You won’t find a book written by a man that warns you about investors who want to get into more than your business’ [Melissa Seymour, 2008:9].
Australian entrepreneur, wife and mother of two, Melissa Seymour has written the quintessential guide for women in business. Whether you are just starting out, or you are well established in business, The Girl’s Guide to Turning Your Idea into a Business offers something for every woman who has ever dreamed about doing business on her own terms!
Melissa Seymour told me in a recent telephone interview for Australian Women Online, she was inspired to write Girl’s Guide to Turning Your Idea into a Business because most of the books on business are written by men who do not understand the unique aspects of a woman’s approach to business.
“When I first started in business I didn’t have any girlfriends who were in business and I really felt quite lonely,” said Melissa. “I had a lot of male friends who were in business, but I found their advice was contrary to how I was feeling.”
“Men tend to deal with things in the moment and their response to a difficult situation can be quite an aggressive approach. Whereas women do have a lot of empathy and we spend a lot of time considering the effects of our decisions on other people,” she said.
As Melissa states in the introduction to her book:
“When it comes to getting some advice about the emotional minefield a business represents, there hasn’t been a lot out there to call on…Men don’t often acknowledge the guilt women suffer about almost everything, and I don’t think you’ll find a man who understands that you could stew for hours about some critical words said by someone who doesn’t matter.”
One of several topics covered in this book which you won’t find in other books on business, is the almost uniquely female experience of sexual harassment. Melissa shares with readers her own personal experience with this, when as a young woman she was strung along for months by an investor who only ever wanted to get into her pants.
“My experience of that aspect of doing business has changed because I am much more evolved and I’m somebody who can spot those people from a mile away now. So I just don’t have anyone remotely like that in my world anymore,” said Melissa.
“But as a young woman you do run the risk of getting caught up in those scenarios because you are much more likely to entertain the possibility of going into business with potential investors or potential partners that aren’t actually good for you or your business.”
As the former owner of a successful modelling agency, Melissa has witnessed first hand the potential pitfalls for young women who are just getting started in their career.
“I bought the agency because it really appealed to me that I would be in a position to guide young women. My experience of being in the modelling industry was that there a lot of girls who have the wrong people guiding them and having my own agency gave me the opportunity to help young women in the industry.”
Melissa eventually sold the modelling agency for much more than she paid for it and now runs a successful public relations and marketing company. L’umiere Communications focuses on recording artists and fashion labels and has worked with Chole Sevigny, Black Eyed Peas, Motorola, Jeans West and Cosmopolitan Magazine, just to name a few.
For the past year, Melissa has been working on a start-up business. Her business partner is also a wife and mother, and together they are developing a chain of luxury holiday houses targeted to famlies. “We have a concept to create vacation homes in holiday destinations so that families can experience five star accommodation with the added conveniences of a private home.” The concept is based on the private residents clubs which are popular in Europe and North America. The test house has been very successful and there are plans to open thirty additional properties.
Melissa also owns successful businesses with her husband, Sydney Swans AFL football legend, Brad Seymour. As local celebrities the couple have seen more than their fair share of inaccurate reporting in the media, what Melissa refers to as ‘gossip pieces’. “There is always going to be some social interest in the media. He is a commentator on Triple M and Foxtel, so he is still very much in the public eye. I am very proud of my husband,” she said.
With so many years of business experience behind her, Melissa Seymour is able to guide women through each step in their journey. From the intial start-up, to business expansion, to selling the business and moving on. In addition, the book provides practical advice for looking after yourself, your personal relationships and staying positive. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read and a must for every woman who has ever dreamed of working for herself.
Girl’s Guide to Turning Your Idea into a Business is published by New Holland (Australia) and is available from all good book stores from the second week of April 2008. Recommended retail price is $29.95, softcover, 240 pages.
I would like to thank Melissa Seymour for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with Australian Women Online.