Grit to me is all about letting go of ego: Don’t be too important. Do the work that needs to get done.Even today, when things are absolutely crazy, you can find me occasionally sweeping the production facility floor. Sometimes things need to get done. Don’t think you’re so important that you can’t do them.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Cole. Julie Cole is a recovered lawyer, mom of six and co-founder of Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless entrepreneur awards. Cole is a regular television contributor, a sought after speaker and emcee and a digital influencer and blogger.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path
The path of entrepreneurship came about for a few reasons! Firstly, along with my business partners, we noticed a product missing from the market. As smart, resourceful women, we thought — why don’t we create the product? And so we did! The timing was wonderful because personally I was facing a new autism diagnosis for my oldest child. I wanted to be able to support him and create an effective program to help him progress. The traditional workforce would have made this difficult. So, we created our company while I was also able to provide the best for my son.
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
Like many entrepreneurs, we worked hard and for very long hours with absolute uncertainty and no financial reward for a long time! We were busy working on our business until 2:00 am on many nights, then getting up at 6:00 am to hit our day jobs and raise our children. Those were trying times. We were exhausted, strapped for cash and had no idea what our futures held. Grit was our middle name!
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
We truly believed we created something special and that, in time, the world would know it. We were committed and passionate. It was also helpful that we had each other as business partners. We could comfort each other if one was down, AND we would keep each other accountable.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
Having grit meant we worked hard, we didn’t give up and we worried about our company and not our egos!
So, how are things going today? 🙂
Things are amazing! We sold our business three years ago for $12M, while holding onto our brand, our corporate culture and our staff. I continue working hard for the company I created and love.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)
Grit to me is all about letting go of ego:
1) Don’t be too important. Do the work that needs to get done.
Even today, when things are absolutely crazy, you can find me occasionally sweeping the production facility floor. Sometimes things need to get done. Don’t think you’re so important that you can’t do them.
2) Keep learning.
You can be the top of a company but if you stop learning, you’re no good to anyone. Grit is for your brain too! If you’re the smartest person in a room, don’t just stay there and feel good about yourself…find a new room!
3) Hire smart.
Good leaders don’t hire people who are like them and stroke their egos. Hire people who fill your gaps and have skills you don’t. Admit what your weaknesses are. Good hires, great culture, amazing work environment — these are things that take grit!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
There were countless people who helped us along the way! Our secret sauce was that we were not afraid to ask for help and we were not afraid to ask stupid questions. We tapped the brains of other entrepreneurs, business owners, accountants, IT nerds…if you were our friend at the time we launched Mabel’s Labels, you can bet we were asking you something!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Success is nothing if you don’t use it to help others. It’s meaningless. We spread good through company initiatives, corporate responsibility and volunteerism. Not only does it feel great, customers are starting to demand it from the companies they buy from, and I’m glad they are!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are constantly thinking about how we can make our customers’ lives easier. We are continuously doing this by creating new products, having an engaging community and providing amazing content to our customers.
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Stop micro-managing them. They are going to do things differently to you. That’s OK. Sometimes they will fail. That is OK too. If you are constantly micro-managing your staff, they will not stick around. Let them find their way. Think about what kind of leader you want to be. Do you want employees who just follow you or do you want to create more leaders?
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I feel very close to issues surrounding women. Women and entrepreneurship, violence against women and children, sexual harassment in the workplace. I feel like we are on the cusp of big change with the #metoo movement and more and more women stepping up. These are exciting times but there is MUCH work to still be done.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love this quote because it makes us consider the definition of success. This resonates with my definition:
“Success is liking who you are, what you do and how you do it”. — Maya Angelou
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Twitter: @juliecole @mabelhood
Insta: @cole.julie @mabelslabels
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.