If you ever feel like you’re working hard but not getting the results you want — we have the girl for you. Alex Batdorf is an entrepreneur, business strategy coach, and the founder of Get Sh!t Done (watch the series here). We spoke with Alex about her story and her top tools for Getting Get Sh!t Done — see our conversation below!
What was your inspiration for creating Get Sh!t Done?
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 19. I’ve had the privilege of growing and scaling one of my companies to the multi-million dollar mark, which only 1.7% of female founders have done today and I raised institutional capital, which only 2% of female founders experience (closer to 0% for black female founders). Along my journey, I kept hearing how hard it is for female entrepreneurs to grow and scale our companies without many practical solutions being offered. We obviously know it’s hard, we live it every damn day — even for someone like me who had access to capital. I then started to wonder about the 98% of women who didn’t have the type of access I had in my last company. What pissed me off beyond the point of no return was after learning that 88% of female entrepreneurs make less than $100k in revenue in their companies annually. After speaking with over 100 female founders over thousands of hours, I realized that it wasn’t just about access to venture capitalists, which is where the conversation typically veers. The reality is that a small percentage of founders, in general, are well suited for venture capital. Instead, I found that it was about access to curated resources that will help female founders grow and scale their companies on their own terms based on where they’re at today and where they’re trying to go. This includes access to networks, an understanding of growing and scaling based on your stage, blueprints handed down from other female founders who grew and scaled despite the odds, etc. This was my inspiration for Get Sh!t Done. It became my mission to scale access to fundamental resources required for female founders to build successful companies while building a new system that doesn’t just focus on a select few.
What are some of your tools for Getting Sh!t Done?
It really depends on what you see as a tool. I could give you a list of tools I use for my company but in many cases, it’s not applicable to everyone. Instead, I believe self-care is the greatest tool I have in my toolkit that I neglected in my first two companies, which eventually led to burn out and dispassion for what I built. This required making myself a priority because at the end of the day we have to give ourselves oxygen first to make the most impact.
For me, this looks like not rushing to texts or emails as soon as I wake up but instead waking up and meditating to set the tone and intentions for my day. This means taking the time to ensure the “machine” is running optimally by doing some form of daily exercise and eating well. I’ve also learned to redefine what balance means instead of chasing an unrealistic goal. To me, balance isn’t necessarily 50/50 (business vs. personal). Instead, it means that I don’t operate at one speed consistently, such as dedicating 100% of my focus to my business all of the time. There will be days or weeks where it will be 99/1 or 60/40 or 30/70. However, there has to be some allocation of time that’s just for me. Even though I’m far from perfect, this approach has made me a better person, businesswoman, family member, and friend.
What is one lesson you are currently learning?
Whew. What am I not learning? I think the most important lesson that I’m currently learning is to have unshakeable faith while enjoying my process and journey. It’s easy to measure ourselves against where other people are but our journey is exclusive to us and incomparable. Many of our present day doubts, fears and worries seem to stem from this comparison culture perpetuated by social media. What’s meant to happen for you will happen when it’s supposed to. In the meantime, enjoy where you are and make the most of it. I’ve found that magic tends to follow me when I choose joy and express gratitude for where I’m at right now. It gives me a sense of clarity so I can be forward thinking and unlock the next steps to get to where I want to go. When my energy is focused on what other people got (have) going on, it’s energy I’ve taken away from building my dream and I miss opportunities that are in plain sight. So get tunnel vision, have faith, and focus on your dream. Everything else is distracting you from making it happen.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to lead authentically?
Be unapologetically you and have an uncompromising understanding of your values. People tend to tell me that I have a great personal brand but I didn’t study or work in branding. I believe the secret to leading is having the courage to own who you are and to own what you value out loud. This can be terrifying because it requires vulnerability. Many people, especially women, have a tendency to want to be liked because it feels like a form of connection, which is essential to the human experience. However, being liked won’t make you feel good. What makes us feel good is when we feel seen, heard, and understood but this can't happen if we hide who we truly are. This is why community (tribe, squad, etc) is so important. Instead of trying to be liked by many, focus on liking yourself by developing a relationship with who you are and who you want to become. From there, you’ll come to understand what you value and start to attract those who have the same values, which ranges from essential business connections to key hires.
Company culture is so important. What are some of the key ingredients in creating a great culture in a startup, in particular?
I think this ties into leading authentically. Establishing company values, which should mimic the founder's values, is essential because it acts as a guiding compass for who you attract and how you make decisions. Beyond that, being open and transparent with your entire company on where you’re at, where you’re trying to go, and how every single person on your team will help you get there is MAJOR. This isn’t just setting lofty revenue goals. It’s about sharing what those goals mean and what impact will be made when you get there. It looks different for each company but what has worked in my companies is being open about what helped us hit or not hit revenue goals to how much money we were trying to raise from investors and what the funds would be used for to what challenges we were facing. This means that you cannot operate from a top-down approach because at the end of the day you should be hiring people who are smarter than you at their job who can give insightful feedback. When you’re sharing progress reports company-wide, give your employees the space to share what they think is working and not. Many times, your team will have insight into something that you’re blind to. I’ve found that this creates buy-in and a shared passion for moving towards the North Star because the people that work for you don’t just feel like an employee. They hopefully have a shared understanding and passion for building something amazing with you.
Do you have any tips for following your intuition while running a business? Has there been a particular time when tuning into your intuition was a game-changer?
I believe your intuition is your superpower. I’ve never heard any entrepreneur say that a game-changing moment was made based off of what they learned from a spreadsheet. It’s usually a feeling. The game-changing moments are when we were able to see something that no one else could because we listened to ourselves. A moment in particular when I followed my gut that became game-changing was when I resigned from my last company without a plan and moved to New York to start another company. At the time, I had no idea what the next company would be, no official place to live, and only 2 months of cash to survive on. By having faith and trusting myself, it led me to create the first iteration of Get Sh!t Done within a month of being in NYC. By continuing to have faith and trust my gut, Get Sh!t Done has morphed into something I never could have imagined. My advice - trust yourself. It’s not quantifiable. You will fail and make mistakes along the way but it all works together to get you closer to a dream even bigger than the one you’ve imagined.
Lastly, what is your favorite quote or mantra?
It changes based on the season I am in but right now it’s:
“When I am myself, most authentically myself - free from self-hatred, free from self-judgment - I am my most revolutionary.” - Amandla Stenberg