Monday, March 15, 2010

The "Feminine Approach" to Launching a Business

Growing a business is hard work- especially for working moms! Luckily there’s plenty of women’s groups out there tailored just for females, the unique female style of launching and running a business, and a support system to make it all happen.

One such Portland group is Ladies Who Launch, the first new media company to provide resources and connections for women entrepreneurs. The Ladies Who Launch mission is to make entrepreneurship accessible to any woman with a project, dream or aspiration to start her own business and be successful.

Victoria Colligan is the Founder of Ladies Who Launch, which began in 2002, with the first local communities launching in 2005. She is also the creator of Ladies Who Launch Online and the Featured Lady stories. She is co-author of the book Ladies Who Launch: Embracing Entrepreneurship and Creativity as a Lifestyle and has another book coming out soon.

Katie Kelley, a native Californian who grew up in the cities of Atlanta, London, and San Diego, is breathing new life into the Portland chapter of LWL. Kelley relocated to Portland in 2008 and was soon offered the position with LWL. “I am delighted to serve as the Oregon Market Leader for my hometown of Portland, Oregon,” says Kelley. “It is an incredibly opportune moment for Oregonian women who are ready to hatch their creative ideas into prospering businesses or personal ventures.”

Kelley, who boasts a B.A. in Psychology from Boston College and a Clinical Masters Degree from Smith College, worked as a psychotherapist at Cornell Medical Schools teaching hospital in Manhattan for almost three years. She then went to work for Novartis for another three years and eventually was certified by the Training and Organizational Development Program at New York University and the Core Essentials Program at Coach University.

She now is a Business Coach and Consultant with Legacy Builder Coaching, LLC. With Legacy, she primarily partners with emerging entrepreneurs to develop and strengthen their business strategy, execution and personal leadership so that they thrive in the new economy.

Portland Working Mom’s Examiner had a chance to sit down with Kelley recently to learn more about Ladies Who Launch and female entrepreneurs who are emerging more and more as they attempt to balance work and motherhood.

E: Why are so many women launching businesses? It is due to the recession?
K: Women are launching businesses at twice the rate of men, and they are doing it primarily for lifestyle reasons–they want more freedom, flexibility, and creativity in their lives. There are over 11 million women owned businesses in the US! We have found a definitive link between launching a business and higher self-esteem and happiness. Women come to Ladies Who Launch to take advantage of our trusted community, tools, resources and success stories and live their dreams.

E: Who is Ladies Who Launch tailored for?
K: There is a movement of women who want to control their lives. Ladies Who Launch is an online and in-person platform for these women. Our mission is to make entrepreneurship accessible to every woman at every phase of launching. We empower entrepreneurs, freelancers, stay-at-home moms, side-launchers, and consultants with tools, role models, and confidence through local and national success stories, and resources to grow their businesses and connect to one another through events,, and through our Local Communities across the US and Canada.

E: Does a woman have to have her idea formulated to come to a LWL event or join LWL? Or do you embrace those who are just dreaming of an idea?
K: We offer a trusted community - this is critical to launching any idea. You need to find a like-minded community of women who can be the support you need, who can connect you to others, who can listen to what you need to grow and then actually be part of giving it to you. Our workshops and STRATA membership program delivers on this in spades. We provide essential resources for launching a business - from “How-To” articles to preferred relationships with partners to webinars - Ladies Who Launch is constantly integrating ways to inform and educate women on how to take their projects to the next level. We welcome women at all stages of development, whether it’s just an idea or they’ve been in business for 3-5 years.

E: Why would I, as a female entrepreneur, want to join Ladies Who Launch? It seems like there are so many groups to choose from, how do I know which one is right for me?
K: Women join to be part of a community, stay connected, and make sure other energetic, motivated entrepreneurs surround them. We share resources, create a mastermind group; women use connecting to move ideas forward. Most of our constituents join to get out of isolation. Nothing great has ever happened as a solo activity. Success requires teamwork, action and goal alignment. We make sure your mission and goals are clear and that everyone you surround yourself with is aligned with you and we don’t waste time on negativity.

E: You talk a lot about the “feminine approach” to launching a business. What does that mean?
K: The feminine approach to launching a business has less to do with men vs. women, and is more about seeing your business holistically. Women often take a more intuitive and organic approach to their businesses and projects and don't want to initially get caught up in a business plan. This doesn't mean they don't need one eventually, but in order to get started, women need to take small steps and feel the creative juices flowing and be able to act on their ideas. The feminine approach celebrates this idea and is reinforced through our workshops and STRATA membership program where you can get through the many stages of launching from start up to growth and find the resources you need - - and then return to find what you need next. There's no one right way - there are many right ways - and our Featured Lady stories prove this over and over. Women do things differently and that's OKAY!

E: Thank you for sharing this insight into Ladies Who Launch! Where can female entrepreneurs- or aspiring entrepreneurs- learn more about your events and your next meeting?
K: You can go to for more info and events, and join us for our upcoming Sunday Social April 18 at 9:00am- 11:30, we’ll be meeting at The Dragontree Holistic Day Spa to discuss growing and marketing your business over coffee and snacks.

A meeting at a spa, noshing on pastries and sipping coffee? Sometimes, you’ve got to love the way women do business. Thanks to my guest Katie Kelley for sharing insight into her Ladies Who Launch Oregon networking group for female entrepreneurs.

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