I'm excited to start my "Leading Ladies" series featuring some of the amazing women who have been friends, mentors, and an amazing support system for me! First up is Shauna Mackenzie, founder of Best Kept Self. Get ready to be inspired by Shauna's start, her work ethic, and overall outlook on business and life.
How did you get your start?
I started my first business when I was 22 while working in my first full-time job post college. It began by first reaching out to those in my industry to get on the phone with anyone and everyone who would talk to me. Through the help of friends and family, I got my first few clients from simply having a website and existing. If only everything could be that easy! I worked both my full-time job and my business at the same time for about six months before my full time position was terminated due to lack of funds. It was then that I made the decision to go full-fledge with my company and NOT take another job or even a part-time job because I knew, in order to make it work, I had to dedicate my all to it. It was both the hardest and the easiest thing I ever had to do.
What risks did you take?
I addressed one in my previous answers (taking the leap to go all in) but there are others :) I think an ongoing risk that I take regularly is spending the money to make money in my business. Sometimes that can be a hard pill to swallow but knowing when the right times to 'spend it to make it' are at play are significant to my success, but not without a huge amount of risk (and energy). Also, not a risk that's often addressed but any new entrepreneur faces, including myself in the beginning of any product/biz launch is just announcing it to the world. Making it public can be incredibly scary because it stirs up the most conflicting emotions. You're scared but excited; confident but totally insecure; ready to spread the word but ready to crawl in a dark hole. Just managing those emotions is a risk in and of itself sometimes!
What is something that scares you?
Being so in my own world that I'm not able to see what I need to do or want to do in the best way clearly. Meaning, I never want to be so close to something that I'm missing opportunities to receive input from those around me that may know better, have incredible insight to share, or who can see it form an angle that I'm totally missing. I just never want to stop learning, connecting with others, and seeking feedback. Taking the initiative seek feedback (good and bad) and more importantly - using it appropriately - is what I believe distinguishes those who are successful from those who aren't.
Looking back on your career, what was a major turning point for you?
Hiring my first employee. It just completely took things to another level. Having someone involved in your business to hold you accountable, to become more structured, and to take things off your plate among many other things is an incredible feeling. It really has pushed me to think bigger and do bigger.
What are three pieces of advice you’ve received that you’ve carried with you throughout your career?
Simple and well known but impactful tidbits I implement every. single. day.
Think bigger. Underpromise and overdeliver. Keep it simple.
Not thinking bigger from the very beginning. Sometimes I think, 'why was I seemingly waiting for permission to think bigger? I had the ability to do it from day one.'