More women should become founders because it means everybody will win. I really believe that.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Doone Roisin.
Doone Roisin is the founder and host of the popular podcast show, Female Startup Club. As a digital marketing expert, Doone has worked for global brands such as Snapchat, IMG and The Iconic — Australia’s largest online retailer. As an entrepreneur, she has launched her own companies, including direct-to-consumer jewellery brand, Kincs, and educational media company Female Startup Club. Having interviewed over 160+ or over 160 of the world’s most exciting (and successful!) female entrepreneurs in the last 12 months, she’s on a global mission to motivate, inspire and advance women-in-progress. She’s your ultimate hype girl.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and create my own definition of success. Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money. , I watched my single mum hustle to raise me — her only child — to put food on the table and give us a happy life together, on a shoestring budget, in the bush. As I got older and found a deeper sense of appreciation to her and my upbringing it wasn’t just about wanting to do my own thing, it became clear clearer that I wanted to do something with purpose, preferably something that impacted women in a positive way.
Over the years I’ve tried my hand at a few different things and Female Startup Club kind of evolved as a side project while I was building my DTC ecommerce jewellery brand, Kincs. Even though the brand was a lot of fun (it took me all over the world from China to Thailand, Indonesia and France!) and super cute, it didn’t feel like it was enough.
Fast forward to November in 2019 I’d started asking my girlfriends in business if I could record quick interviews with them that shared tips, insights and resources and post them on Instagram. But watching a 20 minute video on IG isn’t really a vibe (truth!) and someone suggested I turn it into a podcast. I’d bought femalestartupclub.com randomly a few years prior and thought it could make sense to put it under that URL, and that’s how it all started!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career? Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband. He’s been my biggest cheerleader since the day we met and dedicates time to help me plan, strategize and raise the bar higher when it comes to my career and business on a daily basis. He’s followed me all over the world in my pursuit of success (he even agreed to us moving to Bali with me OR to moving to Bali with me when we moved my production there!) all whilst hustling for his own ventures in entrepreneurship. He really is my shining star and a testament to of the great men who are lifting women up and helping to change the narrative for the greater good.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris has so much to do with Female Startup Club’s story. I love the book — and Tim — and had been devouring it; learning the habits of highly successful people like billionaires and athletes, but I couldn’t shake that women were so grossly underrepresented in the book. And I wanted to hear from them in that same direct, no BS approach. There was some kind of “aha” moment in that.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
I operate by the mantra “stop stopping”. It’s so powerful for how short it is, IMO. If we don’t see success and the results we want right away it’s so easy to give up, but if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other and aim for 1% at a time, the compound effect will be major on reflection. When we look back will be major. It comes up often on the show!
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
The more women I speak to, the more apparent it becomes that women build businesses with people, the planet and profit in mind — not profit above everything else. If we can inspire, and motivate more women to keep going, and stop stopping, we can literally change the world through female founded innovative solutions that are better for the planet and the communities around us.
That aside, we’ve been so proud to support the Malala Fund in their efforts to give 12 years of free, safe, quality education to women and girls around the world. We donate 30 dollars from every sale to help fight for a world where every girl can learn and lead. It’s an initiative I’m very proud to support and something that sits close to my heart.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
What’s crazy is that the statistic is so much worse if it’s female only founders, with something like 2.3% of VC dollars going into female only funded startups. And a very small portion of that goes to WOC female only founders. Yet women are starting small businesses at a rapid rate, more so than men. The difference is that lack of resources and funding that’s often needed a lot of the time to keep going. So I think that it’s more an issue with who’s getting access to VC money vs. what’s holding women back from founding companies.
We need platforms, like Female Startup Club, to continually motivate the women who are in-progress and trying to get their business off the ground and the women who want to take on entrepreneurship but don’t know where to start. By providing inspiration, resources, connection and insights our goal and mission is to positively impact the women who want to be in the driving seat of their life, be their hype girl and drive them towards their own economic success.
Can you share with our readers what you are doing to help empower women to become founders?
On my show, Female Startup Club, I interview some of the world’s most exciting (and successful) entrepreneurs to dig into topics we all want to know about; money and startup capital, how they built their business in the beginning, what’s working for them now, the invaluable resources that helped them in their journey and the struggles and challenges they face everyday. I’ve been told over and over again by these women that they’re happy to share so deeply because they wish there had been was a platform like this when they were starting out. If we can show other women-in-progress that anyone can do it, and that we all start from the same place (an idea!), we can empower women to dream big and think bigger.
This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
More women should become founders because it means everybody will win. I really believe that.
When we crunch the numbers, female founders tend to outperform males in a number of areas. Think: higher revenues, stronger return on investment. But I’m not just talking about the workplace. There are heaps of studies out there to support the idea that female founders will more likely prioritize corporate social responsibility and sustainability over their male counterparts. I get direct confirmation of this three times a week.
A lot of the women I speak to want to get out there in the world and solve problems. Practically all of them have a purpose beyond personal gain. They want to make a lasting impact on the planet and leave it in a better place. How cool is that? I’m a strong believer that the empathy and sensitivity more often linked to feminine energy has the power to move mountains when it comes to creating a better future for us all, and that is why we want to see more female founders in the world. This could be wrong but I feel like you’ve answered the question ‘why women are becoming founders’ opposed to ‘why more women should become founders’ — although the final sentence does round it off nicely, I don’t know if they are expecting something along the lines of: women founder business’ improved performance, the benefit of team diversity, how equality in leaders positions can trickle down to fairer workplace policies and values, that kind of thing.
When I ask women why they do what they do I often hear that they got started because after having children, they realized they needed to take action in making a better world for them when they grow up. They want to get out there in the world and solve problems so their kids will see they tried to make a lasting impact on the planet and leave it in a better place. How cool is that?
The other thing that comes up often is wanting to have the freedom they desire when it comes to lifestyle design. Being able to choose what their days look like, spend more time with their kids and family and shaping their life as they please rather than being shaped by say, corporate America.
Women should become founders to put themselves and their families first, be it either in a lifestyle business where they can choose what life looks like, or by working towards the exit that will set them up for life.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share 5 things that can be done or should be done to help empower more women to become founders? If you can, please share an example or story for each.
Encourage the women in your network who want to start a business or are hustling to grow a business. Offer support, offer words of encouragement, share podcast episodes that might help them, buy their products, like their posts on social media, tell other people about what they’re up to. Be generous in terms of support and help set them up for success. Running a business is really tough and can be a lonely journey., It takes a lot to make it work and the people around you can make a big difference when it comes to your mental health and frame of mind.
- Connect the dots:
Network and connections go a long way in business., If you can connect the dots between a founder who needs help and someone who can answer questions or simply share part of their story — it can make a significant difference (something along those lines — avoid doubling on ‘it goes a long way’ it goes a long way. When I first started Female Startup Club’s podcast I asked all the people in my life if they knew anyone who might be interested in being on the show or could connect me to other female founders they knew, and it really gave me a leg up to get the ball rolling.
Sometimes you won’t have people in your life that totally understand what you’re doing, won’t offer you the encouragement you need, or won’t have any dots to connect. Find communities that do get it and can help you make your idea a reality. Join private groups online or go to meet-ups, find your tribe in these communities who will lift you up and understand the journey that you’re on. And if you don’t know of any, start one!
- Amplifying voices and stories through media:When it comes to the media and the narrative we see online, it’s important to keep amplifying the voices of women and of women of colour. Right now we’re seeing so much cancel culture of prominent female figures, more than what we see for male counterparts. It’s sad (and terrifying) to watch this play out online and see how disproportionately affected women are — still — are in today’s world. Journalists, reporters and media companies need to do better.
- Female VCs:
One of the key steps to getting more female only founded companies investment, is to have more female VCs. We need to continually work towards evening the playing field so that more VC dollars are going into building female founded companies.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Media: changing the narrative in today’s movies and tv shows to include female founders as the lead characters, or girls starting side hustles in the local neighborhood type thing. Movies like Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, are really special and we need more of that.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Serena Williams! I’ve been watching her grow into the wildly successful entrepreneur she is today for many years and think she’s BRILLIANT! I’d love to chat about the habits and lessons she’s brought from her tennis career through to entrepreneurship.
And Tim Ferris. FSC all started with him. It would be cool to bring it full circle.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Instagram and Tiktok @dooneroisin
FSC IG and Tiktok @femalestartupclub
And the podcast, of course! https://www.femalestartupclub.com/podcast
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.