Originally published on

Originally published on


Shannon Whitehead is the Founder of Factory45. We asked her for a little Expert Advice:

What advice would you give to someone who feels overwhelmed by the competition? The competition is a lot less intimidating once you find “your people.” Focus on the one specific niche you’re meant to serve and spend a lot of time figuring out how to appeal to them. If you’re trying to appeal to everyone, then you’re actually appealing to no one. That can be a pretty liberating realization if you use it to your advantage.

What top three tips would you like to pass along for those who have just started to use social media? 1: Don’t spread yourself too thin; focus on using 1-2 platforms really thoroughly. 2: Consistency and cohesiveness are key factors in growing your brand and following. 3: Use your quirks and unique personality to your advantage.

When you think of the best people to work with, what traits do they share? The best people to work with are reliable and diligent. They’re detail-oriented, genuinely appreciate constructive criticism, and use proper grammar and spelling.

Give a budding entrepreneur your best hiring and firing business practices. Don’t be afraid to hire freelancers who are experts at one specific skill. For me, the jack-of-all-trades types haven’t worked out. I’ve had a lot more luck hiring A-players who are pros at what they do.

Entrepreneurs often say that “you can’t do it all.” What three things do you always outsource? Graphic design, multimedia (videography, keynote presentations, video editing), and web design.

What business book would you recommend to someone who is either about to launch or in the early growth stage? The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

What are your thoughts on raising capital? Overrated. A lot of entrepreneurs are under the impression that VCs are the do-all/end-all of a successful startup. Focus on getting customers first, prove your place in the market, and get scrappy. Focus on building a company that will last.

What piece of invaluable advice did you receive that you would like to pass on to women pursuing their dream? Write thank you notes. (Because good things come from gratitude.)

My best advice to a woman launching a venture is… Put in the dirty work first. Success is a process, not a magic trick.

What would your advice to your younger self be? Don’t worry about the things and people you can’t control. Do you.

Finally, please share your top five tips that would benefit an entrepreneurial woman launching or growing her business:

  1. It’s great to reach out to the people you admire, but please, PLEASE don’t say, “Can I pick your brain?”
  2. Show up. Do what you say you’re going to do.
  3. Don’t be afraid of the hustle. I worked part-time as a bartender for six years before I was able to comfortably live off of my current company. A solid work ethic is everything.
  4. Have a vision for the future but don’t get ahead of yourself. Figure out what you need to do each day to get one step closer to where you want to be.
  5. Be grateful for where you are right now in this moment. If you’re even considering starting your own business, then you are pretty lucky!

Image: [Molly Anne Photography]