Marnie Le Fevre, Mumpreneur, best-selling author, ex- Sales Manager for Richard Branson launched FEMPIRE, which offers coaching by women entrepreneurs for women entrepreneurs, live training and workshops and an affordable online members business academy. FEMPIRE has assisted and supported thousands of women entrepreneurs already in Australia and globally and is influencing a trend in female empowerment and rattling a few cages with their tagline - the Future is Female.
Marnie says: Richard was an inspiration and I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with him however becoming a mother is what truly ignited my entrepreneurial spirit, because I wanted to shape my work around my kids, not the other way around."
Marnie adds: "The frustrating thing I discovered when beginning my business was that I couldn't find a female coach and the men I coached with just didn't understand things like, mother's guilt, hormone weeks, being responsible for the majority of the home and family duties and stuff like that. They'd tell me to just smash it out, push through, make it work - typical man speak that really should be reserved for sporting teams and personal training. Clearly they hadn't had to deal with having a period - low iron - high hormone week, whilst juggling a sick child and trying to close a deal that could be a huge turning point for their business."
Marnie never forgot this and as soon as she found the success she began to support and coach women and eventually Fempire was born. She understands the demands and obligations placed on women and mothers today and she's trying to make it easier for them to succeed on their terms.
Marnie states: "The future is female. Support for women needs to come from women now. We're a little tired of hearing how to do things from men as much as they have our best interests at heart. Honestly, they can't truly understand what we go through and I know many men who are the first to admit this. At FEMPIRE our mission is to empower women to become leaders who inspire other women to lead. We strive to create a women for women movement that will lead to incredible positive change for both genders. It feels like a really exciting time for us, as women."
Question: What is Fempire?
Marnie Le Fevre: Fempire is a female focused brand that's sole purpose is to support female entrepreneurs to succeed.
Question: What inspired you to start Fempire?
Marnie Le Fevre: There are some great programs out there for business owners but most are tailored toward traditional ways of doing business, the masculine way. It's unbalanced and doesn't really benefit women, it's missing the key fundamentals of how women achieve, run their lives and lead, so Fempire was born.
I had two reasons for starting Fempire, the first was because I couldn't find an experienced female coach back when I began my business and as much as the male coaches I had were great, they really didn't understand the unique struggles I had being a female in business. Apart from trying to operate in a male dominated business world with the lack of funding of women and the like, I also like many women had the lion's share of my family's unpaid work to manage and as much as a man might try to understand what that was like, I wasn't convinced they did. Let alone other emotional, hormonal, functional and environmental issues women face that are different from men.
Women also learn differently from men and operate differently in business and I believe these differences should be encouraged and nurtured so more women feel they can succeed in business and more women become inspirational leaders in their own way, on their own terms. The female way. We certainly don't need more women behaving like men in the work place, we need more women being authentically themselves, and succeeding for doing so. I started Fempire to support and nurture those traits in women, because I believe this is the key to a balanced work and business environment that will benefit both genders.
The second reason I started Fempire was to give female coaches a voice and a sisterhood so that they have the confidence and courage to begin and continue as coaches, because we need more women coaches. There are so many phenomenal experienced women coaches, and women who should be coaches, out there who want to share their experience and knowledge but have either been trying to succeed for a while but haven't been able to gain traction through lack of investment or lack of support or just don't want to go it alone or they just don't start because they lack the confidence or desire to do it alone. Being a coach can be lonely and hard and isolating even when you have a lot of clients, at least that is how I felt as a coach for years. So I launched Fempire Coach to support the women who coach our future women founders, entrepreneurs and leaders.
I worked out through my own experience as a coach and as an entrepreneur that women can survive as entrepreneurs but when you surround them with support and sisterhood they THRIVE. And the more women Fempire supports to thrive the greater the chances are that we will see significant positive change economically, socially, in our communities and in our homes. Women thrive, everyone thrives.
Question: How do you manage a work life balance?
Marnie Le Fevre: I always find this question hard to answer because to be honest I don't see work as being separate to life.
I love my work, it's part of my life, not separate to it. I give it the focus it needs when it needs it and I give my family/relationship/health/other the focus it needs when it needs it.
I have a very supportive husband who shares the load equally, actually to be honest when I started to get busy in my business he stepped up and took over the lion's share of the busy work at home and didn't mind doing so, so that helped with me getting more down time to relax and not have to do as many home tasks which I see as harder (and more exhausting) work than my business.
I always check in with my children, we talk a lot and share openly. I have been there for all their big school and life events because I have run my companies to benefit the way women operate in their families. I was also good at saying NO to keep things balanced. I didn't volunteer for canteen or the P&C or the school fetes because I wasn't a mum who had the time to do so and I didn't feel guilty for not doing so either. I was very strategic about where I spent my time and who I spent it with, you have to be so that you can achieve as a mother and as a wife and friend AND business woman.
Did I get it right always? No. But I get it right enough. I feel I have balance in all things, But I don't try to do everything either or try to get everything perfect. I'm a very flawed but loving life anyway kind of woman!
Question: What can we do today to ensure the future is female?
Marnie Le Fevre: I believe and see the lack of confidence in women (and girls) is somewhat of an epidemic and feel the only way to boost confidence is to surround ourselves with other women. The ones, who inspire us, lift us up, show us how to be courageous, encourage us to own our voices and speak up. I believe we have the best chance of doing this in numbers, standing together, not in anger or vengeance, that's masculine and doesn't work for lasting change. Stand together in grace, connectedness, kindness and dare I say it, love - the female way. Use our vulnerability as strength not a weakness. Tap into our emotions and own them as being a powerful way to feel into what is right and inspire change though those feelings. Equality will come from women being unapologetic for being authentically female and running their lives according to what works for them as women and not trying to conform (or being forced to conform) to an ideology that may have worked for our fathers/grandfathers but is redundant in today's modern society.
Question: What is a typical day like for me?
Marnie Le Fevre: Hubby wakes up 6.30am and takes my son to the train for school (my daughter is 19 and in the USA right now). I get up and get ready for work, check social media, emails and then head into office. We have a team meeting and work out what is working for Fempire and what needs work. I check emails and by around 10am take my first coaching meeting with a client. If I am coaching that day, it will usually be 10am and 2pm meetings. I may work on a keynote I'm doing or write a blog or do a live feed, write a script for the Academy, any number of things happen throughout my day. Generally lots of meetings happen too. Lunch is usually something healthy. I may take a call or Zoom from one of my coaches or team to discuss strategy, pretty standard stuff. Finish around 6pm, sometimes later if I'm recording training in our Academy. Hubby cooks dinner unless I'm fasting (I fast two days a week), spend time with my family, and read latest book - currently Melinda Gates, Moment of Lift. Go to bed around 11pm. Dog is walked in there too somewhere and may watch Netflix if inspired to check out for a few hours, but don't watch much TV. I'll meditate some days or run Reiki on myself (love Reiki); I'll exercise some days but not often enough.
Days I choose to stay home and work: Wake up, put tracksuit and ugg boots on (in winter) and sit in various places throughout day and take meetings and do work on laptop.
When we are on tour it's more brutal. Wake up early catch plane, land go to hotel, work, wake up, present for four hours, catch plane to next city, go to hotel, sleep, wake up present for four hours, catch plane to next city, go to hotel, sleep, wake up present for four hours. We do this (my team and coaches) for the whole week then fly home and sleep!
Other days I'll be doing business training for days in a row. So it's all is pretty mixed up all the time!
Question: What is next for me and Fempire?
Marnie Le Fevre: After we have made a big enough impact in Australia I will look to expand Fempire into the US and UK, maybe some parts of Asia also. Likely the US first as my husband is American and it's the logical choice but it will need to feel right. If the UK or Asia feels right first then that's where we will expand to first. For the moment however it's all hands on deck here in Australia for Australian women. I feel Australian women are capable of leading the change because we're so strong and independent and if anyone can do it we can! I'll also be looking to write my second book when things calm down a little bit and I get some time.
Question: What is the best advice you have been given?
Marnie Le Fevre: Use intuition first and logic second. Something can look really good on paper but if it doesn't feel right, then likely, it's not right.
Question: How does confidence play into the success of Mumpreneurs?
Marnie Le Fevre: It's the biggest challenge I see when running business training with women. They are smart, capable, dynamic and savvy but the majority lacks the confidence and self-belief to chase their dreams, to charge what they are worth, to take action without apology. Many lack the courage to share their voice and be heard and I find it heartbreaking and I have to admit frustrating, because it's so obvious how amazing they are.
We need to do whatever it takes to show our daughters, and generations of daughters (and sons) to come, that women can. We can have it all. We can have a family and a business or career, and our family doesn't have to suffer, and neither do we. I have proven this, and I hope that my story and FEMPIRE encourages women to believe that they can achieve anything they set their hearts and minds to.
Question: What are your top seven tips for Mumpreneurs?
Marnie Le Fevre: 1. Some days it's going to be hard, you need to have a support team on speed dial. The kind of people you know will have your back, listen to you rant and hold you as you cry.
2. Ask for help! You do not need to do everything on your own and neither should you have to.
3. Make time for you. You fill your cup first and whatever runs over is for everyone else. You can't continuously run from an empty cup all the time, it will affect your health, sleep, relationships and your overall wellbeing and then you are no good to anyone.
4. Learn to say NO. It'll be the most powerful thing you've ever done.
5. Regarding your business, do something small every day if you can, rather than let your dream go. All of your small actions will pay off eventually.
6. Done is better than perfect. It'll never be perfect. Press go, launch, take action now. Perfection and procrastination is a huge business killer for women. The sooner you stop trying to make it perfect the sooner your business will fly.
7. Be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can and that is enough.
Question: What are your top seven tips for coping with overwhelm?
Marnie Le Fevre: Surround yourself with a support team. I have a female coach for business overwhelm, a special female friend for rants, and I confide in my very supportive husband when I need to.
Know your WHY at a soul level and refer back to it when things get really tough.
Delegate! I am a great delegator. Delegate whatever you can, whenever you can.
Cry! Don't hold back, have a good, ugly cry - it's cathartic.
Sleep is the tonic to overwhelm. You think better when you are not exhausted.
STOP and breathe. A deep breath really can help.
Remind yourself that 'this too shall pass'.