When Emily Lyons launched her first company at the age of 23, Femme Fatale Media, a high-end event staffing agency in Toronto, it was only the beginning. As her budding venture quickly grew and acquired big-name clients, her insatiable entrepreneurial spirit drove her to create two more businesses. Now a three-time successful entrepreneur before the age of 30, Emily has been featured internationally for her drive and success by media such as Forbes, The New York Post, Ask Men, Flare Magazine, The Globe and Mail, FHM, Maxim and many more. Here, get a glimpse at what motivates her, and the advice she wants to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs.
My first job ever was… I worked on a garlic farm for a day and smelled like it for a week!
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I never set out with the idea to be an entrepreneur — I got inspired and it just happened. However I love being independent, without anyone or anything constraining me. I never wanted my life to be “normal” or “comfortable” or follow a typical script. So by being an entrepreneur, I was actually choosing to create the outcome for my life that deep down I really wanted.
When I started my business… I was excited and determined. I had to experiment my way to success, but I quickly figured out how to leverage my talents — and other people’s talents — to grow my business.
Starting a company at 23 was… Eye-opening, because I was struck by the bombshell realization that I was being true to myself. And that realization alone was the fuel I needed to keep going whenever things got really hard.
My proudest accomplishment is… Starting and launching 3 successful companies before I hit 30.
My boldest move to date was… Starting Femme Fatale Media without any safety net to catch me — and with only $80 in my pocket. I launched the agency in a basement apartment, marshaled onward, and plunged into the world of business and entrepreneurship.
My best advice to people starting out in business is… Don’t ever give up on your all-consuming dream. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give up on a specific approach that isn’t working, but don’t give up on your dearest dream. Not ever.
My best advice from a mentor was… “Do what you love.” My Mom told me that since I was young. She ingrained in me that it didn’t matter what I did or how I did it, but if I was happy, loved it and was a good person along the way — that was what was important.
My biggest setback was… My sister passing away in 2011 from Cystic Fibrosis.
I overcame it by… Using it as fuel to succeed.
Work/life balance is… Something I don’t worry about too much. That’s because I love entrepreneurship and I love my companies — and if you love what you’re doing in life, then work/life balance doesn’t enter into the equation. Obsession, not balance, keeps me fired up.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… After googling people are always surprised by how big Femme Fatale Media really is.
I stay inspired by… Constantly doing what I love doing — and remembering how far I’ve come.
The future excites me because… It is something tangible that I can proactively change!