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Susanna Scouller talks to The NextWomen about how her change of career direction came about in a rather unconventional way.

At some point in our lives, we all need to take a moment and ask ourselves the question: ‘Am I really happy?’ Much of the time, the answer to that question will be an internal struggle between knowing what would make us truly happy and fulfilling what we think is expected of us.

For much of my early working life, I felt as though my career was going exactly how I wanted it to go. However, I was about to experience something so unexpected that was to change my career completely, and eventually for the better.

During my early twenties, I worked in the television and film industry in London following a year long stint living in Paris and working at the offices of American Vogue. My life felt very glamorous and it seemed as though I was well on my way to what I thought was my dream career.

In 1994 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which at the time was a huge bombshell to my life. Although it was a mild case, I had to take it seriously, and at the time I experienced frequent pain in my neck and shoulders, which was often severe. Things that used to be simple like turning my head suddenly became near impossible as the muscles around my shoulders became rock hard.

Victoria Arnold, winner of the "Best Young Business 2012" award.Victoria Arnold, entrepreneur and founder of online ventures Desk Union and Homestayfriend, shares with The NextWomen her top five startup tips for female entrepreneurs, drawing on her own experiences of the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

1. Dream big

Over the last few years, I have found that women often seem to get pigeonholed into the ‘lifestyle business’ category. Yes, this may be accurate for some, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with aspiring for a business that brings in enough revenue to support your life, however, I believe that women are missing out on the chance of a bigger slice of the pie.

Working remotely allows Misty to be open to opportunities for travel.Misty Gibbs shares with The NextWomen her tips for networking and working efficiently when working remotely or from home, and explains what she loves about being a remote founder. 

Anna Bance, Co-Founder of GirlMeetsDress.com Anna Bance shares with The NextWomen her top tips for a successful start-up, drawing on her experiences of co-founding GirlMeetsDress.com, a disruptive eCommerce business which provides millions of women the ability to rent designer dresses and accessories for a fraction of the retail price.

Sandra Schuler is the Marketing Director and Founder of Mejor Trato.Sandra Schuler shares with The NextWomen her top tips for creating an efficient and productive office environment when working from home, drawing on her experiences of the choices she made for her business, Mejor Trato

Felena Hanson is the Founder of Hera Hub, a collaborative co-working space for women, which is the first co-working space to franchise. Felena Hanson shares with The NextWomen the key lessons she learned through her experience of franchising her business, Hera Hub, explaining the steps it takes to launch a franchise, and the factors to consider when embarking on this process.

It is one thing to build a business, but it is entirely another thing to build something that can be replicated hundreds of times. In the following article, I will share my experience in franchising and the steps it takes to launch a franchise.

Rachelle Smith, Entrepreneur and Founder of Positive Creative Infusion Consulting LLC.   Rachelle Smith chose to leave a successful career in the Biotechnology industry in order to start up her own business. She talks to The NextWomen about how the decision to take this risk and pursue her entrepreneurial dreams has changed her life, and has also given her the confidence to inspire others.

Very few individuals have the courage to walk away from a highly lucrative career to venture into the unknown. It was a big risk, but I did, and haven’t looked back. 

It hasn’t been easy. I voluntarily left a fruitful sales career in the Biotechnology industry and started my business in early 2012. 

Working From Home

Adele Woodthorpe explains what to consider when deciding on the most cost-effective and practical office space for your business and shares her own experiences of the choices and compromises she has made for her PR Company, Woodthorpe Comms.

For many small businesses, whether making the transition from working from the kitchen table to having a proper office, or merely upgrading their current office space, this is generally one of the biggest hurdles to tackle and one of the main overheads to consider. Obviously, there are quite a few elements to bear in mind when deciding on the ideal office space for your business, so I’ve listed a few which I feel are key.

Jedeco black and white jewelleryCoral Turner looks at the benefits of joint ventures and what to consider before joining forces with someone else.

Firstly, I would like to open this start-up diary conversation by saying a huge thank you to those of you who have read my previous articles and taken time out of your own busy schedules to give me the thumbs up on Facebook, send me personal emails, or share on Twitter. Anyone that says that women don’t support each other clearly has not met you kind ladies.

Which brings me to the topic of joint ventures; working with others within your industry and supporting and uplifting each other, resulting in double exposure and a win/win situation for all involved.

The fashion industry consists of many facets of business; hair, make-up, shoes, jewellery and handbags, to name but a few.  My recent venture was to join forces with a jewellery collective called Jedeco; an independent boutique comprising of 9 jewellers.  

One of the jewellers, my friend and fellow entrepreneur Catherine Marche, suggested that as Jedeco had just celebrated their first anniversary and London Fashion week was upon us, we should continue the celebrations by showcasing my one-of-a-kind couture dresses and tops at their premises in Oxo Tower Wharf. 

As the CEO and Curator of MAH, Ondina Montgomery works with a broad range of artists, designers and photographers In a tribute to US mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, who asserted that all mythical heroes experience the same 12 steps on their adventures, Ondina Montgomery draws parallels between Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and that of the entrepreneur.

Part 3 of the Hero's Journey describes the protagonist's Refusal of the call, where the hero attempts to refuse the adventure because she is afraid. Click here to read the second part of Ondina’s series, The Hero’s Journey Part II: Call to Adventure.