Everybody has a story. Gayle Martz is hopeful that her story will be one that people thinking about going into the business world can relate to, be inspired by and motivated from. Gayle came back from the brink of tragedy (she opens up about losing her fiancé, job, and home in her latest book IT’S IN THE BAG) and built a business from rock bottom. Gayle is the founder and former CEO/President of the Sherpa Pet Trading Company for more than two decades where she not only created the first soft-sided pet carrier officially approved by major airlines (The SHERPA Bag ®) but also made pet travel possible – and common! It is because of Gayle’s advocacy as a former flight attendant and pet lover that dogs and cats can travel in the passenger cabin on airlines.
Gayle admits that when she first ventured into the business world, it felt as if she entered a new universe, one filled with many, continuous challenges that she experienced over the twelve-year period from 1990-2002 as she turned SHERPA into a multi-million-dollar business. These challenges created difficult and rewarding experiences that shaped her as an entrepreneur and allowed her to take away important lessons that she shares with readers in her book IT’S IN THE BAG. Her top tips include:
There MUST be a driving force that you believe in at the heart of your business. If you are in it only for financial gains, then it will not be enough to keep you motivated and determined when you are faced with challenges of starting a new business. Think hard about what the force is that is driving you. Write it down. Look at it daily. Don’t forget it.
Be resilient and constantly rise above. This is hard to do and might require you to lean on your loved ones to help you when you are down. “I had the pain of losing the man I loved, my job, and my home and somehow turn it into a fire burning inside of me that drove and inspired me to create and build a business,” says Martz. In her book Martz notes that her mother was the one that helped her rise above the dreadful state she was in and unconditionally helped her get rid of her sadness and self-pity.
Experience the moment. While there are a lot of challenges, there are also great moments in business but they are often forgotten about or dismissed to move onto the next pressing issue. STOP. Take a break. Enjoy those positive moments. Celebrate those moments. “There is nothing quite like the feeling of being on top of your industry. If you climb that mountain, breathe in the air, and enjoy it,” says Martz.
YOUR strengths and weaknesses are now the strengths and weaknesses of the company. Nobody is perfect and knows how to do everything. Take time to assess what are your strengths and weaknesses. Once you determine what you need help with, take the time to find the right people to help you. “You must make sure the people you hire will be able to do their job and handle the pressures that inevitably come pre- and post-launch of any business,” says Martz.
Though Martz is no longer actively running SHERPA Pet Trading Company, she continues to meet and counsel inspiring entrepreneurs and appears on business and entrepreneurial-focused podcasts to share her experiences and lessons she learned in her own career. Learn more about Gayle’s story in IT’S IN THE BAG.