We never get tired of hearing an entrepreneurial success story here at FW: Chicago. Our goal is to tell the stories of women who live, work, and play in the Windy City, so perpetual inspiration is a part of our M.O. Case in point, when we crossed paths with the "She Did It Her Way" Podcast and founders Amanda Boleyn, Molly Rose Daly, and Tess Wicks, we just knew we had to share their interviews with the hope that you get inspired to turn your hobby/talent/mad skill-set into the ultimate dream job. As the team puts it, it's "the raw advice you need to know."
This week, we're sharing the team's informative podcast with Farissa Knox, founder of WhatRUWearing—an interactive fashion portal—and RLM Media, an advertising agency that handles media planning and buying. The entire podcast is in interview style below, but you can also listen to it here. Be sure to sign up for the "She Did It Her Way" Podcast on iTunes so you can hear all of the audible "inspo" on the regular.
Farissa started her first company, RLM Media, six years ago. When the idea for WhatRUWearing—an interactive forum for fashion feedback and daily inspiration—came to Knox, she thought, “Wow, I really will be trying my best to work for myself for the rest of my life.” She decided that if she could fit more on her plate, why not make her idea a reality? WRUW invites people to upload images of their personal style and ask for advice from fellow followers via Instagram (@whatruwearing), Facebook, and Twitter(@whatruwearing).
On entrepreneurship. When did she know?: Knox knew there was no way that she could go back and work for someone else again. She didn't want to have to tell her boss why she was five minutes late, or just not be as fully in love and engaged with what she was doing every day aside from getting her paycheck. “As an entrepreneur, you're excited about the opportunity to really prove to yourself that you’re as amazing as you think you are,” said Knox.
On motivation: “When I walk into my office every morning and I see what I’ve been able to accomplish so far with the help of my team, that's what keeps me motivated. I don’t want to fail for me and I don’t want to fail for them. You have to have a little bit of (inspiration and motivation) on your own. You can’t be looking for it in other places because most days you’re hit with 'no’s' and walls and obstacles."
On obstacles: "When the WhatRUWearing website got hacked, $15,000-$20,000 went down the drain in a minute because of a lesson that I had to learn. To get back up, I had to start from square one. Trying to justify re-investing all those dollars was a very difficult decision that a lot of people would look at as a wall that’s just not climbable. Tip: Just keep going, because it’s the people who stop who never achieve anything. Entrepreneurs are the people who work really hard and come up with the strategy to maneuver past the obstacles and to keep the rest of their team motivated. I’ve become accustomed to learning from other business people by their decision- making process, as well as how they operate."
Biggest fear: "Admitting to my team that I tried but failed, and now they are out of work."
On handling fear: “When I get too afraid, I just open up a bottle of red wine and go, ‘you know what? I’m trying.’”
On handling conflict: "Let go of those emotional things. HOWEVER, if someone is rude to you and you need to put them in their place, handle it the way a woman would. Especially in a leadership position and/or in front of a team, because you don’t want your team to think it is okay for their leader to be spoken to like that. Real leaders have to be able to put up with difficult situations."
Addressing the haters: "You don’t have to tell everyone what you’re doing. Just go do it and people will start to see the results. Everyone doesn’t have what it takes to take an idea from a thought to a reality. It’s not a widespread skill-set. Just because someone isn't happy for you doesn’t necessarily mean they honestly don’t think that you can do it. It’s their own fears and limitations that they’re putting on you."
On staying centered: "Focus on the task at hand and the people in front of you in that moment. Give 100 percent of your attention. You do a better job when you’re completely focused versus trying to diversify your mind so much in every minute of every day. When I’m out to dinner with friends, my phone is in my purse. I’m not wondering what my other 500 friends on Facebook are doing."
Motivational book recommendation: “The Purple Cow” by Seth Godin "It's about how you can train your mind to think outside the box."
What I would tell myself 10 years ago: "Just keep doing what you’re doing and don't second-guess yourself. The fear of rejection can’t stop you from putting it out there in the first place."
Listen to the entire podcast here.