Justyna Kedra Connects Female Entrepreneurs To Funding And Community
Justyna Kedra is an entrepreneur, published bestselling author, Champion of Change at the United Nations and a mentor at The New School Venture Lab. She’s on a mission to connect people, help visionaries grow bigger and better businesses and make it easier for everyone to make their dreams a reality through her business, We Rule.
She graduated from Parsons with a BFA in fashion design and has since worked in many industries including fashion, hospitality, finance, and public relations with amazing people and brands such as Kelly Cutrone from People’s Revolution, American Express and the Westfield World Trade Center.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
My business started because I wanted to connect and learn from other inspiring entrepreneurs, which has now evolved full circle. When I first started, I didn’t know where I wanted to take it, but I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
The easiest and most logical thing was to meet with entrepreneurs and pick their brains about the pros and cons of their industries, products, and businesses. This experience led to creating a global network and now I’m connecting all these people together.
Tell us about your business.
We Rule is a community of over 1,500 entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors. What we focus on is getting to know people, their needs and future aspirations and connect them to the top resources in our network.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes, we recently just launched an initiative where we promised to raise money and give it away to female founders. The application process is still very much open and you can apply at we-rule.com/grants.
We also have public lists going on for mentorship as well as venture capital that you can find under “resources”.
Where is your business based?
We are based in New York, but our network is in 30+ countries and growing daily.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I created an Instagram account (not even a website or anything else), created super simple branding and reached out to the first entrepreneur saying “Hey – I love what you do. I am starting a new blog about female entrepreneurs and it would mean the world to me if you could be the first one to share your story.” The rest is history!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Sharing other people’s stories. It’s just a gift that keeps on giving – every time we share an interview with someone we get exposed to a new group of amazing people.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Not having enough human resources to take on more work. I am personally always terrified to send out an email because it always gets so much attention. Of course, I LOVE the fact that our network loves us and is so involved, but we also want to make sure we deliver every single time.
How did you overcome these challenges?
For now, we are very strategic about what kind of a project we launch because I have slightly different plans for our platform than what you can see today. We don’t get involved in collaborations a lot because we are keeping the eyes on the prize. Focusing is key.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Honestly, not sure how many people can say this, but with We Rule I never have difficult times. I am so obsessed with every single person who reaches out to us and I’m so excited if we can help them that I don’t need any motivation in the classic sense of the word.
On the other hand, I have to learn to recognize my own hard work I put in for We Rule. Sometimes I tend to be too hard on myself and tell myself that it’s not growing fast enough. Remember to take it one day at a time!
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We are very personal when it comes to connecting, we don’t organize in person “inspirational” events, masterminds, get togethers or any kind of group activities for now. We specialize in getting to know you personally and cater to each person 1:1.
Another thing that makes us different is that we screen every single person that we accept into our network and most of them come through a recommendation. We want quality over quantity.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice I got was actually from myself – to stop taking other people’s advice too much and trust myself more. Others don’t know you, your vision and your long term goals, so unless it’s something very specific (like how to do taxes or build an app)… listen to your heart!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
What is the worst thing that is going to happen if you do take the leap? Chances are, it’s not that bad.
Also, how many people do you hear say: “I’ve tried to make this business work for 50 years and it never worked. I’m 80 and still trying to figure it out.” NONE. ZERO. It doesn’t happen. If you believe in something, keep working on it every single day a little bit, it will happen.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Definitely old school books and meditation. First, books are amazing resources. If you read a book of a super successful person, you are getting the knowledge they gained in the past 20, 30, 40 years! It’s amazing.
Meditation became a huge part of my life after I found out that all visionaries like Nikola Tesla, Einstein, and Steve Jobs used it to come up with visionary products to change the world. It works!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz.
It’s really cool and very useful as a CEO. He talks about all the bad things that could go wrong with your business and how to go about them.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We are always looking to connect with Venture Capital Investors from all over the world. We have amazing female-run businesses in healthcare, fintech, fashion tech, ed tech and more — we’d love to get them funded!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal is to always put others first, but now I am focusing on my personal brand, so I am working on polishing that up and getting in front of more people.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.