Being a Boss Babe really is hard work. What’s even harder though, is not following your dreams and passion, or wishing you would’ve, should’ve or could’ve. It’s easy to stay in an ordinary job, that’s comfortable and stable than it is to go and start your own business. Some might even call you crazy!

Upon recent reflection, I realised how my support system consisting of my partner, family and social networks have been a key factor in getting me through the tough times of business. Not long after I left my employment, I soon found out that being a business owner or self-employed can be a lonely and very challenging place, however it’s also liberating and rewarding.

I thought that I’d offer my support in the best way I could think of…. to collaborate with a whole bunch of incredible women from all kinds of professions and backgrounds, to share our stories on going from employee to entrepreneur, in hope of inspiring and supporting those of you to take the leap.


The Boss Babes

Jodie Smith | Boss Babe Digital

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“I’m Jodie, founder of Boss Babe Digital. We empower women to shine online using social media marketing and branding, to ultimately help you to stand out and reach new clients.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

I got a taste of the entrepreneurial spirit from a young age – around aged 9-10, I used to sit outside my parents house when V Festival was on and sell all the festival go-ers cans of fizzy drinks and make a nice little bit of profit! In my early 20’s, I jumped around various social media marketing and design roles where my hunger to be a businesswoman grew exponentially, and my pain point was the whole 9-5 wasn’t working for me at all! So I left employment earlier this year, and Boss Babe Digital was born!

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

I’ve learnt so much! The importance of managing my time and prioritising tasks… Constantly learning (I really love Udemy courses!) to improve my knowledge of not just business, but my social media and branding skills has been invaluable. Also, having a great support network online is amazing! I’m part of The Coven, Females in Business, The Female Entrepreneurs Network with Rebecca Lockwood and The Elite Network Community! 

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Know your why and your purpose! If you don’t know why you want to set up XYZ business, then you won’t feel passionate or motivated to get up everyday and work on it. Knowing my purpose, keeping the vision and trusting the process really helps me to commit to supporting and serving fellow Boss Babes.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

There are so many factors! A big one for me is that I get to work from home with my partner, we drink lots of coffee, share ideas and help each other out which is perfect! I also love that I have total control over my business – like my content going out gets to be ALL PINK!

Hellen Stirling-Baker | Small Stuff

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“I’m Hellen Stirling-Baker, and I run an eco-conscious children’s lifestyle store, Small Stuff, primarily online, but I also utilise unused shop fronts and pop-up shops in and around the country.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

“Having my child was such a huge influence on that, I was working as an lead administrator for a fantastic large technology company, the hours were however long and the job was very hectic – I knew as soon as I got pregnant that I wanted to be able to spend more time with my family and I didn’t want to miss my little boy growing up.”

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

“It is very hard wearing all the hats, in lots of my previous managerial roles, I could delegate tasks and reach out for help if the workload got too much. When I became my own boss, I had to start thinking very differently and making sure that everything gets chipped away at slowly – I investing in a lot of post it notes and to do list books just to try and make sure there’s no big workload all of a sudden (although I’m still learning everyday how to deal with that as it does happen occasionally!!)”

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

I would say that the most important thing is to believe in your product and or your brand; if you think it can work and you are 100% committed, it will work. Don’t let friends, family or co-workers try and sway your actions and decisions – be a believer in your own destiny.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

Oh gosh, there are lots; I choose when I spend time with my little boy, I choose the stock I want to have, I choose the design of my store and all the creative side! Yes, there are days when it can get tiring or slow, or whatever, but being self-motivated to succeed is exactly what I thrive on!

Carly Morgan | The Shire Bakery

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“My name is Carly Morgan, I own The Shire Bakery; I am an online provider of giftable baking supplies, perfect for the trend setting baker.  I have been in business for three years.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

This business was my ‘side hustle’, and it was starting to get busier and busier, and I saw the future potential, and I wasn’t going to get there whilst working for someone else. I initially went part time from my job in accounts, and then after a month gave my notice. Part time was still not giving me the extra hours I needed.

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

I have learnt that you can survive on less money, and be happier for it. And it is just a short-term thing, money will come. I just wish I had done it sooner.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Jump right in! Take the plunge. A life of what if’s will haunt you. And it’s never too late.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

So much. Freedom to design and choose the products that go into our store, and having full creative reign. Being able to pick the coffee I want in the office is a pretty good thing to!

Katie Sykes | Katherena Limited

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“Katherena is my own brand of women’s cruelty-free bags designed by myself and inspired by my Fathers company.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

I left my dream job as an assistant fashion stylist to start my own business simply because I hated living in London. I moved there after graduating from University and didn’t seem to settle in very well with a busy work schedule.

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

Oh gosh, I’ve learnt so much! Mainly that connections are so so important! It can be lonely being the only person in your company, so meeting likeminded people in Facebook groups has been a savior for me. Never be afraid to ask for help either.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Be willing to put everything into it: time, effort and money!

What do you love most about being a business owner?

I love the flexibility of being able to work where and when I like. If I want to wake up at 10am and have a lazy morning then I can do. I rarely do this because my business is super important to me and I enjoy it, but it’s nice to know that I can if I need to.

Katherine Holt | Giftast

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“My name is Katherine Holt, and I founded my business, Giftast, 1 and a half years ago.I make bespoke wedding & event stationery, gifts, cards & prints.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

“Since I left uni in 2008, I’ve done “put-me-on” admin jobs, because I always wanted to work for myself, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, or how to do it. I toyed with writing historical fiction for a while, which I still enjoy, but drawing was my first love. For the past 4 years I worked as an exec PA at a wealth management firm, which taught me a lot about how businesses work. After I started Giftast I was able to go part time, which really helped in terms of getting everything up and running while having a regular income to rely on. I think I put off making the leap to full self-employment – it’s like what they say about never meeting your heroes. Going full-time self employed was something I’d been dreaming about for almost ten years, so I was worried the reality would disappoint me – and then what would I do!? But there was never going to be the perfect time, and I was getting frustrated with not making the progress on Giftast that I wanted to, due to having to spend the time at my other job. After a particularly stressful day, I realised that I was waiting for permission to quit, but that I’d never get it unless I gave it to myself.”

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

It’s finding the balance between work and life. It’s easy to just not stop working, because my hobbies are my job, but then I risk getting burned out. I live the planner lifestyle, and my technique is what I call “aggressive scheduling”, which means that I write every job I need to do, however small, in my planner, and if it’s in there, it gets done. What I’ve had to do is schedule in fun tasks and downtime, so I actually do that rather than just thinking “oh, I have some free time, what other jobs can I do?” So I schedule in daily yoga, going for walks, watching films, and meditating. When you work from home it’s easy to get wrapped up in your work and forget what day of the week it is, so it’s been learning to manage that balance.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Honestly, I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but the thing that’s helped me most when things have gone wrong or seemed overwhelming and difficult, is the phrase “You only fail when you stop trying”.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

I love having complete control of my own time. Ever since I was at school I’ve always really resented having my free time confined by someone else’s schedule. I remember being about seven and realising that I was only on holiday when school said I could be, and my parents explained to me that was what it was like when you had a job as well. I was so appalled!

Jenny Lewis | Write into the Woods

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“I’m Jenny Lewis. I’m a writing coach and I run Write into the Woods (WITW), a platform supporting and teaching fiction writing starting with the basics and running through to publishing and building a business out of stories. WITW started off as a blog for my own author website (I’m a fantasy novelist with my fourth novel out on Friday!) over five years ago but officially launched in January 2018.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

I left my day job about four years ago. I worked for a local authority, originally in admin and then in marketing. I worked there for over five years, but after a few years my team (which I loved) was deleted in a review and I moved into the marketing team. I left shortly after being promoted to marketing officer. I spent two years in that team and in those two years my anxiety slowly got worse, due to the toxic work environment and a bullying senior manager. By the end I was suffering with nose bleeds, nightmares, trouble sleeping, panic attacks and awful eye twitches. The worst part though was that I was desperate for a baby. The plan had been to go on maternity leave, return to work part-time and then leave to do something different, but the stress from the work environment led to my ovaries shutting down and I was made temporarily infertile. Still, I waited another year of trying to fix it while keeping my steady pay check before I snapped and quit. I’d been researching going freelance and self-employed for those two years working in that horrible job, but I still hadn’t started my business. It’s not what you’re supposed to do, I’m incredibly lucky to have such a supportive husband and family! But leaving was like a huge weight lifted from my shoulders and my body agreed – everything started working again almost immediately.

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

I’ve been self-employed for four years now and I feel like I’m only just starting to settle into it, three businesses later (I started as a freelance copywriter, then a VA before focusing on WITW). It’s only now that I think I’m learning my biggest lesson, which is that you need to run your business YOUR way. It’s great to learn from other business owners, but you should never be afraid to do what you need to do and what you want to do with your business, even if it’s completely different from everyone else. It’s so scary setting off on your own, but you need to believe in yourself. Trust yourself and that your gut knows what it’s doing.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Do it. Take the leap, step out of your comfort zone and do all those big ideas in your head that excite you. The best way to learn is by doing, experimenting and watching other people.
(Saying that, also listen to your gut because it knows best. Don’t force yourself to go to events, work with clients, etc that don’t feel right.)

What do you love most about being a business owner?

A lot of people say this, I know, but it’s the freedom, and that means something different for everyone. I was shocked by this feeling when I first quit my day job. It was quite overwhelming and I found myself getting very creative not just with my future and my business but with my appearance and what activities I was doing. It was a chance to rediscover who I was.
Now, it’s the freedom to have the puppy I always wanted and to arrange my own schedule around him, my family and my social life. But also to never be annoyed that I have to ‘go to work’, because I now love working!

Claire Hurst | Clever Skin Co.

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“I am launching skincare brand Clever Skin Co After years of distributing other brands we are delighted to apply all our experience and knowledge into our own skincare line.  Each day is different thats what I love, I’ve been heavily involved in the product formulation and packaging so this has been awesome. I wanted the range to be truly effective and allow people to personalise their skincare we are now planning our strategy for the retailers and the next liaising with press and media.  The team are all amazing and we work really closely together.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?
I wanted to spend more time with my Nana and so set up my first business over a decade ago. After many happy years in marketing and advertising I sent up a training consultancy business specialising in managing conflict and soon worked with some major pub chains and companies like Virgin Airlines training staff how to manage conflict after 10 years doing this I set up Primo with my Husband.
What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

Gosh OK so for me it was about learning how to best managing my time and not trying to do everything all at once. Over the years I have learn to play to my strengths and employ others to cover the areas which aren’t my core strengths.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Be sure to understand what you offer people. Once you have this its easy to then communicate your business benefits but many new start ups don’t have clear market position and message.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

Diversity of the job, the flexibility to prioritise life outside work when I need too and the amazing team I have at Primo.

Michele Marie Liddle | She Steps Up

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“My name is Michele Marie Liddle – I am a social media and business strategist which I set up In August 2018 and my other business She Steps UP which is a blog (soon to be Podcast Feature too) was set up in June 2018.”
What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

I left my full time employment back in June 2013, due to illness. I then decided to retrain as a beauty therapist, this is when I opened my beauty therapy business back in 2013. When my step son moved in with myself and my husband I closed the doors to my home therapy business and went into Network marketing. I have been working for myself for a good few years now and learnt a lot of right’s and wrong’s along the way. Which is why I now coach ladies to build their businesses online.

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

The amount of Freedom you get, not only in your hours but you are the builder of your own destiny. You can earn what you are worth, travel and work, you can also leave a mark on the world.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Just start, I use to procrastinate so much, I always knew and had people telling me I was meant to be my own boss and not work for someone else. I wish I had taken the leap years ago as that was years I wasted. Sometimes done is better than perfect.  It is scary but so worth it.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

Helping women to believe in themselves, to find their voice and make an impact on the world. I love taking them from an idea all the way through to starting their first project and getting their first client. I also love the women I have met on this journey, there are so many epic women out there doing amazing things!

Laonie Newton | Fluff to Buff

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“My name is Laonie Newton and my business name is Fluff to Buff. I’ve been going since March 2014, I help my clients feel confident inside and out through exercise.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

I was being made redundant and had already starting teaching classes, which I never intended to do. I was teaching a small group of friends and word got out, it started to snowball and take on a life of its own, so I decided to start up properly. Then with redundancy looming it was a natural progression to use my pay-off to get personal training qualification! It was scary, but deep down I knew I was doing the right thing. My previous job was a fire control operator, working 4 days on 4 days off taking 999 calls. When I was made redundant, I was still a part-time firefighter, so between 2015 and 3 months ago, I was juggling both roles, PT/business owner and firefighter! I’ve recently left because I couldn’t give my business or firefighting the full dedication each role needed. I took a break from firefighting and realised financially I could survive without it and I could give my business 100%.

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

My Biggest learning I’d say, is learning to take time out! Its so easy to work 24/7 and feel like you need to available all the time. During one Sunday roast with my parents, my phone was going off all the time with notifications that I felt I had to deal with straight away. I realised how much of life I was missing out on by not being strict with myself! so now I have times when I work and time thats for me and having a life! after all that is the point of being self employed.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Just do it, don’t waste time thinking that it’s not the right time or you don’t know enough! Until you do it, you don’t know where your journey will take you! It will change. Ideas you think are great, might not work out as you thought, but don’t worry! Learn from it and move on! That’s what shapes your business, not years of overthinking!

What do you love most about being a business owner?

Having everything on my own terms, not being told what to do and when! Also making a difference to women’s lives and seeing them shine again.

Sophie Watkiss | The Witches Planner

HR_IMG_4476“My name is Sophie Watkiss, I am the creator of The Witches Planner, est 2018. We are the first and only Witchy/Pagan yearly planner.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

The reason that I left my previous job was that it was extremely demanding and stress inducing. I wanted to focus wholly on The Witches Planner and decided to take the dive into working on it full time. I worked in Hospitality as a Supervisor.

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

The biggest thing I learned was that opportunities are never just handed out. If you want something you have to go out and make it happen.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Believe in yourself! If you don’t believe you can do it, nobody else will.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

I love the flexibility to work when I want to and working towards building my future.

Natalie Clare | Natalie Clare Consulting

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“I am a Leadership Coach and Consultant for high achieving women. Working with women in corporate and entrepreneurial environments, I help them discover the power of their own authentic leadership style, command the recognition and respect they deserve and translate this into the financial success, lifestyle and happiness they desire.”

What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

I was previously a Global HR Director with 20 years’ experience in HR. I had 2 businesses in the past, one of which was a failure and lead me to have to sell my house.  It turned out to be one of the best learnings and set me up for future success. Throughout my career and experiences in business I personally experienced and witnessed from other women, the feeling of needing to adjust their personality and sometimes forfeit their values to fit in with the workplace/business norms. Whether it be dressing or speaking a certain way, emphasising achievements/qualifications, pretending that everything’s under control (when it’s not) and trying to juggle a family, to the lack of confidence to apply for a promotion, resign, set up a business or fear of not being good enough.  My passion had always been working with people. I had a natural gift for understanding their challenges and was able to develop, inspire and motivate them to make change and take action.   My work was becoming more about business and less about people and my hours were becoming more intense, often working up to 90 hour weeks.  My mum died a couple of years ago and it was the catalyst for change, to follow my heart and set up my business empowering women to be successful being their true authentic selves. It felt liberating to start up on my own again but terrifying at the same time. Deep down though, my why was bigger than my fear and this has kept me going, particularly at times when I felt like quitting.

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

You have to have passion, drive and resilience to succeed in business, because it’s not as easy as people think.  Passion and love for what you do – if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.   Drive to get up each day, to be intentional and structured about what you will achieve and then put in the long action taking hours.  Resilience to get back up after each fall or set back, because there are many – from people saying no to your services, running out of money, to not believing in yourself.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

“Just be yourself because no-one else can do what you do, in the way that you do it”.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

Being able to work when I want, from where I want, with whom I want.  But most of all, the impact that I get to make in other women’s lives every day by empowering and supporting them to achieve their dreams.

Kat Kuczynska | Invested Me

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“My name is Kat Kuczynska and I’m the founder of Invested Me. It’s reasonably new business – I officially launched it in September. Invested Me is all about showing people how to be money smart and debt free.”

 What inspired you to take the leap from employed to entrepreneur?

I used to work in the management of transport and logistics industry. I changed my life around after my cancer diagnosis – quit the rat race and started my first business in the veterinary industry. First business is still going but focusing all my efforts now on Invested Me. Leaving my secure and well paid job was scary, had some financial hick ups initially but it’s all been worth it.

What’s your biggest learning about being a Boss Babe?

When you run your own business you have to take responsibility for all aspects of your life – money, business and relationships.

What would one piece of advice be that you could share with women setting out to become businesswomen?

Exactly the above – you don’t have to be perfect but you need to manage your business and your money. Giving the responsibility for managing my wealth to a 3rd party was my biggest mistake that almost made me bankrupt.

What do you love most about being a business owner?

Freedom, being in charge of my own diary and spending more time with my dog and people I love.

 

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