In today’s Her Business Story we meet Louize Clarke, the female founder behind ConnectTVT.
Louize tell us more about your business ConnectTVT
ConnectTVT is a talent company that joins the tech and digital dots across the Thames Valley, to build the buzz and attract the best people. We have an online media platform to share stories and also run a vibrant events programme. Right now, we’re super-excited about our recently launched digital skills project Digital Gum. I also run [email protected], my passion project. It’s a co-working community for start-ups and small businesses to connect, collaborate and be part of something bigger. Our mantra’s “hang out and it will happen.”
How long did it take for you to put your idea into action? What prompted you to act?
From the initial idea, the website was up and running within six months. The catalyst for me was the need for change and a new collaborative approach to the tech and digital brand in the Thames Valley. We were becoming very pale, male and stale in comparison to other areas.
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
Watching your bank balance ebb and flow. Having dark days when you doubt your ability, sanity and choices. That’s why building a team of like-minded people around you is so important.
What has been your proudest moment?
The launch of 50 Game Changers. It’s our campaign that shines a light on the best digital and tech talent in the Thames Valley, to celebrate their success as well as a call to action to encourage more support out here. The considerable support we’ve had from corporates with this project shows we’re onto something. We were thrilled to have League of Her as one of our 2017 cohort.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?
Don’t do everything yourself – build an amazing team of people around you. They don’t have to be employed by you, rather other small businesses you collaborate with. But, having your people around you is essential to sanity and success.
What does success mean to you?
Now I’ve worked out what I want to be when I grow up, it’s scaling the skills business over the next few years, and fostering a greater diversity in digital.
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I have walked away from several partnerships that simply didn’t feel right – not aligned with my brand, or inauthentic – so, in hindsight, I may have dodged a few bullets.
Which women inspire you?
The women who inspire me can change depending on the type of project I’m working on, but creativity always inspires me. Vivienne Westwood has been the constant in my life. I love her attitude, style, and ability to re-invent herself. Her famous quote makes me smile – “Seeing if one could put a spoke in the system in some way.”
And which men?
My dad. Running his own business, he taught me that hard work, a big deep breath and being creative were key. I loved his viewpoint that respect is something you earn, you don’t just receive it through a title.
He also taught me women can do anything and to not be afraid to question and challenge when something feels wrong or can be done better. I guess that’s where the healthy disrespect for rules comes from. Luckily, my mum helps soften the harder edges, with a strong give back, be kind and see the best in people approach to the world.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
It’s okay to refresh and pivot but always stay true to your values.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
Stop being a butterfly and focus on solving one problem at a time.