Joyce Shulman is the co-founder and CEO of 99 Walks. For the past two decades, Joyce has been an entrepreneur focused on women and committed to building authentic communities.
Here is what Joyce had to say when we asked her about entrepreneurship:
GenHERation®: What are the most important qualities an entrepreneur needs to possess?
Joyce Shulman: First, is a growth mindset. You have to be humble as an entrepreneur. Only if you realize that you don’t know everything are you willing and able to keep learning. Whatever you launch, the first version of whatever you do is going to be bad. There is a saying in Silicon Valley that goes, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first iteration of your product, you launched too late.” The second is incredible grit and resistance. We tend to idolize those people who built businesses in their dorm room, and make it look instantaneous and easy. It’s neither. It’s really hard to be an entrepreneur. Lastly, the entrepreneurial journey is not for everyone, so you need to have a genuine desire to make an impact. If you want to build a business to get the yacht, your chances of sticking with it long enough to see real success will be pretty small.
GenHERation®: What skill did you need to develop when you started your first company?
Shulman: For me it was grit. I like the sparkle and can get distracted by the next thing. I love to build, create, and generate new things, but you have to stay with ventures for a while. My business partner and husband is the grittiest guy I know—fortunately he has some to spare for me and has really taught me the power of grit.
GenHERation®: What would you tell someone who wants to start a business?
Shulman: I wouldn’t tell them anything. I would ask them, “Why?” If you can’t answer this question then you shouldn’t start a business. The best businesses solve a problem. If you go out into the world to raise money, one of the first questions most potential investors will ask you is, “What problem are you solving?”
GenHERation®: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about entrepreneurship?
Shulman: That it’s easy. That you can build businesses, sell businesses, and make a lot of money. The exit is a big misconception. You will hear of hundreds of people who sold their businesses, but they didn’t put a penny in their pocket. Our first business was in pet products–we created the first nutrition bar for dogs. That business was brutal. We were cash poor all the time. We sold the business for a quarter of the debt. On paper, we sold that company, but it’s not like what you see on TV.
GenHERation®: What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
Shulman: You get to work with people you want to work with. I wake up every day and work with an incredible team of people who I’m excited to see every day, to collaborate with and to build something awesome with.
Joyce Shulman is the co-founder and CEO of 99 Walks. Joyce has always been a bit of an idea junkie—new ideas get her excited! For the past two decades, Joyce has been an entrepreneur focused on women and committed to building authentic communities. Joyce is the author of Walk Your Way to Better, and host of The Weekly Walk Podcast. Joyce has the honor of speaking on the topics that are most important to her: women, wellness, walking, and the power of real communities.