What It's Like To Be A Female Founder

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January 5, 2024

What is it like being a female founder in a post-COVID business landscape, trying to raise venture capital while also trying to raise your kids? 

Jean Smart is the founder and CEO of Penelope, a venture-backed 401(k) platform that's focused on serving the five million American micro and small businesses. 

Those of us who have worked for a small company will know what a struggle setting up a 401(k) can be. And so, at the height of COVID, Jean gave up her salaried career as a Wall Street exec working in financial services to found Penelope and help folk (like her immigrant parents) invest in their retirement. 

Like most business owners who work for themselves, the '9 to 5' quickly becomes a '6 to 6'. Compromises need to be made about who you spend your time with outside of work and how you break down the goals you are trying to achieve into a manageable maths problem of time best spent. 

There's a self-confidence and self-esteem that Jean exemplifies as she has come into her own as a female founder, unafraid to raise venture capital, make big decisions, not dwell on her mistakes, and create impact with her business. 

This inspiring episode provides valuable insight into the mindset we need to run our own businesses while still running our own lives. Please join us. 

 "If everything's been easy, then starting a company's really hard. But if you've already been doing hard things, then you got this." ~ Jean Smart 

In This Episode:

  • What's it like being a female founder?
  • What's been the most surprising aspect of the job?
  • Learning not to dwell on your mistakes as a business owner
  • The advantages of being a female founder
  • Jean's advice on how to secure VC funding 
  • Reducing your goals to a manageable maths problem
  • What are the keys to Jean's success?

Let's collaborate.