The start-up helping women manage micro-businesses

bronwen o'brien2

Running a business while caring for a small child is a daunting task made even harder by a lack of helpful management tools. Bronwen O’Brien spotted a gap in the market and launched DigitalSorbet to help women in a similar position. 

The work-from-home advocate launched an online admin company back in 2008 after the birth of her first child as a way of contributing to the household income. The Virtual Assistant took off and O’Brien soon found herself trying to manage a growing business with sub-par technology. It was an expensive and time-consuming battle.

“I was using one platform for time-tracking, another for invoicing, one for project management and client collaboration – and another for file sharing and storage,” explains the entrepreneur.

“Using all those different software packages was confusing and cost me a lot of money. I thought other people in my situation must be experiencing the same frustrations, so I asked around and it turns out they were.”

It didn’t take O’Brien long to come up with an alternative.

DigitalSorbet was designed specifically for women working from home, streamlining the entire business process – from lead capture to online collaboration with your client, all the way through to getting paid.

“It was built specifically to help women manage their micro-businesses online. We empower women who want to work from home – or anywhere else for that matter – to run their own business,” she explains.

“My software is perfect for mums who want to get back in the workforce while staying at home with their kids. That’s our main point of difference and we’re really proud of being part of that niche.”

DigitalSorbet is also rather nice to look at.

“It needed to look beautiful,” admits the mother of two. “If I’m using something every day in my business, I want it to be aesthetically pleasing.”

Funding the idea was particularly challenging but O’Brien was willing to see it through. No matter what.

“I funded DigitalSorbet with credit cards and the sale of my previous business,” she tells Dynamic Business. “We considered selling the house but thankfully we didn’t have to go that far.”

“When I started The Virtual Assistant, it cost me nothing. All I needed was a computer and an internet connection. But this time around there was the obvious cost of building the software, which I had to pay for because, unfortunately, I can’t code!”

That’s when BlueChilli stepped in to help out with investment and development.

So what’s next step for O’Brien’s business?

“I’m currently working on setting up affiliate partnerships with a handful of influencers in the work-at-home industry both here and overseas. The US market is huge and we really want to tap into that as best we can,” she says.

“I want to see 50,000 women using DigitalSorbet in 5 years. That’s a big number, but I reckon we can do it.”

The two-time entrepreneur also has some advice for other women thinking about launching their own business: “Just go for it! I was thinking about DigitalSorbet for such a long time before it actually became a reality.”

“I think a lot of women have great business ideas but something holds them back from acting on it. It could be money, or an unsupportive partner, or something else. Figure out what those hurdles are, get over them and just make it happen.”

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