Around H&L, we're huge fans of celebrating the women that are making a difference in big or small ways. And Lauren definitely fits that idea. Lauren is the creator of The Real Female Entrepreneur, an online platform that combines the power of authentic, honest conversation and media to inspire, include, and empower female entrepreneurs. We talked with her about her brand and how she's inspiring female entrepreneurs around the world.
What made you decide to launch TRFE?
The short answer? My own frustrations.
The long answer? As a first-time entrepreneur, no one told me how insanely hard and overwhelming and incredibly lonely entrepreneurship could be. So, when I found myself drowning in all of the doubts and insecurities, I was sure that meant that I wasn’t cut out for this dream-chasing thing. Until I realized that I wasn’t the only one feeling like a total fake and struggling with Instagram comparison and not making any money but feeling like I needed to pretend the sales were rolling in.
I wanted other women who were just starting out on this journey, or were knee-deep in, yet felt totally alone, to know that they weren’t the only ones. So, I created a podcast where I could sit down with female entrepreneurs at all stages to pull back the curtains and share about the real, honest, hard parts of it all - life and business.
As the podcast grew, so did my passion and love for the female entrepreneur community. And then, I started to see a void. There were little to no platforms out there that were highlighting female business owners and truly showcasing how diverse she really is. Most of them were showcasing this one-size-fits-all version of who these women were. And that isn’t at all representative of how amazing and diverse the real female entrepreneur truly is.
So my brand, which was originally known as Grit and Glitter Co., evolved into The Real Female Entrepreneur. Same stories, same heart, but a bigger focus and spotlight on intentionally curating a diverse and inclusive community for all women, not just the ones with similar stories that look the same.
What types of support do you hope to bring to female entrepreneurs?
There are so many badass resources currently out there for female entrepreneurs that share strategic advice and tips on how to grow and build a successful business. I have zero desire to add more to that.
The type of support I want to create for female entrepreneurs is inspiration, encouragement, and empowerment. I don’t want to teach you how to grow a successful business. I want to remind you that you can, even when you feel like a failure or like you’re making zero progress … because you are not alone in those struggles.
What do you feel is the biggest problem facing female entrepreneurs?
A lack of inclusivity. I truly believe that one of the biggest reasons women close their businesses is not because they weren’t making enough money (though, maybe they weren’t) or the business wasn’t growing fast enough (though, maybe it wasn’t), but because they didn’t have access, or feel that they had access, to support and community. In order for women to feel like they have access to this, they must first feel included and welcomed into these spaces.
I believe that this begins with leaders coming together, intentionally creating inclusive communities, and asking hard questions. In the online community, we talk a lot about community over competition. I would love to see that conversation go one step further towards intentionally building inclusive communities over unintentionally building exclusive communities.
What three tips do you have for a female entrepreneur starting out?
I’m a sucker for sappy, inspirational quotes. But I’m also a believer in the inspiration of real, honest truth. So, I want to share with you the three things I wish someone would have told me from the very beginning…
Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t let the illusion of overnight success convince you that you’re in last place. In the story of The Tortoise and The Hare, that tortoise knew what she was doing. Keep your eyes on your own lane. This isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. And you don’t want to burn out on mile 5.
Never ever ever forget how wildly powerful you are. Seriously. I’m not getting sappy and inspirational. This is the no-bullshit truth. You are so wildly powerful. Don’t let the defeat of comparison steal that truth from you. You can do great things, my love.
Remember why you started. It can be so easy to lose sight of that in the race to more followers or downloads or likes. But 10k followers wasn’t what propelled you to start this business in the first place. So, don’t let it be what makes you stop.
What are your dreams for the future of TRFE? Where do you see the brand going?
The specifics are a little blurry. I don’t have it all mapped out. Hell, I don’t even have a written business plan. What I do know, though, is that I want to keep creating more and more of the content I’m currently sharing on the podcast. I want more female entrepreneurs to pull back the curtains and keep sharing the hard, honest parts. I want to create more video content and written content, too. I see TRFE growing into a media company that’s known by all female entrepreneurs and is the go-to place for encouragement, inspiration, and empowerment. And as it grows, I want to see it continue to be an inclusive and welcoming community for all female entrepreneurs. I would love to see TRFE being a light of inclusivity for all female entrepreneur communities; I have so much to learn myself as I continue making this a priority, but I would love to continue to be a part of that conversation.