By Julie Gallegos
June 2, 2011
As a woman entrepreneur, I thought that being a woman, knowing how to multi-task in several areas and communicate with people in different arenas - whether it be about children, cooking, the home front or my career - I had it in the bag. As I later learned through trial and error, all the experience in these areas doesn’t make building a business easier.
Being a woman in business is tough. I believe I’ve had to work harder than a man to build trust and acceptance in different aspects of growing my business. For instance, I have been referred to what I believe to be big time, hugely successful businessmen for assistance in getting my product manufactured or information on growing my business. I found that just because I was fortunate to get the referral doesn’t mean they will help. In fact, I’ve been quite surprised to learn the hard way that authors that write books and claim they want to help fellow entrepreneurs don’t walk the walk they write. I now understand why books are called stories. Don’t get me wrong, there are many that do provide great resources and assistance. However, the majority of them are quite busy with their own businesses.
I’ve also learned being a woman in business that I’m not taken seriously and how much “the good ol’ boys” is still very alive. I’ve had inappropriate comments made to me from businessmen and I don’t golf and haven’t been invited to make a deal on the course. This still gives me more motivation to work harder and figure out a way to get the job done.
The great thing about the lessons learned, is that I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I find a resource on my own, when I get a call from a mentor after taking their advice on how to reach the unreachable, when I get published from my own efforts; when I persevere and know that I took what is my passion, planted the seed, watered, fertilized and now get to see it grow to a full flower of fruition.
When I have my moments and get frustrated and want to throw in the towel, I remember my lessons and the self-confidence I gained and the satisfaction I feel. It reminds me of going back to childhood: When I fell off my bike, I’d get up and try again; when I had my first child, the pain was so great and yet I forgot the pain when I saw my beautiful baby; and when I put together my first bag by hand and saw the final result. So basically when it comes right down to it, the definition is correct. The experience, knowledge and skills I learned far outweigh the alternative.
But the comments I get from my customers are the biggest lesson. Never give up on what you believe because they are the reason for taking on this great job as a “womanprenuer.”