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How Gesche Haas Built the Next Wave of Women in Business Ep. 77
Episode 775th July 2022 • Fascinating Entrepreneurs • Natasha Miller
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Gesche Haas is an entrepreneur, investor, mentor, and advisor who is the CEO and Founder of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community and agile PR team amplifying extraordinary entrepreneurial women. Dreamers & Doers has built a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem of over 34,000 women globally.

Gesche's views on the tech space and beyond have been featured on Bloomberg TV, CNNMoney, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Forbes, Fortune Magazine, Refinery29, Broadly/Vice, and other major media outlets, as well as at the United Nations, where she spoke during the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women. She is a regular content contributor to Nasdaq, Brit + Co, and 500 Startups.

Gesche was also awarded 'Forbes Next 1000', 'VOTY 100 Community Builder' by BlogHer, 'Empowered Woman of the Year' by WWD/Variety/Ciroc, 'The Buildies Profitability Award' by Calm Company Fund, 'Best Remote CEO' by RemoteRated, 'New York Talent Cultivators' by Techweek, and 'Best of Tech' on Twitter by CB Insights. 

Gesche is currently a Venture Partner at Republic supporting diverse founders seeking funding.

Prior to founding Dreamers & Doers, Gesche held senior positions at several venture-backed startups in roles covering growth, strategy, finance, operations and business development. She also spent five years as an investor at a healthcare-focused hedge fund (~$3bn AUM, SAC spin-off). 

Where to find Gesche Haas

Website: www.dreamersdoers.com

SPONSOR

This episode is sponsored by Entire Productions- Creating events (both in-person and virtual) that don't suck! and Entire Productions Marketing- carefully curated premium gifting and branded promo items. 

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Transcripts

Gesche Haas:

I used to be self-conscious about this slow and steady approach, but

Gesche Haas:

so many companies and communities that looked a lot fancier from the outside.

Gesche Haas:

When we were in our early days, aren't around anymore.

Gesche Haas:

They imploded, there've been communities of venture funded

Gesche Haas:

companies where I've been approached.

Gesche Haas:

Like if I wanted to take over the company as CEO and I used to feel so

Gesche Haas:

inferior compared to those communities.

Gesche Haas:

So it's just finding your own path and knowing what success looks like for you.

Gesche Haas:

Super important.

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Natasha Miller:

How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur?

Natasha Miller:

How do they scale and grow their businesses?

Natasha Miller:

How do they plan for profit?

Natasha Miller:

Are they in it for life?

Natasha Miller:

Are they building to exit these and a myriad of other topics will

Natasha Miller:

be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizard dream of successful

Natasha Miller:

and FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Natasha Miller:

My book RELENTLESS is now available, everywhere books can be bought online,

Natasha Miller:

including Amazon and BarnesAndNoble.com.

Natasha Miller:

Try your local indie bookstore too.

Natasha Miller:

And if they don't have it, they can order it.

Natasha Miller:

Just ask.

Natasha Miller:

To them, the reviewer streaming in.

Natasha Miller:

And I'm so thankful for the positive feedback, as well as

Natasha Miller:

hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively.

Natasha Miller:

It is not enough to be resilient.

Natasha Miller:

You have to be relentless.

Natasha Miller:

You can go to TheRelentlessBook.com for more information.

Natasha Miller:

Thank you so much.

Natasha Miller:

Gesche Haas is an entrepreneur investor, mentor and advisor, who is the CEO

Natasha Miller:

and founder of Dreamers and Doers, an award-winning community and agile

Natasha Miller:

PR firm amplifying extraordinary entrepreneurial women, Dreamers and Doers

Natasha Miller:

has built a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem for 34,000 women globally.

Natasha Miller:

And I'm a proud member.

Natasha Miller:

We talk about so much, including why and how she started the group, how she

Natasha Miller:

curates and keeps people connected and what the first thing, someone else trying

Natasha Miller:

to build a community should focus on.

Gesche Haas:

Dreamers and Doers started by accident out of a personal need.

Gesche Haas:

And the catalyst was brunch well, brunch was probably the watch, but the catalyst

Gesche Haas:

was feeling extremely isolated and lonely being on the entrepreneurial journey and

Gesche Haas:

being on the entrepreneurial journey as a woman and everything changed when I

Gesche Haas:

joined forces with one other woman, but I never thought that what would come out of

Gesche Haas:

that would be dreamers indoors one day.

Natasha Miller:

Wow.

Natasha Miller:

So how did that evolve?

Gesche Haas:

Yes.

Gesche Haas:

So it started out.

Gesche Haas:

I have a background in finance.

Gesche Haas:

I was at a hedge fund for over half a decade and worked at

Gesche Haas:

several early stage startups.

Gesche Haas:

And none of that prepared me for being an entrepreneur.

Gesche Haas:

So when I found myself in those shoes, I was working late hours.

Gesche Haas:

I was working weekends.

Gesche Haas:

I had existential fears cuz I didn't have money coming in.

Gesche Haas:

And my friends and family at that time couldn't relate cuz

Gesche Haas:

they weren't entrepreneurs.

Gesche Haas:

So a lot of them were like, when are you getting a real job again?

Gesche Haas:

Or why are you working all the time?

Gesche Haas:

Come hang out with us.

Gesche Haas:

And then if we did hang out, I wanted to talk about my company and all

Gesche Haas:

these like things that were going on.

Gesche Haas:

It's so important to me and they wanted to talk about other people, you know,

Gesche Haas:

like our goals and interests had changed.

Gesche Haas:

So when I met this one other, I call her the OG Dreamer Endure Woman.

Gesche Haas:

We decided like, "Hey, you know, we should meet up on a weekend and we should

Gesche Haas:

co-work and we should support each other."

Gesche Haas:

This supporting project, like organically came out of it.

Gesche Haas:

And we spent the whole day together working, talking about our businesses and

Gesche Haas:

it was just a night and day difference from what I was used to before.

Gesche Haas:

So, the two of us turned to like 5 to 10, the women that were grabbing

Gesche Haas:

brunch together on weekends and a year, an entire year, I was organizing and

Gesche Haas:

getting these women together and then eventually decided I had to go all in and

Gesche Haas:

figure out what this could be one day.

Natasha Miller:

That is really cool.

Natasha Miller:

And this was a little bit before, if not quite a bit before communities that

Natasha Miller:

are popping up all over right started.

Natasha Miller:

So you were kind of in your own.

Natasha Miller:

You're like a pioneer?

Gesche Haas:

Pioneer, I like that word because it sounds really badass.

Gesche Haas:

So what it was, so even the first year when I was running these, you

Gesche Haas:

know, brunches and getting people together and eventually added like

Gesche Haas:

this very casual Facebook group in the early days, there was a few people

Gesche Haas:

who were like, "Hey, you know what?

Gesche Haas:

Instead of your other business ideas, like, why don't you

Gesche Haas:

work on this community?

Gesche Haas:

Why don't you make that your thing?"

Gesche Haas:

And I kept saying like, "No, it's a community.

Gesche Haas:

It's not a business."

Gesche Haas:

Like I was like, "haha."

Gesche Haas:

So that was one part.

Gesche Haas:

But then when I did finally commit to it, and I was self-conscious

Gesche Haas:

because I had gone from like being an investor at a hedge fund to running

Gesche Haas:

a Facebook group full time and not making a living to also other people.

Gesche Haas:

So I was judging myself, but other people would be like,

Gesche Haas:

"Hey, how's that project going?"

Gesche Haas:

What else are you working on?

Gesche Haas:

Because like, how could you be working on this as the only thing and law and

Gesche Haas:

behold, I was like working nonstop, like on nothing else, but the community.

Gesche Haas:

Community's obviously very time consuming, but yes.

Gesche Haas:

So it has shifted a lot.

Gesche Haas:

Now we have billion dollar valued communities, like, um, like

Gesche Haas:

chief who's raised over a hundred million and it's a very different

Gesche Haas:

climate for community builders.

Natasha Miller:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

Community is the big thing and has been actually, it's pretty

Natasha Miller:

prevalent in the last few years.

Natasha Miller:

I know I'm a member of quite a few communities, but what I have noticed

Natasha Miller:

is you guys maybe because you've been around longer and it's definitely

Natasha Miller:

your brain child and your heart and your passion, but it's really good.

Natasha Miller:

And I'm in quite a few.

Natasha Miller:

So before I get into waxing, poetic, I wanna know.

Natasha Miller:

So it's a very difficult thing to curate and keep the members connected.

Natasha Miller:

What is your secret?

Gesche Haas:

So I will say that, will we go really deep into that?

Gesche Haas:

And I'll give all the tips and open book, can't we to share all the things

Gesche Haas:

we learned the very hard way, but I'll also say that curation while it's

Gesche Haas:

important, figuring out like what level of curation you want to commit to.

Gesche Haas:

So we invest a lot of resources and I love doing it.

Gesche Haas:

It's right for us.

Gesche Haas:

But I wouldn't recommend it for everyone.

Gesche Haas:

So if you are going more for like quantity or you're going more around,

Gesche Haas:

like maybe more of a light touch approach, nothing wrong with that.

Gesche Haas:

If you do that approach, I'd highly recommend not doing what we are

Gesche Haas:

doing, cuz you'll drive yourself nuts and it will actually not be aligned

Gesche Haas:

with like the goals you're seeking.

Gesche Haas:

So with that disclaimer, we are what we call human first approach.

Gesche Haas:

So we highly curate we say our curation process is really simple

Gesche Haas:

and really hard at the same time.

Gesche Haas:

It's simple because we curate just for two things.

Gesche Haas:

And the two things we curate for is for members being

Gesche Haas:

impressive and values driven.

Gesche Haas:

It's really, really hard because we intentionally don't have like exact

Gesche Haas:

revenue, cutoff numbers, or number of like professional years of experience.

Gesche Haas:

And we've actually, because it's so hard to curate the way we do.

Gesche Haas:

We visited this, like, should we change it?

Gesche Haas:

Should we make it easier on us?

Gesche Haas:

But the reason we don't is because we love that flexibility that

Gesche Haas:

comes with the way we do it.

Gesche Haas:

And it also leads to a much more diverse audience.

Gesche Haas:

So I'll give a concrete example.

Gesche Haas:

So there's some members who are maybe, or one in particular, she's very early

Gesche Haas:

in the very early stages of her skincare company, but her first company or her last

Gesche Haas:

company had a hundred million valuation.

Gesche Haas:

So even though she's early stage right now, like obviously she's really

Gesche Haas:

impressed or the youngest member we ever accepted was 20 years old

Gesche Haas:

at the time, but she had her first seven figure company when she was 18.

Gesche Haas:

So you can see like, if we had like years of experience.

Natasha Miller:

What the heck was that, like?

Gesche Haas:

It was a clothing related company and.

Gesche Haas:

So you can see, like, we really like this approach.

Gesche Haas:

It's probably the most rewarding part of the community because we

Gesche Haas:

curate the values driven part is probably like the even harder part.

Gesche Haas:

But because we essentially curate for people that you wanna be around with

Gesche Haas:

that are givers that are thoughtful.

Gesche Haas:

It makes it really, really pleasant to be in our community.

Gesche Haas:

And for me as a leader and for the entire team, right?

Gesche Haas:

Like cuz oftentimes people who have member or client facing companies, right?

Gesche Haas:

Like they, you don't wanna work with everyone.

Gesche Haas:

And given our curation process, you basically cured for people that are

Gesche Haas:

just wonderful at the same time.

Gesche Haas:

I can tell you like how often I've had like sleepless night, because I'm like,

Gesche Haas:

oh, do we need to kick this person out?

Gesche Haas:

Like, and then I question myself, I'm like, I don't wanna play God.

Gesche Haas:

Like, who am I just say that this person didn't act right?

Gesche Haas:

Or did I make a mistake by not accepting that person?

Gesche Haas:

And obviously we don't always get it right.

Gesche Haas:

The way I try to remind myself is like, even a company like Google, they hire

Gesche Haas:

people and not everyone works out.

Gesche Haas:

So I think what makes and I'll go more into the secret sauce.

Gesche Haas:

It's like aiming at having a high hit ratio.

Gesche Haas:

So like anyone you meet in our community, there's like an exponentially

Gesche Haas:

higher chance that they're impressive and wonderful than it would be.

Gesche Haas:

If you went, just walked into any like networking event or any other space.

Natasha Miller:

What kind of a team do you need to have today

Natasha Miller:

to make all this magic happen?

Gesche Haas:

No pun intended, you need a dream team, obviously

Gesche Haas:

being Dreamers and Doers.

Gesche Haas:

There's a few things.

Gesche Haas:

I think we look for team members who are values driven because so much of our

Gesche Haas:

community is that and we try to really like reflect that within our met team too.

Gesche Haas:

So we always say like, it needs to be a dream job for you for it to

Gesche Haas:

work out because if you join our team and you're like, "oh gosh, I

Gesche Haas:

really hate supporting these women."

Gesche Haas:

"Ah, if I have to support well more women, you know."

Gesche Haas:

Like it would really show if they didn't actually wanna be there.

Gesche Haas:

And it's such a wonderful thing to dedicate yourself.

Gesche Haas:

We're very lucky that we usually have like an insane amount of interest.

Gesche Haas:

So one they need to actually care.

Gesche Haas:

And the second part is, really sweating the detail.

Gesche Haas:

You've probably noticed this, and I know this is how you run your company

Gesche Haas:

too, but like that magic touch.

Gesche Haas:

And like, we talk internally a lot about wow factors, right?

Gesche Haas:

Like you can do a lot of things like halfway, but like, we really want

Gesche Haas:

to members to think like, wow, this really made a difference in my life.

Gesche Haas:

And internally our goal is always to have the biggest impact

Gesche Haas:

possible on our members' lives.

Gesche Haas:

So that's why like sweating the details.

Gesche Haas:

So deeply caring so important, cuz otherwise you drive yourself nuts.

Gesche Haas:

If, if you're one person-

Natasha Miller:

I understand that recently I was on the site trying to

Natasha Miller:

find a place to put this announcement and I put it in the wrong place

Natasha Miller:

and the team was just like so nice.

Natasha Miller:

They're like, "Hey, we're so glad to see this.

Natasha Miller:

We've moved it here."

Natasha Miller:

right.

Natasha Miller:

And it was so positive and it was almost like, "yeah, you're doing this thing.

Natasha Miller:

This is so great."

Natasha Miller:

We just moved it to the right place.

Gesche Haas:

We used to add all those details.

Gesche Haas:

And I can't tell you like how hard sometimes it is, but like it's, and

Gesche Haas:

I think with any community or, or company that you run, like so much

Gesche Haas:

of it, it comes from the founder.

Gesche Haas:

That's why I say like, oh, I really care about that curation, but it

Gesche Haas:

might not be right for everyone, but.

Gesche Haas:

I happen to have the personality of when I do something, I do it

Gesche Haas:

like really, really thorough.

Gesche Haas:

Yeah.

Gesche Haas:

So it kind of emanates through the entire-

Natasha Miller:

So talk to me about the team, like who is

Natasha Miller:

in that dream team with you?

Natasha Miller:

Not necessarily by name, although you can do that, but what roles are there?

Gesche Haas:

Yes.

Gesche Haas:

And it's so fun because I had to figure this out on my own in the sense that.

Gesche Haas:

First there wasn't a community playbook.

Gesche Haas:

Right?

Gesche Haas:

When I started communities were in businesses or weren't structured the way

Gesche Haas:

they were, we do things a bit different.

Gesche Haas:

So we essentially spend zero on traditional marketing and most other

Gesche Haas:

like founders when I talk to them or community leaders, even that be like,

Gesche Haas:

oh, you need the marketing person.

Gesche Haas:

You need the social media person.

Gesche Haas:

And I needed to come up with my own blueprint and roadmap.

Gesche Haas:

So for me, I have a right hand, Hannah, who is the person I believe

Gesche Haas:

who commented on your particular post.

Gesche Haas:

She's been in the company for nearly five years now and has evolved so much,

Gesche Haas:

but she does love member facing the tasks as well as member operations.

Gesche Haas:

Cuz I think what is oftentimes underestimated is how much goes into

Gesche Haas:

operations to run a smooth community.

Gesche Haas:

Just because you are dealing and navigating with so many humans.

Gesche Haas:

And I think that's underestimated too often.

Gesche Haas:

And the smoother, it seems like a community's run.

Gesche Haas:

The more is happening behind the scenes that you aren't seeing.

Gesche Haas:

Then other individuals, Ariana, who joined full time this

Gesche Haas:

year, she's also member facing.

Gesche Haas:

So you can see, we have a lot of member facing team members, which makes us,

Gesche Haas:

I think, unusual, but also like, it then becomes part of our DNA, other

Gesche Haas:

individuals, again, like I keep saying, like, and member facing and member facing,

Gesche Haas:

is someone who maybe in some words, like, I'd say like is more senior in the sense

Gesche Haas:

that she herself is a founder she's raised capital and she also supports in the

Gesche Haas:

member facing side, just because she has a different experience that she brings that

Gesche Haas:

is, might not be represented on the team.

Gesche Haas:

Other.

Gesche Haas:

We do have some people that aren't as visible Roe, who's fabulous RO Hansley.

Gesche Haas:

And she does a lot of our strategy and operation.

Gesche Haas:

So we ha just switch over to air table.

Gesche Haas:

So there's a lot of like special projects that happen, at least for us, that.

Gesche Haas:

We execute on to help improve the company.

Gesche Haas:

And finally, I'll kind of, we have some core team members, but then we have a few

Gesche Haas:

senior what I call like advisor or senior consultants, Christina, from magical

Gesche Haas:

teams who I literally journal about her.

Gesche Haas:

Like every day it's like, pressing-

Natasha Miller:

You know that-

Gesche Haas:

I told her today.

Gesche Haas:

Cause we just had it.

Gesche Haas:

It's like pressing the easy button on hiring.

Gesche Haas:

Cause just six months ago, like hiring.

Gesche Haas:

Especially from, as the founder, like usually is your main job.

Gesche Haas:

And I wasn't doing like the best job possible just because I

Gesche Haas:

was doing so many other things.

Gesche Haas:

It's something I'm not doing like every day.

Gesche Haas:

Right.

Gesche Haas:

So, and then since her team came and just helps us with hiring,

Gesche Haas:

like, it just helps us so much.

Gesche Haas:

And then we have a community strategist a content strategist.

Gesche Haas:

So a lot of people that maybe don't clock in as many hours, but that really

Gesche Haas:

advises on a very, very high level.

Natasha Miller:

How many people are on the platform today?

Gesche Haas:

Yeah.

Gesche Haas:

So I'll take one step back and mention that when we say we

Gesche Haas:

can have this wider ecosystem.

Gesche Haas:

So we also have a jobs platform that has over 35,000 women, and I spent.

Gesche Haas:

Very little time on that, but it's worth noting.

Gesche Haas:

If anyone who's listening is hiring.

Gesche Haas:

It's fantastic.

Gesche Haas:

It's free of charge.

Gesche Haas:

You can find it on Facebook, dreamers and doors drops and careers thousand

Gesche Haas:

there, but in our highly curated, private collective, where I spent over 99% of

Gesche Haas:

my time, we have a little under 800.

Natasha Miller:

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Natasha Miller:

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Natasha Miller:

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publishing path and market your story, your memoir, to a best seller status.

Natasha Miller:

Wow.

Natasha Miller:

So that's a big team that you just went through for 800 people.

Natasha Miller:

I mean, that's also a lot of people, but it's 35,000, right?

Natasha Miller:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

So where do you see this going?

Natasha Miller:

Do you have your five year or your B a goal?

Gesche Haas:

Yes.

Gesche Haas:

So I will go back briefly to the team and I feel like I was probably,

Gesche Haas:

cause I think we're actually like too lean for what we are right now.

Gesche Haas:

We're only three full time individuals for that much support.

Gesche Haas:

So we're actually like very actively hiring.

Gesche Haas:

I feel like we're truly, but I think that's a great part.

Gesche Haas:

A lot of communities that I know that haven't made it.

Gesche Haas:

I think the tricky part is that they weren't lean enough or scrappy enough.

Gesche Haas:

Like we go really hard on the areas that matter probably applies to every business,

Gesche Haas:

but I think for a community even more so.

Gesche Haas:

There's just so many little details.

Gesche Haas:

Um, just given that it's a business off people.

Gesche Haas:

So where are we going from here?

Gesche Haas:

We are continuing with our slow and steady growth.

Gesche Haas:

It's true to our nature, but also imagine like that we tripled our size in a year.

Gesche Haas:

It would be detrimental to the type of community we're building.

Gesche Haas:

It wouldn't matter too much in the drops platform.

Gesche Haas:

We can triple, we can like whatever grow tenfold.

Gesche Haas:

But if for our community, we grew that much, it would really change the dynamic.

Gesche Haas:

Because we spend a lot of time, um, onboarding individuals, really getting

Gesche Haas:

to know them, and then we can spend the energy of like, "Oh", if someone

Gesche Haas:

posted something, not in the right pace.

Gesche Haas:

We can spend that energy of like guiding individuals so that everyone

Gesche Haas:

shows up in the best possible way.

Gesche Haas:

So just continuing every year, improving the experience as well as

Gesche Haas:

growing gradually on top of that, actually a core part of our offering

Gesche Haas:

in addition to community is PR.

Gesche Haas:

And the reason for that is a few fold.

Gesche Haas:

One is just, we believe it will create massive systemic change.

Gesche Haas:

It's for women.

Gesche Haas:

I think even more important than for men getting that external

Gesche Haas:

validation is so important.

Gesche Haas:

Like getting credibility from potential investors, partners,

Gesche Haas:

employees, you name it.

Gesche Haas:

Sometimes it's harder for a woman than a man.

Gesche Haas:

So get being able to say like, "Hey, I got featured there."

Gesche Haas:

I got featured here is really important.

Gesche Haas:

Sometimes we believe in ourselves, not enough.

Gesche Haas:

And that external validation helps plus by changing who and what gets portrayed

Gesche Haas:

in the media, we believe we change who dares to start companies who dares

Gesche Haas:

to reach for leadership positions.

Gesche Haas:

That's like a super important part.

Gesche Haas:

So what we do is we provide an agile approach to PR and we

Gesche Haas:

make PR a lot more accessible.

Gesche Haas:

So in the past, Or for anyone now, the alternative is to spend multiple

Gesche Haas:

thousands of dollars of a retainer multi-month retainer to get PR our whole

Gesche Haas:

year of membership for us, is less than a month of a traditional PR agency.

Gesche Haas:

So, what we are exploring with right now is offering PR is a standalone

Gesche Haas:

offering, and separate from.

Gesche Haas:

Community part, but we're kind of just figuring that out.

Gesche Haas:

And for the jobs platform, we're also launching something called

Gesche Haas:

magical match that will be a values driven jobs platform.

Gesche Haas:

So we are tinkering on a few things, but all kind of tying back to our core values.

Natasha Miller:

So the publicity part was actually what I was gonna talk to

Natasha Miller:

you about next, which was beautiful.

Natasha Miller:

I have a question though.

Natasha Miller:

So with the publicity, is it kinda like a privatized help, a reporter

Natasha Miller:

out or quoted and are you pulling from some of those opportunities?

Natasha Miller:

Are you curating them?

Natasha Miller:

Directly yourself with the writers and the publications and such.

Gesche Haas:

We curate them completely ourselves.

Gesche Haas:

So for those maybe not familiar with like Harrow help a reporter, it's essentially

Gesche Haas:

this platform where reporters can put out opportunities and it's, it's like a lot of

Gesche Haas:

volume, a lot of sifting through, and then you might apply and nothing might happen.

Gesche Haas:

And so far.

Gesche Haas:

So we, one to be super mindful of everyone's time.

Gesche Haas:

So these are all in-house.

Gesche Haas:

So by seeing what we do is we provide streamlined opportunities for members

Gesche Haas:

to contribute to reputable publications, publications, this one part, but we

Gesche Haas:

also do speaking opportunities, podcast opportunities, various things, but

Gesche Haas:

publications specifically, we are the ones who have a relationship and we

Gesche Haas:

are the ones who craft the content.

Gesche Haas:

So we will source it from members.

Gesche Haas:

Oftentimes it's round up pieces.

Gesche Haas:

So it's like super efficient for the member.

Gesche Haas:

And there's an extremely high chance that they get featured, like over 95%.

Gesche Haas:

In most cases, they don't get featured all the time, but that way, like it's

Gesche Haas:

the biggest, highest ROI I possible in terms of time and energy invested and

Gesche Haas:

yielding results, because then they can have that byline or they can say that.

Gesche Haas:

They have been featured in this publication helps with momentum.

Gesche Haas:

A lot of our members have said it has helped with investor buy in and

Gesche Haas:

just general momentum with partners just because they have these like

Gesche Haas:

great PR wins that they can share on such a regular basis with a

Gesche Haas:

minimal monetary and time investment.

Natasha Miller:

Right.

Natasha Miller:

You can throw a lot of money at publicity and not see a return.

Natasha Miller:

So I think that's just wonderful.

Natasha Miller:

I mean, this is a metric that you'd have to look up.

Natasha Miller:

So just do it by gut instinct.

Natasha Miller:

When you put up an opportunity, how many people, what percentage of the

Natasha Miller:

people that our members respond to it?

Gesche Haas:

I have the numbers like more or less, but it, so I'll share

Gesche Haas:

a few things that might be helpful.

Gesche Haas:

So we share them throughout the year.

Gesche Haas:

So it's like good to know that members.

Gesche Haas:

Know that there'll be multiple ones, right?

Gesche Haas:

Like there was one per year that might like change that number.

Gesche Haas:

That would definitely change the number lot.

Gesche Haas:

we also intentionally, so we do a PR drop every month.

Gesche Haas:

That's when it comes out at the beginning of the month.

Gesche Haas:

And we always try to have one publication where nearly anyone can

Gesche Haas:

contribute could be something like, "Hey, this is what I do for self care."

Gesche Haas:

Or, "Hey, this is like most important like, or how I came

Gesche Haas:

up with my business model.

Gesche Haas:

And then we have one that is a little bit more niche.

Gesche Haas:

So it could be like, Hey, this is what other event planners

Gesche Haas:

or other podcasters are doing.

Gesche Haas:

Could be more in specific, but that obviously changes like some of them

Gesche Haas:

we intentionally don't want as many to contribute to because it's focused

Gesche Haas:

on a certain niche or experience.

Gesche Haas:

So for the ones that anyone can contribute to, maybe the most we've

Gesche Haas:

ever seen is like 40 that try to submit.

Gesche Haas:

But I'd say it's in most cases, it's like 20 years, for sure.

Gesche Haas:

And because we constantly have so many opportunities, it's not that everyone

Gesche Haas:

would jump at it at the same time and it usually becomes manageable.

Gesche Haas:

And if we had more than that, that rally happens.

Gesche Haas:

We're able to like maybe split it up into two articles.

Natasha Miller:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

So who on your team of three employees full time and some not full time?

Natasha Miller:

Who is the media relations person creating these relationships with

Natasha Miller:

the media outlets and the writers?

Gesche Haas:

Yes, actually the PR team I'd say is like the biggest team.

Gesche Haas:

I would say I'm the one who has facilitated most of

Gesche Haas:

the relationships so far.

Gesche Haas:

So that's actually the person we're gonna hire, within the next year is

Gesche Haas:

like having a dedicated PR person.

Gesche Haas:

So we can do even more of that.

Gesche Haas:

And we always aim at like long term relationships.

Gesche Haas:

And that's what makes us different from a many things that make

Gesche Haas:

us different from a PR agency.

Gesche Haas:

But a PR agency would go out and like, Pitch you individually

Gesche Haas:

to a lot of different place.

Gesche Haas:

So we don't do that, but that's the part that's really expensive, right.

Gesche Haas:

And really resource heavy.

Gesche Haas:

So instead we focus on nurturing, like really aligned long term

Gesche Haas:

relationships, which means like we can spend the time and energy creating

Gesche Haas:

the quality content, helping members be shown in the best light and like.

Gesche Haas:

Spending excruciating amount of hours on like fostering a relationship

Gesche Haas:

for one potential feature.

Gesche Haas:

But I'll say like the team is pretty big.

Gesche Haas:

We have head of content who is part-time, who is the head editor at the muse and

Gesche Haas:

that her, their first employee Hannah was a journalism majors, highly involved.

Gesche Haas:

We have Jamie who is an editor.

Gesche Haas:

Bonnie helps out on the team too, and Ariana as well.

Gesche Haas:

So it's like, pretty involved, but also pretty streamlined.

Natasha Miller:

Right, so if I were to answer one of the Roundup questions and

Natasha Miller:

it was printed, are all the responses, dreamers and doers members, are they

Natasha Miller:

pulling in other entrepreneurs or other people in that article as well.

Gesche Haas:

Only Dreamers and Doers members.

Gesche Haas:

So since we are the ones who are crafting the content, we pass it along and

Gesche Haas:

it's only Dreamers and Doers members.

Natasha Miller:

Really great model.

Natasha Miller:

So, okay.

Natasha Miller:

You talked about this.

Natasha Miller:

How is this community relating on things such as real talk related fears, picking

Natasha Miller:

a path that works approach to business, definition of success, like different.

Natasha Miller:

Successes, you touched upon that.

Natasha Miller:

And I'd love for you to just talk about that.

Natasha Miller:

It's probably very important to you and the platform.

Gesche Haas:

Yes, real talk definitely is and I think a big differentiator for

Gesche Haas:

us is that we have not only that value driven approach, but we, in some ways

Gesche Haas:

take a personal approach to business.

Gesche Haas:

So we have the opinion that by emphasizing the personal side too.

Gesche Haas:

We actually deepen the professional side.

Gesche Haas:

Our community's all about giving, but if we just focus on the giving,

Gesche Haas:

it nearly becomes transactional too.

Gesche Haas:

Right.

Gesche Haas:

And for women even more so than men embracing the whole

Gesche Haas:

self is really important.

Gesche Haas:

If you're ever planning on having kids, or if you like me have a one and a two

Gesche Haas:

year old, like it's going to impact your.

Gesche Haas:

And it impacts me much more than it impacts my husband.

Gesche Haas:

So it's really impossible.

Gesche Haas:

I find to like completely separate the two and it kind of defeats the purpose.

Gesche Haas:

So that's why we, when we, for example, nudge our members to share

Gesche Haas:

an introduction, we always say like, share your whole journey.

Gesche Haas:

Because so many of us, including myself, we used to be in a carpentry.

Gesche Haas:

We were living the dream on paper, but it wasn't right for us.

Gesche Haas:

and so many reasons of why we are on this entrepreneurial path now are

Gesche Haas:

personal reasons and just having a stronger alignment to our personal goals.

Gesche Haas:

So that's where that real talk comes from.

Gesche Haas:

And that we found is, again, like it's very hard to execute on and do well,

Gesche Haas:

but if it's done well, it becomes a very, very sticky community in the best

Gesche Haas:

possible way because members have these tangible benefits, but also they feel.

Gesche Haas:

Really deep connection to each other and to us as the organization, because it's

Gesche Haas:

much more than a LinkedIn profile, a LinkedIn platform that it goes so deeper.

Natasha Miller:

You've built something amazing.

Natasha Miller:

That is again.

Natasha Miller:

So we're gonna talk about my own experience I've been in and am in, I

Natasha Miller:

mean, probably 8, maybe 10 communities, and some of them are very high

Natasha Miller:

profile and not run as well as yours.

Natasha Miller:

And some of them are not as high profile.

Natasha Miller:

And still not run as well as yours.

Natasha Miller:

So you're doing something really, right.

Natasha Miller:

I would love for you to give the first thing.

Natasha Miller:

If somebody is trying to build a community, let's say I'm trying to

Natasha Miller:

build a community of entrepreneurs that wanna become Memoir Authors.

Natasha Miller:

Right?

Natasha Miller:

That's actually what I would, if I were gonna build a community, it might be that.

Natasha Miller:

What is the first thing you would tell someone to focus on when sketching

Natasha Miller:

out the wire frame for the group?

Gesche Haas:

You actually have the first step that I would recommend

Gesche Haas:

and I'll give a bonus step, but the first step is figuring out who you're

Gesche Haas:

for and that is the most important.

Gesche Haas:

And that is the first step.

Gesche Haas:

And also not just the watch, but the why, like, are you focusing on this

Gesche Haas:

audience because you think it's highly lucrative, do you think it's because

Gesche Haas:

they have a common shared pain point?

Gesche Haas:

Like I'm doing it for the right reasons because I find communities compared

Gesche Haas:

to other companies, like there's a higher burnout rate for communities

Gesche Haas:

because it takes such an emotional toll.

Gesche Haas:

So making sure that you pick a community and audience, I shouldn't say audience

Gesche Haas:

like community members that feels aligned to you then from there, that would

Gesche Haas:

determine the additional wire frame, but.

Gesche Haas:

One thing too on the, who is figuring out what the common shared pain point is

Gesche Haas:

that gets individuals together, right?

Gesche Haas:

The stronger, the shared pain point is, or the stronger, the shared

Gesche Haas:

passion is the more glue there is.

Gesche Haas:

I'll give an example.

Gesche Haas:

Let's say I wanna start a community for individuals that drink water.

Gesche Haas:

Like it's harder to have traction for that.

Gesche Haas:

Most people drink water.

Gesche Haas:

They don't usually feel a lot of shame or anything about drinking water.

Gesche Haas:

So that it's harder to get a passion.

Gesche Haas:

It changes the moment you say, like, I want to start a community

Gesche Haas:

for people who drink $5 bottle water, you know, like it's still-

Natasha Miller:

I'm gonna stop you there cuz I wanna tell you something.

Natasha Miller:

That's just so funny that you're talking about water.

Natasha Miller:

I just recently discovered evidently I live under a rock that you

Natasha Miller:

can buy this device for $5,000.

Natasha Miller:

That turns your water into medical grade, like Alkaline balanced water.

Natasha Miller:

And I was like "wait", "Who has that?"

Natasha Miller:

Do you know about that?

Gesche Haas:

No, I've never heard of it.

Natasha Miller:

So creating a community for people that want,

Natasha Miller:

or have these machines, right.

Gesche Haas:

Like that would be actually pretty popular or

Gesche Haas:

like within that segment, right?

Gesche Haas:

Like actually, like niche is pretty good or, you know, starting a community

Gesche Haas:

of individuals that drink water because they don't drink alcohol.

Gesche Haas:

So they drink water at bars.

Gesche Haas:

Right?

Gesche Haas:

Like, like for me, my community being an entrepreneur's

Gesche Haas:

heart, you have existential.

Gesche Haas:

Being a woman, entrepreneur hard, similar writing a memoir,

Gesche Haas:

like putting yourself out.

Gesche Haas:

There's really like gut wrenching.

Gesche Haas:

And it's a difficult process with a lot of nuances.

Gesche Haas:

So that helps determine if there even is a need for a community.

Gesche Haas:

And then structurally there's so many ways to like size and dice a

Gesche Haas:

community, the community that just focuses on events, it could be online.

Gesche Haas:

It could be all these things because thesis creep or just

Gesche Haas:

creep of changing things.

Gesche Haas:

And like just offering too much is a thing I'd say, having like a particular

Gesche Haas:

thesis of like, Hey, I think I wanna focus on in person, cause you don't

Gesche Haas:

wanna focus on too many platforms.

Gesche Haas:

Like it's oftentimes that there's like for us online is the primary platform.

Gesche Haas:

We do have occasional offline events, but we're very intentional

Gesche Haas:

about that being secondary.

Gesche Haas:

And that the purpose of those is to enhance the online connections

Gesche Haas:

for, for various reasons.

Gesche Haas:

But like just knowing where you want your community to live and why,

Gesche Haas:

and being very intentional about it and also very boundary because

Gesche Haas:

you'll have a lot of individual.

Gesche Haas:

Especially community members say like, but I want you to do this.

Gesche Haas:

I want you to do that.

Gesche Haas:

So it's good to know what you wanna be doing or what you don't wanna be doing.

Natasha Miller:

Right.

Natasha Miller:

And I do agree about the offerings and there are some communities I'm in that

Natasha Miller:

there's just way too many choices.

Natasha Miller:

And when there's way too many choices, people just blank out

Natasha Miller:

and they don't select anything.

Natasha Miller:

So then you get drop off, right?

Natasha Miller:

Yes, exactly.

Natasha Miller:

And what is your rate and your challenge for keeping members?

Natasha Miller:

Engaged when it comes to time to renewal.

Gesche Haas:

So one is we to have this context members have the option to sign

Gesche Haas:

up for an annual membership or quarterly.

Gesche Haas:

And it always like audits.

Gesche Haas:

We do send intentionally a reminder the week before I know a lot, most communities

Gesche Haas:

don't do that, but we want people to be there and if their membership renewed.

Gesche Haas:

And they let us know within a week that they didn't want to, like, we

Gesche Haas:

will fully refund them, but we're lucky that we have a very high retention.

Gesche Haas:

I don't know what exactly the industry standard is, but like

Gesche Haas:

I've talked to a few people and it seemed like we were pretty high.

Gesche Haas:

And what I'm most proud of is that we have a pretty large chunk of

Gesche Haas:

individuals who come back after they've been head and hate hiatus.

Gesche Haas:

Oftentimes because it's entrepreneurship type, someone might take a job or

Gesche Haas:

like something might be going on.

Gesche Haas:

It might not be relevant for them all the time, but I'm really

Gesche Haas:

proud that people come back a lot.

Gesche Haas:

And we've had people who've been members for eight years, like the entire time.

Natasha Miller:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

That's what I have for you.

Natasha Miller:

Do you wanna add anything that we didn't touch upon?

Gesche Haas:

Maybe just add to the last question.

Gesche Haas:

Cause I feel like it just, I love real talk and I feel like I was just like,

Gesche Haas:

oh, everything is great and it's so easy.

Gesche Haas:

So obviously it's not all super easy now also say that it's so easy

Gesche Haas:

to look at someone's end or middle and compare it with your beginning.

Gesche Haas:

Like when we started out, we were literal, you know, meeting up at Brunches, then

Gesche Haas:

we had a Facebook group until we had a Facebook group until like 11 months ago.

Gesche Haas:

Right.

Gesche Haas:

Like, so depending on what point you looked into our journey, like, we looked

Gesche Haas:

very different or we only invested in branding about two years ago.

Gesche Haas:

Like if you looked on our website, like three years ago was like really

Gesche Haas:

ugly and not great, but it's like I think because we've been doing it so

Gesche Haas:

long, like we fine tuned, but also we set goals for ourselves that are

Gesche Haas:

extremely achievable for better or worse.

Gesche Haas:

Like I used to be self conscious about this.

Gesche Haas:

So instead approach, but so many companies and communities that were looked a lot

Gesche Haas:

fancier from the outside when we were.

Gesche Haas:

In our early days, aren't around anymore.

Gesche Haas:

They imploded there have been communities of venture funded

Gesche Haas:

companies where I've been approached.

Gesche Haas:

Like if I wanted to take over the company as CEO and I used to be, feel so inferior

Gesche Haas:

compared to that, those communities.

Gesche Haas:

So it's just finding your own path and knowing what success looks

Gesche Haas:

like for you is super important.

Natasha Miller:

For more information, go to the show notes where

Natasha Miller:

you're listening to this podcast.

Natasha Miller:

Wanna know more about me go to my website, OfficialNatashaMiller.com.

Natasha Miller:

Thank you so much for listening.

Natasha Miller:

I hope you loved the show.

Natasha Miller:

If you did, please subscribe also, if you haven't done so yet,

Natasha Miller:

please leave a review where you're listening to this podcast now.

Natasha Miller:

I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

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