In her latest book, entrepreneur, author and podcast host, Vicky Fraser, attempts to make success an attainable goal by showcasing the stories of prosperous everyday business women who define success on their own terms
The saying ‘never meet your heroes’ rings true here.
“I was looking forward to meeting him as I had looked up to him for years,” says Vicky Fraser, discussing a meeting she had with an entrepreneur whom she had been inspired by for quite some time. “And the first thing he said to me when we sat down to dinner at the networking event implied that I was there to sleep my way to the top. This absolutely enraged me.
“Although he most likely meant it as a joke, he would never have said it if I were a man. It was frustrating and humiliating.”
Vicky channelled this frustration into the creation of her latest book, That’s What She Said.
“Yes, this book is about what it’s like to be a woman in business, not from the point of view of having to navigate this incredibly sexist world, but about bringing together experiences of oneness.
“It’s about hearing women’s voices, their experiences and not just the male perspective because men are so much louder than us,” she continues.
A couple of steps ahead
While it’s fascinating to hear about the dizzy heights of Oprah Winfrey, Marie Forleo or Sheryl Sandberg’s successes, many women can’t relate to the experiences of these superhuman business savants.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I personally find it quite difficult to relate to these women because they’re so far ahead of me. It’s such a big gap to cross for me to get from where I am to where they are,” says Vicky. She thus sought out the stories of business women who had the potential to reach Oprah levels of success in their respective fields but were still on their journeys, only “a couple of steps ahead” of the author herself.
“I really wanted to bridge that gap and showcase stories of women who were at different stages of the journey so that they’re more relatable to people who might just be starting out,” she explains.
When it comes to her own business journey, Vicky has quite the resume herself, with jobs that you would not generally associate with a successful coach who teaches business owners how to write non-fiction books.
“This book is about what it’s like to be a woman in business, not from the point of view of having to navigate this incredibly sexist world, but about bringing together experiences of oneness”
For instance, after graduating with a degree in Archaeology and Ancient History, one of Vicky’s first “proper jobs” was a crime scene examiner. She is also a trapeze artist and pole dancer. And it is these seemingly unusual and unrelated experiences that she owes to her success: “This has given me a unique perspective on the world, and makes me a better, more creative writer.”
The big ask
While sexism is undoubtedly an issue that women need to navigate in the business world, Vicky doesn’t see it as the real problem. “The problem is recognising the systems that uphold this; where we can work around, and where we can break them down and create a new system that suits everybody, and not just rich white men,” she says.
Acknowledging this big ask, she hopes that telling the stories of successful women – how they navigate this world and bring about change – will help.
“Although it is slow and in tiny increments, everybody does their bit and they all add up to bigger changes. I am hoping that my book does its bit for ‘the cause’,” explains Vicky.
That’s What She Said is not just about shining a spotlight on prosperous business women, it also manages to fill a gap in the market with regards to how women define success.
During her research for the book, Vicky came across a commonality among these women. Although their definitions of success varied, with some defining it as a big pile of money, or being able to live anywhere in the world or work three days a week, their complete determination to succeed on their own terms is evident.
“They had a determination to just follow that path, regardless of what the outside world tried to throw at them. This real commitment to being who they are, and refusing to allow society to force them into a box, is what stuck with me,” Vicky reflects.
Amanda Peters is a staff writer for What Franchise and Global Franchise.