Nearly four years ago, I created a free Facebook group for NZ women in business. At the time, I had a two year old daughter Amelia, we were in the midst of what turned out to be another long journey of IVF, pregnancy and loss trying for our 2nd baby, and with some remaining commitments to the business I founded in London I wasn't 'working' here in NZ.
I needed something positive in my life, I had time and I wanted to meet likeminded people. I also realised after so many years in business I might have something to give back to those further behind me on the journey. I wanted to create a safe, uplifting space of support, learning and inspiration for the incredible women of NZ.
My life now is very, very different.
Since then, our wee family has grown and the amazing Timmy is approaching 2 years old. Amelia is 6, and at 41 I had the happy surprise of finding out we were pregnant for a 3rd time. I'm now almost 6 months along and we're expecting another baby girl in July!
On the work front, since I started the Facebook group my business has grown both unexpectedly and significantly. I have a thriving paid Membership of over 700 Kiwi women where I provide mentorship, marketing advice, events and community.
In 2019, we joined forces with Facebook to provide a series of large scale in person events for women in business around NZ. The team at Facebook have stood beside me on this journey throughout and shown incredible care for our community as we've worked together. Their support has meant so much to me and given She Owns It (and our Members) a huge confidence boost, even more connection, energy and profile in the business space in NZ.
During all of this time, the free Facebook group grew exponentially and continued to provide a space of connection and inclusivity.
It's literally been a dream come true but also more than I expected and prepared for as a new Mum and business owner already.
Because of all of this change and growth I haven't been able to be as present in our free group as I was when it was first created. I spend most of my time with my paying Members, supporting them on their business journey and providing a carefully cultivated space of encouragement, connection and collaboration.
And now, with the huge and expected change of Coronavirus ahead of us, as well as a third baby due in July, I find myself primary caregiver of my children with even less time than ever.
All of this has meant that our free group hasn't been nurtured as much as I would like. I no longer have the capacity to provide the free group with the community and culture that I once was able to. That special space where all of our initial members felt safe, seen and valued no longer exists. And although I know there is still value to some in this free space, I know there is so much more that I can do to serve those of you who wish to travel the business journey alongside me.
Closing the free group has not been made lightly.
I've been considering this decision for months, if not years. But with this life changing global event happening around us, I've been pulled back to my core values- and my family, and I realise the vision I had for this free group no longer fits the vision I have for my own life or for this special community of women.
Like all of you, I need to stop being pulled in so many directions. I need to focus on doing one thing, and doing it really really well. I need to focus on being fully present for my paid Members, serving them in the way that I know best.
Of course I still care strongly for our free group members. Some of you have been by my side on this journey for years! Many of you I've met in person, multiple times and consider as friends.
And I want you to know that I would love you to continue to be a part of She Owns It going forward, as one of our paid Members or simply by following us and making the most of the free resources and content we'll continue to provide.
So, here's what you can do to stay a part of She Owns It moving forward:
1. Join us in the paid Membership. We've slashed our prices by more than 50%, to just $10 a month. I know times are tough for everyone right now. They're tough for me as well. I've done this in the hope that I can serve more of you, for less, and see you through this time with the support you deserve.
2. Watch out on our Instagram and Facebook page for freebies, challenges and interviews that I can't wait to share with you in future.
3. Join my email list which (amongst other things) is the first place I'll announce future events and opportunities around the country for NZ women in business.
Overall, I hope you can support me with this decision. I'd like to thank the many incredible women who've already called me, messaged me and shown support for this choice through comments and posts online. I want you to know you've lifted me up so much and I only hope that along the way somewhere I'll be able to do that back for you. Thank you.
Ladies, above all things business and everything else, as ever I want you to know that free or paid Member, I respect you so much for all you do. Not just for your business, but for your family, your community, your country and the women of the future.
You matter. I see you and recognise your amazingness.
And in these difficult times, I wish you the best and brightest future- whatever that may be, and safety, security and love.