There's a secret revolution going on: women supporting women. No trolling, no bitching, no sniping, no undermining. Instead it's all about empowering, encouraging, supporting and respecting each other. Tens, hundreds, thousands of women doing what they do best: networking and connecting on a global scale. Isn't that refreshing?
So where are these women? They're everywhere but can't be directly found; they're in your homes and on your phones but you kind of need to be 'in the know' or invited into the private groups. You need to understand the lingo - a bit like a speakeasy for social media. Why? Because there are rules - both written and unwritten - it's business but it's sharing; it's working but with an element of caring. It's not just cheesy memes (although these feature too, 'coz we all love a meme, right?), it's women running successful businesses, their services, who've worked hard for years in their 9-5s and/or raising families and now they're finding a different way to earn a crust. More importantly they want to help women, like you.
How do you tap into them? And what pearls of wisdom can they give you? These 5 seriously incredible women let you into their secrets and share their 5 pieces of golden advice...
Stacey Sargison-Shawe, the British ("keeping it real" and on a huge mission to change the world), coach and motivational TEDx speaker.
I know how it feels to be bloody brilliant at your job, to have the "good career" and be sat in your commutes or simply sit at home watching mind-numbing TV, knowing there must be more to life. Gone are the days of crying in the ladies' toilets, or taking that next uninspiring project, or counting down the days to retiring... I guide women all around the world to truly re-discover themselves and show them a way of living life with honesty, integrity, time and financial freedom. My 5, absolute top essentials are:
1. Stop - turn off your phone, your social media. I challenge women to have a whole evening to themselves, not doing anything for anyone else but to find out who they really are and see what comes up in that solitary silence.
2. Re-educate yourself - I was a "Fifty Shades of Grey girl", reading on the tube and when I decided my life needed to change, I started to re-educate myself with books that would help and inspire me. A game-changer for me was The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks - I highly, highly recommend it.
3. Ask those uncomfortable questions - what would you be doing if you were doing it for free? Question your choices. What normally comes up is you're doing it for everyone else but not for yourself. Figure out what you want to do, and do something about it.
4. Get inspiration - from people that are doing things differently. Start looking at, and immerse yourself with, the types of people you admire. See what they're doing; the things that you truly dream about. For example, are they working from the beach overlooking the ocean? For me - seeing other women doing what I wanted to do fuelled my desires. You need to start following those people, not just from a surface level but also people that match with your core and to your values.
5. Take action and seek guidance - there's a difference between watching successful or inspiring people from afar to actually conversing with them. Connect with that other person and take actions towards your dreams, after all, a dream plan with actions make your dreams a reality. You've got this, gorgeous.
Kathryn, the Super-Mum, helping mums globally to find their true passions
I remember at the time of thinking that life would be so good when both kids are at school because the time and the freedom I would have would be amazing... and it was... for the first day or two, then I still remember the day I dropped them off at school and got back to the car and just sat there. I felt so lost and unimportant. What the hell was I going to do with my life? It really hit me hard and I wasn't expecting it. Like mums all over the world, I had spent the last years dedicating all my time and focus to my children and loved every minute of it but was then hit with the realisation that I didn't know what I liked to do anymore. I wanted to still be able to be there for my family and I wanted flexibility. Here are my 5 tips to keeping your sanity being a mum working from home:
1. Create a schedule/get organised - the time you have between school drop-off and pick-up goes fast. You need to know what the week holds for you. Make sure you AND your family know what the after-school schedule is and what they have on that day. If you mentally know what is coming up it helps you to plan your week and make reasonable expectations on your workload each day.
2. Don't do tomorrow what can be done today - to put something off till tomorrow is the quickest way to become 'snowed under'. It's exactly why things can start piling up and get on top of you. Besides, tomorrow always brings its own new challenges and jobs too, so make sure you have time and flexibility for things that crop up.
3. Give your kids some responsibility - obviously it all depends on how old your kids are, but kids need responsibility. Take some of the household jobs off yourself and delegate roles to everybody. It not only helps you out but you are teaching your kids important life skills that will come in handy later on.
4. Get out of the house - one thing about working from home is that you can sometimes get so busy that you are ALWAYS at home. You need to take your breaks. Go for a walk around the block in your lunch break, take your laptop to a local internet cafe to work from there once or twice a week, or even just step out onto your lawn for 15 minutes and get the grass in between your toes. You will be surprised how much of a difference it makes.
5. Take time for yourself - no matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter what you do. I can't stress enough how important it is to take some time out for you. The kids get to do things they want, no doubt hubby gets time on his own every so often, now it's your turn. Go and catch up with those girlfriends for that coffee, go and get your nails painted, go and check out the latest exhibition at your local museum - whatever it is that you do, do it because you want to. You'll be surprised how refreshed and 'ready to go' you are after you break up your everyday routine.
Nicola and Rebecca (I know this officially makes it six women but we're counting them as one), two sisters making big waves with their heart-stirring, amazing charity
We are Nicola Miller and Rebecca Stewart - best friends and sisters - or "fristers" to coin a new phrase we heard recently. We are the co-founders of a UK based charity - Teddington Trust. It all started in 2012 when Nicola's son was diagnosed, aged just 13 months, with Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), and it has snowballed since then. We wanted to make sure that the next time a parent received a diagnosis of XP for their child, that no matter where they lived, they would know that they were not alone and would have access to practical help and guidance.
Nicola started writing award-winning Little Ted stories to help her own son, Eddison, after his diagnosis. Having found no age appropriate reading material available to help her explain this very complex condition to Eddison, writing her own seemed the natural step. Look out for our latest campaign, #BearsforRare
Our ambitious objective is to reach every child with XP made known to us globally - FREE of charge!! The last few years have been an incredible challenge and journey and we want to inspire other women to know whatever fears they face, they can do it:
1. Harness the power of your female collective - really find time to talk to the women that surround you. Friends, neighbours, those you see daily at the school gate, in the soft play and at the park. Get to know these women and you will be surprised what you learn. After all, just like you, they were someone else too before they had children, and they are an incredible resource. These women will be only too happy to share their knowledge with you and guide and support you where they can. The professional connections that can be forged in this way can be truly transformative as can the powerful friendships made.
2. If you think it, do it - just say yes - with our professional backgrounds, worlds apart from each other and our new found current roles, (having excelled in the world of hair dressing and running a successful architectural business) more often than not, we find ourselves in complete unchartered territory. The world of charity, Xeroderma Pigmentosum and patient support was unknown to us three years ago and completely off our radar. We are intelligent women, and we know what we are capable of so if a project or opportunity arises we feel passionately about "we just say yes". Then we sit back and work out how we are going to do it and what and who we need to deliver it. Know your own potential and be brave!
3. Never be afraid to ask - this has taken us some time to learn, as it sort of goes against our pacifist natures. But you learn VERY quickly when you run a charity that you have to learn to ask for help. People will say no, if it's not for them, but if you don't ask, an opportunity that could have been pivotal may pass you by.
4. Surround yourself with like-minded people - we don't just mean people with the same views and opinions, because how dull would that be? We mean people with the same work ethic, and core values. If you are a visionary with a creative soul, working with others who are incapable of thinking in this way will not be fruitful as your working styles are ultimately incompatible. Follow your instincts on this...if you look at someone and think "they are as quirky as a box of frogs and will fit right in", then the chances are you have found your match.
5. Don't be disheartened by lack of support from the right camp - when things really change for you, and you start to see what you have built, the sense of achievement for all the angst, sweat and tears is wonderful and you want to share that with those around you. It doesn't mean they aren't immensely proud of what you do, or don't understand the importance of your work, it's just that they have been used to having you all to themselves, and sharing someone you love, and seeing the sparkle in your eyes about something other than you takes a little adjustment.
Leonie, the CEO of all moms, worldwide
I'm a single mom, parent to an amazing 8 year old boy. I work full-time as an empowerment coach for moms. I'm the founder of CEO Moms and the owner of Leonie Caines Coaching. I have always had a "calling" to help people feel amazing about themselves and their lives. Being a single mom I had experienced many forms of discrimination in the workplace and huge amount of limited thinking from leadership on their perceptions of moms. I remember countlessly being typecast and labelled to a degree that stunted my development and ability to progress. That had me thinking about other moms and their experiences of being an amazing mom but also wanting to have an unstoppable career that they could be proud of.
My 5 pearls of wisdom for you beautiful moms would be:
1. Reliable childcare - it is the glue that sticks the dream/goal/career whatever you're working on. There is nothing worse than being mid-Brazilian, halfway through your wax appointment and getting a call from the school to say your child has not been picked up. Not only do you have to leave with half of Sherwood Forest still in existence down there (depending on how long you've left it) but you also have the distressing feeling of your child being the last one at school. I would say for me there is nothing more derailing than not having my son's childcare support in order, as I find that deflects my attention away from anything I'm trying to achieve.
2. Health is wealth - I cannot stress that enough and I'm not saying you have to become a gluten-free, green shake, no carbs loving gym bunny, I'm just saying to take time to self-care. That is the mind, body and soul, so if that means you have a sneaky glass of wine and sit 10 minutes at the bottom of your garden to enjoy that time to yourself, then do that. Or if it means building into your schedule 20 minutes where you just sit, free from technology, to reconnect with yourself, do that, as it all helps in replenishing yourself in order to be at your personal best. And health is the one thing you can't buy back.
3. Become an unapologetic mom - parenting is such an individual thing as no child is the same, despite what you here when you're having those conversations with your friends and every word is "Yeah, my Jamie did that", "Yeah, my Jamie had that", "No but you should do this", "Oh, I wouldn't do that I would do this" - screw it! You have to parent for your UNIQUE child, which is the only way you will be able to achieve a healthy relationship that compliments your journey, with your child on board, in creating the life you want for the both of you.
4. Find your style - yes that does include fashion, dressing confidently to suit your personality and the image you want to perceive, is also key to empowerment. But I'm also talking about finding your style, as a parent, as woman, as colleague, as a leader or whatever it is. I find this helps to define your purpose, your passion and can assist you in creating healthy boundaries for you to be able to achieve that balance.
5. Network - they say your network is your net worth which has proven to be undoubtedly true for me. Having a solid support network of people enrolled in my dreams has helped me to achieve more than I could have hoped for. After all, it takes a village...
Subarna, the globetrotting 'Shero' - author and business coach
My name is Subarna Gupta, Author (Sheroes Next Door) and Business Coach. I was a typical "career woman" climbing the corporate ladder until I realised the ladder was just up in the air. I did not want someone else to control my life and hence started my own consultancy. I strongly feel that when you empower a woman you empower generations and hence I started to pursue writing my book as a way of giving back to the community to make its women stronger and become independent.
From a woman to another woman who is looking to change her life for better and leave a legacy for the kids, just know that you are special and you have all the power in you to achieve anything you set your mind to.
1. Believe in yourself - I know this is the toughest one, been there done that, we tend to have faith on everyone except us. You need to believe you can do it, no matter what. The way you do it is to get clarity on "why" you are doing what you are doing.
2. Emotional Stability - this one is a huge one because we tend to bottle everything up inside us and then one day "boom" it explodes like a volcano. We all know how to play the emotional card well, but when it comes to entrepreneurship, you need to have that emotional stability. I have seen far too many women not able to make it because of their emotional roller coaster ride. It is better to enjoy a ride at a theme park than in your head - trust me. A good way to stay on course is to join women's group who are pursuing the same vision for support.
3. Run it like a business - I know we are great at personal touch, creativity and idea generating. However, to run a business you need more than that. As a business owner you need to understand numbers. I know it is the toughest part, I am guilty of it too but we have to recognise it. It is great to start a business on an emotional high, but numbers are what is going to keep the business running. So it is imperative for you to understand sales, marketing and accounting. Just basics so that no one can take you for a ride. You do not need to be an expert.
4. Give your all - to achieve success you need to give your all. Do not have a back door. Right now you might be working and doing your side hustle, and that's okay - just mentally never get out of the zone. Find ways to always keep your dream in front of you, be it through vision boards, an accountability partner or any other way that works for you. I love involving my kids into my dreams because that way it takes care of two things - they are your biggest motivator and they will never question the less time spent with them because they know why you are working hard. You will hit roadblocks, but remember that success is built on failures.
5. Be patient - as a woman, I always want everything as of yesterday, but that is just not possible. However, to achieve success in anything, it takes time, dedication, sacrifices and a balancing act (a lot of it). Stop feeling guilty for you and your kids, it is for them you are doing everything. Stay focused and persistently consistent.
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