An open letter to female business owners…

Fiona Grayson, Founder of She can. She did.

It’s no secret that I launched She can. She did. back in 2017 in part because I was frustrated by the superficial narrative of the #girlboss movement online and wanted to do something about it. 

Features heralding the new wave of ‘boss babes’ creating seven-figure profits from the ‘gram, articles citing ‘Ten top tips to become a ‘She-EO’ and merch garnished with slogans like ‘I’m CEO Bitch’ were the norm…

With little to no surrounding dialogue outlining the sheer amount of sacrifice, grit and/or privilege behind the scenes, that plays a substantial part in any Founders’ initial and ongoing success…

In a locked down world that feels noisier than ever before though – in which the easiest way to be ‘seen’ and heard comes from adopting habits that I believe are part of the fundamental problem we need to address – you can rest assured that if I felt conflicted by the landscape female business owners were operating in online four years ago, I feel it today more so than ever. 

That of feeling encouraged that more women want to launch their own businesses because of Instagram but concerned that the reality of being a business owner is vastly different to the ‘reality’ that they’ve seen online. 

Thankful that Instagram has shed light on so many important issues that business owners (and society at large) need to address but concerned that its polarising lens doesn’t allow room to discuss life’s nuance. 

Grateful that Instagram provides access to community, customers and support but worried that were overlooking the fact that all three can be found elsewhere too. 

In awe of Instagram’s ability to generate millions for business owners but aware of the emotional and physical price that many pay behind the scenes for those millions.

Heartened to see quotes and stats acknowledging the inequalities of the business landscape being shared but disappointed that theyre not always matched with a willingness to tackle the issues they shed light on. 

Indebted to Instagram for introducing me to so many incredible people elevating the case for female business owners but frustrated that a select few are using the guise of supporting women in businessas an opportunity to build a platform that elevates only themselves…

With that in mind, I’ve spent the past few weeks jotting down some thoughts (which I will breakdown and share over the course of the coming days) to try and articulate why I feel like certain aspects of the landscape we’re operating in online are hindering instead of helping our chances of long-term success; not forgetting what I hope we can do to collectively address these issues, in both the immediate weeks ahead and post-pandemic world.

For any business owner that finds navigating Instagram (and/or social media in general) a source of ongoing angst, that is…

In part, to help clarify what will be driving my decision making with She can. She did. this year and help get some of these concerns off my chest…

(How selfish, I know!)

But mostly, in the hope that it encourages us all to reassess the relationship we have with Instagram and how we define ‘success’ and ‘supporting women in business’ collectively going forward.

After all, what good is it sharing a ‘what would Elle Woods do?’ quote to inspire more women to launch a business if it’s not matched with a willingness to confront the reality that awaits them?

Part 1 coming tomorrow.

I hope you find it useful.


This open letter will be followed by a series of posts that will go live in the coming days.
Should you fancy finding out more about She can. She did. in the meantime, read more about our story here!

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