I am pleased to welcome the wonderful Doris Gross in today’s interview. Doris is a journalist, best-selling author and founder of Fempress Media. As a mentor and editor, she supports women online and offline to share their unique stories.
1. dear Doris, reading your “job titles” is really very impressive. Who was “Doris Gross” before she decided to go the self-employed route?
I have always been a big dreamer since a young age. I rarely paid attention in class at school, because my daydreams were always more important to me and also felt more fulfilling ;-). I was always determined only when something gripped me with great enthusiasm, then I was also able to stay with it for a long time. I’ve also always lived more for creativity than numbers, which of course affected my career choice. I am a classic case of a right-dominated brain …
2. has there been one or more moments in your journey that you would describe as a “gamechanger”?
Whenever I went out on my own. I think the first time it really got to me was when I moved from Stuttgart to Munich on my own for my training. That was the first really big and also protracted adventure for me, which also left its mark on me in retrospect. The first time I had to stand on my own two feet. I had to make sure that I had something to eat in the fridge and I also had to pay the rent. I thought this attitude towards life was great.
3. How have these moments impacted your personal/professional journey?
I quickly became emotionally independent and very comfortable with being on my own as well. I may not have been a party girl in the past, but I wasn’t a wallflower either. These situations have taught me that I can move faster if I don’t get distracted by people and other things. Since then, I also live more of this attitude towards life.
4. in Germany, there is a rather restrained approach to the term “failure”. What does it mean to you to fail and was there a moment when you thought you couldn’t find a way out?
There was that more often than not, however, I never really felt like I had failed. I’ve gotten into the habit of calling in extreme scenarios to my rescue in these situations. I have always told myself that I will not have failed until I am homeless, end up in jail, or there is no, so really no way out. This extreme case never happened, of course, so I was also always aware that a solution would somehow be found. Everything works out somehow.
5. in your opinion, are there external and internal indicators of success and if so, what would they be for you?
Of course, I am also a person who measures success somewhere in terms of financial results. But I also know that there is much more to success and that this cannot simply be offset with money. I feel successful when I can bring projects and ideas to life and see them take shape.
You not only started your own business, but also ventured abroad (in this case to Los Angeles). Looking back, how can we imagine your start in America?
Adventurous, uncertain and doomed to failure purely on paper. No seriously: my brother-in-law had told me the following shortly after my emigration. “I have no idea how you managed that, but purely on paper, it was doomed to fail.” It must be said that my emigration coincided with my business start-up (without a sophisticated business concept), 4,000 euros in savings and a pregnancy in the third month. Now, in retrospect, I often ask myself how I did it, but I also enjoy it immensely to know that I managed it on my own, despite all the predictions, even if sometimes less gloriously. Looking back on it has made me less afraid of a lot of things.
7) Would you say there are differences in business between German and American business partners or customers?
Absolutely. You can definitely see this in the way people communicate and also build trust faster in the American space. Being in daily exchange with “The best of both worlds” gives me a direct comparison and also helps me to perceive myself better – as an entrepreneur, as a partner, but also as a mother. Here in Los Angeles, I am more relaxed, more open and also more willing to take risks than I was in Germany. That certainly has to do with the environment and its reaction to different things.
8. what has been your most valuable insight as an entrepreneur and expatriate so far?
That independence also means isolation. In the beginning, I loved working in a home office, but I quickly became lonely because I no longer enjoyed contact with the outside world and the California lifestyle, which is why I came here. This realization was very important for me and it also took me a long time to work on it.
You are not only confronted with different roles in the business world, but also in your private life, two years ago the role of mother was added to the roles of girlfriend, daughter and partner. What has changed for you as a result of this?
Everything! I honestly imagined it would be easier. I got pregnant unplanned and while I have been able to enjoy a very great pregnancy and am also fortunate that our son is a “low-maintanence baby”, it still naturally takes it out of me. My son is now almost three years old and neither of us have any family close to us. Of course, that does get on your nerves from time to time. But I’m also glad that, for the first time, this means I don’t have to worry about how best to schedule motherhood into my business calendar in the future and look for the right time.
If I asked your son to describe his mom to me in one sentence, what would he tell me?
With the head always in the clouds 🙂
Is there a valuable tip you would give to readers who are thinking about starting their own business but don’t (yet) dare to take the plunge?
Think of all the fears we face every day. And now remember that, as a rule, 95% of them will never happen. So dealing with it is absolutely pointless and you could use your time more fruitfully.
Finally, I’d like you to finish the following sentence, “In 5 years, I’ll be many times closer to my goals.”
Dear Doris, thank you very much for the great interview.
About Doris Gross
Doris Gross is a best-selling author, founder of Fempress Media, and publisher of several magazines in the U.S. and Germany. Her focus is on female entrepreneurs, who talk about their path to success in an unpolished, unadorned and unmodified way. Doris runs her publishing company completely independent of location and lives with her family in Los Angeles.
About the author
Kinga Bartczak berät, coacht und schreibt zu Female Empowerment, neuer Arbeitskultur, Organisationsentwicklung systemischen Coaching, und Personal Branding.
Zudem ist sie Geschäftsführerin der UnternehmerRebellen GmbH und Herausgeberin des FemalExperts Magazins.