MARIA MARLOWE | Founder, MARIA MARLOWE SVELTE

"Failure is a good thing. Aim to fail at something every day. You need to fail in order to grow. When you fail, you learn, and if you don’t fail, that means you aren’t putting yourself out there and trying new things."

How do you start your day?

As soon as I wake up, I recite everything I’m grateful for in my head, ideally meditate for 10 minutes, read a chapter in whatever personal development book I’m currently reading, and if it’s a really good day, I get my ass to the gym.


Who inspires you?

Women leaders inspire me, like Ivanka Trump, Jessica Alba, and the ultimate #GirlBoss Sophia Amoruso.


What would you tell yourself as a teenager?

Put yourself out there, always smile, and fail often.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Failure is a good thing. Aim to fail at something every day. You need to fail in order to grow. When you fail, you learn, and if you don’t fail, that means you aren’t putting yourself out there and trying new things.


What do you need to get you through each day?

Lots of lemon water, my MacBook (I get antsy if I’m not working) and my iphone.


What are you reading?

I’m usually reading multiple things at once. I keep returning to A Course in Miracles, and I’m also currently reading The Dorito Effect, which is a fascinating look at how we’ve bred the flavor out of our REAL food (like vegetables, grains, animal products), and how we’ve synthesized flavor explosion in our processed junk food to make up for it.


Briefly describe your business and inspiration for it.

I help women lose weight and clear up their acne by switching to a healthier, whole food, plant-based diet, individualized for their unique body, through my group program SVELTE. I struggled with terrible acne for years, and was overweight (I’m 20 pounds lighter now than I was in high school!) so my own health concerns were the inspiration for it. I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to educate myself on nutrition and how to be a Health Coach. At the same time, I began losing weight and clearing up my acne by changing my diet. After that, I vowed to teach everyone how to do the same by using my Institute for Integrative Nutrition education and certification and through my personal experience.


How has your passion fueled your business?

You can’t be an entrepreneur if you don’t have passion. I tell people that all the time. If you’re just in it for the money, it’s not going to work. My passion has got me through the late nights, blood, sweat, and tears I’ve poured into making this a viable business.


What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I don’t do very well with people telling me what to do. But besides that, I felt that real food nutritional education is greatly lacking in our society, and I saw a need for it—so if no one else was doing it, I decided I had to. I literally feel like it’s my calling, that educating people on what to eat is my purpose in life.


What was the tipping point for realizing you had a good business?

When I actually started bringing in a full-time salary. When people came to me and thanked me for changing their life.


What has been the key to your success?

Persistence and consistency.


What lessons have you learned along the way that you wish you would have known at the beginning of your start-up career?

Ask a lot of questions. Don’t sign any contracts without a lawyer. Negotiate EVERYTHING. Be nice to EVERYONE.


What challenges did you face in the early days of being the Founder of your own business?

Being a solopreneur can get lonely. Making time for myself and not spending every waking second working is something that continues to challenge me, but now I’m much better at that (I now take weekends off…for the most part!).


What is the biggest mistake you have made in your business to date and how have you moved past it?

The biggest mistake I’ve made is not having a hardcore strategy. Blowing in the wind, implementing ideas without fully thinking them through. Now I’m strategic about everything.


What would you have done differently?

I would have done more big-picture planning. I would have also dedicated more time to social media.


How did your experiences in the corporate world prepare you for entrepreneurship, or not?

Working in corporate helped me realize I never wanted to work in corporate again—that thought keeps a fire lit underneath me so I continue hustling.


What do you think the most important attribute a female entrepreneur/ business owner can possess?

Kindness.


What do you do outside the office to help you stay creative/productive?

Get out of city and into nature, meditate, run.


What would you say to another woman who asked you if they should take the leap and start their own business?

YES! Life is short. Do what you want. But be very strategic.

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