"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve" – JK Rowling
As the UK’s best-selling living author, and owner of an estimated £750 million fortune, this quote from JK Rowling is one we have decided to live by.
We at Oval are celebrating our own powerful women and the dreams and ambitions they have achieved. Taking a minute out of their hectic schedules they’ve shared their stories with us and given us a little advice on how to go about keeping our nerve in order to achieve our goals.
BENEDETTA, Entrepreneur and CEO of Oval Money
I believe as a woman in business you can have it all but you have to work many times harder than a man to get there. When I started my career in investment banking I would work all night, get red eye planes across the world for just one meeting and would have to sacrifice not just sleep but also my personal life. I switched career to entrepreneurship to fulfill my dream, and whilst I slept a bit more, my responsibility grew and I had to learn very quickly how to manage people, hire teams and let some low performers go.
My dream was to become an entrepreneur. I was 12 years old and would go to visit my dad in his office. He had a beautiful office chair with wheels behind a large desk where he kept his personal computer. I fell in love with the idea of working with this fascinating instrument and spinning on that chair and decided this was the job for me. I achieved my dream with a lot of hard work, learning from amazing entrepreneurs and then finding the courage to go on my own. But I would never have jumped if I didn't find the right people to jump with: my co-founders.
You need to be brave and quite irresponsible when you start something new where the probability of success is very low. But this is also what gives you the advantage over the status quo you are aiming to disrupt. Never stop believing in what you do, in your co-founders and in yourself, even when some days it gets really hard. Most of all, choose to do something that in its small way makes the world better.
And remember, no wall is too large to break or too high to climb.
CAMILLA, Marketing Manager at Oval Money
I always wanted to be economically independent, just like all the strong women in my family!
From the time I started work, after finishing University, I applied the 50/30/20 rule to my financial life. I also decided to open a Saving account, as most months I didn't know if I was going to make my salary stretch to the end of the month. As soon as I got paid I would transfer 20% of my salary into my savings account, and then forget about it.
Giving into temptation wasn't an option. I knew I had to be diligent with my salary, and be super smart with my budgeting whenever I could. My savings started small; I would bring lunch to the office every day, I would have breakfast at home, and at times I would even walk instead of using public transport. I cancelled all the recurring expenses I didn’t really need (looking at you, Netflix) and lowered my phone bill as much as possible (I talk a lot on the phone with my grandma, so I told her she had to call me!).
I was surprised after the first 6 months, as I began to see actual concrete changes! I had made savings and my life was exactly the same, but better. I felt great because I had managed to lay the beginnings of a solid foundation for my future! Even better, because I chose all events wisely, and budgeted for everything, I even managed to go to nice restaurants, concerts and treat myself to nice holidays with my friends and family!
I learned that self-restraint, responsibility and consistency is vital. I learned that when you see the money growing in your savings account you kind of become addicted and you want to continue saving! I wish Oval had been around when I was learning how to manage my finances, it would have made my life a lot easier!
MARTINA, Independent homeowner and People Engagement Manager at Oval Money
After a few years of renting a flat, I decided it was finally time to buy one! I had a sum that I had saved and put aside, and I was also lucky enough to have the support of my family. The budget was tight though, and for the central location I needed it meant I was looking at buying a flat that would need a complete refurbishment.
It took two years of hard research. I was super-enthusiastic at the beginning, but I soon noticed that with my budget I couldn’t get a central flat with all the perks I dreamed of. I alternated between moments of excitement and of disappointment, moments of focus and months when I didn’t even look at real estate ads at all! When I finally found my flat I was already pretty experienced in the market and I immediately understood it was a deal. I visited it on the Monday and by Saturday I was already in the estate agents putting in my offer.
If you’re looking to take the plunge and become a homeowner, I’d recommend being clear about exactly what it is you want. It will help you save time in the research. Also, be direct with the estate agents and ask them honestly for their advice on the major disadvantages of the property to see if you can cope with it.
I chose a flat with a vintage touch, but functional. I stayed away from major design trends, as I wanted it to keep its value over time. I bought second-hand furniture and I personalized it. This all helped me to stay within my budget and to have something really unique!