Kathryn Finney’s Tips For Avoiding Entrepreneurial Overwhelm

While we make up 10% of the population, Black women are the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs in the country, according to new research by GoDaddy. Many of us romanticize the idea of running our businesses. But trust us, launching one is more than a notion. That overwhelming feeling can quickly overtake anyone entering a new venture. So, we asked serial entrepreneur Kathryn Finney, Founder of Genius Guild, a venture fund, for her top tips for avoiding entrepreneurial overwhelm for Black women considering taking the entrepreneurial leap.
Start With a Simple Idea
Just because you have an idea you love, you shouldn’t necessarily invest your life savings right away. Finney, the author of Build the Damn Thing: How to Start a Successful Business, says, “The”best way to know if your idea is good is to create a very simple version of the idea and put it out there for real feedback from potential customers.
She further explains, “That feedback will give you a sense of whether there is a valid market for your idea before you spend a lot of time and money on it. You can then use that feedback to iterate on your idea and make it even better with the confidence of knowing that your idea creates a solution that people will pay for.”
Develop a Set of Core Values
According to Finney, the first year of business can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first company. “You can get so caught up in all the initial steps you need to transform your idea into a viable product that you forget that you also have to have a sustainable way to keep making that product,” she explains. You may have been so focused on how to raise the money you needed that you neglected to set up financial management systems to keep track of the money as it comes in so that you can manage it better. Or maybe you concentrated so much on hiring the right people that you haven’t thought about how they will all work together to help you execute your vision.”
“Instead of getting overwhelmed by present challenges, she suggests having a long-term strategy. “When I was starting Genius Guild, one of the first things I did was to create a set of core values, which served as a kind of North Star, for what I wanted my company to be,” she explains. “By having those values to fall back on, I was able to make sure I kept my focus on the next few years of my company rather than just the next two weeks.”
The Risk and Reward of Entrepreneurship
When someone decides to start a business, they are taking a risk. However, there are creative rewards that are immeasurable. “Building your own company is a way to have a creative life you control. Imagine creating something you truly believe in, watching it succeed beyond your wildest dreams, and then getting paid for the value you’ve created,” Finney says.”That’s the promise of building your own damn thing. For me, deciding what to do with my capital and money from time to time was very liberating and worth the risk of possible failure.”
Personally, Finney loves running her current company. “I also love that running my own venture firm, Genius Guild, allows me to look for investment opportunities that are solid businesses that also contribute to the betterment of the community they serve. I want to help build a world where everyone can win, and creating Genius Guild allows me to do just that.
Smart, Successful Entrepreneurs Have Balanced Lives
Finney stresses that entrepreneurship is hard. It’s It’s easy, tough, or exhausting. And because it’s hard, losing yourself entirely in your company can be tempting. She says to decide that you don’t have time for your personal well-being, health, or family because you feel like all you should be doing is working.
This is a recipe for disaster. Remember that the company will not be good if you’re not good. So, taking time to get yourself in a good place is the most important thing you can do to ensure your company’s success before you build it.
“Smart, successful entrepreneurs have no problem spending time on their mental and spiritual health because they know that getting their mind right is crucial to getting their company right,” she” says. That means finding what works for you, getting home for dinner at night, getting to the gym, and practicing consistent meditation.
Finney says, “Because you are the hub of your company, your self-care is also your company’s self-care.”


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