SELF MADE Entrepreneur Anna Jones on the busi­ness of find­ing your ca­reer call­ing

From lead­ing a huge com­pany to co-found­ing Al­lBright, a mem­bers’ club for women in busi­ness, ANNA JONES, 43, has the pedi­gree to pass on ad­vice

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

➤ Don’t let a good idea get away If you can’t leave an idea alone, then don’t. Be­fore set­ting up Al­lBright, a mem­bers’ club and 360° sup­port sys­tem for women in busi­ness, I was the CEO of pub­lish­ers Hearst UK. I’d spent years work­ing my way up – I was in charge of the best part of 1,000 peo­ple, but had al­ways wanted to start my own com­pany. Six months af­ter read­ing the shock­ing data sur­round­ing fe­male en­trepreneurs [just 2% of all ven­ture cap­i­tal went to fe­male founders last year*], and meet­ing my co-founder Deb­bie Wosskow, a se­rial entrepreneur, I knew I had to make the leap. We sketched out our first busi­ness­plan draft on the back of a menu and never looked back. We named the busi­ness af­ter [US politi­cian] Madeleine Al­bright, who said,“There’s a spe­cial place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” ➤ Value your rep­u­ta­tion Imag­ine your mum is sit­ting next to your desk or that what you say’s be­ing broad­cast. Rep­u­ta­tion is ev­ery­thing and it never ceases to amaze me how many peo­ple don’t act pro­fes­sion­ally at work. It’s im­por­tant to be au­then­tic, but keep the con­ver­sa­tions you have over cock­tails sep­a­rate. ➤ Keep get­ting feed­back Peo­ple talk about ‘fail­ing fast’ in busi­ness, but few ac­tu­ally do. When we first started Al­lBright, we tried to cre­ate a crowd­fund­ing plat­form. It wasn’t work­ing in the way we’d hoped, so we cre­ated the mem­bers’ club. I’m a mar­keter at heart and have seen first-hand that the best way to op­er­ate is to test, learn and move on – and keep get­ting feed­back. I’m not sug­gest­ing that if you have a busi­ness sell­ing hand­bags and that fails, you move on to buy­ing rocket ships. It’s about evolv­ing. If hand­bags didn’t work, why not try suit­cases in­stead? ➤ Com­bine pur­pose and profit It’s vi­tal you do some­thing you care about. A lot of the women I meet at work have busi­nesses with a mis­sion: they marry pur­pose and profit. Quite of­ten, peo­ple come up with great ideas when they en­counter some­thing in their own lives that could be made bet­ter. It wasn’t un­til I got the spark of Al­lBright that I knew it was time to an­swer my en­tre­pre­neur­ial call­ing.

Want to start your own busi­ness? Join us at the Cos­mopoli­tan Self Made Sum­mit, 14th-15th April 2018. Book now at Self­madesum­mit.co.uk

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