Nicole, Urbaceous CEO & Founder, shares her top 4 tips discovered along the way as a female startup founder.
4 Tips to Be a Successful Woman in Silicon Valley
An industry as turbulent and ambitious as that of Silicon Valley is overwhelming for anyone. For women like me in this male-dominated sector, the day-to-day risk is even more paralyzing. However, despite my challenges, I have learned a thing or two about how to overcome these obstacles. Here are a few tips that have helped me along the way.
1. Learn to fail.
Let’s face it: failure is not on anyone’s list of “Favorite Things to Do.” As women, we seem to naturally gravitate towards people-pleasing—and in our minds, failure is at the opposite end of that spectrum. But in Silicon Valley, where statistics show that many, many more start-ups will perish than succeed, it stands to reason that almost every female entrepreneur will fail at least once, and (even more likely) will fail much more than once. The “fail fast, fail often” motto is embraced here on purpose—because it works. Most original ideas can be fine-tuned or reimagined into a winning concept if given the chance, and oftentimes failure presents the perfect opportunity for taking a deeper look at your product.
2. Don’t be shy.
Though many women tend to be inherently shy about expressing our business ideas and opinions, shyness holds very little worth in Silicon Valley. In the cutthroat tech industry, networking is everything. Many success stories have stemmed from budding entrepreneurs being fostered by eager investors or guiding moguls—and you aren’t going to forge those connections by staying home and daydreaming of “What if…?”
So get out of your office and into the public eye: attend trade shows, join free social clubs, host cocktail parties for tech acquaintances. Hunt for any opportunity where you can spread the word about your idea, stir up interest, and meet potential mentors and investors. Like the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
3. Be confident.
It’s no secret that Silicon Valley is one of the most challenging places for a woman to succeed. However, if we let that daunt us, we’ll never grow the confidence necessary to develop and market our million-dollar ideas.
So how do you secure that confidence? Be proactive. Refine your idea, analyze it from every angle, weigh its pros and cons, memorize every option backwards and forwards. You came up with this genius idea, and nobody is going to understand it better than yourself. Once you’re satisfied with its potential, surround yourself with a team that believes in you and your ideas. Use your innate product knowledge and your team’s collective positivity as incubators for your confidence, and project that strength when presenting your idea to others.
4. Embrace uniqueness.
In an industry loaded with competition, it is imperative you stand out from the pack. As aspiring business-women in a field mastered by men, we already have an advantage in that respect, but our gender alone won’t sufficiently distinguish us. It’s up to our products to make the winning statement.
After refining your vision, narrow the scope even further: What audience are you reaching that nobody else is? How can your product benefit them most? Don’t give into the temptation on overloading your product with a massive array of features; those can come later. Determine your unique client and
remain laser-focused on that client’s specific need and how you can help. Once you configure your product to fit your core client’s need like a glove, then you have an edge over the competition.
Following these tips will take time and, as we all know, practice makes perfect. But, by applying these techniques to conquer the anti-female stigma of the tech world, you will develop a strong, focused product that will help you pave the way to the success of your dreams.