Event Recap: The Future Is Female Conference, hosted by The New Savvy
As a female founder both new to entrepreneurship and not being as financially literate as I should be, The New Savvy’s ‘The Future Is Female’ Conference in Hong Kong came at the perfect time. I was so honoured to moderate a panel with five inspiring entrepreneurs, who shared with the audience insights that they’ve gained during their personal entrepreneurial journeys. I’ve recapped six essential tips for running a business from the panel “How To Drive Your Way To Success”.
Olive Lee is the founder and CEO of FeloSophie, a female empowerment movement that promotes health and wellness with offline events, as well as a website selling activewear that that celebrates women at all stages of life. Olive suggests that the myth of entrepreneurship can overshadow the hard work it really takes to run a business. “People may think that the entrepreneurial life is glamorous but the hard work is sometimes not apparent,” she says. “From finding the right brand collaborations to staff resigning, you need to be a problem solver. At any one time there may be a hundred fires to fight, and Olive believes a calm head can get you through these situations. “Think about the options and move forward rather than drilling down into the reason something happened,’ she says. “Being calm can lead to quicker solutions, but it isn’t easy to stay cool.”
Jaslyn Koh, is the founder of the Busy Women Project and Brocnbells.com, designed for busy and health conscious people to lead their most fulfilled lives, with an emphasis on mental and emotional health and physical well-being. Jaslyn emphasised that an entrepreneurial journey comes with both great wins and terrible losses, but relying on yourself and great mentors can help you bounce back. “I learned resilience and bravery from my business partner,” says Jaclyn. “It’s important to acknowledge that challenges will come your way, you will often be out of your comfort zone and you may not always be successful. If you know this going in, you can more easily reframe crises as bumps in the road.”
Leave Your Ego Behind
Maura Thompson is the co-founder of Sassy Media Group which houses the Sassy and Sassy Mama brands, online digital platforms that focus on lifestyle in Asia. Maura suggests that founders can potentially hinder their company’s success by always needing to have the last word. “We are now at the point with the Sassy brands where we have a wonderful team, and I have the opportunity to step back and not be involved at every stage,” she says. “It’s great to have people who have better ideas than you, but only if you don’t have a strong ego about it all.”
Coco Tan is the founder and director of The Raw Circus. Coco believes there needs to be a difference between your offer and your competitors in the market to be successful. “You need to be clear in your vision,” says Coco. “We knew we wanted to make lunch hours more interesting and bring energy to people.” Coco lives by her mission and values, as a breast cancer survivor who rejected traditional therapies to develop a vegan and raw diet as a cure. Now with The Raw Circus, the first raw vegan meal subscription service in Hong Kong, she wants to change the way busy people are eating.
Tricia Yap, is the founder of Warrior Academy, which merges fitness, nutrition and martial arts together. She also is the director of fitness at Goji Studios. With three different startup ventures under her belt, Tricia believes that courage comes from listening to your inner voice. “As many people as there will be supporting you, there will be people who will say ‘hey, that’s not going to work’,” she says. “Trust your own instincts and gut and be prepared to stand up for yourself.” Tricia knows that bravery also includes embracing failure if and when it comes. “There are things that you a going to do that won’t work,” Tricia confirms. “But don’t get stuck in your head about it and beat yourself up. You might launch something that is a complete disaster, but you have to cut your losses and move on.” Tricia knows that agility is key. “Think quick on your feet and adapt.”
Build A Community
Wannabe entrepreneurs often keep their ideas close to their chest, fearful that someone might steal them before they get the chance to try. However these lifestyle entrepreneurs all found that community and collaboration helped to grow their businesses. “Ask questions and find someone who has knowledge about something you don’t,” Maura advises. “It’s OK that you don’t know everything that is ahead of you, and seeking out people who can help you will be a good use of your time.” “Know that you don’t have to be good at everything,” Jaslyn agrees. “I like to include people who are better than me in certain aspects.” Jaslyn also thinks that sharing why you are starting a project opens many more opportunities to strengthen your idea. “The aim is to convince people that what you are doing is going to make an impact,” she says. “When they see your enthusiasm, they’ll be encouraged to share in return.”
“I see a lot of women in the Busy Women Project trying to be everything to themselves and all people, the definition of a ‘multi-hyphenate’.” Jaslyn explains. “It’s actually a simple question to think about: ‘what matters to you?’. Are we mindlessly busy, or are we putting value and effort in things that are important to us?” Tricia agrees. “You need to prioritise and focus on what is important at that moment. You can only run that sprint for a certain amount of time. With anything - your health, your business and your career it is a marathon not a sprint.” Maura summarised the panellists feelings by adding: “Everyone is different and everyone has different priorities. No one is right or wrong. Make the decision for yourself, but you can ask for support from those around you.”
Tricia shared a short exercise to help with prioritisation - try it for yourself!
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