The conversation about women as successful business leaders has only begun. The stories of the successful women owning their own businesses continues to unfold. The Women in Entrepreneurship session of Maine Startup and Create Week allowed four panelists to set the stage as business leaders.
In a room full of women, and a handful of men, the panelists shared their insights as successful entrepreneurs, their difficulties, and their idealogies, proving that women can be as successful (if not more), as men in business.
Elisa, founder of, Craft Your Content
Jean, founder of, Putney Inc.
Shana, founder of, The Ropes
Becky, founder of, Becky's Diner
Q & A
What qualities make you a successful entrepreneur?
Elisa: Stubborn confidence.
Jean: A certain level of disagreeableness that comes from listening for an opportunity that others missed.
Becky: Tenacity, and not taking "no" for an answer.
Shana: The ability to roll with it, and having the ability to switch gears.
What does life/work balance mean?
Jean: Get over it.
Elisa: I feel work is a part of my life, because I'm doing what I love.
Becky: Never enough hours in a day to do everything I want to do - the most pressing things get done first, and it sometimes sucks. Family is always most important.
Shana: It's a constant struggle - you need to create boundaries.
What is one professional challenge you have had, and how did you overcome it?
Becky: Bringing children into the business, they love it, but it's difficult.
Elisa: I learned how I wanted my business to look, and I knew where my strengths were, so I created my own path instead of giving in to what other people wanted from me.
What is one piece of advice?
Jean: Be prepared, entrepreneurship is hard, nothing is worthwhile, and you must be prepared to tackle difficult problems. Ignore common wisdom.
Shana: Understand that there is no right or wrong way to do things.
Becky: It's important to give back and get involved in the community, even if it's just in a small way.
Elisa: Have a support system in place, hire early. No one can do it all.
Shana: "One day at a time."
Becky: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started."
Jean: The key is excess in moderation. Be fully intense in what you do.
Shana: I hire an accountant, who I meet with to discuss the financing of the business. My time would be better spent creating.
Becky: I hire out for accounting, it requires a lot of organization.
Jean: You should have a basic understanding of financial literacy (i.e. balance sheet and profit/loss statement). Even if you are good at it, hire out anyway, so you can manage your company.
Elisa: You need to be able to understand what's going on in your company financially. If the IRS investigates, you are the one who is ultimately responsible.