After noticing middle-aged women lose their way after having children, Suzy Jacobs set out to re-empower them – helping them take charge of their lives again.
Her company SHE Business takes a personal and honest approach to supporting women in their journey to business success.
Suzy Jacobs was idly watching other women pick up their children from school, when she noticed something that really struck her.
She realised the number of women who had given up on themselves and their bodies after having children. Saddened by the fact, she was determined to find a way to help women regain their mojo and embrace independence.
“I noticed many women in their mid-30s to early 40s who’ve had kids and just lost their mojo. They’ve just given up on their bodies and I thought ‘I’m going to change that’. This is when I opened a health and wellbeing studio and we did a lot of strength training,” said Jacobs.
“I evolved [the business] when I realised a lot of it was to do with the mind and the mindset that we have around ageing and what happens to our place in society once we have kids. Then a colleague of mine introduced me to networks and to women in networks.”
She also explained that women are not thinking proactively about the future – that despite how empowered they feel today, they are not taking any steps to ensure they are not left with financial difficulty in the future.
“As you may have found already, 50 percent of women don’t pay themselves a wage, and many more are not paying towards their superannuation. So as empowered as we feel now, is how disempowered we will be in 20 years time when we can’t support ourselves.”
After attending networking events for women, Jacobs saw how physical and mental wellbeing ties into success in business and noticed that the existing networks weren’t providing specialised support.
Her passion to make a difference drove her to find out exactly how women like to interact and learn, and in turn, build a stricture that would really help them succeed in business.
“I went away and did a lot of research to find out why we should bring women together and what benefit and value we could be providing for women in business. The research took time and money, but I learned something valuable. I learned there was something unique about how women like to do things,” said Jacobs.
“There are ways that we like to network, to collaborate, to do business and we like to learn differently as well. So once I had that understanding of why we should do it, I started looking at how we could it. We decided SHE Business would be a personal and professional development company for women to develop leverage and sustainable businesses.”
Nature of SHE Business events
SHE Business regularly host events for their members. Jacobs explained that the structure of their events is focused around the idea of shared experience and shared knowledge.
“The structure of our events is such that you hear the voice of many. We know that women learn better once they’re connected within a room. So in a business breakfast or business lunch, the first thing that happens is someone throws in a topic of conversation about business and then everyone gets involved in the discussion. So the first five minutes is about getting everyone in the room connected. While we do bigger events as well, the day-to-day meetings happening across Sydney is structured to meet the very needs in the way that women like to work,” said Jacobs.
She went on to explain that SHE Business events are about women dropping their game face and being honest about themselves and their business concerns. It’s about women connecting at a level that is more organic and ultimately more powerful.
“There are times that we all feel like we’re going to drop down, and members of SHE Business have the comfort of knowing that when things get challenging, they have the strength of many around them. We don’t make any promises around quick fixes. We are on a long-term journey with women to build sustainable businesses,” said Jacobs.
Importance of having honest conversations and addressing the harsh reality
Through her journey as an entrepreneur, Jacobs learned some valuable lessons. First and foremost, she learned how important it is to have real and honest conversations about how to build and grow a business, especially as a woman.
“Have real and honest conversations and build people around you that you can have those conversations with about what it takes to build a business, but more importantly, what it takes for a woman to build a business – because for all the ‘yes, we can do it’ or ‘we can have it all’ mentalities out there, the truth of the matter is that there is a brutal reality to it, which is ‘you can do it, but it comes with huge sacrifice and huge cost’ The journey for woman is very different to that of men, and that’s neither a good thing or bad thing. It’s just the way it is,” she said.
All too aware how discouraged women can feel from time to time, Jacobs advised that they keep their own conviction and not be side-tracked by the noise and chaos that make up the business world.
“It’s important to come from a place with absolute conviction about what you’re doing. It’s such a noisy state out there in the business world, so it’s hard to keep your own conviction, but that conviction about what you’re doing will keep you on track,” she said.
More information on SHE Business is available on their site: www.shebusiness.com