I was sitting in my office. My dream had come true. I was running my own company. It was never easy to switch from a 9 to 5 job to become my boss.
I will talk through some of the challenges; I faced as a woman in this journey:
Building the Authority
Initially, in my early days, I was a bit nervous. When I met clients in their offices or they came over. I always rehearsed in front of the mirror. “Hi, I am Jean Wilson, CEO of JW Technologies.”
I practiced doing firm shake hands. Sometimes, some people use to shake a hand aggressively. This changed over time when my confidence level increased.
With time, people listened to me, gave me importance. They used to ring my secretary, to get time to meet me.
Getting Social Support
I sat with my neighbors, my friends to stay connected and get support from them. We helped each other in difficult times.
When I was busy in the meetings, in the evenings, I used to ring Joe. She used to go to my home. She used to take care of my baby boy, John.
I used to also go to their homes in case they had an appointment in the hospitals. The main idea was to extend the hand in case of difficult times.
In the early days, I remember, I used to get phone calls, from my colleagues, about any instant approvals.
My husband George used to get upset. I used to get emails notification in the middle of a party. It was tough to handle my company and my family.
I started to make to-do lists on my mobile phone. Everything started to become, easy and I was able to manage it well.
Quest for Mentors
I used to get stuck in making choices for suppliers. I started searching for successful entrepreneurs on LinkedIn. It was easy to connect with them. They gave me time for the meeting on Zoom.
It widened my horizons; I learned key skills of procurement. I was able to negotiate great deals with my creditors.
It is worth point to mention that everyone is an expert in their field. So I learned that it was necessary to check the conditionals before asking for help.
Access To Capital
I faced great difficulty in finding and get the capital for my business idea. Most of the angel investors asked me about the workability of the idea. I was even asked about the forecasts, of my company, in the next three years.
Unfortunately, it’s a dominant male society where men support men. I worked in detail about the numbers. Many were convinced but reluctant to pool funds for me because I was a woman.
I never gave up on it. I even met other venture capitalists, as well. My hard work paid off. Some showed keenness to invest in my company. It was the happiest moment in my life. After few days, they called me up, and we signed the deal.
Staying up to the mark
My weekend was spent on the kindle. It contained downloaded best books to read for starting a business. I had learned about successful business owners’ lives. They shared the mistakes they made in the early years.
It was a great deal of learning. I was going through tough times in the initial 1 year. Each page of it gave me hope, provided me with the attitude to keep going.
Furthermore, I incurred a loss in the first 3 months. I made every effort to take it to the next level.
My husband George, my friends, had faith in me. I sat with my team; we made a plan to bring our company out of this crisis.
Things started to change; my company was able to secure more contracts. I stayed late-night with my team to execute it.
I threw a party at the end of the first year when we delivered our project on time. My husband George, my son John, our clients, we’re all happy at our success.
I even remember when people laughed at me when I told them about starting a new company. It was never easy to break the glass ceiling and head a team, which had men.
It is a journey of self believes, coming out of one’s comfort zone to achieve success.