For most budding entrepreneurs, the goal of building a business into a successful venture can be an undertaking that’s as exciting as it is daunting. Considering that, according to the Small Business Association, some 90% of all startups launched eventually fail for any number of reasons, it is a testament to an entrepreneur’s skill and passion for their work in having even one venture grow into a thriving company—let alone three.
In this regard, entrepreneur Fallon Anawalt is a rare case. Having grown up helping her father on their family farm in Missouri, Anawalt claims that determination and hard work was in her DNA even from a young age. Though at the time Anawalt never truly envisioned herself as one day running, managing, and operating successful businesses, she always knew that she would need to challenge social norms, shatter boundaries, as well as help and inspire others if she wanted to succeed in her dream career.
“After graduating college,” Anawalt said in an interview with About Insider earlier this year, “I started writing articles and press releases for industry publications for an industrial tank company [in 2015] and then went on to provide marketing work for aviation companies in the Joplin, Missouri area [in 2016].”
A few years after starting her career in marketing, Anawalt would go on to get married in the Joplin area, and it was during the process of planning her wedding that she noticed a distinct lack of high-quality event vendors in the Joplin area. So, in true entrepreneurial fashion, Anawalt began constructing a business plan to fill this gap. As fate would have it, the need for a quality event vendor in the region was much higher than Anawalt had initially expected it to be.
Not long after launching her first entrepreneurial venture, she launched a marketing startup.
“Like Emerson said, ‘Life is a journey, not a destination’,” Anawalt told About Insider, “so I was open to seeing where our ideas could take us. The more we talked about the potential business, the more excited we got.”
Once Anawalt and her business partner joined forces to launch their new marketing business, Anawalt made the decision to merge the event planning business with the new venture. The result took the form of Athena Companies, which launched in 2019 with Anawalt serving as the company’s president. At the time of this article being written, Athena Companies now possesses three other subsidiary companies under its umbrella.
Athena Marketing and Advertising is the company’s marketing firm, which, according to Anawalt is, “focused on developing and implementing [results-driven] custom marketing strategies…and we focus on data and strategy to increase revenue for our clients.”
Anawalt’s second venture with Athena, dubbed Athena Event Consulting and Decor, is the umbrella’s luxury events company which offers clients “top-tier, full-service event planning and rentals for weddings, corporate events, in-person and online parties, and more,” Anawalt explains.
Lastly, the third company Anawalt and her team have added under their umbrella is Athena Consulting Services, which provides consulting services to businesses that include planning, recruitment, and hiring, amongst other services.
To add further claim to Anawalt’s entrepreneurial drive, she and her team have also constructed an innovative project management software which they call Homestretch that they plan to release later this year. According to Anawalt, Homestretch focuses on, “improving the real estate buying experience and streamlining the home buying and selling process.” On top of this, Homestretch aims to help generate additional transparency between the home buyer and the real estate agent throughout the process of buying and selling the property in question; a feature that Anawalt claims both parties are going to love.
Though launching multiple business ventures has indeed helped Anawalt put her on the path of her younger self’s dream career, her success has not come easily, nor overnight. As a female entrepreneur, Anawalt is unfortunately no stranger to not being taken seriously by potential clients or business partners, and has still struggled to gain respect and recognition for her successes in spite of her knowledge, skills, and experience. The secret to her success, Anawalt says—regardless of these challenges—is the confidence she places in not only herself, but also her work and abilities.
“Success is tied to confidence,” Anawalt said in her earlier interview with About Insider. “[A] lack of confidence can prevent women from applying for a position they are more than qualified for or asking for the raise they absolutely deserve. As a female entrepreneur, it took a lot of confidence for me to believe in myself and to blaze the path that I’m on now.”
For other women looking to start their own business or begin a career in entrepreneurship, Anawalt’s advice is to simply get started, as this is perhaps the most difficult part of launching any successful venture. By taking a chance on yourself to build your own dream career, as Anawalt has herself, the chance for success is already heightened, and far outweighs the potential regret one may feel from never taking a risk in the first place.