Boss Lady

Reese Witherspoon’s example inspires women to pursue their passions and be their own boss


Gender equality in the workplace continues to be a prevalent issue across the globe, spurring on a generation of strong and passionate females determined to take a stand, be their own boss, and make an impact. Over the last several years, international A-list movie star Reese Witherspoon has become a champion for women’s rights and a role model for breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling, proving there are no limits to what a woman can do when she puts her mind to it.

Now, although Witherspoon has a platform much larger than many of us have experience with, she has truly positioned herself as a formidable business­woman who is setting a powerful and confident example for women to emulate.

What’s your passion?

Some of the most successful start-ups are born out of an individual’s passion—whether that’s a passion for doing something or a passion for solving a frustrating problem. For Witherspoon, it was the passionate determination to see a long overdue respect and equal playing ground for women become a reality within the entertainment industry.

So, in 2016 Witherspoon launched Hello Sunshine, a new cross-platform brand and consumer-facing content company dedicated to telling female-driven stories. Hello Sunshine leverages the experience of its founders to create, curate, and discover powerful content by and for women across all platforms, from daily social and short-form digital content to television shows and motion pictures. On her show, Together Live, Witherspoon explains her outlook perfectly by stating, “If you want something done, do it yourself. Sometimes you don’t know you can do it, but you do it anyway!”

As women, we can often feel uncertain about taking risks and stepping outside of our comfort zones. However, if we want to realise our potential and live out our dreams, we have to go after them—no one else is going to do it for us. What passion is stirring in your heart? Is it to create? Provide a much-needed service? Or is it to address a problem or issue you are compelled to solve?

No limits

Taking action on your vision and starting a business from it can be daunting, overwhelming, and downright scary. All the “what-ifs” start bombarding your mind and can often leave you saying “someday” instead of taking steps to make your dream a reality.

Witherspoon, however, gives great advice in a personal essay she wrote for Glamour magazine in 2017: “If you’re one of those people who has that little voice in the back of her mind saying, ‘Maybe I could do [fill in the blank],’ don’t tell it to be quiet. Give it a little room to grow, and try to find an environment it can grow in.”

Her vision to empower women within her industry has grown into not only her production company but also two podcasts; a mentorship program for young, aspiring female filmmakers; a YouTube channel; a series of live stage events; a deal with Audible to produce original audiobooks; and a subscription channel, which will also live on DirecTV, that provides unscripted female-created programming including Shine On with Reese, an interview show where Witherspoon talks with a variety of women making their mark within their industries.

If you have a vision for your own start-up, take it one day at a time. Each step you take will give your vision a little more room to grow, and eventually, you’ll find yourself looking back and celebrating how far you’ve come in realising your goals.

Cultivate your ambition.

When referring to a female, characteristics like ambition, drive, and self-confidence are often viewed as “spoiled, pushy, and self-centered.” Why is that? These are all positive and necessary traits if we want to stand out and succeed in achieving our goals, so they should be celebrated, not frowned upon. In her essay, Witherspoon states, “I believe ambition is not a dirty word. It’s believing in yourself and your abilities. Imagine this: What would happen if we were all brave enough to believe in our own ability, to be a little more ambitious? I think the world would change.”

As of January 2019, new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that women who operate their own business make up 12.1% of the 5.9 million women employed; while men who operate their own business represent 19.8% of the 6.7 million men employed.

Another breakdown of the numbers reveals the following:

  • There were 715,300 women business operators in Australia in January 2019. That’s a 34.9% share of all business operators—an increase of 2% over the past year.
  • There were 1.3 million men business operators, which represents 65.1% of all business operators.

Although these recent numbers show that females are taking significant strides in the right direction, we’re not there yet! Don’t be afraid to diligently cultivate your ambition, ignite your drive, and inspire your self-confidence to be your own boss and make your mark in this powerful generation of capable and influential women.

About Faye Ferris

Faye Ferris is the APAC Sales and Marketing Director for, one of the world’s largest online global market places for buying and selling small-to-medium sized businesses. Faye is passionate about helping Australian small business succeed and regularly writes about entrepreneurship and business management.   Twitter Handle:

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