We talk a lot about entrepreneurship, and for good reason—so many of our comrades are venturing into the working-for-themselves arena. For those beginning that journey, we caught up with Pamela Newenham, co-founder and co-CEO of GirlCrew, a social networking platform for women to make new friends. GirlCrew has more than 100,000 members across 50 cities worldwide, including New York, Philadelphia and Orlando. Here’s what Pamela had to say about launching her business from the bottom up.
The Benefits of Having Your Own Business
Pamela believes there are a lot of benefits running a business, such as being your own boss, having flexible hours, creating your own schedule and the opportunity to make more money. “People say work is called work for a reason, because its not fun! However, it can be, if you’re doing something you are really passionate about and believe in. Running your own business allows you to control your destiny, and make your vision visible.”
5 Easy Tips to Help You Set Up Your Own Business Now
- Find an idea. Pamela says you don’t need to come up with the idea yourself—you can find someone else who has a great idea and team up with them. “I really wanted to run my own business, but I couldn’t come up with any brilliant ideas. I had lots of ideas but wasn’t passionate about any of them. Thankfully, I met Elva Carri, and realized GirlCrew was something that excited me, and an excellent idea. So, I asked her could I come on board as a co-founder.”
- Network lots. “No one who runs a business knows everything,” says Pamela. “Even if you have previously run a business, you will likely come up against things you haven’t experiences before.” She says networking helps build contacts, which are important for everything from marketing your business to hiring to support and advice. “I do the accounts for our business, as well as payroll, employment contracts, fundraising and legal contracts—all things I have never done before. Thankfully, I have met people through networking who have been able to give me advice and support on how to do all these things.”
- Shout about what you do. “It might seem obvious, but it’s really important to promote yourself and your business constantly,” Pamela says. She comments that a lot of women she meets at networking events only tell her their name, whereas men she meets will tell her their name, job title and company they work for. “I will always say I run a social network for women to make new friends called GirlCrew. It makes it easier to build connections and get a conversation flowing. It makes it easy for people to ask follow-up questions. People can only ever help you if they know how, and they need to know what you do for them to know how.”
- Stay positive. Pamela says founders and business owners experience a lot of rejections, but that it’s important to not let them get you down. “We have raised funding from investors,” she says. “Raising money was not an easy process. We had people say no. It was difficult as they would give different reasons each time. One investor would say no because we didn’t have a certain thing in place. We would put that in place, and then another investor would say no because we had it. Some investors wanted us to focus on growth, while others were more interested in revenue and profits. We learned that you can’t please everyone, so you must follow the right strategy for you, and you must keep going despite the rejections.”
- Get an advisor. Pamela says advisors are particularly important for areas you aren’t experienced in. “My co-founders and I wanted to build an app, but none of us knew how to code,” she says. “We knew we had to hire developers but wouldn’t have been able to tell if the developers were any good or not, as we didn’t know what good code looked like. We brought on a tech advisor with lots of development and engineering experience, who was able to help us in this regard.”
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