Be the Hero of Your Own Life

“I have created a charity called the Junior Project, an organisation that works with girls who have been thrown out of school. They have lots of things going on at home, which means that for them school is not really a priority. I also coach women so that they start their own business, and I work with single moms who have met challenges like being in a women’s refuge or having had addictions.

My biggest successes in life are that I have published a best selling book « How to be your own boss as a single mom », I was lead advisor on a big UK government review about education in 2014, and last week I was named one of the 20 extraordinary women of 2017 by The Independent.
My biggest struggle is that I have so much to do. So many things I want to do, lots of ambitions, but I’m only one person. And when you work on your own, it can be quite hard to keep motivated.

My advice to women who want to become entrepreneurs is just DO IT! Don’t think about it, don’t question your ability to do it, don’t spend months and months planning and changing, we spend too long agonizing on things when really we should just go and do it.

I don’t agree with the idea that only men can run businesses and I still hear that even today. And I don’t agree either with the idea that only men can be in the armed forces, we can all do everything. I have not been given jobs because I might have children, I have not been paid as much as my male counterparts. When I was working in a college, we had quite a few girls who weren’t able to continue their education because their families didn’t want them to. We need to change mindsets!

I see myself as a strong, powerful woman so don’t mess with me! But I like to think that I am quite vulnerable too. I am a mom, a granny, a nanny, so I do have the feminine side too, but I’m really determined and I’m not going to let anyone stop me from doing what I want. I consider myself free because I do not care about what others think. I guess if you do, that might be a problem.

Society needs to move on and understand that everyone has equal value. And I think that some parents need to let go of their children a little bit more and let them do what they really want to.” Ali, 50, UK.