From her breakout role as Serena van der Woodsen on “Gossip Girl” to founding the Betty Buzz soft drink line, Hollywood has seen actress Blake Lively add new titles to her portfolio since her first big performance in “The Four Girlfriends and One Traveler Jeans”, in 2005.
Your new role? Being a mother of four children. In Forbes event in New York last Thursday (15), she revealed that she is expecting her fourth baby. She and husband Ryan Reynolds have three daughters together.
With four other siblings, Lively, aged 35, says the family drives all of her endeavors, from motherhood to acting and the company’s business. “I love to create, and as a woman, we’re not always given authority to do so,” Lively said at the 2022 Forbes Power Women’s Summit in conversation with Moira Forbes, president and editor of ForbesWomen.
Lively said that men create the majority of everyday products used by women, which account for 85% of household purchases across all categories.
“It makes sense that women create the things we want to consume, be it products or stories,” she says. And as she makes new movies, expands her beverage line, and more, Lively also feels it’s important to give other people opportunities.
Here is the advice Blake Lively shared at the event on how to build brands and claim leadership along the way:
1. Believe in what you are building
“It’s a lot of work to start a business, you have to really believe in it,” says Lively. “So you have to be able to support your idea when people say no.”
Create something that is lacking in today’s market that aligns with your values and invest in quality to support your business, she said.
2. Prioritize quality
It’s all about the details, according to her. When you go to business partners, retailers or consumers, the only thing you need to trust, says Lively, is the quality of your product or service. “I recognize that I have a huge and unfair advantage having the entertainment industry as a kind of microphone to help promote my business, but if the product isn’t great, I can only sell one bottle,” she says.
Since launching Betty Buzz in September 2021, the company has sold over 4 million bottles.
Lively advises other female entrepreneurs to learn from mistakes and deal with red flags and issues as they arise. It’s hard to catch up if you launch a product that’s broken, for example. However, focusing on the details can mistakenly make women seem like difficult people to work with. “It all comes down to quality and conviction, and that is sometimes difficult for a woman because you’re left wondering if you’re being a difficult person.”
3. Work with people you can relate to
A successful business requires collaboration. Lively’s advice? Don’t let the “idiots” burn you out.
Choose people who feel they have a voice to promote a collaborative environment with values that you want to have too. That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges, confrontations or friction, “but when you work with people who have mutual respect, it frees up a lot of time emotionally.”
When Lively chooses a job, she wonders if her time will be valued and put to good use, and the metric to measure that is the people on the project. “I’m lucky to be in this position because I haven’t always been,” she says.
4. Be yourself
When it comes to new jobs or projects, Lively advises that it’s best to be upfront about your needs — though she also admits that it can be difficult to balance a job with what you want from it. “Sometimes you lose your job, but if you stay there and you don’t feel fulfilled, then it wasn’t worth it,” she says.
Her first moments as an actress consisted of showing up and looking cute, but today she advocates for more authorship in her roles – which is more rewarding.
5. Take others with you along the way
Part of creating content, companies and products is also creating opportunities for other people, says Lively. In one of her most recent efforts, she said she’s partnering with Grameen Americaa non-profit organization that provides microloans to women living below the poverty line to help them with their businesses.
“It is not just up to women to pave this path for other women. It’s up to men to help create those opportunities.”
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