AIn 2012, I was selected as an EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman. That was a pivotal turning point for me, both personally and professionally. As EY is finalizing their search for 2017 Winning Woman Class, I am reminded about my entrepreneurial journey and wanted to share my key insights with you. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint hearted, it takes fierce determination, boundless energy and an unshakeable belief that you can and will succeed.
…Be bold, be fearless, be fully committed to success…
• What Being Bold Means
To me, it means standing confident and claiming your space in the marketplace.
The market, employees, community, and our own families look to us as entrepreneurs, and innovators, to create the future we all want to live and work in. Being bold with integrity, gives everyone confidence and a compass of certainty. While I may not always feel bold and strong, it’s a characteristic that all EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Woman have and I strive to be every day.
• My Motivation to Start My Company
My motivation came from being the change I wanted to see in the world.
Nobody seemed to care enough about how moms, kids, and pets are affected by the traditional “poison and kill” pest control methods. I felt very strongly that this status-quo needed to change - and I had the idea and passion to do it. It has not been easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.
• The Experience that Best Prepared Me to Become an Entrepreneur
I've been a serial entrepreneur, many times over.
Each time, it was for convenience, flexibility, or extra cash – thinking small. With EarthKind it was different, I was motivated by ANGER! I got really mad about the fact that our farm property continued to get mice damage. I wanted to prevent it from happening rather than continuing to be reactive using poisons and traps which were not people, pet, or planet friendly. That anger gave me the energy to take action.
Despite starting with nothing (no market experience, no chemistry degree, no college degree, and no money!), I was determined to find a solution. Memories of my deceased fathers rodent trials as an entomologist came flooding back and a tiny flicker of belief emerged that just maybe I could do something to make a difference. Once I found that a driving purpose infused with a good strategy was all anyone really needed to make a difference in the world, I become unstoppable.
• Be Prepared to Risk it All for Success
I've sold everything I had of value because I believed in what I was doing.
I sold my horse, my camper, even my house—basically everything I held dear. I even had to move into my daughter’s one bedroom college apartment for a time. As a result, my company is still privately held, and I've become quite business savvy as a result of learning to leverage every penny to make this business work. For years I’d sleep on a train and transport my trade show booth in my carry on, then clean up in the public restroom. Today I take a private plane (my husband is a pilot) because it's now about leveraging the cost of my time.
• My Most Valuable Failure
Every failure is valuable learning experience!
The most valuable lesson has been to learn believe in myself even when no one else did. For instance, I failed in K-12 school and was in special education classes. No one ever thought I would do anything big in life - so I didn't either. Once I had children that all changed. I knew I had to reinvent myself so they would grow up able to do, or be, anything they wanted. It took until I was 40 to graduate from college, but I did it—Manga cum Laude! I'm incredibly grateful for those who believed in me and gave me chances to prove myself even whenI couldn’tsee it in myself. This is one of the biggest reasons why I love being a leader and cultivating the belief in others that they can do seemingly impossible things.
• How to Inspire the Next Generation
The most important thing I thing we can do inspire the next generation is to be visible.
It's so important for our children to see good business leaders. Leaders who don't put profits ahead of family, society, or the environment. There are not enough 'visible' value based leaders. We need more of them.
• What do I Want to be Remembered For
Living proof that you can 'be the change' you want to see in the world.
I used EY’s suggested insights to prepare this blog post.(EY knows how to ask the best questions to get the best results!) There is still time to apply for the Entrepreneurial Winning Woman Class of 2017, I encourage you to do so and change your future. Apply here: http://www.ey.com/us/en/services/strategic-growth-markets/entrepreneurial-winning-women--how-to-apply-and-nominate