by Anne Day | Featured Contributor
More and more women are starting their own business, and while their reasons may vary, much is to do with gaining control over their lives, seeking a flexible lifestyle so they are better able to meet the demands of family and work.
Actually, in many ways, starting a business is very much similar to motherhood. You cope with the same range of emotions – excitement about the new venture, quickly coupled with total fear that you may not be up to the task in hand, be it running a business or raising a child.
When you are pregnant, you read all the books available, attend the pre-natal classes, and ask for advice from anyone who will listen. Likewise, when you are starting a business, you read all the books, sign up for the workshops, and get conflicting advice from friends and family.
Bottom line – nothing prepares you for the reality.
It is almost as if there is a code of secrecy. No one wants to tell you what it is really like. No one wants to spell out the down times. And no one wants to admit it was less than perfect for her.
That’s why getting together with other parents or new business owners is so reassuring. You learn that you are not alone with your sense of inadequacy.
Over the years I have run several groups for women who are starting out –- “newbies” — and I remember one woman sheepishly sharing that she got up in the morning and didn’t know what she should be doing. And that is the challenge when you start out, often you don’t know what you don’t know.
What I have observed is that often the business concept they start out with is not what they are doing six months down the road. They have tested the waters, and perhaps found that there isn’t a need for what they want to do, or that something else has proven more popular, and so they head off in a new direction. That’s why staying flexible is key.
Regardless of the type of business, the challenges faced are often similar, and as women we can support and help each other if we are prepared to be honest and drop the mask of perfection.
And if ever you question why you decided to enter the world of entrepreneurship, just remember, like motherhood, there are many moments of great joy and a true sense of accomplishment – like when you get that first order, pull off a big sale or complete a big project.
I know I for one could never go back to working for someone else. I enjoy my freedom too much, and truth is, I doubt if I am employable any more☺
Over the years, I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of women grow both personally and professionally. I’ve observed what works and perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t and I’ve learned some lessons of my own – some the hard way. In the months ahead, through this guest blog spot, I will be sharing those lessons. So stay tuned.
But she found working for yourself can be isolating and so eleven years ago she started Company of Women as a way to connect and support women entrepreneurs. Today the organization has six chapters across the GTA and beyond, and over 300 members. In 2009 she received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Oakville and the TIAW World of Difference award for her work in supporting women internationally. Over the years she has helped thousands of women grow professionally and personally through her programs, services and personal encouragement.
She is the author of three books, the most recent being Day by Day – Tales of business,life and everything in between. She is a regular business columnist with Huffington Post, and blogs for numerous other publications.