Many of you may know her as the Financial Times’ Mrs Moneypenny—successful businesswoman, author and financial advice guru for women. But over the past few years, I have also been fortunate enough to know her as my mentor, role model and friend.
Heather McGregor has spent a career advocating on behalf of women at all stages of their lives and careers, ensuring they have the necessarily resources and skills to succeed, particularly in what at times feels like a male dominated business world.
Her books have guided countless women on a path toward career success and financial freedom. And, in my opinion has put a clear stamp on the antiquated (and overused) question, can women have it all. So much so that even Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, commented on Heather’s last book stating, “this wisdom-filled guide obliterates the myth that women can “have it all”… and redefines success and happiness for everyone.”
So, you can imagine my excitement, and surprise, when Heather informed me that I would be featured in her most recent book “Mrs Moneypenny's Financial Advice for Independent Women.”
I first met Heather at the Women in Business conference when I was a student at London Business School. Immediately inspired by her message, I emailed her looking for a mentor who was also a female entrepreneur. I was not surprised when she said no (another important lesson that she has taught me over the years), but delighted when, three months later, she asked me to be her summer intern. Working with Heather jumpstarted MOVE Guides, providing me with the initial capital to pay developers working on my idea and the professional support I needed to persevere, despite any roadblocks one encounters with startups.
In her book, she discusses key elements that hold women entrepreneurs back. One that I see frequently mentioned is that women lack self-confidence. Starting a new business can be extremely daunting, but in order to build a successful business you must believe in yourself and have passion for what you are doing.
After an extremely frustrating move to London, I realized that a massive gap in the global mobility and relocation marketplace was an opportunity in front of me. I was determined to create a technology service that appealed to a changing work demographic and that also made relocation a user-friendly, and even fun experience. Sounds easy, right? Nope.
Another factor that can be a road barrier for women starting a business and that takes a lot of determination is funding. Well aware that we all have unique personal circumstances, Heather lays out a helpful roadmap in her book, with personal anecdotes (including mine), for funding your startup. These include using equity investors (my path), self investing and growing through cash flow or borrowing money.
We all have to start somewhere; in my case I worked very hard to find equity investors who also shared my unique vision for MOVE Guides. In the months working for Heather, I used my earnings to pay developers to create my business idea in order to have something to show equity investors.
Also featured in Heather’s book are inspiring quotes from our key investors who have played an essential role in creating MOVE Guides and continue to foster our growth on a daily basis.
Jos White, partner at Notion Capital, explained.
“The service takes advantage of three of the biggest trends in the technology industry – cloud computing, mobile and internationalization – and meets the expectations of a new generation of employees. In this way, we believe they have what it takes to disrupt their industry and build a very big business.”
Patrick Chung, partner at NEA, commented.
“It takes great people to build great companies, and relocation has always been one of the most challenging – and often frustrating – aspects of the hiring process. We are excited to work with Brynne and the team at MOVE Guides to build on the company’s tremendous momentum, and capture the global market opportunity for a next-generation relocation service.”
Everyone’s story is different, but the same lessons apply to us all. Find a great mentor to support your professional growth, have confidence and passion in your business, and as Heather puts it, “if you find a market need, and are prepared to invest your sweat in equity, then the backing is there.”
I am honoured that Heather chose to use my experiences starting MOVE Guides as a guide for fellow women entrepreneurs seeking advice from Mrs MoneyPenny. Her mentorship and support has played an invaluable role in my career, and hopefully I will get the opportunity to pay the favour forward with the next generation of female entrepreneurs looking to shake up business as usual!