I recently had a fun chat with Stina Welty, Founder of The Everyday Series. Stina and 11 of her other founding members created The Everyday Series as a movement of women seeking change through collaborations and partnerships as entrepreneurs to make the world a better place. They seek to empower women entrepreneurs who are building a healthier, safer, and equitable world, and when I had the opportunity to share with her my story, I jumped right on it!
Below is a breakdown of our convo, and stay tuned for other collaborations we have in the works with Stina and her team!
MEET JESSICA: MOMPRENEUR + STARTUP GURU
When Jessica and I crossed paths on Instagram, the stars truly aligned! She shares a passion for empowering women that is so unashamedly genuine – her brand glows because she glows by being 100% herself. She wants all women to experience success in their entrepreneurial endeavors and is a true source of wisdom for all of us. Take her advice and run with it!
CAN YOU SHARE A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR JOURNEY & WHO YOU ARE?
My journey into entrepreneurship really just kind of happened to me by accident, really. I was working at Bloomingdale’s. I had dreams to go to New York. That was my plan, you can read more about it here! I was on my way, and then a girlfriend of mine who worked at corporate called me one day told me she had really shitty news. She told me they would be cutting jobs corporate wide and that my whole job would be eliminated.
That’s how corporate America goes. This is how the agency that my husband and I started came about – he had the technology background, and I had the PR/ Marketing background- we we went all in to launch our own company and do our own thing! Within a weekend, we built our first website (it was total crap), and then we started the agency that Monday morning. It really grew organically over four years with my clients to the point where we were being sought out within the community, and all of our business was word of mouth.
In traditional working environments, I would usually come to a point where I hit a ceiling and I never could figure out why. It wasn’t until I put focus into entrepreneurship that I realized: “oh – this is my tribe! These are my people!” I never really understood what it meant to own a business or be a founder, as it wasn’t something that I grew up understanding or knowing anything about.
Bringing us to present day, when I became a mom, my perspective changed once more and prior to starting Sohuis, I was working at a nonprofit organization as their director of marketing. It was an incredible organization that supported entrepreneurship all over the world and I really got to see how entrepreneurial ecosystems start and grow in incredible diverse communities. We were fortunate to work with the European Union and with the US Department of State – bringing entrepreneurs from other counties into the United States, and we ran several programs that brought entrepreneurs from Europe and Central America into the US to teach them how to expand into the US market.
I was there for about a year or so, and I ended up leaving because it just wasn’t a good environment for me anymore, just personally and professionally. Sohuis, at the time, was just a passion project that started out as a brand consultancy. But as my daughter started growing, I realized very quickly that time is the most valuable asset you can have and that consulting just was not scalable. And quite frankly, it’s not very rewarding either.
I really wanted to set out and create a digital product that could be scaled and turned it into something really interesting. I took time to reflect on all the work I had done over the past 10 years – looking at a lot of the workshops and things that I do for my clients – and I started to notice that in a lot of the conversations I was having, many of them were asking me the same types of questions. Questions like: How do you build a brand? How do I know who my customer is? How do I communicate to my customer? Which platform should I be on? Among others.
I never thought that creating an online course would be something I would be doing. But I just started thinking outside the box and asking myself: what can I do to scale content? What’s really working? What’s not working? The Lean Startup methodology is a big part of what I do, and “Lean” refers to maximizing resources and output as much as possible in order to achieve quick growth and eliminate waste. A lot of the problems founders have is that they don’t know their priorities or what to focus on first. So one of the principles of The Lean Startup is to prioritize what’s going to give you the most output as quickly as possible. For example, don’t spend a year building an app that you’re not sure anybody wants! Get out there and validate those ideas and test for buy-in and fail and learn as quickly as possible so that you can make sure that you’re maximizing resources.
Following the principles I teach my clients, my theory was that if I developed a comprehensive course that touched on all these various marketing and branding subjects – I thought that founders would really enjoy it. Particularly, I love serving female founders. It’s just a passion of mine and is part of my DNA. Using some Lean Startup concepts, I sent out to test and if my idea was viable (because…just because you, the founder, thinks it’s a good idea, doesn’t mean others will think the same). I told myself that if 25 people ended up signing up for this free beta program for the course, then I would go ahead and create it. Low and behold I had over 100 people sign up for the beta!
As a result, Sohuis has moved away from consulting and is now turned into a framework and platform for teaching female founders how to brand and market their businesses through a core curriculum called the Sohuis StartupBlueprint.
TELL US ABOUT THE MISSION OF YOUR BRAND. HOW DOES IT EMPOWER WOMEN?
My mission is really simple. The marketing and communications landscape is super confusing and it just keeps getting more cumbersome as technologies and marketing practices evolve. My purpose is to declutter and streamline this landscape to completely cut away all of the bullshit that’s related to marketing – particularly for females!
As women, we get caught up with trying to be perfect – our website needs to be perfect, or our logo needs to be exactly right, etc. Oftentimes, that fear does more harm than good so the first half of the course is actually all about Lean methodologies. I teach the course participants how to rethink their how they market their business- and I teach them to re-evaluate what failure actually means. The goal is just to empower them to be able to build a brand that they have an idea for without knowing how to get there. And then of course, the rest of the course has exercises and key takeaway assignments so that they can concisely speak the value of their brand and align their brand platform with what they envision.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE HAD TO PASS PRESS THROUGH AS A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR, AND WHAT ARE THE STEPS YOU HAD TO TAKE TO OVERCOME IT?
So, not only my a female entrepreneur, I’m a solo founder- I don’t have a co founder, or a team, and I’m always in my own head as a result. So I would say the isolation of being an entrepreneur has been something that I’ve struggled a lot with. When you’re a solopreneur, everything is from your own point of view, and you just can’t do that. You have to have diverse points of view and be able to step outside of your business from time to time.
To overcome this, I reached out to a few good friends and acquaintances. In fact, I started cultivating a community on Instagram with two or three women that I’ve never even met in person! But we have like minded interests and we follow each other’s journeys, plus it’s genuine when we share each other’s posts and support our missions. They are basically my unspoken advisory board for myself!
WHAT SETS YOUR BRAND APART FROM OTHERS?
As cheesy as it might seem, I genuinely think that what sets the brand apart is that the brand is just 100% me. It is authentic to its mission and its purpose, and it isn’t trying to be anything else other than what it is. Ultimately, my brand exists to serve female founders who are typically at an idea stage, or they have a really small business. My brand doesn’t really serve giant institutions or CEOs of large companies. Could they? Could they take the course? Sure, but my brand doesn’t exist to do that.
You definitely don’t have to be a mom to I take my course either. However, I am a mother of a young child who’s trying to run a business and has a million other things to do so I do want to empower other moms to be able to run their business in a successful, strategic way.
HOW DO YOU COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS WORKING TOWARDS A BETTER WORLD?
Collaboration is probably the #1 thing that I always have my sights set on. I’m collaborating with a bunch of different people who have similar interests in order to create courses together, even webinars, E-books, and blog series! There’s all kinds of ways to make sure that you’re creating super valuable content and really serving your audience.
I believe we’re all working towards a better world because when women are empowered and educated, they build incredible things and everyone benefits. So the more women I can teach and empower through my courses and other materials, the better the world will be!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE FOR FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS IN THE BEGINNING STAGES OF LAUNCHING THEIR BRAND OR BUSINESS THIS QUESTION?
There’s so much I could say, but the #1 thing I would say is that it doesn’t need to be perfect. You have to start with the vision you have, and you cannot let your fear of failure, or the concern about failure stop you from starting. The biggest thing I would say is you just have to start! If you never start, you’re never going to get there. Part of the Lean methodology that I really like to follow is you have to learn as you go- you’re not going to get it right the first time so you should just remove the idea that you’re going to launch this perfect business, because it’s literally not going to happen.
The faster you launch, the faster you can actually learn from and listen to your customers and the feedback that you’re receiving. You have be open to customer feedback as well!
Check out her free guide to finding your target audience here!