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Women We Love: Sapphire Bates.
Founding your own business can be as equally scary as it is exciting- without the guidance and communal spirit of working for and with others, sometimes being a small business owner can be lonely. This is something that Sapphire Bates decided to change.
She founded The Coven Girl Gang back in 2018, with the aim of uniting and connecting founders and freelancers through an online platform that provided support, advice and useful resources. The Coven now has over 36k instagram followers and a whole community of online members, alongsie an online directory of small business owners and freelancers, all wanting to make new connections.
As a fellow small business, we LOVE everything about what Sapphire has created. She kindly chatted to us about the personal and professional journey that led her to being a woman we love...
Hey honey! Please can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little bit about what you do.
I'm Sapphire, I'm 27 and the founder behind the worldwide membership platform The Coven.
Talk us through your journey- how did you get to where you are today in your career?
Quite randomly! I started my first business - a flower studio - in my early twenties after running out of money in Thailand and not really knowing what to do when I got back. I skyped my mum a lot from an internet cafe and decided the only option I didn't completely hate was working for myself and the only thing I had any training or experience in was floristry (Side note I was also toying with teaching at a school in Chengdu, China but wasn't 100% on this idea so let that one pass me by). I ran my flower studio for a few years, expanding it and adding a flower school and a monthly flower subscription service but it was hard work. I was working 17 hour days and it was cold, I was super lonely and I didn't really like floristry all that much so I was beginning to get bored of it all. I knew to really scale it I'd need to put a lot more money into it and I just wasn't willing to do that for something I wasn't super interested in.
At around the same time, my now ex-partner was wanting to live abroad so I'd begun to think of future careers that would allow me to do this. That combined with the isolation led me to the idea of The Coven, a virtual support network for female founders and freelancers and it just grew from there to where it is now.
We think it’s super important to set yourself both personal and professional goals. What are yours and how are you working towards achieving them?
They change all of the time! I often set goals and then realise that I'm not as keen on achieving them as I thought I was and I'm really big on allowing yourself to grow and change. It can feel wrong somehow to give up on a goal or quit something but I really believe life is too short to continue doing things you don't really want to do. I will be honest, right now I don't have a ton of professional goals, my focus this year has really been around staying sane and managing my mental health which has been all over the place (I have three mental health disorders) so that has meant letting some goals go and being happy just living in the now. I'm pretty content, I'm still dreaming big but I'm allowing myself to just see where I end up for a while. I've had seven years of working relentlessly and pursuing big goal after big goal and pushing myself hard. Now is my time to slow down a little and prioritise some non-work things.
My personal goals are all very random, I've taken up horse riding again which I used to love as a child and I'm also taking art lessons and Spanish lessons. I'd like to improve at all of those!
We think you’re a hugeeeee inspiration- who is your biggest personal inspiration and what was it about them that made you stop and take note?
My biggest inspiration has always been my mum, she's run several different businesses over the years and has always worked so hard at everything she does. Watching her throw herself into her different endeavours and make her own money has always been inspirational to me.
We absolutely LOVE what you do- what does it mean to you to be able to do what you love every day?
Look let's be real here - I don't love it every day. I would say it's pretty 50/50. The quote that I hate the most is "do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life" - I think it's the biggest pile of rubbish haha. I believe every job has aspects to it we don't love and even if you do really love something, if you do it every day for years you're bound to start to dislike it at some point. Happiness lies in accepting that life isn't always going to be amazing and you aren't going to be able to avoid all the "bad" or negative emotions that are out there so enjoy what you can and know the bad will always pass because it always does. That being said, I'm very grateful to have a job that allows me to travel when I want to, I love exploring the world and being able to just pack up my laptop and hit the road is brilliant. Although there hasn't been too much of that recently thanks to Covid.
So many people are nervous to break out and try something new- but you did. What piece of advice would you give to people who want to try something different but are too scared to take the risk?
Would you rather regret trying and failing or never having bothered to try at all? I know which camp I fall into - but not everybody does and that's ok. I think you need to analyse why you're scared, what are you worried could happen and would it really be so bad if it did? I fail often and I always survive it, I believe in myself to be able to pick myself back up and for me half of the fun is trying.
What positive impact do you hope to have on those within your community?
Oooh, I don't really know! I've not been asked that before. To be honest, I don't really expect myself to make an impact, I'm just another human out of billions trying to do something, I'd like my platform to have an impact on others though, I hope it enables founders to connect with others, to be able to feel supported when things go wrong and celebrated when things go right.
We all know that life ain’t no breeze. What is one piece of advice you can offer to people in your community to help make things that little bit easier?
I think the mindset is everything, as I said, life definitely has its downs so we've just got to enjoy the ups when they come and ride the down's when we need to. Know that you can get through anything!
Thank you SO much for chatting with us, Sapphire! You can check out The Coven Girl Gang below:
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