Welcome to the Spark Show! In this episode, we talked to Doone Roisin. She is the founder and host of the popular podcast show, Female Startup Club. She's a digital marketing expert and has worked for brands such as Snapchat, IMG, and an iconic Australian large online retailer. She's an entrepreneur and launched her own jewelry brand, Kincs, and education on the media side of the Female Startup Club. Thank you so much for being on the Spark Show.
We discussed the three struggles when starting a brand, how to set yourself up for success, and your network is your net worth.
"We are always evolving, and we are always growing. A lot of the time, I'm talking to my listeners on DNS, or I've just started hosting these Zoom chats where we get on and I just find out a little bit about them and where they are on that journey. And there are three things that stand out to me as the key kind of struggles."
'One is, and this comes up a lot, the sense of loneliness when you're starting a company, or you're starting a brand. But you don't know anyone in your network who knows anything about entrepreneurship, or you don't have a family that's cheerleading you on to do it."
"And you've got to deal with this sense of being in this world, all alone, trying to figure it out. And that lack of love, network, and community, and you get this feeling of being isolated. And obviously discovering different podcast shows or different communities that can help you and lift you up and empower you are really, really key, especially in those beginning phases where you're trying to find your confidence, and you're trying to find your feet."
'The second one that I hear is the money piece of the puzzle, it takes money to get started, you do need some capital there. And maybe you're someone who is developing a beauty brand. And you're lucky enough to be able to formulate that new kitchen and make it yourself but nine times out of 10 it's going to be something that maybe it requires $30,000 or maybe it requires $300,000 and you've got to figure out how to get that money."
"And you've got to understand what the different options are outside of venture capital dollars. And we all know the statistics, women-only founders get less than 2% of VC money. Women of Color get even less than .5%, disgusting! So you've got to figure this out. And this is where women struggle to be like how am I actually going to come up with the money, I have this idea that I want to do it but I don't know how to do that."
"And the third thing is, and it's a really obvious answer is how to find your customers and how to actually market your brand, especially in the beginning, when you don't have big budgets. And when you haven't proven the concept yet."
"So the Female Startup Club is this conversation, its Founder stories, who are sharing how they got through all of those hurdles, especially in the early days. And it's providing people the sense of, she did it, I can do it too. And you know, after interviewing more than 160 women now, what you find is that everyone starts from the same place. And that's the place of having an idea. And then what happens is you become a problem solver, and you solve the problems and you find your feet."
"And so the Female Startup Club is just sharing those stories and making you feel like, hey, I can do it, too. She did it. That's the problem that I'm facing now. But she's telling me how she fixed it. She's giving me the toolkit and giving me those tactics and those insights and those tips to go away and implement into my own business and take it from there."
"We publish three times a week, and it really is a lot, it takes up a lot of time, it is a really big commitment. As I'm sure you know because you produce a lot of content yourself. How I stay consistent is a few different ways."
"One, when I committed to the goal, in the very beginning, I didn't commit to the podcast, and YouTube and all the other things that can go with it, I committed to just the podcast. So I started one step at a time. And it's only in the last month that I actually started introducing YouTube because I like to commit to one thing, nail it, and then stack the next thing on top."
"I don't like trying every single thing and then failing at every single thing. I'm a one at a time kind of gal. And commit to that one thing. So I set my goal. And I kind of set three because I wanted to get 100 within the year. And we were already in April. So that was the math. Okay, well, it's gonna be three times a week. And that's what we're gonna do. So I set the goal, and I was realistic about doing one channel and doing it really well. And I like setting myself up for success."
"The second thing I did, which I would recommend to anyone who's just starting out, especially with a podcast, but this would apply to any other channel is I actually pitched for sponsors in the beginning before I had any traction. And I got really lucky with my sponsor, which is Klaviyo, I'm sure you've heard of them. They are the leading email marketing provider for e-commerce, small businesses, and large businesses, any size business. I got really lucky that they were also looking to support female entrepreneurs, they were looking to speak to small business owners, and we were really aligned on the mission and the purpose."
"But by getting them as my sponsor, I had to be accountable to them, I had to show up, there's a contract in place, they're paying me money, I have to do this. It's not just on me anymore, I have to show up for the listeners. And I'm saying, hey, I'm gonna be in your ears three times a week, which is super intimate."
"And it's such a big thing for people to commit to listening to you. So if that's what you're saying, you've got to stick with that. And then if you have a sponsor, you also have to stick with that, like there's no turning back. So that's one thing that I did in the beginning, I was able to hold myself accountable because I had a sponsor, who really believed in me and I wanted to have a really great partnership with them."
"And the third thing that I did to set myself up for success was things like my systems and my processes. So I made sure I had a really clear workflow and someone who is creative, that's all the stuff that I struggle with. I struggle with admin, I struggle with an Excel spreadsheet."
"So I made the time and I asked people who knew better than me to help me with a workflow to help me set up my documents and my processes and these things that aren't my cup of tea so that I could work really easily. Get into a rhythm and get into a groove and be able to succeed. And in the beginning, my husband was teaching himself how to edit my episodes and trying to do it himself and taking four hours to edit a half an hour thing."
"So pretty soon after that, we were like, okay, we need to actually build up the team, we need to set ourselves up to be able to do it three times a week. So that meant obviously hiring an editor to manage all the audio and who now manages a lot more than that. But putting things into place so that it's not in shambles. And you're able to show up every day, open up your workflow and your documents and everything and just get to work on what you're really good at, and spend less of the time on the stuff that you're not good at."
"My advice would be to listen to the Female Startup Club. I am totally biased, obviously. But the show is actually really, really cool. And the people coming on the show are so brilliant. But that aside, I have two things."
"If you're just getting started, the first thing I would do, regardless of whether you have a network or not already, I would build your network. So you can be someone that knows no one in entrepreneurship, but you can create that network."
"And what I mean by that is you can go on Facebook groups in your local community, you can go on those websites, like Meetup.com, which is one that hosts events all the time, you can say yes to every networking, marketing, business entrepreneurship event that you can go to in your local town or your local city, and try and meet people that way."
"You can also do cold outreach to hundreds of people on LinkedIn, hundreds of people on Instagram and just ask them for advice. How did they get started? Would they have a coffee with you? Would they hop on a Zoom? Nine times out of 10? Well, not nine times out of 10. Maybe you get ghosted or you get a lot of No’s, but you'll also get a lot of Yes’s. And you have to approach it with thick skin."
"Entrepreneurship is a lot of No’s. That's the reality, but it's a numbers game. If you just create a goal for yourself, like, hey, I'm gonna reach out to 300 people, I can guarantee there are going to be people that say Yes to and you will start to build your network. You can also ask friends, for friends of friends, contacts, or introductions or a family member, if they are in a business, would they have a coffee with you, it doesn't need to be in the same industry, it just needs to be a chat."
"So I would work on building your network. Because once you fall into these communities and start mingling with founders that are in a similar space as you and are there to empower you and lift you up, you're going to be able to go to those people and follow the breadcrumbs to move forward in building your business."
"The second thing I would do if you're just getting started and you have an idea is to make sure you do significant customer research. So a lot of times people will be like, yeah, I started this business, but I kept it to myself, I didn't ask anyone if this was, wanted or needed, or if this was a problem worth solving."
"And a lot of the times what I find on the show is that people tell me, hey, I interviewed 200 people to make sure that there was a demand and other people wanted, other people had the problem that I was trying to solve for myself or whatever it is. And then those people become your focus group."
"And those 200 people become the people who are bought in from the very beginning about what you're doing, they want to see you succeed because they want you to solve the problem that they're also facing. And what also happens in that exercise is oftentimes things will come up that you had never considered. And you didn't realize it was also a problem for this group of people. And you're able to shape your brand and your brand story and your product to what these people actually want."
"So yeah, those are the two things that I would recommend, really focus on your network and building people around you who are going to lift you up, keep you going, hold you accountable. Cheerlead yo, be the hype girl, and do customer research to make sure that people actually want what you're trying to do. And make sure that you know what the problem is."
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