Question: What's one tip for connecting with other founders, especially other female founders, in your community?
Question by: Ashley
Don't Be Afraid to Share
"It's okay to share about topics unrelated to work with other women founders. I think a lot of female business owners don't get as much time to hang out with their girlfriends as they'd like, so it's always wonderful to meet another female founder that wants to talk about travel, clothes, and relationships -- as well as work!"
Be Generous and Genuine
"Be generous when building connection with women founders. If there is someone whose work you admire, email to let her know. Highlight a specific aspect of what she's doing that has impacted you positively. Be genuine about how you might support her mission. Suggest a way she might be able to connect with you, such as a link to a social media account. Follow through by sharing her message."
Join Your Local Rotary Club
"Larger professional organizations offer fantastic networking opportunities, but if you want to go local, join a rotary club in your area. These groups are populated by business owners from your neighborhood, and their meetings and service programs will allow you the opportunity to make mutually-beneficial business connections."
Networking Through Multitasking
"I find female founders to be especially busy. Therefore, finding ways to creatively multitask is a great tip for connecting with female founder. Make your networking event productive for connecting as well as working. For example, consider getting together for a workout or grabbing lunch. Rather than pull a founder away from an already hectic schedule, find ways to network within the schedule."
Thank Them With Actions
"Many entrepreneurs want to help each other out. If someone you admire is generously taking their time to give you advice, thank them with actions. You would be surprised how thankful people are by just offering how you can help them. Suggestions: tweet about something you learned from them, or provide a great recommendation on LinkedIn or AngelList."
Leave the House (or the Office)
"I work with a distributed team, from my home office. I can go days without leaving the house, making it very hard to meet other entrepreneurs. Any of us doing well are in the same boat: we can always find something to do in the office, but if we schedule time away from our desks, there are a lot more opportunities to connect. Put it on the calendar on a regular basis and then find someone to meet."
Ask for Introductions
"I've found that the best way to connect with other founders is through a personal introduction. This ideally happens at an event where someone who knows both of you orchestrates the meeting. But a connection by email also works well. Busy people's openness to you multiplies when you come well recommended."
Build Relationships Online
"I've found it really easy to meet people online, because they're searchable and you can find out more about them on your own time. Once you've found another founder, you can connect with them on social media, and then ask to meet in person to take the relationship into the real world."
Seek and Speak
"Seek out women in business organizations through Femfessionals, NAWBO, Women's Power Networking, and ClubCorp and offer to speak at one of their events. You can speak about what you are an expert in and also share your business. It is one of the fastest ways to connect with a large amount of female founders, and they are more than happy to support your business, mentor you or share clientele."
Attend Local Events
"Check out the list of local events at your community’s business networking group(s) and research meetups in your area for female entrepreneurs. You can also head to Twitter to connect with people who organize the events and follow hashtags to keep up with the schedule."
Join Local Incubators
"Incubators and coworking environments are specifically designed to support the successful development of entrepreneurs. These two platforms provide an invaluable opportunity for women entrepreneurs to network with like-minded female peers in their communities."
Use Your Network
"Like attracts like. I talk to the people in my network about who they’ve been meeting with, and ask for suggestions for who I should connect with. Other entrepreneurs and female founders are a great way to meet more people who understand what you’re going through. I also find that angels, VC’s, and other collaborators in the tech community are great at putting the right people together."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.