Where You Lead, I Will Follow: Entrepreneurship 101 Courtesy of Lorelai Gilmore
May 27, 2021 | Inspiration
In a past blog post, we provided vocabulary options to use at your next meeting courtesy of Moira Rose of Schitt’s Creek. What other business lessons can we learn from pop culture icons?
For tips on starting a new venture, we consulted with Lorelai Gilmore (iconized by Lauren Graham) of the tv show “Gilmore Girls.” And by consult, we mean binge-watching the series on Netflix.
Setting the Scene
The series focuses on Lorelai, a single mother, raising her teenage daughter in the quaint and small (aka everyone knows your business) town of Stars Hollow, CT. She manages a small inn and aspires to open her own bed and breakfast with her best friend, Sookie.
Lorelai grew up in a world of privilege and wealth but left home when she became pregnant in high school.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.
Lorelai enrolled in the local community college and studied business, earning an associate’s degree. Additionally, Sookie and Lorelai take an afternoon off to attend a seminar on starting an inn in Season 3.
As an entrepreneur, you must be willing to learn and growing with the business. There are many classes available on everything from public speaking to social media to starting a business.
Here are some resources:
- General Assembly is a robust suite of virtual courses and workshops that give individuals and teams several options for growth and development.
- Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes. Sample courses include “The Secret to Winning & Understanding Clients,” “Organic Instagram Growth: Create Shareable Content,” and “Real Productivity: How to Build Habits That Last.”
- Edx is a global nonprofit organization founded with partners Harvard and MIT that offer individual courses, certifications, and degree programs taught by academic professors and credible professionals.
- SCORE is the nation’s largest network of free, expert business mentors. It is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth, and success of small businesses nationwide. It is financially supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It delivers services at no charge or at a meager cost.
There’s a last-minute opening at a Pitch Competition. A new retail location just hit the market, and there’s significant interest in the space. A reporter wants to include your business in a national news piece but needs a quote in the next hour. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm.
When the owner of a vacated property in town passes away, Lorelai and Sookie moved quickly to find out who the landmark was left to. While we don’t recommend engaging in business talks at a funeral or a processional, when opportunity knocks, answer the door before someone else does.
Get it in Writing
Lorelai asks her friend Luke for a business loan. She originally wanted to take him to dinner and make a formal presentation with projections. However, after an overwhelming day, she cancels and has an emotional moment at his diner where she blurts her request.
When he agrees, Lorelai insists on writing the terms on a napkin, so there’s something to refer back to. This example brings us to the next tip.
There’s No Shame in Asking for Help
If you are lucky enough to have family or friends that have the means and are willing to assist, let them. Accepting help doesn’t make you weak. It is a sign of perseverance and making your dream a reality no matter the obstacles.
Let it All Out
We aren’t robots. We are humans. We are complex individuals with feelings, thoughts, worries, and more. In “How Entrepreneurs Can Prioritize Themselves,” we provide ways business owners can practice self-care, including seeking support.
It is crucial to get emotions out. The feeling of having the world on your shoulders is physically and mentally draining. It is not sustainable. Whether you vent to a friend, trusted co-worker, or a licensed professional, talking is key to releasing negative energy that does not serve us or our business.
In the same scene mentioned above, with Lorelai and Luke, Lorelai frees weeks of pent-up stress and emotion.
“I just thought I had everything under control, but I didn’t, and the inn is just falling apart,” Lorelai exclaims. “This has been my dream forever, and I have it, and it’s here, and I’m failing, and I can’t handle it.”
Luke comforts and reassures her.
Practice Makes Perfect
Whether it is experimenting with a cocktail recipe or sending a new make-up line to your girlfriends, it is vital to work out the kinks in any operation before opening to the mass.
When Lorelai and Sookie finally open up their dream inn, they host a test run for their family and friends. They ask for candid feedback and provide all guests with comment cards. The rehearsal reveals miscommunication in printed materials and additional supplies needed for guests.
Roll Up Your Sleeves and Pitch In
As entrepreneurs, we wear many hats. If something needs to get done and there’s no one else to do it, tough luck. This is your business!
Throughout the series, we see Lorelai stepping in and doing whatever is in the best interest of the Inn. Whether it is providing turn-down service, rushing to the Inn in the middle of a haircut, or protesting city ordinances, Lorelai understands the Inn’s success rests on her shoulders.
Make It Happen
Yes, “Gilmore Girls” is a fictional TV show, and Lorelai Gilmore is a character. However, there are valuable lessons and examples that any entrepreneur can utilize in their real-life endeavor.
As Lorelai’s daughter, Rory, so eloquently says during her high school graduation. Lorelai Gilmore can be a role model for all of us.
“But my ultimate inspiration comes from my best friend, the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life’s blood, Lorelai Gilmore. My mother never gave me an idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don’t know if she ever realized that the person, I most wanted to be was her. Thank you, Mom: you are my guidepost for everything.”
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