This week while judging a selection of entries for the 2014 AusMumpreneur Awards I was struck by something I’ve considered before, but had never thought about seriously: women business owners don’t back themselves.
The last question of the 11 the mumpreneurs entering this competition were answering was, “Why do you deserve to win this award?” Of the 25 I judged, only a small handful actually answered this question with confidence (some even said I don’t think I deserve to!). As a judge I found this frustrating, because if these women can’t tell me why they deserve to win, who else is going to do it for them?
Why do we hesitate when asked questions about our worthiness? Do these women really believe they are not deserving of winning such an award, even though they accepted the award nomination? Or do they struggle to put into words how they feel? There will be some who will answer yes to those questions, but I think the real reason is part of a bigger issue.
Women have trouble standing up and shouting about their achievements because we don’t back ourselves. An article in Forbes, sums up this issue perfectly: “A big problem when it comes to women business owners is that many don’t think of themselves as a CEO. Instead they think of themselves as sort of a chief multi-tasker and the person who should be doing everything in the business”.
These words really resonated with me because so many of these entries saw women saying they were surprised at their business success, or thrilled that it had grown at the rate it had in the past 12 months. Clearly not everyone plans to scale their business right from the beginning, instead feeling more comfortable dipping their little toe into the entrepreneurial waters and seeing how things panned out. Some businesses do develop organically from a hobby, freelance work or plugging a gap in the market, and the business owner is not expecting the business to become a full-time operation with a marketing budget, staff and office space, but that doesn’t change the fact that the business exists because it fills a need. And if the business successfully fills a need, it deserves an owner who believes in her ability to run it – and profit from it.
So, after reviewing these award entries I concluded that as female business owners we need to back ourselves by:
- Believing in our abilities as the business owner/founder/director
- Knowing that we are supplying something others want and/or need
- Believing we deserve to earn a great income as well as loving what we do.
Would you add anything to this list?