Last week I was super fortunate to attend the Business Chicks ‘Meet the Founders’ event with Cyan Ta’eed of Envato, Jacinta McDonell of Anytime Fitness and Kristina Karlsson of kikki.K.
I was blown away by this event, made tonnes of hasty notes (see below!) and immediately came home and shared EVERYTHING I HAD LEARNT with Abramo.
If you don’t know the three women, here is a very, very tiny bio for each. I absolutely implore you to find out as much as you can about them and soak up all the lessons and inspiration possible!
Without further ado, here are my business lessons from founders Cyan Ta’eed, Jacinta McDonell and Kristina Karlsson:
Have business goals
Kristina explained her initial goal of creating a business – she knew she wanted to work for herself, but she didn’t know what she’d be doing. Kristina did know her business would have to meet her goals of being inspired by home-country Sweden and make her $500 a week.
The audience laughed at this seemingly meagre goal, especially when you consider the Kikki.k brand’s wealth 15 years later in 2016, but I definitely felt myself nodding my head along, “A steady $500 a week? That’s the dream!”
Be tenacious, don’t take no for an answer and believe in yourself
Cyan explained that when it came to being in a lot of debt, it makes entrepreneurs hustle. When success is the only option, you just have to keep going.
Passion, resilience and sacrifice
Kristina recalled working all night organising stock and creating new designs:
“It’s not sacrifice if you love it.”
“If this was a job I would leave! But you can’t, you have to work out this hurdle. Without love you can’t sustain it.”
On credit card debt
Despite two of the three panelists admitting they were heavily in debt while starting up their businesses, they were quick to prescribe that other’s should learn that other options are available, and to do what they say, not what they did!
“Get funding! Sympathetic investors will give you stuff,”
Cyan implored, only for Kristina to counter that
“no money makes you more creative with problem solving”.
Kristina admitted to perhaps taking the easy way out because she now has the money to spend, when once upon a time she had to get creative with overcoming hurdles.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Acknowledge what they are, know when to step back, recognise when your business grows beyond your skill. Damage can be created quickly if that isn’t acknowledged quickly.
Employ people smarter than you
Launch lean to test the market – find out what customers want before investing heavily.
See staff as an investment, not an expense
If you have the right attitude, you can do anything
Hire on values over an impressive resume
People don’t care what you do, they care why you do it
Watching Simon Sinek’s is a must-do for entrepreneurs.
Find out their mistakes, what they’ve learnt, what they would never do again
We all know that everyone makes them, but they can be hard to admit (even to ourselves!). Kristina offered the wisdom that “as long as you learn from them, there’s really no such thing as mistakes”. Cyan also offered support: “People fail constantly, they just don’t let you see that”.
On judgemental mums
Jacinta spoke from experience:
“They are a reflection of their stuff, not yours. We need to change the perception of mums who work, have nannies or don’t do the drop-off and pick-up.”
“You have to do what’s important to you. There’s no right or wrong. There’s no such thing as a perfect mother.”
Nobody really knows what they are doing, but they decide to have a go anyway.
Cyan’s parting words may have been my favourite of all:
Just get involved, network and learn.