Angel Investor to Female Founders: Lighten Up

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Angel investor Joanne Wilson discusses the differences she has observed in how men and women discuss their businesses — and how female founders can improve.

By Joanne Wilson (Blogger & Angel Investor, Gotham Gal)

I spend a lot of time with women entrepreneurs from board meetings, hearing them pitch and talking about their businesses. I also spend a fair amount of time with men entrepreneurs too.  People frequently ask me what is the difference between the women and men entrepreneurs or is there any.

There are many differences among men and women so it is not surprising that there are many differences among them when it comes to being an entrepreneur.  As I have been observing this a few things happened over the last week which really hit me.

I met with two men who I have recently invested in.  They are not in NYC so we got to meet face to face for the first time on their visit to NYC.  They walked in the room and we had an immediate connection.  We sat and chatted about a variety of things for about two hours.  It was great.  They were both confident, smart and light.  Light meaning that there was no intensity, our conversation had minimal effort.  Fast forward I meet with a CEO of a pretty mature company.  He was also smart, charming and light.  There is zero effort in our conversation.  Both of these conversations were all business but we could have been kicking back and drinking a beer based on the intensity. The banter just flew back and forth.

Those two conversations made me start to think about the many women entrepreneurs I meet and work with who go into offices and talk about their businesses with people they are meeting face to face for the first time.  Women are much more serious, they provide data and information, they are not light.  Of course this is a generalization.  I’d like to see women be more freeflowing.  They would not be sitting around talking about their business unless they were succeeding at what they are doing.  Perhaps it is innate, perhaps it is a lack of inner confidence (aka I built this and I own this and if you don’t like it then fine), perhaps it is the need to prove oneself at every turn. I am not sure what it is and this is just an observation as it doesn’t happen with everyone.

I’ve said before I’d like to see women be a little cockier about the businesses that they have built but I think what I really mean is that I’d like them to take a deep breath and be a little lighter in their approach.  It just makes it easier for the person on the other side of the table to connect.  There is so much banter about men not investing in women and I continue to wonder is it the businesses that women build or is it the approach in the meeting.  Maybe it is a combination of both but more women need to be bold and confident with a spring in their step.  That spring makes people want to have what you are having.  It makes anyone want to come back and chat again.

This post originally appeared on Gotham Girl.

Do you agree that female founders need to lighten up?

125x125_Joanne_WilsonAbout the blogger: Joanne Wilson is an advisor and investor in startups, including Curbed (Eater/Racked), Food52, Red Stamp, Catchafire, DailyWorth, Editd, Ricks Picks, Cacao Pietro, Editions 01, Hot Bread Kitchen, Nest.io, Gotham Gym, The Moon Group and MOUSE. Her most successful venture is being married to her best friend and raising her three kids. Joanne blogs at Gotham Gal. Follow her on Twitter @thegothamgal.