I organize and facilitate women entrepreneurship meet-ups, workshops and retreats around the world. This is what women want.
I begin the events by asking each participant to write down what they hope to learn from the event. From the hundreds of responses, themes have emerged. These themes are not regional, they are global.
They are appearing continuously in all the women’s entrepreneurship events I facilitate around the world. Let’s talk about them:
How do I find what’s next for me?
We all have ideas, but entrepreneurship seems big and looming. We feel we need to have a master plan. Everything must be detailed and perfect, and even then we have a hard time emotionally deciding to start.
A lot of us women have waited for someone to give us “permission” to get started. I believe this is societal, I don’t agree with it, and I’m trying to change it.
I want to create more spaces where women can build themselves and their skills up enough to give themselves permission to go after their own business. I think there’s a big gap here for not only constructive continuous learning (think pre-accelerators), but mentorship and support networks.
How do I find what I’m passionate about?
Women entrepreneurs want to do meaningful work they are passionate about. If we are going to leave our stable corporate jobs, it better be worth it.
Again, a societal barrier needs to be worked through here: women are more likely to face questions and friction from their families when starting a new business than men do. (Are you sure you want to do that? Do you have a back-up plan? Why leave your job that already takes good care of you? You should just stick to what you know.)
Money is not a sole motivator for most women entrepreneurs. Of course, we all want to live comfortably, but the new business has to be about something we really care about and are passionate about. We want to change something in the world, make it better, cause positive disruption, or get lost in whatever world we love full-time and under our own control.
What skills do I need to learn to make my business better?
- Emotional: Tools to build our confidence, learn how to negotiate, and keep going when we feel insecure.
- Values/mission: How to define, clarify and uphold our values as a new company. These values lead to the foundation of our mission statement.
- Funding: Money is one biggest hurdles women entrepreneurs have to work through. Where to find funding, how to ask for funding, and how to be comfortable around the topic of all things money related. (I could write so many articles on just this subject.)
- Digital skills: We all could use some help around building out our digital skills in this technology driven world. We may be great at Facebook ads, but don’t understand how everyone is building brand awareness through Instagram.
How can I help other female entrepreneurs?
I love this one. Over and over again, women entrepreneurs want to know the best way to help each other. We want to help bring each other up and aren’t sure the best avenues where we can do this.
Some models I see trending right now are women entrepreneurial Facebook groups and local women entrepreneurship meet-ups sponsored by coworking spaces and/or accelerators.
From my travels, I think we need more opportunities to physically meet each other and help each other.
Communities of practice need to be centered around action. Lean in Women Lisbon International is a good example of a women entrepreneurship Facebook group that meets for skill building and networking on the weekly. Imagine every city had a group like this and you could show up and tap right into it (that would be amazing!).
How I want to help
What motivated me to be an entrepreneur? Mentors and constructive support. I also had a burning desire to go out there and create something meaningful, something I could be in control of.
I know what if feels like to be alone dreaming about a business and scared to start it (or having imposter syndrome).
I’ve made it a mission of mine to dedicate a good percentage of my time to building up and cultivating safe spaces for women to explore (and succeed in) entrepreneurship.
I want women to leave my events feeling they are not alone, they are not crazy and that they can do this- they can be an entrepreneur.
One woman told me after an event, “I didn’t know we women had this much in common. I thought I was alone in my fears about running my own business.”
How are men involved in all this?
I organized and ran a women’s entrepreneurship meet up in Lisbon recently and made an extra point to invite men.
Why were men invited to a women’s entrepreneurship event? Because we need to have these conversations with the other side in the room. To explore our individual perceptions, assumptions and real experiences and find a better way to move forward together as humans.
I asked everyone to write on a sticky note what they wanted to learn from the event and a male participant wrote: “How can I be a better ally?”
This warmed my heart.
Let’s do this together
We as humans want to support each other. We need more safe spaces to really hear and connect to each other, which will lead to us advocating for each other.
I want women to be braver in their own lives, reach out to others for support, and then build up others in a continuous cycle.
I want to contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem for women.
I think I can do this more strategically than how I currently am alone. I’ve now been partnering with larger organizations and groups that are following the same cause. Let me know if you have an event, accelerator, movement, anything that falls inline with the above.
Contact me through my website below: