The Litmus Test for Female Entrepreneurs
I’ve been a female entrepreneur and small business owner, buying and selling businesses for many years. Prior to that, I was an employee. The time I spent as an entrepreneur now outweighs the time I served as an employee. The period in my career that I was working as an employee offered me tremendous experiences. I was able to build my first female leadership relationship with the owner of the company, learn a basic understanding of business and the tasks that go along with it (something that every twenty-something year-old needs to learn), how politics work in the office, and the joy of putting in a good days work. It was a valuable time in my life.
As an employee, there always seemed to be a little voice asking why I cared so much? Why was I the first person in the office and the last out most days? Taking that extra step in building our clientele? It seemed like I was more engaged than even the owners, and my managers. It was not a “judgmental voice” but a questioning voice – “why?” It just struck me as odd….
This brings me to present day. I realize now that what I was exhibiting, at an early time in my working life, is what I like to call the “entrepreneur’s litmus test.” And even more specific — the “female entrepreneur’s litmus test” — as I would never profess to understand how the male mind works, and certainly not the entrepreneurial male mind. I am married to a very successful male entrepreneur and so this might be my hesitation to even guess.
So what is the female entrepreneurs litmus test? There are three key factors – accountability, possibility and opportunity. How you feel about these three key factors, act on them and what you inner voice tells you about them. I feel these are the basis for that spirit or tickle that entrepreneurs have. I’m not sure it they are learned or we just have them in us. Nature or nurture? Either way, I believe these three key factors are the core of what makes a successful female entrepreneur.
Accountability: definition – the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable. Accountable: subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable.
What is your level of accountability? Are you able to take 100% accountability for your life? The good and bad of it, you might say. Can you look in the mirror and acknowledge what’s working and what’s not and not deflect the cause off to another person or situation? Can you be “okay” with the concept that you are 100% cause in the matter. When I say cause in the matter, this means your life, all of it, is a reflection of you. This can be a bitter pill at times, and it takes deep personal compassion and acceptance to live it. And it can also be a reason to celebrate. You are the creator of your life. The greatness, the not so greatness, the wins and the losses – the whole of it.
On the other side of the coin, do you have tendencies to be a “victim?” Do feel that you are powerless in areas of your life? Do you blame or find excuses – even for the small stuff? Are you comfortable with letting yourself off the hook? An example of this would be setting goals and then not planning, revisiting and taking the action necessary to achieve these goals. Drifting through life and blaming outside circumstances for your conditions.
Rate yourself 1-4 (four being the highest) for each of these questions about accountability:
- Do you feel you are cause in the matter in all aspects of your life?
- Do you acknowledge and learn from on any past successes and failures?
- Do you avoid or change the subject when in a conversations and it turns to how bad it can be or was?
- How do you feel about creating your life?
Possibility: definition – the state or fact of being possible. Possible: that may or can be, exist, happen, be done, be used.
I feel that if you have the DNA of a female entrepreneur you see life in the language of possibility. Sometimes the weak link is in that you see too much possibility and that you have difficulty lasering in on a set list of goals and or focus with your business and career. But the underlying spirit is that you have an “attitude” or openness for possibility. You have a spirit that believes things can be different and that you have impact in this change or shift. Status quo is uncomfortable at times. You believe that life is ever-changing and that you either make decisions, or the indecision is a passive decision but you have decided by not deciding.
Rate yourself below on Possibility – (remember 4 is the highest)
- How do you start your day — do you feel anything is possible today?
- Do you get excited about creating your life?
- Does your mind gravitate towards solutions and are you a solution- oriented thinker?
- Do you feel that many of your goals are possible?
Opportunity: definition – an appropriate or favorable time or occasion: Their meeting afforded an opportunity to exchange views. 2. a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal. 3. a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.
I believe that opportunity is a lens that you see life through. I have been blessed by being a businesswoman in the United States, where I truly have all the opportunity I can envision. Opportunity awaits me and I am grateful everyday. This is not always the case due to a woman’s geographical location. For purposes of this exercise, let’s look at the concept of opportunity from the perspective of a businesswoman in Western society.
When you partake in services or use a product, do you see how it could be better and question and ponder how the company behind it can grow and expand its offering – both for a better experience and profit to the bottom line? Do you see needs in a community? Do you future-cast where an industry is going and what might be needed – in both services and product?
If you wear the “opportunity glasses” you see the world around you filled with obvious opportunities. At times this might be annoying, as you can’t turn off this special way of seeing things. As an example, I use a body lotion that I love. I love the product but the packaging drives me nuts. The pump always breaks, I can never get all of the lotion out of the corners, and the size of the bottle is just off. But I love the product. The annoying fact is that when I use this product (everyday) my thinking goes to new an innovative ways to package. Could this be distributed in more pliable tube? Why does it need a pump? I am certainly not a packaging designer but my mindset is oriented towards seeing the opportunities that are under one’s nose – products or services.
Rate yourself below on Possibility – (4 is the highest):
- When something turns out unfavorable for you, do you see the next step or opening?
- When interacting with the world around you, do you see how experiences, products, services could be improved?
- Do you spend time each day, even if only a couple of minutes, imagining how things could be better in your life and or review in your mind your goal and aspirations?
- When discussing your challenges with others, do you “brainstorm” solutions, options and “what ifs?”
Answering these questions will give you a base point to see where you really stand with the key factors of a successful female entrepreneur. We all have the ability to change. Change occurs every minute of every day, regardless if we want it to or not. These questions give you a place to start.
If you rated between 48 and 38 you are a natural successful female entrepreneur. If you rated between 37 and 24 you might want to review how you feel and behave with accountability, possibility, and opportunity. And if you scored between 24 and 12 all you have to go is up in your relationship with the key factors or you might just not have the make up to be an entrepreneur. That’s fine, as the world always needs great employees too.
Use this test as a stepping stone to move yourself forward if you truly do desire to be an entrepreneur. If that is the case, you can always change your attitude and experience in relationship to the three key factors. Onward and upward as a successful female entrepreneur or make your job the best it can be.