“As long as women have passion and drive, and can stay strong in the face of adversity, starting a business will transform your life,” says Amanda Stevens, a leader in the small business start-ups sector.
Bestowed with the honour of being named the Young Business Woman of the Year by Sydney Business Review in 2000 and taking home the Young Australian of the Year Award for Career Achievement in New South Wales two years later, it’s fair to say that Amanda has led quite the career path thus far.
From forming a marketing agency from the ground up and selling it to a global recruitment firm in 2001, alongside her work in a variety of industries, Amanda has made a name for herself as someone who understands what it means to grow a business from its minor start-up stages.
Apart from now buying small business for the purpose of building them up to a point they can be sold off for substantial profit, Amanda has fast become one of the most sought-after female keynote speakers around.
Hitting stages at around 100 conferences a year, Amanda has spoken in over 16 countries and has delivered talks on stages shared with talent such as Donald Trump and Sir Richard Branson.
Ahead of her talk at the Empowering Women Conference in Brisbane, Amanda is encouraging women to move ahead with their business dreams.
“Women are starting businesses at almost three times the rate of men, which is fantastic news. Mostly I think it’s because it gives them the flexibility to balance work and family in a way that the corporate sector often doesn’t,” Amanda says.
“I think women bring a wonderful dimension to business, and there has never been a better time to start.”
Amanda points to the small business focus seen with the Government’s recent Budget as a “great opportunity” for women to take the plunge.
“The $20,000 machinery tax deduction, for example, is a fantastic initiative from the Coalition government,” Amanda said, “as it has the double benefit of stimulating the retail sector that so desperately needs it.”
While the Brisbane one-day event of the Empowering Women Conference, with speakers including Imperfect Mum founder and host of the conference Kristy Vallely, Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Deb Hancock, and author Suzie Botross, is now sold out, tickets for Melbourne’s August event are still available.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this inspirational event, and I hope to drive more women to take hold of their passions because there’s nothing more rewarding than building a business,” Amanda said.
“I’m motivated by the change and impact I have on people’s businesses, so I believe women need to have drive, passion, and a positive attitude in the face of set-backs, to be successful in this industry.”
Amanda shares the following 5 tips for women out there with dreams of starting their own business:
1. Just start. There’s never a perfect time, a perfect business, a perfect business plan. Get started and your momentum will form your ideas and help refine your business as you go.
2. Mistakes are cool. In fact, if you’re not making mistakes you’re not building a business.
3. Being an entrepreneur means you rely a lot on those around you, so surround yourself with the best advisors, the best team and a supportive cheer squad.
4. Look after your health. Health is the new wealth so if you’re not looking after yourself it’s irrelevant how successful your business is. Find an outlet that works for you. For me, it’s running and yoga.
5. Take time to celebrate your wins. Reflect on your successes and reward yourself.