In celebration of fabulous female entrepreneurs, I attended Women’s Enterprise Day in Balham, London yesterday. It was great to meet other self-employed women and to hear the honest and inspiring stories of numerous speakers who have successfully build businesses, including Merilee Karr, CEO of Under the Doormat, Poppy Mardall of Poppy’s Funerals, Amandip Uppal, author of Indian Made Easy and Maria Kempinska, the founder of Jongleurs.
Here’s some of the awesome wisdom that they shared:
1) When you decide to make a career change, you will receive a negative response from some individuals – concern that if you break away from an industry that you’ve worked in for years, you’ll never be able to return again and will lose those skills.
They argued that even a complete career change doesn’t mean that you’re leaving behind skills that you’ve developed in your prior role – you will still utilise that experience. And it’s wrong to live in fear and stay in a job on the assumption that if you leave, you apparently won’t be able to return. “You’re all going to die, so you should be able to look back and be pleased with what you’ve done in life,” said Amandip Uppal.
I look back at certain life choices I’ve made in the past – leaving my first job to travel for six months, taking a pay cut to train at a social media marketing agency in the U.S. and setting up my own business - and remember facing some cynicism from others even though these were the best decisions of my life. To grow in life, you’ve got to embrace change and not let fear stop you.
2) Women doubt themselves every single day. We tend to over focus on what could go wrong with a new business venture, rather than think about what could go right. That must change! Maria Kempinska said she’s a ‘Nike person’ – ‘Just do it.’
3) When setting up a new business, they all faced similar challenges where potential clients/customers don’t realise that there’s an opportunity to work with them so they had to keep educating these people. They also said that at times their egos were knocked because others shot down their ideas. They explained that this friction is necessary – if it’s too easy, it’s probably already been done!
I certainly face that challenge with what I do - managing social media channels for businesses. Not everyone understands the value of social media marketing so that’s something I often need to clearly communicate when approaching new business leads. I see the value every day and think that any business that doesn’t have a strong social media presence is missing out on a huge promotional opportunity.
4) Women have a great instinct so use that ability. Now if on a rare occasion, I have any reservations about taking on a new client, I learn to say “no” because I’ve learnt that those reservations are always justified. Listen to your gut!
5) Always look at your bank account regularly. If an accountant makes a mistake, you’re ultimately to blame. Get receipts for everything.
Did you attend any events to celebrate International Women's Day 2017? What advice was shared? Please comment below.