In response to this challenge, I created the Female Founder Concierge and Toolkit, designed to help women learn all the things they need to know to build and grow a healthy, sustainable and ethical online business.
During my career, I’ve carried out thousands of hours of interviews and research for clients. I’ve gotten to understand human behaviour and seen first hand the challenges that are faced. When you test a product with the people who will use it, you see the problems businesses think they need solve are the right ones.
In one such test, I saw two women, on separate days who had an almost identical problem. They covered it very well with subtle changes in their language, but their body language didn’t lie. They were computer illiterate. The had no idea how to use a mouse or what a web browser meant. They knew how to use their smartphone, but not a computer.
In another role, I worked with a very intelligent, and very senior woman, who didn’t have a background in web development and didn’t know if what she was being told about a web project was accurate.
I hear with my eyes as much as my ears. I listen to comments in Facebook groups, or on Instagram. I ask questions and I’m surprised by the answers. Women, in general, don’t know as much about tech as they could, or if they’re running a business, should.
I realised there was an opportunity to talk tech with them, in a language they could understand. Not the jargon-laden, and often mansplaining way they might be used to.
It’s something I learned very early in my career, if you explain complex things using metaphors people will understand, they will work with you, rather than against you.
Rather than just create a content platform I decided that I wanted to use the skills I’ve got and be a bit more hands-on.
I’m not saying this was an easy thing to work out, it’s taken me 18 months and a fair amount of failure along the way. The course I tried to pre-sell that didn’t get a single bite. Or being so unclear about what I wanted to achieve that I found it hard to talk about what I do.
Conversations with women helped me shape what I wanted to achieve.
My initial product offering is the Female Founder Concierge and Toolkit. Both of these will be developed using the 22 years of skills and expertise I’ve amassed. Mixing tech support, web and experience design, user research and information architecture.
The Concierge will initially offer 4 bespoke products that are a mix of consulting and coaching with a focus on helping women carry out research, choose the right software products for their business and hands-on advice about web & tech.
The Toolkit aims to be like a Swiss army knife of web and tech for female founders. The things you really need to know to build and grow a healthy, sustainable and ethical online business.
My long-term goal is to create a social enterprise that helps women in smaller communities who would traditionally have little in the way of opportunity to gain web and tech skills.
Having grown up in the county town of Somerset, I know first hand what it’s like to live in a town that has little in the way of opportunity for young women.
I am incredibly intelligent, but at school, it was suggested I should focus on getting a secretarial qualification at the local tech college. It was never suggested that I should try something in technology.
Had I known what a rich vibrant world working in web and technology could be, I would have jumped at the chance to pick this as a career.
In short, there is a gap between what young women know about the rich variety of careers there is in web & technology or using those skills, and those opting to learn them.
Imagine what a different world we could live in if more women chose a career working with web or tech.