My company, Vastari, is growing. We are a women-led online service that acts as a conduit for various exhibition collaborators to connect more efficiently. Our organization has been facilitating more transactions than ever before: more museums log in every month and more collectors are trusting us with information about their collections. We even facilitated exhibitions at shopping malls, casinos, and a cinema in 2018.
And despite all of that success, I am still constantly worried about our growth and whether it will be sustainable. There is a healthy amount of anxiety with running any burgeoning company. Every move seems important and every decision is critical; it's almost always make-or-break. Above and beyond the average responsibilities of running a company, we are also incredibly passionate about delivering a return for our clients, our partners and our investors… It is already a lot to deliver.
But there is something else coming over me the last few months, and I am wondering if this is just me being paranoid or if there may be an element of truth to it. Just writing this down feels like giving into paranoia, rather than soldiering on. I just feel this immense need to speak up.
What I am paranoid about, at the moment, is whether our growing company is getting stereotyped out of further growth. I started writing this article in late 2018, after a particular meeting made me think that we were being kept out of the loop of critical conversations within our industry.
I have decided to finish writing this piece and publish it officially, because of a recent article about the British VC scene that confirmed my suspicions. This article revealed that for every pound invested in venture capital last year only a single pence went to entirely women-led startups. 10 pence went to mixed gender groups, while the remaining 89 pence went to all-male startups. Not only are women given less money, but they are also afforded fewer opportunities; 61% of funds did not consider any all-female teams at investment committee meetings.
With women-led VCs being so few and far between, it's no wonder we are all getting put into a box. The box of businesses unlikely to scale, that will likely remain a certain size forever, or that will never reach unicorn status. None of us are being pushed to achieve the full potential of our businesses, and it is simply because there was no precedent for VCs (although it's starting to change).
Vastari is preparing for a big investment round later this year to drive growth in our current work with contracts, data science and third-party referrals. It is a really exciting proposition, and I can see what a valuable resource we have been building for years to come. But I constantly feel like I might need some men in the meeting room for people to take us seriously. Should we be inviting our male advisory-board member for things to progress more effectively? I often wonder if people would think differently about a proposal I put forward if we were two male co-founders.
And yet all of this only makes me more determined to succeed. I am not paranoid; the numbers prove that the odds are, in fact, stacked against us. There are definitely greater barriers to growth we face compared to a team of male co-founders. But I am truly confident that our data will guide the way.
We have the numbers to prove how big our addressable market is and how our growth methodology (ethical, moral and democratic) has been effective. We have an incredibly supportive group of (male and female) investors who are there to help us battle our way to success. Female-led businesses may be fighting an uphill battle, but being a part of the 1% that has attracted investment does feel pretty damn special.
It will help you to live a happier, purpose-driven life.
Living a holistically wealthy lifestyle is one of the keys to living a happy, meaningful, purpose-driven life. When I wrote my new book Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness, I outlined 32 different life lessons that form a framework for overcoming setbacks and living an intentionally designed life.
Living a holistically wealthy lifestyle will enable you to find prosperity in key aspects of your life, from financial stability and physical health to your emotional and spiritual connections with others.
Cultivating these strengths will build the mental toughness and grit you need to weather life's inevitable storms and setbacks.
Participating in a holistic wealth project group can boost your happiness and joy and enable you to have accountability partners. Accountability partners can build momentum and enthusiasm for everyone's goals and help each other to live according to their mission and to cultivate a holistic wealth mindset. A study by the American Society of Training and Development on accountability found that there is a 65% chance of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you've committed to, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
So start now to ensure that you can be successful and achieve your goals. For instance, when I decided to write "Holistic Wealth," I told my friends about my intentions to do it. They held me accountable, and each time I thought of giving up, I thought about my friends and how much they had been cheering me on and inspiring me, and I knew I had to go through with it – I couldn't turn back. Success requires a public commitment. It requires a cheerleading squad that will cheer you on and a team spirit that will push your forward so that even when you think of giving up, you know that you have to keep going "for the team."
This is what brings out the best in Olympic athletes and also helps them to perform at "superhuman" levels – that level of accountability, grit, and perseverance.
In the book "Holistic Wealth," I've outlined the steps to take to build personal holistic wealth portfolios such as:
- Your life purpose portfolio;
- Your relationship asset portfolio;
- Your financial independence portfolio; and,
- Your emotional, physical and spiritual portfolio
Each of these portfolios is very individual and can change over time, but are highly effective within a group accountability mechanism – especially if within the group participants sign an accountability agreement or contract to ensure that goals are carried out. Goals take hard work and commitment, and it's easy to give up when no one is around to hold you accountable or even just to give a word of inspiration and motivation.
If you're considering starting a holistic wealth project group, email me at email@example.com. I've created a starter kit to help you kick start your holistic wealth project group.