10 Things I Have Learned Being A Woman Working In A Menswear Wearable Technology Startup

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Founder Friday Mexico City host Linda Franco shares her story of starting up and learning from her entrepreneurial experiences.

By Linda Franco (Co-Founder, MACHINA)

There is a lot I wish to tell and don’t know even where to start. I studied marketing and strategic design and always knew I wanted to be into marketing. My obsession for fashion and introduction to technology happened a little later. By the time I turned 20, I co-founded The Gyzu Experiment, a web design development firm, and Plan de Escape, a project where I taught male inmates in a prison for violent crimes about fashion, marketing and trends.

This was quite a challenge for me as a woman and a great personal experience. The project culminated as a fashion brand with a catwalk inside prison, demonstrating to media and outsiders that rehabilitation can happen if it is done in a correct way. The workshops were possible because of the money I earned at The Gyzu Experiment. The workshops were a path to rehabilitation for theinmates.

After combining technology and fashion, I went on to co-found MACHINA and we received seed capital from Telefónica Móvil. MACHINA entered the Wayra academy last November as Wayra’s first generation in Mexico City. MACHINA has been part of Campus Party Brazil, TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, IXEL MODA Cartagena Colombia, an International Free Software congress, Wired UK, Tedx and Decoded Fashion London.

Today, I am 25 years old and I have learned so much along the way!

Here are the 10 things that have impacted my life the most as an entrepreneur so far…

Lesson 1 – “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

I often bumped into people who thought my work and projects were a joke. It was always because of my age – “you are too young with no experience” they would say, or “That is not a real job.”

The most important thing here is to believe in an idea, stick by it and make it happen!

Lesson 2 – “Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.” – Thomas J. Watson

A very good friend of mine (also an entrepreneur) recently told me, “As an entrepreneur it is difficult to have true friends and this happens because they can’t live with your way of life, the success or the failures, it is something that they won’t understand unless they live from it.”

Good friends will be there for you during your success and failures and will push you to do better!

Lesson 3 – “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

If you fear of failure you will never even know if you made it, you have to try! And if you fail it’s OK to fail!

You shall do better the next time and will never live a life going around saying “what if….”

Lesson 4 – “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

Things don’t just happen because they should be, you have to make them happen.

I once read a book that said, just because you’re an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean you get to go on vacations whenever you want to. It doesn’t mean you get to sleep in.

“Time is money”. Time slips like water for the entrepreneur. The discipline to work hard, fulfill deadlines and grow must be made from you!

Lesson 5 – “Action speaks louder than words.” – Mark Twain

I have worked with many people and I have heard all sorts of promises and flattery – of which 90% turn out to be a complete fail.

Actions, actions, actions!! Instead of talking, just do it and prove it!

Lesson 6 – “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” – John C. Maxwell

It is very difficult for me to accept my mistakes. Something I have learned and truly cherished from my boyfriend is to forgive, admit and try to do a better job the next time!

Because of mistakes I have made in the past, I have made better decisions today.

Lesson 7 – “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

A company, a project, a homework, a sport, a relationship (any kind of relationship) can’t happen if you stick by it and work with it as a team. It is proved that society united as one can make great accomplishments.

If you have a great team, you can make ANYTHING happen! Team members are essential to any kind of startup.

Lesson 8 – “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are asking, What’s in it for me?” – Brian Tracy

Along the years, I have met all sorts of people and one the best satisfactions is to help someone and watch them grow because of you.

Many people have helped me in my startup life and all this resumes to one thing – that if we help one another, all we will do is create more and better opportunities for all of us!

Lesson 9 – “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln

Troubles will always be around the corner and trust me, this happens for happy moments too. Don’t go all chaotic over the tomorrow or about what happened yesterday. The moment is right here, right now.

Cross the bridge when you get to it, not when you’re a thousand miles away.

Lesson 10 – The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree, but to hold hands.

I have worked for the past 4 years with my boyfriend. It has been such a challenge! It is one the most intensive and angry moments of my career as an entrepreneur but oh I have so much fulfillment in return.

To stick together no matter what storm comes and be on the same side, there is nothing more pleasing than that. Separating our personal lives from work has been a massive defiance which takes patience, practice and love.

Women 2.0 readers: Which lesson learned resonates with you? Let us know in the comments.

About the guest blogger: Linda Franco is the co-founder of MACHINA, a wearable technology fashion brand. Linda studied marketing and strategic design in Centro University in Mexico City. She co-founded The Gyzu Experiment, a web design and development firm, and Plan de Escape, a project where male inmates in a prison for violent crimes where taught about fashion, marketing, and trends. The project culminated in a fashion brand owned by the inmates that can be used as a path to rehabilitation when leaving prison. Follow her on Twitter at @LindaLFranco.