Fran Hauser is a start-up investor, best-selling author, and vocal advocate for women across the globe. Her book, The Myth of the Nice Girl, is critically acclaimed and was recognized as an Amazon Best Business Book in 2018.
In her book, she places a strong emphasis on relationships in the business realm. Additionally, she dispels the myth that women have to become the person they hate to achieve the career they want.
Hauser also contributes to an advice-column for Refinery29, giving women advice on how to better navigate the business space. After the release of her book, Hauser set out on a cross-country book tour to meet her readers while also reconnecting to her roots.
On top of it all, she is a mother of two who loves spending time with her family and friends and giving back to the community.
You are a start-up investor who funds and advises consumer-focused companies, what do you look for in potential companies before investing in them?
Consumer value proposition – is the benefit clear? Do I see a high potential for product/market fit?
Is true enterprise value being built that makes the company a highly desirable acquisition target for a legacy company?
Is this someone I am going to want to spend time with?
Investing in a startup means entering into a long-term relationship with the founder.
What services do you provide to the companies you invest in?
I provide mentorship by coaching them in everything from building a team to developing a sustainable business model.
You’ve spent over 15 years in the digital media space, how have those experiences prepared you for your investing career?
I’ve been in many leadership roles and I’ve also launched many products. That experience is helpful for when I work with founders.
Where were you in your life when you were writing your book, The Myth of the Nice Girl?
I transitioned from my role as a media executive to investing and my kids were 6 and 5. Writing the book allowed me to take my years of career building and family juggling and synthesize my learnings in a way that can hopefully inspire and be helpful to others.
What do you hope for readers to take away from your book?
They don’t need to check qualities like kindness, compassion, and empathy at the door when they go to work. All of those qualities will serve you well and will help you accelerate your career.
You also stress the importance of relationships built on trust. Why is it important to grow and maintain those relationships in the business industry?
Being successful in business is all about relationships — whether you’re trying to persuade someone, negotiate with them or lead a team. It all comes back to human interactions and relational intelligence.
There are many lessons outlined in your book. One, in particular, caught my attention. It is that a woman can achieve a career she loves without becoming the person she hates. Could you elaborate, what’s your personal experience with this lesson?
Early on in my career, I was given bad advice — that I was too nice, and I needed to toughen up. When I took on a “tougher persona”, it was exhausting and depleting because I was trying hard to be someone I’m not. When you are yourself, you are comfortable and confident.
If you were able to read your own book at the start of your career, how would your business path have differed today?
This is a tough one to answer. I think I would have prioritized networking earlier on in my career, but I’m not sure if that would have taken me in a different direction.
You recently wrapped your cross-country book tour; can you share a special moment or highlight from that tour?
Speaking at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta (I worked at Coke in my twenties) and having Lamar Chesney, my manager at the time, introduce me was just amazing.
His wife, Kim, and family were in attendance as well. Lamar played an instrumental role in my career, so I really loved sharing that moment with him.
Currently, you contribute monthly to an advice column called Advice from a Nice Girl, for Refinery29. Why was it important for you to create this outlet to guide women through their business inquiries?
I’m always thinking about how I scale the advice I give to women one-on-one. Writing the book and writing the advice column are really effective ways to do that.
What’s the best thing a mentor can give to their students?
What advice would you give to women who are intimidated to take the leap into the business world?
To look at things they have done in the past that has created value and know that those skills are transferable to business.