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Inspirational Woman: Ritu Sethi | Award-winning Solicitor and businesswoman

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Ritu Sethi, award-winning Solicitor and businesswoman, public speaker, TV personality and married mother of two and author of “Having it all now “ a book which will guide you along the path towards achieving your goals and realising your dreams. She reveals her secrets of how you really can HAVE IT ALL NOW, sharing her personal stories of success in pursuit of ultimate happiness. She is the founder and Managing Partner of The Sethi Partnership Solicitors, an award winning Law practice in West London, which has grown from strength to strength, just celebrating 20 years. She has won many accolades including The Business Services at The First Women Awards. She is a trained Fitness instructor and Beauty Therapist.

I was not born with the notion that one day I will have my own business, but rather due to the circumstances I found myself in.

What inspired you to start a business?

Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to be bet on ones’ ideas to take a calculated risk to act on it.

I was not born with the notion that one day I will have my own business, but rather due to the circumstances I found myself in.

What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?

The greatest Challenge is that once you own your own business, you own it 24 hours a day a, seven days a week. Never switching off, always looking to better yourself and your business. It is relentless. However, the greatest reward follows with it is, that there are no set hours, so coming into work sometimes is a formality, as you are constantly working in any event, wherever you are. You reap what you sow in terms of financial benefit, and unlike in the animal kingdom, you eat last, so after all the salaries have been paid, all the bills and outgoings have been settled and whatever is left is yours- could be disappointing in some months and plentiful in others, that is your reward.

What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?

The recession and finding exceptional staff. As both these challenges are outside your control.
No one could predict the recession and when business was tight, I held on to all my staff, knowing that one day when the economy improves, I will not be able to find them again. So my loyalty to my staff is just as important as their loyalty to me and hence we build a trust , which becomes the glue that builds a team .

How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?

I have used mentors at various stages in my career and now mentor people myself. My view is there is little point creating a new problem, when the solution has been found for you,when someone has done an excellent job beforehand. It makes sense to reap the benefits of their experience. A mentor can help you learn how to get connected and find the information you need to get on. He or she will also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth. Mentors are a great asset and can assist in seeing the challenge through fresh eyes.

What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?

I would also make sure I made some time for networking. No matter how hard you work, you will never fulfil your true potential if you operate in total isolation. Speaking to other people, whether they are in your industry or in a completely unrelated sector, will broaden your horizons, help you learn new things and raise your credibility. It will also show that you are serious about investing time in your career. There is another benefit to networking that you may not have considered too. It will boost your confidence and sense of pride in yourself. Networking with other like-minded individuals will help you feel empowered. You will feel like a businessperson, not Timmy’s mum who regularly has to cram in answering emails at 2am in her pyjamas. Meeting other professional women and talking about business can be very encouraging. It will help restore your vision and passion for your career.

Apart from anything else we are often better at networking than men. Women are intrinsically suited to meeting, connecting and sharing than their male colleagues. Men tend to shoot from the hip, going on the basis of ‘who do I know who can help me right now’. Women, on the other hand, take time to listen and build lasting relationships that can be important building blocks for future job placements, sales leads and partnerships. Yet, still precious few women take advantage of this golden opportunity. Over the years, I have been to countless functions and time and again I find myself either the only representative of my sex or with the same four women I meet almost every time. We are surrounded by a sea of men in black suits. One of the women who I regularly bump into turned to me recently and said: “Why is it always us? There must be other professional women in London who need to network.” She’s right. Yes, we have demands on our time and the juggling can be difficult, but if you want to get your career in balance, you have to make time for events like these. If it makes it easier, why not schedule it into your diary, as though it was just another appointment and part of your job? Obviously, you need to be choosy. You don’t have to go to every single event, but attending even a few, well-chosen events could transform your career for the better. Don’t worry if you don’t feel that confident. Many of my female colleagues have told me that if you’ve been out of the loop for a while it can seem daunting plunging into a room full of strangers. Just remember, they all feel the same too. You are all in the same boat. Once you speak to the first person you will immediately realise they were just as nervous about talking to you as you were about talking to them. Now, they’ll just be eternally grateful for the fact that someone has made the first move.

What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?

Over the 20 years years of starting and running my own Law Firm, The Sethi Partnership Solicitors, we have been through Peaks and Troughs. As we advice on all legal matters effecting people every day, such as buying their first home, to Divorce law and writing their will, we have developed a sixth sense to ascertain when is a good time to grow and when to hold back. After the last recession ,this was made even more clear with redundancies and job sharing becoming ever more popular and also leading to the start up of many smaller businesses, which now will thrive with the growth of the economy.

What does the future hold for you?

Once it is in your blood, the need for further achieving is always there- you can never get complacent and every year brings new challenges and opportunity to grow. Now, that my children are mini adults , my focus has changed and my gaze is back on the Law practice, spreading the message of my book and developing as a all rounded Business Woman who can share her experience and help others achieve their goals and more importantly their dreams, as I feel I have.

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