Ambition. That’s the starting point. I think we hear so much about entrepreneurs having a vision, which is obviously important, but a vision is a product of ambition. And it can change. I was a lawyer when my father fell ill and I had to step up to run the family business. It wasn’t part of my vision, but I put passion into it and told myself to FIOGID (figure it out, get it done). By the time my dad was able to resume his role at the company, I had a new vision, and soon after I started Elevate My Brand. Like every other entrepreneur, I endured a lot of long days and sleepless nights, but it was ambition that kept my eyes on the prize. And the best part of it all is that people gravitate towards ambitious people, so others will inevitably connect to your vision and invest in it.
But don’t let ambition become pride. You absolutely need humility. You aren’t perfect, and you don’t have to be. Knowing your challenges is as important as knowing your strengths, because then you can surround yourself with people who support you and your vision. No woman is an island. If your idea is a big idea—and it should be—it’ll take a team of talented, positive people to execute. I’m so fortunate to have a family of marketing gurus at Elevate My Brand who make me look good and make our clients look even better.
Even with ambition and humility, you probably won’t get far without kindness. Never underestimate the power of a smile and a sincere compliment. And at the very least, don’t talk smack. Please. It makes you look bad, not them, because it shows your true character and your biases. One of the most valuable lessons my dad taught me was to always obey the five-minute rule. It’s simple: don’t discuss a person or a meeting until after five minutes. It allows you to really think about what’s important and lets you think before you speak and not the other way around.