“A business model is an outline of how a company plans to make money.”
What do women around the world believe is the most important component of their personal business model?
Last year, I interviewed 53 amazing women for my research paper “Smart Women: How Do They Make Money?” published on March 8, 2022 In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, I thought I’d share some examples of how women from various countries and cultures think about business models and how this has contributed to their success business
Some women think of their personal business model as a mindset for approaching work in a strategic way:
Become a known brand
“When I think about my personal business model, I think about the importance of branding yourself and making sure I’m clear about both what you can do and what you’re known for. I put all my time and effort into doing the best I can and I focus a lot on understanding what I need to know and who I need to know in order to progress. I’m selective with my time and I say no to a lot of things.” — Jessica Chan, Head of Investor Solutions, JLL, Hong Kong, SAR
Have a guiding principle
“My personal business model is based on a mindset. I see myself as an income generating asset! I’m early in my career and my guiding principle for years has been to grow my income by 10% to 15% per year. Whether I’m in a performance appraisal for an existing job or a new job, I look to negotiate that percentage increase in my salary.” — Joelle Pang, Managing Director, FastJobs Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Be the go-to person
“My personal business model is based on my desire to be ‘best in class’. I strive to be a highly credible source of information and hold myself to a demanding moral standard. In my role, I facilitate introductions between senior people such as CIOs and institutional fund managers I am the go-to person for clients, investors and anyone in our ecosystem who wants to benchmark their investment process or learn potential partners, all of which require a high level of personal and business discretion. If any of these stakeholders are asked, ‘Who do I speak to?’ , institutional investor, Hong Kong, SAR
Others think of their personal business model as a deliberate way of working towards financial success, such as building frameworks and platforms or collaborating with others:
Use frameworks and platforms
“My personal business model is aligned with a consulting business because I sell my time. As a coach specializing in business psychology, I advise entrepreneurs and founders on their journeys. From the beginning I realized that to create value I had to think about platforms and work with collaborators that generated growth. For example, I work with the Novo Nordisk Foundation as part of their accelerator program. They come in and invest with multiple start-ups and I come in and train the founders of seven to 10 start-ups. From now on, I would love to do more research and create frameworks and platforms that others could use.” — Cecilie Willer, Founder Trainer, Today.io, Copenhagen, Denmark
“I’m always looking to collaborate – my entire career has been about spotting and maintaining collaborative opportunities and making sure there’s value for both parties. I invest in the collaboration not just the project itself . This takes hard work, and for any project I work on, I create a stakeholder map. I list all the relevant stakeholders in my ecosystem, then identify potential win/win tradeoffs, and then try to build relationships accordingly. Collaborating helps you deliver more efficiently by relying on other people’s resources and expertise.” — Dona Haj, Head of EMEA Ventures and Tech Ecosystem, MathWorks, London
For many other women, a personal business model is more of a holistic approach to making money that includes their personal philosophy around things like lifestyle, health and happiness:
“In coming up with my personal philosophy about money, I started with an end in mind. I asked myself this question ‘What lifestyle do I want to have?’ This involved thinking deeply about what kinds of experiences I wanted, how many trips a year, what kind of house and car I would like, and how I want to spend my time. Once I put a number next to everything I wanted to have, I worked backwards to reach my money goal and quickly realized it wasn’t such an astronomical number. I love cycling and hiking and neither are particularly expensive sports! Having a clear understanding of my money goal gives me the peace of mind to live the lifestyle I want.” — Aleksandra Efimova, CEO, FLX® Stretch Training and Russian Pointe, Palm Beach, Florida
“I don’t have a business model per se, at least in the traditional sense of having external customers, revenue and value propositions. I have a much simpler life model. After much research, I’ve discovered that there are three things that make me (and most of us) happy: good health, deep relationships, and meaningful work. I have certified that I am in good physical and mental health. I have developed a few deep friendships. And I’ve realized that “meaningful” to me means working on “hard problems” in my line of work. I like to work on problems that no one else has achieved.” — Hansi Mehrotra, CFA, Founder and Financial Wellness Coach, The Money Hans, Mumbai
“It’s important to have a ‘happiness model’ over one’s ‘business model’ and figure out how to maximize happiness and career goals. What motivates me is intellectual and emotional engagement versus salary or higher pay big. I’d like to think that’s a good way to approach life.” — Judy Blumstock, founder and CEO of Diamond Therapeutics, Toronto
Personal business models are personal! The way we develop our mindset, our strategies and our philosophies around work and making money is unique. And as we evolve, our personal business models evolve with us.
For more information on this topic, read the full report “Smart Women: How Do They Make Money?” by Barbara Stewart, CFA.
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All posts are the opinion of the author. Therefore, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the views expressed necessarily reflect the views of the CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
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