Build A Business – You’d Love to Work For

Whether it’s an app solving motherhood challenges or a niche digital magazine, businesses are experiencing an explosion in opportunities not limited by location or company size.

SME’s are growing 4 times faster than this time last year driven largely by a female market.

Some women are creating businesses from a side hustle, others are busy mums who want flexible work hours.

Creating a business which people will love is no small feat. You need technology, operations, systems, processes, finances, tax, products, services and people – lots of people (and hopefully a supportive husband or family).

But, above all – it needs YOU.

Your exact uniqueness is what creates your purpose, your natural skill set, intellect, your motivation, strengths, weaknesses and your gravitation towards what interests you. Your unique DNA is essentially what fires you up and gets you moving in the morning.

People who are living their life on purpose and by their own design, tend to create businesses that people want to work for because, there’s a certain excitement to them, a risk taking, carefree, the mitts are off, we are in this together, BOOM! type of journey.

Our human need for excitement, curiosity and risk starts in childhood and it never really leaves us. We all want to create a life of interesting stories driven through life’s journey.

We are living in fast moving times and everyone from young women just starting out to working mums are wanting to work in environments which allow flexibility, continuous learning, variety, free food! But, above all, people want to feel like they are working in a business which has purpose, meaning and which serves them more than just money.

Some women find their BOOM! early and some find it later in life. And no one, not one single person finds their reason for being on their very first go.

It’s trial and error but, the most important thing to do, is just START. Start right now, not tomorrow, but right now!

If you want to write, pick up a pen. If you want to own a shop, start a lemonade stand.

If you want to build a business online start with getting tech ready!

If you aren’t 100% sure of your life by design, your unique offering, it’s not a problem – we’ve broken down some points that will head you in the right direction towards starting and building a business that you’d love to work for:

Do all this and learn along the way

Write the bucket list (then start doing it)
Do stand-up comedy
Travel
Expand your love
Say yes to everything for 90 days
Run
Take up acting
Handwrite, every day
Do something nice for someone (without expecting anything back)
Show gratitude
Focus on the things you love and immediately stop doing the things you don’t love
Read books, lots of books and watch films
Learn from your children
Listen, really actively listen
Meet as many people as you can from as many different cultures, places, lifestyles, cities, countries and towns
Become insanely curious, self-aware and actually really deeply care about people and, eventually you’ll find yourself gravitating towards the things you love.
Once you define your reason for being, you’ll find that if you aren’t doing things you love every day, the universe will find a way to push you in the right direction.

So, trust yourself, trust the signs and follow them. If you create from the heart – you can never really go too far wrong.

Remove fear and start your business before you are ready (because let’s face it finding excuses is what we humans do best).

Then, do this

Get organised
Do a business plan
Start with the money
Get connected and find your people
SMEs and startups use as many technology tools as they can to solve the boring aspects of doing business. They automate it as much as possible so they focus entirely on core offering. Doing this will ensure that you (and your staff) are doing the things you love.

Business needs money to survive so, start with the money. All businesses have an element of risk, and it’s your job to manage that risk as best you can to create freedom for you and your staff.

Starting with the money is just smart business, because frankly, without focusing on the money you risk creating a business with lots of stress. A technology driven business creates a slightly larger element of risk.

Mostly because technology startups are doing things differently, but technology businesses offer the greatest rewards, because you can scale quickly and that’s exciting!

You may have to start out on your own but, you’ll quickly find the like minds. They will become your clients, your customers, your friends and even your ambassadors.

Your tribe is exactly like you and it’s those people that will want to work with you. A shared vision creates shared culture and a great culture creates businesses that people want to work for.

Think about how you are going to look after the people who are working for you – whether it’s free Yoga on a Friday, flexible work hours, extra leave entitlements or a bonus – think about this when doing your business plan.

Culture and great products and services creates people happiness and that creates brands that people want to work with.

If you start with your community, your tribe, you can’t really go too far wrong because your bond with your early adopters, your early clients is strong because they are ones who are with you on the journey from the very beginning.

Always employ from your tribe, your community, people who already love your brand. They get it, they like it and they believe in the company’s future and they will become employees who also double as brand ambassadors for life.

Just remember that the most important thing is to have fun and smile throughout the journey, because some days will be challenging.

If you can laugh along the way, it makes it all worthwhile (smiles create brands people want to work for too).

If you have an idea for a tech business your journey starts here. Tech Ready Program enabling women in tech.

How Female Entrepreneurs Are Shaping Our Future

In our last blog piece, Women Lead Startups Attractive to Investors we wrote about how females are proving stronger in stock-trading and are becoming more attractive to investors.

Raising capital, money and positive cash-flow for startups is an important part of business. However, it’s not just the money that does the talking.

It’s the story behind the startup which changes hearts, minds, starts conversations and eventually shapes our future.

Some women are purposefully starting the hard conversations about what is, and isn’t working, in our world for women.

And it’s creating a movement, shaping the future of doing business and even how we live our lives.

Our startup ecosystem in Australia is in its infancy and despite great leaps and bounds here, the US ecosystem is way more established.

As the Australian market gets flooded with females leaving corporate or organised business structures to create startups and SME’s, it won’t be long before our startup ecosystem matches the US. It’s thought in Australia, the growth of females leaving is creating SME growth of 4 times on previous years.

Women are establishing their own ways of doing business, giving themselves the freedom to live a life on their own terms.

Women supporting women has also turned from a small trickle to a water rapid to an ocean of movement that has no end of support and it’s shaping and paving the way for the next generation.

Here are some of the women shaping our futures and empowering the next generation of changemakers.

Bridget Loudon and Emily Yue (Expert360)

Bridget and Emily are on a mission to disrupt the global management consulting industry, competing with professional services firms like Deloitte and PwC. This year it has established operations in the US, because its client roster features companies like Mastercard and eBay and they want to use the product – which connects companies with specialised consultants for projects according to specific requirements – overseas. Investors include Allan Moss, the former Macquarie chief executive and now a member of the RBA board.

Bridget was asked by Business Insider Australia about the most memorable story from Expert 360’s business success,

“One of the stories I like are when you’ve got a mum who’s got a Harvard degree and she’s worked at a top consulting firm for 10 years, but now has had kids and is ready to return to work. But she doesn’t like the 70 hours a week, 12 months a year, year-after-year lifestyle — it doesn’t suit.” Bridget Loudon

Image credit Jo Burston

Jo Burston (Rare Birds)

Jo almost needs no introduction in the entrepreneurial Australian and US set, her first entry into recruitment was Jobs Capital, an Industry awarded and recognised brand for On Hire Labour Agreement Services, Outsourced Payroll, Salary Packaging and Migration Services.

Jo’s next venture is to give back to the community who helped her achieve her success. Rare Birds is a mentoring, community and support network to create 1 million female entrepreneurs by 2020.

Not satisfied with helping more women into entrepreneurship, she has joined forces with innovation expert Dr Richard Seymour to launch an online learning program to foster entrepreneurship in young Australian children.

Phronesis Academy, offers an online, blended learning program for secondary school students to learn the skills, know-how and self-belief needed to launch and grow businesses and social enterprises.

Jo, in an interview with TEDX Sydney had this to say about the female led businesses:

“I think the powerful influence of female entrepreneurship is entirely underestimated. Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men in Australia. Out of the two million companies here, 700,000 are female led. Globally females represent approximately 27% of the world’s wealth, which is almost 21 trillion dollars.” Jo Burston

Image credit to Rosie O’Halloran

Rosie O’Halloran (Foundations AU and Institute for Global Women Leaders)

The Institute for Global Women Leaders (IGWL) is a groundbreaking new organisation with a mission to support, connect and empower young women from around the world as agents for change.

We believe young women are the most underutilised and powerful assets the world has for social transformation and we are making an unparalleled investment in their personal and leadership journeys.

And their not-for-profit arm Foundations.(au) is an Australian based organisation which is creating brighter, sustainable futures for orphaned and vulnerable children in Uganda, East Africa. The organisation operates in the areas of child welfare and development, health and education. foundations.(au) was founded in August 2009 by Rosie O’Halloran after her first trip to East Africa.

Rosie, in an interview with Girl.com.au had this to say about her motivation,

“I began to question the attitude towards women and girls globally – how could someone say to a girl, -you don’t matter?’ I am dedicated to making sure girls know not only that they matter but they have the power to change the world” Rosie O’Halloran

Image credit to Project Rockit

Rosie and Lucy Thomas (Project Rockit)

Rosie and Lucy started Project Rockit over 10 years ago to empower school students to stand up to hate instead of standing by watching.

Through the lens of (cyber) bullying they run workshops explore themes of diversity, belonging, respectful relationships, values and ethics, building student voice, leadership and empathy.

In an interview with CBA’s Women in Focus Rosie and Lucy main motivations,

“I wanted to create a youth empowerment model for young people to prompt change by standing up and taking ownership of the material. We offer young people the tools to stand up and to not be afraid that they may be targeted next, of people’s judgement, and of the consequences.” Rosie Thomas

Image credit to Business Chicks

Emma Issacs (Business Chicks)

At 35, Emma Isaacs has achieved more than most twice her age. She’s the CEO of Australia’s largest community for women, Business Chicks; has spent one on one time with Bill Gates; is a serial property investor, has raised over $10million for charity, and is mother to four children aged six and under.

35,000. Business Chicks produces over 90 events annually; publishes a quarterly magazine called Latte and facilitates thousands of new connections each week through its online platform.

Emma has spent time with some of the world’s greatest business visionaries, entrepreneurial minds and thought leaders including Sir Richard Branson, Diane von Furstenberg, Sir Bob Geldof, Candace Bushnell, Ita Buttrose and Bill Gates.

As a passionate philanthropist Emma wants to make a difference. She sits on the board of The Hunger Project Australia, is a past President of the Entrepreneurs Organisation and has held ambassadorships with Dry July, Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and 1 Million Women.

Emma is a big believer in hiring innovators, in her article in Huffington Post she says,

“Intrepreneurs are entrepreneurs working inside an organization. They think like entrepreneurs in that they’re always questioning the status quo and looking for opportunities to grow the business or make life a little better for their customers and fellow team members.” Emma Issacs

Gillian Franklin

The Heat Group, Gillian Franklin has always been passionate about encouraging young women in business. As a managing director of cosmetics giant Revlon, Franklin developed her own program to encourage young women to be financially independent and it was this program that made her leave her high-profile corporate life to start her own business.

When managing director at Revlon, she developed a program to teach young girls about financial independence called Australia Self Made Girls. After running the program for three years, she realised she needed to practice what she was teaching and started The Heat Group.

The now 58-year-old Melburnian established The Heat Group in a coffee shop in 2000, taking on her first client – Proctor & Gamble – in just three weeks. Fifteen years later, the consumer products wholesaler sells 11 million pieces of stock each year, has 170 employees and generates an annual turnover of $130 million. One Heat product is sold in Australia every 2.8 seconds.

In an interview with Engaging Women, Gillian has been a long supporter of flexible work places,

“I’d witnessed first-hand the challenges women have trying to work and have a family and I really have enormous empathy and respect for the women who cope with childcare challenges so from a young age I said, “I want to have children but I don’t want to do child care.” Gillian Franklin

Image credit to Michelle Bridges

Michelle Bridges (Michelle Bridges)

In today’s overweight world, Michelle brings a message of positive change and compassion with unique style and infectious enthusiasm to propel people – no matter what their age, gender or income – towards healthier and more active lifestyles.

As a renowned fitness industry figure with over 20 years’ experience, Michelle first shot to fame in 2007 on Channel Ten’s hit reality show The Biggest Loser.

During this time, she has broken two Guinness World Records, helped Aussies lose over 1 million kilos through her 12 Week Body Transformation online weight loss program, published 13 books and created an apparel and fitness equipment range exclusively for Big W and a food range for Woolworths.

In an interview with News Media Michelle says,

“I’d like to tackle the junk food industry the way that the tobacco industry was tackled 50-odd years ago. They sell crap food and make people sick, and that makes me angry,” she said.

“We’re now seeing children that have potentially, a shortened lifespan than their parents. I’d like to get out there and start fighting the fight for others who can’t fight it.” Michelle Bridges

Image credit to Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck

A former titan of finance at companies like Citigroup and Bank of America, she launched Ellevest in 2016 with the mission of closing the gender investment gap. The robo-advisor works to help women secure their financial futures by taking women’s unique life attributes — such as longer lifespans, different salary curves and more frequent career breaks — into consideration.

In her book (Own It: Power of Women At Work ) and via Ellevest, Sallie is driving diversity on Wall Street,

“Success for professional women will no longer be about trying to compete at the men’s version of the game, she says. And it will no longer be about contorting ourselves to men’s expectations of how powerful people behave. Instead, it’s about embracing and investing in our innate strengths as women – and bringing them proudly and unapologetically, to work.” Sallie Krawcheck

All of these women inspire us to keep going, keep reaching, keep believing. Are you a female interested in shaping the future?

If you have an idea for a tech business your journey starts here. Tech Ready Program enabling women in tech.

Are you marrying the right business?

Creating a new business can be overwhelming, so, just imagine being married to it! Being married to a business that you simply don’t really like that much is really hard work.

There are many difficult decisions to be made in the process of business creation but, the most important and challenging is,

“What business should I start?” or “What path should I take?”

Asking yourself a few questions prior to deciding can assist you to create the most stable and sustainable platform possible, to enhance your chances for success.

The first question to ask yourself is “Why exactly am I planning to start this business”? This may seem obvious, however my experience is that the majority of people who start businesses are unaware of their real reasons for doing so.

Second, ask yourself what does success look like for you in life and business, because business is a long journey and you’ll be married to it for a long time.

I recommend starting with a list of priorities or objectives for the business, and being really honest with yourself as to what priority is most important, second most important, third most important etc.

For example, do want to be in business for money (such as financial freedom or an additional income), a learning experience, the chance to express a service or product that you love, for a chance to meet like-minded people etc.

If the priorities you list seem a world away from what you are doing now, you are most likely not on the right track.

If you really love it, you are probably already doing it in some form (in other words if the primary objective is to learn, you are probably dedicated to this type of learning already or if it is for financial freedom, you probably have been focused on this pursuit for some time).

So, the key here is honesty.

Could you honestly be in love every day with your business, even on the days you just want to get a divorce and head to the Bahamas?

If you answer maybe, or lean towards a no, then your business marriage isn’t aligned with your true priorities in life and this can lead to disappointment and uninspired action, both of which don’t make for a good startup or date night!

On the flip side, if you are clear on what you want to achieve, you will have loads of inspiration, as well as realistic expectations on how the business will progress.

Another factor in creating a successful startup and business is doing something you love.

Many businesses are created because of their founder’s love in creating or sharing the product/service the company provides so, falling in love with yourself first will set you up well and steer you towards what you feel naturally inclined to do.

Ask yourself,

“what do you do every chance you get, and feel inspired when you are doing it”

Before I became a coach/consultant, I would find myself constantly steering social conversations toward purpose, achieving, fulfilling potential etc.

I would also gravitate to this in every career I had (even when the job didn’t necessarily call for it!). And in my time away from work I dedicated a lot of time to researching and learning with regards to success, transformation and fulfilling potential.

When I really looked, It wasn’t difficult to see what I was naturally dedicated to, and this is why I chose to start a consulting business. What you love may be a hobby, it may be a particular aspect within the careers you have had that you gravitate to (such as in my example), it may be a skill you love such as creating or designing, or it may a concept or idea that you constantly think about. If you don’t judge it as right or wrong, it is usually pretty easy to see what you love to do.

Sometimes, it is business itself that we love (I am thinking of Richard Branson as an example).

If we love business itself, then this will take the role of primary objective, and what your company does will be less important than creating the business itself.

It can still help to base the business on a product, service or idea you love, however this may not be as strong a factor as simply creating a business.

A final yet very important consideration is to find out whether or not there is a market for what you are wanting to provide, or if you can shape what you do towards a market.

There is no business without a market, so finding the balance between something you love to do, and a product or service that people will buy is key to a happy ever after business marriage.

About the Author: Sridhar Krishnamurti

Sridhar is a highly skilled mindset and strategy coach whose key focus is on transformational change (for businesses and individuals). In 2009, Expand Consulting was set up as a vehicle to utilise it’s hidden keys to success to assist clients with their results. Expand Consulting offers inspirational and educational talks and workshops on success, and has conducted thousands of transformational consults with businesses, individuals and groups – often with life altering effects.

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Startup Idea Validation

If we think back to our childhoods, we can all point to a time where creativity was in abundance. Everyday was an adventure, a journey, a discovery and our very environment fostered us to think up ideas after ideas.

As we grow nothing really changes for some people, especially creatives and entrepreneurs. Every day, I speak with people who have amazing ideas, they want to be the change that they want to see in the world.

Some ideas are brilliant, solve a real problem, take off and become part of our lives. Other ideas never take and the founder walks away, with a great story, and nothing else to show.

This was the reason, I founded my first startup Squill. Squill focussed on providing quick insights via secondary research methods to entrepreneurs seeking validation around their startup idea.

Squill’s mission was to solve the “Problem Solution Fit”, to really understand if you’re solving a problem people have and importantly, if those people are willing to pay for the proposed solution.

When I think about business ideas, I put them through tests and benchmarks before investing further.

Following influencers on lean principles, Steve Blank & Eric Ries, I like to visualise the different phases they describe within their methods as a pyramid.

I adapted this diagram below from another influencer Sean Ellis.

PROBLEM SOLUTION FIT (‘PSF’)
PSF has a variety of tasks involved to help you get to the next phases of your startup journey, key points are these:

Idea validation —Does this problem have a current solution and if so who is solving it?

Market Discovery — Is there an existing or growing market for this to be viable?

Customer Discovery — Am I solving a real problem people have and are willing to pay for?

IDEA VALIDATION
You’ve had an idea, now what? Google it!

Google certain keywords or phrases “Tinder for dogs” or “Uber for cats”. If nothing comes up, don’t assume it doesn’t exist.

Google is just the beginning of your search. You need to be creative in where you look for information. Analysing failed startups in similar industries will also help you identify useful information.

Exercise:

Write out 5–10 keyword phrases to search. Capture these in a spreadsheet along with the results. You can use this later on in the competitor analysis phase (I write about this phase in an upcoming blog post).

Example:

Tinder for finding a doggie play date (not a bad idea!).

Tools:

Google Search  – do both Australia (.com.au) and (.com).

ProductHunt.com — Existing and active startup database.

AngelList.co — Existing and active startup database.

Google App stores — Android and iOS solutions.

Facebook.com — Looking for community based solutions E.g. Sydney CBD Dog Walking group.

Meetup.com — Looking for community based solutions similar to above.

Autopsy.io — Lessons from failed startups here!

Hint Q — Does a solution currently exist?
Depending on the idea it may not be an app. It could be in the form of a meetup group, a facebook community or even an email signup list. Not every problem needs to be solved via an app or website.

MARKET DISCOVERY
As you delve a little deeper into understanding the landscape of your idea and it’s viability, important questions ensue:

Is there even a market (beyond my friends and family) for this to even exist?
What type of market am I entering? Is it an existing, resegmented, new or a clone market?
This takes us into our next phase…….

Backing it up with cold hard stats
At this stage, I like to paint a picture from widely available secondary information which exists for free, just waiting for you to use it.

Deep down in the layers of ABS data is some pretty useful stuff. However, there are a few other resources I like to use to get a more holistic insight.

Tools:

ABS

Google Scholar

Think with Google

Statista

Startup Muster

and my very own StartFizz.com to find some handy links.

These are just a few of MANY public databases available  (make sure that no matter which search engine you use that the source data is reputable).

The outcome of this is to understand if what you’re about to get yourself into will have longevity or at the least have indicators it’s worth the time and money you’re about to invest.

Are you jumping on a current trend, emerging trend or something not yet discovered by the masses (Startup Level = Elon Musk).

Let’s say for example, I want to build an app which helps university students buy a new car. Some areas you may want to research are:

New car buying trends amongst under 25’s / students
Where are the universities located and what is access to public transport like?
How densely populated are those universities and which university has the highest student attendance?
What are the investment strategies and development plans for public transport?
How far away do university students generally live from their universities?
How much debt do university students have in general?
What are the purchasing and debt trends of millennials?
What are the trends around the automotive industry and are we moving more towards automated transport?
As you can see these questions reflect on many different areas including the target market, car industry, public transport, and debt (geographic, demographic and behavioural).

To conclude this section, there is only so much secondary research you can do before you need to get out there and start gathering primary research. Steve Blank likes to call it “Getting Out Of The Building”.

CUSTOMER DISCOVERY
Once you’re satisfied you have discovered market potential and have some solid research around potential target markets you can start conducting primary research.

There are many ways to gather primary research. I find the most effective is via customer interviews. You can perform this in multiple ways via:

Face to face Q and A or surveys;
Online surveys to relevant communities
There are tools such as Google Consumer Surveys where you can pay a small amount for survey responses. Whatever survey method you use, make sure it is independent, and people aren’t paid for comment.

Make sure your online surveys are targeted to relevant communities which match your initial target persona (E.g. Uni students who drive) and use your survey tools as a lead magnet to capture emails.

You can also try to gain insights from public opinion websites Reddit and Quora. These are free and we all know how much people love sharing their opinions!

8 Tips when performing customer interviews (source thanks to Blog Strategyzer).

Listen with open ears and an open mind and avoid interpreting customer responses too early
Avoid wasting time sharing your opinions, and trying to convince them of your solution
Ask questions to get your customers to share facts and experiences rather than questions which result in opinions.
Ask “why?” frequently
The goal is to learn, not to sell . Don’t ask whether or not somebody would buy your solution or how much they would pay for it
Don’t mention solutions too early
Get permission from your customers to keep their contact information and ask if they’d be willing to let you contact them again in the future
At the end of an interview always ask your customers if they would be willing to make an introduction to people who might find your business useful. Make it easy for them to say yes by offering to write an email or social media intro which can be sent to the contact on your behalf.
Just remember that in the end you are trying to build a business, solve a problem, not create a website or app.

The idea phase is probably one of the most exciting parts of the journey as you want to jump right in and start executing all of your wildest dreams, but it is really important to consider the viability right from the beginning.

About the Author: Kiah Hickson

Kiah is extremely passionate about women in the tech industry, evangelical about widespread access to web development education and brings an end-to-end leadership and execution approach to her projects. Her mission is to lead the charge as a woman in tech, to not only disrupt an industry through bringing a product to life through code, but to disrupt underrepresentation and perceived barriers.

Tech Ready Startup Stories: Meet The Model Who Turned Tech Entrepreneur

 

In this exclusive interview with Taryn Williams (WINK Model Agency and The Right Fit), she talks about the challenges of building tech products as a non-tech founder, the Australian startup ecosystem and what being a CEO / Founder really looks like.

Taryn is one of Australia’s top young female entrepreneurs, named as a Finalist in the 2015 Female Entrepreneur Awards, 2015 B&T Hot 30 under 30 and SmartCompany 30 under 30.

A former model, who founded WINK Models in 2007 with Anthill Online naming the company in its 2015 Australia’s Top 100 coolest companies.

Not content with simply owning one successful technology startup, Taryn saw opportunity to launch a second, theright.fit

Taryn is a regular contributor to SmartCompany and Business Insider and recently spoke on the ‘Women in Tech’ panel at PauseFest (2016).

If you’re interested in starting your tech startup journey. Register for the next Tech Ready Program.

Tech Ready Startup Stories: Meet the Nannies Who Founded a Tech Startup

Alice Pritchard-Davies and Millie Zinner were childhood friends who launched Motherhood – an app which connects mothers in the neighbourhood to help each other with child minding.

These women realised that the world of work has changed and the childcare options have not yet evolved to fit the changing needs. They identified a clear need in the market, mothers need help with child minding and need to earn additional income when they are on maternity leave.

Coming from non tech backgrounds, the girls started building their MVP as a landing page in order to gauge the interest of the community. They were able to validate their idea and capture valuable data while, still building their app. If you want to learn more about building your first MVP, click here.

The Motherhood App provides a strong local support network and gives mothers the freedom and flexibility enjoy a yoga class, continue to run their business or pursue a new hobby, and even do their grocery shopping. All the while knowing their little ones are enjoying a play date.

Tech Ready Startup Stories: Meet the Female Harvard Graduate Who Succeeded in Tech Startups

In this interview, Natasha Prasad talks to Christie Whitehill about how she came up with the idea for a health and fitness app after finding the process of managing multiple fitness classes very inefficient and disjointed.

Natasha’s journey started with investment banking. She studied Economics at Cambridge University, attended Harvard Business School, worked at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street, then moved to Australia to join Atlassian. She also talks about how her early experiences as a product manager, helped her learn the key skills to building a tech startup and why the Tech Ready Program is needed to give women the confidence with starting a tech startup.

Not many startups get acquired before they even launch, however that is exactly what happened in Natasha’s story. Natasha now heads up the Australia region for ClassPass, after they acquired her business FitSessions, in 2015.

This is one super inspiring lady! We’re grateful to have her as a mentor on the Tech Ready Program.

If you’re interested in attending the Tech Ready Program register your interest here. Last spots remaining for June intake!

Tech Ready Startup Stories: Meet the Female Founder Who Has Exclusive Access to Salon Diaries

In this exclusive interview, Christie sits down with Lauren Silvers, founder of the Glamazon app to talk all things beauty and tech.

It was just another day at work and Lauren was desperately trying to land a salon appointment, so she could show up polished for her event that night.

Finally, she found a salon with an open booking and jumped in an Uber to get to her appointment. What if I could see all the salons that had available appointments in my area, just how Uber does for rides? Boom! Ah-ha moment! That was the very thought that launched her business.

Glamazon is a real-time marketplace for beauty appointments. You have the option to book a salon appointment or be pampered in your very own home. Simply select the service you like, pay for the appointment and let the pampering begin!

So how does Lauren have access to all the available salon appointments?

Glamazon’s app technology is integrated with salon software systems, meaning she has exclusive access to salon diaries resulting in a real time experience. The technology behind the product automates everything.

Although it sounds like a breeze, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Lauren.

She spent a lot of time manually collecting data, calling customers to ask for feedback and even visiting salons to view her target market in action. Lauren tested her market and achieved product to market fit before creating the first version of her product. Investing the time in conducting user research, helped her to build a better quality product yet she still ended up building a lot of features, which no one used.

If you want to learn more about how to conduct user interviews, test your market and accelerate your startup journey, register your interest for the Tech Ready Program.

Thank you to Gravity Co-working for the stunning film location!

Learn How Workible Used Customer Insights to Evolve Their Business

We recently got to hear the “Workible” story from the one and only Fiona Anson.

Fiona is a serial entrepreneur who loves innovation and has created multiple successful ventures. Fiona has won Sydney Businesswoman of the Year and was a NSW Finalist for Telstra Businesswoman of the Year. She is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Workible, an innovative mobile and social recruitment platform that makes hiring fast, simple and affordable.

Workible is the largest connected network of job sites in Australia that are all using the same technology and making it easier to find jobs. Workible originally started as a job board and recruitment company. Today, Workible has evolved into a data and HR technology company.

Neither Fiona or Alli had a background in technology or HR for that matter.

So how did they do it?

Fiona and Alli started the business with the goal to make it possible to find flexible work, it’s also how they came up with their clever business name, “Workible.” They wanted to make it easy to find a job that fit an individual’s availability, skills, personality, preferred location, favourite companies, and be customisable to their life. Today we have the flexibility to customise anything and everything, so why should jobs be any different?

At their core Fiona and Alli believe everyone should do what they love. “We love what we do, so we inherently believe everyone should love what they do too” expressed Fiona at our week two workshop. This is the spark that drives the inspired female founders every day.

Early on in their startup journey Fiona and Alli noticed that job seeker applied to countless jobs, without much response. Time and time again they would hear job seekers ask the same question: “How do I get a job if no one will tell me what I need to do to get the job in the first place?”

Since Fiona and Alli started as job seekers themselves, they were wedded to the job seeker problem. Currently, when job seekers apply online they very rarely receive any communications let alone feedback for the applications they submit. Fiona and Alli saw an opportunity to tackle this challenge.

Today, Workible has revolutionised the job seeker’s experience while disrupting their industry. It the only platform of it’s kind to give the job seekers feedback on how they can secure the job of their dreams. Workible conducts a job seeker survey every single year and hones in on the issues that job seekers face.

The result of knowing your customer and interviewing them?

A platform where job seekers know what employers are looking for, timely feedback and suggestions for areas of improvement for future applications.

Currently, the average job seeker applies to 100 different jobs over the course of six months before they find a position. That also means 99 rejections with no feedback. The average time it takes graduates to find a position in their industry upon obtaining a degree is about nine months. For graduates who did work placement as part of their degree Workible found that they found a position four times faster, as they had work-related skills.

Understanding your customer’s problem and being in constant contact ensure you are creating something that they will use. “The next generation of what we do and came about from customer research” stated Fiona as she was taking us through how Workible discovered their customer.

If Fiona and Alli hadn’t started asking job seeker questions, on what their biggest problem was, they wouldn’t be able to make a pivot and built a product that customers wanted. They are the first company that took the time to survey job seekers and ask them how many applications they do and how long it takes them.

After reading multiple job seeker surveys, these female founders knew they had to do something about the current situation.They realised that if they could use logarithms for matching employers and job seekers they could re-engineer it and see where these companies and job seekers didn’t match. Having access to this information meant they were able to provide unsuccessful applicants with valuable feedback on where the gaps were.

By asking the employer’s, really specific information of what they were looking for including skills, experience, personal attributes, qualifications and where applicants had worked meant that Workible could put together an accurate profile of what each company was looking for. Employers also have the ability to shortlist candidates on the platform. This enables Workible to see what applicants have in common as well as trends of what employers are looking for.

This way when a company does employ a person in a certain role, Workible is able to understand what the company is looking for and therefore can provide accurate and timely information to job applicants. As soon as a job is deactivated Workible sends the applicant information on how they compared and suggestions on what they can do next time to put their best foot forward.

What’s next for Workible?

To bring job seekers that information before they even apply!

Meet the Former Atlassian Product Manager Who Turned her “Hobby to Hustle”

Meet Helen, she’s a former Atlassian Product Manager and the founder of Lime Tree Bower, a floral design and event styling studio. She’s also a creative at heart, tech lover, dreamer, sports addict and creator of the EdTech course “Hobby to Hustle.”

As a child, Helen had a life-long creative addiction where she religiously watched Art Attack on TV. This passion for art, craft and design inspired her, to create multiple craft projects. After nearly heading down the path to study fashion design, she instead chose business and foreign languages. While spending a year in Paris during 2009 for a study exchange, she reignited her artistic passions and stepped into her entrepreneurial spirit.

Like Helen we are all diverse and have many layers to discover. She kept following her passions and this they led her to the tech space. The world of product management taught her the importance of understanding the customer journey and getting clear on the target persona. She also learned that being an entrepreneur is about progress over perfection.

“Your product is never going to be perfectly ready to launch. You just need to iterate constantly even after your product is on the market.”

Her top three tips for entrepreneurs who are looking to go from hobby to hustle are:

  1. Fear is one of the biggest obstacles I hear. Don’t let fear get in the way of just starting. Just start!
  2. Don’t feel like you need to get it right from day one. You’ll learn as you make progress, and make mistakes.
  3. When you’re just starting out, don’t spend a fortune getting a website set up or hiring developers – there’s many ways you can build an MVP that’s easy and affordable!

Want to learn more about Helen’s journey of turning her hobby into a thriving business?

Join us on 17 October at Tank Stream Labs where you’ll learn from Helen HungShelley Laslett and Ben Cochrane on how to validate your idea to see if you’re building something that people will buy and how to build the first version of your product. And of course, how to turn your hobby into a hustle.

Click here to grab your ticket now and use the code “SPARKTRW” to get a special Tech Ready Women community rate!