o celebrate International Women’s Day, I asked seven successful women in business who are absolutely smashing entrepreneur life what advice they’d give their younger selves at the very beginning.
Since taking my own leap into full-time entrepreneurship in June 2020, I was lucky enough to meet some incredibly talented women in business along the way.
We’re now entering the third year of trading at EF&G, and I’ve already learned so much. As business owners, it’s a given that we’ll always be evolving as we continuously experience the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial life.
Whilst this journey of personal growth is incredibly important, there are so many things that I’d wish I’d known when I was first starting out. And like me, I’m sure many of us would love the chance to go back and give our younger selves even a breadcrumb of advice that might have made our lives a tiny bit easier.
So today, I thought I’d celebrate and share these brilliant pearls of wisdom and the valuable life lessons they’ve learnt since starting their individual business journeys. We’re also reflecting on some of their most successful moments in business since they launched.
Your success is inevitable. It is simply a matter of timing. Bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be isn’t about hustling to do more, more, more. Instead, it’s about doing less really well and with excellence.
Start by clarifying and connecting with your vision. It will be so important in this journey. Become extremely clear on your goals and the intentional action you plan to take in order to actualise them. Never glorify “busy.” Instead, put your time where it matters most so you can create actual results.
And finally, measure your progress every step of the way. Your success has way less to do with “secret” strategies and way more to do with owning your expertise and improving, even if it’s just by 1%, every single day.
One of the things I am most proud of is my resilience and commitment to the process that entrepreneurship has been so far. When I look around at all of our beautiful achievements: booking out, serving hundreds of women across the globe, expanding sustainably, hiring full-time help, and growing to the multiple 6-figure realm – I realised that the only way any of that has been possible is through my dedication and commitment to lead this business forward.
I’ve failed more times than I can count, but I’ve also risen too. It is because of that resilience that I am able to serve brilliant people all over the world and see them succeed too.
If I were starting from scratch I would tell myself not to be ashamed of asking for help or outsourcing from other experts. I think there is pressure to ‘do it all’, but I would argue that working with others is a great way to learn and upscale.
Investing in your business is absolutely key and although it may seem scary and daunting, it’s the only way you’re going to continue to grow and continuously improve the service you provide.
I would say my proudest moment as an entrepreneur was having the courage to go solely self-employed having grown our online coaching business throughout the first lockdown.
Making that decision not to continue as an in-person personal trainer and put everything into Beyond Fitness Coaching was a huge leap of faith and without a doubt the best thing I could have done.
Kate Rees is 28 years old, based in Edinburgh and works as an Online Coach, Nutritionist and Director of Beyond Fitness Coaching (@kate_beyondfitness)
I would tell my younger entrepreneurial self to not forget to stop and acknowledge the milestones. It can be so easy to always think about getting to the next level in our business, especially when we’re first starting out. I have learned that it is just as important to take the time to recognise the smaller milestones and achievements along the way.
My proudest achievement has been showing my two daughters what entrepreneurship can be for them. I wanted to show them that they can do whatever they are passionate about doing and to not be afraid to do so.
My oldest daughter especially has been able to see that and admires me for it. My ability to be a great entrepreneur, mom, and wife, all at the same time has always been very important to me. So it makes me proud to know that I am doing a great job in all three areas.
Well, this is making me teary. I would tell my younger self that being the truest version of myself is what attracts the truest versions of my customers and clients to me.
I would tell her: you have full permission to truly be the joyful, strategic, fun-loving, connective, kind, and empowering woman and leader that you are. Less hesitation, more harmonious connection. Less fear, more peace. Less perfection, more messy action.
I absolutely love seeing my clients soar and grow in their individual CEO seats. When I think of my proudest achievements, I think of my clients’ achievements first: achieving the highest revenue numbers they’ve ever had (6 figures, multi-6, and 7-figure) while feeling the best they ever have.
Whether this is from outsourcing parts of their business, booking vacations without fear around time or money or feeling empowered to strategically do less while earning more, impacting more, and being more present.
When I think of my personal biggest and proudest achievement… I think of the Ash that started this brand in the midst of a shaky pandemic in March 2020. I was networking and building the backend of my business, officially leaving my Marketing Strategist job at an agency in May 2020 when the world seemed dark and daunting.
Now, I’m running a team of incredible women, working from home in our mountain home, and helping so many female founders feel good and connected to their marketing and sales plans. That’s the good stuff.
Our company hit six figures in 17 months and in the midst of all of the things that could have held us back, our team kept leaning in and it’s that that I’m most proud of. We leaned in when we definitely could have leaned out.
Abi Hugo is a DIY and upcycling content creator, 32 years old, living in Essex with her husband and two children (@thewhitethistle)
It gets easier. It will always feel scary at first to put yourself out there and do things that feel completely unnatural. All the things you have told yourself that you can never do: speak on a stage, present, sell – you can.
You just have to do it, it will be messier to start with, but practice really does make perfect (well not perfect – but progress). But progress over perfection is what will push you forward every day.
Be consistent, show up for your audience regularly and don’t let the dips pull you down. Know that it happens to everyone, but those that push through even in the hard times, are the ones that always achieve the best.
Treat it like a real job and be the boss you had when you were employed. You have no one to answer to when you’re self-employed so you have to be as hard on yourself as a boss would be. Otherwise, it’s too easy to give up when things get hard.
Listen to this advice at least once a week, it will help your mindset and help you realise the mysterious ‘why’ that every business coach bangs on about.
Gosh, I have so many achievements I’m proud of! Getting on a private jet as a prize for being a top affiliate, becoming VAT registered, being paid to work with brands as an advertising partner that I could have never have dreamed of.
I’ve worked with some huge British household names such as Primark, M&S and Dulux all from the comfort of my own home around my kids, all on my time.
One piece of advice I’d give to my younger entrepreneurial self would be to grow slowly and clarify your vision based on your values and your goals. Slow growth, like bamboo growth, and tunnel vision will get you where you want to be.
One of my proudest achievements thus far has been teaching doctors that periods don’t have to be painful. Early on in my career, I was on the show “The Doctors”, teaching them that periods are normal and pain shouldn’t be.
Olivia is 22 years old and lives in Hull, Yorkshire with her partner working full-time as an entrepreneur for The Small Business Handbook and offers mentoring for product-based small business owners (@thesmallbusinesshandbook)
One thing I would tell my younger entrepreneurial self if I was starting from scratch is to just go for it. It took me a long time to start doing things that were out of my comfort zone as I was filled with self-doubt.
Being a new entrepreneur, not knowing anything, it’s easy to tell yourself that your dreams are silly and you can’t achieve them. But, it’s worth remembering that all entrepreneurs came from the same place.
We all started not knowing what we were doing; even the greatest entrepreneurs in the world once felt that way. The only way you can ever learn is to do beyond what you’re currently doing, even if it’s uncomfortable and scary. You’ve got to make that leap into the unknown! If you stay comfortable, doing the same thing every day, you’re simply repeating. Repetition isn’t what helps you grow – it’s all about evolving.
As an entrepreneur, I’m proud to say I’ve had numerous achievements, all of which I’m very proud of. Despite my bigger achievements of reaching six figures in 6 months, or being interviewed for Business Insider, the day it all began will always be my proudest achievement.
At the end of the day, the first moment you start is without a doubt the scariest part. You’re stepping into something completely foreign and risking a lot for it. If it was easy to start a business, we’d all be successful entrepreneurs. But that’s not the case – it’s in fact very difficult just making that start and overcoming all of the self-doubts you hold.
So, the day I launched my business will always be my proudest moment. For those who think they’re not doing well enough; never let go of the fact that you started and never stop being proud of that.
I would just like to round off this article by saying that most important of all, the word “successful” is completely subjective and can mean a multitude of things to everyone.
My personal definition of business success is being able to live a life that truly brings you joy and fulfilment every day. A life where you finally reach that stage where you feel not only financially comfortable but able to push yourself to do anything you set your mind to in your business. And for me, feeling like I’m finally free from the constraints of the corporate 9-5 is the biggest confirmation to me that I’m on the right path.
I work with a fantastic group of powerful women who remind me every day why I love what I do. I thoroughly enjoy coaching and helping my clients achieve their business dreams, whilst still feeling 100% aligned to their business and personal goals in a way that’s soulful and intuitive to them.
Now, as you move on with the rest of your day, remember: everyone’s business journey is different. Focus on nurturing your garden, and you’ll find that sooner or later it starts to bloom.
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