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5 Things We Learnt At marie claire’s First Ever Small Business Brilliance Masterclass

BossWomen unite

For women across the world, the desire to be your own boss is one many of us possess. In honour of this, marie claire Australia interviewed hundreds of female business owners for the Women In Business survey to get to the bottom of why so many women feel the same way when it comes to business. The results found that the driving factor for launching a business was: gaining more flexibility (hands up all the mums out there), better work-life balance, and the ability to make your own rules. 

That’s exactly why over the past two decades, there has been a 46 per cent increase in the number of female and small business owners in Australia alone, according to the Women In Business survey results. That means over 12 per cent of the nation’s 6 million employed women are their own boss. 

It was with those women in mind, and those one day hoping to join that lineup, that the marie claire Australia Small Business Brilliance Masterclass, in partnership with Salesforce, was launched – to help those female bosses (and those future bosses) to network, learn a thing or two from some of Australia’s most successful female entrepreneurs and help make those dreams a foreseeable reality. 

Because in the words of marie claire Editor Nicky Briger, “When women are paid 14 per cent less than men in the office, who wouldn’t want to get out on their own!” 

(Credit: Chloe Paul)

The panel from the Sydney masterclass included Pip Edwards, co-founder of P.E. Nation, Sally Obermeder and Maha Corbett, sisters and founders of Swiish and Bridget Loudon, co-founder of Expert360

Here are some of the things we learnt at Sydney’s Small Business Brilliance Masterclass. 

You Should Embrace Mistakes – Especially New Ones

Pip Marlow, CEO of Salesforce ANZ, opened up the masterclass with some expert advice: “As a small business, you should embrace mistakes and learnings, especially new ones as it means you are progressing.” 

Mistakes, especially in business, should not be taken as a failure. Instead, all four women on the panel said mistakes are a chance for your business to learn and grow – and without them, there’s no growing to be done. 

(Credit: Chloe Paul)

Live And Breath Your Brand 

Because, in the words of Pip Edwards, “Why else would you do it?”. Pip has undeniably built a brand that she lives and breathes. P.E. Nation and her own personal account boast a combined following of over 352,000. Starting as an activewear and lifestyle apparel brand, P.E. has grown to be more of a lifestyle in itself – being worn by it-girls all over the world, including the likes of Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and many, many more. 

Pip says, “I think understanding yourself really comes through when you’re building a brand. If your focus is just product and success and money that’s not really the purpose.”  

pip edwards
(Credit: Chloe Paul)

Feel Fear And Do It Anyway 

The very thought of starting a business can be a daunting one – especially if you’re transitioning from a job that you have enjoyed a steady (and reliable) income. However, as our panellists all agreed, fear can also be a great fuel when it comes to striking out on your own. The key is to manage it because once you do, you will feel empowered and committed to your cause. 

The advice? Learn how to make a real, tangible goal and harness your fear and passion to focus on it.

“It’s f*cking great to be emotional,” Pip told the audience, “but it’s how you channel it, how you execute it and how you harness it.” 

Bridget said, “After leaving my job, for the first year I was fuelled on fear.” 

(Credit: Chloe Paul)

Persistence Is Your Best Friend

Just take it from Bridget Louden, who admitted during the panel that she had sent over 200 cold LinkedIn messages to people who might have been interested in helping her start her business. Of those messages, she got just one reply. After that failed, she took to Gumtree (yes, Gumtree) to post a tech job. The man that applied to that, would end up becoming one of her partners. The company has now grown to have a team of 100 staff across five cities – and two years ago Bridget and her co-founder Emily Yue raised $13 million in Series B Funding. 

Forget Everything You “Know” About Work-Life Balance

The marie claire Women In Business survey showed that achieving work-life balance is perceived as the most challenging aspect of owning a business, yet it was voted as the main reason for wanting to start one in the first place. We hate to tell you, but our panellists agreed that work-life balance remains one of life’s biggest difficulties. But, finding your own balance, you’re own way to deal with stress and learning to give and take when your business or family needs you more, is the key to achieving just that. 

“Balance implies that there is this beautiful fifty-fifty split and it’s perfect and it’s harmonious all the time,” Sally says. “And I think if you think that, in a way, you’re setting yourself up to fail.”

Don’t miss out on tickets to Melbourne’s Small Business Brilliance Masterclass. 

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