How my online female networks helped me seize the moment and go from employee to successful business owner

I began my career in sales and management, working for a dynamic, global company. Completely thrown in at the deep end, surrounded by loud, outgoing people… I had to put myself out there, so I created a positive mindset to boost my self-confidence and just went for it…

I rapidly moved into management, which included marketing where I studied 12 diplomas and a major CIM qualification alongside an MBA to ensure that I was at the top of my game in strategic marketing.

I now have over 15 years’ experience as a successful Sales & Marketing Manager at board level for global corporations – having worked alongside the likes of Boots, Siemens and Specsavers.

I had several management roles but whenever I felt confined by my environment I found I was unhappy, really deeply unhappy yet I couldn’t understood why as I loved my job.  It was only when I realised I wasn’t a ‘sit still all day kind of girl’ – everything changed and I found the strength to create a career that suited me personality thanks to undertaking an intensive 6 week ‘Insight Profiling’ training on a renowned programme in Switzerland.

All of a sudden it all seemed so simple when I realised I like to come and go as I please and for my environment to change constantly, I detest routine with a passion and like to have multiple things on the go all of the time.

Once I recognised this and started to maximise exactly what I personally need to be at my best I was so much more successful and happier, however at the time I was thinking how the hell am I meant to go from a great salary, car and bonus to £0; that’s not going to happen! I then realised that the only thing holding me back was me, the alternative to not setting up on my own was being trapped by a job description that I was confined by. Things had to change – so I took the leap and jumped.

I finally launched full time into my business after being promised a Director role, however upon the business being bought, I decided to seize the moment to create this business I’d been thinking about for some time.

When I first decided to become self-employed, I remember feeling the stress of the unknown but closely linked to that was how would I find other like-minded humans. In an office or team environment, there is always someone else to discuss ideas with and you have a common goal. But, in self employment, your goal is often your own and it can feel quite isolating. I decided this would be a big part of the switch that would be an issue for me, I wanted to be around people who had already been through everything I was about to embark on. What could I learn? What could I offer them? Where would I meet these people?

This wasn’t an exercise in cognitive dissonance, it was a basic human, functional need to share with others as I always had done in my career. I visited every networking group possible and pulled on old colleagues and friends. I found an increasing need for a parallel person or someone who totally understood where I was at with my beliefs, career and vision. The networking groups were helpful but mostly showed me what I didn’t want to be like, the set up was far too regular and stayed for me, someone who loves freedom, spontaneity and variety.

Enter the online space. Wow. The digital era literally changed the pathway my business relationships took. I watched webinars and lives and explored groups and avenues for business development. I found that some of the more career driven female business groups had the most to offer. Usually, I avoid things like this; I’m no misogynist by a long shot but I don’t think it should matter if you are male of female if you have something to offer but there was definitely a connection here with the women I was observing. Every transformational influence in my career prior to this point had been male, strong and authoritative.

From the outset of going self-employed, I had this team of cheerleading females around me and I was hitting capacity for my business within just 6 weeks of starting!

I made friends and connections, some of whom I have never worked directly with but who still influence my direction through theirs. I have some extremely close friends from this approach now and can’t imagine my life without them.

The thing was, this connection was yes, we were all female but we were also all after the same thing. Success.

I found that there were no roadblocks (seen daily in negative attitudes of ex-colleagues) and a positive attitude to EVERY solution. We all lifted each other up and screamed along on the up and down rollercoaster, together. Whether it was a business coach, a photographer or a woman owning multiple businesses, the female networks I created online changed the way my business grew and will continue to influence my life forever.

I am now a multi award-winning Marketing Mastermind for SMEs providing small business owners with strategies and marketing mentoring to create competitive advantage and stabilise future growth.  I am often referred to as a ‘business sniper’, as I take away unwanted areas of the business that are zapping clients’ energy and profitability so they can evolve faster, with better ROI, and less stress and confusion.

I am also an author of my own step by step marketing guide for others starting out in business, and I am on a mission to ensure small businesses have access to the same expertise and direction as large corporates and focused on supporting small business owner in having a strategic marketing plan, in a bid to help reduce the number of businesses that fail before hitting the 5 year mark.

Collaborating with this group of other empowered female entrepreneurs on an International Women’s Day book – The Woman I’m Becoming’, meant that I became a best-selling author, offering hindsight and advice to guide the futures of young girls through her chapter ‘You are you and that is your superpower’.

I have also recently being asked to be a CIM mentor and part of the Welsh Government Accelerated Growth Programme helping businesses grow through their marketing efforts with stability as well as being a STEM ambassador, flying the flag for women in male dominated sectors. I am passionate about mentoring others and loves the impact I can make, especially when working with young girls struggling with confidence in a male dominated sector, supporting them to make their mark.

Working in both public and private sector businesses, B2B & B2C, on a local and global scale, my relentless attitude to building businesses, alongside my network of other successful females alongside my indestructible foundations and structures for growth longer term has ensured I am now known as one of the best in the business.

For more information please visit: List Conti

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