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March is all about celebrating women, with International Women’s Day having started off the month and the entire month being a commemoration of women’s impact on history.
As Undiscovered Mountains is a company founded and run by a successful woman, we decided to utilise this occasion to launch our own guide providing support and inspiration for other women looking to succeed in business.
We spoke to 15 of the brightest business minds around the globe, including our own wonder woman Sally Guillaume, and asked these 15 inspirational women to share with us their secrets of success.
From women who have started their own business to women running the reigns in top leadership positions to women who have set up organisations to help make a difference in the world, each of these women have an incredible story of success.
We asked them to share their number one piece of advice for other women looking to succeed in business – whether it was how they overcame challenges, where they derived their motivation to get started, or what they believe played the biggest factor in success – here’s what they had to say.
Sharon Vinderine, Canada
Becoming an entrepreneur is not for the weak of heart. Be sure your business idea excites you and motivates you to continue on the emotional rollercoaster ride of being an entrepreneur. There will be more downs than ups, but if you have found your true passion, you will be continuously motivated to succeed.
- Sharon Vinderine, Founder & CEO, PTPA Media
Karoli Hindriks, Estonia
Building a vision is a bit like rock climbing. The main thing is not to look down since you may get dizzy. On each of our personal journeys up those rocks, we will all have our successes and our failures. And whether we succeed or fail, it’s because we are human and not because we are girls. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Karoli Hindriks, Founder, Jobbatical
Diane Janknegt, The Netherlands
Success is all about the team. A successful team can overcome all challenges. So don’t hire a copycat of yourself. Always try to hire people who are much smarter than you are. That will make your life so much nicer.
- Diane Janknegt, Founder, Wizenoze
Simone Bresi-Ando, UK
Your business and the market will teach you what works, what doesn't and areas you need to improve upon - listen to how it speaks to you. Hire experts who engage in your vision. Sweat the small stuff, take the biggies in your stride. You're ready for this, you will win.
Erika Geraerts, Australia
No matter your gender, work with patience, persistence, and curiosity; bother to be better and focus on what you can control. And finally, understand that the hard thing about hard things is that they’re hard. Deal with it.
Kristi Grigsby, USA
One word: believe. If you’ve come from an environment where ideas are stifled by roadblocks and naysayers, take some time to retrain your brain and embrace your new awesome ability to see it, believe it, and achieve it.
- Kristi Grigsby, Founder, STEM Girls Books
Nikeisha Andersson, Sweden
Persistence. discipline and patience. That has been 3 elements that kept me strong and kept me focused to keep working hard. There are no competitors unless you invite them into your world. Focus on yourself and make sure you are always doing 11 when your opponent is doing 10. Believe in yourself, read about "impossible" things that have become possible to motivate yourself. Trust no one, accept yourself since you are the only one that is doing You. And most importantly, learn from your failures and do better the next time.
- Nikeisha Andersson, Founder, Nikeisha Andersson Film
Diana Verde Nieto, UK
The shots never taken are the ones you miss. It is better to try, and fail than to wonder what might have happened – and when you do try, make it count. Don't give up because it's hard: try different things, in different ways, and stick to it. After all, creativity and entrepreneurship are similar to love: they require a leap of faith.
– Diana Verde Nieto, Co-Founder & CEO, Positive Luxury
Vanesa Kolodziej, Argentina
You can achieve anything you wish when you put an end to your fears. It´s extremely easy. It might sound a little odd, but picture yourself dead. Yes, really. Once you fully understand that there´s nothing to lose, your fears will evaporate, and you will dare to transform your dreams into your reality.
- Vanesa Kolodziej, General Manager, Xpand Ventures
Achenyo Idachaba, Nigeria
Have a vision. Without it, you’ll flounder. A vision of what you want to do and why. Your vision doesn’t have to necessarily be cast in stone but it will help you remain focused in the midst of the many distractions that are out there to throw you off course.
- Achenyo Idachaba, Founder & Creative Director, MitiMeth
Karla Tammekand, Mexico
Every adventure starts with an idea. In business, I believe that if you focus on covering necessities that help others and create something useful, you will succeed. You will feel that you have contributed in some way. Write down all the ideas you have and start with one. Then take small steps to create and materialise this idea and share it with the world.
- Karla Tammekand, Founder, Truekeo
Jo Kessel, UK
Never give up; never be intimidated and never take 'no' for an answer. Throughout my whole professional career that has been my mantra and it's something I'm constantly passing onto my two daughters. I remember once jokingly telling my youngest that she'd need to marry a rich man in order to live in the mansion she wanted to live in and to buy all the things she wanted to buy. She was aghast. "I'm going to make my OWN money," she said. So clearly I have done something right and successfully handed on my mantra to the next generation.
- Jo Kessel, Journalist, Novelist & TV Reporter
Jennifer Lee, Australia
The most important thing when it comes to succeeding in business is to know your target market (and I mean REALLY know them), and focus on that. Discover what you can do to assist those people, within your skillset. After you have identified these two things, back yourself, learn continuously, and be prepared to work hard.
- Jennifer Lee, Owner, Jennifer Lee Fitness
Hanneke Stegweg, The Netherlands
Women are gifted with their female intuition. Use it. Make it a priority to create time to step back from the daily rush, opinions and advice and listen to your inner voice. It will guide you in the right direction and help you to make the right decisions. Always.
- Hanneke Stegweg, Founder, iLost
Sally Guillaume, France
In business you will cross paths with ruthless people who will betray you, rip you off and take advantage of your weaknesses. Some people will say you need to be like this to succeed in business. I disagree but don’t be naive, you do need a good radar for game players. Be astute, strong and protect yourself. Stay true to your values, be honest, fair and reward good people with your loyalty. What goes around comes around! Just read the news!
- Sally Guillaume, Owner and Director, Undiscovered Mountains
Sally set up Undiscovered Mountains in 2005, then under the name of Undiscovered Alps. Over the past 13 years the company has continued to experience new growth and successes, and rebranded to Undiscovered Mountains.
Prior to launching Undiscovered Mountains, Sally also enjoyed careers as a teacher and journalist. Sally’s idea for the business came from her love of the mountains – she had been an avid mountain explorer since she was a teen – and her passion for ethical tourism. Sally’s focus is supporting sustainable tourism by investing the benefits of tourism back into the local community.
Sally now lives in the Southern French Alps with her family, and is forever grateful that she made the jump to set up her own company.
Find out more about Undiscovered Mountains.
Want to Succeed in Business?
Whether you’re looking to set up your own company, climb the ranks within your current organisation, or set up your own freelance services the below resources could help you get started:
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