beauty addict by nature. I started a business from scratch and have seen it grow over the last 5 years. We are now a team of 14 women based all over the world. If you had told me a few years ago that this would be my life, I would have laughed. But that is exactly why I want to inspire other women and let them know that if you have a dream, you should go for it! Here are 5 things I have learned about running a business:
1. There is no “right” time. A lot of people think that there is a right time for something. “I am not ready” is always the excuse — I am not ready to quit my job, I am not ready until I get my MBA, I am not ready until I can pay off my car. But life is never going to open its doors and wait for you. Do you think an Olympic diver is ever ready to jump off the high dive backward? They just go for it. The same is true in business. You are never completely ready. You just have to take the plunge. I was not ready for a lot of surprises in my business, but I trust that I am smart enough to figure them out as they come.
2. It is empowering to have a team full of women. I never set out to have an all-female company. It just happened based on the hires who were the best cultural fit. I was originally apprehensive because of the “mean girl” stereotype of having too many women working together. However, I realized that that is a cultural misappropriation reinforced by movies and TV shows. At work, that is never the case. We all get along very well and treat each other with respect. It is pretty cool to see ladies supporting each other and wanting the company to succeed. Running a business has changed my personality and who I am. It has influenced my perspective on girl power and what it means to have a team of ladies — smart, creative and passionate.
3. No health, no wealth. Avoid getting sick at all cost. Getting sick not only feels miserable, it’s also a loss of productivity. For example, on my flight back from Asia last year, I came down with the flu for 3 weeks. I assume it was because I booked my travel plans too tightly, did not take the time to sleep, did not eat healthy foods and just forgot to relax because I was constantly in “go, go, go” mode. Being out for 3 weeks meant a huge loss of money and productivity, so now I do my best to avoid getting sick at all costs. Keep your health a priority. Eat fruits and vegetables, take vitamin C and get enough sleep. Everyone thinks entrepreneurs work for 20 hours a day. That is not sustainable, and not even possible. Prioritize your health, because without good health, you will not be able to create wealth or enjoy that wealth.
4. Prestige does not equal better performance. From my experience, I have noticed that people who best fit our culture are not always the best applicants on paper. Do not just scan resumes for pedigree, prestige or a big name brand (especially if you are a small business). Focus on these questions instead: Can this person learn? Are they excited? Are they willing to do what it takes to get the job done? My biggest pet peeve is when someone is entitled. I would rather have someone with no work experience and a positive attitude than an expert in her field with an entitled attitude. Hire based on attitude and culture instead of prestige.
5. Prioritization is essential. If I wanted to accomplish everything on my to-do list, it would take over 10 years. Therefore, you need to figure out what your priorities are and focus on that. Spending time on Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram is not a priority. Have a list of what you should accomplish daily and stick to it. When you get off track, go back to your list and follow it thoroughly. Understand that being an entrepreneur is about focusing your energy on what you want to accomplish.
I hope to inspire young ladies to dream big and always reach for the stars. I had no idea that this was going to be my life, but I am so happy it happened. Is it tough? Yes. Is it worth it? Totally. All it takes is a willingness to learn one step at a time, and to be brave and courageous. Do not overthink it and scare yourself into not taking that plunge. All entrepreneurs start from scratch. Learn from the lessons I have learned and the mistakes I have made. I wish everyone the best of luck.

 


 

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Image credit: CC by aesop

About the author: Daisy Jing

Daisy Jing founded and bootstrapped a beauty product line, Banish. Her team is on a mission to inspire women through their products.

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