Business model

Women and money: what is your business model?

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 12:16 PM


Barbara Stuart

Barbara Stewart, CFA, is a researcher and author on the issue of women and finance. She released the 12th installment in her “Rich Thinking” monograph series on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2022. Stewart uses her proprietary research skills to work as an executive interviewer on a project basis for global financial institutions.

According to women around the world, what is the most important element of their personal business model?

Last year, I interviewed 53 accomplished women for my research article “Smart Women: How Do They Make Money?” posted on March 8, 2022. To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, I thought I’d share some examples of how women from different countries and cultures think about business models and how it’s contributed to their business success.

Some women view their personal business model as a mindset for approaching work strategically:

Become a known brand

“When I think of my personal business model, I think of the importance of setting yourself apart and making sure you are clear about both what you can do and what you are known for. my time and effort to do my best and I focus on understanding what I need to know and who I need to know to progress I am selective with my time and say no to a lot — Jessica Chan, Head of Investor Solutions, JLL, Hong Kong, SAR

Have a guiding principle

“My personal business model is built around a mindset. I see myself as a revenue-generating asset! I am in the peak period of my career and my guiding principle for years has been to increase my income by 10-15% a year. Whether I’m participating in a performance review for an existing job or a new job, I’m looking to negotiate that percentage increase in my salary.” — Joelle Pang, Managing Director, FastJobs Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Be the go-to person

“My personal business model is built around my desire to be ‘best in class’. I strive to be a highly credible source of information and hold myself to a high moral standard. In my role, I facilitate introductions between senior executives, such as CIOs and institutional fund managers.I am the go-to person for clients, investors, and anyone in our ecosystem who is looking to assess their investment process. investment or meeting potential partners, which requires a high level of personal and professional discretion. If you ask any of these stakeholders, “Who do I talk to? They’ll say, ‘I’m talking to Marsha Larned “.” — Marsha Larned, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Institutional Investor, Hong Kong, SAR

Others view their personal business model as a deliberate way of working towards financial success, such as building frameworks and platforms, or collaborating with others:

Use frameworks and platforms

“My personal business model is aligned with a consulting business in that I sell my time. As a coach specializing in corporate psychology, I support entrepreneurs and founders on their journey. From the start, I realized that to create value, I had to think of platforms and work with collaborators who would generate growth. For example, I work with Novo Nordisk Foundation on their accelerator program. They enter and invest in several start-ups and I support the founders of seven to 10 start-ups. In the future, I’d like to do more research and suggest frameworks and platforms for others to use. — Cecilie Willer, Founding Coach,, Copenhagen, Denmark


“I always seek to collaborate: my whole career has been based on detecting and maintaining opportunities for collaboration and ensuring that there is value for both parties. I invest in collaboration and not only in the project itself. This requires hard work, and for any project I work on, I make a stakeholder map. I list all relevant stakeholders in my ecosystem, then identify potential winning engagements /win, then I try to build relationships accordingly. Collaborating helps you deliver more effectively by leveraging other people’s resources and expertise. — Dona Haj, Head of EMEA Ventures and Tech Ecosystem, MathWorks, London

For many other women, a personal business model is more of a holistic approach to making money that includes her personal philosophy around things like lifestyle, health, and happiness:

Way of life

“In proposing my personal philosophy around money, I started with an end in mind. I asked myself this question, ‘What lifestyle do I want to have?’ This involved thinking deeply about the types of experiences I wanted, the number of trips per year, the type of house and car I would like, and how I want to spend my time. next to everything i wanted to have, i worked backwards to get to my money goal and soon enough realized that it wasn’t such an astronomical number.i love biking and hiking and they aren’t particularly expensive sports either!Having a clear understanding of my financial goal gives me the peace of mind to live the lifestyle I want.—Aleksandra Efimova, CEO, FLX® Stretch Training and Russian Pointe , Palm Beach, Florida


“I don’t have a business model per se, at least in the traditional sense of having external customers, revenue and value propositions. I have a much simpler pattern of life. After much research, I’ve discovered that there are three things that make me (and most of us) happy: good health, deep relationships, and meaningful work. I made sure I had good physical and mental health. I developed some deep friendships. And I realized that for me, “meaningful” means working on “hard problems” in my line of work. I like to work on problems that no one else has succeeded in. — Hansi Mehrotra, CFA, Founder and Financial Wellness Coach, The Money Hans, Mumbai


“It’s important to have a ‘happiness model’ superimposed on your ‘business model’ and figure out how to maximize happiness as well as career goals. What motivates me is the intellectual and emotional engagement over the bigger salary or gain. I’d like to think that’s a good way to approach life. — Judy Blumstock, Founder and CEO, Diamond Therapeutics, Toronto

Personal business models are personal! The way we develop our mindsets, strategies and philosophies around work and money is unique. And as we evolve, our personal business models evolve with us.

To accelerate the inclusion of women in the investment management profession, CFA Institute launched a massive voluntary campaign Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Code for the profession of investor in the United States and Canada (“DEI code”). Click on the banner to find out more.

To learn more about this topic, read the full report “Smart Women: How Do They Make Money?” by Barbara Stewart, CFA.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, and the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Image credit: ©Getty Images / Hinterhaus Productions