On the Lady Who Showed the World that Being a Top Homemaker and Million Dollar Businesswoman Are Not Mutually Exclusive
“My advice to you as an entrepreneur? Take off your shoes and step into your customers’ shoes for a while. Take a walk down their street and ask yourself: ‘Is there a use for my idea in her life?’” –Martha Stewart
America once thought that decorating cakes, crafting with pine cones, and turning that hollowed out gourd into the perfect candle-holder were skills reserved for the home, or maybe for marriage, but certainly not the basis of a multimillion dollar business empire… Then came Martha Stewart.
Born to Polish-Americans in a working-class neighborhood in New Jersey, Martha showed a penchant for entertaining early on, planning birthday parties for neighborhood children and spending hours working and learning in the kitchens of friends and neighbors. Always a hardworking and motivated student, she won a scholarship to Barnard College to study history and architecture.
“Without an open-minded mind, you can never be a great success.”
After a successful stint as a stock-broker in New York City, Martha decided that although she enjoyed the sales side of the profession, she had little passion for finance. Soon after leaving the brokerage and moving out of the city, Martha started a catering business, which grew from her basement into a million dollar company by the end of the decade.
In the years that followed, Martha published books, started several magazines, signed a $5 million retail contract, and hosted a television program, Martha Stewart Living. In 1999, Stewart consolidated her various ventures into Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), sending the company public in 1999. On the day of the IPO, the share price more than doubled. Stewart’s company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, successfully cross-promotes products across its five areas: broadcasting, internet, publishing, and merchandising.
Here are some tips from Martha Stewart for Small Business Owners:
Discover Your Talents and Work With Them: Turn Your Dream into a Reality
To be truly successful, It is essential to discover your talents and passions. What gets you excited about going to work every day? Take time to construct a clear vision for your business: picture everything and write it down.
Find ways to Effectively Manage Stress
No matter how busy you are, be sure to lead a healthy and active life. Practice mini-meditations throughout the day and create a mantra for yourself.
Manage Work-Life Balance
Think about sprints rather than marathons. Break the day into smaller chunks of work—about two hours each, with a clear productivity goal in mind for each segment. Focus on one thing at a time—don’t disperse your energy with multitasking. Stay organized and on top of the things you can control in your business to reduce the stress of the things you can’t.
When you run your own business, you might often feel like your life is your work and your work is your life. Be sure not to strain your relationships and your sanity with this mindset. Being more productive during work hours is key to having time to truly relax and enjoy yourself. Even if you work from home, create clear office hours for yourself and let your family know not to disturb you with requests during this time.
Seek Inspiration from Your Surroundings
“I like to learn something new every day”
Be a life-long learner. Always be on the lookout for new talent and ideas. Let curiosity guide you, and never stop exploring.
Learn From Your Mistakes
“I’ve never hit a bottom, just bumps in the road.”
You need to leave your comfort zone, feel fear, make mistakes, and take risks if you want to turn your dream into a reality.