The last few years have been remarkable for the technology startup ecosystem. The industry is booming, bringing into its fray sectors like education, healthcare and finance, and women are emerging as key enablers of the game. We are claiming our sky and leading many such startups, be it in eCommerce or consumer tech. It is no surprise that finally, the world is witnessing the true potential of women power. However, as we know, startups are grueling and being leaders, we have enormous pressure. Over this, being women, we carry the weight of judgments and disparity. In the past 7 years since I found my startup, I have faced and overcome many situations that other women-tech entrepreneurs would also be facing at the moment. So, without sounding pedantic, I would like to share what I have learnt as a woman in my entrepreneurial journey so that it may help other women in similar positions or the ones leaning towards making this decision:
Get your reasons right for choosing entrepreneurship
When one, man or woman, chooses to go down the entrepreneurial route, it has to be a decision that’s objectively thought through, and not made because it is the cool thing to do. Transitioning from a professional role or a student role to an entrepreneur, needs you to have done your spadework. What exactly are you planning to do and how solid and viable is your proposed venture. Hustle it, do a pilot, try to make sure you have something going before you choose to begin. If passion is driving you, you will find success, sooner or later, but be sure that its passion and not the drive to make money or show off.
You are not competing with men
Before anyone else, we as women must believe in ourselves and in our abilities. Technology is not just a man's domain anymore. Our job is not to prove to the world that we are better than men at anything but to put forward our best selves and grow with opportunities. The world will get the point when your venture turns successful.
In today’s time and age, when we preach to children that gender doesn’t define them, we must first believe and practice this ourselves.
Globally, there are few women leaders in technology and in India, even fewer. As a result,we see very few role models for young women wanting to dive into tech entrepreneurship. For women who say that they need validation, it is about time we get up and realize we don’t have to ask for validation, we are leaders and we should trust it. This confidence is important and will help women entrepreneurs take charge of their companies and their lives. At the end, the success or failure of your dreams will be detrimental for you and all those who believed you.
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
Collaboration is important. While we can resolve all the issues and do much more ourselves, we don’t have to do it all alone. In fact, a key trait of successful entrepreneurs is one who surrounds herself with smarter people who can do the job better and get it done in less time or more efficiently. Take the time to network with like-minded people—people who are supportive of your venture, and you, and who will not drown you in their own negativity and doubts. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to work with people who echo your passion and conviction.
Work life balance has become the stale, oft-repeated management term thrown at professionals as a solution for everything, from workplace stress and anxiety to accumulation of weeks of unpaid leave. Personally, I believe it is better to chase a life that makes us happy, rather than justify to society that we have a work-life balance. In the Indian context, keeping family happy and keeping self-happy for women takes a lot of work, and women have to decide that they are allowed to do things for themselves in order to live the life they want to live.