What makes a business a success? Is it a great idea? Access to funding? Great staff? Although an innovative idea, money and an awesome team can be instrumental, in truth, there are many founders who face extraordinary odds (more than 50% of businesses fail in the first three years) and somehow manage to power through.
So what makes these founders different? “How I Built This” is one of my favorite podcasts because it strips away the glossy veneer of entrepreneurial success and digs into what I think is a defining characteristic of great founders: Hustle.
My favorite episode features Marcia Kilgore, the founder of Bliss spa’s, Soap & Glory, Fit Flops, and an unbelievable number of other businesses. Kilgore launched her first start up as an acne prone personal trainer living paycheck to paycheck in New York city. She had no business background and no access to funding, just a passion for skin care and a desire to deliver great customer experiences. But success didn’t come overnight. She spent years juggling working as a personal trainer AND dragging a facial steamer around the city to provide in home skin care services before she could afford to rent out a tiny closet sized treatment room. That tiny closet grew into what today is Bliss.
What makes Kilgore an exceptional entrepreneur? She didn’t let a lack of experience or resources hold her back. She was laser focused on her vision and she kept working at it year after year.
We read so much about unicorn companies and overnight successes that often we fail to understand that unicorns are the exceptions. Most entrepreneurs spend years grinding it out before they find success.
To learn more about Marcia Kilgore’s path to success, listen to this episode of How I Built This, or if you just need a quick hit of inspiration to jump-start your own hustle, fast forward to the 45-minute mark.