June 15


Ramen Chef Pivots and Paves The Way

By Mimi MacLean

June 15, 2021

ramen chef sarah gavigan
Sarah Gavigan owner of Otaku Ramen

Sarah Gavigan, Owner of Otaku Ramen

Self-described serial entrepreneur, Sarah Gavigan chose to pivot in her career and follow her passion? Sarah explains how she moved from the entertainment industry to be a three-time entrepreneur and bring ramen to Nashville. Her shop Otaku Ramen is a cult favorite with multiple pop-up shops spread out throughout the Nashville area. She talks about what it takes to be a serial entrepreneur, succeed in the male-dominated food industry, and what it is like exposing the South to new cuisine and paving the way for a more diverse food culture.

Find Sarah Gavigan and Otaku Ramen


Episode Contents

Mimi: Today we are talking to a three-time entrepreneur who transitioned from a fast-paced life in the entertainment industry, then moved home to Nashville to recreate a new life. Sarah Gavigan is recognized for putting ramen from the American South on the map as a female chef who is serious about ramen. She started out in film production and as a music executive in Los Angeles. Then she found she missed the steaming bowls of ramen that she used to devour in LA when she moved home to Nashville.

Mimi: Gavigan then dedicated herself to mastering making ramen noodles and opened her own pop-up shop in 2012 called Otaku South, which has achieve widespread popularity in Nashville. Then in 2015, Gavigan operated Nashville’s first ramen shop, Otaku Ramen. Now Otaku Ramen is now a cult favorite with two additional pop-up locations in the East and West Nashville.

Mimi: In 2018, Gavigan published her first cookbook Sarah Gavigan Ramen Otaku: Mastering Ramen at Home.

Mimi: To get your top 10 tips every entrepreneur should know, go to thebadassceo.com/tips.

Plans Don’t Always Go To Plan

chef sarah cooking
Serial Entrepreneur, Sarah Gavigan owner of Otaku Ramen

Mimi: Sarah, thank you so much for coming on. I’m excited to learn about your journey. You started in, were you in LA? You started in the industry, the movie industry, and then you decided you had a epiphany. I want to go home. I’d love for you to talk about that whole process.

Sarah: Yeah. So it wasn’t quite that glamorous but even… It felt like a consolation prize. My husband and I really decided that we were going to move in a new direction in our lives, and I closed my company in 2008, about three months before the economy hit the tanker. That was amazing that I had-

Mimi: Perfect timing.

Sarah: … To do that. and then my husband also closed his company. So looking for jobs in LA at that moment, it just didn’t really suit us. So we decided let’s give this a try, and decided to come back to Nashville. My husband went to work for my dad for a little while and all those things that you swear you’re never going to do. Never going to move home. I’m never going to work for my dad. All that happened. I went from being an 80 hour a week workaholic to staying home full time with my daughter. I’ve just always been a person that really has to keep busy. I don’t do well sitting still.

Mimi: I’m the same way.

Sarah: For better for worse. Yeah. So when we arrived in Nashville, it was all exciting. We bought our first home, and we got to do all these things that we would not have been able to do had we stayed in Los Angeles. But I was just deeply missing 20 years of friendships and 20 years of finding special places to eat and things like that that you fall in love with when you live in a gigantic local city like Los Angeles. Coming from Tennessee, being born and raised here, that was really my guiding light when I lived there.

The second that I discovered Jonathon Gold and his food writing and his book Counter Intelligence was my Bible. We would spend our weekends driving around to the different pockets of Los Angeles and eating. Eventually over time, we found ourselves in those Japanese neighborhoods more than anything else, down in Torrance and Gardenia and going out into Monterey Park, which there’s San Gabriel Valley just on the other side of Downtown Los Angeles, which is now one million Chinese and Vietnamese in that valley. So you can literally eat in any province in China or any region of Japan you can eat in Los Angeles.

So when we go to Nashville, food had been my love language, and it just got cut off. It was like hard stop. That plus being disconnected from all my friends and on top of that the added layer of you can never go home. It’s never the same. You’re not the same. They’re not the same. So I just fell into this very deep depression. As they say in the South, I almost dropped my basket. If that kind of gives you any idea of I was going from this hard-nosed, sharpen your fangs world to settle in. It’s okay. You’ll be fine. It was rough for me.

Mimi: Exactly.

Sarah: That’s when I decided I was going to just teach myself how to make a bowl of ramen because I couldn’t find it here and I missed it so much.

Mimi: That’s amazing for a city that you would think there would be something there, right? Since in the past 10 years, Nashville has exploded.

Sarah: Nashville has exploded. Nashville was a very sleepy, sleepy town until 10 years ago.

Mimi: And now it’s a mass exodus from LA to Nashville and New York I feel like.

Sarah: For better or for worse.

Mimi: Yes. So now you decided to make a bowl of ramen and figure out how to do that. At what point were you like, “Wait, I’m actually going to open up a restaurant.”

Growing The Ramen Business in the South

otaku ramen bag
Growth from pop-ups to bricks and mortar restaurant

Sarah: Yeah. So we operated as a pop-up for almost four and a half years. So there was a lot of time to work out the kinks. I had never worked in a professional kitchen before. There was just learning curve 90 degrees. So I really, really, really recommend to anyone that is listening to this that is saying, “Hey, I want to do what she did. I want to make my food dream come true. I want to open a restaurant,” start as a pop-up because this is an extremely capital heavy business. Unless you got a million dollars laying around that you want to lose, I really recommend that you work those kinks out and you build that brand before you go open a brick and mortar. So that I think-

Mimi: What’s the difference between a pop-up and a brick and mortar for people who don’t understand that difference?

Sarah: So in a pop-up environment, I had to have a commissary kitchen because of the work that we do is so intense. If you can imagine for every bowl of ramen, there is 12 ounces of stock, and for every 12 ounces of stock, that equals one pound of bones.

Mimi: Oh wow. And you made all your stock from scratch.

Sarah: Everything. There’s no way to buy this. You can buy it, but you shouldn’t. If you’re going to make ramen for a living, you need to make the broth from the basics. But being a pop-up basically means that you’re going into other people’s spaces and serving. So when that started happening for me in Nashville, the timing was just absolutely perfect because no one had ever done anything like this in Nashville before. Again, it was so sleepy here, and everyone was just starting. People were starting to move here. People were starting to do unique things. But it was at the dawn of Instagram. It was at the dawn of all of these things that coalesced at one time.

Being a pop-up means that you don’t have to have the overhead of rent and that type of labor structure. You’re not necessarily paying for Cintas mats and sanitary items that you have to have every day. You just don’t have that kind of overhead. You can take advantage of… For us, we got really lucky because we were the shiny new thing, and everybody wanted us to come and do this in their space because it was extra added press for them.

Creating that ball of energy around what you’re doing and let it ride for a minute, I think that that was a lucky, lucky thing for us. But I was 40 when this happened, 42 when this happened. If I had been 22, I would’ve gone through it too quickly. I would have rushed through the process. So looking back, I’m really happy that I took my time during that. But then in 2015, we opened our first brick and mortar. And when we opened, it was not like a regular opening. It was opened to great fanfare because everyone was so ready.

Mimi: They knew you. You already built your brand.

Sarah: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mimi: That’s great. So at that point, have you all been self financed, or have you-

Sarah: Yes.

Mimi: … Friends and family round or anything.

Sarah: No. We’ve done everything self-financed. That’s the other part that has been a real gift. We had other lives, and we’re not 22. That enabled us to be able to invest in ourselves. There’s a terrifyingly risky thing to do at 40 years old. It definitely is a different path. I don’t recommend it to everyone.

Why Her Ramen Business Worked So Well

A bowl of Otaku Ramen with egg
Quality never fails

Mimi: Right, right. Is there anything that you wish you knew then that you know now that could’ve helped you avoid pitfalls?

Sarah: Yeah. It’s a people business. Number one, it’s about food, but it’s about people. It’s about leadership. You can have a cook that cooks fantastic. He can nail a steak every single time, but that doesn’t mean that you can be a chef. The difference between being a cook and being a chef is leadership and the ability to lead a team in very, very, very difficult circumstances. In small spaces, high pressure, very uncomfortable. You’re hot. There’s very few people that have strong enough leadership skills to run a kitchen successfully. I wish that I understood that dynamic better when I started this. It set me back financially and emotionally and time-wise because I wasn’t honest with myself about what that job really was.

Mimi: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Do you mean yourself or hiring a chef?

Sarah: Both.

Mimi: Right. Having talked to other entrepreneurs, I think one of the hardest part is employees and finding that right person. So now knowing what you know, is there something that you would do when you’re trying to hire a chef? Is there some kind of interview question or what is that magic to find that person? What do you need to do?

Sarah: Emotional intelligence. I test for emotional intelligence. I definitely put chefs through a different process than I think other people do, or maybe people do this more now. I was laughed at when I first started talking about this type of thing, but you’re putting your entire company in someone’s hands. You can oversee them but if they don’t have leadership skills and then they come to you and say, “I’m work 80 hours a week,” not my fault you’re working 80 hours a week. You’re working 80 hours a week because you don’t know how to lead.

So we focus a lot more now on a person’s ability to adapt. I don’t care if you’re going to screw up. Everyone’s going to screw up. I want to know how you’re going to respond to that screw up. So I try to put people in circumstances where they’re going to screw up to see how they respond-

Mimi: During an interview.

Sarah: Yeah.

Mimi: And then do you give them an emotional test like online? Is there-

Sarah: I do. I do assess.

Mimi: Which one do you use?

Sarah: We’ve used a myriad of ones, but we’ve gotten down to customizing one for ourselves that works for the industry. We’ve used a lot of different companies to help us assess someone’s intelligence or someone’s adaptability or all of these things. But I find those things to be not always as accurate. Someone could come up on the genius level with their intellect. However, that test is going to… Whatever they’re going to call that. But they’ll have zero adaptability.

Body language as a guide to selecting people

Photographer: Brooke Cagle | Source: Unsplash

Sarah: I honestly think that the greatest thing I ever learned about leadership was body language.

Mimi: Interesting.

Sarah: And how to read people’s body language because they’ll tell you everything [crosstalk 00:13:46]-

Mimi: Give us a couple examples.

Sarah: … Without saying a word. The way that you sit. So if I’m sitting and looking at you, if I’ve got my arms crossed and I’m leaning back and I have my leg up, it’s like I’m saying, “Don’t try. Don’t even try to penetrate me. You can’t. There’s no way you can get to me.” If someone is leaning forward, they’re engaged. They’re hanging on my every word. If someone is telling me a story and they close their eyes and they look away, they’re trying to tell a lie.

Mimi: Because they don’t want to look in your eyes.

Sarah: That’s right. You can tell when people are lying to you, and everyone lies. You’re foolish to think that everyone is truthful 100% of the time. Human nature tells us that. So you have to learn what you’re going to be okay with and what the break point is and how you are going to basically interview this person in or out of a job. I go into it sometimes interviewing people out of the job. That I think has helped stopped us from making too many more mistakes in that same way. But a lot of the times too I find that so many chefs have been brought up in kitchens, have been taught with such a punitive style of leadership that there’s almost nothing I can do. I can’t-

Mimi: It’s like a dog that’s been beaten kind of, a little bit.

Sarah: Yeah. I can’t reteach that because the level of distrust that comes immediately is I think one of the hardest things that I had to learn to deal with. I’ve never, ever been a person that felt this ceiling for women or that has used that card or played that card very hard, but I will tell you that looking back on 10 years in this industry, I’ve never been so abused as I have been by some of the people that I’ve worked with that were abused coming into these relationships.

Mimi: But are you think they’re abusing you because you’re a woman or just because they were treated that way? Would they have done the same or acted the same if you were a man?

Sarah: No. They would not. They would never have acted that way towards me.

Mimi: Because you’re also in an industry that’s male dominate, right?

Sarah: Absolutely. But I refuse to be demonstrative in that way to prove masculinity. I won’t do it. I’d rather see that person say abusive things to me, and then I know and I can make a choice. I’m not going to change myself to get them to change their self. That is the greatest thing I have found.

Mimi: You bring up a good point. There’s a study. I don’t know if you’ve ever read it. It was done with West Point cadets. And they were trying to figure out why, because these are the top of the top. Valedictorians, work hard, well rounded, athletic. They have the whole package. But when they get there, they couldn’t figure out why some were dropping out. They couldn’t make it past the first week, and they were trying to figure out what is that that’s happening. They figured out it’s exactly what you’re talking about. The adaptability and the resilience. The grit that these people were not learning. So it’s interesting that you brought that up. But that’s a good study if you ever want to go back and look at that.

On Being A Serial Entrepreneur

Advice from serial entrepreneur and owner of Otaku Ramen
Advice from serial entrepreneur and owner of Otaku Ramen

Mimi: Okay. So now it seems that you’re a serial entrepreneur because this is the second time. You had mentioned you had started another company as well before this.

Sarah: Actually third time.

Mimi: This is your third time. Okay, interesting. So this is great because what advice or do you think it takes a special type of person to be an entrepreneur and maybe goes back to that adaptability conversation that we were just having or there’s a lot of people who were accidental entrepreneurs, see an opportunity like in this situation with you. You took it upon yourself, but what kind of traits would you say an entrepreneur needs to have to be successful – even if there is no intention to be a serial entrepreneur?

Sarah: Oh man. I mean, so many good and so many bad. I started my career as an agent. So started in sales. And I think that’s why body language plays such a big role for me is because I’ve learned how to read people, and that used to be what I had to do for a living was read people and figure out how to give them what they want before they know they want it. That I think made me in my early years of being an entrepreneur I think my drive was about wanting to do something that other people haven’t done or doing something differently.

I think you have to have that in your blood. You have to want to go against the grain. You have to want to swim upstream. You have to want to be the black sheep and be okay with all of the trappings that come with that. I think it definitely takes a certain kind of person to be able to ostensibly be Sisyphus. You are Sisyphus every day. You have to push that boulder up the hill. It’s going to smack you in the face, but you got to smile and do it again.

Mimi: And you don’t care what other people think. You just-

Sarah: Resilience, yeah. It’s going to be lonely, and you’re going to have times where you like I work three times harder than all my friends, and they’re making three times more than I am. Are you in it for a short term? It’s just all about the lifestyle that you want, and what is the most important to you? Then you get a certain amount of the way down that path. If you start your career in your 20s and you take it all the way to your 70s or your 80s, you get a part of the way through that path and you start to see, “Hey, I can apply this to other things. I can apply what I’ve learned from that thing to this thing.” Which is kind of where the jumping off point was for me between working in the film and advertising industry to working in the restaurant world because running a restaurant is not all that dissimilar from running a film set.

Mimi: It’s like coordinating the whole event.

Sarah: It’s a crew. You have a director, a cinematographer, a producer, a script supervisor. You have all the same roles and personalities. You have an insane amount of money that you’re managing. When I was a line producer, I was 25 years old and I had a million dollar budget for one day-

Mimi: Wow.

Sarah: … To produce a commercial. Basically I was taught how to both be creative within a process. That was one of the greatest things film industry taught me. And number two, to learn how to flourish under great pressure. You can know that and learn it, but as you grow and change, you’re going to change, and the way that you respond to things is going to change. One of the silver livings for me with COVID was that it slowed me down enough that I had some perspective that-

Mimi: To think.

Sarah: … I really needed. I really needed. I was 20 years overdue. The universe gave me several chances to slow down. I had my daughter. We moved here. My husband was working. None of those opportunities to slow down were good enough for me. The world had to stop for me to stop.

Learning On Someone’s Else’s Dollar

Restaurant interior of Otaku Ramen
Restaurant interior of Otaku Ramen

Mimi: It’s interesting because I talk a lot about this, and I’m actually coming out with a book at the end of the summer and it’s kind of about this. One of the questions I think a lot of people ask is if you have an idea and you’re 25, do you start your company or do you wait until you’re older and have experience? One thing I write about is about how you want to make mistakes and learn one somebody else’s dollar.

Sarah: Bingo.

Mimi: So that’s exactly what you’re talking about is learning to be the line producer one somebody else’s budget where you’re able to mature and grow as a person. So when it’s your dollar and your show personally, you know how to react to problems because there’s always going to be problems.

Sarah: Always. Yeah. I’ve worked for myself since I was 24. I started my first company when I was 24. I wish I had worked for somebody else for a lot longer. I really wish that I could have pulled back a little bit on that because I think I would have been more successful if I had had stronger mentorship to guide me. There’s no doubt I was leading with my ego. My decisions were made based on me, me, me, me, me and what I can, what I can change. I see that a lot.

I mentor a lot of young men and women in the industry that want to get into this world or that are working for me and that want to go and start their own thing eventually. I’m really, really hard on them because I want them to at least be aware of the things that I was not even aware of at that time. Because no one really talked about all of this stuff. No one really dug deep into there’s door number one or there’s door number two. I think I would have learned so much more so much faster if I had stayed the course in that industry by working with people that were smarter than me.

Men, women, mentorship and trust

Mimi: Right. And you bring up a really good point. Twice as many men have mentors than women. Women don’t want to ask for help. I think that’s another reason why women aren’t as successful or get to the top as men do because they don’t have the path, the mentorship.

Sarah: Yeah. I think that’S definitely true, and I think the other thing is really interesting about that that I’ve learned is by and large men believe that everything is proprietary. By and large, women don’t. So women are more willing to share information, and I always find it very interesting when I’m mentoring people and they’re like, “Wait, you’re going to give me that?” I’m like, “Well, sure.” “Well, aren’t you worried that that…” “No, I could give you a recipe, and you’ll cook it differently than I do.”

There’s no way that you can replicate what I do because what they don’t realize yet is that it’s not actually the spreadsheet that I’m handing you or giving you that is the keys to the kingdom. It’s what you do with it. I see that a lot in the restaurant industry that there are few really incredible, strong male leaders in this industry that are very sharing and that give information. Most see it all as competition. That I think holds a lot of people back in the business.

I mean, our industry is in crisis. We’re going to have to figure something out if we want to get people to engage in the hospitality industry.

Mimi: Especially after this past year. Right? So you opened up two other pop-ups now. So you have three locations, and you wrote a cookbook.

After the Book, What’s Next for a Serial Entrepreneur?

Sarah: Yes.

Mimi: What else do you have on the horizon? Is it something you could see going nationally? Are you going to keep growing? Are you content? What are you seeing happening?

Sarah: We are on a very fast growth path. We’re going to grow this as a regional brand. 10 shops in the next eight years, and see where it takes us. I like to say that our mission is to bring ramen to the ramenless. So we’re focused on secondary and third tier markets. Not really that interested in battling it out in large markets. I think one of the great things about this happening here in Nashville was ,as my first investor who ended up backing out of my investment said to me, “I don’t think Southerners are going to get it. I don’t think they’re going to eat ramen.” Boy was he wrong!

Mimi: So true, especially because you have so many people now moving from metropolitan areas that are used to it. They’re like you. They’ve already been exposed to it. They want different things, and you realize now, even me moving from LA back to the East Coast, just that food choices are so much different and so limited. You don’t have all those healthy options that you had there. I don’t even know any ramen places where I am. So I think people are expecting it because they’ve already been exposed to it.

Sarah: Yeah.

Ways of Financing And Choosing Investors

Serial entrepreneur offers her words of wisdom
Speaking from experience

Mimi: So you just brought up a point about investor. Can you tell us a little bit about that process? Are you in a process now of raising money? Is that difficult? Because I think that’s another big hurdle for a lot of female entrepreneurs where it’s out of their comfort level, so they don’t even do it. I had one CEO who has a great business that she’s like, “I never even thought to raise money. I kind of just been growing up with what I’ve been making and putting it back in.” She’s like, “I didn’t even think I could be raising… I didn’t even go on my radar and probably could’ve grown faster had I…” So it’s just such a awkward or uncomfortable subject for people.

How did you learn about it? How did you get comfortable with doing it?

Sarah: This gentleman that advised me in the very beginning gave me the base structure for investment in the restaurant industry, and it’s a very simple calculator. I’ve just used that as my guide. Do I really want to sell 10% for $200,000? No, I don’t. I want to figure out how to get a bridge loan. I want to build a relationship with a bank. People approach me all the time, “Hey, I’d love to invest.” I feel very fortunate for that. But you’ve got to remember that those people, they’re not looking to put money in and then take money out. They want to park that money there for as long as they can while that equity grows and grows and grows and grows and grows.

So anytime I approach a project, anytime we look at a new lease and we look at how are we going to finance this, we look at it from all directions. Sometimes the money can come from the landlord. Sometimes the money can come from the timing is right and you’re in a very cash flush position. You can go to the bank, and you can get a bridge loan to get where you need to go. But none of this can be done without a great accountant and a great bookkeeper.

We’ve really invested in having a strong financial team around us to help us make those decisions as we grow. But right now, my focus is to own 100% of this business until I’m ready to sell it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to achieve that goal. I may have to take investment, but it is not what I want because I think if you bring in friends and family money, that comes with its own emotions. I’ve already done that and moved on from that, paid everybody backed and moved on. I really don’t recommend it to people.

I know that oftentimes it is the only option that people have. That they don’t have collateral. They can’t get a loan. The SBA system is completely F’ed right now, and you won’t be seeing any lease hold improvement SBA loans for restaurants probably for five years. If that doesn’t slow down the growth of the industry, I don’t know what will.

But getting into a relationship with investors, very complex. It’s made or broken by your operating agreement. It’s not just about the money that exchanges hands. It’s about the control that you’re giving them over your business. So for me, the ideal scenario for me is to build a company that has a certain amount of value behind it that I can go to someone and I can say, “Hey Bart, you keep telling me that you want to invest in my company. I’m not willing to sell equity. But I do have some room on this new location that I’m building, and here’s the offer.” And you have it all written out, and you give it to them. And you say, “I’d like you to give me $200,000 and then you’re going to get a preferred return. Until you get that $200,000 back, you’re going to be getting 50% of my profit. Then you’re going to get 20% on top of that. Then you’re out.”

So there’s no just one way to skin the cat, and I think that part of the biggest problem that I see is cart before the horse on these things. Many of the young women that I’m mentoring right now that are trying to get their concepts off the ground, they’re coming to me and saying, “How do I structure my investment?” And I say, “Okay. How much money are you going to make?” They go, “I don’t know that.” Well, you got to know that.

I really work, kind of where I specialize in mentoring is really on the base financial side. I’m not really the person that’s going to be great for front of house operations. That would be my director of ops. My executive chef is far better in sourcing and costing than I am. But I can tell you whether a restaurant is going to fail or succeed on paper.

Mimi: Wow, that’s great.

Sarah: When you can teach somebody that, I think the biggest thing that people see in this business is that they just turn away. “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t get a [crosstalk 00:31:17]”

Mimi: But that’s what I’m saying. They get nervous, the numbers.

Sarah: Well, if I’ve said this once, I’ve said it 100 times. If you want to be successful in this industry, you got to have sex with your numbers. For real.

You should be able to tell me what your overhead percentage cost is and what your food cost is after your third martini. Memorized. Memorized. You don’t need fancy programs to do that. You need Excel to tell you that.

Mimi: You just know it. That’s great because that’s kind of what… I’m a finance person. That’s my background. So that’s kind of where I think there’s a big whole in this journey for women because they just don’t feel comfortable with the numbers.

Sarah: Yeah.

Mimi: So it’s trying to get them comfortable with it, and that’s why I usually ask that question, which is kind of personal, on every podcast. But I feel like it’s something that no one talks about, and it’s really, really important.

Choices Parents Make With The Best Intentions

Delicious food from Otaku Ramen
Delicious food from Otaku Ramen

Sarah: I’m on only child, and I won the lottery with my parents are the most amazing. They’re in their 80s and they still out-drink me, out-party me. They’re the most amazing people. They gave me everything. My father thought that he was giving me all the tools to live the life that he wanted to provide for me, but he never taught me about money. He never taught me what finance was all about. He never taught me what a money manager is if you make money and then you’ve got… He never taught me how to invest. None of that. I had this conversation with friends of mine that I grew up with. These two guys, they’re basically like my brothers. Our dads all went to college together. My dad taught them-

Mimi: Because you were a girl.

Sarah: … But he didn’t teach me. I was like, “What the hell?” So I don’t think that he-

Mimi: He’s your own father.

Sarah: It’s my own father. That blew my mind. It’s not exactly something that you want to go back and be like, “Hey dad…” I’m not doing that. It just gives me even more grit and leverage to want to learn more, understand more, and yeah, maybe I’m far behind some other people in certain ways. But just go find what you need. Everything’s out there.

Mimi: Figure out, evolve.

Sarah: Oh my god, literally the age of information.

Mimi: It’s true.

Sarah: Also, it’s fun to see all of the old guard just about to collapse. You can just feel it about to come down like the Berlin Wall.

Mimi: Well, I was just talking with somebody who actually is a friend of mine who’s a male and he’s a CEO. We were trying to decide the title of my upcoming book, and he was saying to me, he goes, “Right now this is the generation for women. This is it because everyone’s clamoring. You can’t say that there’s a glass ceiling,” he said, “because they’re realizing they don’t have enough, and they’re clamoring to fill board seats. They’re clamoring to get C Suite people in.” The opportunities there. There’s so many grants and loans and programs for female entrepreneurs. So go get it. There is no excuse at this point.

Sarah: Absolutely. You have to box outside your weight class 100% all the time.

Mimi: Just believe in yourself and do it. Yeah.

Sarah: That’s right, and that’s why you go work for somebody else. So that you can learn how to be in the room with people that are smarter than you. Otherwise, you develop such a huge ego around protecting what you built and around you don’t get to be as pliable when you’re a lifelong entrepreneur to other people. Especially I feel like as a woman, I’ve made the mistake of coming at it with too much force because that’s how I tried to make myself be different.

I just recently went back and had a, “Hey, let’s clear the air,” with someone who is deeply involved in the local government here that I had really felt that something was unjust and I came at it just like a bull already been stuck two times in the back. I was so angry. I don’t think that a lot of men would have approached it like that. They would have ridden it first and then gone in for the information. Where I like came at it as a bull.

I also think that a man wouldn’t have circled back around and been like, “Let’s start over. Let’s reframe this because this isn’t working.” His annoyance with me overcompensating my insecurity for overcompensating. Let’s go back to the board. That type of humility, it shouldn’t have taken me this long to get there. I could have gotten there a lot sooner if I had had more people going, “You fucked up. But you’re going to be okay and here’s why.”

So you just develop such a rhinoceros skin when you work for yourself by yourself all the time.

Mimi: Yeah. No, it’s great. I love this. This has been amazing, and I really appreciate your time and just dissecting this. I love what you’re doing. What you’re doing and how you’re mentoring women because it’s going to mean that there’s going to be more women that are going to be successful and avoid pitfalls and build the confidence without having to put that shell that you’re talking about on.

Sarah: Yes.

Mimi: Right. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time.

Sarah: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Mimi: Thank you for joining us on The Badass CEO. To get your copy of the top 10 tips every entrepreneur – serial entrepreneur of solo – should know, go to thebadassceo.com/tips. Also, please leave a review as it helps others find us. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them. So email me at mimi@thebadassceo.com. See you next week and thank you for listening.

Where To Find Sarah and More About Her Businesses

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Top 10 Tips For Every Entrepreneur


Receive Our Free Gift

Top 10 Tips For Every Entrepreneur