BFFs is a bi-weekly email for Asia’s female founders around resources on growing a business, cultivating friendships, and funding opportunities. Brought to you by Chief Best Friends, a podcast helping women succeed in work and business through meaningful friendships.
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Hello to all new people who are joining us in this issue. 👋
Our humble community grew quite a lot last week thanks to readers from another newsletter who have found their way here. Welcome, welcome!
September has been a great month of rest and rediscovery for me. After a week in August full of podcast interviews for Chief Best Friends, video call sessions, and other online chats, I felt like I needed a break.
One of the great and maybe worst things about working for myself is that I have the executive power to give myself a mini-sabbatical. If I’m not careful, however, I could have easily fallen into a hole of despair and ennui; one where it would be very hard for me to crawl out from.
Thankfully, I have great people around me whom I lean on and who’s been crucial in keeping my momentum (whatever that looks like right now) even if all I want to do is lie on my couch watching Homeland.
On that note, I’m building a community for founders to make headway in our goals. I love and thrive in structured communities because my human nature is to sprint, rest, plan, and then sprint again. I know that rest seasons (like where I am right now) can be tough, especially when the energy to start planning to sprint again is low. So this community is all about accountability and support in keeping the momentum.
One of the things I learnt about having a chief best friend is that having one is crucial in helping us show up for ourselves and our business. For those of us without one, well this community is the next best thing.
Interested? Fill-in this form.
p.s. I’m changing up the schedule of this newsletter because Mondays are manic enough. You will hear from me every other Tuesday from now on.
Motherhood is a superpower, here’s how to harness it. One of the tenets of focusing on female founders is the reality that we have a lot on our plate due to spoken and unspoken responsibilities both at home and at work. The other week, I met Sarah Bagharib of Crazy Cat who’s juggling a full-time job, side projects, and a toddler. The reality is moms are some of the most focused, organised, and highly motivated people I know and we could all take a leaf from their books. If they’re managing a crazy household, they can manage the ailings of crazy startup life.
Hop onboard a new kind of business class. I mean, this is Sophia Amoruso we’re talking about. The Nasty Gal founder, the Girlboss maker, and now the Business Class teacher? If anything, Business Class, her new online course for founders, is a master lesson on branding. The look is reminiscent of the Pan-Am days, and in a time where travel is grounded, it’s very very very nostalgic.
How to balance friendship and work with your chief best friend. One of the things I hear a lot is how precarious a friendship can feel like when adding the business and the professional into the mix. Admittedly, it’s not all sunshine and butterflies. Sometimes the friendship takes a backseat, but that shouldn’t be the case. There are ways to balance both and come out of it stronger in friendship and stronger as business partners.
Keeping friendships close in spite of social distancing. Anyone else rekindled old friendships during the pandemic? 🙋🏻♀️ I sure have. Eva Hagberg of The Atlantic writes how friendships have evolved during this time. I like that she mentioned that we’re all swimming in this shared experience and perhaps that’s made it easier for us to connect. I feel that a hundred percent.
Three words early-stage VCs don’t want to hear. This article by Duke professor Aaron Dinin, shows the reality of what the VC landscape is all about. We’ve put such a holy grail in getting funding—VC funding to be exact—that we have not stopped to think if we’re a good fit, both person and business, for that kind of funding. It’s a sobering feeling.
Hot Tip: Always read the terms and conditions. Or you might end up like this Singapore startup that turned down an investor and is now being sued for breach of contract. 😮 Yeah, it sounds crazy in so many levels. One is being able to say no to investment and then having the means to counter the lawsuit.
A new acronym is in town, say hello to CVC. There’s thinking that VCs could expand their projected returns to investors by $4.4 trillion by committing to equitable investing practices. And apparently, the answer to getting to gender equity in entrepreneurship is corporate venture capital.
Pencil in the ext Female Founder Mentor Hours. As some of you know, I attended the first-ever FFMH hosted by Cocoon Capital a couple of months back. They’re doing another round this November where they’ll be accepting new applicants. If you missed that one or would like another mentor session, mark it in your calendars. There are no confirmed dates yet and I’m following up closely to let you know as soon as things firm up.
Chief Best Friends Radar 📡
Tess Mackean, CEO of talenTtrust and Sunita Kaur, APAC VP of Twitch and board member of talentTrust, drops into our show to talk about vulnerability and maintaining integrity during challenging times. They also talk about volunteering and what it means to help charities remain sustainable. 🎧 Listen to their episode, fresh off the press today!
MORE OF SEASON 2
The co-founders of iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform (and more) that focuses on women helping women, came to the podcast to talk about capital access for female founders. They created an amazing platform to target all of the problems female founders face. 🎧 Listen to their episode that’s relevant now more than ever.
Supernova, the brand behind some of the best super brands—think Coco & Eve and Sand & Sky—joined me on the podcast to talk about investors and what it takes to build the new generation of beauty brands. They’re one of the few companies who jumped on the DTC (direct to consumer) business model, while also exploring other distribution platforms. 🎧 Listen to their episode chock full of business tips.
✨Shine Board ✨
Tabitha launches Strong Foundations, her first yoga program 🎉 that takes us back to the basics in order to build a better and progressive yoga practice. As someone who’s been doing eight years of yoga, I refocused on the basics this year and my practice has become stronger. 🧘🏻♀️ Purchase her program for only 18 USD, which gets you a PDF guide, 13 videos, and mobile-friendly versions so you can take it on the go.
Nisha Patel, one of our recipients for the Project Voice’s Rising Voices Scholarship Program, launches her podcast 70 Percent Coverage Podcast. She and her co-host Medgine Mathurin talks about the complicated aspects of living with chronic illness and disability. This conversation is so important right now, in the middle of a global pandemic, where are access to healthcare becomes even more apparent.
Shania Ambros, another recipient of the Rising Voices Scholarship Program, launches her podcast Uprooted Igorots Podcast. Her podcast that delves in the stories of Igorots, an ethnic group from the Philippines, living in the diaspora.
Sarah Bagharib, of Crazy Cat, finally finished Becoming by Michelle Obama. It’s been a year in the making and she’s managed to squeeze in reading time amidst a newborn baby, side hustling, and a nine to five. I tell you, moms can do anything! Lesson learned? Slow and steady wins the race.
📲 Something to celebrate? Tweet me your wins @nikipaniki
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