Why Being Vulnerable Is the Key to Success in Fintech
By Nicole Casperson
It’s no secret that businesses continually look for ways to cut costs and increase profits in today’s economy.
A chaotic market and news cycle often lead companies to seek new strategies to help them do just that.
Many businesses need to realize that most short-term strategies focused on minimizing expenses cost you social capital.
I.e., you’re so focused on saving a quick buck that your cheap mindset takes away from the ability to nurture your internal and external community, which solidifies a foundation for long-term growth.
How, as a company, do you steer clear from this mindset?
Antifragility means growing through hardship. It’s essentially resilience 2.0, according to psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar.
Resilience 1.0 is when we put pressure on a system, and after the pressure is lifted, that system goes back to its original form.
Antifragility takes this a step further.
You put pressure on a system, and it grows bigger and stronger.
As humans, we are antifragile systems. So, for example, when we go to the gym and lift weights, we put pressure on our muscles and grow stronger.
To achieve antifragility, you have to focus on relational well-being.
The number one predictor of happiness is the quality time we spend with people we care about and who care about us.
And the number one condition we can put in place to increase the likelihood of antifragility, i.e., growing through hardship, is the quality of our relationships.
Social capital is “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.”
Social capital for communities refers to establishing trust-based networks.
That means not just establishing solid connections but reinforcing the qualityof those relationships among families, communities, and organizations.
This concept should be extended to an investment in social capital that your fintech company builds internally and externally.
If you can build a loyal following of users who believe in what you’re doing, they’ll stick with you even when times get tough.
They understand that you are constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience and that their input is valuable.
When businesses want to make more money as quickly as possible, they will attract employees and users who leave for the bigger and better deal without hesitation.
Fintech companies focusing on community and vulnerability can create more value for their shareholders.
A community-focused fintech company can create deeper relationships with its customers, which leads to increased loyalty and customer lifetime value.
And by being vulnerable, a fintech company can build trust and credibility with its customers, leading to more business.
Not only have I seen it play out, but I’ve done it with this newsletter and brand.
- WTFintech grew from 0 to 50,000+ audience members in less than a year.
- 10,000+ downloads of my Humans of Fintech podcast.
- 19,000 followers across social media.
- 3 Fintech Is Femme events with 100+ tickets sold
- Happy hours once a month that sell out 100+ RSVPs within hours.
You can pull this off, too.
How To Do It
Here are a few key things to remember when building your fintech company’s community.
- Purpose. Start personal. Find the issues that are impacting you personally. Where do your life and past experiences intersect with your current work? Then, get to know your personal story. Each one of us has our own unique story, and there is no one else who can tell it. What’s yours, and how can you use it as an agent of change?
- Find the Opportunity Gap. I attend many fintech events. None of them focus on sharing authentic and vulnerable stories or the journey to becoming antifragile. That’s how Fintech Is Femme was born. Over the years of being a part of this industry, I craved a femme-centric fintech event, so I created one.
- Leadership. When you think of leadership, you probably imagine someone who is consistently strong and never shows “weakness.” This facade is a massive detriment to our fintech industry. Don’t be afraid to lead authentically. Your community will look to you for guidance and direction. So, embrace it and make it your own.
- Diverse participation. Bring your network with you! If they care about you, they’ll care about what you care about. But you also have to diversify your network. To do so: Focus on getting to know their values, past, and what key themes they bring to the table. Avoid getting caught up in vanity metrics like social followings.
- Authenticity. When people share traumas and vulnerable experiences, they become a tight-knit community. I’m consistently honest with my audience even when I feel anxious or not good enough. We must set an example and ensure that we are creating a safe and welcoming space for all members. That means communicating honestly, even if you’re not feeling like your best self. Make sure the community around you feels safe to do so too.
Bonus: My secret weapon to ensuring my community is secure, vulnerable, and authentic is performance coach Anton Briones, who helps nurture me and my content and is my community’s constant sounding board.
In another example, Chief is also an interesting case study of an emerging community striving to embody these patterns of success.
The company is a private network designed to support professional women with a core set of services such as coaching, peer learning, and network building.
Since its inception in January 2019, the company has expanded rapidly and has more than 5,000 names on its waiting list.
Value consumption (career advice) and value creation (peer-to-peer coaching) are apparent, as is the healthy, diverse participation of community members who feel a sense of mutual responsibility for their individual and collective success.
As the company expands to cities throughout the United States, its community presents a competitive advantage, organized around the mission of professional advancement and support for female executives who are members.
Fintech companies can do this, too, by being vulnerable and open with its customers that is more likely to build trust and credibility.
Being vulnerable requires courage and a willingness to be open, but it is unequivocally advantageous.