Monday Motivation from Julie dePontbriand, Co-Founder & CEO of ShopVenture

Mondays can be rough and, sometimes, we can all use some motivation. Our #MondayMotivation blog series brings you tips and life hacks from industry leaders and some of the most creative entrepreneurs out there.

We sat down with Julie dePontbriand, Co-Founder & CEO of ShopVenture, a customer review platform that allows women to share their online shopping experiences and help others make smart purchase decisions. Julie discusses the eternal optimism of entrepreneurship, marrying her passions, and the best tools for productivity.

What inspired you to start your business?
The idea for ShopVenture was inspired by a bad online shopping experience. My Co-Founder, Min, purchased her bridesmaids’ dresses online, only for them to be delivered after her wedding. Min’s experience allowed us to pinpoint a problem in the e-commerce industry. Over 72% of consumers have had a negative online shopping experience. ShopVenture provides product and shop validation to help consumers make smarter purchase decisions, and help great online merchants grow through a community of engaged online shoppers.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
I think the biggest challenge is sometimes a combination of a hundred smaller ones. To be an entrepreneur, on some level, you also have to be an eternal optimist. On an average day, I probably come across at least five things that I don’t really know how to do, but instead of getting discouraged, I tell myself that I can figure it out. Sometimes I can, and sometimes I need the help of others, but either way it’s incredibly important to always keep that positive attitude – it will push you through every time.

What’s been the greatest reward?
I love that ShopVenture combines two of my passions: building businesses and fashion. It’s the perfect combination for me and allows me to put my business experience to work in an industry that I love.

What is the biggest thing you’d like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
Building a business is tough no matter what, and while it’s a fact that women receive less funding, the support system around female entrepreneurs is growing. NYC has a number of strong communities for female entrepreneurs, networking events and female-run VC’s, and this is only the beginning.
This year, ShopVenture participated in Rent the Runway’s Project Entrepreneur, MentHERnyc, spoke at Deals & Divas and attended many more events centered around female entrepreneurs. We now have access to women who have come before us and are actively engaged in helping female-run businesses succeed, and we can be mentors to those who come after us as well.

Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
My husband and my friends keep me motivated, even when things get tough, as they inevitably do in a startup. They all work incredibly hard building their own businesses and teams, and they have been advice-givers, networkers and great support throughout the process.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Surround yourself with positive people, whether it be your employees, investors, advisors, or just a good group of friends. Life will get difficult and there will be ups and downs, so having a network that you can get advice and guidance from really helps to make the tough days feel less bad. Keep at it! You’ll never regret pushing yourself a little bit harder.

What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
Well to start, I do my prep on Sunday! I used to say, work smarter, not harder, but in startups, you actually have to do both. Each month I write a strategy of our big picture goals, and then I break this down into weekly tasks that will get us there. Every Sunday I revisit and revise. I create daily to-do lists, and I don’t leave the office until I’m done.

For more #MondayMotivation, check out our interview with Natalie Christopher, Director of Community Experience at The Kitmade Co., an online wedding consignment shop. Natalie discusses developing the perfect fit, making customer service a happy place, and earning the trust of her customers.