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3 Female Leaders Share Their Secrets for Starting and Growing a Business

These lessons are a reminder that if you stay connected to your mission and maintain the right mindset, anything is possible.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As the founder of the GirlTalk Network, I know that one of the best ways to grow personally and financially is to seek inspiration and knowledge from those who are already walking the walk in their own authentic way. Starting a business isn’t easy, and growing it into an empire can seem like a pipe dream. But it can be a reality. I reached out to three truly motivational female entrepreneurs I’ve come to know over the years and asked them to share how they built successful empires rooted in their passions. Read on to get some hard-earned advice, and get fired up!

1. Create a clear vision and belief in the business you’re starting.

Danette May, founder of Mindful Health, LLC: “Find the ‘deep why’ of your mission. This is the basis that will carry you through. I have never questioned whether my dreams will happen. I always know they will. It is just a matter of time.” 

Lisa Bilyeu, co-founder and President of Impact Theory and co-founder of Quest Nutrition: “There may be goals I haven’t hit but dreams are something I don’t let go of. My path may not be the right one, but I adjust accordingly. When I have a dream, I have to believe it’s always possible. Who we are today does not dictate who we can become. We just have to start with believing we can do something. It really all starts with that belief. Because we all can learn anything we set our minds to. That belief has absolutely allowed me to set big lofty goals and see them come into fruition.” 

Alyssa Nobriga, creator of coaching platform Alyssa Bobriga International: “We’re scripting our own stories. How we interpret our life is up to us and affects the quality of our lives. So, why not win our dream?”

Related: The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

2. Have a creative perspective in the face of failure.

Danette May: Failure is not failure — it is an opportunity to learn. Without it, you can only go so far. I remember the day we got kicked off Facebook. This was a day when we were fairly new in the business and all our revenue came from Facebook. We would capture leads (emails) through an opt-in funnel as our bread and butter. I remember my partner’s emotions — he was frantic, nervous, and scared. At that moment, a calm came over me. I knew in my cells, we would work around it. Our mission was bigger than us and a source greater than us would work it out and that deep knowing has carried me through every moment and downfall since. Since that time, we have been back on Facebook and even got invited into their headquarters where they asked, ‘How can we help you?'”

Lisa Bilyeu: “Learn to love the process, because success isn’t guaranteed. It was the early days of Quest and every batch of bars we ran was everything to us. One day an employee mixed the wrong flavoring into the run. He poured the mixed berry flavoring into our peanut butter bar. That was money we couldn’t afford to lose. So we tried it and realized it kinda tasted like PB&J. We wrapped them in blank wrappers, put up a post on Facebook that we had a new prototype bar and it was limited quantity. Within a few hours, we sold out. We then immediately took it into production and it became our best-selling bar for a while.”

Related: 8 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Business

Alyssa Nobriga: “A chronic health challenge got the best of me and I just couldn’t produce at the level I typically do. At first, I felt all this anxiety come up that my dreams wouldn’t happen and it forced me to face all the fears and grief that went with that. Ironically, the most incredible thing happened as a result: I felt peace and amazing opportunities started landing in my lap. I wasn’t pushing or holding myself to standards that I had to achieve anymore. I had surrendered and grace opened up. In one week, the very week I transformed those fears, my health condition healed, and I was asked to partner with a dream company doing what I love best. I think I’m onto something here and it was because I faced my fears.”

3. Take care of yourself every day and do what works for you.

Danette May: “I get into nature every single day and I listen. I listen to the silence and the inner wisdom that is already pulsing through my veins. Never forget, you are the guru. It’s up to you to get silent. Turn off the phone, TV and expert advice and listen.” 

Lisa Bilyeu: “Training and lifting heavy weights in the gym is my sanctuary. It is time that I am able to be selfish and focus on me. It also allows me to focus on something very specific and the effort I put in is directly related to the results I see. The results are mine and mine alone. If I don’t see progress, it is only me.” 

Related: 10 Grants You Need to Know About for Your Woman-Owned Business

Alyssa Nobriga: “One way I feel more confident, ironically, is through insecurity. I secure the insecurity directly inside me. Meaning, when that feeling comes up, rather than trying to get rid of it, I embrace it and it moves on within a matter of seconds.”

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