Finance-turned-Startup girl Gesche Haas will sparkle her way into your heart and high five your inner entrepreneur.
This African born, multilingual, Chinese-German, marathon running, NY Times headlining, inspiring woman is tenaciously pursuing her business dreams, and picking up some amazing life lessons along the way.
These war stories are often exchanged in rapid fire over weekend brunch, and no, not the bottomless mimosa kind of boozy brunch. Gesche has been organizing Dreamers Who Brunch, which gathers her amazing and ever-growing group of mostly female entrepreneur friends around a SoHo brunch table, accessorized with laptops and to-do lists.
Sometimes these sober work days will spillover into late night dance parties, and that is when Gesche, her hands squeezing your face with intense excitement, will tell you that when things get real, she'll be there to push you forward. She is a believer in people, and it is her purpose to make them feel unstoppable.
Meet Gesche --
What's on your agenda today?
Market research and setting up a shopify store to test demand for one of my business ideas.
What inspired you to leave the relative comfort and stability of the corporate world and venture out into the choppy waters of entrepreneurship?
Passion / adventures > comfort zone
What's the last thing you did that was outside your comfort zone?
Last week I emailed a complete stranger I found on linkedin, simply because she seemed like a really interesting person. We ended up instantly connecting and have been inseparable work (sometimes dance) buddies ever since.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Myself. Self-doubt is hard to avoid partially because you’ll be doing many things for the first time and won’t even know where to begin. But you just have to charge forward every day and embrace setbacks as exciting opportunities. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Each weekend you've been hosting work brunches for your entrepreneur friends. Tell us what inspired this.
We call our brunches Dreamers who Brunch: http://dreamerswhobrunch.com
They have proven to be an amazing life hack and have become my favorite pastime, because:
- I get to pencil in working on my dreams every Sat/Sun AND make it fun
- It’s a unique opportunity to socialize with likeminded people who are equally busy
- Being surrounded by entrepreneurs while working has proven to be an invaluable sounding board
Walk us through your process for finding workable locations.
I decided to opt for restaurants vs coffee shops to ensure we had enough space and good food options, yum!
Yet, to ensure the restaurants would be excited to have us working there for hours:
- Used opentable to identify places that were not crazy busy on weekends
- Stopped by during the week when things were slow
- Talked to the managers directly to build a relationship and get their blessings on us whipping out our laptops
What's your secret to attracting smart, ambitious women to come pow wow around the brunch table?
It has been a very organic process since we face such similar issues. It can be surprisingly hard, especially as a female entrepreneur, to find people that can relate to you. But rather than feeling like antisocial workaholics we’ve simply created a special brunch tradition that allows us to work hard on our dreams as well as feel proud about doing so.
What's something you've done recently that you're really proud of?
Quickly shelving the prior business idea I was working on when I was able to debunk some of my assumptions around that idea - as well as being called out for taking critical feedback really well.
"A good friend who points out mistakes & imperfections…is to be respected as if he reveals the secret of some hidden treasure." ~ Dalai Lama
What's been the best thing you've learned in the last week?
My biggest revelation was that there never is a reason to feel disappointed in yourself. It has been a big game changer. When I catch myself starting to feel disappointed I think about if / how I can do things differently. Half of the time I realize I was making life harder for myself for no reason - the other half of the time I find an actionable solution to whatever caused that feeling. You need to be your own biggest supporter not your biggest enemy.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it?
Yes. Every morning I review my longterm goals, write down a few things that I am grateful for, and plan out my day. Only after I have done that do I start checking my email.
What's your advice to girls who move to the city and are trying to make friends and build a network?
Put yourself out there. I think too often women miss out on amazing relationships and opportunities because they fear rejection too much. View potential rejection as positive recognition of you going out of your way enough to grab life by its horns And never take anything personal, ever!
What's your advice to other hopeful female entrepreneurs?
I could write an entire blog post just about this. Number one advice would be to dream big and to do something about it: Write down your goals, be specific, then write down how you need to be spending your time to get there. Then review this list every day to see if how you are spending your time today is getting you to where you want to be. Your goals and action steps may change but its critical to start being strategic about it, especially if you think you might otherwise lead a life of regret.
I’ve noticed that men tend to take a lot more systematic approaches while women are more likely to go with the flow. But if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Men also dare to dream much bigger while I catch women feeling self conscious and nearly undeserving of their goals.
Tell us about SPARKLE moments :)
In our group of female entrepreneurs we noticed that we tended to be very self critical, putting our main focus on the things that we did not do well. This creates insecurity and herewith impacts our ability to attack life! So we started an accountability group in a messaging app where we committed to posting daily “sparkle” moments, things that we are most proud of that day. It’s a paradigm shift of training ourselves to give credit where its due.
What's today's sparkle moment?
Not letting a hangover stand in the way of spending 7 hours at our dreamer’s brunch today :)