It's safe to say Ronne Brown has mastered the art of the career pivot.
She literally went from mopping floors to making millions on Instagram (a journey she chronicled in her aptly titled book), and she held every position from janitor to travel agent and paralegal before founding Girl CEO, a membership platform built to empower aspiring women entrepreneurs with all the tools they need to succeed.
Below, the multi-faceted entrepreneur shares her best advice for anyone looking to launch a business, including the tried-and-true method she swears by for handling failure, the productivity hack that’s changed how she works, and the #1 money book she always recommends (psst… it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to level-up their finances).
You were a teen mom who literally went from mopping floors to making millions but your path to entrepreneurship all started when you were fired. Take us back to the beginning—what was the lightbulb moment for your business and career and what inspired you to pursue this path?
My lightbulb moment was losing my job and realizing that, at any given moment, someone could fire me and take away the only source of income I had to provide for my children. I was inspired to pursue my path when I realized the lack of information and resources available for new female entrepreneurs. I decided that, once I reached a certain level of success, I would start sharing what I learned to help other women accomplish their goals.
Research has shown that early mentorship can have a major impact on a small business’s revenue and growth. You’re paying it forward with your online educational platform Girl CEO. How are you making a difference and pushing your industry forward?
By providing actual resources tools and strategies in a world of empowerment and motivation. We are very intentional in providing tools and strategies that require implementation. Increasing accessibility, offering an interactive community, and creating an intimate learning environment that positions women to build real relationships.
2020 presented everybody around the globe with new, unprecedented challenges. How did you #FindNewRoads + switch gears towards your new version of success?
2020’s unprecedented challenges definitely forced me to think outside of the box. My first-ever Girl CEO Conference was scheduled this year. Due to COVID, it was rescheduled then canceled. So, my first In-person conference turned into a digital conference. We definitely had to learn how to pivot. In addition to pivoting, it was really important to be intentional with our online community. We focused on connecting more with our audience, over-delivering, and using voice notes on social media versus messages and live videos to connect with our audience in a more intimate way.
It’s easy to celebrate the wins, but how do you handle failure or when something hasn’t worked out for you?
I believe that if things don't work out, it wasn't my time. I focus more on what I've learned from the experience versus what went wrong.
Entrepreneurship is all about taking calculated risks—What’s the most pivotal risk you’ve taken, and how did it change your path?
The most pivotal risk, for me, was walking away from a sales company that was paying me almost one million dollars a year to start over from scratch and build my company. This was the scariest and most rewarding decision I've ever made and I'm happy I did it. This decision changed my path because it positioned me to leave a legacy for my family and taught me the importance of ownership. Walking away gave me the confidence to believe in myself 100%.
For those who haven’t started a business (or are about to), what advice do you have?
Focus on purpose, not profit. Knowing that there is no such thing as an overnight success. Understanding that failure is a part of the journey, and starting over is better than not starting at all. I will also add don't be afraid to ask for help.
What is your number one piece of financial advice for any new entrepreneur and why?
My number one piece of financial advice is to live below your means. Sometimes, we don't realize what we don't really need. We spend a lot of money on things that aren't assets and don't hold true value. I would like to encourage entrepreneurs to focus more on investing their money into things that make them money versus things that make them look rich.
What's the one productivity tip or work hack that truly changed your life?
Running my business on a tight schedule. Structure has been a game-changer for my business. When my day is mapped out, I am much more productive.
What is the #1 career or money book you always recommend and why?
“You Are a Badass at Making Money.” I love how the author, Jen Sincero shares her tips from a straight-forward perspective. She references making more money around shifting your mindset first then taking action.
If you could go back to the beginning of your career journey—with the knowledge you have now— what advice would you give yourself?
Stop looking for shortcuts. Doing the work is much more rewarding.
Fill in the blanks:
The best career advice I always give is…
Whatever it is that you choose to do, make sure that you love it enough that you are willing to do it for free.
Three qualities that got me to where I am today are…
Authenticity, consistency, and service-ship.
The change I’d like to see in my industry is…
The willingness to share more information for free, and people understanding the value of mentorship.
My perfect day begins with…
Self-care, then starting my day according to my calendar.
The craziest thing I’ve done for work is…
Definitely mopping floors as a janitor.