4 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Romanie Thomas is the Founder and CEO of Juggle, a skills market for flexible work on a mission to change work for the better. She is an experienced headhunter who has spent the last ten years helping companies find outstanding senior staff. During that time, she saw very little progress on gender diversity at the leadership level. Today, less than 10% of business leaders are women. Romanie’s vision is to grow this percentage to 50% by 2027. She believes that companies can increase the numbers of women in leadership positions and improve diversity in the workplace by implementing flexible working.
What would you love to share to encourage other women to start their own company?
We talk a lot about the hardship of being a Founder, and with good reason! I want to focus on some of the amazing positives, however. For starters, you’re entirely in control of your destiny. You are the one making the decisions and calling the shots about your own life and the problem you’re choosing to solve. That level of accountability can be weighty, but it’s also enormously empowering when you think about it. It will be the best learning experience of your life, and you will spend a lot of time in periods of discomfort. Still, it’s hard to overstate how quickly you will develop professionally and personally during this time. Lastly, you get to solve a problem you’re genuinely passionate about. That doesn’t mean there won’t be unlovable moments, but if you’ve your problem well, you will be able to dig deeper and discover grit within yourself that you didn’t realise you previously had.
What are your top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?
Choose your problem wisely. Find something you are truly passionate about solving, which is a problem for enough people to sustain a business. From there, you can decide what type of business, how large you want to scale it, but the first step is to hook onto that problem that gets you worked up.
Cultivate a growth mindset. Having fixed ideas about your limitations and the world around you isn’t going to help you solve a problem that hasn’t been solved yet. You need to be slightly crazy but in an analytical and intelligent way! OK, so it hasn’t been done yet? Never mind, you can learn, grow, discover, and ultimately solve the problem.
Manage cash flow tightly. Getting ahead of the finances and keeping a prudent financial head on you will stand you in good stead even beyond the startup years. Startups often fail because of cash flow issues, and being mindful of that from day one is important. Don’t be led by fear, but do use financial data to inform your decision-making.
Immerse yourself in hiring. Every single Founder finds hiring (above fundraising) to be the most challenging thing to master. It’s excruciating, and you will make mistakes. Understand frameworks, how to interview people for competencies, how to truly check references. Get disciplined about your process and expectations from day one.
Make fast-firing decisions. Following on from the earlier point, you will get it wrong, and that’s OK. Role fit, culture fit, lack of performance, whatever the reason, find a process to discover this early (within the first three months if not sooner) and make the decision. You are shying away from doing your job if you allow situations to continue and for a team to form amidst low performers.
Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?
Serena Williams. Her record speaks for itself, but in addition to this, she’s experienced enormous prejudice and continues to behave like the Queen Bee she is. Respect.
Michelle Obama. That First Lady role must be challenging. It’s influential without real power, and you’re always playing second fiddle. She never lost her authenticity. Truly brave.
My mum (Natasha Thomas)! She is a Nurse who works in the community, and we’ve always experienced her being incredibly hands-on with us but also passionate about her job and hard working. Awesome role model.
Dame Helena Morrissey. She’s pioneered the concepts of flexible working and gender diversity in the UK corporate world. She’s shown us a different type of leadership – firm, collaborative, brilliant.
Sophie Adelman. Sophie is a good friend and co-Founder of Multiverse. I’ve watched her raise her two children, build a company, and always retain her good humour and sense— a grounded top performer.
What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?
It always seems impossible until it’s done – Nelson Mandela