9 Female Founders Reflect On Lessons They’ve Learned Along The Way

There's value in the journey. These hard-won lessons are important to remember if you're just starting out as an entrepreneur.

Every year on March 8th, men and women alike gather to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and 2019 is no different. IWD serves to amplify the steady drumbeat for women’s rights and empowerment, with voices louder than ever, including those of female founders and their lessons learned.

We know there’s value in the journey. And there’s nothing more valuable than the lessons we learn along the way. Lessons from our sisters in the startup trenches and others who have built successful companies can apply no matter what your company does. Remember these hard-won lessons as you build your dreams.


1. No excuses

“Anyone can build a business if they are driven, focused, and curious. We literally have all the answers at our fingertips with the internet. There is never an excuse to give up on something because you can’t figure it out.”

–– Stephanie Wiggins, founder of DJANGO


2. Trust the process

“Trust the process. Everyone is anxious to zoom straight to the finish line, but it’s more important to make sure you end up in the right place than to get there quickly. Take your time, explore your interests, and build confidence in yourself and the business. The right answers will reveal themselves as you pursue your passions.”

–– Katie Schmidt, Owner and Lead Designer of Passion Lilie


Photo: Candice Picard, Unsplash
Photo: Candice Picard, YFS Magazine


3. Stay on mission

“Nine years into the entrepreneurial hustle, I learned that entrepreneurship is being on a mission where nothing can stop you. It will take twice as long as you’d hoped, cost exceedingly more than you’d ever budgeted and will be more challenging than anything you’ll ever try but if you give it your all and refuse to give up, you can trust it will be the ride of a lifetime.”

–– Lori Cheek, founder, and CEO of Cheekd


4. Be intentional and find your tribe

“Start a business with intention. Take time to think about what you want it to look like and the impact you want to make. My first year in business I was all over the place, and because I was doing work that people just knew I was good at, I ended up feeling worn down, burnt out and very unaligned with my business model. If I could toss in the second piece of advice, it would be to surround yourself with people who are in the same boat or at a higher level than you. It’s okay that your family and friends don’t understand because there are people out there (thanks to the internet!) that will believe in your dream and push you to make big moves.”

–– Sarah Williams, founder of Rebel Office


5. Be open to learning moments

“Everything that happens to you is a learning moment. There will be many failures and many successes, but they’re all teaching you an important lesson to help you grow – pay attention to them.”

–– Ashley Mason, Marketing Consultant and Owner of Dash of Social


Photo: Candice Picard, Unsplash
Photo: Candice Picard, YFS Magazine

6. Take action

“Always take action even if you don’t feel ready. I used to think that waiting until you felt ready or confident was the way to move forward, but I quickly learned that to get ahead you had to jump (even when you didn’t feel ready or confident).”

–– Jane Baker, Owner and Coach at Jane Baker Coaching


7. Persist in the face of uncertainty

“Not knowing is much harder than failing. After contracting with a solo app developer in 2017, I ran into difficulties with that partnership, as delay after delay ultimately resulted in me ending the project. With a year of lost time and no workable code, I questioned if I should move forward with the business. I dug deep and found all the grit I could muster to push on because I knew the ‘not knowing’ would be a regret I would carry with me always. Another year in development, and I finally have an idea to share with the world.”

–– Katrine Strickland, Creator of Soulments


8. Treat clients well

“Clients want to feel that the business or person they hire values their business. When a client is treated as a commodity or just another paycheck, they feel it. Clients are very aware of whether they are just another number on the marketing graph or a vital and important piece of the business that is appreciated by the employees and owner(s). If you want your client’s loyalty you have to be loyal to them; even small acts of appreciation or going just a little over to ensure excellent service will make them feel valued and establish your clients as a valuable referral source in the future. You are only as good as your clients say you are, after all.”

–– Kara Stachel, Esq., Owner of Stachel Law Planning, PLLC


9. Focus on self-improvement

“You have to be what you want your business to be. Disorganization at home leads to your business being disorganized and so forth, so I find devoting some time to personal self-improvement has had the most immediate impact on my business.”

–– Amanda Sexton, founder of FocusWorks Marketing


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