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Here’s how 5 ShePreneurs in Indonesia turn setbacks into launching their company

There are only 24 hours in a day, pick your fight. Shepreneurs is what people envision of a superwoman. She has it all – a career, family, and a work-life balance—Even though we know this is almost impossible. But add another variable of culture, things get more complicated. In Indonesia, speaking up and challenging the […]

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There are only 24 hours in a day, pick your fight.

Shepreneurs is what people envision of a superwoman. She has it all – a career, family, and a work-life balance—Even though we know this is almost impossible. But add another variable of culture, things get more complicated. In Indonesia, speaking up and challenging the norm for women is still rare. The typical cultural norm prevalent today is that women don’t have to be too highly educated in life because they will most likely get married and be a stay-home mom.

Interestingly, Indonesia has seen growth in female-lead businesses. Out of 60 million small-medium enterprises, about 14 million were founded by women. Contribution to this industry is about nine percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

These Indonesian female entrepreneurs transformed their fears into starting a business that helps the future generation of females in tech.

We have spoken with a few Indonesian women about their experiences starting a business. Here’s how ShePreneurs turn setbacks into comebacks.

What setback in life led you to launch this company?

All entrepreneurs face fear and doubt. Personal fears are what motivate these ShePreneurs to start building something true to themselves. For Eva Ditasari, the co-founder of a podcast app company, Inspigo, coming back to Indonesia after living in the U.S for over 12 years, was shocking. “I was shocked when learning about the disparity of professional quality. This made me scared of my children’s future.” 

For Grace Natalia from love, health, and beauty eCommerce AsmaraKu, found her entrepreneurial drive from the embarrassment of buying contraceptives at one of the offline stores in the mall for a friend’s bachelorette party. At that time, she experienced firsthand the embarrassment and judging look from the store assistant when making a purchase. 

“Choose where you stand and be okay with it. There are only 24 hours in a day, pick your fight. You are equally awesome, no matter what you decide on your journey to be.”

Grace Natalia.

A parallel experience drove Hanifa Ambadar to launch the first beauty website in 2005 turned into a comprehensive beauty ecosystem. “My partner and I decided to come back to Indonesia in 2008 after both of us finished our Master’s degree in the States. I was also raising our family. Technically, I was unemployed for three years. I felt hopeless. I knew then that I had to start something fast. And continue growing whatever it was that I started when I’m back home,” said Hanifa Ambadar, now CEO and founder of Female Daily Network
On the other hand, fear of a competitor is what Houzcall founder Priescilia Chairil, who is building an on-demand beauty and massage service, made survived. “In the year that we launched Houzcall,  the biggest super app company in the country launched a similar service. Our bootstrap company must be nimble if it is to survive from the first decacorn technology company in Indonesia.”

Overcoming the difficulties of scaling a  business

Starting a business is hard, but it’s another challenge to scale it. Hanifa Ambadar said, “Scaling with our earlier advertising business model was tough because our cash flow was only enough to cover operating expenses. After we received investment from angel investors and venture capitals, then we have room to breathe.”


The small ways ShePreneurs have been able to reframe a negative mindset during challenging times.

Negative thoughts are prevalent. It’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and uncertainty when building your vision. Trying to get back towards hope comes from small ways we use to reframe our minds when negativity takes over. The shared secret is to find a support system, preferably who are on a similar path.

“Knowing who you really are, your values, and the legacy you want to live behind. When your personal and professional lives are aligned, everything will be much more enjoyable.”

Hanifa Ambadar.

Nadine Siregar from Generation Girl – a non-profit organization that teaches young girls how to code and get into STEM degree, mentioned how a strong community quieted naysayers and instead created a place where she safely bounces ideas. 

Having a separate folder dedicated to positive feedback or comments helps keep Eva Ditasari moving. While enjoying the process of and tackling goals one-by-one is what keeps Hanifa Ambadar true to her mission of empowering Indonesian women. Priescilia Chairil mentioned,  “I try to repeat my family’s encouraging words in my mind.  I come from a family where the majority of women are entrepreneurs. Even my 83-year-old grandmother is still running her catering business.” 

Your business starts with you.

“Knowing who you really are, your values, and the legacy you want to live behind. When your personal and professional lives are aligned, everything will be much more enjoyable,” said Hanifa Ambadar.

Eva Ditasari shared, “Less debating with yourself but more on reconfirming your doubt with the world. Get more perspective by sharing your doubts with others. It’s the fastest way to regain your confidence back.” 

Some inspirational advice offered by Grace Natalia. “Choose where you stand and be okay with it. There are only 24 hours in a day, pick your fight. You are equally awesome, no matter what you decide on your journey to be.”

 

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