I haven't had claim to my rather surreal title of 'Woman in business' for very long - it's a bit like a super-cosy pair of new slippers I'm breaking in, making them feel lived-in and loved...getting used to each other...
What I've learnt so far is that women who run businesses are willing to share. Whether that be advice, contacts, friendship...
The women in business I've encountered who steer their ships with a lack or morality or simply a frostiness, stand out because they've (thankfully) been in a vast minority since I started this journey.
There's solidarity and kinship from the fact we pretty much all share the same values and outlook - give or take to what extremities.
We want to do something that makes us thrive and happy, we need a future that will enrich us mentally and emotionally and let's not forget - we want to make money.
I'm no expert in what makes a mega-successful businesswoman (yet....) but the simple mantras I've gleamed so far are...
- Be kind
Don't feign friendship with an ulterior motive which only you may benefit from. It's a two-way street.
2. Support each other and shout loud about it
Keep your ears open to big-up a fellow woman-run brand when you hear of someone else seeking their skills. Karma is a delicate beast and helping someone, even if no benefit to you, sits in a much happier place in that world than defaming them. It'll bite you, I promise..
3. Blow away the smoke and mirrors
We are all guilty of posting photos on social media which don't necessarily represent the reality of the sticky, angry moments that life can hurtle at us. Women in business who have got your back won't be afraid to tell it as it is because the realities bring perspective and give you cause to know you're not alone if you're battling a crappy time.
4. Build a community
Mine is mostly virtual. My colleagues live inside my phone! But I do get to meet the odd few for a hot chocolate or a prosecco everyone now and then and it does wonders to chow over thoughts in person with likeminded business brains. Your bubble of support can be however big or small you choose - you may find them at a workshop you attend, through an Instagram post you engage with and carry on the bantering offline, by joining any one of many many mum-run initiatives in your area. Go seek..
Three pieces of advice for newbie businesses?..
- Be a sponge, absorb everything.
- Keep it simple and not over-complicate things.
- The day you plant a seed is not the day it grows. Love this quote.
When I started I would talk myself out of it, saying things like "you can't do that you don't know enough about it" or "you can't do that you don't have a degree in design/business."
But that isn't the case, I have learnt so much from teaching myself. You can learn anything online.
So I guess the misconception is that you need to be an expert in everything before you start but you dont, you can learn as you go.