As part of our Women in Micro Business series, we sat down with Lucy Cameron, a business owner at coaching franchise ActionCOACH, to find out how the UK can create more female business leaders, and how she has learnt to deal with setbacks.
Who are you and what is your business?
Lucy Cameron – owner and business coach at ActionCOACH.
As an ActionCOACH business coach, I work with business owners to help them in many areas, including how to increase their profits, develop powerful systems and also build a strong team. The results are not only a more profitable and sustainable business, but also a dramatically improved life for my clients, building a business that can work without them
What challenges can women expect to face in business?
There is still a strong tradition of the woman being the homemaker which puts more pressure on women to juggle home and work life. Flexible working is ideal, I am not convinced that companies have bought into the benefits of it yet.
Over time I expect the role of homemaker to be a choice for men or women, this should result in paternity leave options, reducing the focus on maternity leave which can be an employment concern for business owners recruiting women.
Do you think there are enough women running their own businesses?
I see more and more women becoming business owners, traditionally male businesses such as manufacturing, trades will take longer to come through. The increase seems to be more in professional services and creative industries.
What do you think are the advantages of having more women in business?
Personally, I don’t like to think about women versus men running businesses, it should be who is the best person for the job. What I do believe in is having a level playing field so everyone has the same opportunities, the same remuneration and the same recognition.
Have you ever had any discriminative experiences because of being female?
Maybe initially but once you speak to people, they realise you have your head screwed on and you are serious about business and know your stuff – the respect comes afterwards. I do think for men they can wear a suit and get the respect more quickly, women need to earn it more.
Read more about the business landscape for female founders:
How do you handle knockbacks?
I used to worry constantly about the minutiae, always concerned with other people would say or think and berate myself for not doing enough. We are only human and there are only so many hours in the day; I focus now on celebrating wins and only thinking about situations I can control or influence – everything else I let go!
What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?
Find your own path, embrace change and believe in yourself.
What can the business community do to help more women entrepreneurs?
Personally, I will be looking at bringing on board an employee business coach, ideally another working mum as that will create more role models. I am also building a team of trainers, that are also mums.
How do you hope your business to develop in the future?
I am looking to build a team of freelance trainers, so I can provide additional services to businesses around leadership and development.
Who are your business heroes?
Anita Roddick – Created the Body Shop; full of passion, Anita identified a gap in the market that matched her desire to improve the world. Started with nothing and selling her business for £652m
Sharon Lechter – I had the honour of meeting Sharon in April. She has an amazing level of business acumen and has proven herself on the global stage in what has traditionally been a man’s world. She has even been appointed by the government as the National Spokesperson on Financial Literacy. Her mantra is “it’s not what you do to earn your paycheck it’s what you do with your paycheck”; making wealth accessible to all.
My mum – she gave up developing a children’s clothing business to support my dad in his career. I remember her telling me to always be financially independent, this has driven me my whole life.
What are you reading at the moment?
Blue Ocean Strategy – W.Chan Kim.
Which one song is always on your playlist?
Sweet Child of Mine – you can’t beat a classic rock song.
Where was your last holiday?
Egypt in August with the family.
When are you happiest?
Spending quality time with family and friends.
Calling all women in micro business: Have your story heard
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