Monetize Your Passion: Inspiring Career Advice From 10 Female Entrepreneurs

This post originally appeared on Refinery29.com

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

What do ClassPass, Bumble, and Birchbox all have in common? Besides being universally loved by millennials, these companies were all founded by women. Every year more and more females are turning their creative ideas into successful businesses. In fact, women now make up 40% of all new entrepreneurs in the United States, the highest percentage since 1996. As we enter what some are calling “the golden age for female entrepreneurs,” now more than ever women are searching for places and opportunities to connect with like-minded aspiring business owners. No one knows this better than Create & Cultivate founder, Jaclyn Johnson.

When starting her own company at 24, Jaclyn felt isolated and alone. Frustrated with the lack of resources available for female entrepreneurs both online and offline, she launched Create & Cultivate, an online platform and IRL conference for women looking to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. “What I found was, I wasn’t alone,” said Johnson. “Women wanted a community and further wanted a place that not only gave them hard-hitting advice but spoke to them in a way that was authentic to the experience.”

Over 800 women flocked to this year’s Create & Cultivate conference in New York for a day full of inspirational panels, networking, and mentor “power hours” with female influencers and thought leaders. From complimentary hair and makeup applications to photo booths and chock-full swag bags, there were an endless amount of “insta-worthy” moments for attendees to take advantage of. However, hands down the best thing we took home was the brilliant career advice from powerhouses like Rebecca Minkoff, Gloria Steinem, and Refinery29’s very own, Piera Gelardi. Ahead, we’ve rounded up memorable quotes from the event along with some of our favorite photos of speakers and attendees.

Don’t Let Failure Define You

“Failing is part of the process, truly. Entrepreneurship ebbs and flows. There are good months and bad months, good years and bad years and it’s 100% normal.” – Jaclyn Johnson, Founder of Create & Cultivate

Own Your Individuality 

“It’s so important to be who you are, even if you don’t please everyone.” – Katia Beauchamp, Founder of Birchbox

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4 Ways To Put Life Before Work In Your Life-Work Balance

This post originally appeared on HuffingtonPost.com

By Raymond Wali

The common term for the balance between life and work is “work-life” balance. I would argue that we’re putting too much emphasis on work by putting it first. It’s time we start looking at creating more of a “life-work” balance. You should invest in yourself first – put your family, health, and personal time first. We all know how important it is to bring in money to live, but why does that have to drive how we live? When we talk about life-work balance, we are really talking about work-time-health-relationship balance.

To achieve a healthy life-work balance, you need to set up a few rules and routines for yourself that govern your personal life versus your work life. Here are four areas to focus on.

Find extra time

How many times have you said, “there are just not enough hours in the day.” If I had a dollar for every person that has said that, I would be a millionaire already. Although the solution is simple, many people get so caught up in the day-to-day that they forget to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Planning your days properly can save you time. In conducting a time audit, you will be surprised at how much time you can find/save. This saved time can be re-invested in more important endeavours. Here are a few time-saving approaches that will help:

  • Don’t schedule meetings before 11 a.m.: Travelling anywhere in any city before that time is simply inefficient.
  • Run errands counter to other people’s schedule, if possible: Run your personal errands on a Wednesday morning (return items to a store on a Wednesday 10 a.m., haircut, get car washed, etc.)
  • Outsource: hire people to do the things that take too much of your time (accountant, lawn cutting, house cleaning, etc.). Use that time to connect with friends and loved ones. That is balance! And that is return on investment on time and finances.
  • Use technology: Technology exists to make life easier, so take advantage of it. For example, why would you spend time going into a store when you can use Amazon for shopping? When you do have to go somewhere, use technology to tell you how to get there fastest. I use Waze every time I get in the car.

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On the Therapeutic Power of Writing

We do a lot of writing around here and can often find it a great way to get out of our heads for a bit. Read this piece from Wit & Delight to learn about the therapeutic power of writing. 

“Coming to terms with the reality of a situation doesn’t just mean you understand or accept it. To come to terms with something, you must quite literally be able to put it into words.” And with that declaration, the scattered college professor was cemented in my memory as a Real Teacher. Two sentences cleared up one cliché phrase to show me why we write.

Some claims aren’t hard to sell: too much TV will rot our brains, cigarettes will rot our lungs, and leaving the fridge door open will cool the whole neighborhood. Mom said it all, I never asked for evidence. In this way, I didn’t argue when I was told that writing, journaling, or other written expression could be beneficial.

The research is there: scholars such as Dr. James Pennebaker say that emotional expression and disclosure can improve physical and emotional health, professional functioning, and success in relationships. These assertions held true for me. Recording my observations on my own thoughts and feelings would generally bring about self-knowledge and insight. Blank pages provided safety and space to express vulnerable topics or thoughts. Without an audience, I took the time to process complex issues. When I flipped back to past entries, I could see progress. The physical action of writing allowed me to process more deeply than when I just thought about the same topics.

But I was tired and overwhelmed. Or lazy. Or busy. Even a long list of benefits in the “pro” column didn’t move me to carve out writing time regularly. Taking time to pin down moving thoughts took concentration and energy. I could easily settle into the hazy cloud of unknowing when I forgot about how much I benefitted from those moments of awareness.

And so, for any who also suffer from a tendency to avoid the things that actually help, I offer you three brief examples of how you can move past the excuses and write for therapeutic benefit. The click-bait title of this article would be “Three Great Ways to Improve Immune Functioning, Process Psychological Distress and Construct a Coherent Narrative of Your Life!” True, but wordy.

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Self Preservation Society – A Journey in Self-Care.

This isn’t an article about the song ‘Self Preservation Society’ from the film The Italian Job or a kind of weird jam, but I think the title is apt and the subject something that I’ve been working on a lot recently.

I’ve been on a self-care journey for the past fifteen months. I got to a point where I was caring more for the people around me and taking no time to care for myself. You know that feeling of becoming so overwhelmed that in fact, you actually become completely unproductive? When you find that you can only do the bare minimum to get through the day, and you are existing ‘just because’? For me, mine was because I have a daughter, and because I have a job.

And then the tipping point came and it all came crashing down in June of last year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the crash in an odd way because if something hadn’t caved in I wouldn’t have known that the foundations had crumbled and I wouldn’t have known that I needed to rebuild.

The past fifteen months have been about that: rebuilding, rethinking, self-care, self preservation, and re-evaluating what I need to do in order to function and to make me an all-round better human being. Every day I feel as though I’m making positive changes, sometimes really small, hardly noticeable ones, but if I don’t manage to change something one day I won’t punish myself for it. Akin to going on a diet where you have one bad day so you throw the whole thing out of the window. I’m not doing that anymore, I’m not punishing myself for things that really don’t affect anyone else apart from me. If I don’t exercise one morning after I’d made a deal in my mind the night before it’ll be okay. The world won’t go all Chicken Licken’ and the sky definitely won’t fall in. I’ll exercise the following day instead.

My world is busy and I find it very easy to become consumed by everyone else’s needs and demands and make it all the more easy to forget my own, so little by little I’m putting systems in place. Systems work for me. It’s just me and the minx (and a tortoise) at home and a little forward thinking helps me enormously to keep ahead of myself which then allows time for me to find moments to breathe. Exercise works, even just a 20 minute walk, eating well – I make meal plans so I know exactly what to shop for and what I’m cooking. I used to be an avid reader but since becoming a mum I’ve found less time to lose myself in a book – now I’m forcing myself to sit down and read by scheduling it into my day. That might sound ludicrous but it works for me, and I really enjoy the switch off.

If we don’t stop to breathe, and take it all in then what’s the point? It’ll pass us by in a flash and I for one want to be present and enjoy it all.

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How Women’s Networking is Transforming in London

Networking is important in every industry, but it is ESPECIALLY important in the world of PAs and freelancers. This great piece (originally from Standard.co.uk) talks about how networking for professional women is changing in London. 

Forget forced encounters in soulless venues — a wave of women-centric groups is putting the fun back into making connects, writes Alix O’Neill

Monday night at Jamavar, Mayfair’s hottest new Indian eatery. On the menu: small plates and small talk. Downstairs, women of varied ages and professions are milling around, champagne and gin cocktails in hand, while trays of malai stone bass tikka circle the candlelit room.

The vibe is chilled and welcoming. I arrive alone, but within minutes am happily chatting pregnancy and paneer (the veggie canapé is delicious) with a group of strangers.

It’s the restaurant’s inaugural Women’s Club — an evening of good food and scintillating conversation, featuring a different guest speaker each week. Tonight, journalist and former Polpetto head chef, Florence Knight, takes to the floor, dishing up the secrets to her success alongside the trials of working in a male-dominated field — the event was an instant sell-out. ‘Women want a relaxed environment where they can learn from one another,’ says Jamavar’s co-founder Samyukta Nair, 32.

‘Growing up surrounded by talented, powerful women, I learnt about the importance of self-belief. I started the Women’s Club not only as an antidote to Mayfair’s long-standing boys’ clubs, but also to share what my elders taught me.’ Although men are welcome, Nair believes women thrive in less conventional meet-and-greet set-ups. ‘It’s necessary to talk about our failures as well as our successes, and women are more comfortable than men in admitting their faults.’

Women’s networking is transforming. The days of having a business card shoved in your face as you nurse a glass of warm wine and a soggy vol-au-vent are over. A new wave of pop-ups and groups is providing a third space between work and play for London’s female professionals. The spirit is one of sharing, not selling. And there’s not a beige foodstuff in sight.

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How to Boost Your Immune System

It feels like proper Autumn here in London and with chilly weather (and back to school/work) comes illness. Here are some good tips to try and boost your immune system naturally. Originally posted on GoodtoKnow.co.uk. 

By Vicky Woollaston

If you think your immune system is weak or colder weather makes it weaker, just making 3 of these 10 changes can improve it dramatically.

1. Get plenty of sleep and rest. Your body rejuvenates and strengthens when it’s at rest so try and get between eight and ten hours a night.

2. Eat a balanced diet. Eating foods with high antioxidant levels (also known as superfoods) are great for your immune system. Fruit and vegetables, dairy products, melons, berries, dark greens, whole grains, and meat are all superfoods. Antioxidants are vitamins in your diet that can reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases and can give your immune system a boost.

3. Get moving! Exercise makes our body stronger, increases circulation of blood and nutrients, and helps flush the body of toxins. 

4. Drink plenty of water. This also helps flush the body of toxins and keeps you well hydrated.

5. Music cleanses the soul. Listening to your favorite music is a great way of reducing tension. You’ll know what kind of music gives you goosebumps or cheers you up so focus on those to lift your mood.

6. Turn down the volume though! Excessive noise can have an impact on your immune system and can leave you stressed or with a thumping headache so avoid having the TV turned right up, music blaring or the kids within 5 metres of you!

7. Laughter is the best medicine. It may be a cliche but it’s actually true. Laughing reduces stress hormones like adrenaline and increases your immune system cells that attack viruses.

8. Try not to take too many antibiotics or tablets. If you reach for a paracetamol every time you feel a headache coming on or regularly take antibiotics you could be damaging your immune system – your body will start to rely on the tablets rather than itself to get better.

9. Have more sex! When you’re ill it’s not exactly the first thing on your mind but increasing how much sex you have acts in the same way that exercise does. It releases ‘feel good’ hormones and gives you loads more energy. Energy your body needs to carry on fighting the diseases.

10. Give up smoking, or at least try cutting down. You don’t really need an excuse to give up the fags with all the warnings that are out there but it’s worth thinking long term about you and the people around you

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Restaurant Review – MOMMI, Clapham, London

To champion the ‘effortlessly healthy’ Nikkei tag for which they are renowned, MOMMI has strived towards an entirely gluten free food menu since their launch two years ago. The small plate, market style ethos with taste profiles hailing from Latin America and Japan has always encouraged a deliciously different dining experience – epic flavours and a striking execution. ‘Official’ gluten free accreditation from Coeliac UK is the ultimate stamp of approval.

I hadn’t been to MOMMI before last Friday, and figured the best test would be to take my friend who is coeliac with me. What a pair we are to go out to eat; she with her gluten allergy, me being vegetarian, and both of us with an intolerance for garlic and raw onion, a culinary nightmare we are well aware of…

As soon as we walked through the door of MOMMI on Clapham High Street last Friday evening we felt as though we’d found our Motherland. With a great friendly welcome, we were shown to a booth area overlooking the entire space. A decent size restaurant area on the left, plus a good size bar on the right, plus a stage area for live music – what?! Seriously, this is the ultimate combination isn’t it? Literally something for everyone.

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