Sistas are doing it for themselves

There’s nothing like the adrenelin rush you get, when you’re in the company of bright women with entrepreneurship on their mind. Women who are passionate about creating their own destiny and economic independence. AWCCI‘s recent research suggested that women are increasingly leaving corporate jobs to start their own services business.

The number of females running their own business has increased by 8.9% in the past five years. And with many professionals cashed-up after a redundancy, entrepreneurship is attractive to women who want a more flexible career option. When women talk about starting a business, Marie Forleo is often mentioned in the same breath.

Thanks to B-School, Marie Forleo’s 8-week course for “business owners who want more sales and more impact from their online presence”, this savvy Italian-American is leading a quiet revolution for (mainly) women entrepreneurs. Last year I attended B-School. At the time, I figured out that more than 300 fellow Australians joined me in the 2013 intake. And if the 13,000 members of B-School’s Facebook group is any indication, entrepreneurship is contagious.

Earlier this week, I attended the League of Extraordinary Women’s breakfast in Melbourne. I was there to listen to the Fashionista Sistas, twins Lissa Marshall and Leane Flynn, who shared their start-up experience as ‘First Impression Consultants & Style Advisors’.

Fashionista Sistas was created out of a concern for the extraordinary low self-esteem of women, and Lissa and Leane’s desire to change how women felt about themselves. And it’s not just about fashion. The twins also help clients manage those first three seconds we have to impress someone, especially in an interview situation.

When I worked in an executive recruitment firm in the 1990s, our receptionist was referred to as the Director of First Impressions. In a world where we all now have a ‘personal brand’, this stuff matters, especially in competitive job market.

Now working together as Melbourne’s answer to Trinny & Susannah, the Fashionista Sistas offer one-on-one and group styling sessions, first impression management and positive image consulting, to schools and organisations throughout Victoria.

If owning a business is on your mind, here are my 10 key takeaways from breakfast with them this week:

  1. Resilience and confidence in your abilities are important
  2. Don’t fear failure – you can always get another job
  3. Invest in yourself to establish credibility with your business offering
  4. You may need to juggle other jobs while you’re building the business
  5. Business development takes grit and determination, it doesn’t just happen
  6. Everything can be done on a budget, eg building a website and promotion
  7. It’s important to be across your finances eg cashflow projections
  8. There will be blips along the way, but you need to learn and move on
  9. You need to believe in your business and create room for it to grow
  10. A strong support network and a partner with complementary skills is invaluable

Lissa and Leane subscribe to Marie Forleo’s mantra “create a business and life your love”, and want to leave a legacy. Going by the vibe and range of women in the room, there’s clearly a big appetite for entrepreneurship. And it’s no surprise that the League’s membership is gathering momentum throughout Australia. London and New York are next on the list.

As business ownership can be a lonely experience, the support offered by like-minded women can make the entrepreurial journey a lot sweeter. For information on joining the League of Extradordinary Women, click here for details.

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  • I found the statistics regarding women leaving corporate jobs to start their own business very interesting, but not surprising as I have done this myself, along with many of my friends contemplating a career change that works in with their passions and their lifestyle. Your article and the points and tips from the Fashionista Sistas will be very helpful for women with new businesses starting out on a new career journey. Thank you for participating in the Little Biz Link Up this week also.