From the outside, entrepreneurship looks pretty sexy.
Why wouldn’t it? We’re bombarded by images and messages from inspiring, self-made doers like Gary Vaynerchuck, Rachel Hollis, Mark Zuckerburg, Sophia Amoruso, etc.
The allure of getting to set your own schedule, making a long-loved idea a reality, winning constant new fans and customers, and watching the money roll in is enough to make anyone’s heart skip a beat.
But that’s not the reality. And Kristin Darga started Impact Founder to debunk this powerful myth.
After witnessing her boyfriend’s deep desolation and startup struggles, and reading about three more small business owner deaths, she made the decision to do whatever she could to help alleviate the feelings of inadequacy, isolation, depression, and suicide among founders.
Her media company, Impact Founders, provides much-needed coaching and shares first-hand, confessional stories of entrepreneurs in their growing “The Founder Confessional Podcast.”
Read more about Kristin’s journey and Impact Founder in this month’s Tenacity Tales.
What’s the obstacle that you have overcome that you are most proud of?
There are so many things, but there are a couple that come to mind.
A week before launching an Impact Founder photography exhibit, a sponsor from the hosting event asked to remove our exhibit since it was "depressing" and they wanted to celebrate entrepreneurship. We found a solution and went rogue. We were still in the event but we hitched a ride with one of their locations and unofficially had 7000 people attend our exhibit.
One year we were in the final stages of securing funding and it disappeared when the funding company went through a merger.
But, I believe that the most difficult obstacle in all of those things that I overcame was myself— My thoughts and my own fears.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started?
Allow yourself to celebrate the littlest things. Celebrate your launch but know that the work has just begun. If you allow yourself to get excited about little wins, you'll find happiness in the whole process. Otherwise it can be a long drudge uphill.
What’s your best advice to other small business owners?
Don't listen to others about your dream if they don't get your vision. Always take in what others say but don't get caught up on it if they think you're wrong.
It takes more than opinions to build a dream and most people who build innovative things wouldn't have built them if they listened to naysayers.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Wake up, drink coffee, work out. My calls usually begin by 8:30am.
I typically take Monday and Friday and reserve them for working on the business instead of “in” the business. Tuesday through Thursday I have back-to-back calls with clients, typically coaching.
I used to focus on two events a week when I was in the early stage of building my business, and now I elect to attend one event every other week plus another one to strengthen the relationships I already have. That's become easier over time as most of my close friends are also business owners so we just get together as friends.
What’s next for Impact Founder?
I have one rule when it comes to this: Always follow your true north.
What's next for Impact Founder is that we are partnering with advertisers who cater to entrepreneurs on our podcast.
We know it's a tough time for founders, so we are also building out therapy along with the coaching we offer entrepreneurs.
We have always been there for our founders, and we are not backing away now.
Want to learn more about Kristin and Impact Founder?
Check out the Impact Founder website.