Female Entrepreneurs – The Women Who Scratch Their Bugbites
Wanting to start your own business feels a lot like a bug bite. It itches and you scratch at it all day long. When it bites — some bite back. Others simply spread ointment over it and call it a day. I tip my hat to women in business — the ones that say, “screw the ointment, I’ve got to scratch this thing.”
Last night I had the chance to sit through a Junior League of Dallas speaking engagement, “How to start a business?” featuring several local female entrepreneur who shared some interesting stories. Here are several insights that I learned while listening to women that apparently said no to the ointment.
On Discovery – Discovering your talent is rarely a choice.
Discovery is often born out of the shadows. Many of the female entrepreneurs that spoke last night (and that I’ve read about) had no idea that they were onto something or how valuable their talents were. Their entrepreneurial talents were simply disguised as “things that they do”. As one panelist put it “ You kind of figure out along the way what works best for you.”
The birthplace of entrepreneurial talents can reveal itself within one of several categories. Some of the ones we heard about last night were:
▪ Crafts and hobbies
Interior designers, florists and bestsellers tell us time and time again that they’re simply doing something they love. I know it’s corny — but I’m actually starting to believe it. Many of the women out there pursuing their dreams and profiting from it are doing it well because they love it.
▪ Survival techniques
One woman spoke of her desperate need to flip her house once she’d divorced. She’d done it so well that she realized she could actually make a living off of it. I’m constantly amazed by the amount of women who didn’t have an opportunity fall out of the sky and into their laps — but instead were hit over the head with a challenge. The skills that these women needed to survive then morph into profit bearing tactics — and they never look back. Brilliant.
Healthy eaters, fashionistas, bloggers and filmmakers. They’ve all got one thing in common. They can’t escape their passion. These women are normally not only outstanding female entrepreneurs — but they’re often on a roll with a huge niche following, plenty to share with their communities and endless personal fulfillment.
▪ Lifelong Skills
This could apply to just about anyone — but I point it out for women in particular because it’s often the precursor to entrepreneurial efforts in male dominated fields.
Whether this further supports the idea that current the lack of women in these fields can be attributed to the educational system is another post entirely — regardless, a lot of the reading and listening that I’ve done reveals that women excelling (and starting women owned businesses) in male dominated fields were raised with an early introduction to it.
On Execution- What pushes the female entrepreneur to act?
Each of the female speakers last night that had started their own businesses had heavy external influences. It isn’t just about the desire to make money (although indeed it’s one of the end goals)— but they’re also seeking a certain lifestyle, trying to survive, or looking for more fulfillment. Three incentives I pulled from the panel last night?
▪ Financial Hardship
The female entrepreneur is often born out of necessity.
▪ Unfulfilling work environment
She is also born out of frustration.
▪ Perfect Partnerships
Whether it be the spouse, best friend or a perfect stranger— finding another talent that complements their own is a big incentive for women.
On Achievement – When do women say to themselves, “job well done!”?
How these women gauge their own success is probably the most valuable takeaway. Because the fear of failure is the greatest barrier to any sort of entrepreneurship, benchmarks — whether too high, low or just right — are pivotal to any businesses survival.
The majority of last night’s panel was pretty clear about what they considered success — positive publicity. Whether it was news story coverage, winning a competition, magazine cover spots, or a radio station shout-out, recognition from the community as an established brand and business was a key indicator of having reached a certain level of success.
What I’ll leave you with.
Many of us will avoid scratching bug bites. It hurts, it may leave scars and half the time the pain heavily outweighs the relief. But what many of us have to realize (despite what we may have been taught) — is that the relief is more than worth it, the scars will heal, and your skin grows tougher. There’s nothing “unpretty” about it. So — to the women who scratch their bug bites, let’s rejoice in your relief and celebrate your accomplishments so that more of us will follow your lead!
Do you feel the entrepreneurial bug bite? Are you scratching it or sticking it out in corporate america?
WHY do you think you feel the entrepreneurial itch?