Entrepreneurs are constantly planning and second guessing ourselves—am I doing the right thing? is this the right time? do I have enough money?, etc. Our fear of doing something wrong or failing sometimes prevents us from doing anything. People view failure as a bad thing, but instead, entrepreneurs need to think of failure as a learning experience. So, jump in and do it, do whatever you are afraid of, because if you do nothing, nothing will happen.”
-Laura Berg, founder of My Smart Hands, mom of 2
Making mistakes is part of the process of developing a new business. The false-starts, the overly broad please-everyone scope of your business, and the uncertainty are the growing pains (as I am discovering rather painfully). However, maybe I can avoid (or at least reduce) some of the foibles and mis-steps if I listen to trailblazing women entrepreneurs who share their wisdom.
The trailblazers in Pamela Webber’s 2017 99designs.ca article, Mom Entrepreneurs: Advice from women who run businesses and families, are also mothers, meshing the work and family world into their own vision of success. Many of these women are successful in conventional business terms (comments from the founders of Eventbrite, and Kiwi Crate are included) while also dictating their own terms of what it is to have success and how to hold onto what they truly value. The sharing and support that is possible in the business community is limited only by our compassion and collaborative frame of mind.
It seems to me that what many of the women in the article share is a tendency to develop something entirely new from what is out there. They are not saying “I do that too”. They are saying “I have another way.” Perhaps it is that mindset that helps them both in their mothering roles and in business. Another way. A way that doesn’t have to fit within the confines of what we usually think of as a successful idea, successful work-life balance, or successful business, and yet still excels within those conventional views, and well beyond in our personal vision too.
As part of this collection of wisdom, 99design.ca also conducted a survey of 500 mother/business entrepreneurs. Some interesting highlights from that survey are:
- 80% of the women started their business after having kids
- 71% are the primary caretaker in their families, and
- 39% often put in a “second shift” to get their work done.
The complete results are here, and there is a lot to unpack here on fair division of labour, undervaluing work at home, etc. But what I really feel like focusing on right now is that their advice is about doing it anyway.
The advice that she quotes in her article ranges from family life to mentorship, and there is perhaps a gem in there that hits the spot for you. For me, it was Pamela Berg’s advice that I quoted at the top, and that I am sure will come to me again and again as I steal myself to take risks:
“Jump in and do it, do what you’re afraid of, because if you do nothing, nothing will happen.”