By: Jessica Myers, CEO
At Digit Keeper, three out of five of our executive team members are women. We know that in corporate America, that’s pretty rare. It’s one of our values to support all entrepreneurs, but especially women working for themselves and leading others through businesses they are passionate about.
As CEO of Digit Keeper, I wanted to move away from the #womancrushwednesday trend on social media and thought long and hard about how to best support other female entrepreneurs. That’s how #WomentoWatch was born. There are so many female entrepreneurs who inspire and have a unique perspective on how womanhood affects them in the business world, and we want to share their stories.
Our first featured entrepreneur of #WomentoWatch is Meghan Alonso, founder of Imua Services. She and I met at a Milspo Project networking meeting last year (Milspo = military spouse for any unfamiliar with the term). I have had the pleasure of not only having her as a client, but as a friend and mentor.
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy path, and to leave a well paying job to strike out on your own is terrifying. Meghan is an experienced entrepreneur who is very familiar with the challenges and opportunities of business ownership, so I sat down with her to ask a few questions about her company, Imua Services, and her journey so far.
J: First off, what is Imua Services?
M: Imua Services is one of the world’s leading resources for medical and diagnostic product development. We achieve this by offering convenient, affordable training and education as well as connection to investment and development partners specific to our clients’ needs. This enables our clients to develop life-changing and life-saving technology that makes a positive impact on the world.
J: What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
M: Realizing that things take longer to build than you think they will and managing the cash flow of a startup.
J: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to build their networks?
M: Go to as many networking events as you can. You can find events or groups on Facebook, Linkedin, eventbrite.com, meetup.com and through your industry’s trade organization. When you go, always seek to give value to others rather than looking for business. If you give value, the business will come.
J: What are you working on that you’re most excited about right now?
M: I’m on a mission to motivate, equip, and lead 1 million startups and entrepreneurs to start creating life-changing, life-saving medical products by the year 2020.
J: Best and worst pieces of advice you’ve ever received?
Best piece of advice: Know all aspects of your company, even down to what the janitor does and shadow them. Get to know them, their job, and you’ll earn their respect for a lifetime.
Worst piece of advice: When you’re starting out in your business, quickly gain access to the things you need by maxing out as many credit cards as you can get.
J: What’s your why? Why do you do what you do at Imua Services?
M: I do what I do because I truly think it is my calling to help others create innovative medical products. This innovation has saved my life and impacted the lives of my family members. I’m dedicated to future technology saving the lives of others.
J: Women often have different experiences in the business world than men do. What advice or perspective would you offer other female entrepreneurs based on your own experiences?
M: I’m in the medical device industry which is predominantly older white males. That’s changing slowly, but it is something I’m up against alongside other women.
I grew up with two brothers, have always had male friends, and worked quite a few places where I’ve been the only woman so I don’t really think much of it. A good friend and male colleague told me that I look younger than I am, and that I’m an attractive female and need to use that to my advantage in business more. He meant to use this as a secret weapon, not in a bad way at all. Femininity is special, unique, and stands out in the noisy men’s world, so I’m able to capture attention easier walking into a networking event. I still think of that advice often when I head to events or when I’m meeting people for the first time. When working with startups and entrepreneurs that are finding their way in business, the nurturing personality of a woman can be inviting rather than the harsh “you just don’t have what it takes” tone of a man.
Meghan, thank you so much for your time and shared insight. If you’re interested in learning more about Meghan and her company, Imua Services, reach out to her here.
If you’re a female entrepreneur, what has your experience been like? What advice would you offer other women walking the same path? Let us know in the comments!