Building business from the ground up takes a combination of perseverance and a willingness to fail often before reaching a sliver of success.
Candice Faktor knows this process well; she knows the art of a good story. She has been building business in various publishing streams for more than 10 years. She got her start in her late 20s with Harlequin before moving on to digital news and now mobile reading as the Head of Business for Wattpad, a digital community for writers and readers to share stories.
Faktor and I recently chatted about productivity, being a female entrepreneur, and giving back to the startup community:
You've founded at least three ventures in your career to date. What does it take to be a successful female entrepreneur today, and how has that changed since you got your start about 10 years ago?
It starts with being naive enough to believe you can change the world and resilient enough to keep trying when things don't always work out the way you planned. The barriers to entrepreneurship were much higher 10 years ago and the channels for massive growth were fewer. Today, everyone is an entrepreneur and the channels for growth are better understood and easier to access.
Ten years ago I was 27 and could effectively work around the clock. I'm not sure I was as productive or effective as I am today though. Today, I have two kids aged three and five. That makes me far more effective and efficient in what I do; I have to be efficient so that I can get home to see them.
Business development is a 24/7 job. What does productivity mean to you? Give an example.
Productivity is all about driving results, impact, and figuring out the best way to get there. It is about outcome versus output. Sometimes brute force and tremendous effort get you nowhere. It's better to make strategic and selective choices with far less effort to get further ahead.
For example, in building Wattpad's native ad business, our first approach to find customers was to spray and pray with not much clarity on what problems we were solving. We needed to identify who in these organizations and agencies was the right person to target.
Very quickly, we realized less is more. We needed to pay more attention to how we solved very specific problems for innovative brands trying to reach young women.
You've talked a lot about the karma economy. Why give in business when many startups are worried about competition?
What goes around comes around. For Wattpad, the more successful our creators are, the more it feeds our business. We believe that creators should have the bulk of revenue that is being generated by their thought and creativity. If you take what you need versus as much as possible, and work to pay things forward, you create a situation where everyone wins.
You can disrupt businesses by taking less, especially when others are taking more.
Last, here's what Faktor's reading right now: The 4-Hour Workweek, Richard Feynman, Pema Chodron, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Elon Musk's autobiography, and The Passion of Santos.
I'm fascinated by creative women -- their passions, challenges, and contributions to society. If you know a creative woman to feature, please tweet @kmarano.