3 Great Tips for Female Entrepreneurs to Become Successful


“If there is a WILL then there is a WAY!”

– Nicole Quinn


Photo credit: Lightspeed

Nicole Quinn is an investor at Lightspeed Venture Partners (http://lsvp.com), focused on early stage consumer technology companies, having invested in companies such as Girlboss, Goop, Zola; the largest online wedding registry, Rothy’s; the most comfortable stylish shoes made of plastic recycled bottles and Dote; the virtual mall. She spent 8 years at Morgan Stanley covering the European and US e-commerce, retail and consumer companies. Nicole is passionate about the trends in human behavior, especially consumer technology, and also helping entrepreneurs who have the ability to improve our every day lives. She holds a degree in math and economics from the University of York, England and an MBA from Stanford Business School.


In short, Nicole has a lot of expertise in entrepreneurship, and female entrepreneurship in particular. She encourages more females to believe in themselves and never give up their ideas. Here are her top 3 advices on how to become a successful female entrepreneur:


  • 1. Never Settle Down – When Nicole meets new entrepreneurs one of the key things she evaluates is their motivation level, she expresses; “they have to believe anything is possible, and having the solutions to make these things done no matter how challenging it is.” She is looking for people who does not take “no” for an answer and who doesn’t settle down. As she explains; “if there is a WILL then there is a WAY!”, so it’s important to be stubborn. These are the type of entrepreneurs that will go far. A good example of this type of persons is one of her biggest role models: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Nicole refers to him as someone who just gets things done, everything he touches turns into gold only because he is trying so hard. If it doesn’t work, he tries again and again and again. Mr Bezos doesn’t stop until he gets it done! Nicole wants more female entrepreneurs to do exactly that, to not give up because they hit the wall. No matter how difficult and challenging it is, you got to go through that wall. You owe it to yourself; to figure out were your idea can take you!


  • 2. Diversity When Building Your Team – Men and women working together in a startup has a higher success rate than a group of men starting a business together. Nicole thinks that diversity is the key to success, in the perspective of difference of age, gender, background and religion. It’s important because it gives you different angles on your business idea, from brainstorming to problem solving. So have that in mind when you are building up your team for your startup! 


  • 3. Turn off Netflix – Most people who gets home from their daily job eat dinner and then turn on the TV and they watch Netflix through the end of the evening. If you are one of them, then you need to change that behavior. Instead, start going to networking events, read more about your specific industry and learn more about things that will take you further with your entrepreneurship journey. You can’t live like the other 99% of the population, you need to take action to get somewhere. The more you are educated, the more you know and the more you are going to know what step you need to take and in what direction. 


To learn more about female entrepreneurship, listen to her discussion with Brian Mac Mahon in the third episode of Expert Dojo’s startup podcast “The Art of Startup War”;



For more startup podcast episodes, please visit https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/



Finding an Investor Should be Like Finding a Partner You Want to Marry

Are you Going to Make a Great Fit with Your Potential Investor?

Photo credit: Pexels.com

Asher Leids is a prominent super angel based in Santa Monica and specialized in early stage startups. Previous to investing individually he practiced venture capital, securities, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. In short he is an expert in what he is doing and knows startup investment inside out.


A vital task for entrepreneurs who are in the process of finding an investor is to figure out if you are going to be a good fit for each other. You don’t want to take the money from just anybody, you want to take it from someone who is a great match for you. But how do you know if you are going to be a good fit for each other?


Mr. Leids suggest to look at the investor as if it’s someone you want to marry, like choosing a life partner. You don’t want to end up in a nasty divorce. For example, if you go for lunch with you investor and during lunch the investor yells at the waiter or waitress, then you can figure out that this person will act the same way to you at some point. And will you be okay with that?


You need to be aware of who you are choosing, but also make an effort yourself. If you are not asking the investor the questions that makes him or her comfortable with the relationship, then it’s not going to lead anywhere. Imagine if you are on a first date and you didn’t ask your date any questions about what they were like, what their habits were or other personal questions, and just asked how much money they were bringing in to the relationship. Then that person will enter the relationship with a very different perspective.


Besides showing interest, according to Mr. Leids one of the other main things you need to think about when meeting your potential investor is to show that you are passionate about what you are doing. Tell the investor how strongly you feel for your product or service, don’t start the subject about needing investment.


At the end, it’s not only about the expectations that you have from the investor. It’s also about the expectations that the investor has about you what you should want from them. If it’s just the money then you are going to have problem right at the beginning. To learn more about the relationship between entrepreneurs and investors, listen to Asher Leids episode of Expert Dojo’s podcast; “the Art of Startup War” here:



For more startup podcast episodes, please visit: https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

Top 5 Things to Make a Remarkable First Impression!

What does a Potential Investor Consider UNRELATED to Your New Business?


Michael Miller’s over 30 years of experience in the trenches of Wall Street law and finance provide him with a unique aerial view of the “do’s” and “don’ts” in start-up land. Mr. Miller’s Expert Dojo’s Podcast last year was voted as 2017’s most favorite. Known as one of LA’s most sought after mentors and advisors, Mr. Miller is generous with his time and advice, always willing to sit with anyone that asks for a 15 minute coffee. He reminds me with a smile, “Advice is really only worth what you pay for it”. Finally fortunate enough to shed the Wall Street uniform of coat and tie, he is focused on the things he loves. Including philanthropy, building Over 21 Capital Partners, which upon completion, will be the largest private fund in America, focused on adult-oriented investments (including cannabis, caffeine and alcohol). The launch of Table 21, the first conflict-free cannabis dining salon bringing together investors, companies, and legal, medical and legislative professionals. To add, he is the Senior Venture Partner for Fusion LA, which mentors and accelerates Israeli startups selected out of the 8200 Unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. He is also writing his second book entitled, “Weedonomics: From Criminal to Capitalist Enterprise”.


Mr. Miller, I mean Michael, (he firmly noted) that the most important factors are typically the ones that are never discussed, considered or even taught. “If I am going to bet on the horse, I better damn sure love the jockey” is a very powerful message. Even the most “perfect” companies have failed, when those involved forget something so simple. “We are both people.” My mother always told me, “Son you only have one chance to make a first impression. Make sure you wear clean underwear.” How will YOU make your first impression? As Michael expresses: “how can you have the greatest idea, but flame-out tragically?” Here are Michael’s top 5 things to consider to in making a remarkable first impression:


  1. Maturity

    Do you have the emotional intelligence to realize that you can’t know everything? Those that do, surround themselves with those SMARTER than they are.


  1. Articulation

    Are you clearly, concisely and effective? Do you look someone in the eye? Get to the point!


  1. How You Dress

    What is YOUR uniform? What image do you want to project? What take-away do you want to leave with a potential investor? Read more about how to dress for business purposes here;  https://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/dress-impression.htm


  1. Confidence

    Are you capable of getting outside your self-created comfort zone? Exude passion. Exude confidence. Or.. go get a 9 to 5.


  1. Genuineness

    Humble wins EVERY time.

These are the human skills that are not taught in school or in an MBA program, but that are so essential. These are the things that matter in life that you weren’t taught in school. To learn  more about how to impress your potential investor, listen to the first podcast episode of “The Art of Startup War”, click here: 



For more startup podcast episodes, please visit https://www.expertdojo.com/investor-podcast/

If you would like to have a coffee with Michael, contact him at michael@millerlawla.com


Expert Dojo is Planning to Open an Accelerator in China

The team at Expert DOJO arrived in Hangzhou, China last week and proceeded to go on a whirlwind tour of 5 cities (Shanghai, Yiwu, Jiaxing, Beijing, Hangzhou) in 5 days. We even visited 3 of the cities twice.  We met the Mayor or high level dignitaries in each city and in this short period we became convinced that China can outperform the USA in output of unicorns within 5 years.



Our goal was to work out what this enormous market of 1.2 billion people wanted and how we could serve our american based startups better by being here as well as be a resource locally in China. It will be no surprise to anyone that the biggest challenge US based companies have working in China is trust and that just happens to be our biggest strength. We also saw that many of the Chinese cities are tired of making cheaper product and want to do as the Japanese did when they moved to quality over quantity.



Here is what surprised us. Our expectation was to see a country of socialists where enterprise and innovation was neither encouraged or rewarded and we found the opposite. Their new Government led policy to actually incubate and accelerate startups with entire streets dedicated to them is admirable. In addition the free workplace, free training and free resources are unlike anything I have ever seen in over 40 countries.



We were met by over 41 high ranking officials in each city and all of them offered incentive after incentive to open up there. This may be the model we have been searching for as the perfect Government led startup ecosystem.



So whats next I hear you ask. Well we may just open an international accelerator over there. The Government not only support startups but they are also desperate for international collaboration in their community. We know that China has its issues but, as supporters of startup globally, I cant help wanting to help fix this very broken bridge between our two countries. Our startups in America deserve to have the best representation on site to help them manufacture, produce and ship the best product at the right price and ontime. In addition we will possibly raise a fund to help US companies benefit from all the opportunities out there.



We all know that the seas of China are full of forgotten westerners who came with good intentions but no possibility of ever fulfilling their unfinished dreams.  We at Expert DOJO are cautious but optimistic of a future where we all get along and create great startup cultures while doing it.

Follow The Leader: The Greatest Startup Events



Ryan Foland, aka GingerMC, names his top startup event picks of where you can pitch

from Silicon Beach to the OC.


As the entrepreneur community continues to grow in Orange County and Santa Monica, you may feel overwhelmed with all of the events that you hear about. With a limited amount of time to invest, you want to make sure you are spending your time at the highest caliber events to maximize your startup schedule. Don’t you wish someone could help you choose which ones to go to and which ones to skip?


Enter Ryan Foland, communication expert known in the startup community as the GingerMC Ryan can be seen on stage as Master of Ceremonies at some of the largest startup events in Los Angeles including Expert Dojo Investor Festival, TechDay, IDEAS LA, Green Festival LA, Digital Hollywood, and more. He is a sought after host from the OC to LA, and as such has an ear to the ground for great events.


We sat down with Ryan recently and asked him to help our members choose some of the best startup events on the horizon. He shared three events that you can both attend, of which two are still accepting applications for a pitch competition.


In order of when they occur, check out these must attend startup events:


Investor Festival – Where Startups Meet Investors

Need to grow to the next level? Expert DOJO features 80 of the highest caliber investors at their popular Investor Festival. These investors are looking for seed, series A and series B funding opportunities. The program also offers the opportunity to pitch your business to these investors. This five day event caters to every great startup looking to grow with various startup themed days as part of the comprehensive schedule:


Day 1 – Investment training For Female founders

Day 2 – Pitching training for seed stage entrepreneurship

Day 3 – Early stage pitching to Investors

Day 4 – Later stage pitching (Expert DOJO Approved only – Series A plus)

Day 5 – One On One Meetings With Investors


When: Tuesday, Mar 28 – Friday, Mar 31 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Where: Expert DOJO space
 UNIT 308, 395 Santa Monica Place

Get your week long ticket here. (Your ticket includes entry into the Expert DOJO startup accelerator for 4 months at no additional cost.)

Enter to Pitch here.

Hashtag: #InvestorFestival, #expertdojo


Eureka FEST:

Eureka FEST celebrates the growth and successes of Orange County’s booming tech and startup scene on April 8 at the Eureka Building in Irvine. Eureka FEST powered by Microsoft celebrates being an entrepreneur in Orange County with music, pitches, and parties. After hosting some of the best tech, learning and networking events Orange County has to offer, Eureka decided to launch its own signature event called Eureka FEST in 2015. This event was created as a way to celebrate startups and entrepreneurship in Southern California with a day of awesome speakers, demos, pitches, connecting opportunities and a party to wrap it all up.



When: Saturday, April 8th

Where: 1621 Alton Pkwy, Irvine Ca

Registration Link: www.EureakOn.com

*Ryan will be the Master of Ceremonies and has a discount code you can use to get 20% off the ticket by using code GINGERMC.

Hashtag: #EurekaFEST


Get Started OC

Get Started OC is a signature OC event featuring entrepreneurs who will pitch their business to a distinguished panel of experts for a chance to win $10,000 in prizes including a Cox Business technology package. If you don’t want to compete you can attend this free event for networking and learning opportunities from accomplished leaders in early stage investment, digital marketing, and business growth strategy. The evening will include a pitch competition with expert feedback from a distinguished panel of judges.
 There will also be a panel discussion, including audience Q&A, geared towards small business owners and start-ups. This event will include 
appetizers, desserts and complimentary Valet Parking


When: Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Where:  [AV] – 16500 Scientific Way, Irvine CA 92618

[AV] is Orange County’s hottest meeting and event destination. Located in the heart of Orange County and near the world-renowned Irvine Spectrum.

RSVP for free here.

Enter to pitch here.

Hashtag: #GetStartedOC