This week, we catch up with Ashley Howe — Founder of Thrive Hub. In today’s interview, Ashley discusses life as an entrepreneur and the advantages, disadvantages of being a woman business owner. Here’s her story:
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I am a mindset coach for women who are struggling with their confidence in the early or startup stages of their business. Maybe it is showing up as procrastination, fear of failing, imposter syndrome, or not feeling good enough. I give them the tools they need, mixed in with some Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques to overcome it.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I really wanted to help to empower women and give them the tools to go out there and get what they want. When I started coaching, I kept coming back to two themes – changing your career or setting up your own business. I have changed careers and started my own businesses a few times throughout my life, and I saw in myself how a lack of confidence can really stop you in your tracks and hold you back from doing the thing that your heart is telling you it wants. This is where working on your mindset can really help you to shine, and I have been working on mine for as long as I can remember. I wanted to share what I learnt with others who could use my help.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
Before this, I was a copywriter working for myself and for a period as a contractor. This definitely isn’t my first rodeo. I have set up my own business a few times in my life at various different points with varying success. The copywriting business I had was successful but I wanted to shift into something where I was helping people more directly.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Listen to what it is that you really want and start making steps towards it. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Take small steps often and you will make progress. And if you fail, look at how you can learn from it.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
I had a crippling fear of failure. I would spend HOURS watching TV and not doing the things I said I wanted to do. I was a mega procrastinator and would find anything else to do, apart from the task I said I wanted to do. I had to really listen to myself and try to figure out why I was doing it, and when I realized it was because I was scared to fail, I changed the story. I told myself “I have already failed if I don’t go out there and try, so why not try anyway?”
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
I changed my life entirely when I was 21. I used to be a very negative person, and I thought I had to do certain things in order to be seen as successful. I was in the middle of a burnout, in therapy and my cortisol levels were through the roof. When a friend said to me that I could choose and I didn’t have to have this life, something clicked and in that moment I decided to make a change. I went travelling, met someone and moved to the Netherlands. My outlook changed from one of doom and gloom to one of positivity (with a healthy dose of realism mixed in for good measure). Of course, I still made mistakes – but I knew that I could choose the life I wanted and that I was always in the driver’s seat and this has led many of my decisions.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
I am very flexible when it comes to my work. My main goal for my business is that I have the freedom and flexibility to work when I want to. Building my business around the hours that I am available and taking into account any activities outside of that is so important.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
All women who go out there and create a life that they want and choose. If that is working a 9-5, owning your own business, or looking after kids full time. Whatever your version of success looks like for you and then going out and taking action to get it is super inspiring.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
I really just wanted to help people, and help them to make positive change in their lives. It is my mission to empower and uplift women everywhere to go after what they want with confidence, authenticity and power no matter what it is they want to do.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
I think doing things that scare me is something that I have always done to make sure I am out of my comfort zone regularly and trying new things. In this way, I am used to being flexible when things aren’t working and changing it up to try a different tactic to reach my goals, and I find it easier to do the uncomfortable thing – two things that really help when you are an entrepreneur.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMAN BUSINESS OWNER?
I think being clear on your goals is important and work around the hours you have available – don’t forget to take into consideration household chores, time with family or friends, any courses you might be taking, work (if you have a 9-5). Really examine how much time you actually have. If you have a minimum amount of hours available, what do you need to do to outsource or swap services so that you can maximize the results?
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
Calendly hands down. It connects to my calendar and makes booking meetings and calls an absolute breeze because the other person can check their calendar based on my availability without the back and forth of emails asking when people are available.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
To be yourself. Even if you think you need to be a certain way to start your business, take it from someone who spent years caring a lot about whether other people thought I was successful. As soon as I was myself, there was less pressure to perform and everything became much more relaxed, I was less stressed and everyone benefited. Then you start attracting customers who are aligned to YOU and your personality.