Inspirational Woman: Chelsey Baker | Founder of Broadcasting Your Business

Chelsey Baker Business MentorChelsey Baker is one of the UK’s leading business mentors; for the past decade she has successfully raised the profile of hundreds of businesses. Dragons’ Den star Doug Richards recently presented her with an award for winning the “Excellence in Enterprise Mentoring Awards” a ceremony that took place at BAFTA.

As a marketing and communications expert Chelsey created “Broadcasting Your Business – the Pitch, Press & Publicity Programme” which she launched to support innovators and entrepreneurs. She is the author of the book “The Pocket Mentor – an entrepreneurs 24/7 guide to life and business.” Chelsey’s real passion is helping others achieve great success and she was chosen to mentor for the Government’s £150 million Start-Up Loan programme with Rockstar Youth.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently

I went to a convent school which instilled in me the value of honesty and ethics. The strict discipline helped me to develop a strong set of core values, although I didn’t see it that way at the time. At school I fell in love with performing and discovered the power of the spoken word. I also understand the negative impact that poor presentation skills and lack of confidence can have and now I teach others how to master the art of pitching/presenting and have taught many people how to overcome their fear of public speaking.

My background is in communications, media, publishing, television and financial trading. I was always fascinated with the psychology of the markets and in my early years thinking I knew everything was a very costly lesson! I’ve always liked supporting others and had my own business advice column for two years in the City Magazine and Canary Wharf Magazine which then inspired me to write my book. What I love most is what I do now – business mentoring.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Doing everything on my own! When I started out there wasn’t any business mentoring available so I persevered through all the headaches, heartaches and set backs of running my own business and it was a case of learning from my mistakes; a fundamental reason why I try to ensure others have a realistic perspective of the business challenges confronting them.

I know how difficult running a business can be and that’s why I pass on my experiences and knowledge to help others avoid the same pitfalls. Being guided by someone who’s already been there before is crucial. I know that I make a real difference in helping other entrepreneurs overcome many of the worries and challenges that they are faced with on a daily basis and perhaps this is because I never had anyone there to give me honest and constructive feedback or act as a sounding board; which are key in mentoring.

How did you find working in the City?

I started trading the stock market at aged 19 and being a woman in a male dominated environment had its fair share of challenges. I was usually the only female at events often battling egos with stereotyping and constantly trying to prove myself. I learnt a long time ago not to feel threatened by the men in suits and that I am just as good as them.

Still today I’m often the only woman at board meetings and amongst few female business mentors. When I was a judge on ‘The Midas Touch’ at the Business Show in London; we would listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas and in five years I was usually the only woman on the panel which included Peter Jones, Doug Richards, and many other high profile leaders but where were the women? Former Dragon Rachel Elnaugh did join us for a few shows which slightly levelled out the playing field but I still felt as a woman in business I was in the minority which sometimes worked to my advantage.

What has been your most ambitious business venture to date?

I co-founded and launched the world’s first ever 24 hour television channel dedicated to adverts which was an ambitious venture. The hard work paid off as the channel received worldwide coverage and more national press than any other channel launch of its time.

I also created a pioneering competition “The City’s Top Model Entrepreneur” to promote female enterprise. I teamed up with Dragons’ Den star Richard Farleigh to encourage more women with entrepreneurial skills to start their own business. The model entrepreneurs were mentored to deliver their business pitches to an audience of over 600 people where the winner walked away with over £20,000 in prizes and private business mentoring from Richard and myself. My aim was to advance the world of fashion and business by breaking down social stereotypes that suggest you cannot be beautiful and intelligent!

What drives you personally?

Watching others succeed as a result of my guidance is its own reward. As a mentor I can make a significant difference in people’s lives; it’s one of the most meaningful roles I have entered into. It’s hugely gratifying as I often spot huge potential problems; there’s been a few ‘thank you’ emails I’ve received for recognising what could have been potentially disastrous and expensive mistakes.

I am incredibly passionate about helping anyone who is determined to work hard and seeing the positive changes right in front of me is the very reason I keep mentoring. The fact that I have won two awards this year is testament to the fact that I love what I do and my passion is to see others succeed.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My father ran his own business and made me realise that anything is possible if you work hard and believe in yourself. I admired that he was his own boss, set off on my own entrepreneurial journey and soon realised the benefits of becoming independent. I always knew that I wanted to be in business and realised that if I worked hard I would succeed.

Now I am constantly inspired by the businesses that I mentor; not just by their skills and ideas but by their sense of purpose and drive. I have witnessed such talent in so many diverse areas and it never ceases to amaze me how innovative and creative people can be; every day I feel inspired and exhilarated working with these people.

What does the future hold for you?

I’m currently working on an exciting new course to promote female enterprise and I will continue to share my knowledge and skills through mentoring. Everyone has an equal opportunity to be a successful entrepreneur and encouraging enterprise is high on my agenda. I recognise the significance of mentoring and helping others reach their true potential; after all it is these entrepreneurs whose ideas and innovations will help to shape our economy in the future.

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