Meet the Moguls: 6 Takeaways From Pamela J. Booker, Barbara Corcoran, and Andrew Bialecki

pamela j booker koils by nature

Editor’s note: Quotes have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

What does it take to start your own business?

Over the last few weeks, some of the biggest names in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) space have joined Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and star of ABC’s Shark Tank, and Andrew Bialecki, CEO and co-founder at Klaviyo, to answer that very question.

On the last episode of Meet the Moguls on Clubhouse, Pamela J. Booker delivered plenty of insight about the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur. As the founder of Koils by Nature, an all-natural hair and skincare company, Pamela understands that it takes drive, persistence, and tenacity to turn an idea into a successful business.

If you missed the live show or are looking for a recap, keep reading for six takeaways from the discussion. 

And save the date—on the next episode of Meet the Moguls, Barbara Corcoran and Andrew Bialecki will join Emily Ley on Thursday, June 10th to talk about how she founded Simplified, a daily planner brand.

 

1 |  Find out what drives you

In order to build a successful business, you need to have drive. But identifying what drives you might surprise you, and it might change throughout the journey if you’re anything like Pamela.

“I started my business because I didn’t want to work for anybody else. But after I became an entrepreneur, I saw that it wasn’t just about me, I had the opportunity to employ people in my community and to change people’s lives, so that’s really my drive—it’s to empower, to educate, to serve people around the world, and to provide high-quality jobs for people in our community,” said Pamela. 

"...After I became an entrepreneur, I saw that it wasn't just about me, I had the opportunity to employ people in my community and to change people's lives, so that’s really my drive—it’s to empower, to educate, to serve people around the world, and to provide high-quality jobs for people in our community"

Pamela J. Booker, founder, Koils by Nature

“First my drive was selfish, but I started to see my impact on the haircare industry and how Koils by Nature could serve people, so my drive today is helping my community and creating an amazing product for my customers,” she added.

Barbara also noted that an entrepreneur’s drive can be telling of how successful they’ll be in business and echoed that founders who are too focused on money over mission may miss the bigger picture.

“With the many entrepreneurs that I invested in on Shark Tank, the ones that I haven’t made money on are the ones who say, ‘I want to make a lot of money, I want to sell out, I want to cash out,’ and that’s their goal,” said Barbara. 

“The people who were focused more on their family and the family of people who work for them and who want to make sure every piece of their business is top-quality, those are the businesses that I see succeed and grow,” she said.

 

2 | Prioritize lifelong relationships over one-off sales

Pamela said that while she thought the key to her success would be pitching her business and selling to consumers, she realized after a conversation with the founder of Curly Nikki, a blog Pamela wrote for when she started Koils by Nature, that it was far more effective to spend her time building relationships with people in the communities she was part of.

“The founder of Curly Nikki pulled me to the side and said, ‘This is a safe space for women, so you can’t come in here selling. Get to know them first and see what they need.’ That was very powerful for me because I thought I was coming into these spaces with the goal of selling products, but I had to build a relationship with these women first,” said Pamela. 

“About a hundred of these ladies are still my customers to this day because I’ve built relationships with them instead of just selling to them,” she added.

Andrew echoed the same sentiment, saying that he discovered the value of relationship-building when Klaviyo was just starting out, as well.

“We went to a lot of in-person networking groups, and we realized you have to provide a lot of value to build up trust. But once you do, you earn hundreds of lifelong customers—all because you’ve spent the time to build out those relationships,” he said.

"We went to a lot of in-person networking groups, and we realized you have to provide a lot of value to build up trust. But once you do, you earn hundreds of lifelong customers—all because you've spent the time to build out those relationships."

Andrew Bialecki, CEO and co-founder, Klaviyo

“The best entrepreneurs focus on the long term—they don’t just think, ‘Who can I sell today? Who cares whether they love me or not.’ They realize they want customers that’ll still be engaged in 10 years,” he added.

 

3 | Use your email list to build trust

During the question and answer portion of the event, an audience member asked Pamela what the most common mistake entrepreneurs make with email marketing is, to which Pamela replied, “Not using it.”

“There are a lot of people who are so afraid to email their customers or talk to them. But these people have given you their email for some reason, which means they want something from you, so I think it’s a big disservice to have your customers’ information and then not provide them with content,” said Pamela.

But Pamela emphasized she doesn’t just use email marketing to talk about her products—she uses this space to help subscribers get to know her and the Koils by Nature brand better.

“My subscribers know my family; they know we have five kids. Use email to help your customers understand who you are. I think people are afraid of that because they don’t realize that it’s a way to get people to know, like, and trust you. I think the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make is having an email list, or not building a list in the first place, and then not using it to talk to people,” said Pamela.

"Use email to help your customers understand who you are. I think people are afraid of that because they don't realize that it’s a way to get people to know, like, and trust you."

Pamela J. Booker, founder, Koils by Nature

4 | Don’t wait to delegate

Hiring your first employee can feel like giving up control. But Barabara emphasized how important it is to delegate your responsibilities when you own a business.

“When you have too much business to handle and you feel too stressed about it, it means you’re not delegating and that you should have extended your staff a while ago—it’s simply the law of the land when you’re building a business. You never get a warning that you’re going to be exhausted this time three months from now, but if you pay attention to your gut, you could feel the murmurings of the business that’s going to grow exponentially long before it starts growing—all the signs are there,” said Barbara. 

“Hire in anticipation of the business that you’re building. When you do that, the speed with which you can build a business—and at the same time take the pressure off yourself—doubles, but people usually wait until they’re exhausted before they hire,” she said.

"Hire in anticipation of the business that you’re building. When you do that, the speed with which you can build a business—and at the same time take the pressure off yourself—doubles, but people usually wait until they're exhausted before they hire."

Barbara Corcoran, investor and founder, The Corcoran Group

Pamela added that she’s found the best course of action for hiring is to offload the responsibilities that take you the most time.

“I had to consider what I didn’t like to do and what I spent the most time doing because time is money. I knew I needed a graphic designer to work for me—that was one of my first full-time hires because I could provide her with information and she would give me amazing content in 30 minutes, which would’ve taken me two days,” said Pamela. 

“I focus on the responsibilities that come easy to me, which is marketing. Figure out what you don’t like doing and how much time it takes you to do, and if it’s something you need to run your business, you need to fill that position first,” she added.

 

5 | Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone

Barbara shared that, during her career as a Shark on Shark Tank, she pivoted from focusing on the founder’s product or idea to instead focus on the entrepreneur and their ability to execute their vision when making the decision to invest or not.

“An entrepreneur came in and started pitching, and amazingly, they were almost a dead ringer for my superstar real estate salespeople at my own business. And although I wasn’t fully on board with her business idea, I thought, ‘She’s a winner,’ and so I bought in and that was my first hit. That was an interesting lesson I learned—to buy the entrepreneur, not the business,” said Barbara. 

“When I’m sitting in my seat, listening to the pitch, I pay acute attention to the individual who’s pitching and ask myself the simple question, ‘Will they make it to the finish line?’ I’m looking to smell out that great quality, which is persuasiveness and the persistence to slam against a wall, go over obstacles, and no matter what, keep running. Without that, no business makes it.

Pamela added that being an entrepreneur takes a very specific type of person, and you have to be a little crazy to make it.

“We’re putting ourselves in the way of ridicule and failure. We could have a good, cushy, comfortable job, but we’re risk-takers. It takes pure tenacity—you have to want this like you don’t want anything else,” said Pamela. 

"We're putting ourselves in the way of ridicule and failure. We could have a good, cushy, comfortable job, but we’re risk-takers. It takes pure tenacity—you have to want this like you don't want anything else."

Pamela J. Booker, founder, Koils by Nature

“You have to have that tenacity to keep going—even when it’s bad, even when you lose money, even when people quit or a deal doesn’t go through. You just have to wake up every day and say, ‘I’m going to keep going, I’m going to keep moving,’” she added.

 

6 | Be willing to learn

“Is there a certain superpower entrepreneurs must attain to build a successful brand?” asked one of the audience members. 

Perhaps it’s not a superpower, but one of the most important qualities you can possess as a business owner is a willingness to learn, according to Pamela.

“I see so many new entrepreneurs coming into this space and they see what’s being done and want to mimic that instead of doing research and learning what it actually takes to make their business work,” said Pamela.

“Find a mentor. Take advice from people who have been in business, even if they’re not in the same field as you. You don’t have to be in the beauty business for me to be able to ask for advice,” she added.

Andrew agreed, saying that entrepreneurs who are willing to learn have a unique ability to solve problems.

“People who know how to be great learners have this extra confidence because they know if there’s some kind of hurdle, they’re going to figure it out. There’s certain people who have that confidence and charisma because they’ve just been through it so many times,” said Andrew.

“Be an amazing learner. That should give you the confidence when you don’t know how to solve something because you have the skill to figure it out,” he said.

"Be an amazing learner. That should give you the confidence when you don't know how to solve something because you have the skill to figure it out."

Andrew Bialecki, CEO and co-founder, Klaviyo

For more stories of entrepreneurs who embody this spirit, the Meet the Moguls Clubhouse series continues. Tune in to hear more DTC influencers and ecommerce experts who share the same drive as Pamela.

Next on Meet the Moguls, Barbara Corcoran and Andrew Bialecki will chat with Emily Ley of Simplified on Thursday, June 10th at 5:00 PM ET. Download Clubhouse and save the date.

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