Along with #onfleek and #givingmelife, #girlboss has become one of the most hashtagged phrases on Instagram – 9 million times in fact. Although it’s been knocking around since 2014 when Nastygal founder Sophia Amoruso launched her sell-out memoir of the same name, it really came into its own last year. And it’s not all that surprising why. In the midst of the gender pay gap and the Me Too movement, it’s fair to say that women are having their moment. Whether this provokes eye rolls or fist pumps, it’s undeniable that important conversations are being had. I, for one, love the girl boss term – sure, it’s overused and gimmicky but it came at a time when I needed it most and I’ve got a sneaky suspicion it helped me get to where I needed to be.
There is a definite relationship between the term and the number of women going self employed and starting their own business over the last few years. Whether it’s economic downturn, a desired sense of freedom or the online reach we now have, there are so many women killing it in their field. From kitchen table start-ups to pushing for promotions, we’re all starting to test the boundaries we’ve been confined to for so long and use our heroes as inspiration to go further and create our own personal brand. With the rise of social media sensations, vloggers and bloggers taking the world by storm, the creative has collided with the business savvy and it’s leading to some seriously exciting opportunities.
For me, 2017 was all about the girl boss. As I contemplated my future at a time when I knew the next 12 months would be full of change, I really struggled with the decision I knew I had to make. I’ve always considered myself a pretty confident person. Ambitious? Of course. Determined? Definitely. I considered myself to be good at my job, other people certainly told me so and I wasn’t short of the odd bonus or two – I could quite happily have carried on unchallenged, doing the role with my eyes closed. Managerial issues aside (ahem), I knew it couldn’t last. I began to not care about my work, become overly frustrated with decisions that were made around me and knew that the skills I had accumulated over the last decade were dying every day I was there.
Ok, I know that might sound a little dramatic but there comes a time when you have to know your own worth. This is definitely something I’m still learning but the chances are you’re price tag should be a lot higher than it is when you define your expertise. I spent the next couple of months embroiled in legalities and my days were spent listening to girl boss podcasts (sidenote: Being Boss, Keeping It Candid, Smart Passive Income and Let’s Discuss are worth a listen!). Every time I would drown out the office camaraderie with my headphones and get lost in the rags-to-riches tales and stories of rejections that led to success. I felt inspired every single time. These women were incredible – the self belief and determination was infectious and I wanted to follow suit.
I knew it would be hard. It is hard! And it doesn’t happen overnight, if ever. But, I turned 30 late last year, I’m going to be a married woman in a few months and had a team of builders on standby to create our perfect home. If there was ever a more imperfectly perfect time to do something grown-up and scary it was then. It was now. So here, in my third month as freelance, I definitely don’t consider myself a girl boss as much as an intern of my own business, but I’m slowly finding my way and making up what I don’t know. It’s scary and pressured and challenging but I’ve never felt so alive and appreciative of women who have paved the way for this to even be an option. I’m forever grateful to them and I think we should all be in support of them. Girl boss doesn’t have to be a novelty, it can be a term that we use to raise each other up.
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