It took me a while to decide upon a subject to write about for International Women's Day.
It's been an interesting 12 months, so I could have a lot to say about a lot of things, both personally and professionally. So I've chosen to write about one of the biggest challenges I've had to face since starting my own business as a rural entrepreneur-me!
And I don't mean me as a person. We're all different, blah, blah, blah. But I mean me as a professional business woman. Or really, as an unprofessional business woman.
To the outside world, this is me.
What it says on the tin is I'm a professional PR, I straighten my hair and pose for professional(ish) selfies for my networking profiles. But what many don't realise is that Rural Roots PR is just me. So I'm also a photographer, graphic designer, editor, accountant, problem solver, event planner, business coach, agony aunt, leader...the list goes on.
In reality, you see a different side to me.
I get quite cross when I read articles about first impressions and how women should wear certain colours, act a certain way, be professional at all times.
The fact is, when I meet most of my clients for the first time, I look something like this...plus wellies.
I live in the beautiful British countryside and work for a lot of rural businesses, so I don't know where I'm going to be from one hour to the next. I could go from a business meeting in an office to another at a farm. I could go from working at home in my PJs to crawling around on the floor getting the right angle for a photo... so I have to dress to reflect that. Plus, I blog about travelling and walking in Britain, so if I have a spare 30 minutes, I'll head outside.
I know that to a lot of people it looks unprofessional. They assume that to do my job I must sit behind a desk all day and I know people judge me for it.
'Professionalism' is a battle I constantly have with myself...should I dress up today? Should I wear make-up? And usually, if it's too hot, too cold, windy or raining outside, then the answer is no.
Don't get me wrong-I have my moments and I scrub up ok, but I thought that on today of all days it was worth highlighting that women in business in this day and age should not be judged by their covers...they're juggling a lot of balls.
And then there are occasions when the two get confused and you end up climbing Thorpe Cloud in a dress, but you can't win them all.