Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jordana Blackman, Founder of Chicks Who Ride Bikes, located in Unley, Australia.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Chicks Who Ride Bikes (CWRB) is a global community of women connected through bike riding. Our mobile app is an innovative way for women to find ride buddies, events, information, and resources - no matter their level or location. Our customers are people who identify as female or non-binary. Between work commitments, family responsibilities, and trying to keep a semblance of normal social activities, it isn't easy to carve out a bit of "me time." CWRB helps women find fun, fitness, and friendship on two wheels - even supporting complete beginners through engaging and interactive resources designed to educate and inspire.
Tell us about yourself
I started CWRB after moving to Brisbane in 2013 as a way of making friends in a new city. I had learned to ride a bike the year before to participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer as a way to give something back to the hospital I was treated for Melanoma in 2011. While training, I found there wasn't a huge amount of support or a network for women who wanted to ride recreationally; (most clubs and groups are focused on competitive environments).
What gets me out of bed... Well, CWRB exists to make sure that every woman feels like she can have a great time on her bike – without fear of judgment of being the slowest or of not fitting in. By experiencing the freedom and exhilaration that riding bikes gives women, and by sharing that experience with women in their communities, CWRB is proving that a strong sense of self and identity is the most important thing, a woman can have.
By equipping women with a sense of self-confidence, introducing them to like-minded women in their communities to share their experiences with, and teaching them mechanical maintenance skills to look after their bikes, women become inspired to be active and independent.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Accomplishments come in all shapes and sizes when you're a business owner! For me, the most memorable accomplishment was the first time I saw someone I didn't know wearing my merchandise. It was such an awesome feeling. For a long time, I felt as though I was really a 'friends and family business, trying to promote it through my personal network... so to really see it had grown beyond that first layer of people around me was special.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I'm sure everyone's journey is different, but for me, it's balancing the hustle with life balance. Even as I sit here and type this, my husband is fast asleep, and I still have things to do on the computer. But because I'm a solo business owner, if I don't do it - no one will.
Some days will be harder than others, but keeping motivated while not getting burned out has been the hardest part for me. Having a strong network of self-employed women to talk to helps keep things in perspective.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
There are so many tips to share, but honestly, some things are best learned yourself in your own time. The below three are the absolutely essential ones IMHO:
- Don't skip on the foundational work. To make something a business and not just a hobby that you enjoy in your spare time, you have to make sure you are fulfilling a need / solving a problem with a product and/or service. Keep asking yourself: "Who will buy this, and why?"
- Outsource non-revenue generating and time-consuming tasks as early as you can. Being a solo business owner, burnout is a real thing that can sneak up on you quickly. Also, it's easy to spend way too much time distracting yourself with admin and not focusing on growing and running your business.
- Get comfortable promoting yourself and your business. If you can't introduce yourself at a networking event and be proud to describe your product or service when someone asks what you do, it's a problem. No one is going to knock on doors and pound the pavements for you to promote your business. Be your own best ambassador.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
CWRB is the first product of its kind to be launched, especially for women focusing on overcoming the typical barriers women face when getting into cycling.
Check out the CWRB App on your favorite app store, and download it for FREE:
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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