Lessons in Entrepreneurship

Feb 24, 2023


Takeaways from the Direct Entrepreneur podcast with Cindy Monroe, Founder, Thirty-One Gifts

Cindy Monroe started Thirty-One Gifts in the basement of her home in 2003 with the goal of providing women with solutions to organize their busy lives and giving them an opportunity to run their own successful businesses. In just ten years, the company reached $750 million in annual revenue. Cindy shares leadership lessons she learned as an entrepreneur in her new book, More Than a Bag.

Five Leadership lessons for entrepreneurs:

  • Know what differentiates you
    “Focus on your strengths to stay strong and be successful. While building and growing Thirty-One Gifts, and to this day, our differentiator is our focus on relationships, not just products. We know the sellers and the people who buy from us. Those relationships differentiate us.”
  • Stay focused on your vision
    “Find the one thing you are passionate about, get in that lane and find success there. It’s easy to get distracted by other ideas and comparisons but hard to accomplish multiple goals simultaneously.”
  • Always have two plans
    “Have a second plan in place to support your business through the inevitable bumps in the road. I plan for positive growth. However, I didn’t always anticipate the macro or external factors that intercepted my vision. Having a second plan lets you act instead of reacting, and to lead through change and challenges.”
  • Stop and ask for directions
    Cindy was assertive in reaching out to others to learn and share perspectives when she started the business, and as it grew. “I sought guidance from people within the direct selling industry, the wider retail sector and beyond.”
  • Maintain margins between business and home
    “I found it valuable to use some of the same strategic planning tools at home that worked for me as a leader at Thirty-One Gifts. We held family meetings, set intentions of what we wanted to accomplish as a family, and even did vision boarding. (Yes, my kids rolled their eyes!) Being this intentional at home helped me stay focused.”

Listen to the Direct Entrepreneur podcast conversation with DSA President Joe Mariano and Thirty-one Gifts founder Cindy Monroe: log in to The Direct Entrepreneur series here.