Women entrepreneurs offer 4 tips for startup success

Be 'irrationally optimistic' and learn from mistakes

Left to right: startup founders Bridget Loudon (Expert 360), Kath Purkis (Her Fashion Box) and Genevieve George (OneShift).

Left to right: startup founders Bridget Loudon (Expert 360), Kath Purkis (Her Fashion Box) and Genevieve George (OneShift).

Passion and persistence makes the successful entrepreneur, according to four Australian women entrepreneurs who lead their own startups.

At the Macleay College entrepreneurship forum, the founders of OneShift, Expert 360, Her Fashion Box and The Best Day gave advice and lessons learned from their experiences in turning compelling concepts into money-making businesses.

Entrepreneurship used to be a dirty word, but no longer, according to Expert 360 founder Bridget Loudon.

When she was at university, there were no classes about entrepreneurship, she said. “People would always think of me as scheming or business-y ... I think by the time I finished university – I kid you not – I had about 20 copies of Richard Branson’s autobiography that people had given to me. That was really the only way that they could relate to me.”

Today, there is much higher respect for entrepreneurs, she said. “Entrepreneurs are getting credit in society like they never did before.”

  1. Gender is no barrier

    There are no challenges specific to being a female entrepreneur, said Loudon.

    “It’s fantastic being a female entrepreneur, because running a business is all about creating awareness, influencing people, and there is nothing as unique as being in a minority, as being one in 10,” she said.

    “So I’d say, females, use that to your advantage.”

  2. Passion wins the day

    “You kind of have to be irrationally optimistic or naively positive to keep on the hustle,” advised Whitney Komor, founder of The Best Day.

    Komor referred to herself as an “accidental entrepreneur” who had a great idea but had to learn the ropes of building a startup on the go.

    “The one I thing I bring to the team that I do better than the other people … is that I can be so excited day in and day out about what we’re doing,” she said.

    “That can motivate people who are so much smarter in marketing, so much smarter in development or investors to join us and kind of pull together.”

  3. Walk into a glass door (but don’t do it again).

    Everyone fails, but the successful entrepreneur learns from the failure, said Genevieve George, founder and CEO of OneShift.

    “It’s better to fail quickly, fast and cheaply,” she said. “You’re better off getting out there and giving it a go.”

    She told a story about how she lost a down payment of $2,500 to a scam company that promised to build her company’s website.

    It was a painful mistake, but she learned from it, she said. “I’m never going to run into that glass door again.”

  4. Have an exit strategy

    No matter how much you may love your business, you should be prepared to sell, said Her Fashion Box founder and CEO, Kath Purkis. Lacking relationships with potential buyers makes it much harder to be acquired when the day comes, she said.

    “From day one I started to build relationships with people who could acquire Her Fashion Box in two to three years,” said Purkis.

    “The reason I did that is because Her Fashion Box will one day outgrow me, and I’m realistic. I’m only one person and I’ve got a great team. But even with investment, eventually we will be acquired to somebody who can do great things.”

Adam Bender covers startup and business tech issues for Techworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Techworld Australia on Twitter: @Techworld_AU

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Tags tipsstartupsStartupgenderentrepreneurswomenadvicepassionfail fastfemaleHer Fashion BoxThe Best DayExpert 360exit strategyOneShift

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