Michelle Mone has never been one to mince her words. The entrepreneur and Tory peer used her maiden speech in the House Of Lords to urge ministers to empower women in business, and since then, she’s been outspoken on issues ranging from Brexit to the Scottish independence referendum. While not everyone will agree with her political views, there’s no denying the 45-year-old is a force to be reckoned with.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and keep pushing forward?
“The fear of failure has always driven me – it’s literally kept me awake at night. I’ve always wanted to achieve great things, from my first business to now, the drive for success is inside me.
“I’ve worked very hard and feel fortunate I can now pass on my learnings and experiences to young entrepreneurs and those starting out, whether that’s through my role in Parliament, through my books, speaking events or social media.”
How do you think society views ambitious and successful women?
“It has changed and is changing for the better, I’m really looking forward to seeing a new generation of exciting female talent in business. It’s a really great thing to see women making such important moves within business.
“Although it’s hard for women, I want women to push forward, push through the barriers like I did and make no excuses.”
What was the last thing you did that made you proud?
“Coming back from a two-year break from business to launch Michelle Mone Interiors has made me really proud, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years.
“Other than that it’s hard to choose from receiving my OBE from the Queen or becoming a member of the House of Lords in 2015. Becoming the Start Up Business Tsar was a huge moment for me – my real passion is helping young people in the world of business – I love being a mentor, it’s the best job in the world.”
Does success have a downside? If so, what is it?
“I’d say you could argue that sometimes the media is a downside. That said, I’ve grown up with the press for 20 years now and I wouldn’t be here without them.”
How do you practise self-care and why is it important?
“I work out every day for at least an hour, no matter where I am I always find the time. I truly believe that a healthy body equals a healthy mind.
“I didn’t practise self-health or a healthy way of life for years, but exercising and eating well has changed my life. I am a much better person for it and feel great. Self-care is now a huge part of my life.”
What’s your biggest regret and what did you learn from it?
“I don’t necessarily have any regrets, as you can always learn from your mistakes and move on to bigger and better things. Any struggles or challenges are such learning curves and shape the person you are today.
“Once a distributor ran off with £1.4 million of my money (during my Ultimo years) – it was horrendous but I learnt a lot from that experience.”
If you had one piece of advice for other women, what would it be?
“Work hard, play hard and always give something back. Crash those barriers down and make no excuses.”
What’s the one thing you would change or do in 2021 to push women forward?
“Encourage more women to speak up and find the confidence in business to just do it!
“There are so many inspirational strong women in every industry and I hope that we can all bounce off each other, lift each other up and continue to achieve great things.”