Sophia Matveeva, CEO & founder of Enty, tells us who she admires in business and what advice she would give to someone starting out
What do you currently do?
I run a tech platform that I co-founded called Enty. On Enty women discuss what to wear and buy with professional stylists and a community. Enty is unique because it is the only troll-free environment online. While everyone can ask style questions and interact with photos, only professional stylists can write comments. I also write a column in Forbes about my start-up journey.
What defines your way of doing business?
Relationships are the cornerstone of creating and growing any business, so I make an effort to nurture mine. Nothing of true value is achievable alone and every self-made story has a team of supporters: as employees to build, as investors to finance and as friends to support when times get tough. Without great people around me, Enty would not have been possible.
Who do you admire?
I am a huge fan of Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake. Like me, Katrina started her company while doing her MBA, and pursued it in spite of disbelief from many typical tech investors. Now that Stitch Fix has done a successful IPO and is expanding abroad, she can be counted as one of the true pioneers of the fashion tech industry.
I also admire Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater, a hedge fund. One of the core tenets of his success is understanding that people are wired differently, so approach the same issue in different ways. I’ve read his book Principles from cover to cover – it’s full of great advice on how to build a good life and a good company.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
It took me a long time to gain confidence in my abilities and that held me back. I think women especially suffer from a lack of confidence at the start of their careers. That can develop over time and with experience, but the time lag is frustrating. That is the only thing I would change. All the other mistakes are just the cost of learning.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
If you want to start something, then get on with it! The best way to learn is by doing. That does not mean having to take huge risk. You can stay in your day job as you work on your entrepreneurial venture on the side, but the key is to get started doing something. Entrepreneurship is risky, so make sure to manage your risk as you start out, either with cash in the bank, a full time job or some freelancing work. Then, take the plunge when the venture looks like it can be a viable career option.