For many women the prospect of founding their own company is more exciting than an ordinary career in business. In this blog series we want to find out about the entrepreneurial spirit that drives these women and the ideas they pursue. Learn how they got started, their experience as female founders, and what they wish they’d known before entering the start-up world.
Jessica Brockmann is founder of mylocalscouts, a platform which connects tourism with greater good. It helps you to connect with local people called ‘local scouts’ that share your interests and help you to explore the city you’re currently visting. So, you can share your passion with likeminded people wherever you are – all over the world! Today, Jessica shares some insights on how she founded her startup mylocalscouts from scratch and tells us about her perspective on entrepreneurship.
Jessica, what motivated you to found ‘mylocalscouts’?
Personal need and the ability to create something completely new, not only in regard to the business model and innovation but particularly in regard to build up a company from zero. Incredible experiences, a reliable network of impressive people and the high amount of learnings every day are worth its prize of the „Startup-life“ uncertainty. I quit my full-time job as a Keyaccount and Project manager at the end of 2013 and jumped into an incredible journey with mylocalscouts during the last two years – changes and pivots were accompanying us. mylocalscouts was originally created as a sharing economy platform for local travel experiences and is now the basis for #tourismforgood. A Platform which connects tourism with greater good.
How do you experience your entrepreneurial journey so far? Was it difficult to bring your idea to life?
It is still a difficult thing! If somebody tells you it is easy to build up a successful company then i would definitely visit his or her „Best practice“ course. I don’t believe that you can establish a great company, which also has a longterm, positive impact on society, within two or three years. So you better have great personal resilience. We are working on our platform since two years and we definitely need a lot more time to improve – Frontend, Backend, Hosting, Analytics and many more segments you need to care about. Development is an ongoing process and so are a lot of tasks while bringing an idea to life. The Team is also one of the most important parts of establishing a company, we are an exceptional Startup because we are kind of a family business. Frank Brockmann, one of my Co-founders is my father. Not everybody’s cup of tea but it’s working really good for us. You definitely have a strong basis of trust right from the beginning.
Have there been challenges you faced along the way? And do you want to share some victories or highlights with us?
The greatest challenge is to keep going every day, whatever happens. You’ll face a lot of up and downs while building up a company. Somethimes you feel like everything is working, you get positive feedback and the situation seems like „now you get it“ but i promise, the next barrier will come. But the chance of success is still there and keeps you working hard. Our greatest victory, is to exist as a company and enjoy every day of work!
So, how do you deal with uncertainty, doubts and fears?
Difficult question. It really depends on the situation i’m facing but to give you a little overview, outdoorsport provide a clear head, a great sparringspartner gives you the opportunity to talk about different things and family and friends are really important for a positive distraction.
Looking back, what are your recommendations to other women who have startup ideas?
Give it a try! There are so many interesting opportunities to challenge a startup idea without wasting a bunch of resources and time that excuses are running out. Use for example Lean Startup Methods and start to learn, besides your daily work. You don’t have to quit your Job right at the beginning.
Why do you think there are so few female founders?
Difficult to say, maybe its about the willingness to take some risks and to overcome a lot of barriers one is facing during the initial company building. Perhaps also a question of time and prioritization within our life planning but to be honest, it is not only a question about female or male. We should ask the question „Why do we think there are so few founders (female and male) in Germany?“
Is there a difference between female and male founders?
Sure, the first thought that comes to my mind is the ability to exaggerate and sale :), but finally its the balanced way to greater success. That’s why i would always prefer a mixed Team of founders – male and female!
What is more important when builiding a startup, “professional skills” or “entrepreneurial spirit”?
You should have a little bit of everything. Do not try to be a specialist, be a generalist with a great overview if you what to be the head of the team. But sure, a team also needs specialists, for example programming, design or financials. Try to establish a good mix of skills within your team and make sure, that they are able to work under conditions with extreme uncertainty. Keep in mind, outsourcing is also possible.
Do you want to share some advice for aspiring founders attending Startup Weekend Women?
Try to learn as much as possible, have fun and start to build up you network! It’s the unfair advantage you can create right from the beginning.
Thanks Jessica for the interview and all the best for mylocalscouts!
You want to build your own startup? Build a startup in one weekend and put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur! Join us at Startup Weekend Women, April 10-12 in Hamburg. If you have a business idea, great! If you don’t have a business idea, join anyway! You can help bring other ideas to life. Guys are welcome, too! Stay tuned for more updates and interviews via our Facbook Page.