I still remember when a good friend of mine who is a great “connector” said to me: “hey Alicia I need to introduce you someone. Her name is Kelly and she is handling and connecting a group of female entrepreneurs and I think you should know her.
Lately I have realized that being a female entrepreneur today is not something you do for certain hours a day, working hours, calendars, it is not. It is a character, a way of life. At the beginning we spend time creating a good network with other similar people, especially women.
After 2 emails and she invited me to the Women with Ambition July Chapter. I had the pleasure to meet her and her amazing and vibrant team and comnunity. Honestly, you just need 30 seconds to feel all her energy, good vibe and all the strength she has got.
Her name is Kelly Rogan and works as a growth consultant for early stage SaaS companies and Founder of Women With Ambition.
Where were you born Kelly?
I was born in a rural town in Maryland, USA. I have one brother who is a year younger than me and we had a very comfortable and protected childhood with two parents who loved us and believed in all our dreams. I didn’t meet an entrepreneur until I was 22 and all my friends and family worked for large companies. I always knew I wanted something different but I couldn’t place my finger on it, I imagined starting a company or consulting as a very complicated process that only men over 40 could handle. After I moved to Spain (as a 24 year old female) I started to work with small companies and ended up becoming co-owner of one and realized I am capable of creating a company and consulting other to achieve growth as I have.
What make you come to Barcelona?
I found an opportunity at a digital marketing agency through AIESEC and made the leap to join and help the agency grow its brand internationally. I was searching in any Spanish speaking location for marketing opportunities prior to being accepted in Barcelona.
Where did you live before moving to Barcelona?
My first steps out of my comfortable town were in Valencia, Spain. I became obsessed with learning the language and integrating myself into the Spanish culture so I immediately went back to Spain this time in Madrid. After this I lived in Athens, Greece for half a year before moving to Barcelona where I’ve stayed put for close to 4 years now.
Key points/achievements of your professional background
When I became the co-owner of a SaaS company in Barcelona I was extremely naïve and ambitious. I was completely sure I would single handedly (with no budget) grow our revenue to over a million and take down our competitors. I took a huge personal and professional hit when I realized I am not a startup super hero but through the process I built an immense level of resilience and skill. I learned how to open new markets, achieve organic growth, how to scale and automate processes, how to prioritize your budget and time, how to build powerful relationships and most importantly how to process results and information.
In addition to this, Women With Ambition is a huge source of pride and motivation. I faced numerous challenges in the SaaS company and had no network to turn to, no experienced entrepreneur friends or family that could provide advice or at least, support knowing how it feels to own a company. So I created one where women could go, enjoy a glass of wine (or two), connect with likeminded women and learn from other’s experience and expertise. This organization has grown organically and I took initiative to create everything from the website to the partnerships, social accounts, speaker arrangements, community growth and more. It’s amazing what you can actually do when you are motivated beyond your own personal gain. Women With Ambition is for our communities to come together and realize our full potential, while living a healthy lifestyle.
Any key person that you would like to mention who help you to succeed?
It’s impossible to mention just one, so many people in my network such as my parents, partner, brother, family, colleagues and friends have believed in me, connected me to opportunities and helped me to believe in myself. They’ve all played a role, small or large, in my journey to where I am today.
What make you start your career as a Consultant? There is always a personal reason ; )
Freedom. I have gained so much knowledge and skill throughout my experiences in the startup world and enjoy sharing this value to other organizations on my own terms. I have very little patience, work hard and move fast, which I found compliments the consulting lifestyle.
What was the most difficult thing for you at the beginning?
The balancing act is always a challenge at first. I quickly tested out project management tools and ended up using Trello to track weekly priorities and achievements.
How did you overcome the obstacles?
Technology. I am a huge fan of online tools to help automate processes and organize teams so I turned to technology to solve my challenge!
How do find your customers?
My experience has been mainly focused on B2B marketing and sales. Frankly I’ve had enough business come to me directly that I haven’t had to do much marketing but have quite a few tricks up my sleeve if I need to find new clients through digital marketing and networking. I figure if I can do it for my clients I sure better be able to do it for myself!
What do you actually do for SaaS companies? What´s the advantage for them working with you?
So there are two main areas of work I consult on:
- Build the initial framework of inbound and outbound marketing for startup tech companies looking for scalable growth
- Help established companies to innovate, start new marketing programs and expand to new markets.
How do you help them?
Companies are so heavily focused on sales and product (rightfully so) that marketing can easily take a hit and become a money pit. I bring in tech B2B marketing expertise to create a scalable, predictable and affordable marketing machine that doesn’t depend on any one person to run. It’s easy to understand and use while producing optimal results, helping sales, product and marketing work together as a whole.
What tips can you share with other Female Entrepreneurs based on your experience?
If we are focused on female entrepreneurs I would say there are a couple key differences and challenges we tend to face that we should always be mindful of:
1)We doubt ourselves, our experience, our knowledge and skill far too often. Step 1 is ALWAYS believing in your ability. You will have moments of doubt but you need to be your biggest cheerleader not your biggest critic.
2) We try to do it all alone. You cannot start a successful company, run marathons, keep up with your friends, clean the house every week, read books, cook dinner every night, take care of the kids and find time to nurture your relationship… unless you clone yourself. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. We need to be realistic about our capacity and priorities. Find ways to lower your load, whether it be asking for connections in business, getting a cleaning lady at home, raising money for your company, getting your partner to cook or shutting everything off for alone time, find what works best for you.
Based on your experience, what 3 personal skills a female entrepreneur need to succeed?
- Confidence – Believe in yourself and your ability even when others don’t
- Resilience – keep pushing forward and working hard even when it gets tough
- Adaptable – you won’t have all the answers but will need to quickly adapt to new situations and challenges to move forward
3 things that you think that we women, can do differently in order to be faster on our careers?
- Ask for what we want – you never get what you don’t ask for
- Work smarter not harder – become an irreplaceable part of your company
- Maintain a balance – make yourself a priority and practice self-care
What´s the thing you like the most about being an entrepreneur?
Your work as an entrepreneur is a reflection of you. It’s creative, it’s challenging, it’s exciting and more than anything it’s fun. You call the shots and you will probably fail at least once but you’re learning so much faster and you’re doing it on your own terms.
Kelly, can you close the inveterview with one tip?
You can only achieve what you believe you are capable of achieving.
- Step 1 in any new venture is to believe in yourself and your ability, the path or destination might change but your ability does not.
- Step 2 is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and mindset to avoid losing that faith in yourself.
I bet you can feel Kelly´s energy by reading the article. ..
So, if you are a female professional thinking about a career change (not 100% sure about how to move on) , or an entrepreneur and you are looking for a community we meet you in Women with ambition. By the way, let me mention that the meetings are hosted by Kelly in hotel rooftop with wine and views to Barceloneta… Because we are worth it ; )