For this week’s Entrepreneur Spotlight we are pleased to feature previous guest blogger Marion Freijsen (you can read Marion’s guest blogging piece here). Marion is not only the founder of EFactor, the world’s largest network of entrepreneurs, she is also a passionate supporter of aspiring female entrepreneurs (including myself- thank you Marion!). Ready for the big leagues? Read on for Marion’s take on founding an online social network…
Name of your company?
What does your company do/ produce?
EFactor is the world’s largest network of entrepreneurs
Describe your background/ experience before starting your company.
I went from being a secretary to becoming a MBO/LBO analyst. Subsequently I moved to work in high-tech companies and worked at 5 start-ups before starting my own company. I merged that when I met Adrie Reinders and we started OHM, a technology business development company. I wrote and published Nfactor (a book on Networking) with Adrie in 2007, and then founded EFactor (Marion’s bio)
Where did your business concept come from?
We wrote (N-Factor) in 2007, and then started writing a second book on entrepreneurship which we named EFactor. I launched a website for research purposes, which led to us figuring out that there was no single site on the internet which offered advice, funding, discounts and assistance with business development for entrepreneurs. That discovery led us to turn the site into this community.
What were some of the steps you took to turn your idea into reality?
1. Create the site from scratch, custom built
2. Create volume by attracting members virally and through personal business development
3. Implement our business model
4. Growth and fine-tuning of the site and our social media/marketing
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered along the way?
Getting enough members is the hardest challenge in growing a social network. The first 2,500 is easy, your own network takes care of that. But reaching new members that do not know you is tough.
What is the best thing about owning your own business?
Being able to blend personal/business into ONE LIFE!!
What do you think is the biggest obstacle for women to overcome in starting their own businesses?
Themselves. Women underestimate their own power and voice and need to learn to trust their instincts and get out of their comfort zone.
What advice would you give to another woman starting her own venture?
Become a member of EFactor first and foremost and surround yourself with smart business advisers (women or men).