EXPERT ADVICE FROM A CHANGE-MAKER
JOYN Founder and CEO Melody Murray runs her business from India, where she lives and works among the artisans who create the company’s handmade textiles, handbags, and accessories. We asked her to give us a little expert advice:
When did you know you wanted to pursue your business? When I was 16.
I wish someone would have told me… that once you see the true plight of the developing world and of poverty, once you see it face to face, you’ll never be able to grow numb to it. The realities of this world are difficult and dismal – hard to live with some days.
Did your former job prepare you for running your own business? Definitely – any kind of experience prepares you for running a business. When I was young, I sold vegetables from my mom’s garden, mowed lawns, raked leaves, washed dishes, waitressed, worked in a bagel shop, as a barista – all jobs, no matter how big or how small, can develop an entrepreneur.
I funded my dream by… Selling all of my 401k and using my grandma’s inheritance.
What makes you different from your competition? I live and work among the poor. Every day. I know the plight of poverty and my friends have become my employees. My passion and motivation to create change is now rooted in a deep love I have for the people of this country and the injustice they face every day.
What advice would you give to someone who feels overwhelmed by the competition? The best way to not worry about competition is to be yourself. You have uniqueness – make it count.
My tips for using social media are… The more raw, the more vulnerable, the more real, the better. Be who you really are. That is appealing.
Best piece of hiring and/or firing advice is… You win some, you lose some. Go for the low hanging fruit, the ones desiring a better life, the ones that want to change, the ones that want to help themselves. Some will grab the opportunity and grow, some will walk away from the change. You can’t control that.
Did your original business plan change along the way or are you doing exactly what you set out to do? If it changed, how so? All business plans evolve, but I’m basically doing what I originally envisioned 10 years ago. Although nothing in India is what you think its going to be.
What has been your biggest challenge to date? India’s corruption.
I always outsource… Nothing. We do it all in-house. We create more jobs that way.
The best people to work with are… Always motivated by love, not by money.