Q & A with Entrepreneur in Residence Christie Whitehill
Leader, mother, board member and entrepreneur, Christie Whitehill, is the visionary behind Tech Ready Women and has certainly come up against many of the common challenges women face in business. Christie is the current Freelancing Gem’s Entrepreneur in Residence and has taken the time to answer your hard hitting business questions. Everything from her top time management tips, to gaining the confidence to get started and raising capital.
You’re an entrepreneur, board member, mentor and mother, how do you fit it all in, in a day? Please share your time management tips!
Throughout the week I make sure I have days when I don’t have any meetings. I only book meetings 1 – 2 days a week, so I can work on the strategy and day to day stuff so I don’t fall behind. I also ensure that my meetings are no more than 15 minutes. I have so much help from people around me, my husband is my number 1 supporter and I am very fortunate to have a nanny. I also have an amazing team at work and have recently hired an Executive Assistant one day a week. I definitely have days where things are falling apart and some days where everything comes together, it’s not always perfect and that’s okay.
What are the most important tips to getting started? I’m struggling with the confidence to go out on my own.
My number one step is to build your self-confidence. You want to make sure you’ve validated your idea, once you have validated your idea it’ll provide you with more confidence, it’ll tell you to either go ahead with that idea or to stop and do something else.
I would suggest speaking to potential customers, ensuring the product or service is really solving their problem and that they’d be willing to pay for it. Tech Ready Women is a great place to start! We have applications open at the moment, if you have an idea for a start-up I recommend starting there.
You’ve supported over 1000 women in business with your own online mentoring and training program. What motivated you to start Tech Ready Women?
I started Tech Ready Women in 2017, after I had the idea in 2016 when I fell pregnant with my son. I was running a business called Hatching Lab where we built technology solutions for start-ups and corporates.
I’d been in the industry for six years and had a lot of women reach out to me. So using my experience and my network I designed a program that supported women entering and building a tech startup. I had found there was nothing really supporting the early stage founders, especially women, so I was motivated to help solve that problem and luckily it did.
What are your top tips for raising capital?
First round is from your friends and family, close network, that’s where you’re typically going to be able to raise the easiest capital.
Once you’re getting outside that circle and you’re looking at Angel investors or Venture Capital firms, you want to ensure you have traction in terms of revenue. You’ll need to show that you’re growing, that you’ve got some great runs on the board, that you’ve built a great team, and that you have a scalable business model. With all of that said, it can still be challenging.
I always suggest going for investors that get your industry as well, no point pitching to people who you have to educate. Educate yourself – if you haven’t raised capital before, make sure you are across building financial models or you understand the business model side. Or bring someone on that does. It’s all about numbers and team.
Who do you admire most in business?
Anybody that takes a leap to start a business. Being an entrepreneur is a very tough job and can be very rewarding. I take my hat off to anyone that is getting out there and solving problems and helping people, which is what business is all about. I don’t have a specific role model, I draw from everybody, especially all the ladies in the Tech Ready Women program.
Christie is on board as our Entrepreneur in Residence for the month of June so if you’re a Ruby or Emerald Freelancing Gems member be sure to submit your burning business questions.
Not a member? Here’s why it’s the perfect time to join now.