Audrey Bellis, a serial entrepreneur and current CEO of Worthy Women, talks to us about drive, motivation, and founding a business when there’s nowhere to go but up.
The Azlo Moment:
Audrey Bellis started her first company after a broken engagement left her six figures in debt.
“I realized I was so far in… I’m either going to get worse in debt, or make something out of myself.” It was in that dark place that she decided to launched her first ecommerce business. Short on cash, but full of hustle, she scraped together inventory, created opportunities where there were none, and taught herself to code. The bet on herself paid off. After 3.5 years, she was debt-free and sold the business.
The Birth of Worthy Women:
Since selling her company, Bellis has been focused on creating a community of female founders. In 2016, Audrey launched Startup DTLA in partnership with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to bring tech and creative companies to downtown LA. Most recently her energy has been directed to her own company, Worthy Women-an event series and community to help entrepreneurial women– particularly women of color — on a path towards success.
“This place where I meet myself, is the place where I meet you.”
Worthy Women started with a vision and a belief that “everything we do stems from a place of whether we ‘feel worthy’ or are hustling to make others believe that we are.” Worthy Women quickly found an audience, addresses issues of confidence, leadership, and self love head on through free events, a dedicated community, and mentorship. Within months, WW grew to hundreds of people, purely through word-of-mouth.
On her biggest challenge as an entrepreneur: Scaling her team. “I’m very good at getting things in creative ways [without the need for money]. But people need to get paid, they can only work for free for so long. Switching that up was a challenge and I waited too long.”
How she copes with the stresses of being an entrepreneur: “I wake up early, go to mass, and start my day very humbly. I Treat life like a 12-step program. Every day, get through today. If I can do today, I can get up tomorrow and do it again. And I only need to bring a little more grace to today to get through today. It’s progress, not perfection. Perfection is paralyzing.” That, and bubble baths, lavender oil, and listening to Lauryn Hill Unplugged.”
Advice for new or aspiring entrepreneurs: “Start. If you Start- the pressure will be off. The fear always comes from not having started, and not knowing what it will look like. If you don’t put your vision out there, you’re not going to know what works and what doesn’t.”
Start with Why, Simon Sinek.
Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, Brené Brown.
A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson.