I started Women-Owned Startups on my desk in the lounge room on 01 June 2022. We just finished putting together a software package for startup businesses when I had an overwhelming thought. A software product so easy to use and built for a startup business is one thing but I needed something far deeper than that. I needed to connect founders, build a resource network and give a sense of community. Then it hit me -
It started with a little Facebook post on three women business groups -
That was midday and the three posts across the groups went crraaaayyyyyyy! I thought that if the reception was like that then this must be something women were looking for.
I started an FB Group because you know, FB Group, and I was thinking of a name for it and the post had the name all along "Women-Owned Startups". It explained itself.
I wanted to create a space for women who are at the start of their business journey. That first few moments of uncertainty where each feeling is equally matched with confusion and excitement. Its rawness and its discovery is something I really hold close to my heart. I built a personal styling business on my dining room table with no help and everyday was like the movie Birdbox - I was Sandra Bullock with the responsibilities and I didn't know where the fuck to go! I didn't even know the term "startup" was applicable to other businesses - I thought it was just tech thing. I didn't know a lot about building a business with all the tech things, I just fully trusted myself and had a clear vision of who's lives I wanted to transform.
Community. That was the thing I lacked when I started out. The saddest thing was I didn't even know where to start to ask for help. I just didn't have the resources which also lead me to pay a lot on subscriptions. I solved this problem as well a few years later by building software that accommodates startup businesses, that's another story. Here was my chance to build one so that the next dreamer would have somewhere to go and form connections. In 24 hours there were 150 in the Women-Owned Startups Facebook Group and I was planning the launch for 19 July 2022. It was an adrenaline rush with many beautiful people reaching out wanting to know more about WOS and what my plan was for the community.
I had three things -
Community, Network and Resources.
A community for women in the startup phase of business. A network of women who are in the same boat and who have been sailing for quite sometime and serve as inspiration and motivation. Resources a far as the eye can see which could help another woman anytime, anywhere.
We launched with a Daytime Disco on 19 July 2022 with disco balls and a DJ overlooking Brisbane City. There were 60 women that came along that day and our guest speaker was Beck Davis from Future Females Australia. "Be inspired by your own story" I said that in my thank you speech and I believe that to this day.
Our first CoWork Day was on 16 August 2022 with a full house. It was a good day of chats, laughs and the start of connection. The Facebook group grew by the day and it didn't take long for us to start small events. We had HitGirl in August 2022 a morning of kickboxing, Health & Beauty Startup Popup event at WOS HQ in September 2022. Before closing 2022 we had a Planning Day where we hosted 10 women in Woolloongabba and prepare for 2023. We followed through with International Women's Day in March 2023 - DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. We believed that everyone should have equal opportunity when it came to resources.
Over time the sparks dimmed and the feels in those moments were heartbreaking to say the least. To see something my team and I worked tirelessly on for months started to slow down and not look as exciting as what we wanted it to be. I felt sad and I started feeling I wasn't cut out for something I wanted to be good at.
As the excitement of the CoWork, Mini-Workshops and Features wore off I had to think about new things to engage the community. I needed to sell those seats to recuperate costs every cowork day and it was getting tougher. I made a tough call. I chose to create some space between me and WOS and think of what's next . I love the entire idea and what the network has brought me and my life so I didn't want to give up on it. Featuring women entrepreneurs has always been the highlight for me and I love discovering and listening to them share their journey. Everyone has an incredible story and I am ready to create that space for you.
I am very fucking excited to bring you a dream that I am proud of - welcome to WOS Digital Media!
I have a lineup of incredible women to chat to over the next few weeks and I am excited to hear about their startup and the journeys. These chats would dive deep into their process and their inner dialogues. I want to invite you to come along for a listen and a read as we launch in on 29 January 2024. I also want to invite you to tell your story on our Podcast and be featured on our Digital Magazine.
Below is a form to complete if you want to nominate yourself someone you think I should speak to and feature on our Podcast.
Thank you for giving me space to share my story and how I've pivoted WOS in the last 18 months as I try to stick to my guns. I know that I am not the only one who experience wins and losses at the startup stage. I want to tell you here that it's not the push that helped me, it's the alignment. I had to work on myself to really see what my potential could be and build around where I feel my strongest.
Continue to be inspired by your own story, it might be just something someone wants to hear.
Constantly Dreaming. Never stopped building.
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