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DAY NINE – SEPTEMBER 3RD, 2013

Erin Hopmann

How are you feeling about the project?
Good. I love that people continue to come out of the woodwork in support of what we’re doing.

What’s the plan?
Our plan is shaping up, as we’re more structure around how we want to move forward in testing the concept that is a combination of “potentially highest impact” and “potentially lowest hanging fruit.” As aforementioned, we can’t move mountains given where we are resource-wise. So a pivot of the greatest degree, if it requires lots of resources, is pretty much off the table.

“Potentially” being a key word in the phrases above because anything we do will still be a gamble. We’re vetting the idea right now with people – advisors, teachers, and students. But we know that we just need to MOVE FORWARD with something… and soon. Expect to see change next week. And please hold me to that.

How has being a woman affected your experience as an entrepreneur?
This question was raised by a female reader who’s also an entrepreneur. In general, I try not to focus too much on my gender. I know I’m a minority in the start-up world, but instead of viewing this as a disadvantage, I try to focus on the benefits (e.g., having access to funds that make it their mission to support women entrepreneurs). I feel a lot of support by people who I think go out of their way to make sure we as women feel encouraged.

But I also think as women, we should discuss some of the issues we face – and not just brush them under the rug (30 Days of Honesty for women entrepreneurs?). It’s a balance, though. I’m not interested in joining a handful of women-only organizations (though yes, the support of having women peers is a good thing). I believe it’s more important to focus on the universal challenges and opportunities we as entrepreneurs – men or women – face.

That said, I have definitely felt uncomfortable in rooms full of men, where the feeling is more of an old boys club. I’ve left places feeling more self-aware of my gender than I probably should. And I do wonder: has my gender affected our ability to fundraise? Does the combination of my age and gender scream “baby-making years ahead! back away!”, whether consciously or sub-consciously?

** As I re-read my answer to this question, I realize the “buts” and “thoughs” are actually indicative of how it is to be a woman entrepreneur: it’s a complicated issue. Most days I don’t give it any thought. But when asked to shed light on the experience, I fumble and go back and forth in my own mind. Anyone care to share their experiences?

DAY NINE – SEPTEMBER 3RD, 2013

Jess Lybeck

How are you feeling about the project?
I feel like the first week was a blur. With 1/3 of the project almost done, it makes me take a step back and evaluate what we really want to accomplish. There’s always a flurry of ideas at the beginning of every project. It’s time to see the dust settle, the new inputs minimized and our focus lasered in on taking action.

What’s the plan?
I had two phone calls with teachers today, I have 6 calls scheduled for tomorrow to discuss what it looks like if we raised fees / changed the way Dabble does business. So far, the feedback has been tentative but positive.

Erin & I talked today about what it might mean to our customers to change things. We might end up losing some teachers & some students. But would we end up with a smaller, more passionate base of people who love Dabble even more? A sustainable business model that we can not only work on but see grow? Or will we shoot Dabble in the foot?

Reminds me of the 80/20 rule; otherwise known as the Pareto’s Principle. In essence, 20% of what we’re doing with Dabble is creating 80% of the results. Is it worth focusing only on that 20% and risking pissing off the other 80%? If we can deliver a great experience for teachers / students and be a sustainable business on the other side, I’d say yes.

How has being a woman affected your experience as an entrepreneur?
I never really think about it, actually. When I see a room full of entrepreneurs, I don’t really choose to see men or women. I see other people that are in the same boat, face the same challenges and are working towards the same things – getting better at what they do every day. I’m not sure we need to divide things into gender buckets.

Sure, it can be more open & inviting to speak with other female entrepreneurs. There’s a time and a place for that. I think it’s especially helpful when you start to talk about having kids, finding work/life balance and dealing with your own internal debates about what’s “good” and “successful”. Men don’t have to deal with these internal conflicts as much.

 

We plan on answering different questions every day. Submit a question you’d like answered by emailing 30daysofhonesty (at) dabble.co.

Photo by Krysta Ann Portraits

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45 responses to “Day Nine”

  1. Natalie says:

    Not related to Dabble specifically, but I like the last bit of what Jess said, “Men don’t have to deal with these internal conflicts as much.” I think this needs to be a hotter topic in our society. Why women face these sorts of internal conflicts when men really aren’t shouldn’t be something that gets swept under the rug, and I’m glad to hear you talking about it!! There are far more internal conflicts for women in the workplace than there are for men, and there need to be further conversations on this matter, this issue isn’t acknowledged enough. Keep up the honesty, it’s inspiring 🙂

  2. Rob says:

    I think you got this backwards. You focus on the 80% and risk pissing off the other 20%. No big deal, easy decision. It’s how car companies work…with deciding what to put into their different models and versions.

    Wish you two the best – love your idea behind Dabble.

  3. Joseph says:

    “Men don’t have to deal with these internal conflicts as much.”

    Oh yes we do!! 🙂

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