What is courage? To me, courage is overcoming fear. It is being able to be both vulnerable and true to yourself at the same time. I believe entrepreneurship starts with courage.
Opportunities arise from courage
Courage falls into different buckets, so it’s important to figure out what drives you.
In my video, I illustrate two examples in my high school years when courage is necessary. I asked for sponsorship / funds matching from Steve Jobs and John Doerr. Through these asks, I learned to be creative with entrepreneurship and be ok with rejection early on in my life.
It starts with courage. This can mean walking away from gossip or negativity, leaving a job that you don’t like and trying to find a new one, or forgiving someone who has hurt you. You never know what kind of opportunities will come out of those simple demonstrations.
There are many forms of courage: intellectual, moral, social, spiritual, and emotional courage to name a few. The picture of the athlete [below] is showing a combination of physical and emotional courage. It probably took a lot of emotional strength to train the body to that level. You risk injury and bodily harm if you push too hard. As a former competitive golfer, athletics definitely had a huge impact in helping me develop the courage necessary for my entrepreneurial endeavors.
The infographic below illustrates the necessary components in the entrepreneurial journey. These are often the things that occur behind the scenes (things people don’t see). This includes failures, sacrifices, disappointments, dedication, hard work, and discipline. As an entrepreneur, it is important to focus on the journey, and celebrate the successes along the way.
How you React makes or breaks you
My business is Kalon SF, a consignment platform dedicated to empowering women one dress at a time. We are a year old now. It has definitely been a roller coaster ride! But, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
In my talk, I share a few learning lessons. These lessons are reiterated one more time here since I was pretty nervous speaking.
1. In the beginning of my business, I experienced a failed partnership with an ex-founder. We didn’t share the same vision and values. Truth be told, I was disappointed by several people. Gradually, I learned to embrace change. I made the realization that my network was changing and aligned with mentors who believed in me. I rekindled the fire within me and made peace with my inner demons preventing me from moving forward.
2. Kalon has evolved from a pageant coaching business idea to selling second hand dresses with e-commerce. We hosted our own fashion show, and we are now in our rebranding stage. In entrepreneurship, pivots happen. The difference between a good entrepreneur and a great entrepreneur is persistence and consistency. Overcoming failures and setbacks is required in entrepreneurship.
When I started Kalon, I had several gaps in my learning, including knowledge of the e-commerce industry and marketing strategies to jumpstart our company.
In fact, one of my friends urged me delay my launch, and it took putting on a fashion show launch party early this year in March to realize that I had not spent enough time identifying my target market and doing the necessary market research to lay the right foundation. Then, a solo trip to NYC helped to center my thoughts and put me back on track.
Over the past few months, I realized that even though I might have launched too soon, the vision of Kalon drives me.
We are here to empower women – to help women embrace their individuality through fashion and style, thereby becoming their most confident and best selves. Kalon is a Greek word for physical and moral beauty, and this message is strongly rooted in the development of the brand.
I’m very excited and hopeful for Kalon’s next stages, and I have some ideas to turn the company into a potential recruiting agency / image consultancy to empower women in making their dreams possible, be it in career or life.
3. After coming back from my NYC solo trip, I accepted a contract job at Sephora as a Project Manager. Through working at Sephora, I’m able to not only collect the industry experience I need in the beauty world to propel my vision for Kalon, but be part of a community that is truly empowering from a women empowerment standpoint. Currently, I have a couple of interns working on Kalon social media and marketing, and I’m personally working on launching a blog to tie in my personal journey to Kalon’s theme and message.
I’m taking feedback from experienced mentors, and learning that it’s both okay and important to fail, as long as I learn from it and don’t make the same mistakes again.
Entrepreneurship is A Journey to Who You Become
There is no such thing as an overnight success, but consistency and vision counts for the long-term. Every day I’m doing something for Kalon, whether that’s working on partnerships, managing my interns and their work, etc.
I truly believe I will get to the point where I can pursue my dream working on Kalon full time and furthering my mission to help people reach their true potential. With my “get shit done” mentality, it’s important to stay focused, be organized on my calendar, and be passionate about my work every day.
Entrepreneurship has been such a blessing to me.
It’s really been a journey to becoming who I am – the best version of myself. Entrepreneurship is a process and journey, not an end destination. It’s definitely been an opportunity to grow and be a better person. I’ve realized the things that matter most to me. I have realigned my priorities time after time again. I’ve learned to trust my intuition and follow my “gut” feeling.
In summary, I feel humbled in my entrepreneurial journey. I feel happier, fulfilled, confident, and transformed.
Here are some of the milestones in my journey (in chronological order):
- Graduating before 25 years old from University of California, San Diego. It took me 6 years to complete my college education – in between struggling with an eating disorder and going to community college.
- Conquering my 10-year eating disorder through discovery of cellular nutrition and salsa dancing.
- Becoming a health and beauty consultant, and receiving recognition internationally for my business successes in working with Usana Health Sciences.
- Competing in my first pageant and winning Miss Asian California 2017. This helped me achieve one of my goals to be a role model in health and beauty. My 4 title win was featured on Wired Magazine.
- Founding Kalon SF in October 2018.
- Working at Sephora Corporate, gaining industry experience in the beauty world. I feel inspired by the culture and environment to build Kalon to its fullest potential which has spearheaded my journey into influencer marketing and content creation on various social media platforms.
So I leave you with a message: It’s never too late to start your own venture.
Find that courage that you have within yourself and make that first step. Don’t spend all your time thinking about it.
Because sometimes you just have to run with it and trust that it will work out! Being an entrepreneur takes grit, dedication, hard work, and tons of failures to succeed. Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?