Kaidi Ruusalepp: "Have a vision. Stick to it. Go after it."
- KAIDI RUUSALEPP, AT I AM TOMORROW IN LIFT99
Summarised by Kadri Barclay, Head of Marketing at LIFT99
Last month LIFT99 hosted an event with the I Am Tomorrow initiative to highlight strong female role models and inspire more women to undertake the journey of entrepreneurship. Among the speakers was Kaidi who blew us away with her story:
"Becoming an entrepreneur has to come from within you. It's an inner animal, a need. As women, we tend to overthink about things. But for me, NOT becoming an entrepreneur was scarier than actually becoming one - I had been in my previous job for twelve years, and that was more than enough.
When becoming an entrepreneur, everybody will be questioning you, "Woah, you are still alive!?" Well, yes. Every day you are going to have to justify to everybody else, and to yourself, your existence in this world. Especially for the first two years when you are very vulnerable.
By the third year, it seems you'll have earned your place on Earth but you are going to have to find a really good product-market-fit. Before that, it was time for playing. Now it's scaling, scaling, scaling!
Don't lose yourself as a person on your journey of being an entrepreneur.
Everything from here on is going to be a decision point. The most important skill for an entrepreneur is making decisions. Even a bad decision is a decision.
You won't have time to think. You just decide and go on. Despite the little voice in your head that tells you to get lost in overthinking.
Don't ever think an idea is stupid. Have the courage to go and test it.
Know your weaknesses. Find somebody strong in what you are bad at. That's what a good leader does. Find people to take care of what you are.
When you hire somebody, don't look at the skills. Look at the personality. We are not married to skills. When you argue or try to find solutions, you need to be able to work, talk, move on together.
A person with the right attitude and the ability to think can grow so fast that in a few months they will surpass the person you would have hired for the skill. Attitude and personality make all the difference.
As ladies, we are so afraid of speaking up. We lose the moments in fear of wrong questions, wrong answers. But there are no wrong ones. There are just moments and opportunities missed. You can never get those back.
Have a vision. Stick to it. Go after it.
Take time for yourself. Think. Read, the right things. I really want to read Jane Eyre but the time to read Jane Eyre will come later. Now is time to read about future, technology, homo sapiens - things that help you achieve what you have put your mind to.
Share stories. Ask questions. Talk to others like yourself.
I didn't tell my mother I was an entrepreneur until I was 35. It's scary - no solid salary, no holidays, no benefits of a regular business. But first of all, believe in yourself.
How to stop yourself from living in illusions? When you have a shabby shed and everybody else says it's a shed, but you think it's a castle - then you have a problem. But if you see that it's a shed but you have a vision HOW this shed will BECOME a castle - you should stick to it!"
Hats off to Kaidi, all the speakers, organizers and participants. Until next time!
Now, go and build that castle! 😎