Would you help your friends to succeed? Of course, who wouldn't. But what if it's getting more and more difficult to understand what success actually means to people. What if our own definition of success has become limited and thus we are missing opportunities to extend our hand to help others?
I believe the definition of success is being greatly redefined. But I suspect not everyone has captured the concept of 'every dream was created equal'. The conventional concept of career success (which is equally valid as a success goal post!) is being shaken by people who have bravely let their creativity to show the way.
The 20 something YouTube superstars just seem to be having fun recording funny videos in their bedroom, earning more at 20 than most people at the top of their careers. And women hitting 40 increasingly refuse to play by the rules of big corporations. They go on to start their own creative businesses at the kitchen table instead. According to a study, women entrepreneurs are motivated by “the desire for freedom, to explore what excites them without having to ask for permission, and to explore their creative side in a way that feels authentic”.
Twenty years ago helping someones' career ambitions usually meant brainstorming their next career move or ideating salary negotiation tactics. Showing support is much easier and quicker today, it means sharing ideas on social media or taking part in a Twitter conversation.
Showing support may be easy but why are we reluctant to do it? And do you fully appreciate the importance of helping your friends online?
One reason that may be hindering support is we simply don't understand what success means to our friends. Our own definition may be very different so we might not recognise the opportunities to help.
Secondly, it's easy to get overly critical or tangled up in our own daily dramas and forget that just a simple expression of support can mean a lot to someone who's working day and night to realise their dream.
"But what if I support all these people then my inbox will be flooded with sales messages!" There's another way to look at it. Every time I see a Facebook post or a Tweet from one of these entrepreneurial girls I think - good on them. I know they are working hard pushing their other obligations to the side to make room for their creativity. Every Facebook post reminds me of the incredible power of determination all of these women have and I will celebrate it!
When I'm sharing my friends' Facebook post or retweet a link to their website, I'm more aware of their emotional struggles as an entrepreneur than see myself being 'exploited' as a sales channel. Even when I'm not going to buy their product, just a simple click to 'Like' or 'Comment' can mean a world for a person who has invested all their savings into their venture and worked late nights after putting their kids to bed.
I'm so inspired by the women around me who are pushing their projects forward. And I know from personal experience what a small sign of online support can mean, as I'm about to launch a fashion jewellery business in the coming weeks.
Sharing on social media isn't only about emotional support. What many people don't realise is that Google values projects that get social shares from their audience and award higher search page rankings, which in turn converts into more visitors and more sales, making your friend more likely to succeed in her project.
So now I want to do my part and share with you some fabulous projects by women around me.
These businesses are just about to see the daylight or have recently been launched. All these women are working really passionately and hard, often outside their comfort zone or normal working hours, putting all their creativity and personality into play.
Charlotte (see picture above) got frustrated about poor service she got at a car repair shop (well, she actually got fleeced because she was a girl) and set up her own business to help women understand the motoring world and get recommendations. Check out MyCarGossip and give her your support on Twitter and Facebook (even if you don't own a car).
Avril is about to launch 'Feel Brave'. A business that creates beautiful characters and stories that help kids manage tough emotions and feel brave because we all have to be a little brave sometimes. Her products for children are so beautiful and full of meaning. Check her out on Facebook (even if you don't have kids).
Riina, and her two rescue dogs Iida and Hulda, got tired of standardised, boring, grey dog beds, so they decided to launch beautiful and playful dog accessories called Shek O Dog Department, named after the beach they live on in Hong Kong. Check them out and give them a 'Like' on Facebook (even if you don't own a dog).
Jane is taking on the condiments giants by injecting homemade quality and bubbly personality into chilli sauces. A food festival regular, she's winning over fans for her products all around London. Show your support to 'Chilli Drops' by joining her growing fan club on Twitter or Facebook (even if you can't eat chilli).
Vuyisa is complementing her teaching career with a serious push into the baking business. Her Couture Surprise cake pops are the tastiest and the most beautifully crafted around! To produce the orders she often stays up all night as building a business whilst working is like a second career. She can really use your support on Facebook or Twitter (even if you don't eat sugar)!
Rina Goldenberg and Katie Driver left their traditional lawyer careers to help companies to unlock the valuable resource that is working women. Check out Voice At The Table and Thinking Alliance. Deepa is establishing her career as a yoga teacher and massage therapist (Deepa Living). Kahtleen is building a jewellery business. Anne has just recently taken the leap of faith from management consultancy to fashion industry. Mel is building a successful career as a freelance journalist. Charlotta is establishing herself as the London Art Nanny. Jackie is building a reputation as the top sports rehabilitation therapist. And the list goes on.
Women from all backgrounds are going solo. And they need your help!
The future is all about networks. It's about helping people around you and sharing your experience. It's never been easier to help others, or to be helped. All we have to do is to make ourselves available, on-line. We must step outside of our shells and be open to sharing, we must be open to help and to be helped.
And perhaps you too are thinking of setting up something extraordinary one day. And if you do, then you will appreciate a little help from your friends.
Let's make a lot of friends this week!