Angelique AdamsIn light of Women’s History Month, the Innov865 Alliance sat down with Dr. Angelique Adams, Founder and CEO of Angelique Adams Media Solutions, to discuss female entrepreneurship.

Thinking back on your career to date, what were some of your proudest moments as an entrepreneur?

My business turns one in April. It’s been a whirlwind. I am most proud of the moments when I stepped outside my comfort zone. For me, that has been proactively promoting my business to potential clients. There have been several instances where I kept following up with clients who expressed interest and that persistence paid off. For example, I sent 18 emails to one prospect over the course of three months and now they are a long-term client.

What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs or your younger self? 

Build a habit of tracking and celebrating your wins. Entrepreneurship is a high-risk endeavor. So much of our efforts don’t work out. Costs might be higher than expected. Tastes of the target customers might have changed. What that means is we fail a lot. If we get stuck in failure, our motivation wanes. That is why celebrating and tracking wins is critically important. 

Don’t just take my word for it. According to Harvard researcher Teresa Amabile, of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important thing is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress — even a small win — can make all the difference in how they feel and perform. She and her co-author Steven Kramer go on to say that the act of writing it down releases mood-enhancing chemicals in our brains.

I recommend that you write these wins down in a list that I call an Accomplishments Inventory. The key is to track four important pieces of information:

  •  A description of the accomplishment, in the form: “I accomplished [Accomplishment] by doing [actions].”
  • The success metric you improved.
  • Why the accomplishment is important to you.
  • Why the accomplishment is important to your organization or your customers.

You can use your list to wow the media and investors (you don’t always have time to run through your pitch deck). And it can help all of us bounce back from the inevitable setbacks associated with living a creative life. 

Also, celebrate your accomplishments, as an individual and as a team (if you have one). When you celebrate as an individual, decide what has meaning for you and just do it. As your business grows and you celebrate as a team, be mindful of your choices. As I am doing research for my upcoming book on leading diverse talent, one of the ways leaders inadvertently exclude people is by their choice of celebration rituals. 

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Time of day: Don’t ALWAYS celebrate during times when the caregivers on your team are helping the very young and the very old. 
  • Location: Don’t ALWAYs celebrate in locations that don’t have the diversity represented within your team.
  • Type of activity: Don’t ALWAYS choose the same activity (alcohol, vigorous physical activity, sporting events). 
  • Cost: Don’t ALWAYS celebrate with activities that require out-of-pocket expenses.

In my case, I celebrated the publication of my book by buying myself two pairs of custom shoes that match my book covers. 

How has Knoxville supported you as a female entrepreneur?

One of the biggest surprises for me has been how supportive Knoxville has been. Once I plugged into the ecosystem (via the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center), I found that I have been consistently presented with opportunities to promote my business and be introduced to potential clients.