Lisa Song Sutton, J.D., is a real estate professional with Sotheby’s International Realty and a serial entrepreneur, holding ownership interests in several companies in the real estate, retail and food & beverage sectors, including Las Vegas’ #1 alcohol-infused cupcake company: Sin City Cupcakes. Ms. Sutton holds degrees from the University of Arizona and the University of Miami. Follow her @lisasongsutton.
Who is your hero?
Aside from my parents, my hero or role model is Cleopatra. She was ancient Egypt’s most famous female pharaoh and she utilized all of her assets (including her renowned beauty and business acumen) to better herself and country.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Be authentic. Just as in pageantry, judges and the general public can tell when you are giving a canned answer. Authenticity and transparency in your dealings with employees, customers, partners and everyone in between provides a clean foundation for productivity.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I quickly learned that I can’t do everything myself. I am a type-A personality and constantly want to be in control. I realized I had to learn to trust others and bring in partners in each of my respective companies in order for the businesses to grow properly. By having full-time partners in each of my companies, it allows me to be diversified in my work: from alcohol cupcakes to high-end real estate to luxury swimwear.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I filter emails that came in while I was sleeping, send out responses and post social media content to our various business pages. Social media is integral to our dialogue with customers and potential customers. Fresh content is the best way to stay connected and relevant.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
For my type of companies, our lack of debt makes us even more valuable, both literally and figuratively. Each of my endeavors were self-funded between myself and partners. We didn’t incur debt and thus have never had to answer to investors. My tip is to continue to run a lean operation, even after you start to generate cash flow and be sure to spend funds on a fantastic legal and tax team. They will save you loads of money if everything is set up properly from the beginning.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Get engaged with your community. As Miss Nevada United States 2014, I have the opportunity to conduct community appearances and promote my public service platform: empowering women through face-to-face community care. I feel so blessed to meet so many people and on a purely self-serving level, these various events and commitments have been amazing for business networking.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success for me is having a strong sense of self, being financially stable and having the ability to make a difference in your community. I feel that I have reached a certain level of success, but I am always hungry for new, innovative ways to build my existing companies and perhaps start more ventures in the future.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.