What is the equivalent of the golf course for women?

What is the equivalent of the golf course for women when it comes to learning about investing opportunities, and where can women meet investors and vice versa?

Through her work with female entrepreneurs, business maverick Katie Webster has discovered that, while the ability and appetite to invest is often there, the ‘how to’ and ‘where to’ parts are missing – something Katie is crusading to change.

If you need £10,000 to start a business, every man and his dog should know. Investors cannot mind-read, and there is no pride in being a ‘best-kept secret’. Speaking from an energetic perspective – and from personal experience of founding multiple ventures – the moment you voice what you want, things start dropping into place.

Starting out as an investor is no different. If you have put in the work to grow your startup, and you have the money available, then you need to be having conversations about what investment opportunities are out there. Many female entrepreneurs would say, however: “That’s easier said than done.”  

An International Women’s Day 2024 survey, commissioned by HSBC UK, showed that nearly two-thirds of female respondents (63%) said they would not know how to start investing, compared with less than half (43%) of men. Furthermore, two-thirds of women (60%) believe they will lose out on money if they invest.

This national research suggests a lack of knowledge and risk-averse nature are holding some women back. Far from being discouraged, however, we should view this as an excellent opportunity to turn the tide, and to support more women to get in touch with their inner investor.

My belief is that conversations about money should be as natural as breathing for everyone. I talk about investing freely and positively, as well as educating myself on the topic so other female entrepreneurs know they can too.

How do I know when I am ready to invest?

Perhaps you are dissatisfied with your bank’s interest rate, or preoccupied with how slowly your savings are growing. Maybe you want to sell up, move abroad or take early retirement and feel frustrated by how long it is taking. Successful investments are dream accelerators. They can shrink a 10 to 15-year plan and get us closer, faster to the things we want.

Once you have accepted that investments and growing your money are for everyone, and you have stoked your curiosity, start doing some research. You don’t need to become a wealth management specialist but, as with anything else money-related, it helps to know some of the basics. This will increase your confidence to join in or, better yet, start an investment-related conversation.

What can I invest my money in?

Money spent growing your business should be your first investment. Some entrepreneurs see that as a gamble, but there are no certainties in life. I once spent £60,000 on an advertising campaign that did not work. Has that stopped me marketing? No, because I love it! The lessons I learned from that mistake were tenfold.

If you are surrounded by family and friends who do not have entrepreneurialism in their upbringing, they may tell you that carrying on after a costly setback is madness; however, Sir Richard Branson, and legendary entrepreneurs like him, lose money all the time. The difference is they genuinely back themselves and have belief in their bigger mission, which fuels them to keep going.

When you have a sustainable source of income, an emergency fund and some money put aside for the future, you can start to question what investment opportunities are out there. Investments range from an Individual Savings Account (ISA), stocks and shares, all the way up to property – with Birkin bags and wine in-between.

Some investments, such as collectibles, will appreciate over decades. Others offer the tantalising possibility of more short-term rewards. For example, a property developer may offer you a return within 12 to 24 months (a long time in today’s fast-paced culture, but far more beneficial than letting your money sit in the bank doing nothing).  

How do I reduce the risk of investing?

Through education and research. You don’t need to know everything, but you should know a little. Instagram accounts like @femaleinvest are a great place to start learning the basics. Speak to other women who invest. Ask about the hardest lesson they learned, and the checks and balances they put in place to spend wisely. Do your due diligence before pulling the trigger, as you would with any other financial transaction.   

How can I find out about investment opportunities?

Next time you are in a room and the conversation steers towards investments, ask the powerful question: “What’s the best opportunity you know of right now?” Better yet, be the brave one to start the conversation: “I’m thinking of getting into investing. Is that something you have any experience of?”

The best investments aren’t hidden like Easter eggs on golf courses – waiting to be discovered by men in Argyle sweaters. They can be uncovered anywhere that people meet, who are committed to thinking expansively, and who are talking openly about growing their wealth.

My advice to every woman is: Know you want to invest; educate yourself a little bit; find places where people are having the conversation or instigate them; then make the investment.

Everything is possible. You just have to voice what you want.