I’ll admit it; I’m weird.
And I’m not afraid to show it.
I once pitched a business idea with a dinosaur Powerpoint presentation to a room full of venture capitalists while wearing a blazer sneakily covered in turtle and vegetarian buttons, and another time I made hummus on stage for a talent show; I’m not afraid to be me.
I’ve been that weird, awkward girl with glasses, Photoshop and coding skills, and zero athletic ability for as long as I can remember, and until recently, I just tried to fit in and feign some semblance of normality.
But at some point in high school, I decided that I wanted to embrace the weird and just be me for once. I flip-flopped around careers and what I wanted to do with my life until I decided that of all the potential fields that would be suitable for someone as weird as myself, I wanted to go into the boring, grey, pant-suit-wearing world of business.
I always thought I’d feel like a fish out of water when it came to the business-y side of business, like dressing in rigid professional clothes, failing to find comfortable closed-toed heels for my stubby little toes, or networking and trying to impress strangers with an unimpressively naked resume, and I was absolutely right.
But in the back of my mind, I felt like this was something I had to do.
I’ve always liked the appeal of being an entrepreneur and starting businesses that have the potential to touch millions of lives.
I’m currently the founder of
Spifferoni, an online magazine about living life differently, and Snazzify, a web design and branding studio that donates a portion of our earnings to charity Rebelsaurus, a web design and marketing business, and Resilient, an inspirational mental health blog and app. And this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. I’ve been starting businesses since I was seven (when I made a hand-drawn magazine called Fun).
You might think that for a girl entrepreneur who’s a very young twenty-something with all of this already started, I’m bound to do well in the future, but the odds are pitted against me. After all, 97% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are guys.
I’ve even had people laugh at me and tell me that I’m too ambitious and too nice and should set my sights lower or go into a field where I won’t be eaten alive.
But this is the 21st century, and women are doing amazing things and leading countries and whole organizations, so rather than scare me away, these impossible odds only encourage me further and make me work even harder.
Although there are some bad businesses out there that care only about maximizing their profits, there are also plenty of examples of good businesses, like TOM’s Shoes, Urban Decay makeup, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
And in this small but growing category of social enterprises – businesses that have a “triple bottom line” of people, profits, and planet- lies what I want to dedicate my life to. I want Spifferoni to be different than all the other big name, “really successful,” businesses out there because we will focus on making people happy, having fun, making awesome products, and bringing heart and the human element back to business. And of course, inspiring people to follow their dreams in spite of what society tries to convince us we can’t do.
Having the odds against you in any situation means that reaching your dream is just going to take a lot more effort and hard work, but it doesn’t mean that anything is impossible. Persevering, usually, is the secret to success. Keep trying. You are enough the way you are, and what you do matters.
I keep a business journal of all my “company secrets” and have a huge list of all my business ideas. Of course, I can’t give away all my corporate secrets, but I can tell you that I want to change the world through entrepreneurship.
And scrawled at the bottom of the journal, a few pages from the back, is a note, and a challenge, to myself: “All logos must in some way include a mustache.”
A note that, in a way that maybe only speaks to me, succinctly reminds me why I’m here and what I’m trying to do and why I must always resist the temptation to be normal.
Because even if I’m in the professional field of business, as long as there’s a turtle button hidden on my blazer or a secret mustache hidden in each of my logos, I’ll always remember that I’m embracing the idea of being unique and weird and different in a sea of sameness.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.