Being a founder, entrepreneur, or a business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully
Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur“ we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Regina Cole.
Regina Cole is the Founder and CEO of Cole Heart Jewels, an online company committed to her maternal grandmother Isabel Leite.
Cole is also the founder of Cole Heart Women Recovery Network, a
non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources to women who suffer from addiction, mental health, and domestic violence. Cole is also a mother to two beautiful daughters, Taylor (14) and Shawn (7).
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Regina Cole: My path to entrepreneurship starts with my late maternal grandmother Isabel Leite. I wanted to continue building her legacy with my own family. My grandma was simple, yet she left a significant impact on me, and it was just a kind human being. I wanted to start something to honor her, so my fashion jewelry business, Cole Heart Jewels, was born.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Regina Cole: My “Aha Moment” came after the passing of my grandmother. The impact of losing her led me to create my company and start my journey as an entrepreneur.
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
Regina Cole: Haha! I was not a natural entrepreneur by far; I created the aptitude later on in my journey. I faced a lot of challenges along the way. One major obstacle is I suffer from major depression. There were times my consistency was interrupted by my mental health illness, also, bouts of self-doubt.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
Regina Cole: Again, my grandmother inspired me to start my business. I wanted to create something to honor her because she was such a good woman. What better way to do it than helping women across the world feel beautiful through our curated bold, vibrant, and authentic pieces.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Regina Cole: I believe our company stands out because Cole Heart Jewels is an industry-leading online fashion jewelry store that offers unique statement pieces for women. Cole Heart Jewels provides a diverse collection of jewelry that gives each customer a signature look. Our pieces are memorable and stylish in every aspect. We are committed to educating our clientele about color, style, and shape as they select complementary accessories as part of their shopping experience.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Regina Cole: Patience, courage, and determination are most instrumental to my success. As someone with no entrepreneurial skills and minimal business background, when I started my business back in 2015, it has been an extended learning journey as I go through trial and error. It took courage to jump, determination to remain consistent on this journey, and patience on me during this process. Having a little background in business, I experience a lot of failure and disappointments. I will not give up on it all, and I will continue implementing all three character traits to see my vision.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Regina Cole: Yes. Someone once told me to go for the minimalist trend in jewelry to get better sales. I became discouraged and started to look for not-so-bold pieces. That was not my vision. I wanted women to be bold and vibrant and resonate with the pieces they selected from our collection. Adhering to that person’s advice brought me minimal sales. Once I started to take my advice with the bold pieces, it pushes up my sales, and I’m getting more opportunities to share my Jewelry with others.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
Regina Cole: Have balance. Do not put too many responsibilities under one title. Give team members a clear outline of their duties, and be a transformational leader. Remains hands-on in your business but always lets the people working with you know they are a valuable asset to your company.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Regina Cole: Again, be present. Do the work you would want your employees to do. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Stay true to your vision with integrity and honesty.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
Regina Cole: As a leader, you must be a role model for your company. Employees will mirror your actions. If you slack in areas, they will too. If you thrive, they will thrive too.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Regina Cole: The most common mistake I have seen is CEOs & Founders not having a mentor in your industry. Having a successful mentor in your industry can help avoid a lot of errors. I didn’t have one—furthermore, CEOs and Founder who do not have a clear business plan written out. Having a business plan gives you direction and helps you not be all over the place.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
Regina Cole: The fashion jewelry industry is forever changing. You have to stay one step ahead and never too far behind. There may be seasons sales drop and seasons sales skyrocket. You must keep a forecast to keep on top of these times so you can make adjustments accordingly. In a regular job, you don’t have to monitor these highs and lows at your regular job. You clock in and clock out when you are an entrepreneur; you are always on the clock.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Regina Cole: When my business grew into a bigger purpose. We now donate a percentage to our non for profit that supports women in recovery from substance abuse and mental health illness. My company vision became more prominent and a continuation of my grandma’s legacy.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Regina Cole: Unfortunately, dealing with significant depression, bouts of lows comes more often than none. One particular low is when I was not getting any sales. I started doubting myself and my talent. I soon realize that when you go harder for your company. Success is once you push past that doubt (the low point).
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
Regina Cole: You bounce back when your why is more significant than you. So when I think about my grandmother’s legacy, my daughters, and the women I want to help, I push through. I check my mental health. Am I taking my medication? Am I keeping up with my therapy appointments, and am I going to my recovery groups. I fix what’s not intact.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
Patience, because entrepreneurship is not a sprint. It’s a marathon, and you have to pace yourself, but you will get through in the end, and it will be rewarding!
Compassion is because people relate to those who are personable, compassionate, committed, and dedicated to other people.
Determination, because you will need it as you will experience many lows but so many highs.
Knowing your Why, as long as you understand you have a purpose, you will continue to be successful at anything you put your mind to, mainly when it is centered around your why!
Professional Support, we all need, especially entrepreneurs, I don’t
know anyone in business that can survive without support!
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is my favorite word. Resilience means taking your failures and using them as a learning block and pushing through while learning from a mistake or challenging time(s).
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
I remember a friend telling me I was not resilient because it took me a long time to bounce back from a relationship breakup. I remember not knowing what the word meant, and when I looked up the word, I was upset. I felt insulted and after that, I was determined to become resilient.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
I do my best and try to stay positive during difficult times. My faith in my higher power helps me stay focus on being positive. Staying positive keeps my mood in a good place. Negative thoughts create a path to trigger my depression, so I try to remain positive at all times.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
As a leader, you set the tone, atmosphere, and culture of your company. Staying positive keeps the energy good. It creates a space to have a clear mind to work.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
“If you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you be
successful!” Eric Thomas
Being my best version of myself is true success. I want to perform to my full potential, so that quotes makes me not give up.
How can our readers further follow you online?
Your readers can follow me across all social media platforms, including IG and FB @coleheartjewels.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with
this. We wish you continued success and good health!