Updated: Jan 4
Of the many women who changed the course of history, many were entrepreneurs: Coco Chanel, Estée Lauder, Madam C.J. Walker, the list goes on. I take this as a reminder that there’s no “right” way to be successful—and making our own way is often well worth the risk. But Women’s History Month is also a time to recognize all the opportunities we have now because of these brave, trailblazing women.
Some aspects of the entrepreneurial experience have remained the same throughout the course of history, and I think women, in particular, are well-suited to meet certain challenges that come with running a business. Here are three of those challenges and some reflections on how I’ve navigated them, with a little help from my friends:
1. Wanting To Do What You’re Good At
One of the reasons I think most people get into entrepreneurship is so that they can do what they do best—but we quickly find out that there’s so much more that goes into running a business. Even Coco Chanel had to wear a lot of hats when all she wanted to do was make them! It’s really easy to get burnt out if you can’t figure out how to balance your time being a business owner with your time doing your thing.
For me, the thing I love to do is web design. But I’ve also had to do a lot of networking, marketing, sales, and wrap my mind around business finances. I didn’t know how to do any of that in the beginning, so I created a series of Facebook Live discussions with experts on various topics related to small business ownership, les petits BLABLA. Through this project, I was able to not only expand my network while learning critical entrepreneurship skills but also start conversations among new entrepreneurs about that learning curve. And now I am finally getting to a point where I can delegate more of those tasks that I don’t want to do!
2. Building Partnerships
I am fairly introverted, so building a business network was a tall order. Not only do you need to find people who are good at what they do, but you also have to be able to trust them and make sure that the relationship is good for both of you. I knew my graphic design partner, Geoff, for 7 years before we started working together, and it still kind of happened by chance! I had just gotten my little office space, and Geoff was freshly laid-off from his job as a Store Artist at Whole Foods. He started coming by to work on his job search, and eventually one of my clients needed some graphic design work.
Voila! This client need was what sparked our partnership, and we found that in addition to being friends, our skill sets complemented each other in a really lucrative way.
3. Picking Yourself Up Over & Over Again
This one’s a biggie. My very first client nearly frightened me from continuing down the entrepreneur path. I thought I had gotten in way over my head, and I had no idea how I was going to get myself through it. Luckily, I had just discovered Women Belong, and my circle of brilliant and supportive women business owners helped me take it one step at a time. They reassured me that they had all been in my position before, and helped me believe that I could not only survive, but come out of it stronger than ever!
Of course, there have been other times when I was tempted to quit, but after three years of traveling down this road, I can say with confidence that, “The energy you put into it is what you get back.” And that’s why I’m still here! All of that beautiful energy is paying itself back in dividends.
The episodes are:
How to Achieve Clarity and Give Yourself and Your Clients Your Best You with Natalie Dick
How to Grow Your Business Using Constant Contact with Todd Grote
Social Media Tips & Tricks with Patricia Weigle
Getting Started with Google Analytics with Angela Lynn
How to Build a Solid Marketing strategy with Dana Magnus
How to WIN at Social Marketing with Britt Henrichs
6 Do’s and Don’ts for Attracting Awesome Clients with Ed Erickson