Shannon Ware and Melody Jennings Bowers, Co-Founders of the Virtual Collective, created Her Data Method to educate business owners on the value of data, and more importantly, how to collect it.
Her Data Method is a series of online courses that teach business owners how to build a data collection framework to help them make smart, data-driven decisions tailored to their business.
We asked these lovely ladies to share some insight into how they launched their business and here's what they shared with us...
Tell us, what is your mission statement and overall goal for Her Data Method?
Melody: We teach women business owners how to collect data that will help them make smart, data-driven decisions and grow their business with confidence.
How did you come up with the initial launch concept of Her Data Method?
Shannon: We were seeing the same issues time and again with our clients. They wanted to spend money on marketing without having any data to base a strategy on. We were spending hours reconstructing their sites after walking them through the process of creating customer profiles and researching how to best position them in their industry.
Melody: We created a thorough intake process to walk these clients through so our team would have the information they needed in order to do their jobs well. After we created this process, we kept saying how nice it would have been to have had this for our business when were starting out! That got our wheels turning about how we could use this knowledge to help other female business owners. And now we are ready to launch the “Intro to Data Collection” course and are hopefully going to have the opportunity to help a lot of women get a head start on understanding data collection as they start their businesses.
What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?
Melody: Every single thing in this course! We teach that which we need to learn most, right? And we have learned it the hard way. We really want this information to help other women avoid some of the startup pains that can be avoided with minimal effort invested on the front-end. While knowledge IS power, you still have to learn which questions to ask...and that can be a minefield for anyone starting a business.
Shannon: I definitely wish we would have learned how to define our customer personas and the importance of financial planning before we started.
What are some things you're doing as a team to achieve work-life balance?
Shannon: Um, is that even a thing? Haha. Melody and I lead two very different lives outside of our work partnership. She has two teenagers, while I have a 2-and a 6-year-old. I tend to take the “day shift” and try to rush the clock to get as much done as I can before 3:00 pm (when I have to pick my littles up from school). Since Melody’s mom duties start later in the day and she’s a night owl, she takes the “evening shift” and will sometimes stay up working until 5:00 am closing out what I have started.
Melody: One of the reasons we’ve never explored investors for our company is because we never wanted to feel like we needed to apologize for being moms. If my family needs me, I pass the baton to Shannon and she keeps things moving in order for me to disengage and tend to their needs. The same goes for her. Our partnership works so well primarily because of our shared agreement to put motherhood first. It might not qualify as “balanced”, but we’ve figured out to make it work for us.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be successful entrepreneurs?
Shannon: A stable income. Being a self-funded company makes for some financial ups and downs. If you’re looking for stability, entrepreneurship,at least in the first few years, is probably not the best option.
Melody: And sleep. A lot of sleep has been sacrificed.
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