How She Does It: Rachel Hentsch & Sally Coldrick of InfinityFoundry

InfinityFoundry is building a global community of makers, innovators and entrepreneurs. We like to think of ourselves as “entrepreneurial amplifiers” and “community catalysts”--- hopefully this will become clear as we tell you more about our mission.

InfinityFoundry is a two-legged creature: on one side, we focus on educating people to embrace Entrepreneurship through our online courses and publications. We believe in the value of collaboration and sharing, in cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset, and in equipping our students with tools and a holistic roadmap for their lifelong entrepreneurial journey.

On the other side, we are conducting a global Alumni experiment: [The Hub] springs from the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp experience, which is also where InfinityFoundry was born. We are exploring and designing ways to harness, nurture and grow the community’s potential beyond borders and geographical circumstance.

To succeed in riding the rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship in the long term, you need to maintain  stamina (mind and body). By building and sharing a ‘tools for life’ kit that will expand and evolve over time, we will help others be more creative, become better problem solvers, embrace diversity, to be more collaborative and importantly, to do it mindfully.

Our flagship online course, The Curious Entrepreneur, is designed to bridge the gap between curious entrepreneurs and ready-to-go entrepreneurs through storytelling and entrepreneurship education. It is grounded in MIT's Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework, holistic in its approach, and applies globally.

Deb Bailey: Welcome to the Secrets of Success blog. This sounds like a very ambitious project. Are there any “lessons learned” that you’d like to share?

 Rachel Hentsch & Sally Coldrick:
It doesn't matter how young or old you are: you have the ability to unleash the power of your curiosity!

And the same applies for entrepreneurship - you are never too old or young to start - and we all have unique entrepreneurial superpowers that can be applied to benefit what you do in any environment.

When it comes to taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, while we totally agree that you should follow Nike’s direction and ‘Just Do It’ we also believe that preparation is essential - not just about the framework to follow from a business perspective but you must also mentally and physically preparing yourself for the trials and tribulations to follow. 

So we would add to  Nike’s advice, this pearl of wisdom from Abraham Lincoln: "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

You owe it to yourself to “derisk the risk” and give yourself the best chance of riding the  rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship for a long time, versus burning yourself out financially and physically and risk being left with a one-off, very painful life lesson.


Deb: Who are your ideal clients for InfinityFoundry? 

Rachel & Sally: Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset is beneficial for everyone and our mission is to help people flex and grow their entrepreneurial muscle!

Our audience for The Curious Entrepreneur online course spans a wide group:
  • students looking to start their own business or ramp up their entrepreneurial thinking skills 
  • the parent returning to work
  • the corporate professional thinking of entering the world of entrepreneurship
  • the intrapreneur, looking for ways to create positive disruption internally
  • Entrepreneurs wanting tools and a roadmap to improve their chances of success

The Curious Entrepreneur is, by definition, curious. They are not afraid to ask the tricky questions to uncover their true entrepreneurial purpose, passion and superpowers.


Deb: What are some of your successes and challenges?

Rachel & Sally: Put people first. Creating and building is in both of our entrepreneurial DNAs - we made The Curious Entrepreneur to help us really bring to life what we stand for, to share what we see as key elements to long-term success as an entrepreneurial thinker, in whatever shape that takes. For example, as a duo, we both build and create very differently, but have learnt how to interplay our own strengths. It was a tremendous test of our working relationship.

Frame all challenges as learning opportunities. Selling is hard. Being fully immersed in what you are doing can leave you blind-sided. Be brave and bold and ask for help when you need it. We ask regularly. On the flipside - offer help too: aside from the obvious reward of knowing you have helped someone out, you also get to learn new things and it helps strengthen human connections besides being wonderfully energising.

Find a trusted support network. When you are bootstrapping, a trusted support network is critical both as a sounding board and to lift you up. We formed our first collaboration with DNA Unwrapped and now speak with its CEO and Founder, Rebecca Fielding every Wednesday. We share “war stories”, brainstorm ideas, and just find such comfort in knowing that we have each other’s backs. People need to come first. Believe in what you do, otherwise how can you expect anyone else to?

Politely ignore the naysayers. This will sound cliché but you simply must not let them get under your skin and distract you from achieving your vision. It is tempting to want to respond to them with how they really make you feel at times-- but don’t you want to invest that energy in building relationships with the people who believe in what you are doing? We do!



Deb: That's great advice. What inspires you to do the work you do?


Rachel & Sally: InfinityFoundry sees the world as a borderless, richly diverse ecosystem. There is an opportunity for greater human connection and mutual empowerment, that could allow each of us to contribute to one another's success. Knowing the power that this holds drives us to look for ways to create more opportunities for human connection in a meaningful way.



Deb: What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs who are just starting out?


Rachel & Sally: Two things.

1 - Curiosity is the starting point for growth.Cultivate your curiosity - get comfortable asking questions, learn to ask the right questions at the right time! And do not stop talking to your customers and asking them what they want so that you fully understand their problem, so you can solve it.

2 - To be an efficient and effective entrepreneur, you must look after yourself in a holistic way. We believe that this aspect is often ignored, but it is in fact all-important. If you ‘skip’ this aspect you will not have the stamina required to succeed. We want to encourage you to be mindful and care for yourself while you build a new venture.



Deb:  Even though you love what you do, there has to be some downtime. What is your favorite activity to relax and unwind?


Rachel: this may sound totally counter-intuitive, but my personal formula for rebooting my mind and body is to indulge in a day of dirtbiking with my husband, once a week.

Sally:
A vinyasa yoga class and then reading a physical book, ideally overlooking water or somewhere with a view. Recharging, learning and escaping all at once to be recharged and ‘available’ for my family and work. Audio books to a lesser extent.



Deb: Looking back, what do you wish you could tell your younger self?


Rachel: I think my mother actually told “my younger self” the most important thing of all: do what you love, the rest will come.

Sally: Don’t stop being curious, keep challenging the status quo.


Deb:  I'd like to hear more about your online course. How did you come up with the idea for it?

Rachel & Sally: Our first online course just seemed to flow organically as a natural consequence of the experience we had acquired over a lifetime of learnings and experiences, of our coming together as business partners, and of our passionate desire to help others swiftly get to a place of awareness and empowerment.

By blending our collective experience and our MIT New Ventures Leadership teaching accreditation, we see ourselves being able to create great impact. The Curious Entrepreneur is the entrepreneur of the future. We have created a Toolkit to help people not just during a short burst of interest, but to last throughout their lifetime.

Entrepreneurship is hard. Really hard. You need to be able to dig very deep to get through some of the obstacles. We will all fail at some time (we’ve had some great stories!) but we feel compelled to help others create the best possible odds as they work towards building success.

We curated and built The Curious Entrepreneur because entrepreneurial skills and thinking are needed now more than ever. You need to possess the right toolset, which is acquired through developing your existing skills, acquiring new ones, and learning how to be anti-fragile.

As we started to distill our knowledge into our first online course, other ideas began to flow and so we already have mapped out a collection of other courses that will soon follow.


Deb: What do you hope the course participants come away with?


Rachel & Sally:  Our aim is to provide our participants with tools for life - not just a fun course on entrepreneurial theory. What we teach is much more all-encompassing and will touch upon all areas of your life, including listening to your body, growing your grit, how to draw strength out of your weaknesses and worst moments, and how to unlock your curiosity as the starting point of joyous discovery and creation. Investing in yourself and understanding your own entrepreneurial strengths (and these are different from your strengths in the corporate world, or as a parent!) as well as learning to cultivate your curiosity, will provide tools for life.


Deb: Thanks for stopping by! Please share website and social media URLs.


Rachel & Sally: Thanks! We enjoyed it. Here are the links.


 Business URL: https://www.infinityfoundry.com/

Twitter Account info: @InfinityFoundry (https://twitter.com/InfinityFoundry)

Instagram: infinityfoundry https://www.instagram.com/infinityfoundry/

Facebook Company Page: https://www.facebook.com/infinityfoundry/

Medium Channel: https://medium.com/infinityfoundry-by-mitsisters

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFXkhdR6lhEDd0dzAWKiB2A

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