Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hattie Willis, Co-Founder of IfWeRaise, located in London, United Kingdom.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
IfWeRaise acts as an informal advisory board for first-time founders who are statistically less likely to get funded (whether due to race, gender, socioeconomic background, or sexuality). The goal is to improve their access to early advice and capital and help them build the network they need faster. We also help angel investors who want to make funding fairer - matching them with overlooked and underestimated founders who they might be interested in backing to build a real relationship before they're asked for money.
I also have a podcast, Not My First Guess - interviewing entrepreneurs of all stages. They candidly share their hard won lessons and hardest moments, so fellow founders can feel less alone and be inspired by incredible ideas as they execute.
Tell us about yourself
I fell into the world of startups by mistake when I was still studying at university and was lured into a startup with the promise of free brownies and cocktails (it was a mobile gifting company). The startup failed, but I got addicted to the pace of learning and the fact I could have an idea in the morning and be testing it with real customers by the afternoon. Several startups later, I began teaching some of the core skills I'd seen that could increase a founder's chances of success. Now, I'm motivated by how I can help more founders test and grow their ideas faster and how I can reshape the entrepreneurship system to be less biased.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Whenever the advice I give helps a founder find the right path for them - whether that's killing an idea earlier, so they don't waste too much blood, sweat, and tears, or successfully scaling. I love to see how entrepreneurs take small pieces of advice or challenge and execute them a hundredfold.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It can be lonely - sometimes I feel pressure to look like I always have it together, and I don't. But I'm lucky to have a lot of founder friends to speak to when those moments hit.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Unpack the assumptions you're making - both about the idea itself and also about what drives you in this business. Then start to put them to the test as fast as you can, prioritising the speed of learning over feeling like you're "building and progressing" the solution.
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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