The last thing in the world that I like talking about is being a female business owner. I mean, I’m not above using it for my own gain – see me in Fast Company, but I try not to view myself as anything but a “business owner,” full stop. As such, I have lots of other businesspeople that I look up to – both male and female. It also means that I can’t stand posers. I don’t care how successful you are, if you’re fake, that fakeness filters down into your work.
I love smart, humble, real entrepreneurs, which is why I’m all about Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal and writer of #GIRLBOSS. Her products and brand are great, but what really impresses me is how honest she is about running a business.
In her words, “The older I get the less confident I become.”
She talks candidly about this in the paperback version of her book, excerpted here in Marie Claire.
About hiring the right people, “At some point along the way, I realized that the people who were there at the beginning may have busted their asses and been super-loyal, but for some, that loyalty was to a version of Nasty Gal as it was then; not necessarily what it promises to be in the future. Sometimes people want to drag you into the past, are unwilling to change, and stand in judgment of the decisions you make when they have even less information than you do.”
I can relate. Your business grows, and the last thing you want to do is add to payroll when you have your A-Team on their A-Game. The more people I’ve hired wrong, the more hesitant I’ve become, and the more aware I am of how one bad apple can poison an entire team.
What’s Sophia’s takeaway? “So what have I learned? What’s in the future? Consider me half- baked. Just peeling back another layer of the onion every day. As I wrote in my book: You shouldn’t idolize anyone. And I’m telling you again, don’t idolize me. I don’t know shit. Neither do your parents. But if I can pull this off, so can you. Take that and run with it.”
What I do know is where my strengths and weaknesses lie. And I hire smarter than me to compensate for said weaknesses. I also hire people that get things done, that are responsible, and I always say I’d rather fire someone than micro-manage them. I just told my team the other day: Rich means having a lot of money – I don’t care about being rich. I care about being wealthy. Wealthy to me means having time. I told my team I value them because they’re the key to me acquiring wealth. Am I there yet? No. Does being around the right people give me hope? Every single day.
Another thing I know: I consider myself blessed to work with other business owners, because it’s a lonely gig. Your friend that’s a teacher will never be able to understand the life of a business owner. That just comes with the territory. Bottom line: I learn the most from people that don’t think they know it all. They don’t surround themselves with people they are smarter than, they surround themselves with people smarter than them. I like those people. I like humble.