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Women In Business: How I Survived Launching My Dream Brand

by Jurgita Stahlecker

The most challenging things I have faced in the first two years of starting my brand were fatigue and staying motivated.

All the hours, the work, and constant pressure to perform well, grow my social media and increase website visits and sales just wore me down. I used to work long hours, dealing with the time difference as my production is held in a small atelier in Istanbul, Turkey. Moreover, I feared my business would stall in my absence, so I avoided taking any time away from work to recharge or even listen to anyone who wanted to help because I thought I knew better. I didn't. Fatigue has lead to rash decisions about the business, including the desire to abandon it altogether.

I found support in my family members and people I trust. I joined small business groups on social media. Having someone to talk to, especially if they have had similar experiences, is very helpful. Sometimes it just takes knowing that what you are experiencing is normal and things will get better. I took the time to do things I love like tennis, brunch with friends, reading, and watching movies.

My path to becoming an entrepreneur was not financially motivated. I didn't have a passion for business, but I had a passion for the product - bags. 

When this journey began, I was living in Istanbul, Turkey and I was designing products for other brands, while acting in my free time. My husband is American, and we met in New York on one of my business trips. After getting married, I moved to Philadelphia, where I decided to create my own brand.

Through my experience, I wanted to share the essential things women entrepreneurs should do, when first thinking about starting a business.

Firstly, set realistic expectations. Expectations impact attitudes and mindset. If I meet or exceed someone's expectations (and my own), I tend to have positive attitudes and mindsets. The reverse is also true: If I don't meet expectations, I tend to have a less than stellar attitude or mindset.

Establish a support network. A support network can be made up of many different types of people, and they don't need to be relatives or friends. You can rely on people you have professional relationships with as well as business support groups on Facebook, for example. At the same time, it's essential to surround yourself with people who can support you and cheer you on and, when it's hard, won't be afraid to criticize you and or hold back.

Develop a passion that drives you forward. Passion is a tremendous driving force that will motivate you in your daily efforts. This is so important because it is impossible to achieve big life goals without daily efforts and consistency.

My advice for all women is don't give up, and don't take anything personally. Clarify goals and strategy and leave your comfort zone. It is so important to do what you are afraid of doing instead of just letting the fear rule your personal and professional lives.