Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jenelle Pierce, CSE, Executive Director of The STI Project and Spokesperson for Positive Singles, located in Asheville, NC, USA.A.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is sexual health education and advocacy, and I specialize in STIs/STDs. I serve the general public and work closely with people who have contracted an STI.
Tell us about yourself
I started this business after realizing that there were very few resources available for people who are diagnosed with an STI or for those who are looking for comprehensive, inclusive, sex-positive, medically accurate, and affirming information about STIs/STDs. I am motivated by the messages I receive in my inbox daily from people who have been positively impacted by my work and the opportunity that exists in this space to improve an individual's quality of life through education and unlearning fear and shame.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is the number of people I have reached through this work - I have worked directly with thousands of individuals over the last decade, and my educational content, webinars, workshops, and services have reached millions of people through my website and social media channels.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is that my work is always with me, and it's hard to shut my mind off and be present when my phone and my business are always within reach. Secondly, I'm my biggest critic, and I am always working on ways to improve or to do more, and I often lose sight of how far I've come along this journey, and it's easy to forget the wonderful things that have been accomplished along the way.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Don't be afraid to fail, to suck at something, or to look silly to your close friends and family members. They aren't the ones paying your bills or tucking you into bed at night, and that fear of what others will think is the number one thing that stops the most amazing ideas from getting off the ground. You can't get an expert at something if you don't start doing it. No one is an expert when they are first beginning, but sooner than you realize, 10 years will have passed, and you will be established and flourishing, and you'll be thankful you took that vulnerable leap.
Ignore the competition. There is no one like you, and you bring something special and unique to the field you are entering. What "they" are doing is none of your business, and if you focus on them, you'll waste valuable time and energy that could be spent making yourself stand out from the crowd.
Start yesterday. Start two weeks ago. Stop reading this, and go do something great!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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