I was thrilled to learn last month that someone had nominated me for 20 On The Rise - a curated list of 20 creative entrepreneur, small business owner, freelancer and consultant rising stars nominated by the public and selected based on how well they fulfil the following criteria: empowerment, impact, purpose, and passion.
The whole process (and it was a process because obviously I went back on and nominated some of my favourite entrepreneurs and creatives too) made me realise how massively inspired I am by other women creating their own businesses and proving what is possible if you have a passion and want to give back in the world.
I was also inspired after contributing to this gorgeous blog post by illustrator Charlotte Argyrou about Why I Started My Creative Business For Me.
Answering the questions Charlotte posed along with two other creative business owners really made me think about #communityovercompetition and what holds us back from making the leap and believing in our own abilities.
I thought I'd share with you the women who have inspired me most in the last year so that you can go and check them out and get all the good stuff from them like I have.
Read on to learn more about them and find out what's coming soon to the blog to share more from these women and many others:
Aside from the many food bloggers that I discovered on my Instagram feed when I started on this crazy journey, Sarah Akwisombe is probably my original entrepreneur inspiration, primarily thanks to Catherine at Mode & Motif, who recommended Sarah's No Bull Business School when I started out blogging.
Realising that you can create a business from your passion and teach it in a really engaging, community-based way all online was an eye-opener to me as I soaked in every second of Sarah's Blueprint to Blogging course. I don't think at that point in 2016 I really thought about turning my blog into a business, I just wanted to start one!
Back then my feed was all about food and cooking, yet Sarah's account stayed one I followed for all her down-to-earth posts and chat on Stories about growing her business. Watching how Sarah has established her brand and added courses like Money Manifestation and Insta School in a really clear way that is always community driven has been so inspirational.
I've also watched how Sarah has got more interested in taking care of her health as part of looking after herself and her business. Starting a gym routine and noticing what she eats more, it's great to see how Sarah shares her discoveries in a really accessible way with other budding entrepreneurs.
I met Kerry through the Blueprint to Blogging course and started following her Instagram page right away. Kerry is an amazing graphic designer and she was creating a blog around her brand The Imperfect Life with plans to launch The Imperfect Life Planner.
I loved Kerry's gorgeous illustrations, unique visual branding and punchy blog posts and back in the day we were both using the same Squarespace blog template so that felt like connection enough (!).
Again, in a world where all I cared about was food at the start of the journey Kerry's additions to my Instagram feed were a refreshing change and really tapped in to what I was often feeling and thinking. With topics like 4 steps to help you feel worthy and deserving and How to stop your fears from squashing your dreams you can see why.
Kerry has absolutely nailed her ideal customer and speaking to them in a really relatable way. I supported her Kickstarter campaign to get the Imperfect Life Planner off the ground last year and gifted the first edition to my sister (more on her later!).
Kerry has since started expanding her business further and will be offering 1:1 coaching and an online course. So if you're wondering why I've moved my focus to helping entrepreneurs, Kerry is the woman to thank as I did a sample coaching session with her a few months back!
For avid Pantry readers might recognise Kerry's name from my recommendation of her free mini-course back in my post about What To Do If You're Thinking About Leaving Your Job.
The amount of free, valuable content that Jen provides about being a creative business owner is the thing that keeps me coming back and also her ability to talk directly to me in words and on topics that truly resonate. Sometimes I don't know quite how she does it - she had me weeping on the tram into town one time when she talked on her podcast Make It Happen about 'seasons of struggle' - the podcast is here if you want to listen!
Again a theme I think comes through all of these women is the clarity of their purpose and offering and Jen is no different. She offers two coaching strands - one-off and 6 month packages, and has an online course. Otherwise everything she produces is free and offers huge value to her audience even if they don't go for a paid-for option with her. The true definition of being 'of service' to your audience, something I really aspire to.
Jen's website is probably the best place to find her - she's not big on social media which is refreshing!
I met Amie through the Health Bloggers Community and actually featured as her first Blogger Spotlight before we'd even met in person through connecting in the group.
I got to meet up with Amie and have a more in-depth chat with her when she came to visit Dublin earlier in the year - she wrote some great blog posts about her time and tips on visiting which you should check out here for food and here for an itinerary.
We talked about moving from blogging as a hobby to moving to do it full-time and I have been so inspired with how Amie has taken this brave leap in the last few months. She quit her part time job and has increased her Personal Training clients and the work she's doing through her blog and social channels with brands.
Amie is a real inspiration when it comes to seeing what you can achieve when you just make the jump and give your passion everything you've got.
Find Amie on Instagram.
Ella is my sister and the creative behind Ella Rose Cakes. Readers will be familiar with Ella from her delicious cake recipes that she's contributed to the blog in the past including this courgette cake.
Ella has been growing her cake baking business on the side of a full-time job for the last few years and in the last few months has taken it to a whole new level. She's dived fully into working with a business coach and embraced a whole supportive community of other wedding suppliers, working with them on promo photo shoots and attending events and getting and receiving tips, help and advice.
Watching someone you know so well find their passion and grow in confidence to the point where they want to go out on their own is one of the most lovely things to witness. I've tried to offer Ella all the expertise I can from what I have learned through my own blog and self-employment career so far, but in so many ways she's teaching me instead.
What do you think? Who inspires you as an entrepreneur or budding entrepreneur?
And finally a mini-announcement....
Completely blown away with what these amazing women have shown and taught me I am going to start an interview series on the blog called Flourishing Entrepreneurs.
I want to really dig deep into the motivations and priorities of female entrepreneurs, what made them start their businesses, what's held them back and where their health sits in their life - what food they eat and how they incorporate self-care into their routines.
I'll be posting interviews fortnightly on a Wednesday and the first one is coming 1st August. Make sure you're also following me on Instagram because I'm going to get my entrepreneur guests to do live chats with me to expand on their interviews and give you the chance to ask any questions. I can't wait to get started!