Article | Fabulous Women

How Jane Hardy became a Fabulous Woman and what she’s learnt along the way

Posted on 10/09/2017

If you’ve visited a Fabulous Women & Marvellous Men event, the chances are you will have met our owner and Managing Director, Jane Hardy. Jane is at the heart of our ethos of friendship and collaboration but is always so interested in talking with people about their businesses and their lives that we decided to take the opportunity to hear more about Jane herself.

Tell us a bit about what you were doing before you became involved with Fabulous Women.

I worked in sales for a large American computer software company. I was responsible for a team of people in technical and sales roles, working with customers in the financial industry and government organisations.

What made you take the leap from the corporate world into running your own business?

I had a great relationship with my clients and they bought from me for that reason but I really preferred being a free spirt to being tied down by the needs of a big organisation.

My story isn’t very different to other small business owners in that I always thought there must be something more to life but ultimately it was a health scare that made me take the leap. My first business helped people who were experiencing financial difficulties but over the years I’ve had various different business ventures.

When did you first discover your love of networking?

It wasn’t something that happened overnight. I knew I needed to make new connections to grow my business so my partner encouraged – read gently pushed! – me into getting out there and networking. At first I found the whole thing terrifying but I tried various networking groups, finding out what each offered and what was right for me.

And how did you get involved with Fabulous Women?

I started attending Fabulous Women meetings and really liked the ethos – doing business in a female way and encouraging collaboration over competition. I became an area leader but found that it was taking me away from what I loved most – meeting the members – so when the opportunity to buy the business came up, I decided to go for it.

There were 13 groups in operation at the time and it was a fairly pivotal time for the business so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy ride but it was something that I felt strongly about moving forwards with.

And what does your role as owner and Managing Director involve today?

We’ve worked hard to get the processes and people in place which means that the day-to-day running of the business works well without much input from me. That frees us my time and energy to get out to meetings and really be the face of Fabulous Women.

What do you love most about running your own business?

I guess it really comes down to two things – my love of people and the complete flexibility that comes from working for yourself. I’m not a big fan of conforming so running my own business gives me the freedom to do things my way.

And what do you find hardest?

Like most women running their own business, the biggest challenge comes when life throws up the unexpected. When my Mum’s health deteriorated last year, I needed and wanted to spend my energy on her rather than the business but that’s where having a great team around you really comes into itself. I was able to dedicate the time to looking after Mum and Fabulous Women was able to carry on without me.

What have been your biggest successes with Fabulous Women?

I take huge pride in seeing our members flourish. The ultimate success for us is when our members achieve their goals and tell us that networking has played a crucial role in getting them there. It might mean that their network has grown to the extent that they don’t need to attend regularly anymore but, as much as we’d love to see them at our meetings more often, I really do get pleasure out of seeing them succeed.

What plans do you have for the future of Fabulous Women?

I have a vision for changing the way people do networking for good. It should be fun rather than scary and provide the impetus to anyone for growing their own business. We’ve doubled the size of the business in the last 3 years and got ourselves a great springboard for the future. We’ve got some fairly bold plans to keep growing with more groups and more geographical coverage but we’ve got the right people and the right strategy to achieve them.

And do you have any other aspirations left to fulfil?

Away from work, I would love to own a narrow boat. The canals are my happy place – you can be slap bang in the city but surrounded by beauty and nature and the pace of life, where you can’t possibly go faster than 4mph means I completely switch off.

Back Author : Jo Williams

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