How can you empower working moms and bootstrap a platform?
After facing initial rejection from investors, she bootstrapped a platform with her own money that provides resources and a supportive peer community to empower working women and Moms. In this conversation, Alexandrea Badea, founder of She is Mom, shares:
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Visit She is Mom’s website: https://www.sheismomclub.com/
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Past guests on Innovators Can Laugh include Yannik Veys, Ovi Negrean, Arnaud Belinga, Csaba Zajdó, Dagobert Renouf, Andrei Zinkevich, Viktorija Cijunskyte, Lukas Kaminskis, Pija Indriunaite, Monika Paule, PhD, Vytautas Zabulis, Leon van der Laan, Ieva Vaitkevičiūtė.
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Hey, you're listening to Innovators Can Laugh, the Fun Startup Podcast. I'm your host, Eric Notcher. On I C O. We interview an innovative entrepreneur in the European tech startup scene every week. My goal is to have my guests share their wisdom while having a little fun in the process. Now let's dive in.
My guest today is Alexandra Badea, whose goal is to positively impact the lives of working women. Her platform she is. Gives women access to resources and provides a supportive peer community that empowers women to achieve their goals. The platform connects moms with mentors, coaches, and suppliers.
Welcome to the show, Alexandra . Thank you so much. I am so happy to be here. Thank you for your invitation. Yeah. Yeah. Chere. , okay. Yeah. Yeah. I'm learning My kids speak Romanian fluently, so I have to learn now. But that's a, that's a top another topic, . Okay. I wanna start with a post that I saw it said that call for Ukrainian moms, you wrote call for Ukrainian moms.
We have great mentors to help you open a small business register and get five sessions for, for. So my question is, is what resources are you providing these moms that do take advantage of, of this offer? Well, thank you for your question. Actually, this is a very nice project and I really love it and I'm happy to, to speak about this project this moment.
We are looking to help Ukrainian moms for get a new job or to open a business because sometime when you are a mom, it's maybe the best idea to open a business and to make your own program and trying to, to have the boat manage the kindergarten. Also to earn more money because you need more money when you are mom, and we start this program with the strong desire to helping moms from Ukraine, especially the moms who are in Romania, but not only in Romania to adapt in the labor market or to helping them to open a business.
Because as you know, it's every country has a different rules and Laos for open a business, and we choose the mentors who are very diverse because also we promote a lot of diversity. And we can cover actually topics like marketing, like business coaching, like where, and the technical part because we know that sometime when we speak about opening a new.
You have a lot of questions. So we have five session for every month to helping them to create a business plan, to helping them to create the social media accounts, to choose a name for the business. So we are more than happy to see them to, to join us and at the end of the five session to have a clear idea because sometime We have a lot of wishes and desires like women, but sometime we need someone to put in a way, you know, to have a straight way and a very clear mind and a very clear plan, and then that's it, which just working, working days, . Yeah. Do some of these services also give direction and guidance on creating an s rl and for those, listen.
An s r o is like the equivalent of an L L C in the states, and I'm, I'm wondering because when I created my s r O here in Romania, I needed to reach out to some people to give me some advice and, and show me how to get that process started. Yes. It's a process, as I say, and it's very important to have the right question because as we already know, you have a lot of information if you search on Google, but sometime I say that it's a shortcut if you have an expert to ask direct.
You know, I have this question, I have this question. I am wondering if it works or not. Sometime to adapt it. New country, it's, it takes times and to learn the, all the rules and the laws, it's something very complicated. So that was the reason that we have mentors from legal department, we have mentors from software and marketing.
And more than this, because we want to have, you know, the, an expert for every, every question, especially when we speak about opening something in a, in a country. , you have a lot of question you need, you know, to have an address, you need to have a number for the finals to get your bank account. And yeah, it's not so complicated, but when you don't know, how can you start?
It looks very complicated. When you have some expert with you, the things become simple and then you can have enough power and enough motivation to, to start to do something. I think to the, the right question, the right answer here is to try to find an expert. And especially in our platform, we have one session for free.
So, you know, it's like just coming and asking and you get your information. So that's it. . Yeah. So the platform, I know, I know obviously it's very popular here in Romania, but outside of Romania, are you getting any uh, visitors from other c. Yes. Actually, this is a good question for me, especially because I am in the Portugal now in Lisbon.
Actually, that intention was at the first moment to create an international platform, especially because we consider now that we are globally, so it's possible for everyone to find the job. Another country to find clients in another country. So I think it's a very open door, open to us, to all of us now, with pandemic especially.
It's easiest actually. So this is the reason that we reach his mom in English. And yes, we have mentors from Europe, and I have a surprise actually. Next year we prepare to launch in. To start to create their, the community and to bring more mentor from us. And the idea is to create a globally platform. So if you want, I don't know, from Romania to get a job in US in few years, you can call the mentor from us and to learn exactly how many steps you have or to have a coaching session, or how to open a business in us and so on.
The same with every country in Europe. I think that's, now it's, it's possible these things. So yes, we have few clients and few mentors in Europe, and I'm here with the, this intention to, to grow this international part. Well, you're in a great place over there in Portugal where the weather's nice and the food is fantastic.
And from what I hear, the people are quite friendly too. ? Yes. Actually, I can tell you that Portugal, it's a very, very families country. I see everywhere and restaurant and beaches everywhere. I see families with children, with parents and grandpas and this is really nice actually. I see. You know, they.
Strong connection and they spend time together during the weekend and they are going together to the beach and I really love this part. Yeah, that is that. It sounds so nice. I can't wait to visit there. Okay, so I was looking at your background and we're gonna get into Shia's mom in just a second here.
But I noticed that you have trained and delivered more than a thousand different workshops, and one of those workshops is around soft. Is this something that, that you, that you enjoy doing? And if so, what are some tips that you wouldn't mind sharing with the audience when it comes to improving your soft skills?
Well, I will tell you a secret about myself. I really love to be in the middle of people and during pandemic, I miss a lot actually to be, you know, to have a training in the room and to be in the middle of the people and to feel the energy. I really love to, to have this workshop, especially because I have a lot of enthusiasms.
I have good energy and I can feel it, you know, when I am in a, a very big room with lot of people, I can keep the, the people with me, not with the phone, not with the laptop. And Yes, come back to the the soft skills. I consider that we need soft skills every day, even if in our personal life and in a professional life.
And I think it's up to us to improve our soft skills, especially because I am psychologist and especially because I have a lot of fierce experience in recruitment. I can tell you that. Okay. When we speak about technical skills or very niche skills, you should have some melan. , but when we speak about soft skills, it's up to you to educate yourself, to try to learn and to improve.
I will give you one very short example. I really love this, how to speak in front of camera, how to speak in front of public. It's one of my favorite workshop, especially because I know that a lot of people are afraid to, to speak in front of camera, and I see also a lot of emotion trying to, to take the microphone and to speak.
I also have emotion when I speak in front of people, but I always consider. That it's a positive one because if I don't have emotion, I don't have also that good energy to, to give to the people, you know? So I always try to, to teach the people that, to improve your soft skills. It's your duty, it's your homework, actually.
And if you want to, to have success in your personal and professional life, you should work on this. And you should start actually. And this is very important way to choose your perfect mentors or your perfect teachers. Actually don't call perfect. Let's say perfect for you, or you know, it's good to have a good matching with that person who learn to wanna to teach you something and you learn easiest from someone that you like.
It's always about chemistry, like a recruitment, you know, you can be the best candidate in the world, but if you meet with someone very opposite with you, it's like, I don't like him or her wife. I don't know. Yeah, it's, it's quite simple, you know, by the soft skills. It's up to us ourself. We can decide it every time to improve our communication.
And yes, we still have a lot of things to learn about communication, about how to speak in front of camera, about personal branding. We have a lot of things to do, and we have also a lot of opportunity to have a free lesson or to go to the free workshops. Yeah. Pay for them. It depend. I consider that the boat is good.
So, okay, so now I'm interested because you meet with a lot of different women from many different countries here, and you don't need to specifically point out a specific country or culture. But out of curiosity, what are some cultures. Where the people are more outgoing, maybe a little bit more, you know, comfortable, a little bit more friendly with these soft skills versus other countries where they're more reserved and not as open.
Well, I think the US citizen are very open and all the time eager to pay for, improve their soft skills at the first site for sure, because they invest a lot in personal development. They buy a lot of mentoring and coaching session. And also, as you as we know already, all of us. Then you know that Unix selling proposition, that pitching very well.
If you are looking at the, the US people how to pitch in front of the investor how to pitch in front of the audience, you'll see that they speak in very simple words and you will keep in your mind their speech for a long time. So I think this is the model at this moment. Also European. people try to improve.
And I see also here, Portugal, a lot of amazing people who invest in their development. I think it's, you know, it's a trend. So sometime I will put us at the over stage and then Europe, because also we have a lot of people, very smart people, very eager to be on the stage and trying to invest in their education.
I think maybe European people, it's a bit traditional. Maybe this is, you know, so. . It's like, okay, I want to invest in my personal development. But sometime I say, but I have a lot of, you know, degree, I have a university, I have master degree. So sometime we consider that it's, it's enough, it's not enough. You know, education, it's for whole life.
It's not just for today or no, you should learn. And I think pandemic also show us that it's very important to be flexible and to learn more platform and to learn how to change your style and. I hope you're exactly right. I mean, my wife, who is, who has a master's degree, very educated, very smart. She does have that sort of mentality, like, I don't need to invest in personal development or self-help.
You know, I've already very good at my job, very good at what I, what I do. So what do I need that, so you kind of, you kind of hit it right, right on the point with that. Okay. So Alexandra, I'm very curious now, when did you get this aha moment? That I went to create the Shia's mom club. When did that? Well, I start, she's mom with a vision and it wasn't my need.
I feel that I, I should told you this because I am not a mom yet. I married last year, so to be easy to understand for everyone, but I, yeah, I, I, I actually, I receive for a lot of time this question why you create a platform for mom if you are not a month. And my answer very funny is because I don't have time to create a platform if I'm a mom.
So yeah, , but. I have met a lot of amazing women and a lot of amazing moms in the past, and they have a lot of issue. You know, after maternity leave they want to have a flexible program. They want to have time to go to the kindergarten with the children. Maybe sometime they want to have remote jobs, and that was three years and half ago.
That means before. And I try to find a solution for them. You know, I search for a platform for companies, for something to, to helping them with these questions. I don't find it in East Europe. And then I say, I can do it. Okay, let's start to create this platform. And it was a long journey actually, because I start to speak with companies to tell about the mom's need and the company say, Hmm, it's not possible remote work.
No, it, it's too complicate, flexible. No, no, it's not possible in our company. Yeah, it was a bit. This is pre covid, right, though? This is before like April, 2020. Yeah. Okay. Once the summer of 2019 And the people say, no remote work. No, no, no. It's not possible. And in the same time, I rely that our moms are not so prepared for remote job.
They don't speak yet very well English, or they don't have digital skills. And that was the moment that I realized that she's mom should be an A tech platform, a platform where you come and take what you need. Maybe you need an English course, maybe you need an Excel course. Maybe you need to learn how to use, you know, platforms in different ways, c R m or Google Meet, or you know, something just simple steps.
Maybe you need someone just to speak like a mentor, and maybe you imagine that working in it. Wow. It's amazing. You earn a huge salary and it's nice, but speaking with someone, you realize that it's a lot of work. You should stay eight hours per day in front of net, and guess what? You should learn every day because the coding and the development, it's changing every day.
So you should be very connected with this file. And I consider that education. It's the key. Moms and in the same time for the kids, because if you have a happy mom, you have a happy kids. Right. And a happy and a happy husband. Exactly. . So , that was the one, the idea. Yeah. And I start, go to greet. She's mom with a lot of passion and enthusiasm and optimistic and I think this optimistic style.
Was actually the, the thing that keep us in the market because I receive a lot of nos. No, it's not possible. No, I take no, no and I say yes, it's possible. Yes. So this, okay, now what about your, okay, I'm assuming that you bootstrapped this in the beginning, but at any time did you go and try and get investment from anybody?
And if you did, what was that experience like? Alexandra, we con, we build this platform with our own money because yes, I will tell you very honest, I go to pitch in front of investors only with a PowerPoint presentation, . And guess what I. A lot of no, because they say, but you don't have traction. You don't have a platform, you don't have, you don't have, no, because I just need ideas.
So of course I don't have, then I start to create it step by step, and it was like this, I have a presentation, PowerPoint, then I create a landing page, then I create the first version of platform, and then I start to populate the platform. . You know, if you imagine that you create a platform when the people scam, it's not like this.
So then I start to recruit mentors to bring moms and then to . Yeah. Brings benefits. And actually one year, it takes one year to bring the first mentors and to bring the first benefits and to bring the first mom. She, so in the same time, we had to bring a lot of people there and to explain that we are a startup.
So, We are at the beginning, so we don't have a lot of people in our platform because everyone ask me, ask us, why should I come in platform in your platform? Well, this is the vision, this is the mission. So it takes one year to, to build the first community. Roughly how many mentors do you have on the platform, woman?
Yes. We have 80 and we have, yeah, we have 80 at this moment, and we hope to have 100 next. Okay, so the important things for us is to have the best mentor, to have the authentic one. And actually we recruit the mentors. We have an interview, we have a discussion. We see the energy. When you choose to be a mentor, you should give.
Good energy, your expertise, your experience, and you should have a lot of passions and flexibility. It's not easy sometime to work with moms because they have a lot of challenge. You know, the program are changing very fast and you should be flexible and to be very, with a very good vibe, to give them more power not to take.
It's very important for us to have the strong mentor and the. Yeah, this is so cool. How many different, like professions, approx, you know, just kind of different industries or profess. Yeah, I think we are around 12, 11, 12 because we insist, especially on digital one, we have, as I say, software, we have digital marketing, we have entrepreneurs because we believe a lot in the entrepreneurship skills for mom.
We have finance also because when you open a business, you need to manage the numbers and to learn the small things to create your own business. We have also hr. Yeah. Actually the most of our mentor are from hr, especially because they have a lot of experience in the coaching and mentoring and they want to give more.
Yeah, so this is actually, we have also business analyst. It's all right. Yeah. We have actually in, in our platform, you can search by category and you can see exactly which professional no have has everyone. Okay. Okay. And so the people that are actually going to the platform now and finding a mentor, what does that process look like?
I mean, is there like a free session, like the first session, is it free? Yes, it is a very easy journey. You go to the platform, you get an account. This is very easy actually. You need just two clicks, and then you can search on a mentor side and you will see every mentor has 30 minutes for free. And then if you decided to continue, you also can see the price for everyone.
Everything is very clear, very transparent, and you can pay direct to the platform because we are an tech marketplace and it's very easy. You can choose also some program with discounts. This is in in benefit area, and here we have a lot of success with English. And they get some English lesson with a very, very good price.
And also they can go there and buy, and after the session they can also leave a review for the mentors because you know it's better to have also a review and all the time to improve our services. This is for mentorship part. If they want to find a new job, the demands can create a profile, not only an account.
With an account. You can buy your mentoring session, you can get your pre session or with this, But if you want to find a new job, it's the best idea to, to create your own profile. And then you can choose if you wanna share your profile. And we do our best to promote your profile, especially because we motivate them to create a video resume, not a classical resume.
Yeah. And with video resume, it's easiest to hire. In companies, very easy. And also we share the profile with our HR mentors. And our HR mentors work in a big company, so we have a, actually a structure, we have an ecosystem here in Shela. Wow. Yeah. That, that is very, very cool. You have access to different positions that could be available that are not available through the open public because of this community.
So that alone is, is more than enough reason to at least go visit it and create your. Okay. Okay. A couple of fun questions so that way we can get to know you a little bit better. Alexandra, the first question is, if you could have one superpower, what would it be? . I want to have magic like my favorite mentor, like Will Disney name to have magic to make things happen.
Okay. All right. Magic. Okay. Next question for you. What are the names of three people? You would love to have over for a dinner party and these three people could be alive or dead. Okay. I can choose Ellen Musk, I can choose Christian Ronaldo and I . Yes, of course . A local, a local celebrity cuz he is Portuguese, right.
So yeah, . Yes, exactly. And I will choose cis. Oh, wow. Are you a big tennis fan? Yes. Hi. I really like it. Yeah. No, I love tennis myself. My son is in the, I think it's Adrianne Esco at Tennis Camp here in Buchar. He goes once a week. Yeah. . Okay. Alexandria, thank you for being on. Innovators Can Laugh. This has been a pleasure For everybody listening.
I will include links to the SHS Mom Club as well as Alexandra's profile on Linked. And Alexandra, I happy to hear that you're having a great time over there in Portugal, and maybe one day I will see you in the future when I go over there or you come back to Lure. Thank you so much. Okay. Cheers everybody.
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