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Starting Trouble (and Inspiring Entrepreneurs): Rucha Gokhale

What do you do when you can’t find all the networking resources you need to grow your business? Start Trouble! SheBOOM recently spoke with Rucha Gokhale, CEO and founder of IndyRise, a boutique digital product design and development company that recently launched a series of podcasts aimed at helping women entrepreneurs learn and connect. “Starting Trouble” allows women to share their stories while offering advice, inspiration and networking opportunities.

When did you first get the idea for your Starting Trouble podcasts and meet-ups?
I was looking to network more effectively. As a mother and primary caregiver to my little one, my ability to go out in the evenings to network is very limited. And the times I did manage to do it, I didn’t make many lasting connections. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you are on a very lonely journey to building your business. I realized I couldn’t be the only one facing these issues.

I decided to leverage my WeWork membership. I tried in different ways to meet people who had similar experiences, but it took a while before I asked the right questions. Once I did, Starting Trouble was born.

The response to my request for interviews has been phenomenal. Women want to share their stories and seek women mentors or be mentors to other women trying to start a business. But I guess they don’t quite know how to go about it. I wanted to create such a channel.

For a long time now, I’ve found it irksome that the only conversations mainstream media has had about women in the workplace have to do with pay parity or gender bias or sexual abuse. While talking about these issues is important, there is more to what we do. We need to change the conversation. My hypothesis is that the only way to make this change is to have many more conversations about the content of our work and about what we do. If we successfully create and throw a multitude of stories about our work at the internet, maybe someday we’ll be treated like people and not some version of a frail minority.

How do you plan to monetize it?
Starting Trouble is my passion project, my way of giving back. It will always remain a not-for-profit venture. We are looking into organizing it a bit more so we can raise the money we need to keep producing content. But other than that, I have no plan to monetize it.

Who are some of the most interesting women you’ve met so far?
EVERY person I’ve interviewed for the podcast has taught me something new, no exceptions. But I think I’ve found a couple of great mentors through the exercise. One of them is Peg Reed who was recently featured on sheBOOM. She’s something else!

What do you see as common issues among the women entrepreneurs you’ve interviewed?
Gosh! These women have a lot of heart! They give their business their all, their everything. But I think what has been missing in all of our lives is people like us. Women face some very unique challenges in the workplace – it has to do with our longstanding stature in society and some hard-won rights that are still making their way into mainstream thinking. We don’t talk a lot to each other – maybe if we did, we could overcome the anxiety and the diffidence most of us experience.

Also, women tend to be very nurturing. They automatically take on responsibility not only for themselves but for their employees. That’s a LOT of work as you can imagine, to the point that it can be exhausting. And entrepreneurship is difficult to explain to our immediate circle – which means you don’t have anybody to talk to for support or idea-sharing. I’m hoping that Starting Trouble can change some of that.

I know that you are at a co-working space. How have you leveraged this to build your circle?
WeWork has been instrumental in launching Starting Trouble. It’s a fantastic community to be part of, especially if you are a startup founder or an entrepreneur. But you do have to know how to make the most of your membership. I think a year into mine is when I may have finally figured it out. Most of the women I’ve interviewed this season on Starting Trouble are in one way or another connected to WeWork.

But WeWorkers are hard-working folk. So I’ve learned to make the most of every interaction. After that, it’s a matter of occasionally following up and using the usual networking techniques to keep you and what you do somehow at the top of the list of things they think about.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Starting Trouble is made possible by my rock star teams at Tudip Technologies and Two Design, the IndyRise partners in India. Together we do lots of interesting things in the digital space. IndyRise is a digital product studio – we’ve built lots of apps and websites that solve real business problems. And while that is a lot of fun to do, our current obsession is with chatbots. In the next six months or so, we hope to launch at least two chatbots that we’ve been working on. We’ve also been dabbling in the virtual reality space, and if anyone has an idea they want to explore, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We love getting our hands dirty with bleeding edge stuff!

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