Danae Ringelmann knows that it’s harder for women. “In venture capital,” she reminds us, “only 3% of businesses have a woman on their executive team. Meanwhile, on Indiegogo, 47% of campaigns that reach funding target are run by women.” Here’s her best advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs, but it applies to anyone just starting out.
1. Don’t Wait for Perfect
It’ll never come. An entrepreneur is someone who simply starts by taking one step, gets feedback, learns, and takes another one. She then repeats this pattern over and over again; which is called progress. Action defines entrepreneurs, not ideas.
2. Know Your “Why”
Allow yourself to be obsessed with the problem you’re solving, not your solution. Clarity of purpose guides you to your ultimate solve and protects you in the often long journey to get there.
3. Think Big
If the problem you’re solving doesn’t feel close to impossible to overcome, you’re not thinking big enough. Meaningful change only happens when no one sees it coming, except you.
4. Expect No, Say Yes
My father always told me: “The world likes to say ‘no.’ It doesn’t like change, as it has incredible inertia. It can’t help itself. So don’t judge the world. Accept that ‘no’ is all it knows. And then know it’s your job as an entrepreneur to keep saying ‘yes,’ until the world is better off for it.”
5. Detach, But Don’t Disassociate
You are not your business, and your business is not you. But your business needs your purest attention for nourishment, just as you need your business to remind you that nourishment comes from detachment without dissociation.
6. Be Authentic
Own your strengths, and bring on partners whose strengths complement your weaknesses. Spend time observing, rather than changing yourself. The ROI of being you is endless.
Danae Ringelmann is the co-founder of Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform. Headquartered in San Francisco, its goal is to empower anyone with an idea to be able to raise enough funds to bring it to fruition. Nine million people from around the world visit the site monthly.
This article also appeared in the October 2014 issue of Mindful magazine.