5 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Bethany Larsen is the Co-Founder of Charm Impact, an impact investment platform that crowdsources loans for clean energy startups in developing markets. Prior to Charm, Beth worked as the Director of Development for a health nonprofit organization in Kigali, Rwanda. She then received the Pershing Square Graduate Scholarship to complete a dual masters at the University of Oxford, where she focused on social entrepreneurship and impact finance.
What would you love to share to encourage other women to start their own business?
If you have an idea that is solving a problem that is important to you and you think you can do something about it, then do it. What is the worst that will happen? I would ask yourself, “will I look back at the end of my life and regret not going for it now?” If the answer is yes, then you better do it. You owe it to yourself to put yourself out there and at least try. Put on that song that makes you feel like you can conquer the world, ignore the haters and the self-doubt, and get to work.
What are your top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?
Start small and stay focused. Some ideas either never get off the ground or crash and burn almost immediately because the entrepreneurs were trying to do too much too soon. Figure out what the core components of the business are and then focus on getting those pieces right. This will give your business a solid foundation and actually allow you to go much farther and faster than if you forced yourself to bite off more than you could chew in the beginning.
Build a culture of learning. Perfectionism is the death of entrepreneurship because the initial product will never be good enough. You need to be comfortable with putting imperfect things into the world and using feedback to iteratively test your assumptions and build upon your learnings. In fact, you should never feel complacent running a company. You should always be looking for opportunities to learn and improve your business.
Fall in love with the process, not the outcome. Some people love the idea of being an entrepreneur for whatever status/fame/wealth they think it will bring. These people will not make it through the startup journey because they will give up the second they realize how hard it actually is to get from point A to point B. If you love the process of trying to solve problems and learning from your mistakes, then you are going to be more resilient in the face of the many challenges that you will inevitably face as an entrepreneur and come back much faster and stronger if/when you fail.
Lose your ego. Even though the business is your baby, you will need to detach your self-worth and identity from it. Otherwise, you risk getting defensive whenever someone criticizes you or your ideas, which will impede your ability to learn and improve. It will also make you anxious and stressed and affect your personal relationships. The faster you can develop a thick skin and stop taking things personally, the better.
Take care of yourself. Entrepreneurs, especially social entrepreneurs, are notoriously bad at setting boundaries and taking care of their mental health. Society has this glorified idea of the entrepreneur who works unreasonable hours, loses their friends and family but gets rich “making the world a better place.” This narrative is harmful and inaccurate. You can and should do what you need to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. You will be happier, have better relationships and be more productive and successful if you do.
Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt
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