Jessica Herrin: 'You can't do it all, but you can do what matters most to you'

AUTHOR Q&A: Stella & Dot founder Jessica Herrin on achieving success on your own terms.

by Kate Bassett
Last Updated: 23 Aug 2016

You started online wedding gift Weddingchannel.com in your 20s and sold it for £90m. How was that a 'warm-up round' for Stella & Dot?

I co-founded the company straight out of Stanford Business School and learned a tremendous amount: raising venture capital, building a team and growing a business to profitability. But I also learned that you can become commercially successful but still not feel like a true success. I wasn't happy.

I started my first company with my head; the next time around, I approached it differently and picked a business where I felt connected to the mission. Stella & Dot democratises entrepreneurship and provides flexible income to women all around the globe, with a powerfully modern business. Life's too short not to love what you do, why you do it and who you do it with.

How did you 'give up' working mother guilt?

I’ll be the first to admit that I used to try to do it all, both at home and at work – and that was not a sustainable approach to life! I reached a breaking point and realised that I had to stop trying to live the values of generations past, or prove to the mum down the street what a good parent I was, but rather simply focus on what my family valued and what was important to the four of us. I had to get real with myself about what I was able to do on my own, and what responsibilities could be delegated to someone else. I gave up the idea of perfect, but I never gave up on being extraordinary. 

How can women who are juggling careers and family make the most of their time?

You can’t do it all, but you can do what matters most to you. Yes, we are all juggling. But, some of those balls are rubber, and some of them are glass. Some you simply let bounce and pick them up later. The most important things – like your health and wellness, your family, the few linchpin tasks that will really move the needle in your career – those are the glass balls. Learn to prioritise; time mastery is essential to creating success and not feeling too stretched to love your life.

Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms by Jessica Herrin is published by Portfolio Penguin at £14.99

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