March 8 marks International Women's Day. And with that, I wanted to share some things I wish I was told as a woman setting up a business, and, well… in life in gen.
When we started Hello Period, Mary and I wanted to do business differently. Start-up life is actually the craziest ride - so many highs and also so many lows. The fun part is watching your vision come to life - the less fun part is the bits along the way when it feels like the wheels are falling off. As International Women’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about the top five tips I kinda wish someone had given us at the get-go (although, TBH, we probably won’t have listened at the time!).
- Believe in yourself and your abilities: If you have a good idea and no one else is doing it better, then back yourself. Anyone can start a business, but the key to success is believing in yourself first and foremost. Accept that there will be people who tell you it can’t be done - don’t let their negative energy fill your head. Hang with the positive people who help push you to be the best you can be.
- Don’t be a sheep, forge your own (light) path: The most essential advice I’d give to anyone starting a new business is try to ‘do it better’ than the others. Think about every aspect of the business and try to ensure that your environmental footprint is as light as possible. Consumers hold businesses accountable more than ever and we all need to lead the way in reducing waste where we can. Just because your competitor seems to get away with using single-use plastic bottles, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Big businesses have traditionally been one of the biggest waste producers on the planet but now consumers are calling them out. There’s no excuse not to use materials that can be repurposed or recycled. As the saying goes, ‘there’s no Planet B’.
- Form a small business support group: This is something I avoided for too long. Being able to talk to others who are at the same stage or even a few steps ahead is so invaluable. Sometimes running a business can feel very lonely. You have a lot of pressure and burnout is a very real threat for female founders. Find a crew that you like to be with and who you trust. Sharing insights, successes and, more importantly, failures is so important to helping you realise that it’s never going to be an easy ride, but good people like to help each other and knowing others have got your back can really help you navigate the hard times.
- Question everything and negotiate, negotiate, negotiate: This is another thing that I’ve probably taken too long to adopt. We live in a world where people love to have a crack. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable and so make sure you check every invoice and negotiate every quote. Even small savings can have massive impacts down the line. It all adds up and when you are sailing close to the wind every dollar counts. If you don’t like negotiating, read up to get some tips on how to do it confidently but with kindness.
- Shit happens and it will hit the fan: Things won’t always go right. There will be many tears. Failure and mistakes are hard to swallow at the time but they are part of being in business. Give yourself time to regroup, tap into your network to talk about your feelings but most importantly, learn from your mistakes and allow yourself to move forward.
Our good friend and fellow women founder, Gaelle of Dust & Go, has also shared her top tips for following your dreams in this crazy ride of life. Find her tips HERE.
A lil reminder from us -
We’re bloody proud not to use gendered language when speaking about our products and periods - and that includes on our packaging. Not everyone who has a period identifies as female has a period. And not everyone who has a period identifies as female. Please join us in changing the status quo. Let’s talk about #peoplewithperiods.