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Q&A with 5x Entrepreneur and TEDx Speaker Lisa Song Sutton
I’m so excited about today’s post! There is so much valuable information out there and I wanted to start interviewing my friends who are just girl bossing their way through this world. This Q&A with my friend Lisa Sutton gives some great entrepreneur advice and wisdom!
Lisa and I have known each other for almost 15 years, I first met her when she was a freshman at UofA, my alma mater! It has been amazing to see her grow and be such a successful entrepreneur that has lived in Miami and now resides in Vegas. She has recently spoken at TEDx in Iowa City and has invested in several companies including the popular Sin City Cupcakes, alcohol infused cupcakes (you have to try these in Vegas and it’s now launching in Dallas too!)
Photo by Oscar Picazo
In today’s post, Lisa Song Sutton shares her wisdom on how she balances her days, finds her next investment opportunity, and tips on how she networks! There is so much good stuff in this Q&A let’s get to it!
Give us a 5 year background of what’s been going on in your life career wise and personally.
5 years ago was August 2013. Since that time, I stopped working at the law firm and pursued business full-time. I won the title of Miss Nevada United States 2014 and that opportunity really catapulted my community involvement and my businesses. I have co-founded 5 different companies, and have invested in an additional 4. I have been able to share my business experiences through writing for publications like Forbes and Inc. Magazine, and also speak to audiences about lessons I have learned along the way.
List your different income sources and percentage breakup.
- 60% Companies I have co-founded
- 20% Real estate investments
- 12% Speaking gigs
- 5% Companies I have invested in
- 3% Companies I serve on the board for
You went to school for law. How did you learn how to be an entrepreneur?
Trial by fire. I have learned that the key is to team up with people who have more experience in a particular industry than I do and are willing to heavily take part in operations to learn everything needed about the business.
Tell us how you start off your day. What time do you wake up, and the things you do to get motivated.
I start my day early, between 6:30 am – 7:30 am. I start my day with gratitude and text my parents, Hi have a great day, love you.
I stretch and do a light, less than 10 minute work out, and then I do a little bit of reading. Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans” or “Tribe of Mentors” are both great books to start your day with. Sometimes I also play the piano.
How do you end your day? How do you unwind your day and what time do you go to bed?
I unwind at the end of the day by listening to jazz music and cooking. I try to be in bed by approx. 11:30 pm.
Photo by Fadil Berisha
You share so many inspirational quotes. What are your favorite quotes or advice you’ve come across?
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” and “Don’t sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. Just go out and start doing the work, the inspiration will come.”
Do you receive help to run these businesses?
Absolutely, I don’t do anything alone. I have operational partners and staff to help with day-to-day in every single endeavor.
How do you network for what you do?
Luckily, my speaking opportunities allow me tremendous networking. I also meet outstanding people by going to conferences like Summit. The easiest way for me to “network” is to get engaged in the community. By volunteering, you’re out meeting people you otherwise wouldn’t have ever met.
How do you find your next investment or entrepreneurial opportunity?
I pay attention to what businesses are listed for sale in a particular city. This helps identify trends in the marketplace. And if you see a business for sale that you’re intrigued by, ask yourself if you can start that same business for less than what they’re selling it for.
Can you share a lesson you’ve learned about customer service and/or running a business?
Customer service and satisfaction is paramount. Without customers, you don’t have a business. You could have the best product or service in the world, but if people don’t want to buy from you, that’s a problem.
Photo by Oscar Picazo
Best advice you’ve received that changed the way you did business?
I had a mentor once ask me during a difficult situation I was in, “Do you want to be rich, or do you want to be king?” (My answer was “rich.”) And it was in that moment I realized that I can’t let ego dictate how I do business. Often times, especially as a woman working in male-dominated industries, you constantly feel like you have to prove prove prove. Yet, there’s something very powerful in being a connector, the king-maker, the one that people turn to when they need things negotiated and smoothed over. Let the men (or sometimes women who feel like they have something to prove) be extra brash and yell at each other. I don’t yell, I finesse.
Working with friends – do you?
Oh yes, I think it’s a strength to go into business with friends. And the reason is because you know them, like reallyyy know them. You know what they’re like when they’re mad, when they’re stressed out, when they’ve had a bad day. All those elements come up in business, sometimes multiple times a day. So I think it’s a strength to know that upfront about your business partner. Just make sure you lay out roles and responsibilities up front. And have those hard discussions in the beginning when everyone is excited. Like, “what happens if one of us gets hit by a bus tomorrow?” or, “what happens if one of us wakes up and doesn’t want to do this anymore?” Have Plans A, B, C, D, E, F laid out and discussed beforehand to avoid harder times on the back end.
What are your favorite products that help you run your business more efficiently?
Personal and professional goals for the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years I want to continue my business pursuits, continue building and growing my companies and have a family.
Also check out this video of a presentation Lisa gave to UNLV Deca students about the 5 best practices she does to be a successful entrepreneur.