Diana House is a lawyer turned award winning serial entrepreneur, and after selling her two e-commerce businesses, she’s transitioning to a new business forcing her to get out of her comfort zone and build a compelling personal brand. Diana, also a real estate investor and private lender, now teaches entrepreneurs about money and finance so they can grow businesses profitably, and today we talk about personal branding for introverts plus how to take more risks and “chase down your zone of genius”.
Melinda Wittstock: Diana, welcome to Wings.
Diana House: Thanks so much for having me on, Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m so excited to have you on and excited to hear what’s inspiring you in this New Year.
Diana House: Me, too. It is just so exciting to be in 2019. I had a very crazy 2018, I sold a company that I had for 10 years. This is the first year ever–well, in a decade–that I have not owned an E-commerce company, so I am just so inspired to have that freshness, and space, and energy to really explore the next layer of my entrepreneur career. That is around entrepreneur finance, going deeper, and real estate investing, and our private lending company. I’m actually really inspired by just business right now.
Melinda Wittstock: I love it, so you’re in transition and congratulations on the exit because not everybody lands that plane easily. It’s a big transition. Those moments are always really exciting but they’re also a little bit scary too, or they can be. What are some of the challenges that you’re facing having exited your business?
Diana House: I think the biggest challenge I feel like I already navigated, and that was really stepping into visibility and having a personal brand for the first time ever. I’m very much a back end person so for my previous ventures, you couldn’t find my photo on the website, I didn’t have an Instagram account, I wasn’t really putting content or thought leadership out there. I knew with my, specifically my entrepreneur finance venture, that for the first phase of the business especially, I had to be out there.
I remember a few months ago, I was sitting on the couch and I literally was almost paralyzed with fear of, “Do I really want to be out there in this capacity? Do I want to be known? Do I want to be recognized?” I’m quite introverted and private. I had to literally physically move through the fear of stepping into that. It was cool. I connected with a few friends. I really reflected on other conversations that I’ve had with other entrepreneurs. This is a common theme and barrier that people have to deal with as they go out from behind the scenes to being out there.
It’s dealing with that visibility and it’s cool. I feel like I’m over it now but it was a real thing.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s funny, a lot of women struggle with this. I think sometimes we confuse personal branding with personal bragging. It’s tricky but we do have to get out of our own way, in a way, to be able to communicate and lead, and do all of these things. It can be tough for introverts. I totally get that.
Along your journey, because this is not your first rodeo, what are your top three go-to pieces of advice for women in business and female founders?
Diana House: My first one, and I’m living this one right now, this is the advice I’m giving myself everyday, is take more risks. Often, women specifically, don’t take as many risks as men do. To win big, you have to take risks. Not just careless, crazy risks, but thought out, methodical things. One of my goals for this year is to make more deals. Put more offers out there whether that’s more offers on properties, or more offers on structuring, like equity, plays within different companies. Doing more of those.
I think the second one is really know yourself, know what your zone of genius is, and know what really fulfills you in the world and chase down those opportunities. But be very intentional about the work you do, who you work with, and the challenges you take on because opportunity cost is a very expensive thing and it’s very easy as entrepreneurs to say yes to the wrong thing and then be kind of bound by that thing for too long.
Probably in that vein, I think the third thing is focus. I was coaching some younger entrepreneurs yesterday and I kind of gave them some intense feedback of, “I actually don’t think you guys are going to be successful because you’re trying to do three different things at the same time.” There are a lot of people that are, ‘multi-faceted entrepreneurs’. A friend of mine, you know him, Ben Burmaster, he would call that unfocused. I don’t think it’s like you only have to have one thing but you have to be really mindful of how many things you’re trying to attempt at the same time.
Most people I know who are wildly successful, they’ve done one thing at a time and maybe once they’ve stabilized it, they’ve added another thing. But it’s very hard to do two, three, four, five things at the same time beautifully.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh goodness, yes. Sorry, oh God, that’s so true because, what’s that cliché? Jack of all trades, master of none. We’re all of us entrepreneurs are so idea focused. We have more ideas than we can possibly execute all at once. What brilliant advice.
Diana, how can people find you and work with you in the new year? Because I know you’re helping a lot of entrepreneurs know their numbers, and get more savvy, and all things finance. How can they get in touch with you?
Diana House: Yeah. [inaudible 00:06:50 I’m a business finance expert so I help them around entrepreneur finance, not so much the personal side, but they can find me at dianahouse.com. I currently do one on one consulting in a 90 day profit [inaudible 00:07:03 container. As well as in the Spring, I’m going to be launching my program. Which will be more of a scalable group program that helps entrepreneurs work en masse.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s wonderful. Look forward to that and thank you for the work that you’re doing. Congratulations on that exit. Thank you for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Diana House: Thanks Melinda.