Guest posts / Year in review

How this #dctech newcomer found her way in 2016

In the last year, Maureen Murat launched her business, landed her first client and decided to stay in D.C.

Maureen Murat wrapping up a late night at WeWork K Street. (Courtesy photo)
This is a guest post by Crowdie Advisors founder Maureen Murat.

As the year drew to a close we looked back at all that has happened in #dctech — this post is part of our 2016 year in review series. See the full list here.

2016 just ended and I cannot help but to think of what 2017 has in store. In reflecting on 2016, I am forced to also think about the things that will make it memorable. One of which being that I started my own business, Crowdie Advisors, which provides technical assistance to startups and entrepreneurs so that they can go on to obtain capital via traditional means and/or equity crowdfunding. It has been an interesting journey, with a full dose of enlightenment.

Here’s what I learned in 2016.

Networking in D.C. is a beast — without an approach that works for you.

I am not the world’s best “networker” by any stretch of the imagination. It may come as a surprise, but the concept is so cliché. After a few failed attempts at starting conversations with strangers with no real goal in mind, I started making a game of it. I would scope out the room and look for a person who already had others around them, I would join the group and before you know it – I’m networking!

Some of my most successful networking events were: DC’s Local Economy, TechBreakfast’s DC Startup & Tech Expo (got my first client from there!), Startup Grind’s fireside chat with Michelle K. Lee of the US Patent & Trademark Office. I made some great connections at these events and hope to nurture them in 2017.

So, if you’re having trouble with this networking thing, give my “game” a try.

D.C. is growing on me. I fell in love and didn’t even know it, in part due to the D.C. tech scene.

I had no idea how large the tech scene was in D.C. I came to D.C a mere eight years ago from Miami to work and go to law school. I graduated from law school this past May and passed the New York Bar, but I have not been looking for opportunities there like I probably should. I took the New York Bar because I want to eventually live abroad and that is one exam that most international lawyers take. I thought I would initially live in New York for a few years before heading off to Paris, but it looks like D.C has captured me. (Plus, regardless of the bar exam I take, I can waive my results into D.C. It does not work the other way around. So, if I had taken the D.C bar, I would be limited as to which states I can practice in.)

A small business is still a business.

I met people who sought to qualify my business simply because it hadn’t been in operation long as long as theirs had been. I don’t quite understand the logic, but to all my fellow small business owners out there, your business is your business.

Accomplishments come in various packages. Appreciate them all.

Next to taking the New York Bar, getting my first client was the hardest thing I had to do this year. It took months of networking, calling, advertising, etc. But in the end, to be able to do something on my own terms and then get paid for it? It just blew my mind!

2016 came with a bang and clearly didn’t leave without another. I decided to use its outgoing bang to propel me into 2017. Looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store!


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