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The Journey of Entrepreneurship: Lessons Learned and Strategies for Success

Nina Shariati - Founder and Strategic Sustainability Advisor at Circular Transparency Introducing Nina Shariati. She’s the foundress and strategic sustainability advisor at Circular Transparency. Circular Transparency Consultancy specializes in crafting tailored sustainability strategies that are in line with business objectives for the fashion and retail sectors. Their expertise includes startup and talent scouting, and advisory services, providing comprehensive support to businesses seeking to enhance their sustainability practices and maximize their impact in the industry.

What are some of the key skills or qualities that you think are essential for success as an entrepreneur? And what initially sparked your entrepreneurial spirit and led you to pursue this venture?

Being a successful entrepreneur isn't just about having good ideas. It's about having the guts, grit, vision, and passion for creation and to stick with it when things get tough. You have to have a clear idea and be passionate about what you're doing. And when stuff doesn't go as planned (which it often doesn't), you need to be able to bounce back and keep pushing forward. Being able to adapt and change course when needed is key, and you have to be ready to get your hands dirty and do whatever it takes to make things happen

How do you stay motivated and focused when faced with setbacks or challenges in your business? How do you overcome them? 

I rely heavily on my purpose, determination, and my closest relationships. I have strong values, and once I set goals that are in line with them it takes a lot for me to give up. What helps me bounce back faster is the support of my family, group of friends, and mentors. Their encouragement and belief in me give me the strength to stay motivated and focused. Additionally, I find that setting clear goals and reminding myself of the bigger picture helps me stay on track. When obstacles arise, I approach them with a problem-solving mindset, looking for creative solutions and learning from any mistakes along the way. 

What have been some of the biggest lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

Embrace the concept of "kill your darlings": It's important to be willing to let go of ideas, projects, or strategies that aren't working, even if you're personally attached to them. Being able to recognize when something isn't serving your goals and being willing to pivot or abandon is essential for growth and success.


Fail fast and move forward: Failure is inevitable in entrepreneurship, but what's important is how you respond to it. Instead of dwelling on failures or setbacks, it's crucial to acknowledge them, learn from them quickly, and then pivot or move forward with newfound knowledge and resilience.

Founders often face the challenge of prioritizing personal well-being amidst the startup grind. Can you share some specific strategies you've implemented to create a healthy work-life integration while managing the demanding schedule of a startup founder?

One of the biggest lessons I've learned as an entrepreneur is the importance of treating my personal well-being as seriously as my business commitments. You have to treat your gym time as strictly as a business meeting. I quickly noticed that when I am getting enough sleep, eating well, and working out, I outperform. It's not a "nice to do," it is essential for the success of my business.

How do you strategically stay informed about industry trends and upcoming technologies to ensure your business is prepared for the future?

Networking: I prioritize building a robust network of industry contacts, which includes peers, mentors, experts, and thought leaders. By staying connected I gain valuable insights and opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing.


Market research: gathering insights into customer preferences, market dynamics, and competitor strategies is vital. This enables me to identify emerging trends and anticipate shifts in consumer behavior, allowing my business to adapt proactively to changing market conditions.


Industry publications and media: I actively consume industry-specific publications, blogs, podcasts, and news outlets to stay updated on the latest developments, best practices, and thought leadership in my field. Subscribing to relevant newsletters and following key influencers on social media platforms also helps. Interview series by Riga TechGirls for TechChill 2024

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