Mara Higgins is proof that perseverance pays off.
Before she even had a business, she was pitching it throughout the Old Port the oldfashioned way – simply walking into storefronts and introducing herself.
More than two years later, her self-named business, MainelyMara, offers various online deals at roughly 100 greater Portland boutiques, spas and wellness spots to a pool of 5,000 members (and growing).
Success, she says, comes from having faith in your idea, keeping positive and not being afraid to just go for it.
What were your key needs in getting started?
Before I even needed a business name or logo, I needed two things: Support from local business, and support from local consumers. So before I had either of those things, I pounded the pavement in the Old Port, pitching my idea to local boutiques and spas, without even a business card to leave behind. The response was fantastic. From there, my key needs were more of what you can imagine – branding campaign and a website, both of which I obtained from great local businesses.
What factors from your upbringing gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
I was raised by two hardworking parents who taught me and encouraged me to give anything a try. Both of my grandfathers were entrepreneurs – one had a family construction company and the other owned a carpet store – and I remember thinking how amazing it was to have something like that all your own. I also grew up playing sports, dancing and performing for many years, so this gave me confidence. Walking blindly into a store to pitch your business definitely requires confidence.
What advice would you give an aspiring female entrepreneur?
Never have any doubt. Trust yourself and just go for it. If you listen to too many people, you’ll never end up going for it. You are the only one who truly knows what’s best for your business. Also, it’s important to be your own consumer. It’s the only way to truly know your product. And finally, don’t grow too fast. Perfect what you do well before expanding to something else.
What’s your overall outlook on life, summed up in a sentence or two?
Keep the right balance of tenacity and positivity. Both are not only contagious, but crucial, in life as an entrepreneur.