As a woman entrepreneur, I’m sure you’ve faced more than your share of misconceptions and preconceived notions. No matter how far you’ve come or how high you’ve risen, there will always be people whose notions are grossly incorrect, sometimes downright offensive. For instance, how often have you been asked, “How are you able to manage it all?” On the flip side, we don’t often hear men being asked such questions about how they tread the fine line of work-life balance, right? So why are we, as women, subjected to such presumptions?
Here are the four most common myths that I’ve encountered on my journey of entrepreneurship, and I’m here to bust them.
Myth #1: You won’t have a life outside the home or office
One of the most common (and therefore most persistent) myths out there is that you just won’t have a life outside of work. While this may be true in the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey, once you’ve established your business, it becomes easier to take a step back. The trick is to ‘prioritise and compartmentalise’ – that is, focus on the top tasks on your ‘to do’ list and devote time exclusively to each task. Leave work behind when you come home and learn to set aside time for yourself. I know scores of women, like me, who helm corporations and have a demanding family life, but still manage to squeeze in some ‘me time’ for themselves on a daily basis. Chalk out at least a half-hour every day to do something you love and then watch the magic unfold.
As for me, I always try to steal away from my packed schedule a weekend trip to Pune, every few months, to spend time with family.
Myth #2: You need to act like a man to succeed
Here’s another golden oldie – that, to be successful, you need to behave (and dress) like a man. I can’t tell you how far from the truth this is! As a homemaker and mother, you need certain skills in your arsenal to keep the family running smoothly. You’ve got to be smart about your finances, be an expert at multi-tasking and decision-making, and always be prepared for an emergency. Guess what? These are the exact same skills that make a successful entrepreneur! Our abilities as women and mothers are exactly what we need to create businesses that can brave any storm. So stop acting like a man and believing you need to be aggressive or possess other traits typically associated with men!
Myth #3: You will always be stuck with a ‘small’ business
This is possibly one of the most demeaning things people say to women entrepreneurs – that our businesses will remain SMEs and won’t able to scale. But look at the way women like Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, and our very own, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, have scaled! It was one of the things that I was told when I started out, and look where Pink Lemonade is now – we’re a 55-member agency that works with some of the biggest and best brands. Go on, dream big. The world literally is, as the cliché goes, your oyster!
Myth #4: You’re too old/young to do it
Now this one’s a classic! Despite the adage, ‘age is just a number’, we entrepreneurs (and women in particular) seem to be constantly besieged and restricted by our age. All our lives, we’re incessantly reminded of our age and allow it to act as a deterrent to our ambitions. If they tell you that you’re too young or inexperienced, tell them that you will have all the more time to experiment with your career. If they tell you that you’re too old, use your experience to show them what you’re capable of. Your success isn’t determined by your age, but by your skills and perseverance and the inability to accept defeat.
So there you have it. The most persevering myths about women entrepreneurs. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, it’s time for you to go out there and bust these myths!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)