Being a Woman In Business: International Women's Day

A Soapbox Talk from Danielle, Co-Founder of Outlaw

11 years ago, Russ and I co-founded Outlaw with the understanding that I would be the "business side" of the business, and he would be the "getting things done" side of the business.

I didn't realize I had an aptitude for business, but over the years, whether through "school of hard knocks" lessons, or through online classes, I've learned to be a pretty good businesswoman (if I do say so myself).

When women tell me they want to start a business, but they're not sure how, I always encourage them to just START ANYWAY.

It's true that I spent a lot of time, energy, money, and salt (through tears and sweat), and I've MORE THAN earned these gray hairs. But what else was I doing? I wasn't going to make any meaningful impact in the world as a middle-manager for a huge corporation.

But with Outlaw, I have the outstanding fortune to connect with our Outlaw team, customers, investors, and even some professors, podcasters, and media. I've been mentored and provided mentoring. Decisions I made (with your support) have saved thousands of units of virgin plastic from entering landfills.

This job is kind of impossible: making sales and keeping costs low WHILE ALSO favoring clean ingredients, employee benefits, and sustainable packaging. Knowing which trends I should pay attention to, and which are farts in the wind. Constantly feeling like I'm letting someone down, even though sometimes I must walk away from the emails. Working on a blog post about International Women's Day when I haven't even finished programming tomorrow's newsletter (you know, just to pull an example out of thin air).

It is exhausting. I will not lie.

It would be easy to get jaded, and I was definitely burnt out at many points on this journey.

But also, here we are. 11 years later. I'm not the same woman I was when we started this business. Heck, I'm not even the same woman I was THREE YEARS AGO!

My friend said, "This isn't meant to beat you down - it's meant to grow you."

That's why I recommend entrepreneurship to any woman* who is inclined to start a business: You'll surprise yourself when you remove all the cloud cover of who you try to be to make everyone else happy. It tests you, and you will pass the test.

"And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in." - Haruki Murakami

This is what it means to be alive.

I am so grateful to be building this life and this business with you. I am a very blessed woman indeed.

* Really *anyone*

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