WORKING can be a lonely business.
Lots of us nowadays have a ‘side-hustle’ (whether we’re making money from it or it’s simply a passion project) and some women have made the leap into being their own bosses, or dream of doing so.
But working from home, or for yourself, or even as a manager at a company, can be isolating. Hands up if you suffer from imposter syndrome? *throws both hands in the air, writhes around like one of those inflatable creatures outside a car lot in mid-west America*
I’m sure I’ll write about this again in later posts, but do I lack self-belief? Yes. When I tell people what I do and they say ‘wow, that’s amazing, you’ve achieved so much’, I sheepishly say ‘thank you’ but on the inside I’m thinking ‘I know, and it won’t be long before they find out how crap I am and what a huge mistake they’ve made in hiring me.’
It’s not always logical. Are there things I could improve? Sure. But all in all, I’m doing alright. I work bl**dy hard, I know that much.
Even this website had me losing sleep. The truth is that I’ve had a website for a number of years. When I was a bit younger I built up quite a decent following…and then what happened? Someone made a comment about how sad I was to have a blog. And I was so low on self-confidence that you know what I did? I believed them!
And I hugely regret it. Think where I would be with it today if I hadn’t given up – if I as surrounded by supportive people who know collaboration wins over competition every time. Now I am a lot more comfortable in my own skin and I know who I am. I’m not going to apologise for doing what I do. But even so…when I started to consider giving it a go again….I was filled with self-doubt. That person’s words were going round and round in my mind.
So who do you go to for advice or inspiration or to help pick you back up when you’re crippled with doubts?
Something happened recently that has hugely helped give me the boost I needed – I met lots of inspiring, amazing women at the launch of the Girl Tribe Gang (GTG).
The Girl Tribe Gang is a members-only collective for women who work for themselves or aspire to. It was founded ex NHS Strategist, turned female-only psychotherapist and mum-of-four, Catherine Asta Labbett last year.
Since then it’s seen phenomenal growth and now there’s a branch in Reading (of which I’m a member).
The Reading branch has been set up by Michelle Bennett, who works in HR and owns Rain & Rose event planning/decor hire (its mission is to make event styling and decor accessible for all, not just large-scale events) Oh, and she’s also a mum-of-two. So it’s fair to say Michelle is a busy woman – the definition of the phrase #girlboss.
She launched the Reading gang after attending the Bucks GTG and feeling inspired. You can get tickets for any of the meet-ups or become a member here
Now, I don’t work for myself. But I do have, as I’ve said, those moments of self-confidence crisis. It’s something I think lots of women in the corporate world are dealing with, but we’re taught to suck it up and internalise any fears or worries we have.
Being surrounded by a supportive network of women doing it for themselves and juggling so many things, has really given me a confidence boost. Business doesn’t have to be a ‘dog eat dog’ world – that’s such an outdated notion. All of the women I’ve met through the GTG are supporting eachother’s dreams and talking about the real things too – guess what? It’s okay to say you’re having a rubbish day. You don’t have to be a robot or cutthroat to succeed. And most importantly, you can succeed on your own terms.
Girl Tribe Gang advertises providing an alternative to traditional corporate networking with ‘no suits, no hotels, no corporate nonsense, no breakfast meetings, no sticky name labels, no eating in front of strangers, no board tables, no awkward introductions, no men and no death by power point presentations’.
“This is a really exciting venture for me and one I’m honoured to be involved in,” says Michelle. “I’m looking forward to finding like minded women in my community, women who are working from their kitchen table or home office doing work that works for them and their family – and bringing every-one together. It’s all about creating a community of like minded women, a level playing field and an eco-system of support and encouragement amongst women who totally get what it feels like to be on your own in business.”
Catherine said: “Girl Tribe Gang is enjoying roaring success and is growing at a pheonomenal rate across the country with TRIBES already established in Yorkshire, North West, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, London, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Essex and the South West. Our TRIBE has brought together many women who were at the height of their corporate careers, but who craved more freedom and flexibility and wanted to quit the 9-5. I’ve found so many women out there who have achieved so much and have so much experience to share, but who felt they needed support when going along.
“On our team of TRIBE BOSSES, we have an ex Retail Head Buyer, a Corporate Accountant, Director of Communications, Probation Officer, HR Director, Foreign Office Executive (to name just a few) and I was a strategist at a senior level in the NHS – we have all quit the corporate world to set up our own business.
“We share knowledge, skills and support each other and it’s a network that we all hugely value. I’m sure there are lots of female entrepreneurs in York who would benefit from the same thing, and I’m so excited to see who Jo (name of tribe leader) discovers!”
You can watch a video about the Girl Tribe Gang here
Catherine added: “There is a whole generation of women who are taking risks and following their dreams and we are a hidden workforce. We are a workforce that connects predominantly on social media, but we need more ‘real life’ connection and to be connecting with the right people who are going through similar things.”
Through Catherine’s experience with the women she sees in her clinic, she says that she’s “found that even the most successful business women have confidence issues, suffer from imposter syndrome and generally lack self-belief. So, we’ve stripped back all the things that create unnecessary barriers to networking.”
For more about Catherine, visit www.bringingsparkleback.co.uk