These business leaders are working in a challenging industry thats constantly changing and where clients sometimes expect the world handed to them immediately. And while it may be nice to own a company and call the shots, the responsibility of being the boss will bring a steady stream of expectations from employees, clients and partners. More and more women are making an impact as company founders, and they’re savvy enough to face the daunting challenge of creating a business.
Here are two women at the top of their game, who give advice on lessons learned, the importance of having a continued commitment for success and how to get over obstacles without losing yourself in the process.
Elsa Ramo, Attorney and Founder of Law Offices of Elsa RAMO
“What helped me was [that] I naively thought, ‘Oh, I’ll just start a law firm. How hard could it be?’ In a lot of ways, I have an appreciation as a boss because when I started I couldn’t afford an assistant. I had to share a copy machine with someone else, so I had to learn how to copy really quickly, and I had to answer my own phones. It’s been a decade; I’ve been doing this for 11 years. Now I’m at the phase where I’m scaling and I’m a real boss and out of that entrepreneurial mindset. That’s a transition in itself. What makes me a strong boss is that I’ve done that job. When I hire an attorney who is working for me and is dealing with a lower-level matter, I was there at the front line dealing with all of it. I think as an entrepreneur, when you are committed to starting and building a business from the ground up, part of that commitment and success is being the one who is willing to be the one to stay up till two in the morning and figure out how the hell you do the things you don’t know.
“Part of my problem is everyone wants everything yesterday. I really have to take a step back and figure out how we could be strategic. Coming from a place where I’ve done it, I have a right for justification for what I’m asking, which helps me to be a better boss. One of the things I try not to be is a slave to the multitasking endeavor. Yes, I can do 10 things at once, but if I do them all at a mediocre level that’s not going to really do anyone any good. Part of my evolution, which is definitely a work in progress, is I try to be conscious of not just being so busy but [asking myself], ‘What am I so busy doing? And why am I doing this? And does this fit into my goals for today? For six months from now or for two years from now?’ Sometimes when I take a step back I realize that killing myself for a client that wants to pay me half of what I should be paid with unrealistic deadlines and is a total pain in the butt may not be the right fit for me. I’m really conscious to not just be motivated by the power of [being] busy, but how I’m spending my time and being conscious of it. I definitely feel like being busy, especially in L.A., especially in the film industry. Entrepreneur means nothing to me at this point, and something being urgent means nothing to me. And that’s only taken me a decade to finally make that realization.
“I disassociate fear from failure. To be a failure is a mistake and so, for me, when any failure occurs I have to do two things: I have to take ownership of the situation and then accountability. When it’s your business, it’s your fault. It doesn’t matter if your intern did it or your associate did it, it’s your fault. I really don’t have fear of that kind of failure because I signed up for that. Producers are the most fearful human beings on earth. Everything could go wrong and gets pressed till the last minute. If I fed off of their fear, I would get nothing done.”
Tina Hoover, VP of Marketing & Customer Development at BrainRush
“I love the digital side of media, because to me there is so much there that’s the future of how entertainment will be funded, distributed and consumed. In my experience where I’ve worked, big companies are trying to figure that out. They are trying to protect their space. All the little startups are trying to come in and innovate, and the big companies tend to not know how to do that well, so they buy the small companies. So in my mind you can innovate in one of those small companies or you can innovate in the big company, and there are pros and cons to both.
“One of the things I found most challenging was finding people to talk to. You can’t vent to your employees. I didn’t have anyone to talk to, and that was frustrating to me. I can talk to my friends and husband, but they don’t understand the people and particulars and they don’t care in the same way. I found that really hard. I found that a little lonely. One of the ways to overcome that is to link up with other entrepreneurs like you and that are going through the same situations.
“Fail fast and then move on. Recognize it, learn from it. When you are afraid of failure you tend to ignore it. Look at it in the face, address it as a team, talk it through and then you come out so much more confident, and you also don’t make the same mistake again.”