Christopher Lochhead Follow Your Different™

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169 Kathryn Minshew - No’s to Get to Yes

June 26, 2018
Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of career discovery platform The Muse talks about what it was like to start a company at the age of twenty-six. She shares how she overcame not one, not two, but over a hundred no's to get a yes from venture capitalists. All that with everyone refuting her innovative ideas.

"There are certain core things that I know and that I believe and those are remarkably consistent." - Kathryn Minshew

Three Things We Learned

  • Out with tired, uninspired branding
One of the reasons why Kathryn started The Muse was she wanted a solution to a prevailing problem in the market. People type into search engines a job role and pull thousands of results that more often than not offer no help in truly advancing their careers. This transactional process had her thinking about how a brand built to support career-seekers in starting and growing in a community could be more effective.
  • Trying something radical is bound to be challenging
While she was still starting out, Kathryn encountered countless well-intentioned rejections from experts and experienced business owners. Her job-and-content branding idea was dismissed as impractical, risky, and unprofitable. Undeterred, she stuck to what she believed in, maintaining that she had seen something beyond what conformists did for all the times they remained boxed.
  • Sometimes trusting your gut feel is the only way to go
To a certain degree, internal arguments can be resolved by rationales backed by data and evidence-based market research. But there are instances, few and far between, when it's time to make the call based on your instincts despite what observed trends say. Kathryn has had way too many experiences with this, and she has proven that sometimes faith in what we believe in is all that we need to move forward.

Kathryn is testament to how feeling strongly about one's idea of navigating the world can be key to success. This applies to many aspects of the human life and not just business. An awareness of where you stand in the grand scheme of things and an unwavering mentality to be consistent with it can make all the difference.


Kathryn is the Founder and CEO of The Muse, a career discovery platform that helps over 50+ million people a year in their career search, and helps over 700 companies looking to hire talent and grow their employer brand.  
Kathryn is also the co-author of “The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career” (Crown Business, April 2017). 
Prior to founding The Muse, Kathryn worked on vaccine introduction in Rwanda and Malawi with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and previously worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.  
When not at work, Kathryn is an avid globe-trotter and an adventurous cook. 
  • Marie Claire’s The New Guard: America’s 50 Most Influential Women – 2016 
  • SmartCEO Future 50, Vistage Leadership Legacy Award – 2016 
  • Deloitte Technology Fast 500 – 2016 
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalist - 2016 
  • New York Business Journal, Women of Influence – 2014 
  • Business Insider's 30 Most Important Women Under 30 in Tech, 2013 
  • L'Oreal Women in Digital Winner, 2012 
  • Business Insider Silicon Alley 100, 2012 
  • Mashable 41 Female Founders to Watch, 2012 
  • Forbes 30 Under 30 - 2011 & 2012