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Ellen Thompson

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It’s been a year since Ellen Thompson launched her sixth company, Results Repeat, a digital marketing agency that works with clients on website development, search-engine optimization, social-media management, content creation and more. Thompson has about 70 clients, with a 15-year plan to service more than 10,000. 

What personal traits have helped be a successful entrepreneur?

I think I have an unusually high tolerance for risk and change. The entrepreneurial life is great, but it’s a roller coaster. I’ve had two failures out of my six start-ups. It takes a personality that can handle that volatility. It looks glamorous, but it’s hard work. You have to be willing to fail. 

What has been your biggest challenge?

Early on, I was in foster care. After I graduated with an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School, I had no network. I made a lot of mistakes because I lacked direction and mentorship. Now, my biggest challenge is that, if you’re going to grow a bigger company, you have to get out of the way. You have to learn to delegate, manage and lead. 

What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs?

Find advisers who can help you, because the reality is that you don’t know everything. It’s lonely at the top, so you need people who are going inspire you. I think women and girls suffer from having self-limiting beliefs. If you raise your roof a little bit, you have the chance to jump higher. 

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