Every type of female entrepreneur encounters challenges in business and personal relationships – and how she handles these challenges determines the effectiveness of her relationships.
Every female business owner wears several different hats throughout the day. From being a wife and mother to being an employer, a business owner and a friend, each type of female entrepreneur handles different types of relationships. While some female business owners undoubtedly stand out as shining examples of how to handle different types of relationships, others face challenges in communicating and prioritizing. The good news is that challenges can be fought with the right information and tools / strategies.
A recent study by Jane Out of the Box, an agency for women entrepreneurs, reveals that there are five different types of women in business. Based on professional market research of more than 2,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and managing the other details of their lives – and therefore each has a unique combination of needs. This article describes three of the five types and provides tips for getting the most out of their relationships.
Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business and making good money. She is comfortable and determined to buy and sell, which may be why she is five times more likely than the average female business owner to reach a million dollars. Jane Dough is clear in her priorities and can consciously and actively grow an asset-based or older business. It is estimated that 18% of women fall into the Jane Dough category.
While Jane Dough is without a doubt the most “traditionally” successful type of female entrepreneur, she faces some unique relationship challenges.
- In business: Jane Dough is a fast-paced entrepreneur who strives for aggressive growth. The speed with which she works can prevent her from effectively communicating her business vision to her team members – and it can make her come across as brusque and impatient. When communication fails and team members do not live up to Jane Dough’s expectations, she can respond quickly by kicking them out. To improve her relationships with team members, Jane Dough can schedule regular planning retreats and performance reviews. The planning retreats give her an opportunity to share her short- and long-term visions with her team members in a pre-planned format so that everyone understands the direction she is going with the company. The performance reviews will give team members the opportunity to hear feedback from their employer and to share any ideas they have developed (and this promotes a sense of ownership in the company). Jane Dough should also remember that while she is skilled at keeping her business separate from her personal life, the other is not – so she must work to communicate clearly but still kindly with team members and with colleagues, suppliers and customers.
- Home: As previously mentioned, Jane Dough is adept at keeping her business life separate from her personal life. Therefore, when she comes home, she is completely present to her family members. While most Jane Dough business owners reported high satisfaction with their work-life balance, they also reported working long hours. Although this type of business owner may feel satisfied with her work-life balance, she needs to take into account family members’ opinions about whether her business requires large amounts of her time.
Accidental Jane is a successful, confident business owner who never really intended to start a business. Instead, she may have decided to start a business due to frustration over her job or a layoff and then she decided to use her business and personal contacts to strike out on her own. Or she may have started doing something that served her own unmet needs and found other customers with the same needs and born a business. Although Accidental Jane can sometimes struggle to prioritize what she needs to do next in her business, she enjoys what she does and makes good money. About 18% of all female business owners fit the Accidental Jane profile.
How to start a successful business
Unintentional Jane has the freedom to run her own business outside the company’s limits. On the other hand, she is sometimes bound by influxes of work that follow her dry spells. During these times, she may feel that she is not experiencing the freedom she longs for. Ebbs and flows will smooth out over time, and a maintenance-free, constant marketing system will also help. Meanwhile, Accidental Jane will continue to balance her business and her relationships. Here are some tips on how to manage that balance:
In business: Because unintentional Jane business owners often started their businesses to escape corporate policies, they usually do not want to hire employees or be tied to regular office hours. If they need help, they therefore hire contract employees who can meet their needs without requiring the same attention as traditional employees do. Accidental Jane must work to make sure she is available to answer her helpers’ questions so that they know exactly how to meet her needs. Getting the most out of her business relationships by networking and maintaining regular contact with past and present clients helps Accidental Jane maintain a more even workload. She values receiving positive feedback and repeating business, so that maintenance also increases her personal satisfaction.
At home Although owners of unintentional Jane reported high levels of satisfaction with their work-life balance, they also wanted a more even workload. Because her workload varies so much from day to day, Accidental Jane may feel that one day she cannot stop working early to participate in a child’s T-ball game; while the following week she might wish there were 3 T-ball games she could spend her time with. The unpredictable workload can wreak havoc on her ability or desire to create personal plans. When her workload is evened out, the plans become easier to make. In the meantime, she can redo a plan, rather than interrupt, any plans that need to make room for a large project or a new client.
Merry Jane is an entrepreneur who usually builds a part-time or “flexible time” business that gives her a creative outlet that she can handle within specific constraints around her schedule (whether she is an advertising agency consultant or she makes beautiful works of art). She may have a day job or need to be fully present for the family or other chores. She realizes that she can make more money by working longer hours, but she is happy with the balance she has made because her business gives her a huge freedom to work how and when she wants, around her other commitments.
Merry Jane’s countless responsibilities require her to manage her time – and her relationships – well. She has more freedom than any other type of entrepreneur has, and she likes it. When it comes to her relationships, she can learn to handle them so that she gets maximum value.
In Business: Merry Jane business owners often want to make more money. To do this, a Merry Jane entrepreneur must use his existing business relationships. By mapping her customers or clients, she can get a clearer picture of exactly what they think most about their services or products, and she can then market to an audience similar to the one she is currently succeeding with. One thing to remember: Because Merry Jane is so busy, it is imperative that she find a way to be available for contact if team members have any questions when she is not in the office. This does not mean being available all day, every day; rather, it means being specific with team members about how and when to contact her for important questions.
Home: Merry Jane is determined to make a contribution to her household, whether financially or otherwise. Therefore, she is exceptional when she is fully present when she is at home. From caring for her children to working full time in addition to her business to helping her parents, Merry Jane is trustworthy and she and her friends and family value that gift.
It can be difficult for female entrepreneurs to switch between their business and home life; however, everyone can use specific strategies to be an effective part of every relationship in which she participates.