In celebration of National Women's Day we are sharing this interview with Dope Dog's very own founder, Erin Mastopietro. This interview can also be found on the #FemaleFounders series hosted by the UK-based J+R Agency.
1. Why did you start your business? What spurred you on?
Since a young age I was always experimenting with small businesses, some more embarrassing than others. But to be completely honest, it wasn't until the corporate company I worked for closed it's doors and left me jobless that was I actually able to seize the opportunity to go all in on my own business full time.
2. What are the unique challenges you have faced as a female founder?
I've been lucky enough to surround myself with amazingly supportive communities and people. Because of dialogues like this - I feel more supported than ever being a woman founder.
3. What were the 3 steepest learning curves during your first year in business?
With a background in sales and retail, about half of what I've come across in this first year of business has been second nature to me. The other half has been more of a challenge. My learning curves have been: 1) The need for constant self promotion 2) The need for fearlessness when trying new things and failing, and 3) Navigating the backend of a successful e-commerce site. Luckily, my partner excels at these things so we make a good team.
4. What is your favorite thing about founding your own company?
The opportunity to share what I've created to help and inspire others. I am lucky that I get to connect with so many pet owners daily - not to mention the major bonus of meeting endless adorable dogs. =)
5. What is the best business advice you have been given by someone else?
One size doesn't fit all. As a new business owner, I'm constantly consuming information. Whether reading a new business book or connecting with fellow entrepreneurs, it can be valuable to hear others' trials and tribulations. However, I need to remind myself that each business is unique and even the best advice might not apply to exactly where my business is at that moment.
6. Do you ever suffer with imposter's syndrome? If so, what do you do to tackle it and move forward?
Absolutely. I think this is natural, regardless of what industry you're in. There something about having such a large stake in a business that you can't help but question things and wonder what the next guy is up to. I stay focused by keeping in tune with my customers, what they're loving and what they're asking for. This keeps me moving in the right direction, authentically.
7. What's the best book on business you've read?
My business book of choice this year has been "Making Money is Killing Your Business" by Chuck Blakeman. It introduces savvy ways to view your business and provides actionable items that I have used to propelled my company in the right direction. I'd say it's a must read!
8. Tell us about another brilliant business woman you think our readers should know about.
One of my all time favorite idols is Sheryl Sandberg. Not only is she kicking butt as an executive but she's in the business of helping other women realized their full potential and ask for what they deserve. If you have not read her book "Lean In" or visit leanin.org, get on it!
9. What piece of advice would you give yourself if you were starting your business now?
Just start! I would remind myself that nothing happens unless you DO, so stop wondering and planning and just throw something out into the universe. Only then will progress happen.