The empowerment of women around money...

I have been told that I am empowering to others and that I am a great role model, particularly to women. Recently, I was approached by a friend Rachel, to write an article based on the empowerment of women around money as she had been inspired by my experiences. I find this immensely flattering. However, it’s not what I set out to do in my life. Following the most traumatic period in my life, it just seemed to happen. I only set out to survive, as we all do, and something wonderful happened. I learnt many life lessons, but above all, I learnt about money. When I look back on that time, I had no choice but to survive. Yes, all the experts will tell you, ‘you always have a choice’ . I didn’t. I had to make it work and the cliché, ‘failure is not an option’ regularly rang in my ears. I found myself in my mid-forties, a single parent with two daughters to bring up and no income, pension or cash to fall back on. It was not where I had expected to be at that age. I had fallen into that trap that many women do, of ‘letting someone else make the financial decisions’, i.e. a partner or husband. Without realising it, I had given all my power away. My youngest daughter had been chronically ill for a number of years so I couldn’t go out and ‘get a job’ as I was her carer when she wasn’t at school, which was often. I was living in a house I couldn’t afford, was struggling to come to terms with my new situation, looking after my children and trying to be positive. My world was upside down. In what seemed like a moment of madness, I decided to take on the risk of a massive buy-to-let mortgage (over half a million pounds), so I could rent the property out for cash flow to provide some income for myself and my two beautiful daughters. My first solo venture into property investing! Yes, I don’t do things by halves. I had no training and very little experience (I’d bought my first buy-to-let when I was 25 years old and sold it five years later, how I regret that now!) so I was doing it on a wing and a prayer and frankly, was absolutely terrified. I had little self-confidence at this point and kept telling myself, ‘What’s the worst that can happen? If it goes wrong, I’ll just sell it’. That sounds easy enough, but I risked losing everything I had and also the income that I was going to generate, which would have completely devastated me financially.

I took that risk and moved into my parents’ home with my children (how amazing are my parents?) and stayed there for almost two years. During that time, I read every self-development book I could find and found a course in professional property investment. From my parents’ kitchen table, I started my first business which has grown year-on-year. With lots of exceptional hard work, little sleep and lots of moral support from family and friends, I became financially free in 18 months. Shortly after, I was able to buy us a lovely apartment in a barn conversion to live in. That’s when I got my independence back! I was running my own life again and in control of my finances as I wanted to be. I wasn’t terrified about money anymore; my confidence had returned and I was able to generate the income I needed to look after my family. This was a major ‘money mind-set’ breakthrough for me.

Without a doubt, the best decision I made was that I was financially responsible for myself. No one else. Just me. After I’d made that decision, which was empowering in itself, I found my path and it was all about setting financial goals and working towards them. Some goals I hit and some I missed but that just made me more determined. I was so happy, even when I had very little money, to be able to make my own financial decisions. I worked with two mentors who guided me (with difficulty, I’m a maverick in every sense!) and I finally got to where I wanted to be with a regular passive income and time to look at other income stream options. I decided to move from a cash flow strategy and do a large million-pound flip at this point, which alarmingly did not go to plan. My confidence got slightly dented again, but I learnt so much from the experience which made me a better businesswoman and coach. It all worked out in the end but, wow, was it challenging!

With my confidence around money restored, I realised that start-up entrepreneurs need someone to lean on and I was happy to be that person and share my business experiences and knowledge. With the ethos, ‘If I can do it, you can do it!’ I set up a Female Mastermind Group to help some friends who were starting out in business which I ran for a year. We met monthly and goal setting, accountability and support were the keystones of the group. It was a great success and I received some fantastic feedback. I discovered I loved helping people start income generating businesses and I was good at it! My third business was born... business coaching. I gained clients mainly through recommendation, which made me feel very proud. I had become a ‘Money Magnet!’ and was getting the chance to empower other women who had been in similar situations to me. Today, in my early fifties, it’s a very different story to six years ago. I’m a multi- passionate entrepreneur and have multiple businesses. I work with clients from all over the world, which I absolutely love. I can make money and money holds no fear for me anymore. I understand the ebb and flow of money now, which I didn’t before. I know I will always be able to be financially independent for the rest of my life and that has given me the confidence and freedom I wanted. I’ve had many financial ‘shifts’ over the years and now create an additional new income stream every year. I’ve realised, although I kind of fell into being a female entrepreneur, it was the best thing for me to do to make money and improve my life. I love being my own boss, controlling my own finances and helping others to do the same. I am grateful for my wonderful life.