40:20 Spotlight: Starting Your Own Business

Earlier today I published a spost on fashion advice for new moms from Nina Sutton. I met Nina last summer while interviewing women for 40:20 Vision and she has been an endless source of wisdom. From fashion to beauty to being an entrepreneur, mom and style maven, she fluidly merges her business life with her personal priorities.

Nina parlayed a career in beauty and online marketing into a entrepreneurial streak that includes founding an online beauty and fashion deal site, Deals for Divas, way before Groupon had designs on that area (she sold it in 2009), authoring the book and blog, Chic Mom’s Guide to Feeling Fabulous and developing her own consultancy as a Beauty and Mom Lifestyle expert.

Like many women who re-adjust their career path when they have children and want to maintain their own identity and financial independence while being able to work from home, her inspiraiton was found in her own unmet needs and passions. As a new mother she realized that while celebrities seemed to effortlessly get back in shape and look great as new moms, it was more challenging for real moms on a budget. This lead her to narrowing her focus on affordable beauty and budget shopping so all moms can feel stylish without stress.

Here is her 40:20 on what she has learned along the way:

On making mistakes…

“You can make mistakes in your 20s. I made a couple of career mistakes along the way but now I call them deep learning experiences.”

On building an area of expertise….

“I think it’s important to become an expert in one industry and stick with it. Switch around within an area of passion or expertise, maybe with some detours,  but try not to jump around too much. It’s got to all add up. You need to be able to integrate all your different experiences into a band of expertise that can sustain you on a more flexible basis if that is what you are looking to do.”

On the importance of relationships…

“I think relationships are huge. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the relationships I built. That is where you should work hard and be consistent. Don’t burn bridges. Work on developing a good relationships with your bosses, people in your industry and then maintain them. I’m sorry, but Facebook and Twitter aren’t enough. It’s about in person connection, handwritten letters, phone calls, meetings, dinners. Just keep those relationships going.”

On her inspiration …

“I saw new moms, frustrated with how effortlessly some women seem to re-coup themselves after childbirth. I thought, why is everyone comparing themselves to Heidi Klum?  Don’t compare yourself to celebrities  Having been in the beauty industry for so many years, I had all these little tricks and tips on how to pull it together. People kept asking me advice so I decided to write the book, then the blog came and then it just grew.”

On starting a business…

“If you have an idea for a business,  do it on the side while you have your regular job if you have the luxury of doing that. You have to build it up to a level where you can go out on your own. To me that has always been the most successful formula.”

“You have to really do your research and think about all the logistics.   Map out the technology that you will need in advance because otherwise you will be surprised — and it’s a new chunk of money.”

On maintaining a sense of self…

“You have to keep your skill set. You have to keep yourself in the game. You never want to lose that edge. You have to maintain your own life but also maintain and start a new life with your spouse. Financially, you need to have a joint account and you have your own account. You need to sit down and discuss your life. What are you r expectations ( e.g. we are going to have dinner every night as a family). That’s a big deal especially if you have kids.


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