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 as a businesswomen 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.

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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!

Why are businesswomen being targetted?

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 businesswomen 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.

5 comments on “Businesswomen: Are we being patronised?”

  1. Soooo my almond soy latte isn’t going to make me a successful businesswoman?
    Nooooooo……..

    I totally agree. I’d also add that I’m not a fan of terms such as ‘fempreneur’ or ‘mumpreneur’. I find them so patronising. Why can’t women be business owners, directors or simply entrepreneurs. Why do we need made up feminised words to be successful?

  2. I’m with you. Most of my blog is written in pj’s with baby puke and dribble and food in various places. But hopefully when I do eventually get to go freelance I won’t be swayed by bright lights

    • I used to have a Filofax. Then I had a baby and had to swap my handbag for a changing bag. Buh bye clunky FF, hello google calendar and Sunrise.

  3. Had an interesting conversation with a client we are building a
    garden office for it appears she has had enough of the back handed comments she gets when she goes into the office. She has recently returned to work after having a baby and has found the attitude towards her has changed somewhat and not for the
    better.

    She loves the company she works for and the job she does. But jumped when the opportunity came up for her to work from home.

    She now feels she has the best of both worlds (whilst some of her colleagues are not happy about this arrangement) the company did not want to lose her and came up with this compromise (they are part funding the garden office and supplying all the IT etc. Her ultimate aim is to be a freelance provider to the company.

    This is a bg step up from the filofax …lol

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