Business can be tough…
Most every business owner has some mixture of fears and frustrations about their business. Whether it’s dealing with the typical business issues that keep entrepreneurs awake at night - cash flow, sales and staff issues just for starters – or if you go a bit deeper, issues like “Is it all worth it?”, fear of failure or even fear of success.
There are many reasons that people start businesses – some sound, some more along the lines of “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Once again we do see some differences between the sexes.
Whether they understand the deep seated motivation (instinct) or not, men will often start a business to “prove themselves” and to show their superiority. This is not too far removed from cavemen who set out to be the best hunter, or athletes who want to beat all comers. For men it is about the competition. Business to them is a game of win-lose.
Of course this will invariably be wrapped up in dreams and goals of making $xx, having a house on the water, a nice car, boat etc., or providing a comfortable life for one’s family.
We often find that the reasons women go into business are somewhat different.
Certainly they may need to make money – which in itself is a pretty good reason. But many women (in the role of the primary nurturer) are seeking necessary flexibility and are therefore trying to avoid a job which lacks the flexibility they require. Some have a hobby about which they are passionate and want to turn it into more. Some have a social cause they are funding. Others are simply bored.
And for women there are other challenges, only some of which men will share.
The biggest of these is focus. Running a business as a woman is a huge balancing act. The multi-tasking! The work-life balance! The family obligations! The guilt! Why do my needs always come last? When can I get some “me time?” To quote my late grandmother - “Oy!”
Closely related is “Superwoman Syndrome” – trying to have and do it all without killing yourself. And at the same time making sure you are being authentically you.
And unfortunately discrimination is still a huge issue for women in business. There is much written about it from the perspective of being a female employee, but it is just as bad being a business owner. Many of the women I have worked with reported not being taken seriously as entrepreneurs, having to change hair colour to avoid being stereotyped, blatant sexism, exclusionary behaviour and disproportionate difficulty in getting funding.