Women In Tech | Sarah Bacon - We Share Property
Sarah Bacon, CEO and Co-Founder of We Share Property is based in the UAE. She just completed the womena accelerator program for technology start-ups. We Share Property is a technology company that helps the real estate industry bring a seamless, trusted investment experience to their customers.
This interview kickstarts the Mums@Work Women in Tech Series where we chat to inspiring women in the region about their experiences. Let's hear what Sarah has to to say...
Tell us about yourself
I’m the Co-Founder and CEO of We Share Property, we are a technology company that helps the real estate industry bring a seamless, trusted investment experience to their customers. I’m British but was born in Trinidad and the UAE is the seventh country I’ve lived in. I met my husband here and we have 2 girls, one just under 2 and one just over 3. Their energy knows no limits!
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I am really passionate about how technology can make people’s lives better. Think about how you can manage your money today through your phone or laptop. From a savings account to cryptocurrency, it’s all done through your device. We want real estate investing to be as easy. It’s probably where we invest the highest amount of money in our lifetime and things haven’t changed much in 30 years.
What previous types of work experience did you have?
I was in a corporate environment for a lot of my career until a few years ago when I made the jump to the start-up world. I worked in project and commercial management for multi-billion-dollar construction projects globally, spending time from Malaysia to Brunei to Iraq. I got an MBA from Chicago Booth along the way.
I was always a bit impatient and a bit outspoken for a lifetime career in a corporate environment. That said, I was incredibly fortunate to travel and work with some great people and meet some close friends. I always saw myself running my own business and that voice in my head just got too loud to ignore. For me personally, when I had my first child I really started to question what I wanted from a career and the number one was to do create a business I was proud of. I left my job when 6 months pregnant with my second child no real idea what I was going to do, I just knew I needed that time to work out where my passion lay and that’s led me to where I am today.
Tell us about your experience with the Womentum accelerator program
The Womentum program has been incredible for our business and for me personally. A truly inspirational group to be around for 4 months. The start-ups are all female-led and came from all over the MENA region; in businesses from reducing water in farming, to augmented reality, to gamified employee engagement and so many more. The start-ups were all incredible, as are the womena team. These guys are my start-up family and I am rooting for every single one of them for the huge success and happiness they deserve.
What did you learn about yourself during this start-up experience?
I’m still learning every day, which is one of the things that I never get tired of. I have a pretty thick skin nowadays; any entrepreneur will hear “no” more times than they can count, and you need to stick to your course and just, keep, going.
What did you discover about your strengths and weaknesses?
I think I’m quite good at working in unclear environments and being able to set clear goals of how to make progress and adapt along the way. I’m also pretty persistent at getting what I want and not taking ‘no’ for an answer. One of my weaknesses is that I can spend too long on things sometimes to make them as high quality as possible, when in reality sometimes the 80:20 rule is enough.
Has your personal life changed as a result of this enterprise?
For sure. You are never off duty, you are never not working. You think about your start-up morning, noon and night. What’s happening, what are the challenges, what have you forgotten, who is the competition… The funny thing is that it doesn’t feel like work a lot of the time. It’s just a part of you and your life.
As a start-up you are also typically putting all your spare cash into the company, so your social life definitely takes a hit!
What 3 tips would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
- Find out what is your “north star”. This is your destination, your compass, why you do what you do. This is what you turn to when you have a bad day and keeps you going. It’s partly related to your business but it’s so much more. It is your passion, your goals, your legacy, the example you want to show your kids… So many people never find their north star, if you do then you owe it to yourself to follow it and not give up.
- If you’re taking the leap from a paid job to an unpaid start-up, have enough savings on the home front that you don’t need to worry about bills for 2 years. Yes, 2 years. One of the top reasons start-ups fail is they run out of cash. Don’t let that be the thing that stops your dream becoming a reality.
- Get your support network in place – that’s loved ones, friends, mentors, professional network and home help. You can’t do it all and the road of an entrepreneur can be a lonely one. Think of your start-up like you do your new baby. It takes a village.