Inspirational Women – Bev James

Posted on July 3rd, 2015 by

Bev James

I heard Bev James speak at an event a few weeks back and instantly warmed to her. I thought you’d enjoy her story, too, so I was really pleased when we managed to get together for an interview. She wears a lot of hats so I’ll let her describe what she does. Suffice to say, she’s a woman who follows her dreams and helps others do that too!

Jane: Bev, you’re involved in several successful businesses; how do you describe what you do?
Bev: My business involvement ranges from The Coaching Academy, Mentoring, and the post of Director of Mentoring for the Government Scheme Start Up Loans. My personal mission is to make a positive and lasting difference to every individual or company I work with. So although it seems like I do a lot of things, to me I only do one thing and that’s aimed at making a difference in everything I do.

What were your aims and aspirations when you were in your teens? Did you imagine being a successful businesswoman?
I grew up with goats, geese and a pet fox who was found abandoned as a cub (later returned to the wild). In my teens I wanted to be a vet but I didn’t have the necessary qualifications. I was always quite entrepreneurial at making money as a child but never thought it would lead me to being a businesswoman.

What was your very first job?
My first job was in a paint stripper factory opposite my school. I literally fell out of the school gates and into the factory. I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I stayed there for a few years putting tops on tins and making cardboard boxes. There is nothing wrong with working in a factory but at 17 years old I knew there had to be more to life.

Has being a woman in business ever been a disadvantage to you?
I can honestly say that I have always felt it to be an advantage. I don’t expect to be discriminated against and never have been. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think discrimination exists because I know it does. I just haven’t experienced it.

You’ve said in the past that talking to large groups used to make you feel very uncomfortable yet it’s something you have dealt very successfully with. Do you have some tips for women who don’t enjoy public speaking?
Practice makes perfect, but I suggest you start with small groups and work up from there. Invest in training and coaching to perfect your skills and deal with any fears or limiting beliefs that may hold you back.

How did your association with James Caan come about?
I heard that James was going to start a school for entrepreneurs and I had been thinking of doing the same. I called him and suggested that with my experience of running events (my courses and events run all over the country with around 7000 delegates each year), and his profile we should consider working together.

Can you tell us a bit more about the Government Start Up loans you’re involved with? How does that help people in business?
I am Director of Mentoring for Start up Loans. It is a great scheme and we have now started over 30,000 businesses. Anyone over the age of 18 can apply for a low cost loan and get support from a business mentor. I am very passionate about business and have a desire to help people succeed, so it was a perfect match for my passion and skills

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
There have been a few influences, including James Caan. He has been a great mentor to me and I learn something new from him whenever I’m in his company.

How do you best relax and unwind (assuming that you do sometimes)?
I cycle with my dad most weekends. We do anything from 20-60 miles. I can never keep up with him so it gives me something to aspire to.

You have a very close family which has clearly been a great support to you. Would you advise going into business with a family member? Have you ever done that?
I have worked with members of my family and it has worked wonderfully well. Having said that, each family is different. I think its something to think hard about and make sure that roles are clearly defined from the outset.

What’s been your best business decision to date?
A defining moment for me was training to be a coach with The Coaching Academy. I didn’t realise at the time that I would become MD 1000 days after attending the introductory course.
Coaching skills have helped me develop my own confidence and ditch limiting beliefs around public speaking, but the skills are also useful in everyday life and in the Board room.

And your least best…?
I’m struggling to think of one, Its not that I haven’t made a bad decision but I tend to move on pretty quickly and try to reframe the situation so I see it as an opportunity to learn.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Invest in yourself, I still invest in my own personal development so that I keep upgrading my skills and behaviours.

And what’s your advice to any woman looking to set up her own business?
Maybe start by reading my book Do it! or Ditch it. My advice would be to focus on something you are passionate about and something that you have knowledge and skills in. See if you can test the water by doing it part time and reduce any risks, above all seek a good mentor to help you navigate unchartered territory.

Thank you, Bev. After our first encounter I got hold of your book and it’s a clear and easy read with some great ideas. Here’s a link to Bev’s website where you can find out more about her.

RenewYou is our one day course full of inspiration for women. Follow your dreams too! Click here.

Women, Don’t Make This Common Mistake (2)

Posted on July 1st, 2015 by

Do you give away your power without even realising it? Many of us do, particularly when working in a mainly male environment. The language we unwittingly use can weaken us in the eyes of male colleagues and bosses. So they see us as less powerful than we really are. Our way of talking is not like theirs (men’s) so is viewed as less important. That doesn’t mean we should simply ape male behaviour. Definitely not. It does mean we should

Read more…

One Fact Every Woman Needs to Know

Posted on June 29th, 2015 by

“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” – Virginia Woolf Researched fact: Women undersell themselves at interviews, men oversell. Women attribute success to others in the team. Men feel comfortable taking the credit themselves. If you’re competing with a man for a job this places you at a distinct disadvantage. It’s important to know your own worth and be comfortable sharing it with it others. “It’s no good

Read more…

Women in Business – Top Tips from Zita Alves

Posted on June 26th, 2015 by

This week I’d like to introduce you to Zita Alves. Looking at her it’s hard to believe but she was once over weight, unfit and unhappy in her work.  She has made a career out of her passion for fitness, and my aching limbs can attest to the fact! Here is Zita’s story: I help busy men and women (especially the over 40’s) to feel healthier, fitter and happier through a holistic approach via 1-1 personal training and group outdoor

Read more…

How to Talk to the Opposite Sex!

Posted on June 24th, 2015 by

Businesswoman at work after important meeting where she felt ignored: “I am so fed up. None of my ideas at work are ever taken seriously. I want to leave.” Businessman at work, after an important meeting where he did not feel ignored but was irritated: ” I don’t understand why she had to ask so many questions. It’s as if she doesn’t agree with what I’m doing all the time. It makes everything take longer.” Fact: men and women have

Read more…

5 Amazing Women Share Their Pearls

Posted on June 22nd, 2015 by

I have been very lucky in my career to have met and talked with some amazing women. Among them are Dame Jenni Murray, Kathy Lette, Caroline Green, Suzy Greaves and Lucy Atkins.  Here are a selection of quotes from them. Enjoy their pearls of wisdom. Feel free to add your own in the comments section. Share the best advice you’ve ever been given! Dame Jenni Murray – BBC Presenter Woman’s Hour Some time ago ago I wrote a post about

Read more…

Jane's Book

Paperback or Electronic copy

Free Updates
Simply fill in your details below to get regular updates in your in box. Your details will not be shared – ever.

Connect with me
facebook twitter google+ linkedin RSS