Blog | Entrepreneurship

4 Surefire Ways to Achieve Your Dreams

Entrepreneurial Advice From a 14-Year-Old Fashion Phenom

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Have you ever said, “I’d sure love to do that, but I just don’t think I can?” Are there dreams you’ve had for years that you haven’t followed because it just didn’t seem practical? Have you let lack of experience be your excuse for not starting that business idea? Have you given up trying to achieve your dreams?

You’re not alone!

I’ve traveled all over the world and talked with thousands of women. The good news is these women are big dreamers! I’m sure you are too.

The bad news is many women haven’t followed their dreams for any variety of reasons. Maybe you can relate?

If you think you can’t achieve your dreams, I want you to meet Isabella Rose Taylor. When she was 8 years old, Isabella attended a sewing camp and fell in love with fashion design.

After the camp, she began making clothes that caught the attention of her friends and family, who asked her to make them clothes.

A few months later, she had her clothes placed in a boutique shop.

At age 13, she was the youngest designer ever to be in New York Fashion Week.

By the age of fourteen, her clothes were on the rack at Nordstrom!

At age 16, she graduated from Parson School of Design and today she’s studying international business at NYU.

What’s the secret to her success when so many others have failed? There are four lessons I see that set her apart from the pack.

Find your passion to achieve your dreams?

In an interview, Isabella shared how her passion for the creative process — whether painting, designing, or creating clothes — is the catalyst for her work. It’s the reason why she does what she does.

Like most entrepreneurs, Isabella was designing clothes and doing artistic activities long before anyone cared or paid for it. By practicing her passion, she became an expert at her craft, and others took notice.

What’s your passion? What would you do even if you weren’t paid? How can you make money doing that?

Push through adversity

Would you agree that a teenage girl trying to get her clothes into Nordstrom is a path fraught with adversity? Yet, Isabella accomplished her goals because she didn’t run from adversity, but instead tackled it head on.

And not only is she running a budding fashion empire, but Isabella is also attending college, traveling frequently, and speaking at TED events. Suddenly it seems a bit silly to say you’re too busy to chase your dreams, right?

Find a mentor

When it became apparent that Isabella could make a career with her passion and talents, she and her parents did something very wise—they found Isabella a mentor, industry veteran Liza Deyrmenjian.

Fast Company writes, “As an industry insider, Deyrmenjian coached Taylor on things like the fashion cycle, how retailers buy, how to sell wholesale, and how to leverage a trunk show. She helped Taylor release a collection twice a year for three years, slowly building her brand.”

Be optimistic

It could be tempting to think that Isabella is an outlier with uncommon talent. But unless you think she’s some sort of prodigy, her mentor has some challenging words for you: "Talent-wise, Isabella wasn’t at all different from my other clients. Her age was actually an advantage; because she was young and wasn’t jaded and had no fear. Her vision was clear — and she’s an incredible designer."

Often our fear of failure holds us back from chasing our dreams. We need to rediscover the optimism of our youth, when anything was possible. And even when times get hard or we fail, we need to keep reaching into that well of optimism to move forward again.

Isabella’s parting words

Isabella’s final advice to the National Retail Federation is worth remembering as you pursue your dreams:

“Honestly, it is never too early to sell — to sell your ideas, yourself and your product. I think you must immerse yourself in the field you want to be in, take classes and then just start doing it. Just keep creating projects. You’ll never get there if you aren’t actually doing. The best way to do something hard is to just begin.”

Leveraging passion and knowledge to achive your dreams

I understand that starting a business can be especially intimidating for women. One venture capitalist says that this is because women need to know 80% of what they need to do before starting a business while men only need to know 20%.

Whether the statistics are true or not, the point is valid: Women are generally less willing to take risks than men. But, as this venture capitalist mentions, the reality is that most women already know most of what they need to in order to start a business. Once they realize this, they have the confidence to take the leap.

Step 1: Follow your passions

We talked a moment ago about finding your passions, but once you find them you must take it a step further and actually follow them — that’s how you make money.

A while back, I read about Corey O’Loughlin and Nina Vitalino, who did just that when they started their business, Prep Obsessed, in 2013. Prep Obsessed, as they describe it, sells “preppy items for the home as well as customized accessories and on-trend jewelry.”

The two ladies went about starting their business in a very untraditional way back then — by simply featuring items they liked on a Facebook page and Instagram. Before they had even sold a product, they had 1,000 Facebook fans.

Today, they boast over 400,000 Facebook fans and almost 60,000 Instagram followers, and have a storefront in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

As O’Loughlin told Entrepreneur, "We never ask what [our customers] want us to offer them. Instead, they are confident that we know what they want because they're confident we love the same things."

Step 2: Know your customer

That last statement brings up an interesting point — clearly, another key to success for Prep Obsessed was that they knew their customer. As Entrepreneur shares, “Prep Obsessed targets a relatively narrow user profile: U.S. women between the ages of 20 and 50 who have expressed interest in specific brands (Tory Burch, Lilly Pulitzer) and categories (including fashion and home and garden). The company also goes after those users' friends.”

For the entrepreneurial partners, it’s more important to focus on a niche rather than trying to reach everyone. This focus has paid off. The best part is that they’ve quit their jobs and are working full time on their business.

A new way of doing business

Prep Obsessed is an excellent example of how starting a business has radically changed. The Internet has changed the way we do business, and the access we have to learning how to start and build a successful business.

Today, with just a few hours on the side and a few dollars a day, you can build a business online that can start you on the path to following your dreams and financial freedom.

Original publish date: June 18, 2015

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