Stella McShera, founder of equallet
31 Dec 2017
Founder: Stella McShera
Business Name: equallet
Equallet Business Page: equallet
Founder's Journey: I started out my “career” at 16 as a fashion designer and event producer, loving every minute of the creative process. I majored in Fashion Design but ended up in Neuroscience in college. I was fascinated with how emotions effect one’s health and how something as simple as wearing your favorite sweater can change one’s whole outlook. After graduation I decided to start a business. I applied my creative and analytical skills to launch a business incubator with a focus on fashion. It was the first of its kind in the US, 3rd in the world. Ever since then I have worked primarily with female founders, helping them to launch and grow their businesses.
What has been your greatest challenge as a WOB and how did you overcome it? Trusting my intuition has been my greatest challenge. A few years ago, when I had a salary and was the head of a flourishing company, I was selective about the people I worked with and chose to work with only people I had a good feeling about. This selectivity was beneficial in achieving what I needed to get done quickly and of the quality I expected. When I started equallet, I was bootstrapping as a solo entrepreneur and it was tough turning down offers to help at a discounted rate or pro bono, especially when I felt overwhelmed by my workload. But, as I’ve learned repeatedly over the years, ones intuition is almost always right and although everyone I’ve met has had good intentions, it doesn’t mean we are a good match professionally. Trusting my gut would have certainly saved me A LOT of time and money. Through many failures, and recognizing (after the fact) that my intuition is honed, I have learned to trust it again. So far so good!
What are the 3 biggest tips you would give women?
- Be bold. 2018 is the year of the woman so there is no better time than now to take a leap of faith. Johann Von Goethe said, “…Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
- Be resourceful. I think many women are resourceful, out of sheer necessity, but for those that tend to 'wait and see', I encourage you to find a way to reach your goal without waiting for the “right” answer. There is such joy in figuring out a solution that no one else has been able to solve.
- Be kind to yourself. There will always be more work, more obligations, more deadlines but all work and no play makes Jane less productive, not more. In Sweden, the government has declared a 6-hour work day because research has shown that employees are just as productive with fewer hours. The extra time off gives people the time to enjoy themselves and reset and return to work with more clarity and energy.
Founder Trait I was Born With: My sense of fairness and equality has always guided my decisions. When I was 6, having met my grandfather in the Philippines for the first time, he took me aside to “reward” me with some gold coins for being pretty (aka having light skin and American features). As much as I wanted a new stuffed animal to add to my collection, I knew taking the money would be wrong, and so refused it, much to my parent’s bewilderment.
Fav Female: There are so many inspirational women out there and I’m learning about new ones each day. Ada Lovelace is my fav right now for her work pioneering computer programming, as well as her mother, for having the unconventional thinking to raise her child without limits.
“Ada Lovelace is Lord Byron's child, and her mother, Lady Byron, did not want her to turn out to be like her father, a romantic poet. So, Lady Byron had her tutored almost exclusively in mathematics as if that were an antidote to being poetic.”
Tell us something few people know: I have a terrible sense of direction and love to adventure travel solo, so often end up in precarious (aka dangerous) situations. I’m still here and have great stories to tell.