YEC Women share their answers for how to find fellow women entrepreneurs to meet.
By Natalie MacNeil (Co-Founder, YEC Women)
The following answers are provided by YEC Women. Co-Founded by Natalie MacNeil and Scott Gerber, YEC Women is an initiative of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
Q: What’s one tip for connecting with other founders, especially other female founders, in your community?
Here are 8 answers and tips from YEC Women:
“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 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
This post was contributed by the The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award winning Producer at the digital media company she co-founded, Imaginarius. She passionately works to get more women into business in her role as Co-Founder of YEC Women with Scott Gerber and through her blog, She Takes on the World. Natalie is frequently quoted and interviewed in the media discussing entrepreneurship, personal branding for women, and new media. Follow her on Twitter at @nataliemacneil.