Lessons learned by a Creative Agency Girlboss
Earlier this year I was asked by the Exeter Uni to speak to a group of female students about being a female creative agency owner. As part of Global Entrepreneur’s Week, Thursday the 19th, was named ‘Women Entrepreneur’s Day‘.
The brief was to discuss my career history and the lessons I’ve learned on the journey to being a creative agency owner. So here is a summary of the points that felt important to mention:
1) Stay curious. Having a wide range of interests is not a bad thing. I truly believe that curiosity leads to opportunity.
3) Read more. It’s important to continue learning and expanding your knowledge. More than one view in on any one subject leads to a better understanding.
4) My Feminism. It’s not about man-hating and it’s not even about being pro-women. It’s about balance. And knowing that you have the right to question whether there is balance.
5) Be your true, authentic self. Fitting into societal moulds is boring. Be true to who you are. Other people will appreciate you more for being ‘the true you’ than if you try to censor it. I admire strong, authentic women, those with personalities bigger than their celebrity: Caitlin Moran, Karren Brady, Sarah Silverman, Lena Dunham, Courney Love, Sophie Amoruso and Amy Poehler.
6) ‘Femininity’ is a myth. After many years of studying the media and marketing I conclude that ‘femininity’ is a cultural and societal construct. A mass-marketing pigeon-hole, if you like. Never do anything because you are a women – the rule of thumb is to ask ‘are the boys doing this?’.
7) Too nice, is. Respect yourself first and then others will respect you.
8) Post-uni blues. No one ever tells you when you’re studying at university that you’ll probably spend 5+ years in entry-level jobs post-university. If you have career goals then be prepared to play the long-game.
9) Mistakes are what move you forward. Success moves you up. Mistakes will happen – they’re what propel you forward. Make sure you know what success looks like for you. Then work out all of the milestones that will get you to your main goals. If it’s not written on paper, then it’s probably not going to happen.
10) Ask ‘Why?’. Don’t just jump because you’ve been asked to. Make sure you know WHY you’re doing something. If you understand the bigger picture then you may have a better way of completing the task at hand.
11) Don’t assume anything. If there is event a tiny element of doubt – ask… No shame in that. Assumptions lead to mistakes.
12) ‘I did it!’. All of the little celebrations of success feed your courage.
13) Trust your instincts. Life is too short to see out wrong choices. Listen to and trust your gut. If you’ve made the wrong decision, change it. Never ‘put up’ with anything. And remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
14) It’s not a competition – it’s a collaboration. Let’s move forward, together.
This process has felt like a ‘letter to my younger self’. Many of these things were real light bulb moments for me (so far!). Maybe, I’ll come back and write Part 2 in another decade…
By Cath Harris