Spotlight on Sarah Hernholm

Meet Sarah Hernholm - Founder of Whatever It Takes and Smart City Saturday, 3x TEDx speaker, and investor in young entrepreneurs.

What is your best advice to a younger entrepreneur hoping to follow in your footsteps?

I remember when I was starting out, I felt the pressure to have the answers and know everything. It felt like I needed to overcompensate for being young and "green". BUT this approach of acting like you know everything doesn't serve you in the long run. You know what does? Humility, and the willingness to keep learning. Myself, and many of my peers, are more inclined to support, help, and even invest in, young entrepreneurs who have a great hustle, mixed with a big dose of humility. Plus, even those of us who are considered more experienced don't know everything. We don't have all the answers, but what I think a lot us do well is we listen and keep learning. 
So my advice is to stay hungry, keep hustling, but above all else, express humility and curiosity ... always, and in all ways.

How do you prioritize self-care?

I haven't bought into the trap of thinking busy-ness equals success or awesomeness. You know what I'm talking about, right? That convo that goes a little something like this: 
"oh my gosh I'm soooooooo busy, it's like a non-stop grind." 
And then another person chimes in, "you have no idea, I'm like barely sleeping, it's crazy." 
Then the one upping of busy-ness continues. 
I find that to be an incredibly boring conversation ... so I just walk away, or when it's my turn I say something like, "I'm good. I'm having fun and making things happen." 
When did being a rundown, exhausted, sleep deprived, barely getting by human being become what "success" looks like? I mean, sure, there are those moments. I've built two businesses, so I know those times exist, but they don't have to be forever, and even amidst those crazy times, I make the time to take care of myself. I go on a walk, workout, watch a couple episodes of a favorite show, choose a healthier snack or meal. I'm on a mission to make great impact. I've got to put the oxygen mask on first. I've decided that every time I put someone or something else above me, I'm lessening the impact I could make and the amount of teens I could help. So it's actually selfish of me to not prioritize self-care... how you like that reframe?!

What are your top strategies for networking?

First off, stop networking and start building relationships. 
And ...
1. Listen more than you talk ... practice active listening, don't cut people off, or already formulate what you want to say while they are talking. Be present. 
2. Create win-wins ... people are more likely to support you, if you're also interested in supporting them
3. Write thank you notes ... please note I wrote "notes", not emails. Put pen to paper and watch the magic happen.

Haley Smith