Interview with Lou Kirby, founder of Woman Ready
Find out how her own life experience inspired Lou Kirby to launch Woman Ready, a blog inspiring women to live life, be more confident in who they are and what they do and to like themselves just that little bit more.
What’s your career background?
It’s mostly in project management and outsourcing. I worked for Microsoft for 12 years in London and then once I had my kids, I found it difficult to juggle it all and ended up changing roles.
I now tend to focus more on project work as it’s more transferable than outsourcing! So I work part-time and the rest of my time is focussed on Woman Ready.
Where did the idea for Woman Ready come from?
I hit my 40s and starting to ask some of those soul-searching questions. I realised that I hadn’t achieved what I had wanted in life and it was largely down to me holding myself back!
I got talking to lots of different women and kept hearing the same kind of things, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I can’t do it’, ‘what if I fail’. It made me want to do something about it. So I set up Woman Ready.
Our underlying ethos is around inspiring women to love themselves that little bit more. We talk about lots of great topics – confidence, self-care, career, motherhood, well-being, fashion, ageing etc, and have lots of different contributors. I’m also a professional coach and like to help women find themselves again if they’ve got a little lost or stuck.
What quick tips would you give someone who is lacking in confidence?
Firstly, I think you have to become more aware of what you are saying to yourself (I call it my Inner Bitch Voice). We tend to be pretty horrible to ourselves. Try to turn negative thoughts into more positive ones.
Taking small steps towards a goal or to conquer a fear, are great and less overwhelming than a massive step. If you’re scared of public speaking, rather than committing to speak in front of 200 people, try talking up more in meetings or doing a presentation in front of 20 people.
And do something that you know will make you feel good. For me, having my hair done or getting a fake tan, makes me feel more confident.
What’s Woman Ready’s USP?
We cover a range of topics as we tend to wear different hats, as women. Sometimes we are focussed on work, sometimes on self-care (though probably not enough), sometimes on family, sometimes on just getting through the day!
I’m also a big fan of honesty. On Instagram, for example, we share inspiring/motivating posts but we also talk about what it’s like being a woman today and what the challenges are that we face.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome?
At the start of Woman Ready, it was hard to figure out what to focus on and where to spend my time. There’s so much conflicting information out there as well and it can become overwhelming, such as, how to get more followers on Instagram, how do to SEO, how to write great articles.
While I do still do research and look at results, I also try to follow what my gut says a bit more.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
On Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I’ve also started to run events and just put myself out there more. My mantra for 2019 is to be more visible!
I’ve also been in magazines, on podcasts and have started to be on panel discussions – which has been a little nerve-wracking but I’m enjoying it now.
How do you balance work and family life?
It’s getting easier as my kids are that little bit older but at the start it was a bit of a nightmare. We spent a fortune on childcare and I just remember being very stressed trying to be everything to everyone (I stopped that one a while back!).
So now, I do try to set boundaries for myself and say no more. Sometimes we have the balance right and other times, not so. It’s an ongoing juggle I think for most parents.
Why is work so important yo you?
It’s the feeling of doing something that I love and of hopefully helping other women to feel better about themselves, that really appeals!
Photo credit – Maryanne Scott Photography