Advice for Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals

This week, I attended SaaStr Annual 2018 in San Francisco. Fixters showed up in force with 6 of us joining the 10,000 attendees. And I’m happy to share, despite what I’ve heard about previous years, there were a lot of women in attendance (whew). It is interesting to apply what we heard from companies of all sizes to the house flipping and real estate investment industry. Overall, key themes were: simplify the user experience, give your clients what they want and position yourself to grow before you actually do.

I happily took notes from a handful of sessions with inspiring women — Heidi Bullock, CMO of Engagio, Amy Chang, CEO of Accompany and Michel Feaster, CEO of Usermind — to name a few. Here are 4 takeaways based on the ideas, thoughts and advice from the SaaS-y women of SaaStr.

The Fixters team at SaaStr Annual 2018 in San Francisco, California.Skills Professional Women Need

In the Career Advice from Top Female Leaders in SaaS session, Heidi Bullock and Tracy Eiler, CMO of InsideView shared their advice to anticipate their executive leaders and teams’ needs, to dominate a traditionally male environment. Eiler shared,

“Be an icebreaker. Make other people comfortable, help start necessary conversations and take ownership of the hard projects so that you can enable your team to get their best work done.”

Additionally, all panelists on the Career Advice panel pointed out 2 main skills that women must have:

  • Think Methodically and Back It Up with Data: Megan Heuer, Vice President of Research at Sirius Decisions said, “Be in command of your facts. Know the full story. You may use a 1/10th of the information you’ve gathered, but if you don’t have the facts it’s your own fault.”
  • Be a Self-Starter: I repeatedly heard that women (and all professionals) need to take control of their own destiny. Do research and ask for help from people who have been there and done that.

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While the conference was SaaS focused, this advice applies to women who are beginning their house flipping business as well. All good business plans require forward-thinking and data-driven evidence that the strategy will work. Take control of your plan and do not be afraid to lead conversations at networking events, like REIA meetings or MeetUps, to get the information you need and make your presence in the industry known.

Heidi Bullock, CMO of Engagio, Amy Chang, CEO of Accompany and Michel Feaster, CEO of Usermind.

Take Advice With a Grain of Salt

During the conference, several women shared that they constantly receive unsolicited feedback and advice — both good and bad.

Best advice received:

“Understand your larger business objective.” – Heidi Bullock

“Talk to the customer. Why are they buying? What are their problems?” – Tracy Eiler

“Don’t be afraid of your passion or that you care. Love what you do and show it. – Megan Heuer

Worst advice received by the women of SaaStr:

“You’d be better off marrying a doctor than becoming one,” and “You should be more serious.” – Heidi Bullock

“I was told that I smiled and laughed too much,” and “You need to diamond down. You’re too flashy.” – Tracy Eiler

Overall, the speakers shared that you have to take advice with a grain of salt. Filter it with your personal values and expectations. If you are a woman starting a flipping business, embrace it! Sometimes life can stop us from moving forward, when in fact, there are few barriers stopping your success. Your future properties do not care about gender. Lean into the opportunity and run your business with your own flair!

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Find Partners Who Will Help You Succeed, Faster.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find a mentor that already knows what you are trying to do. If you want to learn to bake a cake, the best way to learn is from a baker who has made hundreds. They can teach you the ingredients you need, the order to add them, what temperature and how long to bake, and how to best serve it.

Similarly, as you begin yourhouse flipping career — you need a trusted partner who can show you real results from real flips. Demand to see examples of completed flips, investment documentation with net sale and net proceeds numbers, and make sure you talk with any potential partner about their process and associated costs for the entire process.

Smooth Scaling: 3 Female Tech CEOs. Lessons on How to Scale Faster, Better and Farther.Plan Your Learning

In Smooth Scaling: 3 Female Tech CEOs. Lessons on How to Scale, powerful women leading PagerDuty, Accompany and Usermind shared some of their secrets to scaled, sustainable growth. One of the most important things I heard from them was not only to never stop learning, but you also need to take control and plan your learning. Amy Chang, CEO of Accompany said it well,When you wake up on Monday morning, you need to decide what you need to learn by Friday. Then, find the people who know what they are doing and ask for help.”

Similarly, plan for house flipping success. Take the time to build a step-by-step plan or take a proven blueprint from an expert who is willing to work with you. You won’t know everything right away, but you’ll learn from your successes and failures as you go.

Across all of the sessions I attended, it was apparent that for women in male-dominated fields a few things remain true, regardless of industry. It is essential to have a well thought out plan, a “team” of coaches and mentors who are cheering for your success, and the courage to put one foot in front of the other to move towards your goal — even if you make a few mistakes along the way.  

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Jennifer Tejada said it best, “You need to burn the first few pancakes before you get them perfectly golden brown.”

Ready to bring your SaaS to house flipping? Connect with a fix and flip expert today to get started on your business plan and learn how Fixters can connect you with education and tools that remove the fear from flipping!