When I opened my residential real estate agency five years ago, I had no idea how the journey I was about to take would unfold. Anytime you start something new, you can expect to encounter a learning curve. However, no matter how detailed you are with your planning and forecasting, you begin to encounter things almost immediately that never crossed your mind before. What then?


Bookworm Status

There are two things I have done consistently as an entrepreneur that have been invaluable. The first is to read, read and read some more. We are so fortunate to be entrepreneurs at a time when any question can be answered, usually with the click of a mouse. Audio books, podcasts, e-books and good, old fashioned paper books have become my constant companions. There are so many fantastic books on my hit list, and it seems that list just grows with every new book I read. 

My first great read as an entrepreneur was Darren Hardy’s "The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster." Hardy’s clear, concise and compelling chapters are a glimpse into many of the waters that new entrepreneurs need to navigate including your "why," how to hire for maximum results, how to prioritize and focus on your core functions, what it means to be a leader and so much more. It’s one to read and re-read. 

Another must-have resource is Simon Sinek’s "Start With Why." Sinek’s book pulls you in and develops your thought processes through real-life stories and helps you understand how it is that "why" is the thing that inspires us and inspires those around us. 

Lastly, I have worn out my copy of "The Magic of Thinking Big" by Dr. David J. Schwartz. Schwartz’s book is chock-full of truths about success and, for me, was all about mindset. Some of my favorite of his nuggets of wisdom include: 

"You are what you think. Believe you can succeed and you will." 

"Think and dream creatively. Stretch your mind."

"See what can be, not just what is."


Buddy Up

The second thing that has been very impactful on my entrepreneur journey is having a group of informal advisors — my personal think tank. These men and women are also entrepreneurs in different fields, different ages and different stages of their journeys. From talking through challenges and sharing great podcasts or book content to brainstorming ideas, their counsel is invaluable and inspirational to me. 

Developing your own advisors is relatively easy. Be on the lookout for other entrepreneurs or business leaders who you hear of or meet when out in the community. (I’m sure you met quite a few at Soiree’s Women’s Leadership Symposium.) You can probably make a list right now of people you respect and admire, even if you don’t yet know them. I started by writing notes to each of them, which led to phone calls, then to coffee or lunch.


Ultimately, being a woman in business as an entrepreneur has proven to be such a rewarding, invigorating and surprising experience, and I’m grateful for every day of it. It is very gratifying to meet other entrepreneurs, and I welcome the opportunity to continue to grow my network of women in leadership. Let's get coffee!


Susan Desselle is the owner and principal broker of Desselle Real Estate, a full-service agency where she and her team of experienced, dedicated agents provide buyers and sellers with turnkey service every day.