5 tips for entrepreneurs from Bethenny Frankel

Be passionate. Work hard.

Those are the secrets, Bethenny Frankel says, that led her to four best-selling books and her own line of snacks and cocktails aimed at women. Frankel, who gained fame on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City,” launched Skinnygirl Margarita in 2009 and has since expanded the brand to include other low-calorie beverages and snacks. In 2011, she sold the cocktail company to Beam Inc. for an estimated $100 million, according to Forbes.

Frankel, who will be in Charlotte Saturday as part of the opening weekend at Charlotte Premium Outlets, spoke with the Observer this week and outlined five tips for entrepreneurial success.

1. Don’t overextend yourself. Frankel says keeping it simple is vital for business owners just getting on their feet. Starting with one product or idea and growing over time keeps a brand new company from breaking the bank. When Frankel launched her Skinnygirl brand, she started with cocktails. Now, the low-calorie snack and beverage brand has moved into snacks and gummy vitamins, and Frankel says she’s adding salsa and hummus to the mix soon.

2. Network. Whether in-person or over social media, Frankel says forming connections is a crucial step for aspiring entrepreneurs. “You don’t need a publicist,” she says. “Everyone can be their own publicist.”

3. Family first. As a single mom of a 4-year-old, Frankel says learning to juggle work and family is an important lesson for working parents. “When they’re sleeping at night or they’re with their friends, that’s when you do your work,” she says.

4. Don’t procrastinate. “Doing” is the most important part of starting a business, Frankel says. “You put one foot in the front of the other,” she says. “You just wake up and do what you need to do.” While Frankel admits that life as an entrepreneur is exhausting, she says beating out the competition means working harder than they do.

5. Find your passion. Frankel started Skinnygirl because she says there wasn’t a “skinny margarita” on the market. She says many of her ideas come from identifying problems that need solutions. The brand gives women a healthier cocktail or snack option, she says. “If you love something and you’re passionate about it, you’ll be good at it,” Frankel says.