International Women's Day & Female Entrepreneurship | Natasha Courtenay-Smith
Celebrating women in business and women with dreams and ambitions on #internationalwomensday // This week I gave a talk on a panel with three other female founders to over 200 women at an event for International Women’s Day.
I shared a bit of my personal story during the talk including:
⚡How in 13 years of being an entrepreneur I’ve started four businesses (and sold 3)
⚡How I cope with those days when doubts and stress creep in and how I still experience them now just as I did when I first started a business 13 years ago!
⚡How my attitude to risk has changed over the years
⚡Whether business is about doing good or personal ambition (or both!)
And we discussed:
⚡Why in the UK only 1 in 5 businesses in the UK are set up by women
⚡How can it be that in 2019, female founders get less than 10% of VC funding
⚡The role that attitude to risk plays in business scaling
At the end, so many young (much younger than me!) women came up to me for advice on business and starting their own business. One 19 year old girl told me how she was so stressed out because she hasn’t yet found her passion and doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life.
I’m like ‘You’re 19, you’re at an event on business, you’re going to be so much more knowledgeable and switched on than I was at your age’. If you’re that age and want to learn about business and make some money, start with something simple like buying vintage clothes and selling them on Ebay, or making a product (this girl had made and sold some wedding favours) and selling them on Etsy.
In the past 13 years, the business of mine that I learned the most from in terms of ‘Oh right I get it now aha moments’ was The Notting Hill Shopping Bag Company in which I imported cotton and jute bags from India & China (featuring a logo I’d created on one side and drawings from local school children on the other) and wholesaled them to shops and stalls on Portobello Road. Over 8 years, I sold more than 200,000 cotton bags and the bags are still selling today under their new owner. This taught me all about making face to face sales/margins/stock control/supply chains/importing/customs/currencies – some of the best lessons I’ve ever learned.
I’ve also had one (quite painful) failure which I’ll tell you about in another video!
Personally, since I started my first business in 2007, I’ve always been inspired by looking at other female entrepreneurs who are well ahead of me in their journey and I am 100% certain that seeing their success and drive has been part of what has propelled me forward. If I am able to inspire younger women (or women of any age!) in the same way that would be an incredible thing.
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Natasha Courtenay-Smith is one of Europe’s leading experts on integrated digital marketing, social media and PR. She is also a a best-selling published author, inspirational keynote speaker, accredited Facebook trainer, CEO of Bolt Digital and mum of two.
Her main business focus today is as CEO of Bolt Digital, which helps celebrities, thought-leaders and successful businesses with a range of services in the digital marketing, social media and PR sectors. Unlike many marketing companies that make pretty pictures, Bolt is relentlessly focussed on delivering commercial value and a measurable financial return on investment to its partners and clients.
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