Lauren Maillian shares how to grow your business by combining your talent with your motivation

If you need help aligning your talent with your motivation so you can grow your business, Lauren Maillian is here to help.



Marta Skovro

Lauren is the definition of an innovative entrepreneur. She co-founded her first business, Sugarleaf Vineyards, when she was just 19 years old. This made her the youngest owner of a winery in the US (before she was even allowed to drink).

At the same time, she worked as a model in Paris and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has since become a founding partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investments in mobile and consumer-facing technology companies.

She also founded digitalundivided, a nonprofit using data, programs and advocacy to catalyze economic growth for Latina and Black women entrepreneurs and innovators. There’s more, but you already know.

She provides more details—and how you can develop the confidence and strategy needed to thrive—in the latest episode of the Launch Your Business Podcast.

I’ll share a few of my favorite takeaways below.

How to know if your business idea is a passion or a hobby

Many entrepreneurs start a business based on something they are passionate about. And while that sounds like a foolproof plan, it’s easy to mistake your passion for a hobby. Lauren gives the example of her friend who loves to do hair and is considering opening a hair salon. She then asked her friend how she would feel if 100 people showed up the next day wanting to do their hair. Would she feel excited or overwhelmed?

So what does this mean for you and your business?

Lauren continues by saying, “If you had a whole bunch of clients, if you could make a lot of money doing this, would you continue? Will this enlighten and motivate you? If not, it’s not what you’re passionate about.”

She also shares why it’s so important to do the deep work needed to find your passion. “When life presents us with the opportunity to pursue our passions while succeeding in doing something that we enjoy, then we get to that point where timelines don’t matter because you’re just being you.” And then you can actually really say, I get paid to do what I love.”

Connected: 4 Reasons Following Your Passion Leads to Success

Why believing in your abilities is critical to your business

I often say that self-limiting beliefs will take away your chances of success much faster than any external obstacle. Lauren provides more context and shares the impact of being unsure of your abilities.

“Have faith that you deserve to be there. Have faith that your skills are enough to get you through. Have faith that you are qualified to get out of whatever situation you find yourself in. Because when you feel insecure, it shows and feels and resonates with the people around you. Then they will start to doubt everything you are because they don’t know why you are acting insecure. So make sure your confidence is unwavering in yourself and your skills when you’re in those tough situations.”

And it’s important to note that there’s a big difference between having confidence and a “fake it till you make it” approach. Let’s say you’re currently at level three out of ten when it comes to your expertise on a given topic. That’s fine, just be the most confident and honest third level. You will gain confidence, gain experience and continue to rise.

Lauren’s operational definition of success

How do you define the success of your business? The most common answers usually involve a combination of time, lifestyle and financial freedom. However, Lauren’s answer to this question stood out to me because of the empowerment mentioned.

“Success to me is being able to turn down opportunities because they don’t fit what you want and knowing that turning them down doesn’t change your circumstances in any way. Financial, environmental, in terms of the opportunities you’re going to get the future, all of it.”

She continues, “That’s the moment where you can say to yourself, does this match who I am? Do I want to do it? Does it make sense to do it? You don’t feel like you have to or have to do it to keep in touch. There is no longer a prerequisite for the next opportunity except something I want to do? And ultimately, we know we’re successful when we have the strength, ability, and autonomy to say no on our own without getting approval to say no from someone else.”

Connected: 3 keys to entrepreneurial success

next steps

Ready to get more tactical-level details on how to find your genius zone and grow your business? Here are some more ways to learn and be inspired by Lauren.

Listen to the full podcast episode

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