From the women who have done it.
Women’s networking is about more than knitting circles and jam making (although both are warming and very tasty) last autumn I went to a networking event where I sipped champagne got inspired by some amazingly successful wellness entrepreneurs.
Are you a woman thinking about starting a business in wellness? Ever wondered how you start that business? How do you become an entrepreneur? I went to the Women in Wellness event (to find out.
There is nothing more empowering than hearing how ordinary people, just like us, managed to get to where they are, their trials, their triumphs and the occasional hiccup. Being in beautiful surroundings of Space NK (Kensington) and getting to meet a group of equally inspiring and interesting ladies, brought together by networking group Women’s Chapter, didn’t hurt either.
Over a cool drink I met a lovely mix of women, some had left their corporate jobs and already running their own show others were toying with, somehow, eventually jumping off and going it alone. Michelle de Klerk (founder of the Women’s Chapter) brought together Anita Kaushal co founder of Mauli Rituals, Natasha Corrett, founder of Honestly Healthy and Stella Photi founder of Wellbeing Escapes.
Chaired by Claire Cohen of the Telegraph Women’s section, the panel discussion got down to business. For those of you nurturing ideas of setting up your own business and heading towards the Dragon’s Den, this is for you, the best tips from the evening:.
1. Find your passion, work with passion
Do what you enjoy, use your skills in a way that helps you and why not have your business help others people too? Be aware that it will be hard and trying at times. If you are thinking of moving from a job to setting up our own business, build up some savings, in particular Stella recommended having a contingency fund.
What do you love and could work with day-in-day-out?
How you can support yourself through doing work that you love?
2. How will people know that you are there?
One of the ways in which your product can be promoted is through old fashioned- word-of-mouth. Never underestimate the power of a personal recommendation. Natasha told us how word of Lean and Green worked its way through the PAs, then the wives then moved to circles of people signing the cheques.
How will you get people to talk about you?
3. Someone got there before you?
If there are other companies doing the same thing as you are planning to do, make sure that you are adding something to the market. You need to do your thing in a way that no one else is doing. Maurali came out of Anita’s belief that whatever else was on the market did not have her behind it. Belief and passion will get you a long way.
How will you add value?
What is different about your product or service?
4. A business plan or a vision?
For some people a business plan is the answer, it helps them to chart what they will do with their businesses. For others it is about simply having a vision and working towards that vision, little-by-little every day.
Whichever way you work, be flexible and open to the opportunities that might arise. Be aware that you cannot plan for everything, sometimes the biggest opportunities are not ones that you have directly created. Stella’s business flourished at the most unexpected point in time; in the aftermath of the financial crash as people used their redundancy money to find themselves.
How do you work best, through following structure or through “vision”?
4.When will you breakthrough?
Whilst it is true that there might be particular point where you suddenly realise you have “arrived”. Typically, as a business owner, there is no chance to rest on your laurels because the next job needs doing. But it will be exciting when you get to the milestones. Enjoy them.
What are your goals?
How will you recognise your fist-pump moment?
5.You run a business; you are always on duty, right?
When you are an entrepreneur it is unbelievably easy to work 24 hours a day, but it is so important to create balance in your life. You have to make space for your own wellness. Have a support network and make time for those people who are important to you. You should strictly compartmentalise in order to make sure you are getting the best of all your worlds. Why not set family/friends meetings in your diary (they are as important as business meetings) think about working more effectively; can you get more done in a shorter amount of time? Don’t forget to reward yourself with things that will nourish you. The panel members variously meditated (a disciplined regular practice), walked the dog, or regular reflexology sessions.
Can you get more work done in a shorter amount of time?
How will you give yourself time out?
6.Is this right for you?
Whatever business idea you chose, you are going to have to work very hard to make it work for you. Think carefully about how you want your lifestyle to be in 5, 10 years from now. Does your business idea help or hinder that vision? If you are thinking about setting up a business because you don’t like your job, maybe you should change the aspects of the job that you do not like, or just get another job.
7. Final thoughts on becoming an entrepreneur:
Get a mentor
Get an accountant
If you are staying in your current job or are thinking of setting up a business where you will have staff working for you, think about employee wellbeing and how to create a fit and healthy workforce. Sign up to my mailing list the get a FREE guide to workplace wellbeing and Pilates.
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