Friday, March 12, 2010

Run Your Business Like a Girl

After I shot this photograph and shared the story behind the picture on my artist blog, I decided this image probably resonates well with all of us in Stella and Mimi. I don't doubt that every one of us has been subject to similar events and stories as the one I shared. I don't doubt that, even as adults, we will continue to face situations where we are stereotyped based on our gender, race, and, for many of us, our role as mothers. For some reason - mothers or not - women who run their own small businesses tend not to be taken as seriously. If you don't agree, think about how many times a day your phone rings for non-business purposes. Think about how many of your friends expect you to be available at all hours of the day for play-dates, shopping trips, etc. Think about how irritated your husband would be if his mother and his friends called him at work as often as yours call you.

Certainly we don't want to shut our friends and family out of our lives, so what is the answer? Set boundaries and keep them. Only answer the house phone during certain hours, only make yourself available for non-work-related gatherings during certain times of the week. The way you value your time, your image, and your business is the only way others will learn to value you. We do run our businesses a little differently because we are women, and we are part of a larger network of people who depend on us: we are the rememberers-of-birthdays, the on-call-counselors for our best friends, the takers-of-the-dogs-to-the-vet. And that's okay. But don't let that dependent network overwhelm you and inadvertently sabotage your business. Perhaps the words above should read "You run your business like a girl." And you bet my response would still be, "thanks!"

1 comment:

  1. Michelle, Thank you for writing an article that precisely describes the challenges of women whom runs a business from her home in today's world. I hear from male counterparts so often that success is often a result of time management skills (which is true, to an extent) but there is rarely any considerations for the expectations that because we run a home business we should always be accessible... Setting up expectations with boundaries is so important to "getting it done".

    Well said, Christa