In Good Company Blog

Mind Your Own Business & Stop Telling Women What to Do!

A lot of people have asked us today to weigh in on this post: Are Women Starting the Wrong Kind of Businesses?

I haven’t commented (other than RTs) mostly because I agree with a lot that has been said.

Especially with Tara Hunt’s point about the simultaneous creation and degradation of the “pink collar ghetto” (also beautifully articulated in this post here).

And with Tory Johnson’s point about us as a society being long past telling women what to do professionally.

But I’ve also kept quiet because every time this issue is raised so is the issue about whether women are starting businesses that are “big enough”. Do they have enough ambition? Are they thinking big enough? Are they exploiting the market enough?

Despite just have published a book on the subject, I’m tempted to stay quiet in this conversation. In part because I believe it’s hard to talk about it without saying something that is going to offend some type of women entrepreneur, which is the last thing I want to do. I support ALL small businesses that are honest and behave with integrity, whether they are run by a man or woman. But knowing how tough the business world can be on women, I especially can’t bear to knock any of my own around.

But this is also a topic I care a lot about. And I think it’s important to stand up for what you believe in.

So, here goes:

  • I believe that success is about satisfaction, not size. Growth for growth’s sake is foolish. Let’s honor the full array of motivations and goals that entrepreneurs have.
  • I believe that a lot of entrepreneurs are interested in creating ventures that are sustainable and that they can run for a long time. This is an excellent goal and shouldn’t be knocked just because it tempers fast growth.
  • I believe that pursuing someone else’s idea of a good business is short-sighted. It will only set you up to fail. Entrepreneurship requires too much for you to be following someone else’s direction. Instead pick your own good idea, something you can get really excited about and have a lot of insight into – even if it’s “pink collar.”
  • I think it’s insidious to blame women for being women, or worse for being themselves. That in and of itself is misogynistic.
  • I believe that “be more like a man” or “do more like men do” arguments are the worst. They have never worked. Typically, women either find ways to do things successfully in their own way or they opt out (see: the corporate exodus to entrepreneurship).
  • I believe that talking about the underrepresentation of female entrepreneurs negates the majority of women-owned businesses. Gender disparity is a big problem in the tech world. But guess what? The world of entrepreneurship is bigger than that.
  • I believe that entrepreneurship offers people the opportunity to create the work they want on their terms. Isn’t that amazing?
  • I believe it’s more important to support people in the fulfillment of their own dreams, rather than moralize their ambitions. For example – these businesses are “good” while these are “bad”.
  • I believe that the investment world plays a role in this moralization. And while I understand why things are the way they are I keep looking for a better and different paradigm to emerge. Businesses like Pipeline Fellowship, ProFounder and Bolstr are helping to change things, thank goodness.
  • I believe that having children plays a role in the type of business growth and investment that some entrepreneurs pursue. I don’t see this as a fault on their/our part and again, hope a better solution presents itself. For a really thoughtful discussion on this read this article by Eileen Gunn
  • I believe that entrepreneurship should be more about what you as the entrepreneur want and less about what others want for you…

…which is why I hate to weigh in on these debates, but there I did it anyway!


Pic Via.

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One Response to Mind Your Own Business & Stop Telling Women What to Do!

  1. L. Naerheim says:

    This needs to be said more often and in more media outlets. As CEO of a natural consumer products company I definitely hear the constant chatter of fitting into the conventional model. I could have a multi-million dollar business but at what cost to my marriage and kids does that have? I’d rather build it on values that fit my personal situation.

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