There's a prevalent attitude that women have it rough in the tech startup world. Maybe, but they're also equipped with skills and experiences men don't always possess, and this fact can give them an edge when it comes to succeeding in business, and in life. That's according to Michelle Crosby, founder and CEO of Wevorce, a software platform that offers a five-step process to make the divorce process more amicable. It's a concept that seems to resonate--more than 1 million people have visited the site since it launched in 2013, with 30,000 participating in forums around the topic of divorce and 2,500 couples expected to use the platform this year. Plus, the company recently announced it landed $3 million in Series A funding led by Techstars Ventures. Here's why she says women have an advantage.
1. They are accustomed to doing hard things.
In spite of having been told she could never have children, Crosby found out she was pregnant just after closing a seed round of funding for Wevorce during a period of time during which she worked 2,000 hours in four months. This was the total of her billable hours for an entire year when she worked as a lawyer.
In spite of her work ethic, one investor blurted out he wouldn't have invested in her had he known she was pregnant. Instead of reacting indignantly, she asked him to tell her more about what he was thinking. As a father of girls he felt remorseful for the comment and ended up talking with Crosby about championing female founders.
2. Many of the same skill sets involved in parenting apply to business, and vice versa.
For example, ideally parents act as a team. So, just like Crosby has a business partner at Wevorce, she has a parenting partner at home helping to raise their two-year-old son. In both arenas success means looking at the duties that need to be done and figuring out a way to help each other get the best results.
3. Smart successful women use their business skills at home.
People are accustomed to planning in business, but expect families to work on auto pilot. Crosby believes in being more intentional and she and her husband hold Sunday meetings to plan the week ahead and to organize calendars.
"I think that's important because most of our energy goes out into the world and very little is reserved for coming home," she says. "You learn to adjust that by building similar structures that you use at the office."
4. Women are more empowered than ever.
For Crosby, this meant writing her own script and getting "should" out of her vocabulary. For example, she didn't have any role models for what it meant to be a pregnant founder. She took all that uncertainty, slowed down her fears and started naming them under the lens of being a founder accustomed to being patted on the head for having great ideas and eating fear for breakfast. In essence, she had to redefine who she wanted to be as a mother, decide which pieces she wanted to keep and which ones wouldn't work for her.
"I knew there were some things I would miss out on but there would be other pieces I would be able to give because my career was so important to me," she says. "What's the old saying--if mama's not happy no one's happy? I knew that part of my journey with motherhood was going to be learning how to balance that and hopefully sharing with other women what was working and what wasn't."
5. Women today understand they can't have it all.
Yes, they can have a successful career and a thriving family, but it's a bit of a paradox that involves simultaneous frustration and joy.
"I think we are living right now during a culture where we think we can get it perfect," she says. "I actually think that that's doing a great disservice to us. I think the need for perfection is blocking connection and vulnerability... Somewhere in that vulnerability is a sweet spot of really understanding that sometimes you can't have good without struggle."