#Mybusinessmyway - a toolkit for female entrepreneurs

This week I launched the toolkit for female entrepreneurs to shape their success #mybusinessmyway!

Here is a copy of the speech I gave at the University of Nottingham.

Also if you want a copy of the toolkit please scroll down to the bottom!

Hello, I’m Debbie Clarke aka debbiedooodah and I support female entrepreneurs create profitable sustainable, joy-filled businesses using the power of social media.

I just want to say how excited and proud I am to be standing here with Isobel, Alex and Sarah presenting this toolkit to you today.

I first contacted Isobel about this project on the 30th November 2015 and what a journey it has been to get to this point almost 3 ½ years later.

At the time I was 2 years into my entrepreneurial journey and running an entirely different business.

I was slightly confused; running a business I thought other people would want and I had almost entirely stripped the ‘meness’ out of it.

My business my way is the toolkit I wished I’d had at that stage.

We want to empower women in business to reclaim the word entrepreneur. To see it for what it is.

A word to describe creativity and taking risks for financial gain, and my partner who’s just started his business would like me to add doing something you believe in and being independent.

And if you are running a business today, that is exactly what you are doing.

We wanted to create something that changed the landscape of what it means to be successful in business.

To encourage women to bring their whole selves into their business and redefine their version of success.

No more to be defined by our wombs as mumpreneurs, or running lifestyle businesses, or to be accused of ‘playing at business’ – something that actually happened to one of my clients whose business is so successful she has chosen to send her children to public school.

We want to create a landscape where we recognise for ourselves that we can and do create profitable sustainable businesses that fit around our often complex lives, and that’s ok. In fact, that’s amazing and we want to celebrate it more.

When we first started creating this toolkit Isobel, following her research wanted to talk about women and legitimacy in business. Now at the time, I found the word legitimate troubling. It conjured up images for me of women and children outside gin palaces in the 1800s.

But as this journey has gone along, I have become more comfortable with this concept of women needing legitimacy in an entrepreneurial setting.

And I want to share with you a discussion I had only yesterday in a business setting with a couple of male business coaches to demonstrate this to you.

I was sharing the story of the toolkit with a couple of male business coaches. And one of them said to me ‘my mother-in-law says she doesn’t understand what all this feminist stuff is about, she says that women have been in control of the world for years’.

I called this out by pointing out that the person who runs Amazon, ASOS, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Etsy and Apple are all men (the anomaly being the CEO of youtube who is a woman and managed to secure her position heavily pregnant so my hat goes off to her). And that it really is men who rule the world, not women.

Subsequently, I’ve thought that perhaps he meant women rule the world from the home, but we all should know by now that 1 woman is murdered by their partner or husband every 3 days in the UK, so that doesn’t make any sense either.

I then pointed out to him that it’s also a fact that I am more likely to be the CEO of a fortune 500 company if my name is John than if I have a vagina – which in case you were wondering I do.

And this is where the conversation got interesting. He asked me why I thought there were more male CEO than women? And I started to give sensible reasons. At which point he posited that had I ever considered that it could be because men were better than women in those positions? At which point I walked away.

Now this man may have been joking, but even if he was, it’s this kind of conversation that chips away at our feelings of legitimacy in the workplace, that makes us feel like we have something to prove and undermines our sense of self.

Now through the many conversations, we have had with women while creating this toolkit; I’ve seen women almost recoiling from labelling themselves as entrepreneurs.

As if it can’t be a term to describe what they are doing.
Thinking that it is a term for people who run multiple businesses, apply for high finance, earn 6-figures and employ a sizable team.

This masculine version of what it means to be an entrepreneur service neither men nor women. And we want this toolkit to be a step away from these existing rules of the game.

Now the toolkit itself is split into 3 parts.

Myself, My people and My success.

We want people, women and men who use this toolkit to think about what it means to them to be an entrepreneur, to feel comfortable to bring their whole selves into their businesses by developing their story, focusing on their achievements and by creating strong solid values with which to lay the foundations on their business.

My people is a section to support women to realise that a business is not built in isolation.

That you need support from networks, collaborators, bank managers, clients and many more people to be successful. And we talk about how to present your business and plan for any audiences you may encounter.

And then finally, the last section, my success.

This section hopes to support female entrepreneurs define their own version of success, take a look at what their business needs are and then map out those all-important visions and goals that help us to create an independent successful business.

We hope to create a bigger conversation about the traditionally female traits that we bring to the business world and how accessing these, things like community over competition and openness in the workplace can benefit us all.

We asked you here today to have this conversation with us and hope that you will share this toolkit with others, please help us to spread the word and don’t forget to use the hashtag #mybusinessmyway.

We really hope that this toolkit helps other women feel more at ease in the entrepreneurial landscape, bringing her whole self to her business and viewing herself as a legitimate entrepreneur.

92 popular instagram hashtags for creative women in business

92 popular instagram hashtags for creative women in business

(scroll down if you just want to get to the juicy hashtags!!)

Should you be using hashtags in Instagram?

The resounding answer is yes!

Hashtags make your posts more searchable - it means that your ideal paying customer can find you - that means more followers, more likes and hopefully more sales!

6 ways to make the most of your best reviews

6 ways to make the most of your best reviews

I had a fabulous Facebook review pop-up today that made me think how can you make the most of your customers testimonials?

This is what Rob Moore said:

Debbie has been my mentor for the past 7 months while I've been growing my business Cookie - I can't recommend her enough! She has given me so many useful tips and tricks to grow my business on social media as well as being completely honest with me if I'm just doing something wrong. One of the points being that it's fine to stop working sometimes! Her advice and support has not only made me a happier person in myself but has resulted in a quadruple in turnover since we first started working together. What more could you ask for! An absolute pleasure working with her!

The real basics of a good social media strategy

The real basics of a good social media strategy

I’m off to Edinburgh this weekend to run a workshop on Facebook and how best to use it, and while I was writing this new workshop specific to the client it occurred to me I could do this stuff in my sleep, so why don’t I share it with you.

Here are the basics you need to create your own social media strategy!

10 ways to make your website work for you!

10 ways to make your website work for you!

Your website is one of your most important selling tools, but how can you measure how successful your website is and improve it?

I recently did a lecture at Nottingham Trent University on ‘Conversion Rate Optimisation’. Now while this is complete marketing speak and could put some people off, in essence it is the way you can measure how effective your website is. So, I’d thought I’d share some of that lecture with you!

11 things to do with your blog once it’s written

11 things to do with your blog once it’s written

So we all know that writing blog are a good idea for our business.

They help your ideal customer understand what we can offer them. You can give them answers to the problems they are having. You can flex your expertise muscles. You can let them know the type of person you are, what it would be like to work with you and how you can help them.

And as a nice plus it helps with SEO (that’s getting found on google) and it gives you things to share on social media.

18 ways to help you improve your LinkedIn game

18 ways to help you improve your LinkedIn game

Last week I spoke about the changes taking a foot in LinkedIn and how it’s looking to freshen up and shake off the corporate image that it’s held for some time.

If you didn’t see it, you can read ‘Could LinkedIn be the next big thing in social?’

So if you’re on LinkedIn or thinking about giving it a go here are 18 tips to help you improve your LinkedIn game

Could Linkedin be the next big thing in social?

Could Linkedin be the next big thing in social?

So LinkedIn! Are you loving it? Hating it? Trying to make sense of it? Or just not sure it’s for you?

It’s had a bit of a transformation of late. LinkedIn is literally trying to reinvent itself. From the corporate bore in the blue colours of Microsoft, IBM and Dell (yawn) to the pale, male and stale stereotype of its users. I’ve heard of people being told in the comments their posts aren’t welcome there, no fluff, no cats, no what did you eat for lunch and certainly no personality.

How to get free PR and then milk it for all it's worth

How to get free PR and then milk it for all it's worth

If you’ve been on holiday and not been on social media for the past week you’ll have missed that I got into Forbes!

Now for those of you who don’t know Forbes is a global online magazine focusing on business, entrepreneurship, leadership and lifestyle. Exactly the type of magazine I want to get into!

It’s been on my list for a while as a publication I want to get in to. And I know that for sure because I felt a little pang of jealousy when I saw other get in it!

8 things I learnt from MarketEdLive

8 things I learnt from MarketEdLive

This week I had the pleasure to attend MarketEdLive, a fab one day conference held in my home town of Nottingham – always nice not to have to go far, and even more amazed at the variety of people who made it all the way to the Midlands!

But alongside the meeting of new and old friends I got to hear from some amazing speakers and they got me thinking about how I do things and ultimately how I could do things better, so I wanted to share them with you.

Why I’m not listening to the news anymore

Why I’m not listening to the news anymore

I’ve realised that I’ve been a little anxious of late. Worrying about the state of the world, Brexit, impending doom, people dying on the streets, my house being repossessed, losing all my work, my daughter entering the world of social media, Donald Trump and the list goes on and on.

And the more my anxiety grows, and the more I worry, the less my eye is on the ball of work.

In the funk? Here's 3 ways to get out of it!

In the funk? Here's 3 ways to get out of it!

We all get in the funk sometimes! The internet goes down, we feel grotty, we've just lost a client, we had an argument with our loved one, we just can't seem to get in the mood.

Life throws all sorts of curve balls at us, and as small business owners, we still have to keep the ship moving and do the things we need to do to keep our business afloat.

So here's some tips when you're feeling funky!

What we can learn from the latest Nike ‘Just Do It’ Campaign

What we can learn from the latest Nike ‘Just Do It’ Campaign

Nike yesterday launched their latest ‘Just Do It’ Campaign, staring Colin Kaepernick. If you don’t know who Kaepernick is (and I’ll forgive you if you don’t). He’s the American NFL player who refused to stand during the National Anthem and eventually sank to his knee to protest police killings of African Americans and many other injustices over in that country.