Real Entrepreneur Women connects like-minded females through forming a community, genuine reviews and networking events – so you can build your own following of ‘raving fans!’. We sat down with Sophie Musumeci to find out about how to succeed in business, and which million dollar idea she wishes she’d had.
Tell us about why you started Real Entrepreneur Women?
I’m just not OK thinking there are women out there growing their business in isolation, who are completely frustrated working ridiculous hours all night trying to ‘figure it out’, often on their own, and who don’t have support and understanding from those closest to them.
What’s your career background?
I have 10+ years in corporate leadership and change management, and I’m a business strategist for entrepreneurs. I also run a 12 week Wealthy Woman Mastermind where entrepreneurs and business owners can work directly with me and my team to help them take their business to the next level. Because doing it alone ain’t going to cut it any more!
How does Real Entrepreneur Women help women in business?
We provide a safe and supportive community for real women to connect, learn and grow their business through genuine referrals. When women know, like and trust each other, they will do anything for each other. Including having each other’s backs and being raving fans.
What happens at a typical REW event?
Our mastermind networking events are fun – not fluff!
- Members pitch their business to each other in the 50-second Real Pitch.
- Each meeting someone presents a Showcase so we learn about their business on a deep level, allowing us to genuinely refer new business.
- There’s a mastermind session on a monthly Real Action topic enabling people to learn from each other and take away key business strategies to implement immediately.
- We open some events up to guests so they can come experience what it’s like to be a member and see the true value for themselves.
How does this community extend to support between catch ups?
- All members have access to my Inner Circle where we continue the learning and offer 24/7 support.
- Everyone can connect through our member app and we encourage members to shop from each other, and support each other’s business.
- We keep each other accountable by allocating business partners to help grow the relationships between members one-on-one.
Through this strategy we have see amazing collaborations, referral partnerships and even whole new companies born. It’s really exciting to see what happens when you bring the right women together in the right culture environment!
You recently rebranded from Real Entrepreneur Mums to Real Entrepreneur Women. Tell us why?
This was a decision we didn’t take lightly. First, we conducted a research project to understand more about our ideal member, and learn from our existing ones. Surprisingly, we found 20% of our members weren’t actually mums.
I would receive emails and messages regularly from women saying while they weren’t a mum, they loved what we were doing and asking if they could still be part of it. So for every one person who did reach out, there might have been another 100 who didn’t bother as they thought it wasn’t for them.
We were also attracting a lot of businesses who were just starting out and not ready for the commitment that comes growing a profitable business, including investing in growing their network and themselves. As you quickly learn in business, you’re not for everyone… well not yet anyway!
I was looking for a particular type of entrepreneur women, one who is:
- All in
- Understands you need to invest to grow
- Wants to be part of something bigger than herself.
After surveying my members and asking them what aligns with them best, over 80% said Real Entrepreneur Women, because it was stronger and more serious, as they felt they were in their business. This was all the evidence I needed to confidently make the change and we’ve never looked back.
How do you balance running a thriving business with a family?
It’s a rollercoaster, lets be honest. Some days you nail it, and others you don’t. Who I surround myself with is super important and also having my husband’s support has reduced some of the pressure I put on myself to be ‘perfect’. Because trying to be ‘perfect’ is suffocating. My business is at a level now where I can outsource things I’m not great at or don’t love, like accounting and cleaning, plus I have an assistant which frees up so much time I was spending on the back office side. Putting some simple boundaries in place, like work hours and being present when I’m with the kids has helped and I love that my children get to see the impact my work is having on others, and that anything is possible with the right strategy, work ethic and support.
What makes someone stand out as an entrepreneur? What qualities do you see in them?
There’s something really unique in an entrepreneur. It’s a passion to solve a world problem or create something for themselves, be their own boss in the driver’s seat of their life. Resilience and grit is definitely required, and an openness to learn new things. Life as an entrepreneur is very different to being an employee. Working a corporate role I could just come in, do my thing that I’m great at and leave at the end of the day. When you’re the one running the company (and sometimes from home), you need to be the product creator, marketing manager, accountant, social media team, strategist, sales team and everything in between!
Do entrepreneurs have anything in common – backgrounds, skills?
It’s very varied. For me, I grew up on a hobby farm in SA, quit school in year 11 to work and then moved across the country when I was 18. Others have multiple degrees and lived in the same state their whole lives. I love that it’s less about who you were and more about what you’re doing now.
What is a million dollar idea you wish you’d had?
The Happy Hair Brush (a brush that detangles hard to brush, messy hair for kids, women, mum buns and even beards and pets). Jen Harwood is on to a winner there! The brush is a product that solves the every day, real problem of painful hair brushing in a fun, life-changing way. Plus, there’s no people to manage! Jen is one of my Lower North Shore Community Leaders and facilitates an epic meeting.
What are some common mistakes people make in the world of entrepreneurship?
I believe you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. When you surround yourself with inspiring women who are going for it in their business, you instinctively become more like them and you learn way more than you ever could by yourself. Without this I see people undervaluing their services and themselves, not investing in themselves to grow and learn, thinking they can do it all by themselves and quitting early when things get a little tough.
Is there a difference between how men and women approach being an entrepreneur?
Generally speaking here, women enjoy doing businesses through relationships and genuine connections, we are naturally wired that way. We can also doubt ourselves and prioritise everything before ourselves, including our business. Which means it takes longer to get things off the ground. Think it of like reading a job description. A women reads it and can do 9 out of the 10 role requirements but won’t apply for the job because she doubts herself on the 10th. Where a man will read it and can do 3 out of the 10 and goes for it, confident that he’ll figure it out. This is the mindset you need as an entrepreneur. If you wait for everything to be perfect, to have all your ducks in a row, you’ll never do anything.
What’s been the most emotional moment for you in REW? Accomplishment, challenge, inspiration?
Being recognised for our contribution to the industry by being named Australia’s Top 50 Small Business Leaders in 2018 by Inside Small Business, asked to be on the NSW Women in Business panel for International Women’s Day, and doing my first key note speaking event for International Women Day. But what really gets to me is the messages and calls from my members about the difference the community has made to them personally and their business.
Book in a 1:1 heart to heart with Sophie to uncover what’s really holding you back.
Come see what all the fuss is about at the next Real Entrepreneur Lower North Shore event.
Bring a friend, and you’ll receive two tickets for the price of one at just $27 (that’s $300 value). Find out more or join now!