All business owners need some motivation to push through the difficult times so what better way to focus on your goals than with some inspirational quotes from successful female entrepreneurs. These little gems of wisdom come from the dynamic Paris Women of Success group - a lively bunch of expat entrepreneurs & French business owners who meet regularly in France's capital city to encourage each other and help open their companies and grow their startups.
Here we give you a selection of their best advice for entrepreneurs, their success stories and their most inspiring quotes....
"Through my years of experience of being an entrepreneur, I've learned that the key to success is Focus and Consistency. The analogy I like to use when thinking about "how to succeed in business" is sprint vs. marathon. In order to achieve a certain goal, we tend to get into a sprint mode, meaning we get focused on doing XYZ. When we achieve that goal, we say we've succeeded. However, in order to sustain the same level of success consistently over the long run, we need to be committed to a marathon. It requires discipline to deliver consistency, and that drive comes from knowing the "why". We need to be very clear and honest with ourselves on why we do what we do. If there is enough passion within for what we do, then you'll not only strive during good times, but also survive the down cycles as well." Yulin Lee - Personal Finance Coach - http://www.projectm-mindmoney.com/
"Becoming a creative entrepreneur is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience. Doing that in Paris sounds like a dream! But when I started my business, I had no clients, no referrals and no partner. I had courage and a mind full of ideas. I started to build my project step by step and enjoyed this creative part. But Good Morning Creativity would never have taken off without my husband, my friends and contacts. My top tip for you to survive and succeed your business is to never do things alone. Creative minds especially, can benefit from partnering with business minds, like artists need their agents. We need people who will go out there, spread the word and bring new clients, while we are creating the next big thing!" Petronela Zainuddin - International Speaker & Trainer - www.goodmorningcreativity.com
"The most important things that I have learned in business are 1) Be patient. Sometimes the best opportunities are not necessarily the first ones, or the ones you try to force. It took me seven years to find a job a France, and it's very clear now that the opportunity that brought me here was by far the best. 2) Trust your gut and take risks.You will almost always have to lose something in order to gain something else. When you follow your heart what you gain is far more valuable than what was lost. Trust your gut and be brave." Rebecca Earley - @REarleyBird
"The three most important things I have learned in business are 1) To open up to, write down and follow my '4am hunches'. My best leads and ideas come from there. 2) To jump in and start before I feel ready. Allowing myself to be imperfect and produce imperfect things so I can test them and improve along the way. 3) To have my big picture in a corner of my mind while focusing on my next action and keep a good balance between the broad and the laser focuses, enjoying each step of the journey, making sure I don’t rush to the top of the mountain but I don’t get lost on the way either." Geneviève Prono - Business & Personal Coach - http://www.chrysalidefrance.com
"To simply believe in yourself is my top tip. I think moving forward is the only thing you can do that will literally get you closer to where you want to be. It may feel like you're learning how to walk again, but one baby step is better than no step. Have faith and keep motivating yourself, you're on a one way street." Sanda Taranu - Fashion designer.
"Tell everyone you know what you do, and with passion. Start with one sentence - for me it is "I am an author and I help experts to write books" - and wait for the response. If someone is interested they will ask a question, and you go from there. That way you tell them what is relevant and interesting to them, rather than a long, prepared speech. If their eyes glaze over, I ask them about them, and listen with interest. People have such brilliance if you give them a chance to shine.It's amazing how referrals come to me now from people I have only spoken to for a few minutes. They have heard my passion and it stays with them so that when someone tells them they want to write a book, that person I have met remembers me and my love for what I do, and passes it on." Jennifer Manson - Author and Flow Writer - www.theflowwriter.com
"Be flexible and learn to roll with the punches. Yes, you need to keep true to your vision, mission statement, and brand; integrity is hugely important. However, you can't be so emotionally attached to your project or ideas that you don't take customer feedback into consideration. Supply and demand: make sure you supply a product that is in; if you don't supply a product that is in demand, you won't get any business. Make sure to have the humility to adapt and tailor your services and/or products to what your customers need, to accept what isn't working and either change it or move on to focus on the parts of your business that are succeeding. Keep true to yourself and your brand, but make sure to leave some wiggle room for improvement." Patricia Rosas - Writer & opera singer.
"The most important lesson I've learned in business is probably the same as the most important lesson I've learned in life, and that is to always stay true to myself and trust my intuition. It is so easy to get sucked in to what other people are saying and doing around you and start believing they're your own ideas or thoughts. This is why I like to spend a few minutes in complete silence each day to reconnect with what my intuition is telling me. In business, we need to be very clear about what our goals are and who our ideal clients are; in short, we need to connect to our intentions in life and business so we aren't sending mixed messages. It is this connection that helps us fill in the blanks to create the business and life we desire." Julia Willard - Entrepreneur
"My top tip for succeeding in business in France is 'Use your differentness!' Embrace the fact that you come from another country, possess a different mother tongue, and were not born into the culture you are trying to do business in. Let this work for you, not against you, no matter how often it may be tempting to get negative about cross cultural relations and differences. Those that try to look for a similar mindset as their 'home colleagues' will not only find business frustrating, but will miss the rewards of thriving in a diverse environment. Maximize your 'otherness' and foreign street smarts and this will serve you well in this globalized world." Margot Nightingale - Writer & Marketing Strategist
"When I started my business, I learned that I could not do things in my professional life in exactly the same way I do in my personal life. I am a very trusting person by nature and I found that in business you need to proceed with caution. In fact I realized that I needed to be as demanding and questioning of others as I am with myself. Finding the right partners to work with is a key element to success but take the time to get the full picture before working with anyone. This is important! It may seem difficult, but it is a reality of business. With this idea in mind, it is quite possible to succeed, especially when you’re talented!" Françoise Bor de Ley - Interior Designer & Photographer.
"Trust your instincts and push through your personal boundaries. Perseverance is essential to reach your goals, don’t give up at the first, second or third obstacle, I believe in reaching beyond – keep your vision and each day is a step closer to your success!” Lesley Kirk-Renaud, Founder LKR International Events.
"Plan for Fabulous Success. By planning, I mean set yourself up for success. Decide where you want your business or career to go and then create a plan around what that entails and how you are going to go about making it happen. Sitting down and creating a simple one page business plan is a nice start, you will probably veer from this plan somewhere along your path but at least it gives you a good starting point and focus. Then choosing to make it 'Fabulously Successful' means that it is ideal to move forward knowing that you are going to make this business adventure fun, fulfilling, and fascinating. Truly decide that you are going to make this succeed or at least have a great time trying. Forget the idea of hard work and choose the idea of meaningful play - enjoy yourself as you create your bright future!" Dawn Z Bournand - Founder of Fabulously Successful and Paris Women of Success.
"There is so much change on our planet, in every aspect of our lives, from relationships, raising children, our food supply, health systems, financial markets….its not possible to keep up with the change. The way we used to make informed decisions is now obsolete because there is just too much information and its constantly changing, we simply do not have the time to keep up. In order to succeed we must know our values, develop our intuition, or gut feeling, and share our strengths with each other, because you can't be an expert in everything. The synergy of the group is so much greater than what each of us can accomplish separately and creating My Paris Story is an example of the power of working together." Alecia Caine - Founder of Find Your Self in France.
"For a long time I felt I wasn't ready to start a business. I thought I needed more experience, more skills, more money, to find "a right moment". But life itself pushed me towards my dream. Once I read what Margaret Thatcher said about success: you need to climb the ledder step by step and in the process you will learn all necessary skills that you were sure you would never possess. I was very inspired by this thought. Get started and learn doing. Another thought, from Winston Churchill. The success is not certain, the failure is not fatal, but you need the COURAGE to keep going!" Olena Yashchuk Codet - Artist & Entrepreneur
"Over the years I've learnt many a lesson. It's all part of improving your business. If you don't make mistakes you can't learn from them. That being said, saying yes to something you later regret is the worst feeling. I now never say yes or agree on anything until I know all the details. You have to protect your future self. Possibly most importantly though, I've learnt to not do everything myself. There are a number of great websites out there where there are tons of freelancers from all over the world who can help you with anything your business needs. It's fab because it's not like hiring someone to work for you for set hours every month and worrying that you can't pay them when business is slow. These freelance sites allow you to contract out things when you are overwhelmed, when business is great, or simply to find a more expert professional to help you in an area they can do better than you more time effectively." Claire Morris - Photographer - www.clairemorrisphotography.com
"The most important lesson in business is to ask “Why”. Why are you doing the things you are doing? Perhaps your actions made sense 2 months ago, but do they now? If you start with "Why" then you can allocate the appropriate resources to various initiatives. If the answer to “Why” is not clear, you are wasting your time, money and resources. As a consultant I’ve seen many companies focus on busy work and not take the time to re-evaluate their strategy. Asking “Why” periodically can help you adjust to consumer needs and market trends." Addis Kassegn
"I would advise all entrepreneurs to follow their gut. Especially when it comes to whom they want to work with. It's not because someone has been a good asset for another company that they'll be good for yours. A CV is not always the best way to judge. Meet in person, and trust your instincts. You’ll feel if it is a good fit for you or not." Sabrina Makar - Fashion Designer - www.sabrinamakar.com.
For more information for entrepreneurs on how to open your business in France or Ireland, download our free guides below or email the Euro Start Entreprises team through our contact page or call 0033 (0) 1 53 57 49 10. And to find out how to start your business in over 30 other countries in the world, browse our country selection HERE.