There is no denying the number of women in key leadership roles in business in Australia is growing, but the fact remains that number is still lagging well behind that of men.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women only make up a third of owner-managers, while fewer than 30% hold key managerial positions in a company.
I left the safety of being a paid employee seven years ago to start my own practice, and hope to inspire others to take the plunge because quite simply, women are natural leaders.
A lot of the characteristics that make women good mothers translate to business and help them support and motivate their team.
We are nurturing, great at multi-tasking, empathetic and more inclined to think outside the box to find a solution to a problem.
We also have an uncanny ability to build personal relationships and friendships which helps to open up many more doors and opportunities.
I was fortunate to have two amazing women bosses in my first professional job, which helped set the trajectory of my career.
They were inspirational because they were just two women with families working hard and running their own show which was quite unusual 21 years ago.
Some people think women need to toughen up and be a bitch to be a boss, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Staff are at the coalface of a business and a good boss values those who are also invested in its success and in your vision for its future.
Running a business is hard work, with challenges you can’t anticipate, but with the right planning and support team behind you, it is a journey well worth taking.
What have I learnt in my time as a business owner?
1. Be brave
The belief in yourself and your abilities is key to your success, as while there will be plenty of highs there will also be challenging lows along the journey and you need to pick yourself up and move on.
2. Gather a support team
Finding the right people to guide you is essential particularly during the buying process. Use an accountant, solicitor and lender who you trust or has come personally recommended as they can stop you from making a costly mistake.
3. Have some capital
Have some money behind you before you take the plunge otherwise you are starting on the back foot, with no safety net, only debt.
4. Invest in training
Find yourself a business coach, otherwise, you are all alone and at risk of floundering. Investing in someone who gets you and understands your end goal is invaluable. Also, consider some management training, learn to use the Cloud or other accounting and business software.
This is a skill that comes naturally to most women so use your circle of contacts to develop relationships that will help your business. If there’s an operator you admire reach out for advice, most are only too happy to help.
Running a business is hands down the best self-development course you will ever take.
When I first started I had dreams of creating something beautiful and holistic for my clients, but quickly realised that doesn’t always pay.
By accepting feedback and constructive criticism I’ve learnt how to develop a business model that covers the overheads while still creating the practice I’d dreamt of.
Women are now more prepared than ever to step out of their comfort zone so there’s never been a better time for them to take the leap and become their own boss.
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