"We had confidence in our ability to LEARN to run a business"
We're so excited for our upcoming Make It Count! program at Moms as Mentors®. For those of you who haven't attended, Make It Count! is an empowering mom-daughter program that helps moms and girls bond, while doing activities together that promote financial empowerment and spark girls' interest in business/entrepreneurship.
We believe that an important part of girls building the confidence to pursue fields like business and entrepreneurship is hearing stories of real women entrepreneurs.
Girls need to know that being successful means being resilient, picking yourself up when you face an obstacle, learning from it and moving on to the next challenge. So I was thrilled when I had the chance to speak with Julie Cole, one of the Co-Founders (all mothers) of the extraordinarily successful business Mabel's Labels.
For those of you who don't know, Mabel’s Labels is an award-winning company that sells personalized durable labels for families. Among other honors, they have received the 2014 RBC Women Entrepreneur Award-PROFIT Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and have been featured on shows like The View, Today, The Early Show, Rachael Ray and many magazines, newspapers and countless other blogs and websites.
Here are some highlights from my recent conversation with Julie:
LESLIE: Two aims of our Make It Count! program are to increase confidence, both of girls and their moms, and to help nurture their entrepreneurial spirits. As a girl and/or woman, who or what has made the biggest impact on your confidence?
JULIE: My mother and grandmother. I think it's really important for girls to not only have great role models, but people who have unwavering confidence in them. That's what I had and it positioned me well. My mom used to say that parents need to give children "roots and wings," roots to build them a strong foundation and then wings to let them go. And that's what she gave me. I was raised being told I could do anything by both parents. They had high expectations but were always encouraging.
LESLIE: How has your confidence level in yourself changed since you first started Mabel's Labels?
JULIE: I was a fairly confident person already but when we started, we knew nothing about business and didn't have business degrees. So we didn't have confidence in running a business, BUT we had confidence in our ability to learn to run a business and to ask for help when we needed it. We were prepared to take risks and confident that we could learn from any mistakes we made. We always said there's only learning, no failure. We never made the same mistake twice and were able to apply lessons we learned from any challenges we faced to whatever our next project was. This whole learning process leads to confidence.
LESLIE: We also emphasize the importance of resilience. Could you share a time when Mabel's Labels faced an obstacle/"failed at something" and what gave you the determination to keep going?
JULIE: Oh my gosh, there have been so many-it's hard to think of just one! I would say that one challenge we've faced comes from having four Co-Founders with four different personalities and communication style. We've had to learn how to improve our communication the hard way, and have had times when our communications went off track. We realized that we needed some outside coaching...so we got some! And while it's still a challenge, we have become more aware of different communication styles and more empathetic towards one another.
LESLIE: Did you always see yourself as entrepreneurial? Or was this something you didn't know about yourself until you had the inspiration for Mabel's Labels ?
JULIE: I didn't...I thought I was going to be a legal aid and practice family law! It's funny where life's paths take us... but while I may not have grown up thinking of myself as an entrepreneur, I believe entrepreneurship is no different than being good at something like music. Just like you can learn and practice piano to become good at it, over time you can learn to become an entrepreneur.
LESLIE: Do you have any advice for moms who want to encourage their daughters to be entrepreneurial?
JULIE: Encouraging your daughter to follow entrepreneurial pursuits can take a lot of your time as a background support...but it will be the most rewarding thing you can do. Encourage your daughters to be innovative, think outside the box, hone their skills and talents-all of this will make for a fun and feisty life! Also, encourage your daughters to make their own money, have their own bank accounts...help them to become self-reliant and independent (you can do this through role-modeling as well)!.
Thank you to Julie for taking the time to speak with Moms as Mentors® and share her own journey with confidence and entrepreneurship.
Moms--we hope you join us on April 30th at Simmons College at our Make It Count! program, which gives you a chance to nurture your daughter's inner entrepreneur (that you might not know she had!). For details and to register, go to https://makeitcount-simmons-april30.eventbrite.com