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A Conversation with…Cassie Potts

What is FEMastermind and what resources do you offer local women entrepreneurs?
It stands for Female Entrepreneur Mastermind. We welcome small peer-to-peer leadership groups. Mastermind group members learn from each other. We just started in-person networking based on strong relationships and building those relationships over time. We are all women, and most of us are mothers, and we run our own businesses. I’m considering doing a mentorship program, which is sort of next level, you might say. This is for companies that have something to accomplish within 90 days.

What is your background and how did that lead you to discover the need for this organization?
I’ve always been into events, even when I was little. I really wanted to be part of the planning process for large-scale music events, like Bonnaroo and Coachella. I started looking for jobs that would give me experience. I found a job that felt like a hotel banquet captain. It was actually an event assistant position at a corporate training organization called The Great Game of Business, which is the education wing of SRC. [Holdings Corp.]. I didn’t really understand that maybe I could be an entrepreneur, but then I worked for The Great Game of Business, where we taught everyone about business finance and I learned a lot. I made very good contacts. I worked for them for a decade. Then I had a family, and that was really the push where I was like, OK, I want more flexibility. I went to a ladies-only networking event hosted by a group in town and was very disappointed with the event. I was like, man, it would be really nice to have a small group of women who understand, who understand what we’re doing and how we’re trying to get out of 9-5 and learn what we could do as potential business owners. So I made one.

How many people are involved in the FEMastermind group?
We book the Mastermind group for 15 people. We keep it small by design because it allows for more open conversation. We welcome a cohort every six months. We have 11 people in this group. We vote on the topics they want to learn more about, and I’ll find the best experts to contribute that insight on topics like overcoming impostor syndrome, understanding their business finances, planning for business growth. business, setting boundaries in business, strategic planning, creating a sales funnel, using social media, using video content. It’s in the private Mastermind group. The Facebook group, I did not expect it to grow so quickly. There are people mentoring each other, getting advice, sharing, but I think you have to understand that you are not alone in the process. There is a huge community of female entrepreneurs here. I get 10-20 new entries every week. I started it on October 31 last year, and in six months it was 1,500 people.

Startups have accelerated during the pandemic. According to the US Census Bureau, more than 4.3 million new business applications were filed in 2020, an increase of 24% over 2019. What have you seen locally and how starting a business has- Has it benefited the women you work with?
Society as a whole is changing a lot. And women realize that we have a lot more opportunities to do things the way we would like to do them, after working from home and realizing that they can handle a lot without being managed. Many people who went to work from home realized that they had to be very resourceful to meet the challenges they faced. Why not create something for myself for a little more time flexibility and financial stability?

Do you have a business expansion vision?
It’s a trial year. I really sank my teeth in and tried to organize the things people were asking for. The networking group is membership based. It was for people who maybe just weren’t ready for the Mastermind. And then mentoring is the next step. My idea for scaling was to see how it works, get numbers, collect data, understand the processes and what’s actually needed in the area, then collect it and plant it in a another city. I have friends who have moved all over the country who beg me to have a FEMastermind. My goal would be to have a FEMastermind in every city, in every state, in every country. I hope to build relationships in Northwest Arkansas. I feel like this area is booming with startups, then Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia. I also have people asking me about rural communities (and) I’ve been approached by quite a few women who would like a women-only coworking space.