In case I was about to forget why I love being an entrepreneur, three events this week reminded me why I would never, could never, do anything else in life but spend my time, energy, and money, building a business.
On Wednesday morning, the group Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NEW), which I founded in 2004, had its quarterly Breakfast Brainstorm. I founded the group when I was just starting Alchimie, and needed to speak to trusted friends who knew what I was going through – other women launching and growing their own businesses. We meet quarterly to hear speakers (this Wednesday the author and freelance writer Cathy Alter), network, share concerns and resources, and more. I leave every NEW event with a renewed sense of inspiration, dedication to my business, and sense of family and friendship.
On Wednesday evening, I flew to California. I got upgraded from Charlotte to Sacramento, thank you US Airways, and spent five hours doing what I typically do on airplanes, catching up on my reading. I started with my favorite magazine, Inc. I feel like the team of editors, writers, and contributors at Inc. are part of my board of advisors. This issue was particularly amazing, with two pieces written by two of the entrepreneurs I admire the most, Tony Hsieh of Zappos and Blake Mycoskie of Toms Shoes. I read about how Tony made the decision to sell Zappos, and why. I read about Blake’s schedule, his travels, how he stays connected to his team despite distance and different time zones. Having read the issue cover to cover, I then spent some time thinking about what I had learned, and how to apply those lessons to Alchimie. Then, I fell asleep.
On Thursday evening, I had dinner with one of my investors. PLP is young, brilliant, a serial entrepreneur, a strong supporter of Alchimie and of me, and a friend. Drinks at the View bar on the top floor of the Marriott Marquis, along with a commentary of the San Francisco skyline and sunset were followed by a drive to Berkley (and detour through UC Berkley campus) and dinner at Chez Panisse. Other than the delicious wine and outstanding meal and tour of the kitchen, the evening was filled with lessons and advice. He asked me some tough questions: where do I see myself in 5 years? What do I want to do when I grow up? What are my personal most significant challenges? He gave me advice about how to begin my upcoming shareholder meeting (don’t focus on the financials, focus on the “top of mind issues”). He made me think outside the box. He made me think about the big issues. Exactly what a friend, advisor, and investor is supposed to do. Thank you.
All in all, I love being an entrepreneur, and wouldn’t trade the challenges and delights associated with it for anything in the world. Thank you for helping me remember why I do what I do.