Woman To Woman:: Starting a Start-Up

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When one of your friends sends you an email titled “Leap and the net will appear” with a verbose description of her master plan to start a business, you get tears in your eyes and promptly write down everything you’ve learned in the crazy world of entrepreneurship. Or at least that’s what I did when one of my bests decided to start a photography business called D Lillian Photography in San Francisco. There is no universal rule for smooth sailing, and success looks different to everyone, but my hope is that these little lessons I’ve encountered can inspire thoughts that make you even the slightest bit stronger as you pursue your passions…or at least make you feel less alone in your struggles.

THERE WILL BE ROUGH SPOTS::
Do not let them get you down. Be thankful for them because you can’t truly appreciate success unless you’ve had to face opposition along the way. Have faith in the path you’ve chosen and that this is what you were meant to do. If you look at those challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, you will always be moving forward – even when it seems like professionally or financially maybe you are not.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE, WHAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT AND WHAT IS RIGHT::
Money will follow. Never make money first in anything. It naturally comes to those (like yourself) that are doing exactly what they were intended to do.

DON’T SPEND ANY TIME FOCUSED ON PEOPLE WHO COPY YOU::
Anyone who is copying you is two steps behind you and want to know what they can’t rip off? That pretty little brain of yours. Karma will take care of them – keep your eyes focused on the future and let anything negative go.

NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT::
I am such a people please-er that this is one of the hardest things for me, but people will actually respect and value you more if you are confident in what you want/need/expect from them and are unwavering about it.

RELATIONSHIPS ARE EVERYTHING – AND THEY’RE EASY TO DEVELOP.
In an age when people always email and text, sending thank you notes or picking up the phone to personally call someone can make you feel like old pals. Approach everyone you meet with love, respect and genuine interest. You might be surprised at the unexpected relationships you uncover.

HIRE GOOD HELP::
There is no substitute for a great attorney and a killer CPA. Whenever you can outsource and delegate the things that aren’t your core competency, do it. It will free you up to focus on what you’re really good at.

DEVELOP A GROUP OF MENTORS OR ADVISORS::
Find someone who has made it in your industry and cultivate a relationship where you can ask questions. Find other friends/colleagues/peers that you know you can ask questions to when you have them. Being by yourself can drive you crazy and sometimes you just need to talk something out loud to people – and your boyfriend and besties shouldn’t always have to be your sounding board.

BARTERING IS THE JAM::
Can’t afford something? Find someone who needs your services and trade for it. It’s like pioneer days, but in a totally modern, cool and socially acceptable way.

IT’S NEVER AS BAD AS YOU THINK IT IS::
Perspective is everything. We have life so good and no bad day/week/month/year at work changes that. No matter how busy you, might think you are, getting out of your office, city and country to experience people and places where life is very different from yours, will make you appreciate all that you have and help you to stay focused on the important things.

COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY::
There is always going to be someone better than/more successful than/etc. than you. Instead of being jealous about what they have and you have not, decide to get excited for them. There is plenty of business to go around for everyone and you can find some of your closest confidants in people you may have previously looked at as competition.

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Danielle Gano is the founder and CEO of Elle Communications, a communications boutique with offices in Los Angeles, New York and San Diego that specializes in clients who work in innovation, social enterprise and non-profit. Follow Elle Communications on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or visit them online at www.ellecomm.com.

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