During Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2011, I teamed up with two other inspiring power-house kiwi women who were both based in London at the time – Kat Smith from Hair Organics Notting Hill (@hairorganics) and Rachel Petero of Genviva (@therealgenviva).
We set up a Facebook group called Fresh Poppies which aimed to share and support young girls and women think about entrepreneurship and business from a global perspective. We wanted to share our experience and knowledge on all aspects of business and careers and encourage two-way dialogue through technology for young girls and women to promote fresh thinking and growth. We also ran two webinars over the week to engage young women around the world to discuss the ideas of entrepreneurship.
It was the first time I stood up with my own thoughts and ideas and shared them publicly, with my face and my name. I wasn’t sharing it on behalf of an organisation I worked for or to a select few people I felt comfortable with. I was declaring my personal beliefs to the world and looking back it was the start of a journey. We entitled the webinar Opportunities beyond your universe and for me it was an opportunity beyond my universe at the time.
The ideals of creating opportunities, defining success on your own terms, finding your own way that is linked to your strengths and interests and looking at the world as your oyster and a place to explore are still very key to what I believe in and want to focus on. I stand by everything I said two years ago (although it does make me cringe a little!) and I believe I am even more committed to ensure that high school students and university graduates go about their lives with their eyes wide open, making conscious choices, doing something they love, designing and building their futures and making a difference in the process.
So to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 I thought I would take this opportunity to thank Kat and Rachel for the opportunity that started me on a journey, that allowed me a way to get clear on my passions and interests and to find my voice that I am committed to share even louder and stronger than before.
Here are my opening remarks from that webinar two years ago:
Fresh Poppies: Opportunities beyond your universe
A good place to kick of this discussion is to look at what being an entrepreneur is, and what does entrepreneurship really mean. Often when people think of entrepreneurs they think of hard-talking, risk taking, driven, millionaires like Richard Branson or Steve Jobs. But I would like to challenge that a little and say that I think entrepreneurship is a way of being not a business model. It’s a way of viewing the world, a way that helps you guide your decisions and a way of making a difference to those around you and the world as a whole. It’s about following your interests and passions, playing to your strengths, doing something you love and really making a difference to those people you meet.
To be an entrepreneur you don’t have to set up your own business. You can be an entrepreneur in someone else’s business as long as you are able to be true to yourself and use your skills and desires and experiences as you want. It could mean being a volunteer in your community. Or setting up your own social enterprise.
It’s about following your heart and giving yourself to the world.
So how does one go about becoming an entrepreneur. I think there are three main things that you need to do.
1) Know yourself. Knowing what you like and don’t like. Knowing your strengths and knowledge and experience.
2) Have an idea and a vision. Seeing something that is missing out there in the world. If you ever think “I wish there was ….” then it may be up to you to start doing something about filling that void. (But also ensure that your product is what people want and need – that it is worth marketing!!)
3) Have support. It won’t be easy. So who can you turn to when you come across a blockage you can’t see a way around. Who can you turn to when you know your strength isn’t designing a logo or writing content for a newsletter.
Having mentors or coaches or other people who have been through a similar situation can be incredibly helpful, and I have obtained a lot of support and ideas and advice from other women, and I would recommend making connections and asking for help when needed.
With those three areas covered you are well on your way to calling yourself an entrepreneur.