Last night I had a very uplifting conversation with a friend and former colleague whom I have known for about 13 years. We were both in entertainment: she in human resources, and I, in contract administration. Many people might be aware that the entertainment industry can be fickle. Strikes and completed projects set the stage for massive lay-offs. Though she and I both left at different times and under different circumstances, we each found ourselves at the same crossroads years later: starting a new business.
Our chat started with some catch up on the latest with life and our respective businesses. She was looking for some insight on how to re-brand and stop doing all the “little” things and streamline her ventures under one umbrella. I advised her on how to find and refine her message. It was an impromptu mini coaching/ mentoring session. We each came away encouraged and empowered with fresh energy and creative focus.
Natalie Sisson, aka as The Suitcase Entrepreneur, wrote a post where she addressed the factors that motivated women to become entrepreneurs. She found that success for women in business differed from their male counterparts in that women tend to be more successful when they have a mentor and support networks. I agree with these findings wholeheartedly.
While women entrepreneurs have increased in numbers over the last couple of decades, it seems a tougher road to tread in terms of realizing similar monetary gain compared to men. Why is that? I believe it is because women’s ideas of success in the marketplace is more than just money. Women tend to be the primary “homemakers”. Not in the traditional definition of the word, but in that they care for the household in its entirety: keeping family fed, cleaned and clothed, keeping the house tidy and in order, making sure household bills are paid, etc. Women will take less money in order to be able to stay home with their children, or will work less hours in order to do the things that they personally enjoy. It is quality versus quantity.
However, with all things being equal where men and women take their fair load of household and child responsibilities, can women in business still obtain the same level of success as men? I think so. And I believe that can only come with women coming alongside their sisters in support and mentorship. Natalie’s article states that women entrepreneurs need more mentors, and with mentors come the incentive for new women to join the ranks of starting and building their own businesses.
Women are natural networkers and easily build and foster relationships. There should, then, be a natural outcome of mentoring or at least peer-to-peer coaching among women entrepreneurs. Though there are quite a number of networks and support organizations in existence, I know personally, that finding a good, generous and successful mentor to take me under her wing can be a challenge.
But if success is to come for women in business, there needs to be an openness and a desire to help and equip other serious entrepreneurs. If men could easily find themselves in the “good old boys club” without much effort, then women should just as easily start their own “savvy women’s club“.
If mentoring is a key factor to incentivize more women into the business arena, then, ladies, let’s make it happen!