Thursday, April 8, 2010

How To Make It In America: Entrepreneurship 101 Recap

Photo via LoveShot

How to Make It in America is a fast-paced, fun look at how two handsome guys from New York City with nothing in their pockets set plans in motion to build a clothing empire. Everything seems to fall into their laps; they know the right people, kick it in the right scene and know how to charm almost anyone. However, it's not reality.

In early March, Ladies Lotto New York kept it real with guests at Entrepreneurship 101: A How-To Guide For Starting Your Own Business. Start-up savvy experts from the worlds of law, fashion and marketing were tapped to share their experiences with guests interested in a side project or doing a complete 180 and venturing out on their own. Ladies Lotto's panel provided guests with the basics everyone should know about starting a business.

Women-owned firms contribute nearly $3 trillion dollars to the U.S. economy and they maintain 23 million jobs.

The night kicked off with lawyer and founder of the Fridman Law Group, Iliya Fridman. Fridman urged everyone to find out which type of corporate entity works best for ones business. It is important to be financially protected no matter what business venture you're involved in or else you could take a personal hit. However, don't let this be a hindrance. "In order to grow your business you are going to have to take many risks. Don't be afraid to fail," says designer, Vanessa Webster. A strong base is necessary for good and bad times.

While the business world seems to be dominated by men; senior marketing director, Fradel Barber pointed out that "[according to the National Women's Business Council] women-owned firms contribute nearly $3 trillion dollars to the U.S. economy and they maintain 23 million jobs." So, if jumping into the start-up pool seems scary; you're not alone. There are many women just like you who had an idea; wanted financial freedom or an alternate revenue stream who are running successful businesses.

Even the women responsible for moderating and setting up the event have strong entrepreneurial inclinations. Moderator, Mara Ingram left the marketing realm for a new career in real estate where she sets her hours and knows her revenue stream is solely determined by her drive -- and she has lots. Currently, events associate Jessica Usenbor works for a retail chain. However, she's building skills that will help her transition into a full fledged event manager.

All of this business talk made me wonder about the women of Ladies Lotto. I found myself asking what compelled the entrepreneurs in Ladies Lotto to start businesses and what advice they could offer other members. So, I called Julia Werman, co-founder -- with her sister Nina -- of Valley, a one stop shop for nails, waxing and skincare.

Business is hard no matter how fun.
Juila Werman, Valley

What did you do before your current venture?
Prior to starting Valley with my sister, Nina, I was a social worker in New York for 10 years. But I decided I wanted to do something different. I traveled and was in South America for six months. Nina just moved to New York City and was trying to figure out what she wanted to do too.

Why did you feel the need to start your own business?
[Nina and I] come from an entrepreneurial family. We're passionate and ambitious but we didn't like working for others. Valley was not our first idea. We had a brainstorm one night and thought about going to LA but none of us really wanted to be there. I remember getting waxed in South America and how much I liked it compared to getting it done at spas in the U.S. In South America they use the hard wax. We wanted to be a little different so we decided to add clothing and accessories.

What are a few things every LLady should know about being an entrepreneur?
Don't be naive. Business is hard no matter how fun. It's important to realize [owning a business] is not all about freedom. You don't always have time to yourself; it's 24/7. It felt lonely the first year because friends who didn't own businesses didn't understand. If you are a small business owner you are everything; CEO, payroll and even janitor. Also, it can be hard to work with relatives. [Nina and I] have agreements written up to keep the business and personal separate. There are so many things I wish I had been told.

Starting your own business can be extremely rewarding. However, you can't be in it to win it if you don't even know how to get started. If the thought of starting your own business still excites you, click here to learn more about Ladies Lotto's Entrepreneurship 101 speakers and get valuable tips.

Tune in tomorrow for the full length video of Ladies Lotto's Entrepreneurship 101 event.

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