I am lucky enough to know some absolutely amazing women in both my personal and professional life but what’s striking me at the moment is the amount of brilliant women who are thinking about, or have started, their own business.
About 60% of all new businesses that started last year were by women. I was lucky enough to be part of the recent Entrepreneurial Review hosted by the Department for Business, Energy
& Industrial Strategy whose main role is to feedback to Government how business owners, especially women, are getting supported, what is missing and needed and what gaps there are that need assistance. In the room with me were some fabulous women, many of whom were 2-3 years on with their businesses, who were sharing the reasons for starting as well as the roadblocks that they face.
The key words that surfaced time and time again was flexibility and control. A lot of the women had a young family and leaving the corporate 9-5 and starting their own business was the only viable option to secure income and child care, some women were – justifiably – sick and tired of the corporate world and working crazy hours for little gain, but a lot had this burning desire to be their own boss and see their dreams become reality. Although we all agreed that running your own business is the hardest job in the world, it is however the most rewarding. There’s nothing better than seeing your ideas come to life, being imperative to your clients’ success and – finally – having all that hard work pay off.
It was interesting to hear how, although there is a lot of support for start-up businesses, it was felt there is not a great deal for those businesses a few years down the line who are looking to grow or are slightly stagnant and need help or support. I can totally relate to that. My business is nearly two years in and has changed and grown massively and there are still changes to come. Keeping motivated, driven and on the right path can be challenging and at times – like a lot of business owners – I stare at the screen or piece of paper a bit vacant and insecure about what I’m doing. But by introducing key elements in my life to manage this I can keep the wobbliness at the door, somewhat and I’d like to share them with you:
Have a tribe
Having women in the same business boat as you helps so much. I am lucky enough to be part of a wonderful tribe called Sister Snog, filled with brilliant and bonkers women at the top of their game and they provide a sounding board, comfort blanket and much-needed pick me up when needed. Just having people to share issues, worries and thoughts is so vital so if you don’t have one, find one – yours is out there.
Remember your past successes
We’re all very good at remembering anything negative as sadly, our brain is built that way but we need to remember all the amazing successes we have had. And they don’t have to be award-winning: a compliment from a client, a great outcome on a project, finally writing that newsletter. Write them all down and when you’re having a ‘day,’ read them and remember you’re pretty ace at what you do.
Give yourself a break
When we’re balancing all those plates, we forget that we need to be a big posh Royal Doulton one at the front. If we’re not in a good place, how are we meant to do good work. Self care is everything so sleep well, eat well, drink well (and not too much booze!), exercise well and have some you time. When you’re hectic, the best thing you can do is take time out to re-group.
Keep asking & learning
None of us know the key to an amazing business and even the most successful out there are always growing and learning. There is so much information out there and wonderful people to learn from so use it and embrace it. Collaborate, share, help and support. It all comes back round in the end.
For those of you out there who have your own business, hats off to you and for you that are thinking about it – go on, what’s the worst that can happen? Remember, there are so many people out there to support you.