Ep. 18 – Diane Foreman
Author of, In the arena, New Zealand businesswoman, single mother, owner of a successful multi–million export company, 2009 EY Entrepreneur of the Year, and 2014 Forbes Most Powerful Women in Asia, Diane Foreman, shares her entrepreneurial journey and gives insightful answers to new and thriving entrepreneurs on some of the questions they have.
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She began her business career at the young age of 10, selling chicken eggs to her neighbors. At 13, she went on to babysitting and at the age of 20, she juggled with 3 jobs and supporting her 2 children. She married a millionaire businessman, Bill Foreman, and that was the start of her innovative journey into her business empire.
On how to get to the leap of faith in doing business?
She said writing a business is the key. It’s like a GPS – guiding your every step, following the steps very carefully, and then, having a heap of courage. Believing in yourself, valuing yourself as important – that you can do it.
On fear of making mistakes?
Your attitude towards mistakes is what matters, according to her. You must picture yourself with the worst thing that will happen if you do it, then ask yourself if you can live with it. If yes, then go; risk and do it.
Throughout her life as a seller of eggs, baby sitter, and as waitress etc. she thought that for all those years she was selling time instead of building a business. When she got married, it became an opportunity for her with her husband-mentor to learn more about the business environment. She became an apprentice and later got to sit with the board of directors.
On perseverance throughout the learning process?
She said she believed in herself and she has her husband who believed in her also. She was not being chastised whenever she committed mistakes. Instead, those are learning opportunities for her. She learnt that those mistakes are just part of the process and the worst mistake is doing nothing.
On maintaining confidence?
Once advice from her is look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself these questions: Did I do my best? Could I have done it differently? What are my learnings? The key is replaying everything and learning from them. Play the tape once for learning, once for the horror, and then push delete. The key is deleting and not dwelling on the mistakes in the past.
On business coexisting with pleasure?
The key is learning to live in the now. For her, business is like farming – season per season. There’s a season for planning, a
season for accounting, a season for everything. And so, in between these seasons, these are the times to enjoy – do what you like to do.
On the industry that excites her?
Health. It’s the industry that can change someone’s outcome. It’s working with people to help other people. And when you get to help other people, it feels really good.
On her say to the idea that women are paid less?
Women should be entrepreneurs, according to her. In entrepreneurship, you write your own checks, you seek your own roles, and there’s no glass ceiling when building a building. These are some of the perks of being an entrepreneur. Her advice is to take the learning and think of the product you really want and sell it. At the end of your career, as a professional and as a person who’s selling time, you have nothing to sell anymore in contrast to being a businessman/entrepreneur. It’s time to write your own script, be your own goalkeeper, and make your own roles.
She said women tend not to take the next big leap of faith mainly due to lack of confidence. And so, to change the mindset is to move away 1-2 weeks. Work on your business and not in it. Get in touch with yourself. Think on what really matters to you and what you really want. You might find out that the reason why the business in not growing is because it’s not good for you, or it might not be challenging anymore, or it’s not what you thought it was. Then, make decisions. Get a mentor. Working with a mentor has a really huge impact on your business.
On her advice to fellow entrepreneurs?
First is drink more water as a well hydrated brain is the brain that works. See for yourself what impacts that can do for your business. You can create great ideas and can make better decisions when your brain has sufficient fuel. And the important thing is feel the passion. Next is take time away from the idea; discuss it with your mentor and talk to yourself. If ever the idea fails, don’t take it against yourself. Don’t think that you fail – only the idea.
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