If there’s one thing I’ve learned about building a brand and how to become an entrepreneur, it’s this: as an entrepreneur, entertainer, artist, musician, etc. you have to create a movement. A movement that is bigger than your brand. It represents more than your product or your service or your bottom line. It represents impact and community.
I’ve had the chance to sit down with some tremendously impactful people over the past year and I’ve learned that it really boils down to one thing:
When it comes to entrepreneurship, the power of serving cannot be underestimated.
I recently had the chance to fly out to Phoenix to hang out with three amazing ladies who know a thing or two about serving and building a movement. Through their focus on building a movement to empower women, they have become amazingly successfully entrepreneurs, entertainers, influencers and community creators. Heck, Nikki and Brie’s following even has a name for themselves – The Bella Army.
You know who Nikki and Brie Bella are. You’ve likely seen them on TV or social media. You might be familiar with them as a tag team duo on WWE, as well as TV shows Total Divas and now Total Bellas, which includes their partners WWE Stars Daniel Bryan and John Cena on the E! Network.
Nikki Bella (left) w/ John Cena and Brie Bella (right) w/ Daniel Bryan
These ladies have tens of millions of social media followers, their own TV shows and HUGE reach. They are actively using it to spread a message of empowerment while building their personal brands.
As entrepreneurs, Brie and Nikki have impacted hundreds of millions by staying true to the core of their movement – serving.
I also had the opportunity to sit down with Sarah Pendrick who is the creator of The Girl Talk Network, a non-profit for women in all stages of life centered around women supporting women, empowering others, connecting, inspiring and giving back. They create life changing events and self-love programs for women and young girls nationwide.
Sarah Pendrick (right), founder of GirlTalkNetwork
Sarah, Nikki and Brie’s mission is to empower women of all ages while serving as a resource for young women.
Over two hours in a studio in Phoenix with E! Entertainment’s cameras rolling, my partner Matt (HDFmagazine.com) and I got to the bottom of what it means to become entrepreneurs and influencers with purpose.
[YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE: The Hustle Sold Separately Episode 98]
Here are 8 ways to become a successful entrepreneur by embracing your purpose and creating a movement.
From left to right: Sarah Pendrick Matt from HDFmagazine.com, Brie Bella, Case Kenny, Nikki Bella
1. Start small.
The thing I love most about being alive in the the 21st century is that it doesn’t matter how small your following is or how unknown you are… you can make an impact. With technology and social media, you literally have limitless potential to spread your message.
Sarah and the Bella twins have used this thinking to build their brands from zero 10 years ago to hundreds of millions today.
Whether you have 10 followers or you have 10 million or 10 thousand, you have a platform, you can just your voice, said Brie.
I think that is such a strong mindset to have. You can curl up and do nothing because you feel your voice will not be heard, or you can leverage what network and platforms you do have and just go for it.
You can be influenced by other people, or you can go and influence other people. Even if you’re 10 years old. That’s the kind of community that we want, which starts with social media.
2. You don’t have to be an expert.
Another great thing about the time we’re living in is that you don’t have to be an expert to start. You can learn quickly and even as you’re learning, you have value to share.
Whatever your brand is – whether you’re a musician, an artist or a technology company – it’s all about storytelling.
Everyone has a story. No one’s had it easy. That’s what I love… is every single person has a story, and why you’re inspired when you walk in through that door is because already everyone has made a decision that they’re gonna be the stronger version of themselves.
I think why we’ve had such success from Total Divas and got the spinoff of Total Bellas is we put some hard stuff out there in reality TV. My sister and I didn’t sign up for reality TV because we wanted to be famous. We actually could care less about fame. Brie and I, with our story, if there’s one person that can watch it, and can relate to us, to know they’re not alone, game over, we’ve won. We’ve done what we’ve wanted to do.
3. Have patience!
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your brand, your talent, great work of art, etc.
I had a bit of an epiphany when speaking with Sarah, Brie and Nikki that really struck a chord with me.
It has taken them more than 10 years to get to where they are now. 10 years!
When you start getting down on yourself when you’re not growing your brand fast enough or in your career or in the gym, think about that. 10 years!
Growing a brand and starting a movement is all about patience!
It took my sister and I a decade to make history at WWE. It took us a decade to become the top girls at WWE, to where we got. 10 years.
I truly had to learn patience, and I had to tell myself everyday, “Breathe. For you to be successful and great, it takes time.” Just like my WWE career, it took time. So I think entrepreneurs need to just, number one, have patience, and know it doesn’t happen overnight. When it does happen overnight, it’s because it took seven years, not 20. So it’s just pall about patience.
4. Know your why.
I’ve always been passionate about my why. It’s the reason I do what I do and it’s the reason I don’t give up and will continue to work towards my goals.
Your why is the fuel that creates your movement and keeps it going. It’s the fire that lights up your community.
Sarah has always known her why and it has helped her stay focused and dedicated to building her movement.
For me, I knew my why, and I knew my passion is helping people. I’m so passionate about helping people and just being here to serve. Anytime I get super, “Oh my god, it didn’t work out the way I want. Whatever.” I just have to recheck and be like, “This isn’t about me.” I’m here to serve, I’m here to help people, I’m here to give people a voice, and that just gets me through anything. If I was doing something else that I wasn’t passionate about, I wouldn’t be sitting here today, talking about GirlTalk.
You can’t fake your why!
You’ll hear people say, “Fake it ’til you make it.” No, I can’t.
One thing I realized is I have to be true to myself, whether you like me or not. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to get where I’m at, but I’m so happy that I can look in the mirror and be so proud of myself. I never sacrificed my morals, I never sacrificed my beliefs, and because of it, I feel like I do touch people.
Knowing your why grounds you. It gives you purpose and gives you patience to make the journey worthwhile.
I’m traveling the world, I’m connecting with my fans, I’m doing what I love. I have a badass career. I’m like a grownup who gets to play like a kid, so I’m doing something right. For me, it’s just always staying true to myself, has always pushed me.
5. Mindset is crucial.
When building, it’s tempting to get down on yourself, compare yourself to others or get a big head about some of the successes you’ve had.
When I started at WWE, I knew my place. I was like, “There are 10 girls who are better than me in the ring. I am still learning, but I’m gonna enjoy the journey to get to the top.”
I wasn’t as great as some of the girls when I first started, I knew I was gonna see the world. I was traveling all over the world, so I might not have had the best position, making great money, but here I am in Italy, and all of a sudden, I’m in Australia, and Japan. So I always looked at like, “Okay, I know where I’m gonna work for, but I’m gonna be grateful for the things that I’m gonna slowly get as I go to the top.”
For me, it was just not having ego. I think so many people go into things thinking, “I deserve to be at the top now. I need this now.” Cause they think they’re great and all that, and I think that just tears you away from all the things that you should be grateful and know that are going on.
6. It’s going to suck.
Here’s the other tempting thing about your journey to building your movement: you are going to naturally compare your ‘behind the scenes’ work to other people’s ‘highlight reels’. That comparison does nothing but distract you because no matter what, it’s going to suck! It just is. That’s the reality of creating something impactful.
When you see successful people, everyone assumes that all they heard was yes, and they don’t realize that they heard a lot of no’s, but they never gave up. We’ve all heard no’s a thousand times, I’m sure you all heard no’s, but it’s, how do I change that no or that negative into a positive or a yes. There’s a lot of tears, and there’s a lot of blood, and there’s a lot of sweat, and there’s a lot of no sleeping. But almost every entrepreneur has heard a ton of no’s, but they just didn’t stop, they didn’t give up. You’re gonna have failure, and failure’s okay, but it’s how do you change that failure and succeed.
7. Don’t be phased by ‘no’
Failure comes in a lot of different forms but one form I guarantee will be thrown your way is hearing NO- lots of NO’s.
You have to have a lot of strength, and you do have to be prepared to just know. The answer will probably be no, but that’s the worst it can be.
Especially when it comes to running a non-profit like Sarah does, staying grounded in your why will give you the strength to persevere past the NO’s.
8. Just do it.
Sometimes you have to just shut up, stop thinking and chase what you want. That simple.
I decided to be a WWE woman’s wrestler at the age of 22. People were like, “Wait a second, you weren’t a wrestling fan growing up?” No. I’m 22, I woke up, this is my dream, and I’m gonna do it.” It came with a lot of hate, and a lot of people telling me no, both my sister and I, and I can’t even express to the negativity we dealt with every day. There was a lot of times we did cry, and we’re like, “Are we making a mistake?”
But I wasn’t gonna let people’s hate, negativity, tear me down, and I did. I had to look past all the obstacles, and be like, “This is my dream, and no one’s gonna take it away.” I’m gonna accomplish it, and I want men and women, young kids, even if you’re 50 to 80 years old, to know at any moment, you can wake up and have a dream and accomplish it. Don’t look at how hard it is gonna be to get there, you can get there. So that’s kind of for me, every time I hear that, I always think about when I told my family that I wanted to be a wrestler, and I was 22, my mom looked at me and goes, “No.” I was like, “Yeah.”
Nikki had the same story.
I felt like because I was a competitive soccer player for 11 years, my whole childhood, and all I learned was obedience and discipline, and you follow the rules and your curfew, and I did all that. I took that into my career, like, “Oh, the boss says this. Don’t do it, don’t do that.” But I realized I can only stay at a certain level, and it wasn’t until I became fearless and I took chances, and I was like, “You know what? You might get in trouble, but you’re not gonna get fired. You might get disciplined, but at least you know for next time don’t do it.” I felt like the minute I did that, I just became this whole new person, and I saw a lot more success, and a lot more, like I said, knowing my audience. A lot more people were connecting with me. Like, gosh, she’s fearless, and then Fearless Nikki was born.
[YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE: The Hustle Sold Separately Episode 98]