FOUNDER: LAUREN CURIOTTO
BASED IN: NEW JERSEY
What do you do? What is the vision?
I run a nonprofit organization called Finding the Fabulous. We unite fabulous girls with fearless attitudes and revolutionary futures to advance the next generation of female leaders and role models. Our goal is to inspire girls, ages 5-18, to choose confidence, compassion and creativity in their journeys to overcoming core challenges like fear of failure and lack or purpose.
Do you believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur? Do you think that everyone should try?
I don’t believe that everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur. My husband, for instance, likes to leave his work at work. I can’t do that. I carry my laptop like an accessory. He also does better with a structured schedule. He doesn’t mind getting up early and probably wouldn’t get any work done if he didn’t have someone giving him deadlines. The thought of a nine to five gig makes my throat close up just a little. I cherish my flexibility, but I’m also disciplined enough to spend my night writing emails instead of going on a Netflix binge (though I love those too). I do, however, think everyone can benefit from adopting an entrepreneurial mindset. Creativity, innovation and problem solving are all traits that will serve you well in any work setting.
How do you keep yourself motivated when you can’t keep going anymore?
I take a break. I laugh. I take a nap. And then I pick up the pieces. As a teenager, my mom would institute “mental health days” if she saw that I was getting too overwhelmed with trying to be perfect at everything. That was one of the best lessons she ever taught me. A lack of motivation is often a side effect of burn out. One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is feeling like I always have to be “on”. I always need to be doing something to move the needle because if I don’t, I could fail, and if I fail, it will be all my fault for not working hard enough. Vicious cycle, I know. Thankfully my brain and body tell me when it’s time to stop and I’m learning to listen. When I hit a rut, I take a break. Sometimes it’s an hour, sometimes it’s a week. It’s never at a convenient time (those don’t exist), but it’s always worth it. I do something completely unrelated to my work to get out of my own head. And then I come back refreshed, inspired and motivated.
Is it important to set goals or is it better to just “go with the flow”? What is your strategy?
This might be a surprise to those who know me since I’m such a type-A personality, but setting weekly, monthly, or yearly goals doesn’t really work for me. It’s sometimes cathartic for me to write lists, but then I never look at it again … or I rewrite it so many times that it becomes unproductive. I try to leave space for unexpected opportunities that I wouldn’t have even known to put on my goals list. Those are usually the most worthwhile opportunities to pursue anyway. Most important for me is (1) to keep evolving the big picture vision. I need to be motivated by my mission And (2) refining my priorities until I’m crystal clear on what requires my attention right now. As an entrepreneur, my work is never done, so I don’t always have time to be looking three months down the line. Sometimes I just need to be concerned with what needs to get done before I go to bed tonight.
How do you inspire girls? How can others do it?
I love this question because it’s exactly what we need to be asking. I talk to so many teen girls who either suffer from lack of exposure to potential career options or have a vision but don’t feel like they have permission to pursue it. I never had any plans to be an entrepreneur and I still often struggle with feeling like a fraud, so I understand how confusing it can be to walk in your purpose. Finding the Fabulous is trying to do our part to answer this question through our new program called The Collaboration. We connect high school girls with professional mentors for a mini externship opportunity. The goal is for girls to experience different workplace cultures, explore areas of interest without making major commitments and get a sense of what they want (as much as what they don’t want) in their future careers. I believe that the best way to decide whether entrepreneurship is right for you is to talk to as many people as possible about their personal journeys.
What is one (or more) piece of advice you can offer our readers and other entrepreneurs that are reading your interview? What is the most important to keep in mind?
1. Be uncomfortable. Terrified. Embarrassed. Those feelings mean you’re dreaming big enough. And if you’re dreaming that big, it may mean that you never achieve it all. That doesn’t mean you’ve fallen short. It just means you’ve left room for other people to build on to your dream.
2. Go on vacation. Regularly.