Family commitments, career frustrations and lack of career advancement are often deciding factors for women to leave employment and start their own business. KIRSTY O’CALLAGHAN says the original motivators often lose their shine as the harsh realities of starting a business take hold.
So, you’ve caught the bug and decided you are an ‘entrepreneur in waiting’. Understandably you cannot afford to lose your weekly income, so you keep your ‘day job’ while you establish the business at the same time. It looks easy on paper, and you are convinced you are ready for the challenge. Then, why, after such a short period of time do you feel overwhelmed, burnt out and wonder why this new business venture isn’t making enough money for all the time and effort you are investing?
Research addressing women’s career transition from employment to business ownership measures the original pull of flexibility, independence and autonomy that lures women to leave their place of employment. But few explore women’s experiences after the transition. Did the lure of entrepreneurship live up to expectations, liberate, empower, or give them the ownership over their own working lives, or do they still encounter the same conflicts and challenges, but just in a different arena?
Some women take the leap with unrealistic perceptions and are ill informed of the barriers women encounter when starting their own business. It is essential to educate yourself in the realities of starting up and running a business so you have realistic expectations of what is required, and hurdles you will face.
You may be great at the technical side of your job, however, have you got great managerial skills? You may have a big dream and vision, however, are you able to translate this to sales? You may love building relationships, however, can you get on top of the paperwork and day-to-day details?
Another misconception is that when you run your own business your life will be more balanced and flexible. The truth is that business demands and the related stress often overlap into your home life causing issues in personal relationships, even in situations where family and friends are supportive of your venture.
Be realistic and understand that your business will absorb much of your time and emotions in the early years. You may have very little time to concentrate on your life outside of the business. If well planned and done with the right support in place you can be successful in your business venture, however, it takes tenacity, vision, support, constant education and reinvention and most of all, you being at your very best and most determined.
If you are driven to follow your entrepreneurial dream whilst still employed, the following Resilience Boosting tips will help to keep you on track.
R = Reflect
Take control and become present by reflecting on the past. Decide what you want to keep, to learn from, and to eliminate. All too often you carry around ideas, beliefs and behaviours that do not align with where you are going. This exercise will put you in a place of resourcefulness, and change ready and more open to new opportunity.
R = Real
This is the place you get real, become present and future focused, where you make plans and take action. Planning and vision is a big part of this step. Education, expansion and focus, no matter what is required with a never give up attitude is the groundwork here. Ask questions like are your timelines realistic, are you physically, mentally and emotionally prepared, are you taking action each day to make your dreams a reality?
R = Relationships
Supportive relationships are imperative in business. Personally, you will need to clearly communicate with those affected by your transition, your vision and your strategies and where you require their support. Professionally, you will have to clearly communicate your message and gather support, mentoring and guidance. You will need to make time for marketing, networking, shaking hands and sharing your service.
Resilience is having a positive attitude, optimism, and an ability to regulate emotions and to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. After misfortune, trauma, and setbacks, resilient people change course and soldier on, grow and find they have more, do more and can be more than they were before.
All of this and more is required of you when running your own business, but the rewards are worth it. And remember to always surround yourself with people who inspire you and make you better than you were yesterday.