Interested in starting your entrepreneurial journey in business development, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Stockdale, CEO, and founder of Growclass, from Toronto, Canada.
Tell us all about your business...
Growclass is a growth marketing training program, big-ass community, and entire support system for your career. We started as a safe place for marginalized folks to learn non-fluffy growth skills, and we've evolved into a membership community that helps 1000 people land 6-figure jobs, build 7-figure businesses, and feel more confident and supported building their careers.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?
One of the reasons I built Growclass was because I felt incredibly lonely in my early career. I was one of only a few women at my first startup job, and I was learning how to grow a software company without a lot of support or help. Every event I went to was bros and skunky beer and "but actually." So after over a decade of building growth teams for tech startups, I made the space I needed in my 20s. An inclusive community, practical education, and a ton of support. Our grads quit toxic jobs, doubled their salaries, and felt confident to speak up for themselves at work.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think most folks would say a revenue milestone or a growth metric, but honestly, it's DMs I get in Slack. One of our students tripled her income, one of our students got out of a toxic work environment and changed careers entirely, one of our grads started a company and replaced her income in the first four months. Those accomplishments aren't mine. They worked so hard to make those changes. But to be a tiny part of those stories, that's what I'm proud of; that's the whole thing for me.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a solopreneur?
Everything you do when you own your own company is new. You're learning and stretching yourself every day, you're making decisions constantly, and honestly, it's scary as hell. To own a company means failing in public over and over again until you figure it out. I used to be scared to have anyone see me fail. Now that I've done it for a few years, it's getting less painful. It doesn't get any less scary, and I'll be honest. I still feel scared. You stop letting it make decisions.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?
- Validate your idea/market fit before you invest anything into it. Try to pre-sell it before it exists, do many customer interviews, hang out where your customers hang, and listen intently. Your first idea is usually wrong, and that's okay.
- Surround yourself with people who have done it before. Running a business is nothing like having a job. It would help if you had a community of people around you who have made the mistakes you're about to make, who have been through this process a few times, and can give you a bit of a map. Plus, it can be lonely. Find your people early.
- Do it. So many of the people I talk to have business ideas that they'll go after "one day." There is never a perfect time to start a business. It's always going to feel scary. Make sure you're financially stable and ready, validate your market opportunity, and then begin.
Where can people find you?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.