Today is National Entrepreneur’s Day - which is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the creators of almost every man-made thing around us. From the invention of the postage stamp to some of our favorite brands - every one of these began from a founder. Whether you’re looking at Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg or the owner of your local bakery. These all are a group of like-minded individuals who all decided to take a leap of faith and build their own business.
In the 1930s, economist Joseph Schumpeter defined an entrepreneur as ‘someone willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation’.
In 2012, previous US President Barack Obama had declared November to be known as Entrepreneurship Month and the third Tuesday of November to be National Entrepreneur’s Day. This day has been said to be very important as we should focus on recognising entrepreneurs, as without some, many of the jobs we have today, and the products and services we enjoy would not be available to us.
As decades have passed, women have increasingly turned to more entrepreneurial roles in their careers with women now making up 40% of new entrepreneurs. Women are truly shaping the future of business and our founder Ashleigh Hinde stands as one of them. So in the spirit of the day, we sat down with Ashleigh to talk about entrepreneurship and what advice she would give fellow aspiring entrepreneurs.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to go down the route of starting their own business in 2022?
When people say don’t sweat the small stuff, well the small stuff is actually just as important as the big stuff. Focusing on the details and small things in your business is really important and these can sometimes escalate to bigger issues if left unchecked.
Based on my own personal experience, I would also say not to allow entrepreneurship to consume your whole life and impact your health and stress levels. It is important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself and being pragmatic. Being an entrepreneur can be quite emotional with lots of ups and downs so be prepared for the journey ahead!
What was your business highlight of 2021?
Launching our Doctor Partnership Program and having Eye Doctors fitting our lenses in their practice this year has been a big business highlight for WALDO. When we launched WALDO four years ago, we had a clear vision: disrupt the eyecare industry and create the go-to, trusted eyecare brand for wearers and Optometrists. Now, we’re focusing our efforts on partnering with US-based doctors who are aligned with our belief that good eye health starts with the doctors, and we look forward to using our platform to spearhead change, and inspire and spread positivity.
Have you found any challenges facing being a female entrepreneur?
As a young female entrepreneur just starting out, I was often given a recurring suggestion from the men around me: to consider bringing on board a male co-founder. There was a widespread consensus that if I brought on a male co-founder during the early stages, it would be easier to raise capital. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that someone’s gender could influence the success of my business and worried, gender aside, that bringing someone on board fairly late in the game (when the brand and business had already been launched) had the potential to create conflict and dilute the focus. So being cautious of what advice I take and always contextualizing it, I looked at this in the context of it being easier to raise money with a male co-founder. I understood that advice was based on the fact that “most investors are male” - only 7% of partners at the top 100 venture firms are women – and therefore they find it easier to build a rapport with male founders. But I ultimately decided, we should be breaking this very cycle, rather than playing into it and it is important to build professional relationships and rapport with men to do so.
Vision is the energy that provides entrepreneurs with the ability to perform and succeed which is why at WALDO we are focused on championing your vision whether you choose that to be down the entrepreneurial path or not.
At WALDO we believe in the power of positive vision, so take a moment today to celebrate an entrepreneur who inspires you.