Founder/s: Anna Samoylova & Polina Samoylova
What problems do you solve and what products or services do you sell?
Inspocreate is a one-stop platform where women and girls can find, add and share inspiring and educational content to help with their business, career or personal development.
Specifically, we help women and girls who are either looking to start or scale a business, enter a new career or who need help with their personal development.
Through our platform, they’re exposed to content and resources created by individuals and/or businesses that are specific to their interests.
We also help individuals and businesses (that work with females on their business, careers or personal development) to share their content. This allows them to advertise themselves to potential customers via our platform and gain exposure.
We’re currently in the soft launch phase. Our custom built social network is live to a selective group of people at the moment. The hard launch, which will open the network to the general public, is expected in mid-November.
People can register to be notified when the network is live via inspocreate.com and be one of the first to access it.
Who and where are your target customers?
Our target market is female based. Men can go on there (we’re not opposed to men using the platform at all), but we’ve found a problem that relates specifically to women: Less women start businesses compared to men.
So we wanted to find a safe platform for women who either want to start a business, start a career or need help with their personal development.
But we’ve also got the other side to our target market, which is businesses that are looking on behalf of their clients. This might be business advisors, career advisors or personal development coaches, for example, who we also allow to add content/resources to the network.
How and when did you first come up with the idea for your business?
My twin sister (who is also a cofounder) and I came up with the idea after having a discussion one night about the fact that, of the men and women we knew who openly discussed the idea of starting a business, it was mostly men who took the leap. We looked into this and found that many women don’t start a business because they lack confidence in themselves and their abilities.
We also talked about how starting a business is usually a very lonely process due to the long hours, and having to sacrifice social engagements in the pursuit of growing your business. It can also be lonely when you have no one to talk to about your business venture, as either those around you are not interested in business or simply don’t have the knowledge or experience in the field to provide any advice.
These discussions lead us to think about how great it would be to create a safe, inspiring and educational community that allowed women and girls from around the globe to find and share inspiring and educational content which could help them with either their business, career or personal development.
It just evolved from there.
What are three things about your business that you are proud of?
1) That we built a software platform from the ground up. It feels like such an achievement to see our vision turn into something people are actually using.
2) Having a strong team. I always say, unless you have a good team, you have nothing. Everyone, including our designer, developers and marketing people are all great at what they do and work really well together.
3) Not giving up. There have been hard times that we’ve really had to push through. The entrepreneurs that I look up to always say it’s not going to be easy and it’s not. It’s also easy to look at Instagram and think, ‘Oh, being an entrepreneur would be so easy’. But people don’t realise the amount of work and late nights it takes. We’ve had things that haven’t gone right and things we’ve had to change, but I’m really proud we stuck at it.
How do you market your business and what advice do you have for others around marketing?
It’s important that your content is specific and relevant to what your customers are looking for.
I would recommend investing in a good marketing resource as soon as you can. It can be hard at the start if you don’t have a lot of money but getting someone on board who’s a partner in the company is important. Especially with a tech startup, it’s really hard to market a product. So if you can have someone that looks after that side of things from the get-go, it makes it a lot easier.
I think a lot of people forget this. They think they’ll build the products and leave marketing until the end. But if you can get a resource on board from the start, do it.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in building your business so far?
Finding good technical resources to build the network. And this is probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve heard other tech startups face too.
My sister and I lead the business analyst and technical side of things, so we work on the functional design. But also it’s super important (especially when you’re building an actual software from the ground up) to have someone that can really look after that from a security and architecture point of view, especially when your business is growing and you’ll want that in the future.
We went through four or five different developers initially when we were looking for someone. It was difficult to find the perfect resource for the team.
What is the biggest entrepreneur lesson you would like to share with other Kiwis thinking of starting their own business?
That failure is probably going to happen, more than once. But don’t see it as a failure. See it as a learning opportunity.
I’d love more people to have this kind of mentality. Because if you can see it this way, when something bad happens, you’ll reevaluate what you did wrong and think about what you’ve learnt from it, rather than just quitting.
What is great about doing business in the Bay of Plenty?
One of the things we found super useful while starting our business was Venture Centre – an entrepreneurship support organisation based in Tauranga central. They have helped us on numerous occasions by providing free consultations with various resources such as investors and lawyers. These sessions provided us with valuable knowledge which was beneficial to the business.
I would like to say a personal thank you to Pascale Hyboud-Peron, co-founder and director of Venture Centre for her ongoing support throughout our journey so far. She has been amazing!