Surviving & Thriving as a Woman in Business
Have you ever been on a rollercoaster? All the ups, downs and loop-de-loops? That’s what being an entrepreneur feels like. No slow and steady here, ladies. Being a female entrepreneur has its own set of unique challenges and obstacles. But it also can be exhilarating and empowering. I wanted to exercise my girl power spirit and let you all in on the learnings I’ve had along the way – the wins and the big, fat failures too.
I never really considered myself a risk taker, so I didn’t think entrepreneur life was for me. Low and behold, being stuck in a miserable job at a big corporation can really convince a person to take a chance on something else. My story begins with a health diagnosis – 8 years ago I found out I had Crohn’s disease. It is an inflammatory disorder of the intestines and can cause pain, weight-loss, fever, vomiting, chronic diarrhea and even openings between organs (fistulas). I had been very sick and in and out of the emergency room more times than I can count, so a diagnosis was a relief but also scary being that it is a disease with no cure. My best hope was to find a treatment that gave me better quality of life. This is when cannabis was introduced into my life. After having surgery to have damaged intestine removed I was prescribed all kinds of opioids that did a number on my healing digestive tract. I used medical cannabis in place of the opioids and found it managed my pain, increased my appetite and helped me sleep which aided in my recovery. Fast forward to 2 years ago and with Canadian recreational cannabis legalization on the horizon I decided I wanted to make products for health and wellness that contain cannabis. The formulations were based on issues I experienced with my Crohn’s disease. My husband and I started Kanabé Goods Co. and developed products with cannabis exclusive of smoking such as sublingual and topical oils. Alas the dream was born. I was my own boss and I loved it, but it also came with its own set of challenges.
The number one stressor for me of being an entrepreneur was the lack of security. Not only are you (usually) not pulling a salary in the beginning, but many times you are also using your own savings to fund the business. What kept me going was knowing I was doing something that would help people. I also have learned SO much – as a business owner you literally do everything. I was the accountant, the formulator, the procurement specialist, the marketer, the sales gal, and the list goes on. Often with this inexperience you end up falling on your face a lot, but as long as you learn from your mistakes and keep on moving you will be okay. I’ve put together a list of tips that I’ve heard from mentors and things I’ve personally experienced as a guide to help be the fierce female you are, whether in business or just life.
Tip #1: Don’t let anyone bully you.
Always remember you have a right to be where you are. Don’t let anyone make you feel small or unwanted, there is always room for differing perspectives and ideas.
Tip #2: Be Confident.
No one ever feels totally confident doing something for the first time. How do you get confidence? Dive right in and try, once you’ve got the experience under you belt you will slowly build confidence. Fake it until ya make it, baby.
Tip #3: Stay Focused.
Don’t let the noise get to you, keep focused on your goal no matter what people say. Focus is important in achieving any goal, you can’t spread yourself too thin. Often multitasking makes for work that has a lack of attention to detail. If you can, its always best to focus on one task, check that item off the list, and then move on.
Tip #4: Keep emotions out of the office.
Everyone’s feelings do matter. But when in an office environment, its best to stick to the facts to back up your position, not how you feel.
Tip #5: Don’t buy into the work/life balance creed – it doesn’t exist.
It is more of a fluctuation than anything – sometimes you go full on at work giving it 100% and other times you can focus more on family and personal interests. Trying to do both every single day can just cause undue stress that you didn’t get that workout in, or didn’t get to play with the kids, etc. Sometimes it is just not possible and that’s ok.