Break the rules of what's gone before

By Kirsty Maxey on Monday, 8 March 2021

If I could wave a magic wand, I would give every woman thinking about starting a business the confidence to give it a go. It’s the biggest barrier to doing anything in life. And having talked to lots of women about this, it is the main reason why they don’t do it.

What you realise very quickly is that most people are just “giving it a go”, so if you do your research, understand what your clients or customers really want and deliver it, even on a small scale, that can lead to success and much bigger opportunities, if you want them.

Often that means breaking the rules of what’s gone before, and I’m a big fan of that – it’s where you get the biggest breakthroughs. It’s also very exciting and empowering to build your own path. Remember, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself, be that in your personal life, your education, or your career.

When I think about the advice that I would give to women just starting out, be that in day one of a new job or a completely new direction, there is always one quote I come back to from Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl. “You have to fake it, to make it!”.

I used to be a very quiet, shy person, but when I was young we moved to a new house every few years. This meant a new school for me and I learnt a great life lesson through these times: by imitating the confidence, competence, and optimistic mindset, a person can realise those qualities in their real life and achieve a lot more.

I’d also recommend that women find themselves a mentor. Speak to someone who’s already done it. Find out what worked for them and what didn’t. Then do it your way! They can help with areas of business that might feel more intimidating like the finances. Don’t be afraid of these, work out your P&L, what costs will you have and when you think you might have income coming in. It takes time to build, so factor that in.

And, be bold. Women don’t always like to sing about their successes, so get someone else to write your bio or narrative for you and then practice it.

As I think about International Women’s Day this year and the theme of #choosetochallenge it brings me to think about women around the world.

We, as entrepreneurs and founders are fortunate to have had the opportunities and freedom to give something a go. Around the world, billions of women are excluded from full participation in the economic, political and cultural systems that shape the very lives they lead.

On IWD for those of us who can #choosetochallenge we owe it to everyone to address that inequality in everything that we do.