After an eventful few months, we’ve got the inspiration bug around the office! So to keep going with the good vibes, we sat down for a catch up with founder of The Step Up Club, Alice Olins to see what she’s been up to lately, exciting things happening for her members and a quick introduction to anyone first meeting her …
Tell us how The Step Up Club was started … what were you doing beforehand which inspired you to found it?
The Step Up Club launched in 2017, after my first book, Step Up was published the year before. What started as a single career manual book idea has grown into something so much more encompassing and modern.
Today, the Step Up is a membership club that allows all types of working women to access the highest quality career and business coaching, advice and support at a price that is the same as just two coffees a week. What I’ve noticed in the past few years, is that whilst there is this strong female empowerment movement, and steps are being made to slowly close the gender pay gap, the support gap – the huge discrepancy between the coaching and mentoring on offer to men and what women are able to access – continues to blight our ability to reach our potential at work. Why can’t all women engage in a meaningful career and business development, be able to build strong mentoring relationships and become part of a community that helps develop confidence, and work enjoyment to boot? This is the aim for the new Step Up Club. And membership is growing on a daily basis, so I’m pretty sure demand is high!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements to date?
I think it’s a two-pronged answer: first and foremost, I feel unbelievably proud when I heard from my members, or course graduates, and they tell me that Step Up is the reason they were able to grow their business, secure that big client or bag the promotion they’ve wanted for years. There is nothing like knowing you’ve created something that has a genuine and lasting impact in such a positive way. Personally, this new members club has felt huge. It’s completely my own idea, I’ve curated it, commissioned experts to contribute work, picked my own team and really poured so much of my own life, career and now business experience in it too. It feels scary in a sense, but I know that fear is normal and energising, so I’m just going with it!
Tell us more about The Step Up School – how do you work to inspire & support others to pursue their dream career?
Running courses, bringing women together and delivering content that is of the highest quality and also hugely practical; this feels like the perfect combination of approaches to help women feel supported and empowered again. The Step Up School is a face-to-face course that runs 3 times a year and each course takes around 25 women through a learning experience that allows them to build self-awareness, confidence and skills. It’s still the heart of the business, but really I want the Club to take its place in terms of reach, because then I can access women all over the country and world – and for me, that is success!
What’s the best advice you’ve received in your career?
Goodness, so much I wouldn’t know where to start! I suppose the best piece of advice is to believe in yourself, to find your passion – because then work always feels inspiring – and don’t forget to ask for help when you need it! Communication is such a vital part of feeling understood and supported at work. As I always say, just like it takes a village to raise a child, the same is true of a modern working woman.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Accept that failure is a part and parcel of this journey. Don’t fear them, learn from these low points because no one ever evolved or grew when things were going well …
Who has been your biggest mentor throughout your career?
My Dad. He’s an extraordinary supporter, both in terms of my career development, for business advice and he’ll take my two daughters off somewhere fun whenever I need him to. He is full of sound advice and is the best networker I know!
What are the most common questions you get from members joining The Step Up Club?
‘Is this for me?’ To which I answer, if you are struggling in any way at work, whether it be around your confidence, your ability to grow your business, progress, move job, find a mentor or just find the fun in work again, then you deserve support and it doesn’t come better than The Step Up Club. I can say that modestly because so much of what makes it special and unique is the community of women in the Club who carry each other forward when things are good, bad or ugly. It’s a very special place and I’m just so thrilled that it’s helping women to feel strong, understood and capable at work again.
What’s next for The Step Up Club? How do you see it growing in the next 5 years?
My aim is just to grow membership as much as possible. I’ve already reached Australia, Hong Kong and part of Europe. The more women who know it’s here, as an affordable, tangible and worthwhile resource, the happier I’ll be!
To find out more about The Step Up Club, visit their website: www.stepupclub.co