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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Charlene Li of Eatable Popcorn

Charlene Li is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Startup Award, recognizing her success as a new entrepreneur under 4 years in business with Eatable Popcorn.

Mompreneur Award finalist Charlene Li of Eatable Popcorn

With a background in accounting and finance, Charlene has corporate experience in financial advisory and project management roles at Deloitte, TD Bank and a Boston-based asset management startup. Charlene first forayed into entrepreneurship with a creative venture – a bespoke design studio that serviced the wedding industry, which she organically grew into six-figure revenues in under 2 years. After becoming a mom, she and her husband Vince started EATABLE to pursue their passions within the food space. In just over one year of launching EATABLE, the company has been featured in The Globe and Mail, Edible and Foodism Magazines. The couple has also filmed an episode on Season 14 of CBC’s Dragon’s Den.

While EATABLE started as an e-Commerce business, they secured their first in-house production facility in Summer 2019. EATABLE’s select gourmet popcorn is now sold in over 50 specialty and artisanal retailers across Canada and USA, and the company is positioned for strong growth.

Charlene’s Top Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

Mindset is Everything
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It’s a road less travelled, so you’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and train yourself to take calculated risks. Be kind to yourself when you mess up (it’ll happen A LOT). While entrepreneurship often appears glamorous on the surface, in reality, the journey often feels isolating, but the highs always make up for the lows, and that’s what keeps you motivated to keep going. Being a naturally introverted person, I’ve always felt in tune with my own self-awareness – The ability to trust your instincts and “look within” is a very powerful tool that you should rely on in times of chaos. The ability to “quiet the noise” and focus on your mindset is a real game- changer.

Know Your Numbers
I’ve never taken this for granted since I come from a financial background. In business, the numbers are everything because the numbers don’t lie. You can have the best idea, but if the numbers don’t work, then it may NOT be a viable business. If numbers aren’t your strength, make sure you stack your team with someone who understands them – it could be the difference between success and failure!

Leverage the Power of Your Community
Nobody runs a successful business as a one-woman show. The most successful people in business have the ability to tap into the power of their network and seek out resources within their community. It could be business-related help or even personal help, but the important thing is to recognize those times when we should reach out and get more done through others. Doing everything yourself will quickly lead to burnout and disappointment.

Take it ONE Steep at a Time
Moms often strive to get as much done as possible as quickly as possible. I’ve found that while running a business, not every decision or to-do can be approached in this way. Some solutions need time to brew, relationships take time to nurture, and some decisions are best made after a good nights’ sleep. I’ve since learned that it’s ok to slow things down, go at my own pace, and stop comparing myself to other businesses out there. This has also helped me ease up the pressure that I unintentionally place on others around me and trust in their abilities to do things in their own way.

Motherhood Is Your Strength
There are many parallels to successfully managing your family life and your business. Mothers need to be resourceful, organized, creative, resilient, and brilliant multitaskers! Being a Mompreneur has helped me understand that moms are actually one of the most well-equipped to run businesses because we are already demonstrating these skills in our everyday lives! So instead of considering Motherhood as a “barrier” to starting a business, consider it a strength!

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