I’ve been working since before I was in kindergarten, so I’ve had all kinds of jobs. Child actor? Been there. Producer? Yes. Professional clothes folder? That, too. And now, with Being Frenshe, I’m a brand founder—which is pretty thrilling, if I’m going to be honest.
Throughout it all, I’ve picked up lessons about business that I wish I’d known all along. I’m not talking about a business school education, but the soft skills that help you navigate real-world situations no matter what kind of career ladder you’re climbing. Whether you’re a current entrepreneur, a job seeker, or you’re thinking of starting your own business, I’m sharing them in hopes that they’ll help you, too.
Hone your pitch
No matter what business you’re in, you need to know how to pitch your ideas. I can do it now, but when I was young, I was really quiet and shy. Fortunately, my grandfather was a professional pitchman, and he taught me a lesson I’ll never forget: You have to be 100% committed behind what you’re about to sell. So whether I’ve been selling clothes at Wet Seal or auditioning for a role, I’ve become unapologetically confident. People won’t take you seriously if you question what you’re “selling.” But if you go for it and believe in yourself and your ideas, it’s a much easier “yes” for them.
Know your worth
Speaking of pitching, it’s important to practice negotiating for what you want—whether that’s more money, benefits, or flexible hours. As uncomfortable as those conversations can be, you need to know your worth. Get yourself primed to negotiate through an affirmation like “I have unique and valuable talent, abilities, and skills that deserve to be well-compensated.” Once you believe it, you’ll be ready to ask for more.
Look at the big picture
Even if you’re a skilled negotiator, there will be times when you don’t get everything that you want. I once signed on to a project despite the salary not being what I’d asked for, and you know what? It turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had, and it opened more doors for me. So if you’re ever considering a career move, look at it holistically. You never know where the path is going to lead.
Business is business
In business, don’t take things personally. It’s just business. Really.
Trust your intuition
Some people in business are amazing. Others will try to take advantage of you… if you let them. That’s why I’ve learned to listen to my intuition. If a person or a situation doesn’t feel right, I pay attention to that feeling and move forward cautiously—or not at all. Life’s too short to work with people who don’t have integrity.
Find your community
If you want to be successful, create a community. I don’t just mean networking, although it’s important to maintain professional connections. What I mean here is bigger than that—it’s about supporting other people in your field and being there for one another. Find other people in your field who really get what you’re trying to do, and show up for them. Celebrate their wins and be there when they’re struggling—and you’ll find that whether you’re on a career high or low, you’ll always have people near you who care.