The female entrepreneur industry: fluffy bullshit or an accessible way to run a business?

Affirmations. Dream boards. Meditating for an hour over a visualisation of diving into a pool of money, Scrooge McDuck-style. A quick browse through any of my social media feeds will have half a dozen mentions of these things. It can feel like an attractive notion – imagine a rich, successful future and pow!, it will happen. Especially if you’re charging people £1k to learn how to create the more effective dream boards…

All of the above are methods suggested to (mainly female) business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs for business growth. It’s starting to feel like old methods are being repackaged to appeal to the female market, similar to how tool companies create pink screwdrivers to match our delicate manicures. Because we can’t quite cope with Big Scary Business otherwise. Dream boards are essentially goal setting exercises, affirmations are based on confidence boosting psychology and meditation simply harks back to a time when we weren’t logged on all the time.

Here’s the problem – all of these methods are good and have use, but you still have to put the work in. And if you want it to be successful, you’re going to have to work damn hard. Pinning an image of your ideal car to your Pinterest board isn’t going to magically make it turn up in your drive. In the words of Ru Paul, you better work girl!

I understand why there’s an industry targeting women (in fact, the majority of readers of this blog are female). Working for yourself as a woman is a pretty fantastic way to gain flexibility and smash through that glass ceiling. But the current industry for female businesswoman feels a lot like the diet industry – everyone peddling quick fixes to create an easy result. And the crappy part now is that it’s WOMEN pushing this movement. Much like the diet industry, there’s a lot of pressure to be a big success too. On top of all this, there’s also a pressure now to be glamorous and a superwoman. If you’re a woman running your own business, you should also be storming into meetings rocking a pair of designer heels, a £200 Filofax, a fresh blow dry and a pumpkin spice Starbucks latte to hand. And Instagramming every second of it.

(I’m writing this while still in my pyjamas, with baby dribble on my shoulder, so I think I’ve missed the boat on the glamour).

Essentially what I’m saying is that it’s absolutely fine to do these things (in fact, I do some of them daily), but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re quick fixes, a replacement for long hours or will perform miracles. You have to work hard too. And I mean hard! In your first year as a freelancer, you’ll probably work harder than every year previously (which isn’t to say it won’t be fun). Later on, you may be able to do less hours, for higher fees, but not without some groundwork.