Faith is a word I see used a lot in social media inspirational memes. But what does it really mean?
Google defines faith as complete trust or confidence in someone or something. It also defines faith as strong belief in God or the doctrines of a religion.
The bible describes faith as the substance of things hoped for-the evidence of things not seen.
I submit to you that faith is just an empty word to most people. But for entrepreneurs, it can be everything. For entrepreneurs, faith can be the only thing that keeps them going when their business model isn’t working as planned, and there aren’t enough sales and customers to pay themselves sufficiently to take care of their families. And friends, family, and investors are looking at them sideways and telling them to shut down their business because it’s not gonna work.
Because of this, entrepreneurs have more faith than the average person. They have to.
I reached out to three entrepreneur friends (who happen to be women) to get their thoughts about the role of faith on their entrepreneurial journey-here’s what they said.
Angelica Sweeting, Founder of Naturally Perfect Dolls, On Shark Tank
Much of our Shark Tank pitch was cut from TV. For at least 30 minutes during our pitch the Sharks were telling us that our idea would never work. Robert actually said that I was too much of a dreamer to think that diversity was possible on the toy aisle with our product. Mark and Daymond were adamant that our business model and vision would leave us with a company that ended sooner than later. Kevin said we would get crushed and Laurie didn’t want to take the long journey with us.
I dreamed about standing in front of the Sharks for the last 4 years. I never imagined that they all would tell me that my business would never work. It was shocking and I felt myself freeze for a moment.
You only get so many moments in life to change the direction of your company and I knew this was one. I looked at my husband and we both silently acknowledged each other and the need to activate our faith, or we would walk out of the tank without a deal.
We spent the next 40 mins tackling each Shark and giving them a reason why they were wrong. None of the Sharks budged, except for Daymond. We ended up leaving the tank with a $250,00 deal and a great partner. Faith isn’t about making sense of things as they come; it’s about moving forward. Faith is about being able to take the jabs, hurdles, and “no’s” in life and keep going.
Candace V. Mitchell, Co-Founder of Myavana
There was one point in our business when our revenue was down, we had debts to pay back and the overall team morale was low. We worked very hard, but weren’t seeing tangible results and didn’t know what to do to grow the business. Many of the things we tried just didn’t work.
We were no longer able to take a salary and had to figure out how to restructure our team. It seemed like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and challenges were stacking on top of each other like a brick wall. It seemed like an insurmountable feat to move forward.
I took a month off, like a sabbatical, to just pray and get direction from God. At this point, I was suffering from anxiety and depression and I knew that it was weighing on me too much and I needed to surrender to God to truly walk by faith. As I began to pray daily, the burdens seemed to disappear one by one as I was encouraged by scripture that “all things are working for my good” and to “trust the Lord and lean not onto my own understanding.”
Instead of focusing on my problems, my mind started to have the clarity to focus on solutions. I realized that I needed rest most of all from the frantic hustle of the startup life, and a change of lifestyle to be able to endure and persevere. My faith also kept me encouraged by knowing that there is a greater plan and that I have a greater purpose that outweighs any challenge I faced.
The first day of work after I returned from my sabbatical, I was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and my company had a national TV appearance on THE REAL daytime talk show. We had our best sales month ever. I also won an award for BET Honor’s Next In Class as a STEM leader.
These recognitions have carried on to more online features that have recently caught the attention of CNN and BuzzFeed, which went viral on social media and has been our highest viewed feature to date, bringing in tons of business for us this year.
I say all of this to say that you never know what’s around the corner. When you work hard and have faith, you will see success even when it’s most unexpected. Believe in yourself, even through the challenges and know that all things are working for your good.
Here’s the BuzFeed video via Bring Me:
Jessika Ross, Founder, The Splash Baby
I am a stay-at-home mom of two, and the wife of a Firefighter/Paramedic, and if I am being real about it, money has been tight.
When you think of someone inventing a product and bringing it to market you think it comes with a hefty price tag, which gave me pause when I first thought of my product, ‘The Splash Baby.” I told a few close family members about what I had planned and unfortunately was hit with – “Can you afford this, are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
My answer was ‘No’ to both questions.
When I began this entrepreneurial journey, I knew about babies, diapers, bedtime stories, and absolutely NOTHING about business. I decided that if I was going to make this product and bring it successfully to market, I would have to figure out a way to learn everything about business and do it as inexpensively as possible.
During the late nights and early mornings, Google was my friend. I made things work by the skin of my teeth. I searched long and hard and found a pro-bono patent attorney, and I networked and bartered to get what I needed.
It’s been hard and money is still an issue, but last week my faith in myself and my product was rewarded. The Splash Baby was approved for sale on BuyBuyBaby.com, a Bed, Bath, and Beyond website.
Stay faithful! And when shit hits the fan – catch it on the way down and learn to keep going.
Keep the faith.
And keep it moving!