Self-Employment as a Win-Win-Win Situation: Our Interview With Babett Mahnert From Goldfrau

Philip March 2022 Content Marketing Editor 7 min

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Becoming self-employed, being your own boss, and being able to determine your own working hours – that sounds very tempting to many people. Nevertheless, self-employment is a daring step. To be successful here, you need the right mindset and a high degree of passion, as Babett Mahnert, founder and CEO and Goldfrau, tells us.

As part of our International Women’s Week at Penta, we talked to Babett about the life of a female entrepreneur. In our interview, she explains what aspiring self-employed people should look out for and how she managed to become a successful businesswoman as a single mother of two children.

Hi Babett. Please introduce yourself and your business briefly.

I’m Babett and I help people to live happier and more relaxed lives, achieve greater success in their self-employment, and get their finances on track.

What has motivated you to start your consultancy “Goldfrau”?

I originally have a finance background, worked in banks for 17 years, and then made the cut at the end of 2016 as my values were no longer compatible with the corporate values. I started to work creatively and eventually, the topic of finance came back to me through private consulting requests – that’s how Goldfrau was born.

What exactly are the values of traditional banks and which values do you represent in comparison?

The system is not focused on customers and their real needs. The customer is simply not in the centre of action. It still seems so old-fashioned along the lines of “what’s our own benefit?” instead of creating a win-win-win situation with real added value for all parties involved.

And that is exactly the bridge to my values; to guarantee a win-win-win situation – for me, for you, for everyone. This also includes transparency and honesty, which are among my core values.

Your Instagram says “Successful soul business”. How connect “soul” and “business” and how can others – especially women – do the same?

By putting aside everything you thought you knew about business and success and just follow the joy. Now this is not an esoteric quote that I copied from some calendar; It’s more about connecting with yourself and reminding yourself what’s important to you in life. A job shouldn’t just be a job, it should be a purpose that makes you get out of bed in the morning and go for it all the way. If you don’t have that feeling in your current job, you may think twice about whether you want to do it long-term.

With “soul”, I mean exactly this connection; that you are wholeheartedly involved in the thing you do every day. And the “business” refers to the fact that you give impact to the world and create something that offers real added value and helps people. Basically, Penta is already doing that by thinking banking in a whole new setting. In fact, this is also possible in employment by looking at how your position has an overarching impact on the things that are important to you. Even as an employee, you can have a passion for what you do.

It takes 3 days for a spacecraft to reach the Moon. It shouldn’t take longer to open a bank account.

You want to “support women to solve conflicts at work and […] to get the recognition they deserve”. How do you currently feel about gender equality in the corporate world?

In my own work environment, this is not an issue. Sure, there are certain systems that work differently for men and women. Nevertheless, I fundamentally disagree that women are explicitly treated disadvantageously because they don’t need to believe that. If you feel treated differently or worse as a woman, you are allowed to change that. It depends on what you choose. If in your current job, company or system women are not treated equally, you have the choice to stay or to break out and find something more suitable for yourself.

This does not mean that there are no differences between men and women in the corporate world. It’s more about standing up for yourself and knowing what you want instead of just agreeing to everything and letting yourself as a woman be pushed into a predefined corner where you just accept the lack of equality.

My tip is: If women feel discriminated against or disadvantaged, they should think carefully about the areas in which they do so. Then they can take specific action against it and change something. Women’s quotas etc. are a good start to have a measurable criterion, but real change always takes place from the inside out.

Some of the following titles of your podcast caught my attention and I would love to hear more about them.

“Why being good and conforming makes your financial freedom IMPOSSIBLE”

If you say yes to everything, you will never ever unlock the opportunity of this world for yourself. I picture a door that you never open because you don’t know what great things are waiting for you behind it. Especially women should be willing to go their own way and venture out of their comfort zone. No one will ask you at the end of your life how well you followed the rules.

“Fears – YES please!”

Just notice what fears you have and in which situations they occur. It is important not to run away from them and to admit these fears to yourself. They offer you the opportunity to reflect and ask yourself “What can I change in my life to overcome my fears?

“I am not good enough”

We grew up in a society that focuses on deficits, where you are always told what you can’t do. It already starts at school: even if you get 99 out of 100 points, the result is still written in red. Try this out: Make a list of things you are really good at. If these skills are not valued appropriately in your current environment, you have the opportunity to break out of it.

What is the best advice you can give to a woman who has just started her own business or wants to do so soon?

Create impact – that comes before everything else. Don’t always put earning money as your first priority, but rather think about what is close to your heart and how you can help others through your work.

Nevertheless, the business structure is also part of it, of course: Get your figures straight, work with subaccounts right from the start to sort out your payment flows, set up seamless bookkeeping and don’t postpone things like the tax office until later. Currently, almost 80% of all startups fail and this number could be so much lower if entrepreneurs worked with a clear financial structure. Imagine how much calmer you’ll sleep when you’re relaxed about paying your bills and have an overview of your taxes and bookkeeping. I’m doing a workshop on this on 18.03. Are you nodding inwardly? Sign up and be part of it.

Where can up-and-coming entrepreneurs best find information about finances and self-employment? What is important?

Let me speak from my own experience. As a self-employed person, please be careful with whom you talk about such topics. Stop asking your employed friend questions about self-employment. Instead, talk to people who have been where you want to be and learn from their mistakes. These are the people who can help you grow your mindset.

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