January 27, 2021 5 min read
It’s been ten years since Brit Morin left Google at age 25 to start a company based on a simple, but sad, perception: “Brit + Co was founded on this idea that women didn’t believe in themselves creatively,” Morin says. In the decade since she founded the lifestyle and education platform — which offers classes, content, experiences and products — Morin has steered Brit + Co through more than 1.2 billion pageviews, and rounded up over $50 million in VC funding. Clearly, creative confidence is a hot commodity.
Last year, horrified by what the New York Times called a “Shecession” — the overwhelming exodus of women from the workforce amid the pandemic — Morin pivoted her focus to helping women develop their entrepreneurial skills. She launched Selfmade, a virtual 10-week course on how to start and grow a business, and secured scholarships for 400 women of color from sponsors like Home Depot and H&R Block. “I brought in all of my mentors — from Bozoma St. John, the CMO of Netflix, to Payal Kadakia, the founder of ClassPass,” she says. “We brought in women who are operating small five- figure businesses, and women operating 12-figure businesses, just to prove to everyone what is possible.”
Morin also began hosting an iHeartRado podcast, Teach Me Something New, and partnered with her husband (Facebook alum Dave Morin) to start a VC fund, Offline Ventures. Just 4.9% of all U.S.-based VC partners are women, so she’s in a key position to help women founders. “It’s not small,” she says of Offline Ventures. “It’s a hundred million dollar venture fund with some of the most notable LPs behind it. We’re invested in everything from infant formula to Clubhouse, the hottest social network right now. I’m excited because I get to invest in more female founders, products and services that might have gotten passed over if a man was behind the table writing the checks.”
Starting tomorrow, Morin will stuff all of this experience under yet another hat: Entrepreneur advice columnist. Every other Thursday she’ll be here, answering questions from women entrepreneurs with her signature mix of curiosity, candor, and earnest encouragement. She’ll dish out wisdom on challenges endemic to women founders, from imposter syndrome (hot take: it’s not all bad!) to hustling while navigating relationship pressures (teaser: Morin hates the term “work-life balance”).
“We believe everything needs to be perfect”
One inevitable theme throughout the columns will be self-doubt, and how to deal with it. “I think we, as women, have more self-doubt than men,” she says. “Because of how we are raised, and what we see in pop culture, we believe everything needs to be perfect. We need to have more experience before we can do something. We aren’t smart enough. We aren’t networked enough. All of these ways we are not enough block us from even starting. There are key traits of entrepreneurs we’ll talk about — resilience, nimbleness, etc. — but I can’t help a woman start a company unless she is at least aware of the self-doubt in her mind. You need to be able to recognize when you’re not launching because you don’t think your website is perfect, or you aren’t creating your Instagram account because you don’t know what to post.”
Advice columns: What makes them so readable? Above all, the job of a columnist is to be honest. Her persona can be bold and snarky or sympathetic and wise, but ultimately she has to call it like she sees it. It’s hard to find that type of transparency in day-to-day life, and there’s a real thrill in entering a no-bullshit space.
Moreover, there’s often the sensation that someone else is asking a question on your behalf. “Broke and miserable in Miami” put herself out there, and you didn’t even realize you were struggling with the same problem until you saw yourself in her dilemma. Of course, you won’t always have the same issue as the advice-solicitor, but more times than not you can relate, or put yourself in her shoes. The specifics of our daily lives may differ, but root causes repeat themselves: insecurity, fear of failure, rejection.
At the helm of Brit + Co, and now as a VC investor, Morin has seen these manifestations of self-doubt play out for women founders over and over. “I know I’m generalizing here, but I do think more men get ahead earlier because they have the self-confidence to sell the dream, the multibillion dollar idea,” she says. “Fortunately, there are different ways to foster that mentality in women, while still nurturing parts of a female founder that will help her succeed in the long run. It can seem so daunting to become an entrepreneur, but the reality is it can be one of the most rewarding and flexible and passionate jobs you will ever have. So I want to pass that knowledge on to more women.”
Check back here tomorrow for Morin’s first “Selfmade” column!
Related: 100 Powerful Women of 2020