My Interview With Angie Hicks, Founder Of Angie’s List
I am thrilled to share my latest Mompreneur Spotlight video with all of you, my interview with Angie Hicks, the founder and CMO of Angie’s List!!! Angie sat down with me to discuss her experience as a modern mompreneur. She discusses how she started her business by selling door to door in Columbus, OH and has now grown her company to a nationally recognized brand with over 2 million members in 200 markets! She shares her thoughts on the skills she thinks are important to grow your business and also gives surprising advice on not always needing an original idea to launch a successful business. She also provides insight on how she juggles motherhood and entrepreneurship and even manages to find the time to attend soccer games and eat dinner with her family every night. If she can do it, we all can! I love her mompreneur mantra which reminds us to keep perspective on what is important.
I am so excited to have had the opportunity to interview such a successful mompreneur! Thank you to Angie Hicks for taking the time to speak with me and to her team for making it happen! Check out Angie’s List for reviews on professional and home improvement services in your city. Please let me know your thoughts on our interview and Angie’s story, I hope you are as inspired as I was!
Diane von Furstenberg’s 10 Inspirational Quotes For Female Entrepreneurs
My latest article for the Huffington Post features inspirational quotes and words of wisdom from legendary style icon Diane von Furstenberg. When many think of DvF they think of fashion and style but she is also a savvy businesswoman who has built a multimillion dollar luxury brand. During her speech, von Furstenberg provided great insight into her success and failures and you will be inspired and enlightened by the quotes that she shared. I’ve included an excerpt from my article below, head over to the Huffington Post for the full article!
Diane von Furstenberg is best known as the iconic fashion designer behind the famed, chic wrap desk. She is also a successful entrepreneur and founder of DvF, a multi-million dollar global luxury lifestyle brand. Diane recently spoke at the American Express CEO Bootcamp event for female entrepreneurs and provided a candid discussion on what it takes to succeed, her rise to fame, and her advice to fellow business owners.
She provided several interesting tidbits about her career path including the fact that she did not have a business plan for decades and is only now realizing the need for one. She also shared that for many years she took her famed wrap dress for granted and even resented it, even though it paid her bills and put her on the map. It was only recently as she planned the celebration for the 40th anniversary of the dress that she began to realize the value of the dress and how it truly defined her brand, vision, and company. Diane also talked about the fact that she has made many mistakes but does not regret any of them because she has learned from all of them. When asked about her biggest challenge she stated “the truth is I don’t remember; because if it was something that is bad I turned it into something good”.
It was hard to pick just 10 quotes from DvF, because almost every one of her statements involved an inspirational quote or nugget of wisdom that a female entrepreneur could apply to her business. Here are a few of my favorites:
1.) “You cannot minimize the power of confidence. Confidence about business and who you are. You can say the same thing but if you say it with confidence, it sounds differently. You can’t fake it.”
2.) “Regardless of your business model, you have to have your truth, believe your truth and stay on brand. It is all about the relationship you have with yourself – trust yourself to know that you can do it.”
3.) “You can learn a lot from my mistakes more than my success.”
4.)”I never tried to make a fashion statement, I was a conduit for the dress. When I created that little wrap dress I did not know that I was creating something that would last 40 years”.
5.) “Its always the daughters that bring back the mothers, its important to stay close to the young.”
Click here for the full article and all 10 quotes…
Arianna Huffington’s Secrets of Success
Arianna Huffington is most known for founding popular news blog The Huffington Post which she launched in 2005 and sold to AOL in 2011. She is also the author of 14 books, including her most recent book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. I recently had the chance to hear the mompreneur extrodinaire speak about her new book which provides great insight on why entrepreneurs should not just focus on power and money but on a Third Metric of success comprised of four pillars: well being/health, wisdom, wonder, and giving.
Arianna spoke of her own story as an ambitious entrepreneur working constantly until she literally burned out and passed out due to exhaustion. This wake up call forced her to re-evaluate her priorities and the importance to take time for her own personal well-being. Arianna states, “you will be more successful if you take care of your own human capital. Make little manageable microscopic changes, you can start today!”. Arianna’s biggest piece of advice when it comes to wellness is more sleep! She recommends no smart phones near your bed and slowly adding 30 minutes more of sleep until you are getting close to 7 to 8 hours a night.
Arianna refers to one of her mom’s favorite phrases “don’t miss the moment”. We are constantly on the go and consumed with technology and our careers that we don’t take enough time to appreciate life in the moment. According to Arianna “multi-tasking is the most stressful thing you can do. Being fully present is incredible”. She recommends taking constant audits of your to-do list and dropping projects/tasks on a regular basis, limiting multi-tasking, and trying to live in the moment as much as possible.
“We need to bring joy back into our daily life” according to Huffington. “What is a good life? Its not about a job or money. If we define in those terms we become afraid, because our existence is defined by the success of our business”.
“We are wired to be go-givers” says Huffington. By giving she not only refers to giving back to the community, but giving to everyday people in everyday moments. “Make personal connections with everyday people” – smile when you pass someone on the street, say hi to the mailman, etc.
When I asked Arianna her tips for moms juggling kids and their business she exclaimed “kids come first”. She went on to explain that she will always pick up the phone for her children; regardless of where she is or who she is in a meeting with. She also added that moms have to set a good example for their children; we need to limit technology and screen time in front of our children if we expect them to do the same.
I was truly inspired by Arianna Huffington’s words of wisdom and am currently reading her book which I absolutely recommend to all of you! I will be attending Huffington’s Thrive conferencenext week which will feature celebrity speakers such as Katie Couric, Julianne Moore, and Tory Burch sharing their personal experiences of how they incorporate the Third Metric into their daily practices. As always, I’ll be sharing all of the details with you in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!
5 Guiding Principles From Successful Female Entrepreneurs
I had the privilege of attending the American Express OPEN for Women: CEO BootCamp, an all-day event where women business leaders including Tory Burch, Angie Hicks, Robin Chase, Jean Chatzky and Melinda Emerson provided insight, advice, inspiration and lessons on becoming successful women business owners.
There were several common themes shared by these successful women leaders that serve as guiding principles for aspiring female entrepreneurs:
1. Confidence, confidence, confidence.
Every speaker reiterated the importance of confidence in your idea, your vision and how you convey yourself to the business community. Many also reinforced exuding this confidence whether you have it or not. Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar, discussed how even if you don’t know how to do something, show confidence in your ability to do the task and then go back and learn it. One of the most amusing yet poignant quotes from the day came from Mally Roncal, founder of Mally Beauty, who exclaimed, “Fake it until you make it!” Mally affirmed how exuding confidence even when you are uncertain can go a long way towards achieving your goals.
2. Persistence is critical to success.
Almost every one of these successful leaders shared a time when they were told “no,” but continued to follow their vision anyway. All reiterated the importance of perseverance and persistence. Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, advised, “be focused, be persistent, be committed. The worst thing they will tell you is ‘no.’” Tory Burch, designer and founder of her own lifestyle brand, discussed how many doubted her branding, her original product offering and her desire to include social responsibility as part of her original business plan but she “stayed the course and didn’t listen to others’ opinions.”
3. You don’t have to have an original idea to be successful.
Several successful female entrepreneurs including Angie Hicks and Robin Chase reiterated this surprising anthem. Many potential entrepreneurs are deterred from pursuing a business because they don’t believe their idea is original or differentiated enough. Both Angie and Robin reinforced that it is less about the originality of the idea and more about how you execute it. When these entrepreneurs launched their companies there were others in the marketplace with similar offerings. However, what set them apart was their vision, execution strategy and persistence.
4. Know your exit strategy before you start your business
Financial experts Jean Chatzky and Valerie Coleman discussed the importance of knowing the plan for exiting your business in the early stages of building. Having an exit plan will help you to build both your short-term and long-term business strategy as well as guide financial decisions.
5. Focus on making the right connections
Every leader asserted that building relationships is one of the secrets to success. Tory Burch summed up her advice as “it is not a personal journey, it is about a team.” Many also reinforced that building relationships with other women and business leaders is critical. Angie Hicks stated “don’t view each other as competitors, view each other as partners.”
The CEO BootCamp provided an excellent illustration of this last guiding principle. It was a great opportunity to learn not only from high profile, successful business leaders, but also from the many impressive, motivated entrepreneurs who attended the event. All the leaders reiterated how women business owners should strive to help one another in each other’s entrepreneurial endeavors. Which leads me to my own guiding principle — collaboration and hard work are the keys to any successful business. After all, there’s always room at the top for women who are willing to build their own ladders!
Interview with Robin Chase, Founder of Zipcar
Robin Chase is the epitome of The Modern Mompreneur. She is a mother of three, the founder and former CEO of Zipcar, and the founder and current CEO of Buzzcar, a peer to peer car sharing service. I had a chance to speak with Robin and she shared candid insight into the daily struggles of being a mompreneur and also provided excellent, realistic tips to fellow mompreneurs. It was such a privilege to hear the first hand experiences and lessons from such a successful, respected mompreneur. I am very exciting to share this interview with all of you!
Tip #1: “Have a partner – that can be a spouse, partner, friend who will be your support through thick and think. I’m not talking about a business partner, more of an emotional partner.”
“And since this audience is mompreneurs, if you have children you absolutely have to have someone who is going to take it up for you…..When you are a CEO, you are working around the clock and so they have to do more than 50%. I honestly don’t see how you can do it without having someone who can pick that up. My children are now 20, 23,26 and they are spectacular because my husband did a terrific job and I did a terrific job. Over the course of time, we traded.”
Tip #2: “Have intellectual honesty about your skill set, what your customers think of what you are doing, how things are going, and then become a learning organization.”
“We all, as CEO of startups, are constantly selling, selling, selling. Selling to customers, employees, investors…but, in your heart, you need to know what is working and what is not working. And don’t drink your own Kool Aid! When things go wrong, correct them absolutely as fast as you can. That’s how we beat out big companies. You have to do it constantly. You have to be realitic, when it is broken it is not going to get any better. You have to fix it right away. You don’t have the money, resources, or the time to sit on broken things.”
Tip #3: “Persistance.”
“Its going to be incredibly hard.”
I then asked Robin what she would say is her Mompreneur Mantra or the one piece of advice that she would share with fellow mompreneurs:
Mompreneur Mantra: “You can have everything in time.”
“When I was just a mom I was pissed off that I had lost my ambitious self. And then when I was in my first year at Zipcar I was doing both and I was a terrible mother. And then for the next two years my husband took over as the primary caretaker and that was much better. I could personally not do both things at the same time. I was a great mom on the weekends, but Monday – Friday….I think every woman is different, the children are different, the situation is different, the ages are different. But for me personally I could not do both well.”
7 Inspirational Quotes from Successful Women Business Leaders
As I shared in my last post, I had a chance to attend the American Express OPEN CEO Bootcamp last week and was truly inspired by the words of wisdom and encouragement that were shared by the successful female entrepreneur panelists. I will be sharing the top lessons learned from these entrepreneurs as well as an interview with Angie Hicks (Founder, Angie’s List) and Robin Chase (Founder, Zip Car) in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the most memorable and inspiring quotes from the day’s events. These nuggets of wisdom will resonate with any female entrepreneur, I hope that you are as inspired by these words as I was:
1. Gina Bianchini, CEO of Mightybell, shared one of her favorite quotes: “Courage is not not being afraid, its being afraid and doing it anyways.”
2. Tory Burch, CEO & Designer Tory Burch: “We need to get women to the point where they aren’t apologizing. Its time to take ownership in our success.”
3. Angie Hicks, Founder Angie’s List: “Know what you bring. Know what you don’t bring. And build a team that covers everything you need.”
4. Jean Chatzky, Today Show Contributor and Financial Expert, shared one of her favorite quotes from Madeleine Albright: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
5. Robin Chase, Founder Zip Car, shared one of her favorite quotes: “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”
6. Melinda Emerson, CEO Quintessence: “We need to spend more time focusing ON our business instead of IN our business”.
7. Janet Kraus, Harvard Business School Professor: “Harvard Business School defines entrepreneurship as the relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”