Danielle tells us about becoming an “accidental entrepreneur,” developing strategic partnerships, growing a business with creative problem solving, and writing a book that encourages women to start their own businesses.
Today’s guest, Danielle Tate, is Founder & CEO of MissNowMrs.com, author of “Elegant Entrepreneur: The Female Founders Guide to Starting & Growing Your First Company,” and a self-confessed “accidental entrepreneur.” Danielle’s business began with her own name change nightmare: it took 3 trips to the DMV to get a new driver’s license and her married name.
Danielle’s research revealed that 2.3 million women get married every year in the United States, and 88.6% of those women choose to change their names. That’s a huge market with a huge pinpoint. She also spoke with all 50 state DMV offices to further understand the process, and to identify just how much the process varies.
And that’s just for driver’s licenses – MissNowMrs.com has grown and now also assists users with social security cards, passports, voter registration, an IRS 8822, notifying the postal service, and notifying more than 15 million businesses.
MissNowMrs.com had its first customer, Wendy, within 30 minutes of launching, and the company was profitable from month 1. Its goal is to grow 30% annually, and strategic partnerships have been essential. Partnerships with companies like Wedding Wire, David’s Bridal, or The Knot not only boosted revenue, but also gave the young startup credibility with new brides.
Danielle has a knack for finding creative avenues to facilitate growth, and she always encourages entrepreneurs to be open to paradigm shifts. After one trip to Rite-Aid, during which Danielle realized the Bridal gift cards section was lacking, she introduced a line of gift cards and gifting options. She also wanted brides thinking about name change before the wedding, but she has to compete with the more exciting aspects of wedding planning. The solution: The Married Name Game, an online quiz on FaceBook that uses key life factors to suggest the best name change option for a bride.
Danielle wrote “Elegant Entrepreneur” with “the mission to lower the barriers to entry and success for future female founders. It’s essentially the book that I looked for as an accidental entrepreneur. It’s a book that speaks to you as a smart human being, but not someone who has a business background.” It demystifies the entire process, and how the process makes you feel, to make more women feel comfortable making the leap into entrepreneurship.
“Elegant Entrepreneur” also features insights, experiences and feelings from several other prominent entrepreneurs: Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank, Jenny Fleiss of Rent the Runway, Donna Harris from 1776, Amy Millman from Springboard Enterprises, Tim Chi from WeddingWire, and more.
We’re going to learn how Danielle turned a personal challenge into a business opportunity, how strategic partnerships provide credibility, the difficulty of “getting over yourself” as an obstacle to business growth, and the benefits of customer-funding your startup.
“I believe that entrepreneurship is the ideal pathway for women to achieve happiness, control and success … being an entrepreneur gives you the opportunity to define what you term ‘success.'” (click to tweet)
In this episode, you’ll learn from Danielle:
- How personal challenges can become major opportunities
- The benefits of doing research and gathering data, as a first step to starting a business
- How strategic partnerships can lend credibility to young brands, and grow revenue
- The difficulty of “getting over” yourself – it’s easier to grow a business you feel comfortable running
- The value of empathy for a business’ customers and partners
- The value of identifying creative solutions to solving problems
- The pros and cons of being customer-funded, as opposed to acquiring venture capital
- If you’re idea is filling a niche, you may want to consider self-funding
- If you want to grab a market that’s exploding, you may need to take outside funding to scale fast enough
- The value of receiving feedback on the viability of an idea
- The importance of finding a co-founder who has the skill sets you lack, but matches you in passion
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
- “Elegant Entrepreneur: The Female Founders Guide to Starting & Growing Your First Company” by Danielle Tate (Amazon affiliate link)
- The Married Name Game
- “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Cheryl Sandberg (Amazon Affiliate Link)
- David’s Bridal
- The Knot
Answers to Quickfire Q&A:
- If you could chat with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
- Cheryl Sandberg, because I really want to discuss applying her concepts from Lean In to entrepreneurship, instead of corporate America.”
- Name a tool, app, or website that you can’t live without and why.
- “That would have to be Pinterest: It’s a constant source of inspirational quotes, recipes and crafts to do with my son’s 1st grade class.”
- Tell us something unique and interesting about you that not many may know.
- “I spent 6 months living in Budapest” for a study abroad. “Regardless of not speaking a language or being able to read signs, I truly can get around in the world, and humanity, as a general group, are kind people who will help you.”
- What are the top three skills or characteristics that you look for in people you work with?
- What is something you believe, but few others agree with you?
- “I believe that entrepreneurship is the ideal pathway for women to achieve happiness, control and success … being an entrepreneur gives you the opportunity to define what you term ‘success.'”
How to contact Danielle:
For more information about Danielle’s bridal name change service, head over to MissNowMrs.com. “Elegant Entrepreneur” is available on Amazon as a paperback and an Amazon Kindle download, and more information is available at ElegantEntrepreneur.co. You can keep up with Danielle on Twitter @Elegant_Entre.
If you like this episode, you may enjoy these episodes:
- Episode 019 – How to take a startup from idea to exit 4 times, with David Cancel
- Episode 018 – How to Raise over $300,000 on Kickstarter and grow a huge email list, with Cathryn Lavery & Allen Brouwer, creators of The Self Journal
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