Many of our readers provided us with valuable feed back and let us know that they would like to see more stories of what it is like to be a founder of a tech company. How does that happen and what is it like in the trenches? So, to repsond to our audience, we decided to invite a few women of various age groups and backgrounds to share their personal experience on the first steps down the entrepreneurial path. Lots of women are thinking they want to found a company and be an owner. It seems like a viable and even attractive alternative to corporate America. For young women the question is generally something like this: is a path of entrepreneurship better than going into consulting or finance or to business school? For experienced women who are already skilled in a particular field or on their second career, founding a company may be a way to stay engaged, a way to make more money or live out a dream. Being an entrepreneur today at a any age is a personal choice and comes with a full appreciation of your economic and familial circumstances. Most of what is written is about when a company reaches a milestone such as funding or customer traction. The positive stories far over shadow the reality of the thought process and experience of an uncharted territory. Our first guest contributor is Carol Pak, a young woman who wants to be an entrepreneur and is finding her way to do that. We know you’ll get there Carol. Don’t give up the dream to have your own company. Next edition we’ll have a woman founder who is on her second career.
Throughout my college life, I contemplated virtually every career– from a lawyer, to a management consultant, to a fashion buyer, to a psychologist, to a politician, and the list goes on. These short, passionate affairs with these various aspirations all had one thing in common: none were near tech-related. Not only was I tech-illiterate but I had no interest in exhausting resources for what I presumed, were unnecessary ‘improvements,’ when I felt there were more imminent, vital problems at hand.
Ironically though, the ‘app’ boom and permeance of the internet revealed technology as the very solution to many global problems, while also providing opportunity for individuals and stimulating the economy. As I gradually learned to appreciate and embrace this change into the digital era, I realized I could utilize technology to figure out my biggest personal problem: choosing a career. I decided to build a website (no, I cannot write a line of code) and thus began my journey into tech entrepreneurship.
Fast forward one year and I have worked on three ideas with four different teams, networked with hundreds of amazing people, and started a company. I pulled out skills I never knew I had– sales, spreadsheets, recruiting, writing copy–oh, and the countless number of PowerPoint presentations that never saw the light of day. Every day was a mental struggle between the all too necessary, delicate balancing of confidence and doubt, intuition and logic, innovativeness and iteration. Revelation did not come through a share of ‘this is it!’ moments, but rather many ‘this is not it!’ moments that made me pause, panic, and pivot. Many of these moments resulted from an unstable team, game-changing moves from our competitors including unexpected acquisitions by the big monsters (Facebook, Google), and a withering bank account.
It definitely has been hard, building my existence in the realm of tech in which I had no knowledge or connections. There have been many tears, torn relationships, lost time and moments of shame. I wish I could say through all of that, I finally have got some clarity, but I don’t. I do know however, that I do not regret any of my past decisions and I have felt more joy and self-realization along my path as an entrepreneur than I probably could have had I chosen another path. Hopefully in the future, I’ll finally have my ‘this is it’ moment and continue going on full throttle. For all you aspiring entrepreneurs out there, I would advise you to be open: to networking, pivoting and halting. With a good support system (mine includes WIM), the right team, and an undying passion, we will eventually find our way and I’m sure this will all be worth it.