When Ashley Beaudin noticed the picture-perfect Instagram posts depicting the entrepreneur life, she knew she had to do something to dispel the misconception that “starting your business is all these highlight reel moments strung together”. Out of this was born The Imperfect Boss, empowering women entrepreneurs in their business journeys.

We spoke with Ashley to learn more about her journey as a woman entrepreneur, and the “imperfect” reality of being your own boss.

Futurpreneur Canada is a proud Scholarship Sponsor for the 2018 inaugural The Imperfect Boss Camp for women entrepreneurs on October 9-12 in Haliburton ON. Read on for details and to apply.

What is The Imperfect Boss? 

The Imperfect Boss is an online platform and event series on a mission to make imperfect normal and inspire women to grow their confidence. We believe that when women grow their confidence, they grow their well-being, their businesses and their impact. We also are driven by a deep vision to see women use their gifts, so that the world can be changed by what they have to give.

We started out of a hashtag campaign on Instagram where we mobilized hundreds of women to post confessions of what makes them imperfect in an effort to prove that imperfect is normal among creative entrepreneurs. Since then, we have done over six campaigns and have reached millions of people.

The idea really came to me one day when I was scrolling social media as an entrepreneur myself. I was laying on my bed looking through Instagram and was hit by just how perfect it all looked such as making tens of thousands, having beautiful offices, being bffs with all the top trending people or drinking green juice like it’s going out of style. And I just thought, “this isn’t the whole picture.” The concept came to me in that moment to run a campaign called #theimperfectboss and mobilize people to share their imperfection confessions.

Because imperfection doesn’t disqualify us. It’s a normal part of the journey. And the faster that we can get to that, the more success we can all experience.

What would you say is the biggest misconception about starting your own business?

I would say that the biggest misconception I’ve seen is that starting your business is all these highlight reel moments strung together. It is highlight moments, but in between those highlight moments are lots of things that the world doesn’t see such as hard work, the failures or just the hard days. I have been consistently surprised by how much starting and running a business has pushed me to grow personally and forced me to look inside myself. It has revealed self-doubts and fears I didn’t even know I had and kind of has put me in a situation where I need to really decide whether I believe in myself or not. I think business education does a great job of teaching you the strategy, but can often forget that no strategy is successful without the confidence to see it through.

What were you doing before starting your own business? What prompted you to take the leap ?

I graduated university in 2012 and in my first couple years, I was all-over-the-place. I was your classic, “I have a degree and it’s taking me nowhere” person. I travelled to volunteer through Asia, I worked menial jobs that didn’t utilize my skills at all and I was wandering around figuring it all out.

In that time, I started experimenting with bringing people together through the power of social media in creating online communities and campaigns. I really fell in love with the magic of it and that feeling that happens when you can help someone and change their life. By a few months in of experimenting, I made my first five thousand dollars and it gave me the permission slip that making money doing what I loved was absolutely possible. Shortly after, I was let go from my menial job and I said, “now or never.”

That was almost four years ago. These last four years have been some of the most rewarding, fulfilling and challenging years. There really comes this thing especially at the beginning where you have to decide that you’re going to make it work. And in those starting days, I changed what I did a lot to make paying my bills a success through doing a lot of copywriting work while I still led my online communities.

I also know that it has been an incredibly emotional journey for me. It has carried the emotions of being criticized online to having things fall apart to losing money to navigating mental health in the midst of running a business. It has also carried the internal side of coming up against my self-doubts around my own value or figuring out how to set boundaries with people.

But most importantly, it has also carried so much positive emotion like the feeling when someone tells you that that they believe in themselves for the first time or that feeling when you put yourself out there and something good happens.

How does The Imperfect Boss aim to support women in business today? 

Some of the biggest challenges we’ve seen facing women entrepreneurs and the ones we are on a mission to solve are the following: negative mindsets, lack of confidence, loneliness, self-neglect, perfection and a lack of solid business education.

We resource women with the support and tools they need to grow their confidence on the daily, so they can experience success. We create moments of community, so that we can build real relationships that go off the Internet. We empower women to be real, so they can see that their imperfection connects them, not isolates them. We educate women in practices to connect and care for themselves, so that they can feel alive and not burn-out, but pour out their gifts for a lifetime.

Women entrepreneurs need The Imperfect Boss because we need a space where we can be totally ourselves free from the pressure of perfection. We’ve seen over time just how much perfection and a lack of confidence can affect a woman’s ability to show up, do her work and build life-giving relationships. We are convinced that those unique gifts inside each woman are needed in the world and if we can help her get them out of her by supporting, inspiring and resourcing her – then, we’ve absolutely done our job.

This is the first year of The Imperfect Boss Camp. What can we expect?

Yes and we are so excited! In this first year, you can expect sessions with inspiring speakers, hands-on creative, personal growth and business workshops, small groups with an amazing mentor, and dance parties and fun. You can expect to grow your confidence and make new friends. We cannot wait!

Bonus question: If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Hands-down, The Devil Wears Prada. That story inspires me because she finds her confidence first, and then she finds her voice, to pave the way and the career she always wanted.

Futurpreneur Scholarships Open for The Imperfect Boss Camp – Apply Now!

Futurpreneur Canada is excited to be sponsoring TWO women entrepreneurs to attend the 2018 inaugural The Imperfect Boss Camp.

Held at Camp Timberlane in Haliburton, Ontario, the four-day event will provide a curated experience designed to help women entrepreneurs shift in mindset, grow in confidence and learn intentional strategy to apply to business and life for maximum impact and success.

Applications close Monday September 17th, 2018 at 11pm EST.

Scholarships cover the costs of the camp, including registration, meals & accommodations, but does NOT include travel expenses, the camp bus or bedding rentals. Open to Canadian residents only.


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