Five Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me with Robyn Mclean from Hello Period & Gaelle from Dust&Glow
As International Women’s Day approaches, I’ve teamed up with fellow female founder & change maker Robyn McLeann from Hello Period about the top five tips we wish someone had given us at the get-go. While some of our answers differ slightly it was surprising to see how similar they were.
Discover the 5 Things we wish someone had told us before starting on this crazy adventure that is entrepreneurship!
#1 Self Belief & pushing through
Robyn - Believe in yourself and your abilities: If you have a good idea and no one else is doing it better, then back yourself. Anyone can start a business, but the key to success is believing in yourself first and foremost. Accept that there will be people who tell you it can’t be done - don’t let their negative energy fill your head. Hang with the positive people who help push you to be the best you can be.
Gaelle - Trust your gut & don’t take NO as an answer: As a woman founder challenging the status quo, you may face criticism and doubt from others. But remember, you know your vision and abilities better than anyone else. Trust in yourself and don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, even if others think it's crazy. I was told several times that my idea would never work, but I'm glad I didn't listen.
#2 Dare being different
Robyn - Don’t be a sheep, forge your own (light) path: The most essential advice I’d give to anyone starting a new business is try to ‘do it better’ than the others. Think about every aspect of the business and try to ensure that your environmental footprint is as light as possible. Consumers hold businesses accountable more than ever and we all need to lead the way in reducing waste where we can. Just because your competitor seems to get away with using single-use plastic bottles, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Big businesses have traditionally been one of the biggest waste producers on the planet but now consumers are calling them out. There’s no excuse not to use materials that can be repurposed or recycled. As the saying goes, ‘there’s no Planet B’.
Gaelle - Find your niche: In a crowded market, it can be challenging to stand out. But finding a unique niche that aligns with your values and target audience can help you differentiate yourself. Focus on providing value and solving problems for your customers, and your business will thrive.
#3 Don’t give up
Robyn - Shit happens and it will hit the fan: Things won’t always go right. There will be many tears. Failure and mistakes are hard to swallow at the time but they are part of being in business. Give yourself time to regroup, tap into your network to talk about your feelings but most importantly, learn from your mistakes and allow yourself to move forward.
Gaelle - Embrace failure: Failure is a natural part of the startup journey, and it's okay to make mistakes. In fact, it's essential for growth. Don't let setbacks discourage you, but instead use them as an opportunity to learn and pivot. Every failure is a chance to get one step closer to success.
#4 Get some support
Robyn - Form a small business support group: This is something I avoided for too long. Being able to talk to others who are at the same stage or even a few steps ahead is so invaluable. Sometimes running a business can feel very lonely. You have a lot of pressure and burnout is a very real threat for female founders. Find a crew that you like to be with and who you trust. Sharing insights, successes and, more importantly, failures is so important to helping you realise that it’s never going to be an easy ride, but good people like to help each other and knowing others have got your back can really help you navigate the hard times.
Gaelle - Don't be afraid to ask for help: As women, we're often taught to be independent and self-sufficient. But asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Whether it's seeking advice from a mentor or hiring a professional, don't be afraid to lean on others for support. It's okay to admit you don't have all the answers, and seeking help can ultimately help you and your business thrive. To be honest, this is an area I still struggle with. Slowly learning to lean in.
#5 Final Tip
Funny enough this is the only tip for which we had a different answer.
Robyn - Question everything and negotiate, negotiate, negotiate: This is another thing that I’ve probably taken too long to adopt. We live in a world where people love to have a crack. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable and so make sure you check every invoice and negotiate every quote. Even small savings can have massive impacts down the line. It all adds up and when you are sailing close to the wind every dollar counts. If you don’t like negotiating, read up to get some tips on how to do it confidently but with kindness.
Gaelle - Take care of yourself: Running a startup can be all-consuming, but neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and ultimately hurt your business. It's crucial to prioritize your physical and mental health, especially if you have young children. For me, this means making time for sleep, exercise, and family time to recharge and stay focused.