J. Kelly Hoey

Innovator Insights: CEO and Co-Founder of Vendeve, Katelyn Bourgoin @katebour

Name: Katelyn Bourgoin Title: CEO & Co-founder of Vendeve Twitter: @katebour

After starting her first business at age 25, Katelyn was hooked on entrepreneurship. Katelyn sold her first business, then grew her second venture (RedRiot Communications) from a one-woman shop into one of Halifax’s hottest boutique branding agencies. These days she is working on Vendeve.com — a referral network for women entrepreneurs. Katelyn believes Vendeve will change the way women do business online — and I hope she is right! Katelyn is also a member of Dreamers // Doers, a highly curated community of high-achieving trailblazing women who come together to support each other on their entrepreneurial paths. The community encompasses a diverse mix of female founders, women working at startups, and other female creators, change-makers, and influencers.

Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?

Katelyn: I love creating. I can’t sit still. I’m loud. I have a deep-seeded need to fight authority and forge my own path. With that in mind, there were really only two paths for me: trouble-making degenerate or entrepreneurship. I chose the latter.

Me: What problem would you like solved?

Katelyn: It’s 2016 and there is still glaring inequalities between men and women. Women make 30% less than men for doing the same job. Women are 93% less likely to get VC funding. And 80% of female entrepreneurs make less than $50,000 per year, largely because they can’t get the resources needed to grow. I want to solve those problems. Correction. I want to obliterate those problems.

Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?

Katelyn: I got two important pieces of advice when we first started Vendeve that I didn’t follow… (1) Hire slow and fire fast. (2) Test your product idea as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Mistake #1: I hired one developer that nearly sank the company. I knew in my gut he wasn’t the right fit, but I ignored my instincts so we could start production earlier. Huge mistake. Which leads into the second mistake…

Mistake #2: Rather than creating a true “beta” product, I pushed for all the bells and whistles, which took considerably longer to build and was much more expensive. Ultimately we quickly saw that we’d made some pretty major assumptions about the feature set that didn’t pan out. It was a sad day when we realized it would be faster and cheaper to start over.

Me: What does success look like for you?

Katelyn: Success looks like more financial security (we startup founders take little to no salary in the early days and, damn it, I’m tired of having to decide between buying groceries or dry shampoo. You know I can’t live without the dry shampoo!)

Success looks like spending more time with my handsome and eternally patient husband.

Success looks like changing the way women do business, which will change the way the world does business.

So yeah, the regular stuff ;-)

Me: Who are your heroes?

Katelyn: This is a real toughy! I love Marie Forleo. She inspired a whole generation of women to think differently about business and gave them the tools to do it. You can’t really talk about the women’s entrepreneurship movement without tipping your hat to Marie.

But I also love Steve Jobs. Documented assholery aside, Steve had a vision and worked tirelessly to make it a reality. If someone said it couldn’t be done, Steve said “watch me.” And I respect that.

Me: What is your best discovery?

Katelyn: Dry shampoo! Not even kidding. It’s life-changing.

Me: What would the title of your biography be?

Katelyn: Katelyn Bourgoin: Shifter of Paradigms. Catalyst of Change. Eater of Cheese.

Me: What is your biggest regret?

Katelyn: I’d say my biggest regret is taking so dang long to realize that “fear is a liar.” Fear makes you think you’re not ready. Not good enough. Not smart enough. When I finally recognized that all my insecurities were basically just fear in disguise, it changed my whole approach to business. I’m braver now. But I still need a reminder every now and then.

Me: Anything else we should know about?

Katelyn: If you’re a female entrepreneur, join Vendeve.com! You’ll love it.

This post originally appeared on Kelly Hoey’s website. Keep up to date with Kelly’s latest Insights by signing up for her Innovator Insights newsletter.


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