With a Network and a Need Kathryn Rose Launches wiseHer
- Many small businesses are run by one or two founders who need to wear many hats.
- Entrepreneurs often experience a confidence gap when looking for help.
- One-on-one learning is an effective way to learn complex information fast.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Most small businesses are founded by circumstance or by design, Kathryn Rose said. Hers was founded by circumstance. During the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Rose worked on Wall Street. She was 8½-months pregnant with her first child, the division of her financial services company was shut down and she was caring for her mom, who suffered a brain aneurysm and tragically became a paraplegic.
"I could not go back to what I was doing before – I didn’t have the capacity," Rose commented. "I decided to consult, and my first client asked me for a plan for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Sure, I said, how hard could it be? I had two weeks to get back to him."
"At that point, I had a newborn. I had no time to read books or to take a class to help me hone my skills. I needed to accelerate my learning while my son was napping, so I started making calls," Rose said.
Rose found an expert who was writing his first training course on SEO. She asked him to test out his course on her and she learned from him. From there she added social media to her skill set.
"At that point I was asking people to share their expertise and I felt guilty," she said. "I started paying people for their time because it was valuable to me."
Rose found that one-on-one time was well spent and quickly accelerated her learning. Just show me, she often said.
"At this point, however, I had this idea for the business but no idea how to scale and develop it," she said. "Then I was recruited by a social media company to run sales for one of their product lines. I went back to corporate for four and a half years."
The company grew exponentially. She watched and learned, then made the decision to not continue with the company after it was sold.
A Network and a Need
Women historically, and habitually, provide a tremendous amount of unpaid labor to their employers, their communities and their families. When someone needs something, women tend to step up, commented Rose. "We are helpers," she said.
"At the time I had business owners asking about the expertise in my network and if I could make connections for them. Entrepreneurs need help. Research tells us that many small businesses are run by one or two founders and they earn less than $100,000 in gross revenue. They need access to expertise on their time, just as I did when I was consulting," Rose said. The idea for a business and how it could make an impact on women-owned businesses, began to crystallize for Rose. Very simply, it was to pair people who need tactical and practical advice with those who give it.
wiseHer was launched in 2019, as a technology platform focused on connecting entrepreneurs who own or are looking to start a business with expertise in business planning, human resources, sales and marketing, finance and more.
"The one-on-one access accelerates learning and can help business growth," Rose said.
The platform has expanded to provide educational articles and videos to help address the confidence gap that some entrepreneurs have even before they speak to an expert.
wiseHer Gives Back
"Entrepreneurs don’t always need a million dollars to get started; sometimes the need is much smaller," Rose said. "We offer microgrants as part of our strategy. Our experts offer their time for a ‘low bono’ fee, less than what they would normally be paid for an hour. wiseHer then takes these funds and offers microgrants to entrepreneurs who need them."
The success of the program built wiseHer into a popular, award-winning platform receiving the 2019 Startup of the Year community award and the Highest Impact Award from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.
As COVID-19 took hold in early 2020, the wiseHer platform offered a unique opportunity to give back even more. Early this year, a coaching consortium approached Rose with the need for a scalable platform to host coaching services for front line workers – doctors, nurses and other emergency care professionals. Rose immediately said yes, although the next hurdle was how to pay coaches for this important service. Again, Rose turned to her network.
AT&T stepped in to sponsor the program for three months, wiseHer provided the platform and the coaching consortium provided high-quality coaches. FrontlineHelp was formed and has been running beyond the initial three months of fiscal sponsorship. In fact, recognizing the effects of COVID-19 on school systems and educators, FrontLineHelp has also added services for this critical audience.
"I fully believe that when you do the right thing, the right thing happens," Rose said. It is hoped that the FrontLineHelp program will run throughout 2020.
Entrepreneurial Advice from Rose
With a career spanning Wall Street, her own consulting firm, the technology industry and now wiseHer, Rose has some powerful advice to share with entrepreneurial women:
- If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Know your value. Also, know that most women entrepreneurs are in a constant state of asking and giving. You can do that too.
- Don’t take no for an answer. Relationships and achievements take more than one email or phone call. It may be difficult at first, but the mindset you need is, "I won’t take no for an answer until you tell me to get off your porch."
- People do want to help you. So often we put off our outreach due to lack of confidence. Most times, though, people will offer to help you find or learn what you need to move forward.
- Learn as you go. You don’t need to know everything up front. As circumstances and business conditions change, you adapt by learning new things and moving forward.
About Kathryn Rose
Prior to devoting her focus to wiseHer, Kathryn was an executive marketing consultant for large global and local clients developing targeted online campaigns resulting in millions of engaged fans, followers and connections. Kathryn's experience has taken her from startup to multimillion dollar companies. She is an award-winning Wall Street sales leader driving $100 million+ in annual sales and in channel marketing with global B2B clients.
Kathryn is a highly sought after speaker at leading global industry events with technology powerhouses — Google, IBM, Dell Technologies and women focused events — Women in Tech Summit and the Grace Hopper Celebration focused on helping technology professionals, women and small business leaders achieve a higher level of success. Kathryn is on the faculty for the IT leading association COMPTIA and a member of the Executive Council of Advancing Women in Technology and a sales coach for MBA candidates at Harvard Business School.
Kathryn is regarded for her grit, tenacity, creative problem solving, glass-half-filled approach and her ability to laugh, always. A tireless champion for women, Kathryn has received accolades for her vision, commitment, and leadership. Kathryn has dedicated her career to coaching, speaking, and writing best-selling business books that drive business owners to greater success with their sales and marketing efforts. She has created an outstanding network of women at every level, and in many industries, to support and promote women in their businesses or careers.