"Tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are"
I may be a "one-woman" team starting my business, but I have friends, mentors, and family that has helped me along this crazy entrepreneurial journey.
If you have been following my blog and social media pages you could see the incredible improvement I've made with the quality of pictures, product design, and business model over the last couple of months. Well, that improvement is owed to the honest conversations and advice of my friends and mentors. I tell my friends to be absolutely straight-forward and give constructive criticism because I value their opinion. Why? Because most of the people in my circle are successful entrepreneurs, worked in high positions in the corporate world, or are working on projects to make the world a better place.
When I first came to Thailand, I knew nobody and had no connections. So I aggressively networked and sought out friends (it's hard to make friends as an adult!). My first from a meet up group was , "Black People in Thailand" where I met two incredible Black American women Bangkok and we took over the group and organised activities and talks. No group dissolved but we are still friends and formed a small LINE group with member all who are incredible int heir own right, from ivy league educated, serial entrepreneurs, IT specialist, and world-travellers. I'm quite proud to have this group of amazing friends who have been so supportive. I joke around with one friend who has a Master's in digital marketing from NYU and formerly worked at L'Oreal, "I need your advice, I can't afford to pay you right now, but I can pay you with hair products!" Or one friend I met at a popular co-working space, The Hive, and has an MBA from MIT, despite his being incredibly busy and starting a business we meet for lunch and he gives me advice on SEO and how to make money from my website. Or another friend who works in TeleCom and by far the most funnies man I ever met, we have some of the most interesting conversations about life, dating, and solidifying my business model before I approach investors. I could go on about my friends but they read this blog and would prefer I don't reveal too much details ;)
In a new city with a handful of friends I joined a few meet up groups to help build my professional network. Bangkok, does have a few good meet up groups and events for young professionals and entrepreneurs that makes it easy to meet amazing and sometimes weird people. My groups are Connecting Founders, Secret Women in Business, Internet Entrepreneurs Network, and BKK/Hack: code, construct, share, learn. My consistent meet ups focused on women entrepreneurs and women lead businesses, specifically Connecting Founders and Secret Women in Business, because I learned how women do business and buy products are very different from men (not sexist but true!). Also, it's great to have a supportive circle of women professionals. For example, at events where there were mostly men (which I was not intimidated by) when I spoke about my idea a lot of them scoffed at my business selling healthy hair products online. Whereas for women, who are my main customers, loved the idea especially the fact that I personally delivered products. I have "thick skin" and quite confident thanks to my time and experience in Israel, yet when I was there I was part of a women's tech group that had some of the smartest and ambitious women I've ever met. So, here in Bangkok, women are a equally ambitious but don't have as much financial and social support for their ideas. So these meet ups focused on how women can fundraise, building a profitable blog or social media channel, successful entrepreneurs sharing their stories, and overall connecting all types of women so we can achieve our goals.
As for my family who is in the other side of the world, I talk with them once a week and share pictures of my life on Facebook (the main reason I post) and they are quite proud. My mom is not the most tech savvy person but she tells me, she likes to talk about me and show my pictures off to her friends and her little Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) community. I'm happy that I've found a new community since leaving Israel, Thailand Progressive Jewish Community, to celebrate holidays and have shabbat dinners with. So, in a way friends, family, and community has really enabled me to get this far without.
So what is next? For the next few months I will be traveling, working, and fundraising to continue and build Healthy Hair Asia. Bangkok, will continue to be my base and will definitely maintain my friendships with my friends and community. So stay tuned! Many exciting things happening! See pictures below of my friends, network, and community. Thank you all!