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Pandemic or not, don’t quit your job, and you can still build business: Kate Hancock

How are women entrepreneurs coping amid a worldwide pandemic? What’s happening to their small or medium businesses? Has work-from-home taken a toll on their mental health?

Last time, I was asking questions about our habits and choices that may have led to the pandemic, which prompted me to interview a climate change activist. This time, being a freelancer and a newbie in entrepreneurship, I kept thinking about women entrepreneurs and how are they seeing this pandemic? 

By now, I am really comfortable talking about the pandemic. I am not trying to distract myself or dwelling in ‘let’s talk something else while we pass time in lockdowns’ zone anymore. What inspired me recently is a podcast on women entrepreneurship and how despite recession, this podcast remains an affirmation of human triumph amid crisis. 

The podcaster happens to be famous so I wasn’t really sure if she would agree for an interview. I slipped into her DM nevertheless, and after two days, she said YES! 

Meet Kate Hancock. She is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and international speaker who was born and raised on the small island of Camiguin, Philippines. She started her first company with $20 and she made it to Inc’s 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America twice. She has been featured in over 40+ publications including Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Business Rockstars, Forbes, Inc, and Asian Journal.

She is currently running a massively successful podcast called Inspired By Her and dedicates her life in helping out women around the world. This podcast, as I found out later, has been rated as Top #146 Entrepreneurship Podcast in the US, #54 in Australia, #12 in Taiwan, #22 in Austria and #36 in the Philippines. 

Excerpts of the interview. 

Q: 1] How does one’s background – country, neighbourhood, etc play a role in shaping their future careers?

Kate: I think where you grow up and how you grow up can make the world of a difference. I grew up poor in the Philippines on a very small island. I had to work at a very early age in the family business because it was the only way we could survive. We did not have access to much but reading magazines of what else was in the world inspired me to want more. This all helped shape my work ethic and desire to succeed. On the flip side it also made me look less at fear since I started with nothing meaning if I fail I just go back to where I was.

Q: 2] How exactly did you build your business from $20 to among 5,000 Inc fastest growing private companies? What were the main choices/factors that led to this kind of growth? How many years did it take to reach there?

Kate: I was working at Costco and had a lot of downtime. In that time I realized how to find the clearance items. I started posting those items on Amazon and all of a sudden it started to sell. My $20 investment was buying the shipping supplies I needed to sell that first item. Within a few weeks I was buying pallets worth of items. Within 18 months I hit over a million dollars in revenue and expanded to selling across more platforms online. From there I opened a spa and eventually a resort brand. In the beginning I kept my cost extremely low and made sure to not overspend. However I realized in order to grow you need to hire and give some of your responsibility to others where many other founders have a hard time with. Being able to delegate tasks is important as your time is very limited. I made a lot of mistakes and had many failures but you need to take that and learn. One of the most impactful steps was getting mentors and surrounding myself with people that are smarter and more successful than I am.

Entrepreneur and podcaster Kate Hancock

Q 3: How long have you been podcasting? Can you share why you started it and how has it helped women around the world? 

Kate: I started podcasting from April 1st 2020 but it was something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I have a large network and friendship with some of the most amazing women in the world. I wanted to share their knowledge knowing that it would help thousands if not millions of other women. I do live candid recorded conversations without edit so you can really learn about the ups and downs from their lives. Plus you get to hear sincerity and emotions while gaining real life tips they can use to grow or start their business.

Q 4:What are the key factors for women entrepreneurs to make it big from what they have?

Kate: Imposter syndrome is very common among women. We are preprogrammed to doubt ourselves or be cautious about sounding braggy. We need to smash this glass ceiling and accept it is ok to talk about your success. It is ok to want to grow your business or want to have revenue in the millions or billions. We as women can make the most amazing leaders. Many women think people first and want to make sure they are happy more so than men. We hear this a lot from some of the most successful female entrepreneurs we interview where they thought about their people and business growth vs business growth and your people last. A very crucial factor is – don’t quit your day job. I kept working while building my business until it supplemented my income. Plus my corporate job taught me about leadership, training and sales that benefited from my own business.

I took away a lot from this interview, I hope you did too. Do check out her podcast for more such business and personal learning. 

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