We have blogged about this previously. This experience was also written about in our CEO's book "From Failure to Fearless" (available on Amazon) and published in March 2014. Time to revisit again as it is amazing when people will take what is written (even if someone writes under a fake name or anonymous) as truth.
A personal negative business experience for Just Fearless LLC to help other small businesses:
There is something so truly mind-boggling about the ability to write something about a business and/or person based on slander and lies online and on social media and people take it as fact. They don't consider the website it was written on, they don't look at the response below the complaint on sites such as Rip Off Report (which deliberately creates a huge separation from the complaint up top, then tons of ads, then any rebuttal response)and others like Complaint Board.
They don't look at the fact that someone used a fake name to write the same complaint (on multiple sites) and/or social media, they don't look at the date of the complaint (9 years ago) and even one last year for a company that we declined to fund via the angel fund (this women pretended to be a man from Boston even though men are not eligible for our fund - how petty can one get).
People complain all the time, these same sites (RipOff Report & Complaints Board) have complaints against Amazon, Whole Foods, Hay House Inc, Barnes & Noble, Wells Fargo, Pepsi, Sallie Mae, Taco Bell, Apple, T-Mobile, Avis Car Rental etc., and yet they are ALL still in business despite having hundreds and sometimes thousands of complaints on these websites and more. Yet people do business with them.
But if someone finds one or 2 complaints over a 10 year period for a small business and it is automatically thought to be true without any verification or even questioning it or reading the rebuttal at the bottom. This happened to us. Two complaints over 8 years apart, written by people under fake names and making up stories to get return fire for being fired (intern fired years ago and wrote the same exact false complaint over multiple sites) and a female founder (who was not chosen to be funded in our first round last year) who decided to be pretend to be a man (men cannot apply for the fund) and wrote a false report about it. We answered both in rebuttals and it still shows up until this day.
Anyone can write anything about anyone and there are no consequences unless you want to take the time to go after them legally but you know they don't have anything of value so why spend the money? However, at some point if it continues to affect your business, then you have to fight back and stand your ground and we will do that in the future going forward.
This is how we got to where we are as a society and country. This is how the US got Trump because people are taking anything that is written online as truth without due diligence, asking questions directly, and common sense before taking any action.
For any company that has every had to deal with this, especially small businesses, this video gives you tips on how to deal with that. Keep going and don't let anyone or anything stop you. Just Do It!
If people are not smart enough or willing to use common sense when it comes to discerning and questioning what's truth and what's really "Fake News", then they are not someone you want to do business with. Remember this the next time you do a Google search on someone or a company and something like RipOff Report or something similar comes up. Read it thoroughly including any rebuttals, Ask the company or contact about it directly, and consider the source of the complaint rather than making assumptions. Common Sense is not so common these days.
For someone to go by the logic of it is on "Ripoff Report" so it must be true, then that means you should not want to do business with them. In this day in age where fake news is really a thing, you will not be able to please everyone as you build your brand and business and there will always be haters who want to see you fail.
So don't be deterred by that, keep going. If you are a small business it is in your best interest to provide a rebuttal to a complaint no matter how ridiculous it is. It is also in your best interest to address it head on and be open about it. There is nothing to hide as no one is perfect and you cannot please everyone.
Keep going! Don't let the words of someone else stop you. If others can't see it. Your business serves a purpose and the worlds needs to know about it! Rise above it all! We are Just Fearless LLC!
Pocket Sun, the 27-year-old co-founder of multi-million dollar VC firm SoGal, wants to better gender dynamics.
Yiqing “Pocket” Sun became a venture capitalist by accident. A Chinese national who arrived in the US in 2009 to study at Virginia’s William & Mary College, Sun was enjoying her job at an American corporate marketing firm when suddenly she had to quit because of work visa issues.
Determined to stay in the country, she signed up for a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Southern California (USC). While there she realized “entrepreneurship is the only way to make a real impact on the world.” But there was a problem.
She felt lonely as an aspirational entrepreneur. The venture capital industry is male-dominated and Sun felt many female entrepreneurs were undervalued and undercapitalized. The biggest problem she found was lack of access to capital, which was hurting the chances of women entrepreneurs.
So Sun decided to start SoGal (inspired from Southern California’s university SoCal acronym + Gal) as a student organization at USC in 2014, which quickly grew into a global community of entrepreneurs and investors.
Today, SoGal Ventures is a multimillion-dollar, female-led, millennial venture capital firm. Sun and co-founder Elizabeth Galbut (whom she met in a venture capital course at Stanford University) take care of over 50 companies. The SoGal community is now called SoGal Foundation (a US nonprofit organization), reaching over 100,000 entrepreneurs in more than 30 countries.
Besides this, 27-year-old Sun has given TEDx talks, is a regular speaker at conferences and summits across the world, and has been on the cover of Forbes Asia as one of their 30 Under 30. We spoke with Sun to learn more about SoGal’s journey and how it is trying to empower women entrepreneurs. Edited excerpts:
What was the first investment SoGal made?
It was in January 2017 to Function of Beauty, a New York-based startup that creates 100 percent customized hair care products. We thought it represented the new way of buying personal care and the power of advanced manufacturing.
How much money have you invested so far?
Over three million has been invested in 19 companies since January 2017.
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Entrepreneurship is defined as the process of designing, launching and running a new business which typically begins as a small start-up company offering a product or service for sale or for hire.
There is about one woman entrepreneur for every three male entrepreneurs in the world.
As a woman entrepreneur in the architecture space we experience many ups and downs, face many challenges, have had successful ventures but most important you learn.
For a very long time, entrepreneurship has been a field dominated by men. Even though this scenario is changing, its effects can still be seen in today’s world where women entrepreneur have to face numerous challenges such as:
Gender equality in funding entrepreneurs could be a boon for the global economy
According to a recent study by Aston University , men are almost twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as women. However over the last decade, the number of female business owners around the world has increased by 45 percent. RS Components have analyzed which countries are leading the way when it comes to female entrepreneurs — you can view the GIF here.
Why then, are such few women (relatively speaking) launching businesses around the world? A report by The Unilever Foundry in February 2018  found that 4 in 10 female founders say they frequently encountered gender bias whilst running their startup, and 42 percent believed that gender discrimination would stay the same as they scale up. It appears then, that cultural barriers are a large part of the issue, with women not being supported or encouraged into entrepreneurship in the same way as their male peers . The Entrepreneurs Network describes how men are 86 percent more likely than women to secure venture capital funding, and 56 percent more like to win the backing of an angel investor. Women also commonly receive fewer and smaller bank loans for their business — along with being charged more for these loans .
There are many benefits to trying to improve opportunities for female entrepreneurs, with research suggesting that closing the entrepreneurship gender gap could boost global GDP by as much as 2 percent, and the ripple effect could go far beyond financial gains . There would be the chance to benefit from new innovations, products, and services on the global market from a segment of the population that has never before been given the opportunity to reach their full entrepreneurial potential. Karen Quintos, senior vice president of Dell  comments, “Unleashing the power of female entrepreneurship can have a dramatic effect on a country’s economy. Research clearly supports the assertion that key things need to be fixed in order for female entrepreneurship to survive and flourish.”
Despite this, there still exists a glaringly obvious entrepreneurial gender gap. Only one-fifth of the six million businesses in the UK are owned by women, and there are twice as many male entrepreneurs as females, despite there being one million more women in the UK . Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, says that the fact that so few British business are started by women is “shocking” and is not as a result of lack of talent and appetite. Mr Jenrick also comments that untapped female entrepreneurship “may be the greatest economic opportunity of 21st century,” stating that Britain could be missing out on more than one million new enterprises and billions of pounds of economic activity by not addressing issues of the entrepreneurial gender gap .
Fortunately, there are steps being made to understand and tackle the barriers facing women entrepreneurs. In the UK, RBS CEO of Commercial and Private Banking Alison Rose was appointed to lead a government review in September 2018, to identify barriers faced by women when starting a business, and explore what can be done to overcome them . Recently in the USA, President Trump signed into law the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act, a law that strengthens US efforts to promote opportunity for female entrepreneurs worldwide .
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Why are women increasingly funding women entrepreneurs?
Given all the data showing otherwise, it’s hard to believe that institutional funders don’t know that women entrepreneurs have a harder time raising money. For example, investors ask male founders questions related to promotion or gain and female founders questions related to prevention or loss, according to Dana Kanze’s research among TechCrunch Disrupt competitors. The different focus resulted in men raising five times as much as women.
Yet, institutional investors (79%) and bank loan officers (91%) still believe that women entrepreneurs get the right amount of funding or more, according to The Growing Market Investors Are Missing, a report by Morgan Stanley.
Data also show that women entrepreneurs outperform their male counterparts, yet their performance hasn’t attracted the funding they need. So women are using their money and wits in five ways to ensure that women entrepreneurs get funded.
1. Women are becoming angel investors: Between 2004 — the year the Center of Venture Research started tracking angel investors by gender — and 2017, the number of women angels has increased five fold. Of angels who started investing within the last two years, 30% are women, according to The American Angel, commissioned by the Angel Capital Association. “They’re committing a significant amount of early capital to fund women-led businesses,” said Kay Koplovitz, cofounder and chairman of Springboard Enterprises, and managing partner of Springboard Growth Capital. Springboard, an accelerator for high-potential women entrepreneurs, has partnered with Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) to do a series of Women Funding Women events.
Alicia Robb is an author, academic researcher, and managing partner of several early-stage venture funds through Next Wave Impact. Investors in her funds are mostly executive women plus some exited female founders and scaling founders who intend, when they exit, to become active angel investors. When asked why women join women angel groups and funds, she said “because it’s fun. It also offers a return on your investment and a way to get involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
2. Venture capitalists get with the program: According to Pitchbook, the percentage of dollars going to companies with at least one female founder decreased over the past five years: from 13.4% in 2013 to 9.8% in 2018. (The percentages differ from the often cited 2% which refers only to all-female founder teams.) Don’t sound the alarm! Shortly, a few trends should make a gradual upward impact on those numbers.
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