As a whopping team of two my business partner, Marsha, and I are focused on expanding our network, reach and brand. We accomplish this in a couple of ways, including:
Establishing strategic partnerships that we can benefit from and provide value to
Honing our messages and delivering them through social networks
Attending industry-specific networking events
Let’s unpack that last one a bit. We have been to two events recently that were meant to highlight women in technology and tech entrepreneurs in our hometown of London, Ontario. Both events were thoughtfully facilitated and boasted an impressive line-up of speakers. We learned so much from each event, met some amazing people we know we can do business with and were inspired about the future. Well, almost.
Questions from the audience had a common theme at both events: how do you muster the energy and motivation to make it as an entrepreneur?
The answers also had a common theme:
there are 24 hours in a day, use them.
appreciate the support of your kin.
Both of these answers sparked a rage inside me that I didn’t realize I had. They don’t work for me because I’m not especially young, single or without dependents, am not surrounded by magical unicorn people that take care of all my sh*t and am definitely not able to avoid sleep. Thank the gods I have an amazing business partner. Otherwise, who knows where I’d be (probably at a desk job in a sea of beige cubicles, slowly watching my soul die).
Let me explain one response at a time.
There are 24 hours in a day, use them.
Yes, thank you, there are 24 hours in a day. I’m so happy for you (I’m being genuine here, I really envy you this) that you can afford to spend 24 hours a day working, even once in a while. See, I can’t. I have two small kids, a working husband, a need to sleep and a house to hold together as best I can all while trying to grow a business from nothing. So tell me, young, single tech entrepreneur, what advice do you have for me? Can you even relate to the thousand directions my attention is being pulled at any given moment?
Appreciate the support of your kin.
This one really surprised me. It came from a magnificently powerful woman, a true titan of industry. She beat the odds, ignored the criticism and cemented herself in one of the most influential positions in the global tech industry. She should be admired, but she should also claim what’s hers.
Here’s what I mean. While I do appreciate and leverage the support of my family, I didn’t come by it passively. I had to demand it, and fight for it, and pull it back when it started to slip away. When you have to shift yourself away from the eye of the storm at home and let someone else pick up the pieces (that’s them supporting you, btw) it rocks everyone’s world. Now laundry doesn’t get done, the bathtub REALLY needs to be scrubbed, the kids eat pizza for 3 or 4 days in a row and the fridge is a pitiful sight of empty shelves. Don’t get me started on the last time I had a hair cut.
Where is the power in her answer? Where is the mentality of ‘f*ck it, I don’t care what you think I need you to do this for me and I know you don’t like it but this is the way it is now’. Maybe her kin rallied around her without her asking, but mine sure didn’t and mine are amazing people. They weren’t ready to support me and they didn’t know how, so I had to show them. And I had to do it with determination and power and without mercy. And every few weeks, I have to show them again.
I suppose the moral of my story is that no matter what, if you’re an entrepreneur or own a small business, you’re in this fight and you’re likely doing it alone. That’s ok, you have the power to do it. Don’t think you need anyone else to achieve your dreams, or that any other entrepreneur is really going to understand your unique challenges.
If you’re like me, and hate the answers to that really important question, maybe this will help. You muster the energy and the motivation to make it from deep within you, that secret place that only you know. That fountain of power that you may not even know exists yet, but it’s there and it’s up to you to decide to use it. Stake your claim in this world, whatever that looks like for you, and do it without apology.
And if you can afford it, hire a cleaning lady and someone to get your groceries. Scurvy is a real thing.