In Conversation with Emily Merrell of Six Degrees Society

Emily Merrell_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Six Degrees Society is a female focused networking organization that combines curated connection with inspiring event programming. In addition to Six Degrees Society, I am a business coach for solopreneurs and help them scale their business through events, partnerships and community.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I always beat to my own drum and saw there was a lack of female focused communities out there — so I decided to create my own. While I created Six Degrees Society more as a desire to connect all the fabulous women I’d collected in my life it evolved into a community where we could learn and grow with one another. While I never intended Six Degrees Society to be a business, I fell in love with what I was creating and ultimately took the leap into working on it full time. 

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Before/during my creation of Six Degrees Society I worked in special events and marketing for high luxury fashion companies. I planned new store openings, charitable shopping events, unique in store experiences and loved being able to bring things alive within our gorgeous stores. During my time in fashion and events I learned SO much about strategic partnerships, the value of an audience and how to ask for what I want.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Deep down the answer is “Yes”, both my parents were entrepreneurs and I never fully felt at home in the corporate culture. I knew my entrepreneurial moment was coming but was not 100% on my “what”. Even as I built Six Degrees Society I was still searching for something more, I thought I had to create a product or something bigger to consider myself an entrepreneur. I hadn’t realized I was in the process of building my future business until my community pointed it out to me.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

HA, I wish I had a plan or strategy in place. Rather I let my community know what I was creating and continued to iterate and gauge their interest. My very first event started with posing a problem to a handpicked group of women I’d met over the years, luckily they were intrigued by my idea of bringing everyone together and the next event happened because people wanted more. I kept listening and pivoting until I landed on a name and decided to put my 100% energy into it. I’m the example of building a business by passion first and profit was figured out later on.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

Oh man, where do I start. I wish I had been more clear about my offerings when I started. I was so small in my thinking and thought the only revenue would come from events– it was totally unscalable and small minded and I wish I had thought bigger and bolder right out the gate. I also wish I had invested in a virtual assistant much sooner than I did. I was so committed to doing everything I didn’t understand how I could outsource or ask for help.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I am so proud of the mastermind I created during COVID. I’ve been a business coach for the last three years and this year I put together a whole new offering that sold out during the pandemic, a mastermind of 10 extraordinary women from across the country. I was blown away by the quality of the individuals that joined and overjoyed watching them help and support one another.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

My go to hiring question for an ambassador (they were individuals that would execute the IRL events when I wasn’t there) was “if the venue didn’t have a cheese board, plate or utensils what would you do.” I want to hire ambassadors who are autonomous and can make decisions without relying on me.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We used to be a completely IRL event experience. I would travel between the markets we were in producing incredible events. In March we ultimately had to pivot all of our events digitally and we were able to scale the number of events we hosted. We also were able to build an audience in markets where we didn’t have a presence and grow internationally as well.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

There is going to be a roll out of several new digital offerings and programs, including more member only experiences and events. I’m hoping to make the business that much more systemized and organized.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

The biggest lesson that I learned in 2020 is that I don’t have to be everywhere. That being in one place for an extended amount of time was amazing– it allowed me to focus, to create routines and grow my business with intention.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

I wish that I had put more focus on digital offerings from digital events to creating something like the mastermind.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I have become a huge fan of ME time in the morning. From journaling for 10 minutes in the morning to surrounding myself with friends and family (virtually) that keep me grounded.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

YES! I think we shouldn’t be our work. That took me a long time to understand. My identity was so wrapped up with my business and what happened in my business that I had a hard time carving my own identity. To achieve that balance, I go to bed at a normal time, I do my hardest work in the morning (including my workout) and in the evening I’m with my husband. I also don’t let my business run me– I keep my phone on silent, my instagram is batched and try to work on my business more than IN it. I also hired a marketing agency this year that was the best use of my energy and money and was able to delegate a lot of the little things in my business.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I love being alone. I am a huge extrovert and get a ton of energy around people but I also need my alone time and my personal space. I am not an optimal human if I don’t get my morning routine in.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Do the hardest thing first thing in the morning. 
  • Use Trello to write down the 3 things I need to accomplish for the day.
  • Use timers and Pomodoro to keep focused.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

It means being a leader and inspiration to other women entrepreneurs and or future entrepreneurs; and being here as a resource.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





8 Inspiring Latinx Entreprenistas that have launched groundbreaking companies

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve put together a list of 8 incredible Latinx women founders that have launched groundbreaking companies. Check it out: Jessica Alba: The Honest Company Founded in 2011, The Honest Company makes sustainable, well-designed products that work – built on transparency, trust, and a deep sense of purpose. In…

Susan Sarit of Operations-Made Easy on achieving your goals by getting organized

Describe your business in a few words: I am a mom, daughter, sister, business owner, and more! I started my business for both financial freedom and to be a work-at-home mom. I created Operations-Made Easy to help diverse women with the Operations of their business. Deliberative, disciplined, and detail-oriented are just a few words we…

Lisa Nutt of Make Every Minute Count on personal and professional growth

Describe your business in a few words? The Make Every Minute Count ecosystem encourages us to go (do that thing), grow (personally and professionally) and give (through a membership based family to family giving circle). What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’m a serial entrepreneur. This is the third time…

Connection Coach Kristjana Hillberg on trusting your intuition and having an open mind

Describe your business in a few words: I’m a Connection Coach who helps women unearth their deepest desires, move from auto pilot to intentional action and prioritize their wellbeing. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I’m a multipotentialite – meaning, I have tried multiple things and tested multiple careers ranging from…

Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon: Finally Back to Delicious Meals For Everyone

Cuisine varies by culture, but no matter how societies segment and define themselves, certain foods show up in households across the globe — only differing in their forms. Some of a culture’s time-honored meals are created by its culinary icons.  Among America’s culinary icons, Martha Stewart is, without question, its most trusted. In 2014, Martha…

7 Entreprenista League Members share the biggest business challenge they overcame and what it taught them

Brand Photographer Brittney Guy-Atakpo of Brittney Jean Photography The biggest business challenge I have faced is sticking to a schedule that made me feel productive and good about my work ethic. What I have learned is that there is no right or wrong schedule or routine that produces success. I have been more grateful for…

Courtney Spritzer of WorkRobe on her “secret sauce” for a successful product launch

Describe WorkRobe in a few words? WorkRobes are designed to have you looking your best during any video meeting, so you can go from bedroom to boardroom in seconds and in comfort. My mission is to reimagine what you wear to work (from home).  Can you pinpoint the moment you knew you wanted to create…

Brand Photographer Brittney Jean Guy-Atakpo on helping women show up confidently on camera

Describe your business in a few words? I’m Brittney with Brittney Jean Photography & Company. I help women show up confidently in photos and on social media to grow their brand and business. I’m a Brand Photographer and Strategist. I have over 5 years working for Fortune 100 companies in sales and marketing and over…

Lorena Tapiero of Conscious Consulting on the power of networking

Describe your business in a few words? Conscious Consulting is a Latina-owned, bilingual marketing and public relations agency with 20 years of experience in the hospitality, sports and wellness sectors. Our thoughtful, comprehensive approach helps brands establish clear communication priorities and a long-range vision for meaningful press coverage, value-added partnerships and sustainable influencer relationships. As…

Lindsay Applebaum Stuart of Mamalux on the beginning stage of business

Describe your business in a few words? Mamalux is a first-of-its-kind leakproof sleep solution for breastfeeding moms. Our Kickstarter launches on 10/19! What was your background prior to starting your own business? I spent the first 10 years of my career as a sports journalist for the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated! So this has…

Jessica Bargenquast of Lady ChangeMakers on organic marketing strategies that work

Describe your business in a few words? Lady ChangeMakers is an exclusive e-commerce platform for women-owned businesses to gain valuable exposure and sales. Most of my life I’ve been encouraged to be seen and not heard. Growing up extremely introverted and shy I felt invisible. I wanted to create a platform so women-owned businesses could…

Jennifer Gligoric of EntrePods on the importance of mindset

Describe EntrePods in a few words? Cutting-edge entrepreneur and investor network answering the question “So Now What?” for business owners powered by fractional consultants and coaches with decades worth of experience. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had no choice.  My mother owned a staffing company for 54 years…

Certified Financial Planner Maggie Gomez on investing and building wealth

Describe your business in a few words? An accessible place where anyone can learn to invest and build wealth, regardless of their net worth. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I realized that it was only those who were already wealthy that had access to quality financial guidance. I got…

Claire Jones of Cushy Couture on shifting paradigms in the fashion industry

Describe your business in a few words? Cushy Couture is a customer-driven clothing brand that creates high quality sweatpants in a wide range of colors and patterns that come in three different inseam lengths because we believe that you don’t have to settle for less. We create functional sweatpants that will last you for multiple…

Writer, Speaker, Podcaster, and Life Coach Chelsea Austin on taking care of yourself first

Describe your business in a few words? I advocate for others to find their own self-worth and acceptance through self-care, love, respect, and storytelling. What made you take the leap to start your own business? When I started writing my book and my blog, I don’t think I ever realized it would become a business.…