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Are You Living the American Nightmare?

Mental stability is underrated': Founder of Stella & Dot Jessica Herrin talks about finding balance in business.

Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of social selling website Stella & Dot, kicked off the last session of the Inc. 500|5000 conference Friday with a high-octane talk on finding balance. Her company hosts independent makers and sellers of boutique-style jewelry and accessories, or as Herrin put it: "I created a platform for balance for other entrepreneurs."

Is it odd for a self-proclaimed frantic, over-worked entrepreneur to create balance for her peers? Not to Herrin. As the co-founder of her earlier venture, she had been on the frontlines of a tech start-up and knew what entrepreneurs needed.

"I was 24-years-old, worked all the time, and I didn't care," she said. "Other people would come to me and say 'I want to be you.' I was like 'No! This is not the American dream; it's the American nightmare!"

She decided to start Stella & Dot, which now sees $100 million in revenue since its founding in 2007.  Herrin had some quick takeaways for entrepreneurs looking for more balance in their start-up.

The highlights:

- Stay curious and nimble. Herrin said change is inevitable, so surround yourself with people that respond well to change. 

- People are everything. She said networking and building a strong support system will lead to a more balanced company. 

- Hire people with mental fortitude. "Mental stability is underrated," she added. 

- Love your life. "You have to show strength and conviction in your company," she said. "If you wouldn't do your job for free, entrepreneurship isn't for you."


Last updated: Sep 23, 2011

NICOLE CARTER | Staff Writer | San Francisco Bureau Chief

Nicole Carter is Inc.'s San Francisco bureau chief. She was previously an editor at New York Daily News, and her work has also appeared in Consumer Reports magazine.

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