Do you have an idea for a business? Something that’s been niggling away in the back of your mind for a while…one that just won’t go away?
In the first episode of the new podcast She Did, You Can, hosts Jo Stanley and George McEncroe make a checklist, detailing exactly what makes a good business idea. They want you to stop wondering and start doing.
“I’m hoping one day I’ll be a ‘She Did’ as well,” Jo says in the podcast, where she is sharing her experience of launching a new radio station for women, Broad Radio.
Women’s Agenda is proud to be co-producing the She Did, You Can podcast, offering key insights on how to get started and follow through on a business journey — with Jo, who is launching a startup, talking with George, who has already launched a startup with Shebah. Here are a few of the key things we pulled out of the latest ep.
The big idea that just won’t go away
Jo explains the idea for the radio station for women was one that just wouldn’t quit. She described it as a stone in her shoe, as something that’s been whirling around in her thoughts for a few years.
“I’m a lover of commercial radio in Australia, I grew up working on air,” she says. “It’s very male and once you hit 35, you kind of disappear as a woman and it makes me sad.”
“When content is driven through a male lens, which so much of radio is, in a lot of ways you’re presenting content in an apologetic way, so that you’re not upsetting people.”
For Jo, this was the beginning of her start-up journey and she knew the idea was good too, because quite a few people had told her at different times she should start her own station.
Does your idea fill a need?
George McEncroe is the founder of Shebah, Australia’s first female-only ride sharing company. Shebah began because George could see some gaping holes in the ride-sharing market, especially when it came to the needs of women.
“I’d registered twice to become an Uber driver. I felt very, very anxious about it and I was also the owner and operator of four children all under age 18. I couldn’t get them safely transported,” she explains.
“My sons didn’t really care about riding their bikes all the time, but my daughter was not doing that. She felt scared…she’d been yelled at out of cars since the time she was about 12. You know, the same old stuff that I’d gone through…truckloads of blokes driving past, tooting.”
“Only 6 per cent of our cab drivers are women, that’s telling us something. Then I saw only 10 per cent of Uber drivers are women.”
Is it a need that a lot of people have?
As George shares in the podcast, the idea has to fill a need that a lot of people have. A ‘niche’ idea probably won’t cut it.
“The number of people who say to me Shebah is a niche idea…” George says.
In reality, women aren’t niche – they make up 51 per cent of the population. And women have a right to feel safe and secure when they use ride-sharing services. George says she knew the need was real, and it went far and wide.
“You’ve got to feel it [the need] at a molecular, bone marrow level,” she explains.
Passion is important
“If you’re going to start something that’s never been done before…that’s going to take some grind,” George says, so it’s essential your passion for the idea is deep and unwavering.
While going through the process of launching her radio station, Jo says she’s discovered that her passion needs to big, because, as she puts it, there are some really boring days when you’re running a start-up.
“I have this visualisation that I have this energy orb in my hand, and there’s all these women waiting out there for this gift…and I’ve got to honour them,” she says.
And as George says, there’ll always be a reason not to do it. Sometimes, you’ve just got to take the leap.
“You’ve got to ask yourself: how am I going to feel if somebody else takes this and runs with it?” George says. “If that makes you want to vomit, you’ve got to go…”
“I want to cry and kick in a wall at the thought that someone else might do it,” Jo says. “Other people may do a version of it, but it won’t be mine.”
You can listen to She Did, You Can, wherever you get your podcasts.