Nottingham graduate Alice Bentinck co-founded Entrepreneur First with her colleague Matt Clifford as a way to encourage tech graduates to shun a corporate career and be their own bosses. Entrepreneur First helped more than 60 graduates build startups and the firm’s businesses are valued at more than $50m.
While Alice was working in Entrepreneur First she noticed a distinct lack of females applying, and spurned on by the idea that tech doesn’t have to be a ‘boys club’ she set up Code First: Girls, which offers free courses and events for girls who are interested in learning code.
Since then she has helped and developed countless businesses and individuals and even completed a TED talk. Alice regularly gives talks about how careers are evolving and encourages others to follow their entrepreneurial dreams. Here are five lessons we learned from Alice and Entrepreneur First that are relevant to all entrepreneurial Career Girls.
#1 Be A Founder, Not A Follower
Alice could’ve got a nondescript job, made money and been relatively comfortable, instead she put it all up in the air and decided she wanted to found her own company. Alice and Matt’s vision for Entrepreneur first was that young talented graduates would be encouraged to found an interesting tech company. Although Entrepreneur First is solely catered to the tech industry, this advice is applicable for any area. If you have a big idea, why not take the leap and be a founder.
#2 You Don’t Have To Build Your Way Up
Alice thinks that the idea of building your way from ground work up to your dream career is outdated and that creating your own dream career is much more actionable and achievable in this modern era. A company that’s founded on something you’re excited about will thrive because everything you do will be filled with love and excitement.
#3 You Get To Keep The Rewards
One of the great things about being an entrepreneur that is often overlooked is that you get to keep the rewards of your own hard work, Alice talks about this extensively. You get to answer to yourself without having to please any higher ups, and you get to know your own worth.
#4 You Can Get Around Excuses
As humans we’re always going to come up with excuses for not doing something, but Alice believes the truly determined amongst us will take those excuses and find a workaround. Some of the most entrepreneurial women started with next to nothing and threw their excuses into the wind before they started.
#5 There’s No Such Thing As A Perfect Idea
Alice says that the tech industry is constantly looking for the perfect story that connects A to B and starts with the perfect idea and ends with a billion dollar deal. This is true for the media in many other industries, we often see success stories that begin with an idea so perfect we wish we’d thought of it, but Alice emphasises that there’s no such thing as the perfect idea. It may seem perfect but it probably evolved and went through a process of rigorous testing, so the final product is not what it started off as. Never think your idea isn’t good enough to succeed in the entrepreneurial world, if you have an idea that excites you, you should stick by it.
Watch more of Alice’s advice on constantly evolving careers and being a founder not a follower in the video below: