By: Sonya Gill
I’ll be straight with you. When I started working, I had three goals: to be extremely wealthy, extremely knowledgeable, and extremely charitable. Two brands, millions of lines of code, and an undisclosed number of years later, I’m still not the smartest, but I’m definitely all the more wiser.
When people ask me what I do, I struggle to give a straight answer. Entrepreneur seems so vague at times, but deep down I know it’s the correct answer because when you Google what it is to be an entrepreneur, in every humble way of the word, it truly describes me. Someone who envisions and executes. I scale businesses as well as my own to achieve the impossible and lead marketing teams to accomplish the unimaginable. And I’m never happier than when I’m meeting people and discovering the mechanics behind the most innovative industries that exist. My greatest passion is turning ideas into reality.
Entrepreneur seems so vague
When I was young, I remember never liking being told what to do. I wouldn’t say that my career is the professional equivalent of colouring outside the lines, but rather drawing some new lines and then colouring those in.
I infuse this spirit into everything I do. I infuse myself into everything I do. I make a much better entrepreneur than an employee, as in when I use to have to follow someone else’s directions, I would feel like I was trapped in a colouring book. I never wanted to be contained, and same holds true to this day. Rather I work better in team settings and in collaboration. Working alongside people smart, talented, positive and radiant.
When I started Youzus in 2011, it was nothing more than a blog, me talking about my ideas. That grew into a social media marketing agency, aiding and directing corporations on how to utilize these amazing new platforms. It eventually grew to a digital marketing and PR agency in 3 years. Youzus did not want to be contained, either. In 2015, after 4 years of working tirelessly, it was acquired by an award winning ad agency from Australia.
Youzus did not want to be contained
Youzus was my baby, my first business. After it was acquired, I couldn’t bear the thought of doing anything else. I loved the life I had made for myself, and getting a different job was unimaginable. For my next venture, I turned to my South Asian heritage.
From this sprung my next venture: Take My Sari. It’s an online marketplace where people can literally buy, sell and rent anything they would shop for when in India.
My journey has not been smooth though. The best parts of my job are also the worst. I’m my own boss, but I’m also always getting chewed out by my boss. No one can ever match the pressure that you put on yourself, and when you are building your own company and brand, the pressure is squarely on you. I don’t work regular, 9-5 hours. I work 24 hours. I don’t get bogged down by bureaucracy; I get bogged down by having to learn how to do several people’s jobs at once. The worst part was learning how to code. It took hours of learning before I could look at a string of code without feeling nauseous. I had to watch endless amounts of YouTube videos on app and website development to understand all the lingo when I began building Take My Sari.
I’m my own boss, but I’m also always getting chewed out by my boss
And yet, in spite of it all, if someone asked if they should start their own business, I’d tell them to just start it. It doesn’t matter what ethnicity or gender you are, you’re still a human being, and probably an ambitious one at that if you are even thinking of starting a business. Your idea doesn’t have to be perfect, and yes, you will encounter failure and disheartening situations, but guess what? The person that fails the most is the most successful, and you will figure it out.
You’re a human being, and probably an ambitious one at that if you are even thinking of starting a business
Some people have asked me how I deal with failure. I believe there is no failure in life. There are experiences that take you into the unknown and unless you embrace it, that’s when you use the term ‘failure’. There’s been a few times I’ve ‘failed’ and it’s for every time I didn’t embrace an experience and I thought I knew what I was doing. Being a ‘know it all’ bites you in the ass every time. Some days when I walk into a meeting with an innovative company, I leave feeling like I don’t know a thing. And truthfully, it’s one of the best feelings I love experiencing. It’s like experiencing a new city for the first time.