You may not be aware, but October is more than just the unofficial start of the holiday season, and the time when most of us finally get to pull a sweater or two out of our closets and enjoy a pumpkin spice latte. October is also Women’s Small Business Month. It’s a time to recognize, celebrate, and support small businesses founded and owned by women.
I came across a report by the Ellevate Network, a global professional women’s network committed to decreasing the gender achievement gap. Ellevate’s 2017 Impact Report had some interesting findings, and it caused me to think back to my “Why” as a female business owner. Regardless of your gender, starting and managing a small business might be one of the most difficult challenges any professional will take on in their lifetime. You never really disconnect, the business is always there, and you are always the one ultimately responsible for its success. As a wife and mom, the to-do list is even longer, and the hours needed to accomplish it all just keep growing, yet the days seem to get shorter.
Ellevate’s Impact Report asked women why they leave companies, and what benefits matter to them most. The resounding commonality in women’s answers? Flexibility, the ability to be available to their family, non-monetary benefits (such as healthcare and family leave), and company culture surfaced continually as key reasons women make changes in their careers.
That’s when it all came back to me, my “Why.” Starting AssistPro™ was certainly not the easiest or most secure option I had available to provide for my family. But, something deep inside of me told me I wasn’t ever going to be the wife, mom, and employee I wanted to be in the corporate world. I also had a strong desire to provide career opportunities for other women just like me. You see, we’re really not that different, no matter our age, education, or socio-economic status. Most women want to provide for their families, be available for their families, and still achieve great things in their professional life. I firmly believe there is a delicate balance to all of this but you do not have to trade your relationship with your family for a solid career. That’s my “Why.” It’s the reason why the early mornings and long nights, the highs and lows of business ownership are not only tolerable, they’re welcome. It’s a welcome stress, knowing when I get that call to pick up a sick child or request to chaperone a field trip, I can place the day’s tasks in the hands of my capable Managing Assistant and take time out to fill the other role I value so much, the one that comes with the title of “Mom.”
As you navigate your personal and professional goals, and make decisions that impact those most important to you, I urge you to remember your “Why.” Whether you start a small business or continue to climb the corporate ladder, let Women’s Small Business month be a reminder that anything is possible, and you can be all that you want to be.