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5 Female Entrepreneurs on What It Takes To Succeed in the Business World

5 Female Entrepreneurs on What It Takes To Succeed in the Business World

May 9, 2022

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This past March, we showcased the strength and perseverance of female entrepreneurs, the unique struggles they face, and the success they’ve found in the business sphere.

What we got was an abundance of stories, advice, and wisdom from five intelligent, successful women who are crushing it in their respective industries. There was too much wisdom to fit in just one article, but there was no way we could let such amazing insight go to waste.

So today, we’re giving you a second round with these amazing women. We’re taking a deep dive into the challenges of growing a business, the unique difficulties that can arise when you’re a female entrepreneur, and the fabled work-life balance. (If you missed our initial article, then you’re in for a treat — you can find it here.)

Re-introducing…

You know ‘em, you love ‘em, but allow us to re-introduce you to our amazing female entrepreneurs:

  • Alicia Guerrieri, the founder and owner of iSearchDecor, a luxury real estate concierge service.
Katherine Perez Hernandez
Katherine Perez Hernandez
  • Katherine Perez Hernandez, web/graphic designer and founder of All The Kewt Stickers, a sticker design and production business.
Melissa Pruett
Melissa Pruett
  • Melissa Pruett, the owner and founder of Melt by Melissa, a self-care studio based in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Jennifer Ruiz, the president of United Circuits, an electronics company based in Florida.
Brenda Schmidt
Brenda Schmidt
  • Brenda Schmidt, the founder and executive chairman of Solera Health, a healthcare connection platform.

And now, onto the questions.

Quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity.

What are some of the successes you’re most proud of?

🛋 Alicia: “One of the things I’m most proud of is being nimble enough to evolve as the market evolves. I’ve been able to stay one or two steps ahead of the market, watching to see where I need to be to stay alive and grow. If you can’t pivot when the market is telling you to pivot, typically you won’t be in business for very long.”

😊 Katherine: “I started this business after I got an unexpected bonus of $100. And I was thinking, ‘You know, why don’t I finally start this sticker business?’ So I used the bonus to get all my machines, and I’ve been growing very slowly. But business is steady enough that I’ve been able to remain debt-free so far, which I see as a huge success.

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “For me, it’s humans. We have an internal team of 20 now, and we’ve just built this wonderful network. Watching my girls come in, plant their roots, and become part of this ecosystem is the most fulfilling feeling. It’s what I’m most proud of. We have the ‘mothership’ location and we like to say I’m the ‘mother of the ship;’ I see us as more of a sisterhood, but the pride I feel for these women does make me feel like their mom.”

🔋 Jennifer: “In a business sense, every day that I can open the door and keep providing for my employees is a success. Especially with all the challenges and the current climate of the industry. Every day I can keep this going is a good day.”

🏥 Brenda: “One of them is definitely building and scaling Solera and being able to raise $72M of capital. We grew that organization very quickly, both in terms of revenue and people. Throughout that process, I found my voice, and so, one of the things I’m most proud of is actually being recognized as a thought leader.”

What’s the most difficult part of growing your business or building your business from scratch?

🛋 Alicia: “Your business is your baby, so everything falls back on you. In the beginning, I wore so many hats every day. I worked on marketing, accounting, sales, while running the business. It’s not easy, but it’s all part of being an entrepreneur.”

😊 Katherine: “I’m learning all the time. Social media marketing, keyword research, perfecting my website — I know how to do design, but I have to learn everything else to get my products into the hands of people. I’ll never stop learning, which is cool.”

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “You must learn everything. There is no shortcut. You can’t hire an expert from day one. I want to understand things, I want to know the ins and outs of my business. In the beginning, I was willing to outlearn and outwork anyone, and I think that’s why I’ve been able to succeed and grow my business. You don’t know what you don’t know until you’re willing to figure it out.”

🔋 Jennifer: “The hardest part is getting people to believe in you. Getting people’s trust — from your employees and your customers to your vendors — and proving that you can keep this thing going is a challenge.”

🏥 Brenda: “First, it’s the learning curve. Being an entrepreneur is just so incredibly different from having the established processes and infrastructure typical of a larger organization. All of a sudden, you’re a CEO, and you have to know legal, compliance, HR, sales, product, and marketing — whereas in a larger company, you would only need to know about one cog in the wheel.”

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the SMB space?

🛋 Alicia: “Women have a little more of a challenge because of the nature of the business world. We always have to prove ourselves a little more and show that we have the knowledge to do the job. You just have to show that you’re as capable as the next person and that it’s still an equal playing field.”

😊 Katherine: “One of the hardest challenges I face is I have so many goals, but then life — life happens, and you have to roll with the punches. But in my mind, it’s all going to get done eventually, so if you do everything you can one day, you’ll do the rest tomorrow.”

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “Being underestimated is a challenge that we women face frequently. I think it’s coming around, with so many women in business. But I think that underestimation also comes from ourselves. We can sell ourselves short because it can be hard to see how our life and personal goals complement or coexist with our desire to be entrepreneurial women.”

🔋 Jennifer: “I’ve had people assume I was a receptionist, or ask for my male employees to answer their questions even though I’m the president. When I worked alongside my dad, I remember thinking, ‘What are women talking about? There’s no stereotyping in business!’ But when it was just me, I realized that I hadn’t been a ‘woman’ in business; I had been a ‘woman sitting next to a man’ in business.”

🏥 Brenda: “Credibility. Going out into the market, people would always assume I was the sales rep. They would say things to me like, ‘Oh, that sounds like a great idea. You should take that up with senior leadership.’ No one would ask or assume that I was CEO; I didn’t have the instant credibility of being a guy in a blue suit.

And when it came to raising capital, what people were investing in for early ventures was the team. And pattern recognition tends to perpetuate the trend of investing in folks who are similar to startups who have done well in the past. Traditionally, those haven’t been led by women. So there was a huge credibility challenge.”

When it comes to being a woman in the business world, there always seems to be questions on how we balance work and family/motherhood. What are your thoughts on this topic?

🛋 Alicia: “I work 24/7. I had the mentality that for my business to succeed, I had to be available and flexible for my clients. So I kept my family life and my business life separate. But I recognize that when you’re a small business owner, that balance can get skewed at times. You have to adjust, and having a great support system is super important.”

😊 Katherine: “Being a mom, I don’t know how I get it all done sometimes. Try to find any way possible to maintain consistency. I have a lot of lists, alarms, and reminders to help me keep balance. There’s a way to make it all happen. And sometimes, it’s overwhelming and you have to take a day off. Don’t feel guilty about it!”

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “I think a lot of women decide they have to pick and choose — being a wife and a mother or owning a business. And as someone who sacrificed a lot to work on my business, I realize now that we can have both. I have plenty of badass business friends who are moms and wives and mega-talented in other areas of their world. So it’s nice to see that we can have it all.”

🔋 Jennifer: “I don’t know how women do it. There are nights when I’m working ‘till midnight, so I’m not the best example of what it’s like to balance. A lot of women in my life have kids and are building their careers, and they hit the ground running. My mom helped my dad build this business, and she had three kids, so she’s a walking inspiration.”

🏥 Brenda: “I raised three kids while being an entrepreneur, and you need to recognize that you really need a strong support system. To some extent, your schedule grows out of your control, so of course, there are sacrifices to be made. But you have to consciously make that choice.

And I felt guilty, never being home or missing certain events. But my daughter — who’s now 32 — just thanked me for being such a good role model. So while I was wracked with guilt, I never realized that I was setting a good example and that we shouldn’t feel guilty for pursuing our dreams.”

How can women best support other female entrepreneurs and business leaders?

🛋 Alicia: “Mentoring. As a business leader, mentoring another female entrepreneur is key. You can steer them away from making the same mistakes. You can give them the encouragement to not give up and keep going with their dream. Because having someone they can call on when they do have an issue or they’re just feeling down, like they can’t go on, is everything.”

😊 Katherine: “Every payday, I try to order from different companies that I save on Instagram or TikTok. People make such good art, and there are so many creations out there. I’ll post and tag them on my Instagram or leave reviews because I know that will help improve their searches. Doing what I can to help them get exposure.”

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “Just genuinely be an incredible woman and human, like a lighthouse. Your authenticity, passion, and joy will shine out like a lighthouse shining its light for those lost at sea. Of course, there are so many ways of sharing and collaborating with others, but all we have to do is find our light, embody it, and share it. Because others will be drawn to it, and they will be reminded of their own light. And that, to me, is how we will effectively change the world.”

🔋 Jennifer: “I work in a very male-dominated industry, and the only other female business owner I’ve met offered her experience and help to me, which was really nice. She also told me that I need to connect with more women, so my goal this year or next is to reach out to other females in my industry.”

🏥 Brenda: “I always say, ‘I don’t try to eliminate the speedbumps, I just make them lower.’ Being able to help these female entrepreneurs and founders feels so gratifying at this point in my career. So I’d say to mentor females inside or out of your organization, or hire female executives who are high potential. For folks who are younger in their career, you can participate in organizations like Girls in Tech. And for females looking for help, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to someone who you feel could add a lot of value to your career.”

Big thanks again to Alicia, Katherine, Melissa, Jennifer, and Brenda for taking the time to share their experiences!

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Article

5 Female Entrepreneurs on What It Takes To Succeed in the Business World

5 Female Entrepreneurs on What It Takes To Succeed in the Business World

May 9, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

This past March, we showcased the strength and perseverance of female entrepreneurs, the unique struggles they face, and the success they’ve found in the business sphere.

What we got was an abundance of stories, advice, and wisdom from five intelligent, successful women who are crushing it in their respective industries. There was too much wisdom to fit in just one article, but there was no way we could let such amazing insight go to waste.

So today, we’re giving you a second round with these amazing women. We’re taking a deep dive into the challenges of growing a business, the unique difficulties that can arise when you’re a female entrepreneur, and the fabled work-life balance. (If you missed our initial article, then you’re in for a treat — you can find it here.)

Re-introducing…

You know ‘em, you love ‘em, but allow us to re-introduce you to our amazing female entrepreneurs:

  • Alicia Guerrieri, the founder and owner of iSearchDecor, a luxury real estate concierge service.
Katherine Perez Hernandez
Katherine Perez Hernandez
  • Katherine Perez Hernandez, web/graphic designer and founder of All The Kewt Stickers, a sticker design and production business.
Melissa Pruett
Melissa Pruett
  • Melissa Pruett, the owner and founder of Melt by Melissa, a self-care studio based in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Jennifer Ruiz, the president of United Circuits, an electronics company based in Florida.
Brenda Schmidt
Brenda Schmidt
  • Brenda Schmidt, the founder and executive chairman of Solera Health, a healthcare connection platform.

And now, onto the questions.

Quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity.

What are some of the successes you’re most proud of?

🛋 Alicia: “One of the things I’m most proud of is being nimble enough to evolve as the market evolves. I’ve been able to stay one or two steps ahead of the market, watching to see where I need to be to stay alive and grow. If you can’t pivot when the market is telling you to pivot, typically you won’t be in business for very long.”

😊 Katherine: “I started this business after I got an unexpected bonus of $100. And I was thinking, ‘You know, why don’t I finally start this sticker business?’ So I used the bonus to get all my machines, and I’ve been growing very slowly. But business is steady enough that I’ve been able to remain debt-free so far, which I see as a huge success.

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “For me, it’s humans. We have an internal team of 20 now, and we’ve just built this wonderful network. Watching my girls come in, plant their roots, and become part of this ecosystem is the most fulfilling feeling. It’s what I’m most proud of. We have the ‘mothership’ location and we like to say I’m the ‘mother of the ship;’ I see us as more of a sisterhood, but the pride I feel for these women does make me feel like their mom.”

🔋 Jennifer: “In a business sense, every day that I can open the door and keep providing for my employees is a success. Especially with all the challenges and the current climate of the industry. Every day I can keep this going is a good day.”

🏥 Brenda: “One of them is definitely building and scaling Solera and being able to raise $72M of capital. We grew that organization very quickly, both in terms of revenue and people. Throughout that process, I found my voice, and so, one of the things I’m most proud of is actually being recognized as a thought leader.”

What’s the most difficult part of growing your business or building your business from scratch?

🛋 Alicia: “Your business is your baby, so everything falls back on you. In the beginning, I wore so many hats every day. I worked on marketing, accounting, sales, while running the business. It’s not easy, but it’s all part of being an entrepreneur.”

😊 Katherine: “I’m learning all the time. Social media marketing, keyword research, perfecting my website — I know how to do design, but I have to learn everything else to get my products into the hands of people. I’ll never stop learning, which is cool.”

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “You must learn everything. There is no shortcut. You can’t hire an expert from day one. I want to understand things, I want to know the ins and outs of my business. In the beginning, I was willing to outlearn and outwork anyone, and I think that’s why I’ve been able to succeed and grow my business. You don’t know what you don’t know until you’re willing to figure it out.”

🔋 Jennifer: “The hardest part is getting people to believe in you. Getting people’s trust — from your employees and your customers to your vendors — and proving that you can keep this thing going is a challenge.”

🏥 Brenda: “First, it’s the learning curve. Being an entrepreneur is just so incredibly different from having the established processes and infrastructure typical of a larger organization. All of a sudden, you’re a CEO, and you have to know legal, compliance, HR, sales, product, and marketing — whereas in a larger company, you would only need to know about one cog in the wheel.”

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman in the SMB space?

🛋 Alicia: “Women have a little more of a challenge because of the nature of the business world. We always have to prove ourselves a little more and show that we have the knowledge to do the job. You just have to show that you’re as capable as the next person and that it’s still an equal playing field.”

😊 Katherine: “One of the hardest challenges I face is I have so many goals, but then life — life happens, and you have to roll with the punches. But in my mind, it’s all going to get done eventually, so if you do everything you can one day, you’ll do the rest tomorrow.”

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “Being underestimated is a challenge that we women face frequently. I think it’s coming around, with so many women in business. But I think that underestimation also comes from ourselves. We can sell ourselves short because it can be hard to see how our life and personal goals complement or coexist with our desire to be entrepreneurial women.”

🔋 Jennifer: “I’ve had people assume I was a receptionist, or ask for my male employees to answer their questions even though I’m the president. When I worked alongside my dad, I remember thinking, ‘What are women talking about? There’s no stereotyping in business!’ But when it was just me, I realized that I hadn’t been a ‘woman’ in business; I had been a ‘woman sitting next to a man’ in business.”

🏥 Brenda: “Credibility. Going out into the market, people would always assume I was the sales rep. They would say things to me like, ‘Oh, that sounds like a great idea. You should take that up with senior leadership.’ No one would ask or assume that I was CEO; I didn’t have the instant credibility of being a guy in a blue suit.

And when it came to raising capital, what people were investing in for early ventures was the team. And pattern recognition tends to perpetuate the trend of investing in folks who are similar to startups who have done well in the past. Traditionally, those haven’t been led by women. So there was a huge credibility challenge.”

When it comes to being a woman in the business world, there always seems to be questions on how we balance work and family/motherhood. What are your thoughts on this topic?

🛋 Alicia: “I work 24/7. I had the mentality that for my business to succeed, I had to be available and flexible for my clients. So I kept my family life and my business life separate. But I recognize that when you’re a small business owner, that balance can get skewed at times. You have to adjust, and having a great support system is super important.”

😊 Katherine: “Being a mom, I don’t know how I get it all done sometimes. Try to find any way possible to maintain consistency. I have a lot of lists, alarms, and reminders to help me keep balance. There’s a way to make it all happen. And sometimes, it’s overwhelming and you have to take a day off. Don’t feel guilty about it!”

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “I think a lot of women decide they have to pick and choose — being a wife and a mother or owning a business. And as someone who sacrificed a lot to work on my business, I realize now that we can have both. I have plenty of badass business friends who are moms and wives and mega-talented in other areas of their world. So it’s nice to see that we can have it all.”

🔋 Jennifer: “I don’t know how women do it. There are nights when I’m working ‘till midnight, so I’m not the best example of what it’s like to balance. A lot of women in my life have kids and are building their careers, and they hit the ground running. My mom helped my dad build this business, and she had three kids, so she’s a walking inspiration.”

🏥 Brenda: “I raised three kids while being an entrepreneur, and you need to recognize that you really need a strong support system. To some extent, your schedule grows out of your control, so of course, there are sacrifices to be made. But you have to consciously make that choice.

And I felt guilty, never being home or missing certain events. But my daughter — who’s now 32 — just thanked me for being such a good role model. So while I was wracked with guilt, I never realized that I was setting a good example and that we shouldn’t feel guilty for pursuing our dreams.”

How can women best support other female entrepreneurs and business leaders?

🛋 Alicia: “Mentoring. As a business leader, mentoring another female entrepreneur is key. You can steer them away from making the same mistakes. You can give them the encouragement to not give up and keep going with their dream. Because having someone they can call on when they do have an issue or they’re just feeling down, like they can’t go on, is everything.”

😊 Katherine: “Every payday, I try to order from different companies that I save on Instagram or TikTok. People make such good art, and there are so many creations out there. I’ll post and tag them on my Instagram or leave reviews because I know that will help improve their searches. Doing what I can to help them get exposure.”

💆‍♀️ Melissa: “Just genuinely be an incredible woman and human, like a lighthouse. Your authenticity, passion, and joy will shine out like a lighthouse shining its light for those lost at sea. Of course, there are so many ways of sharing and collaborating with others, but all we have to do is find our light, embody it, and share it. Because others will be drawn to it, and they will be reminded of their own light. And that, to me, is how we will effectively change the world.”

🔋 Jennifer: “I work in a very male-dominated industry, and the only other female business owner I’ve met offered her experience and help to me, which was really nice. She also told me that I need to connect with more women, so my goal this year or next is to reach out to other females in my industry.”

🏥 Brenda: “I always say, ‘I don’t try to eliminate the speedbumps, I just make them lower.’ Being able to help these female entrepreneurs and founders feels so gratifying at this point in my career. So I’d say to mentor females inside or out of your organization, or hire female executives who are high potential. For folks who are younger in their career, you can participate in organizations like Girls in Tech. And for females looking for help, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to someone who you feel could add a lot of value to your career.”

Big thanks again to Alicia, Katherine, Melissa, Jennifer, and Brenda for taking the time to share their experiences!

Article

5 Female Entrepreneurs on What It Takes To Succeed in the Business World

5 Female Entrepreneurs on What It Takes To Succeed in the Business World

May 9, 2022

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