As a former Division I softball player, captain of multiple USA Women’s Rugby Teams, and an elite Aquabike athlete for Team USA, I’ve experienced more bumps, bruises, and concussions than I can remember. But that doesn’t compare to the challenges I encountered while bringing to life my vision: a revolutionary toy that celebrates girls’ and young women’s athletic identities.
In retrospect, it’s been one of my most rewarding journeys, but it didn’t come without significant hurdles. The experience was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding. I could write about it. But instead, I’m going to focus on the three insights I gained in the process that might help other women carve out their own entrepreneurial paths:
1. Start with the ‘why’ and let it guide you.
Being an athlete as a kid, it was hard for me to understand why so many sports figurines, magazines and posters I saw were only made of men. The “why” behind developing my company, SPORT BIGS, started with creating the toy that I always wanted but never had — because it didn’t exist.
Further, the symbolism of the toy is a sign of my purpose. As an athlete, I’ve encountered inequity my whole life. In high school, my basketball team had to change in the sprinkler room while the boys’ team got the real locker room. We also played in the “bad” gym while the boys enjoyed the new facilities. These conditions still exist at the grassroots level: In 2019, coverage of women’s sports on televised news and highlight shows accounted for only 5.4% of all airtime, and women teams and athletes have historically received less than 1% of sponsorship dollars.
You’ll always learn new things along the way, but it’s important to develop your “why” when you begin your entrepreneurial journey. Find it and use it as motivation and inspiration throughout your entrepreneurial journey.
“Whatever it is that you think you want to do, and whatever it is that you think stands between you and that, stop making excuses. You can do anything.” – Katia Beauchamp
2. Don’t take your ball and go home.
My sports experience was a good preparation for running a business. Expect challenges on the field. You’ve seen them before. These are the things you know how to handle. You also know when it ends. However, entrepreneurship can be a completely new sport.
Entrepreneurship can be overwhelming, never-ending and sometimes even impossible. When a purpose-backed vision fuels you, it’s easy to set your sights on the end game of your idea and overlook all the details you’ll have to cover to get there. These details may appear out of the blue and threaten to throw you off your feet. Stay strong, keep fighting, and your eyes are straight ahead.
When I decided to make my idea a reality, I didn’t consider how complex the differences between stuffed toys and figurines were. I didn’t think about how the toy’s size would impact its shelf liability, or how to source materials and coordinate with suppliers. Although it was hard to understand the details for each new step, I remembered how my athletic training had instilled perseverance. When you come face-to-face with a new hurdle, remember the other places in your life where you’ve shown resilience. You can bring that same spirit to the entrepreneurial table, and you will be successful.
3. Your team can be expanded with new players.
A huge part of my journey was learning to temper my instinct to “put the team on my back.” When I look back at times I hit a wall, I realize I never broke through by myself. When I struggled to build out the concept in the beginning, for example, my brother connected me with his wife’s best friend’s cousin, who happened to be in the business of incubating toy ideas. I was also connected to Irene through the Women in Toys mentoring program. Irene, who was a retired Hong Kong woman, decided to put her money on me success and return to retirement to assist me.
Dan Sullivan, author of “Why Not How,” wrote a book on how teamwork can help you achieve bigger goals. In “Why Not How,” he writes, “If you are like most people, the first thing you do when you imagine a bigger future is ask yourself: ‘How do I achieve this goal?’ A much better question is ‘Who can help me achieve this goal?’”
It is better to know who you can rely on than to go it alone. When you get stuck, don’t try to figure out yet another way to put your team on your back. Consider who else you could bring to the team. The key to your success is often building a strong team that shares your vision and uses the necessary skills to make it a reality.
Because I wanted to make the world a better place for girls and young women, I set out to create a brand new tool. Now, I’m driven to share the journey of its creation to help women entrepreneurs who, frankly, are still forced to play behind the scenes.
The post It’s Imperative That Women Take the Field And Find Success first appeared on Addicted 2 Success.
The post It’s Imperative That Women Take the Field And Find Success appeared first on Addicted 2 Success.