Can You Run a Successful Business and Be True to Yourself? A Feminine Model of Business?
I’d better add a health warning to this post. I’ve just completed another RenewYou licensing event and once again been overwhelmed by the friendship and support so may just be a bit emotional…but I see nothing wrong with that. I’m a human, we emote. There’s been quite a bit of media-chat about women and friendship of late, mostly to the effect that women don’t make good friendships or look after each other in business.
Generally I just snort at such things and move on but as you can see, this time I couldn’t resist.
It is the stuff of relationship type mags about whether men and women can truly be platonic friends; I have a couple of good mates who are men, but my really good friends are women. I mean the ones I can talk about anything with; the ones who will encourage me to do well, who share my triumphs and not just my disasters. (I’ve had a few of the latter…haven’t we all?).
I was at the gym a while back (this is a rare occurrence I will acknowledge) taking an exercise class. All women. I didn’t know a soul there and haven’t been exercising for a bit (ahem). I was warmly received into the group and looked after during the next vigorous hour! No competition, just encouragement. My glowing face at the end was not just from the unaccustomed exercise but the friendliness extended to me. No body fascism, just support.
When I launched RenewYou and had my first licensing event in March 2013 I knew I wanted to create that gym atmosphere. No, I don’t ask the trainers to do star jumps or jump through hoops of any sort, but I do consciously try to choose women who have a genuine commitment to women’s development and to supporting other women when they can.
Initially it felt a bit like a contradiction in terms; I wanted women who were going to have enough drive and passion to get out there and deliver the course, but I didn’t want to create a competitive environment where the trainers were trying to outdo each other and saw each other as rivals. The latter might have made sense in terms of generating income but no sense in terms of my values and what I’m trying to do with RenewYou. Yet in a way all the RenewYou specialists are competitors. They are all delivering RenewYou to women and could find themselves vying for the same clients.
As I write we’re almost at 60 specialist RenewYou trainers and we most certainly don’t have a competitive, cut throat, back stabbing climate. We have managed to create absolutely the reverse. One of my inspirations for this business model was Sam Roddick. This is an extract from my interview with her:
I think women work better as a teams not competitively against each other, include a sense of true well being in the work place, sense of dress would change, emotional expression would be included and I truly believe that women want to have their values and ethics included in what they do, to have something to believe in .
When it became apparent that RenewYou was taking off I made a very conscious decision to do it my way. We’re still a small business so that’s relatively easy but I see no reasons why the principles of support and friendliness cannot grow with us. Most business models are traditionally male and hierarchical and a business is deemed a success if it makes lots of money.
While I am a business woman and obviously need to make some money it is not at the heart of what I do. My business is based on choosing good women and respecting their individuality and knowledge. We have a private facility on my website where trainers can talk and share ideas and the generosity of that group is overwhelming. In all honesty it has the power to move me to tears. I feel so pleased that we are managing to create a supportive environment where the women who are helping me to spread confidence and inspiration to other women, are also gaining support and development themselves. Just don’t tell me women don’t support each other. I beg to differ.
If you’d like to know more about the RenewYou project, click this link.