Female entrepreneurs: Conquering the work/life balance

"Boost your chances of success."

Occupational Psychologist Sherridan Hughes lets us in on her tips for being a successful female entrepreneur and gives advice on achieving a work/life balance. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds?

With over 20 years of experience and thousands of satisfied clients, Sherridan Hughes has witnessed the development of women in the world of business. She has given invaluable guidance and assisted many fempreneurs with clear and directional advice.

The era of the fempreneur has seen a proliferation of female led businesses across the UK. A significant shift in priorities has taken place with Simply Business recording 37% of start-ups in the past year being down to women.

“Typically, entrepreneurs are daring, ‘can-do’ people. They tend to be chaotic creatives who are questioning, forceful, confident and resilient, with a passion bordering on obsession,” says Sherridan.

Red magazine carried out an investigation to find out what drives women to achieve. We found that passion is the key factor to success; giving them the ability to put every minute they can into making ideas work. Failure to fit into the corporate structure was a main reason for many women to take the entrepreneurial route.

“They want to have their own baby in the form of a business,” says Sherridan. “They become entrepreneurs as they grow and develop their own business in something they can relate to, be it fashion or cookery, arts or science.”

However, starting your own business is no mean feat. Here are five top tips from Sherridan on how to boost your chances of success.

“Network, network, network.” Building contacts is vital. It’s all about who you know, and you never know when that person may have appropriate expertise.

“Communication is key.” Ensure everyone you work with is on the same song sheet and that everyone feels inspired and empowered.

“Stay focused.” Don’t just open doors, remember to close them too. Get organised, manage time and budgets, and prioritise.

“Be emotionally intelligent.” The best leaders have charm, empathy and create or possess an atmosphere of mutual respect. This will foster a positive climate and make for good customer experience.

“Always think ahead.” Once you have that winning formula, don’t rest on your laurels. Look for the next opportunity and for ways to develop, grow and future-proof the business.

By following these five steps, entrepreneurs can be truly effective in all areas of their business, regardless of their specialism.

Running your own business comes with a heavy workload, as many female entrepreneurs know. Organisational skills and effective time management are a must, particularly when juggling multiple commitments.

In this month’s addition of Red magazine we met female entrepreneurs Josephine Fairley and Katherine Tanswell. Jo has managed to delineate a phenomenal career, including co-founding Green and Blacks, writing Beauty Bibles and setting up the award winning Judges Bakery, with defined time off. Katie, owner of dress boutique Walk in Wardrobe, has found organising the work/life balance much harder.

We had a look at each of the women’s daily routines to see if Sherridan could help them achieve a better balance.

 

Establishing an effective routine that works for you, your career and your lifestyle is essential to achieving a healthy balance. By making little changes, like turning off your work phone in the evenings or setting time aside to exercise, you can make vast improvements.

According to Sherridan, studies have shown that with a greater work/life balance female entrepreneurs will be more effective, productive and less prone to sickness. With regular breaks, many women find they become even more inspired.

Networking is a key piece of advice Sherridan always gives to her clients. It allows female entrepreneurs to meet like-minded people and receive the support usually gained in a corporate environment. Have a look at our online map to see networking events going on in London this month by clicking here.

Do you think it’s possible to balance a hectic career with other responsibilities like raising a family? Vote in our poll below.

[poll id=”218″]

Related content:

Listen: We speak to the director of Speed Networking Events and find out what the benefits.

Watch: Find out how Zoe Burt, founder of Stamp and Stitch, set up her online business.

Explore: Have a look at out interactive map to see networking events taking place in London this month.

Q&A: Carrie Green on the Female Entrepreneur Association.

 

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Comments (33)

  • Laura

    Thank you for some of this great advice. I am a mum and have recently started my own business. There just doesnt seem to be enough hours in the day, especially the school day! I am determind not to sacrifice the time i spend with my children therefore am working into the early hours of the morning leaving me exhasuted. I like to believe there is a healthy work/life balance and that once the business is in full swing I will find it!

    Reply
  • Jill

    Great advice for anyone running their own business…a few things here that I intend to use myself in future. Good to see women out there doing it for themselves.

    Reply
  • Sarah

    Interesting and very contemporary topic.

    Reply
  • lily

    very interesting subject. Think it has great advice for anyone who wants to succeed in their work and at the same time, having the perfect balance for a social life.

    Reply
  • Mo

    A good article with some good examples of different women managing their own businesses. Some good advice for if you do or want do your own thing. would have bee lovely when I was younger but it is a bit late now!

    Reply
  • Hugh

    A well balanced argument, although unjust though it may be, I wonder if a bit of obsessive monomania isn’t the key factor to womens’ success as entrepreneurs?

    Reply
  • Alex

    A very interesting read. The advice from Sherridan will definately help me to improve on my work and life balance. Was great to see the two womens routines and what advice the psychologist ahd for them. Thanks

    Reply
  • Elsie

    Very interesting and well researched article, useful information and ideas for women in business.

    Reply
  • Sophie

    Very interesting, I think it is very important to have a good work/ life balance! It is nice to see it acknowledged that women can do both

    Reply
  • Jayne

    Very good article great advice and very well researched thank you xx

    Reply
  • Aimee

    Good advice and interesting article.

    Reply
  • Chi

    This feature was really interesting and Sherridans tips have really inspired me. I’d like to think a work/life balance is possible, but i think it all depends on the person, and the way they manage themselves. Really interesting read and will 100% be taking on some of the advice!

    Reply
  • Val

    Excellent and interesting feature with inspirational tips for entrepreneurial women. Well done and I’m sure lots of women working in business will be inspired to develop their skills and businesses.

    Reply
  • Emma

    Interesting article. I have no children, and I take my hat off to mums who run businesses because I don’t know how they do it. Passion definitely is a driver, but mm, monomania might well be the key to actual success, yes.

    Reply
  • Lois Davidson

    An interesting article, well written with good points well made. For me, passion and drive have been key factors in the success of my business, there are certainly things here that I will think about and try to apply. My business is certainly my ‘baby’, strangely enough I hadn’t thought of it like that before, but it makes perfect sense!

    Reply
  • Helen

    Very interesting. A certain amount of obsession is a must, I think, but I find my most creative moments come in the down time. Switching off and doing something else for a while seems to kick the ol’ synapses into gear!

    Reply
  • JO

    Interesting article with very interesting examples from these two company women. But quite a high cost to have such a successful career.

    Reply
  • Harriet

    i think that you raised some really good points in this article, i would like to think that if i were to become an entrepreneur i would like to think that i would be able to the juggle both my work and my home life.

    Reply
  • Rachael

    I find this article very interesting because it shows the importance of keeping the balance, although I am not sure I agree with the balance always being able to be kept. It might take a superwoman, I have yet to meet one.

    Reply
  • Gill

    Very interesting and well written article. Healthy work life balances are attainable. Isn’t the ideal pretty much unattainable and an unrealistic thing to aim for though?

    Reply
  • Jane

    Very interesting and exceptionally written article. I found that after having 3 children I had to make the choice as keeping the balance was just not working for me, I chose family life and am now just working part time for a small firm. I never regret the decision I made.

    Reply
  • Charlotte

    Extremely interesting article with some very good advice. The five top tips from sherridan were particularly helpful to me as I am soon to be finishing University and am looking for ways to enhance my chances of becoming successful.

    Reply
  • Emma

    This article is very intriguing and the layout made it easy to read. I’m glad to see that it’s acknowledge that women can balance their work with their social life. It can’t be easy, but these women show that it is possible and that’s really important in order for people to believe they can do it too!!

    Reply
  • Allison

    Anything is possible, if you want it enough you will put the work in and achieve it. However, I am a firm believer in everything in moderation. Keep a balance, and you can have a bit of everything you want, enjoy and love.

    Reply
  • Rebecca Stone

    In some cases i think it is achievable, however childcare may need to be an option while the children are young. If your partner has a busy career also it could be stressful.

    Reply
  • Poppy burt

    Very valid points made. I think it can be achieved but is very hard if you already have a job and children to find the extra time! This was a very interesting article, and I will definitely use some of the tips in the future.

    Reply
  • Alison

    An excellent article and good use of the examples. Practical and informative. A work / life balance is certainly achievable, I have been doing it for years and will certainly continue!

    Reply
  • Sylvie

    Thanks for this focus on what is an ongoing concern. The points on networking were well made. While the word itself can imply negatives (or it does to me), I find the benefit of talking to new people and allowing time for lateral and creative thought is almost essential to retaining perspective.

    Reply
  • Steph

    I find it interesting that these women think it’s a good work life balance to work until 10 pm!!
    Don’t get me wrong.. I work hard and their are days when i do burn the candle at both ends but surely there needs to be a little for life in that work life balance.

    It was interesting reading the experts view on the 2 ladies.. i found myself thinking about what i do :)

    Agree about networking.. Knowing the right people can be a massive help in business.

    Reply
  • Soph

    Great feature – such an interesting read. I think that it is possible to balance it all, but you have to be extremely organised and disciplined. The women who do manage it are incredible i think, we are renowned for multitasking after all! Thanks for the tips, will definitely be using them to try and improve my work/life balance.

    Reply
  • Amy

    Fantastic article. I think the whole issue of work/life balance is a major issues for women, irregardless of their caring situations (eg family).

    The only thing that struck me – even though I’m prone to work until 10pm sometimes, if that was my norm, I wouldn’t call that getting the balance right! Work needs to finish earlier – and a major break must happen, for food, for me-time, for exercise or for all of the above – before a few more hours are squeezed out reasonably. A 10pm finish to have dinner is really late, even by Spanish standards, isn’t it?

    Reply
  • Julia

    When my 4 children were younger, there weren’t the opportunities that there appear to be today. If this sort of information (and the internet) were around then, maybe my life would be totally different. Well written article.

    Reply
  • Chance123

    Stumbled across this article and very glad I did. Well written and full of good advice

    Reply

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