Insider Society – A New Business Network
I’m excited to announce the launch of Insider Society, a success accelerator for women and non-binary entrepreneurs. I got the initial idea for Insider Society already over 10 years ago, and I launched it together with my business partner Candice Kilpatrick Brathwaite finally last year.
We provide a support group and educational content to help women to break dreams into actionable steps to reach their business and life goals. Please visit our new site, join our Facebook group, and subscribe to our Insider brief to learn more about what we do.
Why Women Need Business Networks like Insider Society Now
And why we decided to start this now?
We felt we had to. For us, and for others.
If now isn’t the time to take charge of our own success, then when?
2020 was exhausting, and so far 2021 isn’t a picnic either.
And women are the ones that are carrying most of the weight. Are you feeling it?
The United States has entered in first female recession as the pandemic is disproportionately affecting women and threatening to wipe out decades of their economic progress (as told by Bloomberg).
Moms are even in a worse position, and many have had to quit their jobs because of closed daycares, and someone has to be home to supervise kids to do distant learning. Across the OECD countries, women also spending two hours more per day on unpaid work at home than men (according to OECD Gender data portal).
The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly jobs report shows that the economy lost 140,000 net jobs in December, marking the first month of job loss since the economy started adding back jobs in May 2020. When you look at the data deeper, all of the jobs lost were women’s jobs, with women losing 156,000 jobs and men gaining 16,000, according to the analysis done by the National Women’s Law Center.
Small businesses had a devastating year as well. According to Facebook’s State of Small Business Report, 31% of small business owners said that their small business is not currently operating, but among personal businesses, that number rises to 52%, of which the majority (55%) were led by women. Solopreneurs running their business alone based on their skills were among doing the worst (besides travel and restaurants).
At the same time, I see so much hope, excitement, people going after their dreams, spending more quality time with their families, and turning obstacles into opportunities. Many of my friends have started their new digital businesses, pivoted their existing ones, and turned the attempts of survival into thriving.
According to the Small Business Administration, small companies create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64% of new jobs created in the U.S. The number, of course, is not accurate for 2020, but small businesses bring economic growth. We need to support that growth!
The good news is that those who embraced digital tools, digital marketing, and pivoted their businesses fully online had a better chance of not just surviving, but some even growing. There are new digital business opportunities that did not exist in 2019 – and while they might not also exist in anymore 2023, there is money to be made in-between.
According to the World Economic Forum there is a large potential for democratizing entrepreneurship and creating new entrepreneurial role models that people can more easily identify with, and this could ultimately lower the threshold of starting your own company for many.
MasterCard conducted a survey of 590 women business leaders. 42% of women business leaders surveyed said they shifted to a digital business model in response to the pandemic. 34% said they also identified new business opportunities.
Why We Had to Launch Insider Society
Candice and I have had our share of struggles last year, but regarding our business in 2020, our year was actually pretty good. We have been collaborating with global teams while working from home for over fifteen years, so in that way, we were already used to working from home, wherever in the world that home might be. We also saw that now, more than ever, companies were in the need of a competitive strategy, new business models, and were ready to try new things and digitize their businesses.
Our skills are more in demand than ever before, and we decided that starting Insider Society and writing a book would be the first steps to allow us to make our expertise accessible to anyone who needed it, anywhere in the world. Our consulting business is not scalable nor futureproof, digital products are.
That’s the journey we are on now with our e-courses, upcoming podcast, and Insider Society – and upcoming books.
I’ve always liked the word synergy, and even though seems like it hasn’t been trendy for twenty years. But I truly believe when we support each other, share our knowledge, and lift each other up, we all gain more.
Thankfully – we had already lost our jobs long before the pandemic started, and we were already on our way to building our consulting businesses on our own. Me in Finland and Candice in New York City.
I say thankfully – because we had recent experience of starting from scratch, and we were already on our way.
When our family moved to Finland in 2017, I was unsure if I should start my own company here. I was worried about our financials and settling in. So I took a job, thinking it was the safer option to get our standing in a country new to us as a family.
I fast climbed to a Chief Marketing Officer position, as the fourth person in the company in that position that YEAR. The person holding the intermittent position before me was Allison Johnson, through her agency West. If the name rings bells, Allison Johnson was the vice president of global marketing communications at Apple and launched the very first iPhone working directly with Steve Jobs. Of course, it would have been smart to leave when Allison left, but I was excited about following in her footsteps. Only a few months into my new CMO role I stopped taking my salary in order for the company not to fire my team members and to keep the ship going despite financial problems. The company ended up owing me over €50,000 in unpaid salaries by the time I finally quit. I never got the money.
I had hired Candice in New York City in my remote team, her situation was luckily not as bad, but not good either.
We both realized that having a job was not any more secure than having our own business.
Candice and I had been there before – home taking care of kids, and we’ve turned side hustles into full-time hustles. Neither of us has lived a global pandemic before, but all of our world travels and life lessons running businesses in different countries has taught us resilience that translated into real skills that have allowed us to thrive even in the global pandemic.
Insider Society was our solution for thousands of other women who are ready to take their business ideas out of the dream drawer of their desks and to make them a reality.
It’s our time. Together.
UN Secretary-General’s policy brief: The impact of COVID-19 on women by UN Women
Employment Situation Summary, Friday, January 8, 2021, by Bureau of Labor Statistics
All of the Jobs Lost in December Were Women’s Jobs by the National Women’s Law Center.
State of Small Business Report by Facebook Small Business Roundtable
The First Female Recession Threatens to Wipe Out Decades of Progress for U.S. Women via Bloomberg
Recession With a Difference: Women Face Special Burdenvia New York Times
COVID-19 has spurred America’s first female recession via PBS
Will working women recover in 2021? Six experts share their predictions via Fortune