This week is the start of the horse racing season and as Cheltenham gets in full swing, there are increasingly more online betting and gambling sites offering tempting odds and offers. Traditionally seen as a male pursuit, gambling is said to becoming more popular with women who are no longer confined to dingy bingo halls.

Clearly, I am glad to see more equality but the whole online gambling phenomena is a concerning one. The ease at which people can sign up to these sites and depart with their money does worry me. I am not talking about the odd flutter on the Grand National which is something of a British institution; I mean the highly addictive nature of betting apps and small stakes gaming, which are said to be focusing on targeting female consumers.

Marketing to a female audience has caused controversy in recent months – first we had the different shaped Doritos claimed to make less of a crunching noise to be more ‘lady-like’ and in smaller packets to fit in handbags. Then with International Women’s Day, UK beer company Brew Dog launched a pink IPA, claiming to be a ‘beer for girls’. Both campaigns were surrounded by controversy and deemed to be sexist.

Perhaps you can’t blame these brands for trying to stand out to tap into the global $18 trillion spending power held by women. Whilst there is still a gender pay gap, women are earning more than ever before and they are said to drive 70-80% of all consumer purchases worldwide because they continue to be the primary home-maker. But what I want to know is where are the marketing campaigns encouraging us how and where to invest our money…not spend it on things we don’t need?

At the end of 2017, some research in the UK showed that financial services brands are not talking to women*. Instead we are continually pushed products that have us believe we need to spend money on things that will keep us looking younger for longer; that we ‘need’ expensive handbags and ridiculously over-priced shoes to fit in. But when it comes to retirement our savings pots said to on average three times lower than our male counterparts…a crazy thought when we are still outliving them! Watch this space for more thoughts on this soon.

Last year the UK’s highest ever paid female boss was Denise Coates Founder of Bet365, one of the largest online wagering groups. Earning more than Richard Branson last year, Denise started her career as a cashier in her Dad’s small betting shop and after graduating with a degree in Econometrics, grew the business to almost 50 shops. I recently read an article when Denise explained how she took the ultimate gamble in taking the whole business online. Apparently, she mortgaged all of the betting shops to invest in the development of Bet 365…a gamble that has clearly paid off for her.

Denise’s gamble is one I can get on board with. When it comes to business, taking calculated risks in order to grow is sensible. Women now start over half of new business in the UK, yet only a small percentage grow those businesses to over £1 million turnover. Why? Access to finance is said to be one contributing factor but as a Mind and Money Mentor, I see so many clients that are holding themselves back from success. Perhaps they are telling themselves they can’t achieve something; or they are playing small for fear of failing if they push themselves further and bigger.

I see it is as my mission to help women overcome these fears and take a gamble on themselves to start their businesses. As a chartered accountant I help them with practical advice and guidance on their numbers; then focus on the important part of helping them overcome the blocks they are putting in their way in their own minds through a form of hypnotherapy called Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT). Find out more at I help at every stage of business development, whether it is taking a business idea to fruition or if the business has got started but needs some help to grow.

So ladies, as you get ready for the races season this year, before you spend all that money on those shoes and bag, I’d like you to think about taking a gamble on yourselves to start that business you have always wanted to. Please get in touch if I can help.

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