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Paige Arnof-Fenn: Must-Have Skills for Entrepreneurs in 2024


Paige Arnof-Fenn is the Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what got you into entrepreneurship?

I did not plan on starting a company.  I always wanted to go work for a large multi-national business and be a Fortune 500 CEO.  When I was a student I looked at leaders like Meg Whitman & Ursula Burns as  my role models.  I started my career on Wall Street in the 80s and had a successful career in Corporate America at companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola and worked at 3 different tech startups as the head of marketing, all had positive exits.  I became an entrepreneur and took the leap right after 9/11 when the company I worked for cut their marketing.  I had nothing to lose.  I knew I had made it when Harvard wrote 2 case studies on my business a few years after I started it, we were very early to pioneer sharing resources on the marketing front (before my company it was really only done with HR, legal and accounting/finance).


What are the top three skills you think are crucial for entrepreneurs today?

The key skills needed to be effective today are about being adaptable/agile, having strong communication skills and a growth mindset.


How do you think the role of technology has impacted these skills in recent years?

Technology is essential for business, it has been a life line since the pandemic hit.  Pivoting to online meetings, webinars, etc. has been a smart and productive way companies can continue to have conversations that educate and inform, build relationships and move forward.   It takes effort and a commitment to excellence for people to continually learn/grow especially now in a hybrid environment. I do not think there is one silver bullet to keep up to date with tech, I recommend using a combination of reading and learning online and off, attending conferences and talks, networking, newsletters from influencers, TED talks, podcasts, finding mentors and mentees.  To stay relevant and keep growing prioritize professional development to keep skills fresh and stay on top of new trends and technologies.


Could you share a story with us about how you used some of these skills to overcome a challenge in your journey?

To be effective  and productive today as we create a new normal requires the ability to adapt and pivot as needed.  Entrepreneurs have learned to become more agile in all parts of thęir lives focusing on iterative incremental changes, open communication and feedback, staying flexible, sharing learnings across our  networks and recognizing that small wins are still wins.  This has become the new normal to thrive post pandemic. 


The key is to maintain a cohesive and inclusive culture to create an environment that fosters a sense of belonging while maintaining consistent communication.  It can be challenging so organizations are leveraging technology to create virtual water cooler moments and maintain regular touchpoints with their teams. This trend points towards more empathy and understanding in leading hybrid/remote teams which plays to leaders’ strengths. Virtual team building activities, regular check-ins, and open communication channels can help maintain a strong team dynamic. Visual collaboration is also becoming a leading tool for bringing teams closer together.  The data shows better results too when you lead with these qualities.



In your opinion, how important is it for entrepreneurs to adapt to changing trends and what do you see as the biggest trend in 2024?

Very important, I think AI and ChatGPT are already having major impact/making waves for entrepreneurs and SMBs.  Simply asking it to create content about the subject you want is an easy way to save time and jumpstart the process of developing marketing material.  Maybe the output won't be as good as yours or exactly what you ultimately want, but it's a great place to start from by taking advantage of the technology since everyone else is now too.   No excuse for writer’s block now!  Especially when your task is low stakes, high fluency (i.e. writing copy), conversational AI is likely a good fit for the task.  The possibilities are everywhere to save time, increase productivity and  replace jobs it's fascinating.


What's one common mistake you often see new entrepreneurs make, and how can they avoid it?

I recommend NOT spending money on things like fancy brochures, letterhead, business cards, etc.  Until you know your business is launched I would say to put your budget into things that help fill your pipeline with customers.  Getting your URL and a website up and running is key.  I created online stationery for proposals and invoices, ordered my cards online and made downloadable materials as leave behinds for people looking for more information to help me find clients more quickly.  I know other business owners who spent thousands of dollars on these things and found it was a waste of money.  Your story will evolve as you find your market, you need to look professional and have a web site to be taken seriously but embossed paper with watermarks and heavy card stock is not going to accelerate your sales cycle.  Find those reference customers quickly, use them to get testimonials and referrals.  There is plenty of time later to dress things up!


How do you keep learning and growing as an entrepreneur?

It takes effort and a commitment to excellence for people to continually learn/grow especially now in a hybrid environment. I do not think there is one silver bullet to keep up to date with tech, I recommend using a combination of reading and learning online and off, attending conferences and talks, networking, newsletters from influencers, TED talks, podcasts, finding mentors and mentees.  To stay relevant and keep growing I try to prioritize professional development to keep skills fresh and stay on top of new trends and technologies.


Finally, what advice would you give to someone just starting their entrepreneurial journey in 2024?

You do not exist today if you cannot be found online.  If we learned anything during Covid it is that SEO is only growing in importance.  Being invisible online is a terrible strategy so making sure your site is keyword rich/mobile friendly/loads quickly/produces meaningful content today is the price of entry.  That also happens to be a great, cost-efficient foundation for effective SEO in my experience.  SEO is a great strategy to increase your visibility, awareness, credibility and rankings online.  Google updates the algorithms regularly so it is smart to update your site with fresh content, I think leveraging Content Marketing is a great foundation for organic SEO by  using social media to build your brand.  I am a big fan of Content Marketing as a gateway to Thought Leadership because it is a great way to raise your profile and attract more clients/customers.  I look for relevant audiences of likeminded people, quantity/size/reach in terms of volume of followers/friends and quality/reputation for link exchanges. 






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