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Entrepreneur and host of The 43 Percent podcast for mums who take a career break Claudia Reuter has written a practical guide to entrepreneurship for women and for anyone who wants to make work that adapts better to the lives we live today.
For many women setting up their own business is a way of getting experience they would not have got previously and greater flexibility. For Claudia Reuter it provides a middle ground between leaning in and working in a system that women do not control – and opting out of the business world completely, a position many are forced into. Her new book, Yes, you can do this! charts her own decision to lean out and set up a business around her family, a step that led her to her present role as a managing director of TechStars, where she advises tech entrepreneurs, and provides detailed advice for others seeking to take a similar path.
It’s something that older workers are increasingly doing and something that is likely to feature more and more in the future as older workers have to work longer as a result of the post-Covid economic crisis and growing unemployment.
For Reuter, setting up your own business is a positive choice to rethink work, hone new leadership skills and create work that is more adaptable to different people’s needs. She begins by outlining the different types of businesses people can start, from consulting services for skilled professionals to non-profit organisations with a clear focus on social benefit.
Confidence is a key issue for those starting up their own business, particularly those facing unconscious bias, and there is advice on how to answer questions that are rooted in unconscious bias.
There are very practical chapters on developing a vision, thinking big, seeking investment and leading teams with empathy, using skills developed as a parent, as well as getting some sense of a work life balance.
For Reuter mentoring provides a vital form of support for businesswomen. She says that the more women set up their own businesses and help each other the more the structures of work will change.
She states: “The structures that exist today…were designed for another era, but they are part of a broader framework that holds within it the promise of opportunity and justice. Our capitalist system should reward the efforts of labour equally, regardless of gender, and the fact that it currently doesn’t reveals that women are often a few steps removed from the pure stream of value creation. Entrepreneurship is a path to the source, to the root of the chain, where companies are created, to the forge where the rules are made and can be changed.”
*Yes, You Can Do This! How Women Start Up, Scale Up, and Build The Life They Want by Claudia Reuter is published by Wiley.