Female entrepreneur, Gail Warrior shares her business tips and startup journey
Not only did Gail’s first company, Warrior Group grow to be a multi-million dollar firm but this Dallas-based venture saw her shine as a female role model in a male dominated industry.
More recently Gail’s entrepreneurial journey has taken a slightly different path.
She has founded a new venture, Warrior Elements, which is an activewear brand and is one that resonates well with her as a leader, mother and influencer.
As a life-long fitness enthusiast, her brand’s mission is to help busy women aspire to their own personal greatness, benefiting themselves, their families and their contributions to the world.
Gail tells Nativa World why she’s dedicating her time to giving back to the business community and instilling confidence and positivity in the lives of other women. She also provides her business tips to achieve success in the workplace.
I feel as entrepreneurs who have been successful, we have a responsibility to “pay it forward” and help others stand on the shoulders of giants! – Gail Warrior, Founder and CEO, The Warrior Group and Warrior Elements
Gail, what does the word ‘Achieve’ mean to you?
Achieving is a life long journey of learning, expanding, reaching, growing and evolving to newer heights.
What is your business about?
I founded Warrior Group which is a commercial general contracting firm headquartered in Dallas. We grew it to be the largest woman/minority-owned general contractors in the U.S and one of the country’s leading experts in permanent modular construction. We also provide high level business consulting services, bringing unmatched expertise and insight to others.
Then there’s Warrior Elements which is a line of fashionable fitness attire. This is about empowering others to cultivate the Warrior within and spreading the message of the Warrior 360 Way which is a holistic approach to living life successfully and healthily.
Finally, Heart of a Warrior Charitable Foundation provides total enrichment opportunities that are educational, cultural, and experiential and life enhancing, through summer programs targeting under-served children in Dallas County.
I’m also a big proponent of mentorship programs, and have always been committed to giving back to the business community and helping others succeed, just as I was helped along the way. I feel as entrepreneurs who have been successful, we have a responsibility to “pay it forward” and help others stand on the shoulders of giants!
What have you learned most of all during your entrepreneurial journey?
No matter what you think or feel is the worst day or biggest crisis, it’s only one day, and you’ll get through it. I learned that I’ll always survive and come out on top because of having a positive approach to life. If you remain positive, and believe that you’ll come out the other end stronger, wiser and a better entrepreneur and leader, then that’s what will happen. Positivity is contagious.
Would you have done anything differently?
Absolutely nothing. Each obstacle led to a different learning experience, which is what eventually led me to where I am today. If I’m going to go through difficult times, I’ll be a better person when I get to the other side.
What has been your biggest challenge as a female entrepreneur?
Learning how to or when to say ‘No’. You don’t have to make it overnight. I’ve made this mistake a few times but I’ve learned not to opt for any project that had big dollars attached. I also learned to not try to be all things to all people. And as a leader, I had to be more strategic in the types and sizes of projects we pursued. It’s good to walk steadily, grow real relationships, put in the time to create real advocates for your work and build long-term success.
What obstacles do you think female entrepreneurs face?
They face the same ones that they did 20, 30 and even 40 years ago. We’ve broken many glass ceilings and many women have achieved great success in their fields, but we still aren’t on the same playing field as men. On average, we earn less in the workplace. While we are gaining traction in the leadership arena and more of us are CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and sitting on more boards – the journey is just beginning. Women ARE powerful, and can be very successful leaders, if given the chance and tools to succeed.
How important are health and fitness to you?
In order to achieve anything in life you have to be able to think clearly and deeply for long periods of time. You also have to be able to think strategically. You have to be able to have the energy to execute your plan. Most people don’t understand how TRULY connected their success is tied to how they take care of their body/mind/inner self. When you’re not practicing healthy behaviors like eating right, exercising and sleeping well, cortisol levels rise—stress happens and disaster is just waiting to strike. We live in such a fast paced world today that we often don’t stop to evaluate our lives until something major happens.
What business tips would you give to women starting out alone?
While I started Warrior Elements on my own—it’s my idea, my “baby”— I don’t think any entrepreneur can achieve great or long-term success working without the help of a team, either directly or indirectly. My advice would be to find great people that can work with you as you grow. Some may be independent contractors/consultants for a while. Look for people in the areas where you may not have the greatest strength.
Gail’s Business Travel Tips:
1. Pack for the unexpected (whether it’s a black dress or a pair of sneakers to go walking through a large manufacturing plant).
2: Connect with someone in the city from another organization—I’m in several women’s organizations and I try to always have dinner/lunch/coffee with someone new in the city if there’s time.
3. Bring a few healthy snacks—I have often been on business trips or traveled with groups and it can sometimes be HOURS before the next meal after landing. I’m pretty irritable when I don’t eat so I bring a snack with me (apple, nuts, something that won’t perish).
4. Take a hard copy of your itinerary—I rely on my phone 110%.
5. If you can, take time for a 45 minute massage—even if it’s just a foot massage. If you travel often, your body needs it and will thank you for it.
Gail’s Business Tips:
1. Just start! Sometimes we are so fearful that we don’t even get out of the gate.
2. Write down your vision. It may change five times over the next couple of years as you evolve, but write it down and be able to communicate it to others.
3. Make sure you are incorporated properly. Decide if you want to be a C corp, S corp or an LLC at the beginning and know the tax consequences of each.
4. Have the energy (both physically and mentally) to work long hours for a while.
5. Establish good relationships with a banker and lawyer early.
Photography courtesy of Gail Warrior