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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 WeddingChannel.com, 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

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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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