On the 26th of January, Micky and Linky of Minite were invited to hold a workshop for Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. They shared tips and tricks alongside their personal experience, and helped the participants reflect on current challenges and possible unconscious biases that prevail in society.
When asked what percentage of US startup venture capital in 2019 went to women, participants’ answers ranged from 20-50%. The actual answer is a mere 2.8% (even that was a record amount!) Statistics clearly highlight that the challenge is real, but there are various ways in which everyone can position themselves better in the market.
Participants were then grouped and asked to share views on what unconscious things happen when women pitch an idea or speak their mind. Both men and women discussed their personal experiences.
When asked “Do you play to win - or to not lose?” most attendees didn’t notice how big the difference is between the two perspectives. Micky highlights instead that “playing to win” stands for an empowered feeling, a positive, optimistic outlook, a winner, meanwhile “playing to not lose” represents risk averseness. The two sides are represented by Promotion and Prevention questions. An example is:
How do you plan to monetize this? Vs How long will it take you to break even?
Many startups that don’t get funded are often asked preventional rather than promotional questions (of course more factors are at play here). The trick is to turn prevention questions into promotional answers. Example: answer the prevention question of “How long will it take you to break even?” with: “Are you asking me for my plans to generate profit? I'd love to tell you more about how we can break even fast with our monetization plan and how we will continue to grow from there.” With this answer you're taking ownership of the question, showing confidence while still answering the question and even taking it beyond answering alone: you’re ending on a high. This is your mic drop opportunity.
In the second breakout room, participants were asked to reflect on what they thought were the unconscious things women do that might influence the gender pay gap.
Imposter Syndrome is when people think that what they know and can do, everyone else can and knows as well, tricking them into thinking their knowledge is not unique. At the same time people think other people know more than them, leading them to not feel worthy of the position or the promotion.
The truth is that what you know only slightly overlaps with what other people know. Your skills, knowledge and experiences combined make you unique and valuable. When applying for jobs or programs, people with imposter syndrome tend to apply only once they tick every single box, whereas those that don’t suffer from imposter syndrome simply apply even when they only tick 75% of the boxes.
The key to overcoming risks is to change the way you think about risk. Micky and Linky took a big risk when they left their comfortable corporate jobs to create Minite. But where most people associate risk with “danger, scary, potential failure, what if it goes wrong,” they challenged the participants to turn it around and think about all the things that can go right. If you ask them what they think when hearing the word “risk”, they say “risk is excitement, opportunity, impact, growth, standing for something.” These are all positive associations.
They talked about finding your “why,” explaining that if your why is strong enough, it will obliterate every potential risk associated with it. Understanding your why (What makes you get out of the bed every morning? Why are you willing to take this risk? What impact will you make with it?) helps you see the bigger picture.
Key learnings from this workshop were being able to recognize, address and overcome challenging questions and turn them into positive, winning situations. It is important to know your self-worth and take calculated risks. Don’t undermine your capabilities because of the false perception you may have of yourself and others. And remember, risk is not scary, it’s an exciting opportunity to learn and grow!
If you're a student considering entrepreneurship, you can start with babysteps by becoming a freelancer with Minite.
If you want to book Micky and Linky for a speaking engagement please fill out the contact form below.
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