This chain of events laid the groundwork for Hello Fearless. Davidson soon set out to provide women, regardless of location, a proven entrepreneurial education. But she didn’t go at it alone.
“I also joined a mastermind with other entrepreneurs from all over the world,” she explains. “It became very apparent to me; the power of having a supportive community of other women entrepreneurs that hold you accountable to achieving your dreams. [Women] that you can lean on, and ask questions… I just wanted to provide that to all women,” she recalls.
Business Gender Gap
The economic need for women in business is profound. “Women are 50% of the U.S. population and should be creating 50% of new companies and new jobs,” says Bharadwaj
“Not every single woman lives in a major metropolitan area where she has access to a women’s business center or different entrepreneurial education program,” Davidson suggests. “Those women need to be connected to other women who support them, but have access to education online and community and mentors.”
School As A Service (SaaS) Trend
The e-learning “trend is already huge in the academic sector, but more corporations are starting to get into this arena. Just as companies have already become their own publishers and producers, they will now become their own schools and academies where they build, market and manage their own online degree and certification programs,” according to eLearning Industry.
Online learning communities like Hello Fearless are also finding sustainability in a revenue model that adds value to local ecosystems and students alike. “What we discovered is that there’s huge market opportunities to actually partner with corporations and [organizations] that want to support women entrepreneurs and subsidize scholarships to get more women through the program,” Davidson explains. “So, we’re discovering additional revenue streams [outside of] women solely investing in the class.”
Key Success Drivers
Davidson credits early traction to strategic marketing. “Right off the bat we focused on PR… we focus on a lot of thought leadership positioning that [gives us more] credibility. We made an investment in a PR team because we didn’t, in-house, have the bandwidth to pitch the media so that was a big investment,” she explains. “We also do a lot of partnership marketing. So, [that entails] securing partnerships [that aid in] distribution and awareness.”
Davidson is also a content marketing advocate. “We give out a lot of free content,” she exclaims. For example, we “launched the Fearless Challenge, a free 15-day course for women that helps us build community and … reach women that would [benefit from] our programs.”
Efforts to cultivate community are a top priority for Davidson. And for startups in complex markets it’s a winning strategy. “In high complexity markets or use cases, communities make more sense. If the decision-making process is complex and long to reach a conversion, customers benefit greatly by interacting and building relationships with other customers – as well as getting introduced to affiliated product and service providers who can help them maximize their value,” says Rachel Happe, co-founder of The Community Roundtable.
Davidson credits her decision to focus on community as a key success factor. We built “relationships online to build buzz and anticipation well ahead of our launch,” she recalls. “We also did a lot of influencer marketing,” she adds. So, on “launch day we got a lot of exposure from them sharing Hello Fearless.”
Early success is often hard-won. For Hello Fearless, the challenge came in the form of hiring employees. Recruiting new hires is a grueling task and “finding the right people that … really contribute to our mission” was trying for the startup.
Hello Fearless tackled their staffing problem by test driving job candidates.
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