4 years as a Woman in Business. What have I learned?

Four Years As A Woman In Business, What Have I Learned?

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2021 marks the 4th year of The Female Money Doctor. and I cannot believe how it’s flown by!! I feel like I only just finished writing last year’s birthday blog.

This year feels different for me. I’m feeling more sure of myself in my capacity as a money coach, and my confidence has grown so much in the last 12 months. I feel that I’m stepping closer to my dream lifestyle of full time money coach every day.

Being a woman in business has been an incredible journey so far, and one that I wouldn’t change for anything.

Who Am I?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, I’m hoping by now that you know who I am, but if you’re finding me for the first time, I’m Dr Nikki, a money coach and a part-time NHS GP.

I finished my GP training in 2020, right before the pandemic hit the UK big time. So it’s safe to say that my experience as a fully qualified GP has been anything but ordinary!

I’ve been a doctor since I qualified from medical school in 2009. I first worked in obstetrics and gynaecology, but after 4 years I burned out. I couldn’t cope with the emotional drain, and so Ieft.

It was during the grown up gap year I had when I left that I realised what a financial disaster I was in. I made a vow to sort myself out, and when I returned to locum work to figure out my next move, I spent 2 years learning for others how to manage my finances. It was a hard 2 years. I felt stupid and annoyed at myself for getting into such a money mess.

But when I realised that other people were struggling in the same way, including patients and colleagues, I realised that I had a lot to offer to help, so the female money doctor blog was born.

My Career Transition

I loved writing about what I was learning, and at that stage, had no idea where it would lead me. I just wrote. Then I discovered that money coaches exist, and knew that was what I was going to do.

I decided to complete GP training because it would open up doors for sustainable work that would fit around building a coaching business. It offers variety, and I can still use my gynae-skills without the need for running around a hospital at night or on weekends. Not to mention the fact that by changing out of hospital medicine, I increased my salary too.

So I trained as a money coach, and here I am today!

It’s not that I don’t enjoy being a doctor – if I just got to see patients, that would be fine. What I don’t enjoy is the admin and the politics that goes with it, and to be honest, I feel like I’ve outgrown this career path.

I chose to be a doctor at the age of 16 after a teacher suggested that I could be one. It had never occurred to me before this – I wanted to be a primary school teacher!

It’s ironic that now I teach about managing money. I’ve come full circle, but I will always be grateful for the doctor path. It taught me a lot about myself, has given me a career that opens doors, not only in the UK, but abroad too if I wanted to leave.

How Has The Last Year Been?

The last 12 months have been hard work, but really fulfilling. I’ve been making major changes to my website to make it more user-friendly and professional looking, plus I’m a lot tighter on my branding now. It’s taken a few iterations to be happy with the colours and style that I now use consistently across everything I do… I work mostly solo, so it takes a while to get everything aligned! One day I’m sure I’ll have someone to do this for me, but for now, I do it myself.

I launched 2 new courses in the last year to complete the trilogy – The Money Fit Bootcamp and Money Mindset Reset. These compliment The Beginner’s Investing Success Plan, so that if someone took all three, they would have an incredible foundation of financial knowledge to build sustainable wealth.

That has always been the driving force behind everything I do. I dislike the “get rick quick” messages being put out on social media. I’ve been caught out myself right at the start of my money journey, and now 6 years into it, I know what complete BS most of it is. Get rich quick doesn’t exist – unless you win the lottery of course.

What About Accomplishments?

The biggest accomplishment of the last 12 months has been the Natwest Accelerator Program. I was accepted onto it just as the pandemic hit, and wrestled with the idea that I was “abandoning” medicine for my own needs, but thankfully some good friends helped me to see how important what I’m doing in my business helps people in so many ways too.

So I took on the program, and it was incredible! With my personal mentor Penny, I worked out some goals I wanted to hit with my business, and then set about building the systems and structures to help achieve it. I learned about tracking business KPIs and finances (it’s totally different to personal finances!). I felt like pinocchio going from a wooden puppet to a real boy! My blog is no long a “side-hustle” – The Female Money Doctor is a business.

I’ve also been nominated for 2 awards so far this year – The Woman Who Achieves Awards and The British Bank Awards for Best Online Influencer. I’m so excited to see the outcome!

What Have Been My Biggest Take-Aways In Business So Far?

There are so many things that building a business has taught me, and if you’re thinking about starting one, or you’re right at the start of one, then this is what I would say to myself if I was in your position now. And with only 1 in 3 entrepreneurs in the UK being female, we need more women to step up and start their own ventures!

At almost every stage, women are less likely to pursue entrepreneurship: Just 8.6% of all UK women surveyed said they plan to start a business in the next three years, compared to 14.3% of men – The Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship

Persistence Is Key

I can’t tell you how big this element is to the whole deal of building a business. It’s EVERYTHING. I have wanted to give up so many times, because let’s face it, it’s easier for me to make money as a doctor right now than it is through money coaching. Yet something keeps me going. It’s a why bigger than myself – it’s the fact that we need more voices talking about money and helping people with money. From all different backgrounds, races, cultures and genders. What I do is needed, and by keeping that close to my heart, I get through the bad days. The days when I feel like I’m being ignored, when I feel everyone thinks I suck, and when I feel like a complete failure.

So persistence for me has been absolutely vital.

Consistency

I realised that the online space is very competative and very noisy, especially since the pandemic hit. A lot more businesses are going online now, and in order to be “seen”, I’ve had to be consistent. I’ve probably overstretched myself by being on a lot of social media platforms at once, but I’m building more regularity of posting and I’ve got outside help to do this so that I can show up more consistently. I also plan out what I want to do each month, and while this doesn’t always work out, it helps to have a structure to follow so I don’t always have to come up with new ideas on the fly.

It isn’t easy doing this with a full-on job 3 days a week as a GP, but I use the 2 days I do have really well. It’s amazing how a set amount of time focuses my attention to get the important things done. So if you’re reading this and thinking you don’t have time – if you can dedicate even a few hours a week to building your business, it’s incredible what you can get done in dedicated time like that.

Individuality

There is no one size fits all in business. What I am now understanding is that someone’s “system” for building a business is not necessarily going to work for everyone. I had a habit of flitting between ideas and it was impacting on my mental health. When it wasn’t working I was blaming myself, but actually, it just wasn’t a great fit for my money personality (which impacts on the way I do business).

So my business model is a mash-up of the bits that I like from all the “systems” I have been taught. I want to be able to offer something on all levels, right from free to personalised 1:1 coaching. Perhaps it’s not the “easiest” or most “lucrative” way to get started, but how I run things feels good to me. And when I feel good it shows up in my coaching, my writing, my speaking and my creativity.

So do things your way – only you know what’s best.

Support

There is no way I would be 4 years in without help and support, especially from the amazing women in my community who have been keeping me going through the years by commenting, liking, interacting and cheerleading for me. Without them, I have no business, and I never forget this.

I’ve also had numerous coaching, mentors and like-minded business friends to help me on my way. Some people who know who I am and who happily go for a coffee, lunch or a walk with me, and some people who have no idea I exist, but who have inspired me with their words and videos.

I’ve spent A LOT of money on personal development, mindset training, coaching, education, materials, software and lately, a VA, a copywriter, a business consultant and branding photos. But it’s all worth it, and with each piece that slots into place, the closer I get to reaching my goals. I don’t believe in mistakes. I always learn something – even from the things I probably shouldn’t have purchased (#noregrets).

Get help before you think you need it, because trust me, you need it.

Final Thoughts

Being a woman in business is not easy. If you have kids, it’s even harder. It’s much easier to work in a job, climb up the ladder, negotiate higher salaries and use your income to create assets, like stockmarket investing or property.

But…

It’s not impossible.

Being in business is exhilerating. I learn something new all the time, and I have the freedom to be creative and do things how I want to do them. Am I perfect at it? Definitely not. I still have a lot more to learn, but with every passing year, I get a little bit stronger and a little bit wiser.

Comparison is still something I do from time to time, especially with people who say they make “millions” and have been in their current business for the same length of time, but I know it’s not a fair comparison, so I’m doing this less and less now. I am where I am with the background I have, and the starting point I have come from. Prior to starting The Female Money Doctor, I had no knowledge of marketing, social media, speaking, editing, branding, copywriting, email, sales or literally ANYTHING to do with running an online business, and I’ve been learning as I’ve gone, with time limitations and working as a doctor in the middle of pandemic.

That’s my superpower… what’s yours? Go and make it happen, whatever starting position you’re at. You have just has much capacity to be a successful woman in business as anyone, dream big and go for it!

Until next time,

 

 

 

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Fiona Chapman
19 days ago

I’ve loved watching your journey from way back when we first met in the online space, and have been very blessed for us to have crossed paths. So glad you persevered, you’re an inspiration to so many women xx

Becki
Becki
21 days ago

Very inspiring Nikki and wish you every success!
Totally hear you on the learning everything about running a business on the side of a medical career and nice to know I’m not the only one who feels sometimes like it would just be easier to throw in the towel, go to work and earn. It is a growth journey in itself!

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