In celebration of entrepreneur month, we asked Patti to share her journey as an entrepreneur and what it means to her.
It starts with a dream.
Entrepreneurship is a deep connection with the dream state, a curiosity about life and how things work, and very intuitive for me. I can’t resist channeling new ideas, and then acting on the best of those ideas to contribute to the world… to move things forward in some meaningful way, to create something that wasn’t there before… something that brings value, meaning, and delight to others.
Paying attention to my inner life is important. Waxing Poetic first came to me (quite in an “a-ha moment”) as a very simple idea that just wouldn’t go away: a small, iconic jewelry design that represented so much more than the form it took. I knew it was a great idea that had never been done before. It aligned with my beliefs. I didn’t know where it was going exactly, but I knew that I had to bring it to life.
You have an idea, then what?
You go all in. This is the hard part, but the reverse side of that coin is that it is thrilling. When you believe in yourself, when you have some support (for me, it was my husband, sister and parents) and when you have talent and drive, innately you know that you can get there, so you put everything you have into making it happen. If you keep going, you simply can’t fail.
And sleepless nights?
Yes. I have had more than my fair share of sleepless nights, sure, but all-in-all, I wake up and can’t wait to get to work. The hard parts inherent in bringing a new idea to life will test you, but will also show you what you are made of.
Why take such risks?
In my experience, an idea needs to be developed to a certain point before others will join you. When I have a gut instinct that something has huge potential, but others are not convinced yet, I will often just go ahead and start developing it. If it fails, I have only myself to blame. But if it starts “going,” this is usually when other people will want to join in. To me, the rewards usually always outweigh the risks (even though risk can bring you right to the edge testing your limits like you have never done before). Knowing what you are made of, what “could have been,” why something failed, and ultimately having success, being able to share that success and doing some good in the world: these things are like gold to an entrepreneur… gold that is more valuable than some of the things you had to give up to get there.
Talk about fear.
Fear can be the most useful compass that points the entrepreneur towards innovation. My process for dealing with fear is to try to greet it head-on, and then alchemize it into innovation. In business, if you are not afraid, you may be stagnating. If I am fearful at all, I know I am onto something challenging and ultimately rewarding. All entrepreneurs want to create the wonderful, “never-before” from their extraordinary gifts. That is the point really, so a big “thank you” to fear is in order!
Talk about failure.
Failure to me is a two-fold gift: it is a great teacher, and it is a great transformer. If someone hasn’t failed, they haven’t tried. There is that great saying about “you miss 100% of the shots you never take.” I love that. Take the shots, don’t be afraid to fail. Learn, refine, and keep taking more shots. Failures put into action are often transformed into winning shots.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
My dad is a former NFL football player, and early on he told me “keep your head down, and keep running until you hear the glass shatter.” I don’t think he meant the “glass ceiling,” but just to play your own game, be focused, and keep moving toward your goal. But I love that for me, it also means owning my ambition, and continually and unapologetically moving towards breaking some new ground for women as a female business owner.
Advice for other entrepreneurs?Believe in yourself.
There will be times when other people don’t. That is okay, do it for yourself.
Pay attention to your dreams. This is where the magic happens. Channel those dreams into action.
Don’t listen to people who don’t get what you are doing. Until you show them, they might not understand. Be okay with that. Keep going.
Don’t look for the answers “out there.” Operate from the inside out. Don’t let external people or forces sway you from your mission.
Learn the lessons. Building a business is full of S curves. Learn from both the upticks and downturns.
Invest your time in people. Share yourself and your business with others.
Have integrity in everything you do.
Don’t try to over-control outcomes. Trust in the unknown. What comes of it might be better than anything you could have imagined.
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