Have you ever had an idea that you know is a great one, but when it comes time to execute – fear takes over and you wish you had never thought of said idea, because now you actually have to put yourself out there? Yeah… me too.
This blog post happens to be one of those ideas. In fact, if I am being honest, my work as an entrepreneur is chock full of one frightening idea after another. One thing I have learned in the first year of running my own business is that putting yourself out there is terrifying. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. (In many cases, all signs point to the exact opposite. More on that later.)
It was not until the responses began to arrive that I was able to settle back in to a place of self-assurance. The lessons shared by this powerful group of women are sincere, relatable and sage. Fear had no business in the conversation. These women are not playing small. Here’s what they had to say.
What is a standout lesson you have learned as a female entrepreneur, and how has it shaped or shifted the path of your business?
Jaclyn Gallo, owner of Ritual Art of Wellness opening this fall in Cape Elizabeth, has this to say: "Progress isn't always linear and success doesn't necessarily mean you're moving forward. As a female entrepreneur I have had to figure out how to navigate being the primary caregiver for my family, honor a pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey with the time it requires, and most importantly show up for all of these things and people… while running a business.
The ebb and flow of my family and life means that sometimes I am abundantly energetic and full of creativity and other times, I don't have anything left to give. This has led me towards what I like to call a Yin Business Model. A more feminine approach to business has allowed me the freedom to decline opportunities which don't align with my highest priorities."
Full-time Yoga Teacher and Co-owner of Maine Yoga School, Margo Rosingana, responds: "No matter how many blogs, articles or newsletters I read about being an entrepreneur, nothing comes close the direct experience you get through trial and error. I realized that I have to figure out what works and dive in fully. I've made so many mistakes in launching Maine Yoga School, but each time I mess up or a post falls flat, I learn something new about myself and what I have to offer. It inspires me to be even more clear about my message and to fully get behind my mission. Through this refinement I find I'm more willing to take risks."
"I've also learned how important it is to work with actual human beings. I tend to be fiercely independent, thinking that I can do this work alone. I now realize how important it is to seek out guidance and support from other women who have the skills that I need."
Brand Strategist and Photographer, Elle Darcy, writes: "The biggest lesson I have taken away in the years of owning my own business is how very important it is to have clear, laser-focused niche. When I first started out (and I see this all the time with my clients) is that I was marketing to and working for any and everyone because I was nervous to not have steady income or steady clients. Ironically, the more I narrowed down and became really clear about who I would best serve, what I actually wanted to do, who I wanted to connect and create with, and who would most benefit from my services - my business grew exponentially. I’m a firm believer that you can’t stand out if you are too spread out, so I would say to any female entrepreneur: get super clear about who you are, what you want do, and most importantly, who it is that you serve — because it’s the fastest way to shine a bright light on your business!"
Caitlin Hathaway, co-owner of TULA studios in South Portland, shares: "I started to write this 100 times, and each time, I started over because it wasn't the 'perfect' lesson that I have learned.
And that, in itself, is the lesson. Nothing is perfect. We don't have the answers to all the questions. We do the best we can, with the best intentions. We show up for ourselves, for our friends, our students, our community. Each day, we take one step further. There is no finish line; no ultimate goal. We celebrate each small success; we learn from each small failure. We hold each other up in support, encouragement, and in being there for each other. There is no perfect answer for anything.
When I started out, I had a clear vision of who I was and what I wanted to do - and two years later, from each success and failure, I've shifted my path into an entirely new definition of what defines 'success'. My standout lesson, is to celebrate the small wins (yours and your people's) and to follow what serves you, and shed the layers of the things that, either aren't working out, or just aren't your thing. We have no boundaries except for the ones we create ourselves."
I am a marketing professional with a passion for wellness and well-run events.