By Nicole Kearney
Since college, I’ve been involved in many entrepreneurial activities. However, it’s my startup, Sip & Share Winery, over the last two years that’s taught me the most about being an entrepreneur. Learn first, realize the why, your purpose and inspiration for starting. Know why your idea is unique and what problem(s) it solves. This will be the fuel to motivate you when things are slow and tough. And they will be both.
Having good mentors is key. A good mentor is a sounding board, provides valuable insight gained from his or her experiences and can connect you to resources. I found my first mentor on Twitter. I was following her as she operated in the same business space. She graciously gave me her time, introduced me to my next mentor and continues to encourage and inspire me. My second mentor is involved with wine production and promotion. Her advice has been helpful in my learning to navigate the wine industry. My third (and only local) mentor is another person I admire, although we don’t operate in the same business space. She shares her time, resources and blesses my life and business with wisdom and encouragement.
I established relationships with my mentors through networking. Networking is crucial. You want to meet others you can assist in their journey and who will reciprocate. Learn to navigate your personal and professional relationships wisely. Don’t neglect previous relationships either. Be mindful of what you say around those whose progress may be further along than yours. And especially those whose progress may not match yours or are headed in another direction.
You will experience fear and/or anxiety when you’re putting it all on the line, things aren’t moving as you planned or you’re experiencing obstacles (areas of opportunity). You may need to find a trusted person (even a therapist/counselor) with whom to talk. F. E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) can overtake your rational self and may cause anxiety. These emotions may exhibit in self-sabotage, imposter syndrome or blocking you from taking the next step. Sip & Share Winery was invited to pour wine at Hue Society’s Black Wine Experience at Essence Fest 2018. In New Orleans, moments from the start of the event, an anxiety attack began. I didn’t feel I belonged in the room. Fortunately, I had support there who got me to breathe and assured me this is where I earned the right to be. He was right as many customers shared their enthusiasm and love for our wines.
For 2019, we hope your financial projections are revised, you receive guidance from a mentor, continue to build your network, while nourishing current relationships and set new intentions to guide you as we all go out and crush it!
Nicole Kearney is a vintner with a MFA in dramatic writing from Spalding University. When she’s not creating handcrafted, small-batch vegan wines, she’s writing or producing for stage or streaming platforms. For more information visit sipnsharewinery.com. Friend or follow us @sipnsharewinery on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.