My answer was about bringing more realistic female entrepreneur role models into the public eye.
I feel that most of the female entrepreneurs on TV are quite pushy (l know that the men are sometimes pushy too but in my opinion the women are often much more aggressive and extreme).
If you watch a show like The Apprentice, you notice that whilst some of the female candidates are not like this, the ones who get the most air-time are often fairly appalling.
I realise this is because it makes great TV (I love watching too!) but actually l can imagine that if you are a woman watching and wondering about starting a business you could easily end up thinking ‘I can’t possibly start a business because I am not like that and don’t want to become like that either!’.
When ‘normal’ businesses are featured on TV they are often failing or struggling in rescue-type programmes.
Then, stereotypical business people (often women in shoulder pads) come and tell them all what to do, in a rather pushy manner l might add.
Again, great TV, but actually, the implication is that these ‘weak’ and ‘normal’ business owners can’t actually do it on their own without somebody a bit more aggressive coming in and sorting them out.
Which again reinforces this idea that you have to be like the stereotype to succeed.
The light-bulb moment
During my interview with the journalist, l explained that I thought it would be a good idea for female entrepreneurs who don’t fit the shouty, shoulder-pad stereotype to be featured more on TV and in the press generally because, believe it or not, there are some of us that do exist who try to be quite nice to everybody whilst we run our businesses.
My experience of starting a business
What struck me is that when I started my business I was just somebody with a huge passion for jewellery. I wanted to create a business because back then there was no such thing as affordable, properly designed, unpretentious bespoke jewellery.
The lack of anybody else offering this fuelled my passion further and there was no stopping me. I was prepared to change the industry if I could to forge a place for what I wanted to create.
Back then I was simply somebody with a business idea and a lot of passion to make something new work.
But now everybody talks about creating entrepreneurs. I didn’t even realise that what l am is an ‘entrepreneur’ until a couple of years ago.
So really when people are successful in starting businesses I don’t think they are often striving to be entrepreneurs but actually they are just passionate people who want to do something different.
So then perhaps the real question should be ‘how can we encourage more females with a passion to actually follow their dreams?’.
It is easy to find people with a passion to do something but how do we protect and nurture this?
I think some good role models would be a good start.
My solution to the problem
It would be great to see a series of business documentaries profiling different people who have started successful businesses telling the story of how they got there.
And I don’t mean just the multimillionaire mega successful ones – I mean ordinary people making a good living out of their passion.
In my opinion this would really inspire more people to take the plunge; seeing people they can really relate to explaining the steps they took.
And when it comes to encouraging particularly female start-ups then we need to interview female entrepreneurs about this – how do they make it work? Are they happy with any compromises they made? If they have children how did they make childcare work? Showing it is possible would be a good and inspiring step forward.
So let’s just see some great entrepreneurs who are successful and a bit more gentle and clear and a bit more….’normal’ into the public eye. Not too much to ask is it?