Amanda Steinberg is the founder and CEO of DailyWorth, an online community that helps women earn more, save more and spend smarter. Steinberg is a thought-leader on the topic of women and money, working to advance women’s financial confidence and build net worth. DailyWorth publishes three email editions aimed at women and entrepreneurs and will surpass half a million subscribers by the end of 2012 (it has about 250,000 right now.) Since its launch in 2009, Steinberg has been featured in the New York Times, TIME, Forbes and Cosmopolitan magazine.It has been described as the financial version of DailyCandy in terms of the way it connects with its reader base. Amanda lives in Philadelphia with her two children and her iPhone (which is an extremely important part of her business considering DailyWorth is run out of NYC.) She took some time out of her busy children to chat with The Grindstone a bit about never feeling like you’re enough, businesses that have failed, why every woman should be in control of her finances and the films every entrepreneur should watch.
Did you picture always wanting to be an entrepreneur?
Not at all. I only considered entrepreneurship in my senior year of college, after I learned computer programming, and realized how easy it was to launch websites. I launched my first business, Y2Kgift.com, when I was a senior in college for fun. I haven’t stopped experimenting with projects and new businesses since.
What do you find to be the most challenging in your work? Do you think there are similar challenges for all female entrepreneurs?
Being a mom while running a business. I’ve always loved to work. When you’re passionate about what you do, you want to do it all the time. My company DailyWorth is located in a different city (New York City) from where I live with my children (Philadelphia). Between the sheer amount of work, and the distance between my home and office, I sometimes struggle with motherhood. As a mom, you never feel like you’re “enough.”
How do you deal with the work life balance struggle?
I don’t strive for a concept of balance — I never have. It almost seems like a silly idea to me — that life should play out in some sort of contrived separation between “work” and “relaxation” or “family time.” As a CEO and mom, I’m always working and always “mom.” They exist in an almost blended fashion. I lean in both directions depending on which needs me more in that moment.
What advice do you have for young women who want to get into this field?
When getting a business up and running, it’s crucial to be as self-sufficient as possible. Absorb every relevant skill you can, so you don’t have to rely on others to do work you could do yourself. An example of this is learning how to write Web programming code – it virtually guarantees job security, garners lucrative wages, and makes you one of the more influential contributors to any project. It also gives you the freedom to start any online business as you don’t have to pay someone to experiment with new ideas. Learning how to program over a period of five-six years was without a doubt the most important thing I’ve done in my career.
Has being a woman worked for or against you in your career? Do you find it is tougher to get funding simply cause you are a woman?
I can’t say if my gender played a role in what I’ve accomplished in my career. I’m successful because I’m a high-performing, productive worker that can create a vision, bring a team together and get things done. I see my gender as secondary.
I may have experienced discrimination as a woman raising capital, but I don’t think paying attention to it would have helped me, so I chose to ignore it. With every “no” around funding (and there were endless “no’s”), I simply brushed it off and moved onto the next prospect. It’s sales 101. You have to talk to 100 people to find someone to say yes to you.
What are the fundamentals you think every female entrepreneur must master?
Sales. I don’t care how smart you are or how great your business idea is. If you don’t know the art and science of selling, you will fail. Every “deal” requires work. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Glenn Gary Glenn Ross or The Boiler Room.
Can you tell us about things you have done you considered to be a failure in your career and how you learned from them?
I’ve started multiple businesses that failed — companies I invested between $5,000 and $20,000 into that didn’t work. I learned two things, mainly — 1) Businesses need to operate in markets where customers can afford to pay for what you’re offering and 2) Businesses need to operate on clear, proven revenue models or it’s unlikely they’ll ever make money.
Do you think having a mentor is important? Does it matter if they are male or female?
Don’t just have one mentor — have 20. I have dozens I’ve collected over the years. When I’m struggling, there are always a few people I can call.