Alba says building a business has taught her the value of investing in people. Case in point: The Honest Company recently launched a new parental leave policy, which allows 16 new moms and dads to take up to 16 weeks of paid leave. "If parents feel like they need more time, we'll work with them. We are investing in the people who work here," she says. "The healthier and happier people are, and the more fulfilled they are, the better employees they're going to be. That's something I'm really proud of."
"What's important, I think, is compartmentalizing as much as you can and setting aside important times that matter to you," she says. "It's knowing which school events are a priority and making sure you give yourself enough time to do that—and cutting yourself some slack when you can't make every event. There are only so many hours in a day."
Hard work is imperative to get any startup off the ground, but Alba avoids burnout by prioritizing her health and relationships. "It's about not just cramming your schedule with work-related stuff, but also knowing it's just as important for you to feed yourself as a person," she says. "We do tell our exec team and our managers that if you don't take care of yourself, and take care of your family, your work will be affected. People do better work when they're inspired and happy."
The Honest Company's latest launch is overnight diapers, a product Alba says was led by consumer demand. Testing the market and keeping an open dialogue with consumers is one of her most important lessons. "We have up to 7000 touch points with our customers every day, through social media, live chat, and phone calls," she says. "We take all of the data our customer service reps pull in and look at the trends."
As a newcomer to the business world, Alba called on industry experts to inform her decisions—a move that she credits with her success. "If you're the smartest person in the room, you should worry! You always want to grow, and you always want to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you," she says.
Alba had big business goals from the start but says she avoided looking too far ahead, to avoid getting overwhelmed. Instead, she took a day-by-day approach. "You kind of have to chip away one day at a time and not look at your year calendar. I don't even like to look a month out. I take it week by week and day by day. I just try to be as present in the moment of what's going on as I can," she says.
Read more of Jessica Alba's business advice at Working Mother.
Inspired to heed Jessica Alba's advice and start your own business? Shop the guide below.
Do you have advice about starting your own business? Tell us in the comments below.