Perseverance personified, this business owner has hundreds of projects for SaaS companies under her belt—all taken on in just two years. A true testament of what can be done by meeting change head-on, the woman we’re introducing today has not yet hit 30, but she’s rocking the tech world like a seasoned professional.
Founder of content marketing and PR agency Brainy Bees, Kinga has been down many paths. Having spent years working in advertising agencies, she knew she had it in her to do more. Now, with an all-female team behind her, she’s proving that women and tech go hand-in-hand.
Can you please introduce yourself, your position and the company you work for?
Hey! My name is Kinga Edwards and I’m the founder and creative owner of Brainy Bees, a content marketing and PR agency working mainly for SaaS companies. I started the company in August 2018 and, since then, we’ve completed hundreds of projects for SaaS businesses all over the world. I’ve managed to build a great team, but I’m also all hands on deck—because Brainy Bees is my child.
What inspired or led you to enter the SaaS field/tech startup world?
I started working in marketing when I was 16, so I believe that marketing has always been in my blood. Yet I knew I could always do more.
After years spent in advertising agencies, I wanted to go freelance, so I helped a few mobile apps and businesses with customer acquisition. I also worked for the marketing branch of Cambridge University whilst living in the city for some time. Then I landed myself a part-time job with one SaaS company, and started building another network that was more SaaS related.
The whole journey around content and PR was so exciting and satisfying for me that I decided to build a separate consulting branch for it, which turned out to be the best decision in my life.
Did you study technology? Do you feel it’s important to have a tech education in order to get a job in a tech startup?
My approach to studies is pretty loose. I actually studied International Relations, and then Marketing for my masters—although I don’t think they contributed much to my current work. If I were to choose my studies now, I’d go for English or German instead. On the other hand, my studies didn’t require me to dedicate too much time and I could easily combine them with work, which was very helpful for building my professional experience and portfolio.
What was the biggest challenge for you when entering the tech field and how did you manage to overcome it?
To make the first baby steps! Everything was new, undiscovered and could be tricky, yet exciting! It’s something like entering a maze; there are a lot of paths you can take, some of them will bring you closer to the exit, others will make you wander around lost, but in the end you’ll get there. There’s no way of overcoming challenges apart from diving into the deep and being hungry for more knowledge.
Thinking back to your journey and how you arrived at where you are today, is there anything you’d change if you could?
I believe that everything happens for a reason, so all of the great, good, bad and terrible things made me the person I am today and took my business to the exact place it should be. If I changed even a small element of my journey, something may have happened completely differently and I would be somewhere else now.
That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned: If you fail, you fail for a reason and will learn a lesson that only makes you stronger, more aware and simply better. If you keep succeeding, however, don’t get complacent but just carry on working to be better, providing more value and improving your services.
I told myself that as soon as I feel burnt out, I’ll move away from the business. Yet I’ve been here for more than two years and my head is still constantly exploding with new ideas.
What piece of advice would you give to your freshman self?
Don’t be scared of changes. They also happen for a reason, and you have no idea how good they might actually be for you if you tackle them the right way.
What sort of impact do you feel from working in a male-dominated industry/environment?
I actually feel support and huge appreciation. The SaaS community is like a family. Unlike many sectors, here it’s hard to take offence when negativity is replaced by constructive criticism. Unfavorable feedback can knock you down hard, but at the end of the day you’re grateful for it since it will help you improve.
It’s a male-dominated industry, yes, but it’s also very analytical and data-driven, so there’s no mercy or rainbows and butterflies here. Mutual feedback can be very direct and straight to the point, which is where female power and determination comes to life. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I will reply “hold my beer” instead of giving up.
Have you come across any hurdles that stem from gender inequality? Were you able to overcome them?
I’m truly blessed to work with SaaS businesses because I haven’t met any significant hurdles in this regard. People working with SaaS think globally and behave globally, and it’s a really close-knit yet business-oriented and classy environment. We also work with SaaS clients who have nothing but respect for their female employees and fully support their development. I want to believe that the whole industry looks like this.
Only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice. Why do you believe working in a tech startup or SaaS is a good career path?
It’s extremely challenging and there are so many things that keep changing, are being implemented, or are totally removed overnight. You need to keep a lookout for everything and have eyes in the back of your head at all times. It can sometimes feel exhausting, but so exciting! Especially when you unleash some potential in activities that you haven’t tried before. You may find out about some new ways to reach your audience, or have an amazing idea that you definitely need to pursue even though it’s 2 a.m. (honestly, this happened to me a few nights ago and the outcome was great!). Working with SaaS/tech is challenging, fun and is just pushing boundaries all the time.
Do you see a lack of female presence at your startup? If so, how do you think this could be changed?
We’re all females at Brainy Bees. :) To be fair, it wasn’t intended, but that’s how it ended up! Some people are still really surprised—or doubtful—that young women (not even in their 30s yet!) can handle technical content, working on CRO or some geeky stuff for software houses. But we do, and we absolutely love it. I wish I could see more women rocking the SaaS stage.
What do you see as the added value of having more female teammates at a tech company?
It’s hard to describe, but I think that women’s empathy and the special ability to weather the storm is insane. I think we’re calmer and can tackle crises, unpleasant situations and problems better and often more professionally by putting emotions aside. Female teammates can add these extra angles to any project, so I’ve always encouraged others to hire women and will continue to do so.
How can we support female colleagues in growing professionally? And do you have first-hand experience with this positive behavior?
Unfortunately, I didn’t have many examples to follow in this field, so I had to set the bar myself. I remember my experience from working in Cambridge, where the work culture and approach to diversity was just an amazing thing to see, and I’m trying to cultivate it in my own organization.
What would you recommend to women who would like to enter the tech field? Any educational material you’d like to suggest as well?
I’m not a huge fan of “women-only” initiatives, as in my opinion many of them only highlight the still-visible boundaries between women and men. Tackle it all normally. Read “normal” business books to work on your competitive advantage.
As for books, I would suggest checking out:
For content purposes, I would suggest They Ask, You Answer.
Learn from the best in your industry, and no worries if they are not women! If we want to rock a male-dominated industry, we cannot be locked in a female-only bubble. :)
People working in startups are usually very busy. How do you manage your work-life balance? Do you have time for some side projects/passion projects?
Work-life balance is extremely important and I only figured that out after years of pulling all-nighters and hustling like there’s no tomorrow. There will still be more work to do the following day, and it needs you to be rested, not stressed or dog tired. ;)
Above, I mentioned “holding my beer,” and I said this partly because I’m getting increasingly into craft beer. We’ve even made our first home brew recently, so don’t be surprised if one day you’ll see Brainy Beers in your shop!
Women in SaaS initiative
Did you know that only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice and only 5% of leadership positions in technology are held by a woman? With our new initiative - Women in SaaS interviews, we want to inspire more women to join SaaS field & technology and combat prejudges connected to technology.
Every two weeks, you can look forward to interviews with inspirational ladies who decided on a career path in SaaS. In our next article, we will talk to Jessica from Integromat.