Of the 600+ women who have participated in ReBoot Accel career reentry programs, one-third are interested in being their own bosses. To meet this opportunity, we are developing an entrepreneur track, with advisement from Singari Seshadri, Director of Stanford Venture Studios, to support women who are intent on starting a unicorn, lifestyle, sole proprietor, freelance, or consulting business as their return-to-work path.
Recently we gathered a group of current and future entrepreneurs so we could listen and learn what they need to be successful during their next stage. Here are some top takeaways.
The topics we brought in…
We had some hypothesis about what content would be important to include in our curriculum. It included:
- What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
- How can I utilize design thinking to vet and prototype ideas?
- What is a business model canvas?
- What are best practices re budget building and cashflow management?
- How do I assess and access the right financing and/or investors for my mission and business model?
- How do I attract and build the right team?
- What functions can I outsource?
- How do I market to, engage and acquire customers on a bootstrap budget?
- What are the most effective pitch practices and how do I develop mine?
The lessons we left with…
In addition to the topics above, we quickly realized the importance of the following:
Our stories connect us. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we can sometimes prioritize task over team. One attendee called us out on this and said, “Hey! I want to hear these women’s stories!” So we gave each their 10 second pitch opp., were humbled and astonished at the talent and ideas in the room, and the night and networking were all the more fruitful for it. Thanks Amy.
Community is critical. There are very few folks interested in lone wolf adventures. We are at an age and stage that recognizes we need one another to bounce ideas off of, learn from, give back, and collaborate with to flourish and have fun.
Prioritize pitch training. One woman pointed out that pitch training needs to be placed right up front in the curriculum. From the moment we are in play with a business idea, we need to get the word out and be ready to pitch friends and family, former colleagues, school and civic contacts, potential investors and more. Early in the game, one never knows where the right funding or alliances will be found and formed. Be ready to be surprised.
This isn’t a hobby. These women are serious about building sustainable businesses that contribute economic value and social good to the world. In fact, half said social impact is core to their startup mission.
There are folks cheering us on. Several people RSVP’d for the event simply because they have a passion to help women succeed in business and reach positions of power, influence, and personal satisfaction. Thank you.
Self care is important from the get-go. Ambitious women pursuing second stage careers are leading multi-dimensional lives, with others who depend on them. There is a keen interest in thriving through, not just surviving, their new venture.
We aren’t afraid to admit what we don’t know. We just want to get on with it, learn it, and apply it. We find this is one of the most exhilarating aspects of working with seasoned women returning to work. Once they get their growth mindset going, and have taken a few failure bows, they’re fearless, determined, and unstoppable.
We are ready to get started. We hypothesized summer might not be the best time to start a series of entrepreneur workshops. We were wrong. These women are in process and ready to move forward. So we will too.
Are you interested in starting a business during your next stage? Want more information about ReBoot Accel’s upcoming programs? Please let us know here. We would like to help.