Tis the season (or almost!) to surround ourselves with family and friends in love and celebration. As Thanksgiving approaches and the traditional "give thanks" spirit fills the dining room and takes over our social media feeds, there is no better time to reflect and count our blessings. As a business owner, mother, and wife, I really feel that I have so much gratitude to express and reasons to feel grateful. Sheryl Sandberg attested to this sentiment last spring--and her message resonated with me so much so that I still feel inspiration and guidance from her words.
So this is my ode to entrepreneurs:
Have Faith. Being a small business owner was not a part of my plan, but when our boys were still small, my husband Fred and I fell on hard times and we needed to generate extra income. I saw the potential to build a business reselling luxury and designer goods using this new platform known as eBay, an up and coming website. I'll never forget the day Fred told me I had a great business model and he was going to leave his job to join me in taking Linda's Stuff to the next level. I was worried our fledging business could fail. Our family's wellbeing was now resting on this big leap of faith. But with a good business plan and unwavering dedication, we took the leap together. The thought of starting your own business may be scary, but you have to believe in yourself before anyone else can, too. Take a moment to remember this every day. I am so proud of the strength and faith I had in becoming an entrepreneur. Have faith in yourself and you can achieve anything.
Count Your Blessings. Fast forward to 16 years later--Linda's Stuff is a $25 million business, I am CEO, my husband is President, my oldest son is VP of Business Development and we're successful together! Slowly, from my kitchen table (literally), I built a business that grew and grew, until it eventually took over our entire house and now, we find ourselves occupying a 93,000 sq. foot office space. I am so blessed to work with my husband and son, Max at our growing family business. Always stop and take stock of all the positive things in your life - whether it is a wonderfully supportive family, good health, the ability to plan for the future or even the simple things like a beautiful night sky - you have to remind yourself daily of what you have to be grateful for.
Give Back. As a female entrepreneur, I think it's important to foster entrepreneurship among the next generation. This is why I choose to speak at universities and organizations and help others learn how to build and grow a successful business. You're never too young or too old, to try something new. If you're seeking guidance and advice for starting your own business- established entrepreneurs should lend their knowledge and experience. It's meaningful for me to help encourage young people to follow their dreams in business. And I hope more people in my position will do the same.
Sheryl Sandberg said, "You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive." I use these words as direction in everything I do. The path to success may not have been an easy one, but the choices we make, despite some fears, can lead our dreams into reality.