316 MINISODE Heather Wentler: Terra-Thrilling
Women Innovating Networking Growing Scaling – that’s WINGS … I’m Melinda Wittstock, my mission is to help women take flight to soar to the success of our dreams in business and in life– and create and grow businesses in alignment with our passion and purpose.
On this special mentoring Minisode of Wings of Inspired Business … we talk about the challenges of growing and scaling a business and why all that can be “terra-thrilling” as today’s Wings mentor puts it. We talk about the challenge of letting go … to be able to embrace the next challenge, and the next … plus some good tips about how to remember to breath and remember to stop judging yourself along the way.
Here with us today to provide her insights and inspiration is Heather Wentler.
Heather Wentler believes all women and girls are strong, independent individuals capable of success. Professionally trained as an educator, Heather pivoted into entrepreneurship as the Founder of Fractal, and then Madison SOUP. Now she is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Doyenne. Doyenne is a platform for women entrepreneurs to collaborate to create a better community for everyone, encouraging and empowering other women to live their dreams, and building a network of women who are in each other’s corner no matter what. I love it! And I would because Wing’s mission is so similar. Heather also serves on various organizing committees, advisory boards, and membership of organizations committed to the shared beliefs of women and girls.
Melinda Wittstock: Heather, welcome to WINGS.
Heather Wentler: Thank you so much for having me today.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to hear what’s inspiring you right now in your life and in your business.
Heather Wentler: Oh, man. We have a lot of big changes going on within the organization of Doyenne right now. Our biggest thing that is, we use the word “terra-thrilling” because it’s terrifying but also thrilling, is we are expanding outside of one city. We now have two locations up and going. We are working on creating an application to be able to be nationwide within the next year.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, well, that’s exciting. When you start to scale, that’s a whole new thing because you got to kind of let go of stuff.
Heather Wentler: Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s been a huge transition because to date, it had just been me and my co-founder. We hired our first staff person. We’ve been trying to be like, let her roll with it and make it her own. It’s like watching, we’ve taught our baby to walk. Now we’re like, “Don’t fall.”
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly. This tees up the next question perfectly, which is, what are your challenges? The “terra” part of the thrilling.
Heather Wentler: Yeah, the terrifying part is the letting go and being okay with it. It’s kind of, we joke. We’re in adolescent phase of, we’ve gotten the business to this point. Now we got to let them, let the community kind of take it on themselves, and let them stumble, and be just, we’re there to help. How do we troubleshoot? How do we continue to make advancements for women entrepreneurs across the nation? Then how do we also make sure that we’re creating the biggest impact possible? That’s one of the things that is really hard right now.
Heather Wentler: Then we’re also going through a technology overhaul within the organization as well. Updating our website and making it so that it works in multiple cities, and we’re creating a bunch of new different things, and all of these decision fatigue that we’re feeling because it feels like a lot all at once.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s always the way. Along your journey, I mean, you’ve done so many different things. I’m always curious. As we learn, when we go back, and what would we have told our younger selves, right, when we were starting out? With that in mind, what is your top three pieces of advice you would give to women in business and female entrepreneurial founders?
Heather Wentler: Yeah, I think the first one that I tell myself every single day is, and I tell the entrepreneurs I work with every single day is, no matter what decisions you’re making at that moment, they are the right decisions, and not to second guess yourself, or hold yourself back, or stand in your own way for opportunities that arise. That’s kind of like something that you live with every single day because you are making a hundred million decisions out of the gate.
Heather Wentler: Then to, the second thing I say is, “Remember to breathe.” Think about, you’re making a million decisions but the world’s not going to come crashing down if you say, “I need to pause and spend some more time thinking about this,” and really being true to yourself, is what makes you the best leader possible for your business. Then taking in all that outside, external advice and figuring out, what is it you really want to listen to? What of it is just noise? Those are my big three that I really focus on and that I tell others to think about when they’re moving through their business journey.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s really good advice. I mean, I, just picking up on the last one of noise, women are so eager to learn. Sometimes we can get over-coached, or I call it kind of like “cross-coached,” right, where you have all these different people telling you different things. You end up losing yourself. How do you really navigate what’s noise and what you should be listening to?
Heather Wentler: I think that where we really, where Doyenne really focuses on supporting the entrepreneurs is creating that strategic plan for your business. It’s not, what’s your business plan? It’s, what’s your strategic plan? What is the big goal that you’re trying to move forward on? That could be, what are, right now today, that you want to launch and move forward with, but it’s also, how do we look at the five year plan?
For me, that really helps all that noise that comes in. Then I can figure out, okay, does this fit into my master plan? If not, how do I parking-lot it or just say goodbye to it? Or how do I figure out that, yes, this is an opportunity that I cannot miss out on? How does it fit into the strategic plan so that it doesn’t take me down a side path and then I’m lost. Or I get six months out, and I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait. This is not what I wanted to be doing. This is not what I wanted my business to be but I was too busy chasing something that took me off track. How do I backtrack now to get back on path?”
Melinda Wittstock: Now that’s excellent, excellent advice. We can often run faster, and faster, and faster in the same place if we’re not careful. Wonderful advice. How can people find you, and work with you, and work with Doyenne?
Heather Wentler: Yeah, our website is WWW dot Doyenne Group dot org. Currently we only offer programming within Wisconsin. We will be launching a learning management system later in 2019 so that anyone can be able to join the Doyenne network, and be able to have access to professional development opportunities no matter where you are in the world. We also do a digital publication every month where you can sign up and it’s the Doyenne Magazine. You get highlighted articles and material sent to you. Some of that, we curate ourselves. I know, Melinda, you were featured in one of our “Audacity in Action” publications.
Melinda Wittstock: I was. I was excited. Thank you for that. No, that was really cool. I got a lot of good feedback from that.
Heather Wentler: Cool. Then I think the other one is just figuring out how could Doyenne be beneficial to your community so that when we’re ready to launch that application for different cities across the nation, to be able to bring Doyenne into their community, how can you start thinking moving down that path to be able to apply?
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, Heather, thank you so much for putting on your WINGS and flying with us.
Heather Wentler: Thanks for having me today.