For the third year in a row, Bustle's Upstart Awards are honoring young women who are doing incredible things in the realms of business, STEM, fashion and beauty, the arts, philanthropy, and beyond.
Building a business is hard. It's one thing to dream up the perfect startup or product that will make everyone's lives better, but it's a whole other thing to be able to actually turn that dream into a reality. It takes so much determination and drive to make it happen — and sometimes, a little help along the way from people who have been in your shoes can do wonders. If you’re looking for the
best advice for starting your own business, there’s no better person to ask than someone who’s already done just that.
That's why Bustle teamed up with
OKREAL to host a mentor circle as part of its third annual Upstart Awards. The Upstarts honor young women entrepreneurs who are making an impact, whether they are making education accessible across the globe, doing life-saving neurological research, creating platforms for girls to talk about mental health, or providing necessities to refugees. The mentor circle was an opportunity for honorees to share their greatest struggles, achievements, and advice with one another in the spirit of women helping other women.
Whether you, like them, are itching to build a company or organization from the ground up, or you simply want to learn how to succeed in your current workplace, sometimes it's most helpful to get some
wisdom from someone who's been there, done that. Here is some of the best advice these millennial women in charge had to share about how they found the courage to start their own businesses, and the strength to make it flourish. 1 Know Thyself
Every individual brings unique traits to the table, and often they make you uniquely able to accomplish something. That's why 28-year-old founder and chief philanthropist of
Style Lottery Timi Komonibo lives by the motto: Know thyself. "Authenticity is the most stable style of leadership," Komonibo tells Bustle. "If you approach the world's challenges through your lens, strengths, and perspective, you can solve problems in a way that only you can." 2 Trust Your Abilities
You are always going to be your own worst critic, but it's crucial that you don't let your own high standards get in your own way. "It's important to check your self doubt,"
Sahar Meghani, founder and CEO of educational toy company Trunkaroo, tells Bustle. Knowing that you're capable of producing good work is half the battle, and even if it doesn't work out, remember that you are worth more than just the work you do. "That's just what you're doing today," she says. "You've done other things in life, and you're going to do other things." 3 Have Confidence In Your Choices
When a journalist asked
Nadia Boujarwah, co-founder and CEO of the size-inclusive clothing company Dia&Co, whether she saw herself having kids despite her busy professional life, Boujarwah was upset. "When was the last time you heard a male CEO asked that?" she says. But, she says, the question did make her think. "I have made good choices in my life for me," she says. "Other women may make other choices, but they're all valid." Remember, there's no "right" path for everybody. 4 Start With The End In Mind
It's so much easier to achieve your goals if you actually set them. "It's like plugging a destination into your GPS," says
Irene Li, chef and co-owner of the sustainable restaurant group Mei Mei. "When you come to an intersection, [your goals] will tell you where to go. If you have the gravitational pull of your destination, it can be really helpful along the way." 5 Do Things Differently
Millennial women bring a fresh perspective to the workplace, and it's so important to use that to your advantage. "Cater everything you do to yourself and your audience, not what you've seen other people do in the past,"
Elyse Fox, founder of the mental health organization Sad Girls Club, tells Bustle. "As young women, we have the unique opportunity to make our own way." 6 Find What Drives You
You can't rely on other people to make it happen.
Afreen Allam, founder and CEO of SiNON Therapeutics, says sometimes you have to be your own boss and find your own way. "My father always told me and my sisters you have to make your own dreams come true," Allam tells Bustle. "Show the world that it doesn't matter that you're not a boy. You can be anything you want if you put your heart into it." 7 Be Impatient
If you see something that bothers you, don't wait around for other people to do something about it.
Melissa Lee, founder and CEO of The GREEN Program, tells Bustle that change is spurred by people who are "impatient about a cause or issue that you want to jump at right away." Whether it's something as small as suggesting a tweak in your office's workflow to increase efficiency, or something as large as creating a company from the ground up, progress is sparked by people who are unhappy with the status quo. 8 Use Those Around You As Resources
Teamwork makes the dream work, am I right? But seriously, through collaborating with others, you can make a much bigger difference than you would be able to alone.
Megan Beck, co-founder and COO of The Unmentionables, says everyone has a unique talent that can potentially help you reach your goals. "Whenever someone expresses interest in helping [with The Unmentionables], we find out what they like doing and what their interest is ... what they can bring to the table," she says. 9 It's OK To Say "No"
No matter what your professional goals are, your own health and wellness should always come first. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, founder and CEO of
Girls' Night In Alisha Ramos says it's OK to say "no." "Know your limits and take care of yourself," Ramos tells Bustle. "Listen to yourself and listen to your body."
Talking about your goals with other women you look up to can provide you with the boost you need to get started on turning your ideas into reality. Let their words inspire you.