• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

5 Things I Wish I Knew Starting Out

shutterstock_142036030

Words of wisdom from the founder of Lover.ly for those thinking of starting their own company. 

By Kellee Khalil (Founder & CEO, Lover.ly)

After experiencing the inefficiencies in the wedding industry firsthand (I was the maid-of-honor in my sister’s wedding), I wanted the wedding planning process to be streamlined, simple and more fun. I wanted a place where brides and grooms could easily find beautiful wedding inspiration, things to buy and people to hire for their wedding day.

Once I had the idea to start Lover.ly, I was immediately obsessed/determined to turn it into a reality. I set out to create the world’s first bridal search engine and relocated from Los Angeles to New York City. What I didn’t realize when I arrived in NYC was just how challenging it would be to get my company off the ground as a female entrepreneur in the male-dominated tech industry. I received a ton of skepticism, got a lot of “no’s” and fought many small battles, but it ultimately made my drive that much stronger.

While I have had the help and encouragement of mentors, investors and team members throughout this process, there are some things I just wish I had known when I started out.  If you are thinking about starting your own company, or breaking into entrepreneurship here are 5 words of wisdom:

Find Your Passion and Build Your Work Around It

Starting a company is more work than you ever imagined. While its super rewarding, it won’t seem worth it unless you’re passionate about what you are building and doing. Find a problem in the world that you have a strong desire to fix, and go after it!

Rejection Is Part of the Business

When I started Lover.ly, I didn’t realize just how many “no”s it takes to get to one solid “yes.” Be confident in what you are working towards and don’t give up on it. If you have a dream to build something don’t let anyone (investors, VCs, peers) stop you from accomplishing it.

Hire Employees Who Can Wear Many Hats

It takes a certain type of individual to thrive at a startup. I learned the hard way that if an employee wasn’t willing to be nimble and flexible, then it just wouldn’t work in the end. Hire team members that are willing to roll up their sleeves and be involved with all departments and elements of the company.

Take Advice from Those Who Know Better

Get a mentor! I have developed mentor relationships with Joanne Wilson and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, two successful female entrepreneurs who know the ins and outs of this industry. It is so empowering to have experienced and skilled females on my side, willing to give advice and lend a hand whenever needed. Just always be cognizant of how much time you are asking of your mentor, that part is a delicate balance.

Everything Will Work Out in the End

Don’t sweat the small stuff! I have spent so much of my time stressing about little things- if I handled a situation right or if I made the right decision. The best advice I can give is to let it go and think big picture. It will all turn out the way its supposed to be!

What one thing do you wish someone had told you at the start of your journey in tech?

Kellee_RedAbout the guest blogger: Kellee is the founder and CEO of Lover.ly, an all-in-one resource for wedding planning where users can search, save, shop and share all things wedding in one place.