Days after attending the 3rd Annual Women in Business lunch hosted by Westchester's business magazine, 914Inc., I picked up a copy of the Hudson Valley Magazine from my local drugstore here in Beacon, NY (yes, we still have a local drugstore that isn't Rite Aid!), to read the December issue of our regional magazine. This month covers how female entrepreneurs, CEOs and small business owners are taking care of business. I was honored to be included in the editor's letter that kicked off the issue.
Olivia Abel, editor in chief, interviewed me for my take on what special challenges women entrepreneurs face these days. The challenges that women entrepreneurs face are quite different for each circumstance and usually relate heavily to family and time. She included a few of my thoughts in her editor's note, which I'll share here with you as well:
Perfection. Women are natural organizers and can multi-task very well. These are ingredients to a recipe for success. However, women who can quickly foresee the success of a business venture can be easily let down or disappointed in themselves if things aren't going exactly as planned. It's important for women to forgive themselves when they are working their hardest and sacrificing personal time for the pursuit of their business. (Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, also feels this way, as we learned in our business success secrets interview with her.)
Guilt. Women are consumed by guilt, and it's a really hard habit to break. There is no room for guilt in business relationships. Guilt about having a negative conversation with someone when a situation needs improvement can often lead to no conversation at all, and thus no improvement in a situation.
Family. Women are nurturers, and in business this can work very well as they listen to the needs of their businesses and shift accordingly. But the pull of family responsibilities is strong, and women often are taking care of household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and directly caring for the children. This is quite time consuming, thus leading to time away from growing their business. On the upside, however, unplugging in this digital day in age has become increasingly difficult, so a forced unplugging when spending time on family or household can lead to a recharged brain and fresh ideas.
Networking. It can be difficult to find a networking group that gets to the core of your business needs. But once you fine one, you'll realize that women are great at sharing and like to help each other.
Being "Worth It". Entrepreneurial women have created something from scratch. There is no boss telling them to stay after 5pm, or working on a family vacation. Entrepreneurs decide to work these extra hours, not take personal calls during the day, and sometimes say no to personal invitations when really, she needs to be working on her business. Women sacrifice for others, but rarely for themselves. And as a business owner, a woman must think that she and her business are "worth it" in order to do what needs to be done.