How this first-time founder learned to embrace the unknown.
In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there conducting business battle every day. (Answers have already been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what’s your business?
I am Lisa Barnett. I am in the infant biz! I am the co-founder and CMO of Little Spoon, a brand new, direct-to-your-door baby food company. We ship you fresh, organic, personalized meals for your child so we are able to ensure he/she gets what’s needed developmentally and nutritionally.
What does the term “entrepreneur” mean for you?
The term if you ask me is synonymous with ‘hustler.’ As a business owner, you can’t be afraid to place yourself as well as your ideas out there and work out how to give them life. A business owner accepts that you’re likely to need to try 1,001 ways before something starts to work. And, she/he knows that overnight successes are mythical creatures. It’s funny, I believe people often overemphasize ideation as the archetypical entrepreneurial activity. Ideas are excellent, but they certainly are a dime twelve. Having ideas doesn’t cause you to an entrepreneur. The true differentiator between ‘people with ideas’ and ‘entrepreneurs’ is how hard you can hustle and put the suggestions to work.
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That which was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Generally, I really believe an entrepreneur’s toughest challenge is making decisions under ambiguous circumstances. It is usually challenging because you can’t help but take into account the potential ramifications to your business as well as your team if you’re wrong.
Though I am a first-time founder, that is a familiar feeling for me personally. I used to perform cross-country and track at UPenn. I often never felt ready for a big race. Even after 12 seasons of competitive running and constant training, there is always something I felt unsure about. That I slept enough. That I stretched and iced enough. That I knew who else was in the race and how these were going to approach your competition. Thing is when the gun went off, that was it — I was running that 5K, and all I possibly could do is trust that the task that went into getting there would pay back.
Within my time as a competitive distance runner, I learned three considerations: 1) to simply accept that the sensation of uncertainty is a constant, 2) that so that you can cope with it, you ‘must’ have unrelenting confidence not that you’ll continually be right, but that you’ll always figure it out, and 3) to just forget about making mistakes, and concentrate on just escaping . there and trying.
Entrepreneurship IS FOCUSED ON the Fight
What trait do you depend of all when coming up with decisions?
I have a gut feel on what decision I believe I’ll make, but I love to validate my gut — or hypothesis — by firmly taking in a large amount information before making your final decision. I don’t mean consuming just data (though I really like that whenever possible), but also hearing other people’s opinions, reading about the broader context where the decision lies, etc. When I was employed in capital raising, a big mistake I saw a whole lot of founders make had not been recognizing or accepting that that they had blind spots. It’s easy to use in a bubble and feel just like you understand your customer best, therefore i make an effort to force myself out of my very own head.
How has your leadership style evolved?
I’ve always led by example. I never like expecting things from individuals who I wouldn’t do myself. And many people are different, so I desire to be sure that furthermore to leading by example, I am also directly tailoring my style to greatly help best empower them to operate a vehicle results (and revel in the task). It’s a constant learning process, but managing people is most likely the most considerations a founder must do so it’s worth your time and effort!
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Will there be a specific quote or saying that you utilize as personal motivation?
I’ve two current favorites – Thomas Edison, who said: “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 techniques won’t work.” A nd Reid Hoffman, who said: “A business owner is somebody who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane along the way down."
These both inspire me because they show that the entrepreneurial journey isn’t linear. Mistakes are inevitable however in no way detrimental. In addition they remind me to spotlight being resourceful and solving problems — which is ultimatel