One of the many perks of living in New York City is having access to some really cool events. Especially career related because there are so many media and business headquarters here! If you caught my Instagram story earlier you might have caught that I went to a great event put on by XO Group called #XOGroupFoundHERS. The event series highlights women making waves in biz and the latest event featured Co-founders of BaubleBar! It was such a great evening learning about Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky's story and while we work in entirely different industries, I really identified with a lot of their stories. So today I wanted to touch on some of the topics they discussed and the lessons I learned.
Making the Transition From Friends to Biz Partners
They started out by sharing how they met and started their business, and true story I texted my business partner Mallory and said, "Soooo umm basically we're like the BaubleBar girls 2.0. Like the way they describe their partnership was on point." Maybe a slightttt exaggeration but their story gave me all of those familiar vibes.
They originally met in a professional atmosphere in investment banking and after sitting by each other ended up becoming friends and then later decided to embark on their business journey together. When asked if they were worried about going into biz together since they were friends or if they ever butt heads, they said honestly we don't really have that problem and usually end up with ideas in the same direction. Part of the reason they attribute their success as biz partners? Because they originally met in a professional environment!
While they're a few years, and a few funding rounds, ahead of us 😜, this is something I really related to because Mallory and I met in the same way. While we certainly had no idea or plans to ever start a business together back then.. Working together for 3 years did give us ample time to realize we made a badass team and worked very well together. Going into biz with friends isn't for everyone, but I think working together previously allowed us to make that transition easier.
Some of the key things to easing into a partnership seamlessly? Making sure you're on the same page with your visions for the business. That's obviously a BIG topic but finding middle ground on what you're trying to accomplish is essential. Next up? Having honest conversations about what you really like doing and what you're not as great at. Finding someone whose strengths are your weaknesses can be so beneficial too! The term divide and conquer hits home hard when it comes to partnerships. The ladies also talked about how they still find ways to separate their friendship and their business. While business is def a HUGE part of their relationship and lives they also talked about how they are able to hang out and focus on the personal aspects of their friendship.
Don't Stress as Much Over the Small Details
They shared great advice about how people probably won't remember every newsletter you send or every web update. If you're on point most of the time people aren't going to notice. They told a hilarious story about how they used to hold hands and press the send button together when sending their newsletters out because they were so nervous. The truth is, give it your best shot and get it out there. Over time, you'll learn, you'll grow and you'll keep improving! You'll also get a better idea of what resonates with your audience so instead of being afraid, just DO it! You may look back and laugh at your designs and tactics but everything will come into place in time!
Do Consumer Research
Since they came up with the idea for BaubleBar while in business school they used that to their advantage to do market research. While market and consumer research sound like such fancy words, it doesn't have to be and they shared the scrappy techniques they applied. Whether you're doing online research about competitors, setting up focus groups, or simply posting an online survey and getting it into the hands of your target market -- the goal with any form of research is to just get some feedback before sinking dollars into that plan.
No matter what approach you decide to take on, the key is to get to know your target audience better so that you can adjust your model and products based upon their feedback. This advice is SO crucial no matter what industry you work in and I think it's something that you consistency need to pay attention to throughout your business journey. Being successful in biz is all about solving a problem others have or offering something that fills a void.
Don't be Afraid of the Unknown
Something else they spoke about that really hit home was not being afraid of the unknown. Coming from an investment banking background they spoke about their concerns about what would happen if they failed. Would they be employable? What would others think? They said that we've been so trained to be afraid of the unknown and that no matter if you crash and burn or succeed, it will be a learning process which is always useful.
I can 100% relate to this feedback. I've been suchhhh a planner my whole life and starting a biz def wasn't on my radar. Hello, the unknown is scary! But hey, shaking up my plan and moving to NYC from Oregon 6 years ago was pretty scary too, but I did it! And before that? Moving to Portland after college graduation in the dead of the recession just hoping to get my foot in the door in the industry. The truth is, those big scary unknowns? They may be scary and they might not be "in your plan" but they are game changers in directing your life and always come along with a heck of a lot of lessons.
While it's certainly easy to say don't be afraid of the unknown, isn't it scary not knowing what could have happened if you gave something your all? Personally, I'd rather try and fail, than to have that idea always on my mind wondering what if. Maybe things won't turn out like you'd want, but maybe they will! Let that fear drive you forward instead of hindering you.
I hope you've found some of this advice useful! I had SUCH a great time learning from the BaubleBar ladies and know their words will have a lasting impact. If you'd like to catch the whole session yourself, the XO Group also did a Facebook Live for the event so you can check it out below!