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Women's Entrepreneurship Day Feature: Kate's Entrepreneurial Journey

Today is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, so I figured I’d take a moment to reflect on my journey as an entrepreneur… something I never thought I would be.

I consider myself to be an ‘accidental entrepreneur.’ I never planned nor wanted to be an entrepreneur. I loved so many things about the corporate world I was in before - the steady pay check, the security, the consistency. And I was full of self-doubt. “I don’t have the skills to be an entrepreneur” was a narrative I created in my head and stuck to it unwaveringly for all of my 20s. 

However, several years ago, I had a need that wasn’t being filled. So I decided I should try to solve it myself rather than wait for someone else to do it - which is how Sun & Swell was born. But even after starting Sun & Swell, I refused to admit I was an entrepreneur. I talked about Sun & Swell as if it was a side hustle or hobby for the entire first year, even though it was really my full time job. It wasn’t until we had 75+ retail doors and several employees that I felt like I had permission to identify with the title. In hindsight, this was a clear reflection on how I really let imposter syndrome take over for a while. 

This year, my journey as an entrepreneur felt crazier than ever.  COVID  hit the US hard when I was 7 months pregnant. In the Spring while we navigating the new waters and had to furlough our team for a month, I had days when I was 8 months pregnant on my feet 12+ hours a day, making and shipping orders. Whatever it took to keep our business going strong. Luckily, we were able to have our team back in full force by the time our daughter was born.

And now, I’m trying to figure out how to be entrepreneur and a new mom at the same time. I went from spending 12+ hours a day working on the business, to having to figure out how to get it all done in 25-50% of the time I used to have. How do I prioritize, when everything feels so important? How do I delegate, when I don’t have a huge team to delegate everything to? How do I learn how to say no? I’m in the early stages of figuring this out, but just like everything else along this journey - I know I WILL figure it out. 

Entrepreneurship has been more of everything than I could've expected: more challenging, more rewarding, more fund, more of a rollercoaster, more ups, more downs, more amazing. I'm so grateful I get to be on this journey, and encourage any other woman who might have an itch to start their own thing to lean into that feeling. It will be a journey you'll never forget!