In the latest installment of Savvy Startups, a series highlighting the personal and professional journeys of some of the most dynamic entrepreneurs, YFS Magazine speaks with Sara Davidson, founder of Hello Fearless, a Kansas City, Missouri-based online school for female entrepreneurs.
Company: Hello Fearless
Founder(s): Sara Davidson
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Industry: E-Learning, EdTech
Startup Year: 2014
Startup Costs: 18,000
For women who want entrepreneurial success on their own terms, Hello Fearless aims to help them take a holistic approach to entrepreneurship.
The school for female entrepreneurs, created by founder and CEO Sara Davidson, is creating a “new normal” for female entrepreneurs.
Davidson hopes to tap into underlying business needs that are unique to female entrepreneurs. “Starting or managing a business is very important to women in personal terms, maybe more so than in business terms, because they are less likely to define success purely in terms of profitability,” says Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal, Ph.D., Gallup senior consultant and coauthor of Entrepreneurial Strengths Finder. (Gallup)
From Unfulfilled To Hello Fearless
Davidson, who previously owned a consulting firm, is no stranger to early-stage startups. In fact, she paid her dues while working at a startup prior to starting her first business.
Hello Fearless, an online learning platform, is based upon her own experiences running a company that was profitable, yet not fulfilling. “When I started my very first company, it became very profitable, but I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t fulfilled,” Davidson recalls.
After hitting a wall she was forced to discover the type of life she wanted to live. “I hit several burn-outs. I worked at a lot of different startups and I thought entrepreneurship had to be done a different way.”
Meanwhile, meeting other business women fanned the flame. “I started to meet other entrepreneurs that really had it all. They had amazing relationships, they were healthy, they traveled the world, they were wildly passionate about the businesses they were building, [and] made tons of money.”
Like many entrepreneurs that crave work-life balance, Davidson concluded the “typical Silicon Valley, kill yourself to start a company” vibe wasn’t the answer for all female founders. Sacrifice, while necessary, didn’t have to come at such a high cost.
Davidson concluded that the “typical Silicon Valley, kill yourself to start a company” vibe wasn’t the answer for all female founders. Sacrifice, while necessary, didn’t have to come at such a high cost.
Recognizing a need for camaraderie, Davidson co-created The Athena League, a Kansas City-based women’s entrepreneurship group. Her expectations were conservative. “I thought maybe fifty women would join, and [instead] a thousand women joined in three months,” she says.
Partnering with the local women’s business center and organizations served as a catalyst to community. “It was all about collaboration and getting the right people to have a seat at the table,” Davidson adds.