How Women Entrepreneurs Can Think Bigger

female entrepreneur

Go All-In

 

Are you thinking big enough?

Do you have what it takes?

Are you ready to go ALL-IN?

 

Stephanie Breedlove is the Co-Founder of Care.com HomePay and author of All In: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Think Bigger, Build Sustainable Businesses, and Change the World.

I recently caught up with Stephanie to talk about the lessons she has learned from her experiences as an entrepreneur. These lessons and her advice apply to all entrepreneurs, but her new book includes specific advice for women.

 

Called to Entrepreneurship

How do you know if you’re called to be an entrepreneur?

In choosing entrepreneurship, you are required to take on risk, barriers, financial strain, and uncertainty in virtually every area of life – from the possibility of failure, to the unknown of the size of success if you make it, to what your career will look like as you navigate the journey. In a nutshell, it’s often bring-ya-to-your-knees work and is not sexy, contrary to what the media may lead you to believe. Yes, there is potential upside in entrepreneurship, but who would logically sign on for the guaranteed difficulties if not called?

So how do you know if you are called? One of the beauties of entrepreneurship is that there is no standard or template, so I think most of our callings are as unique as a fingerprint. However, I do believe we have a set of common ideals and a way of seeing the world that builds a foundation common to most entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is very hot and trendy today, but it is not a path that will be successful or enjoyable if it is not where your best talents live. I had a thriving corporate career prior to taking the leap into entrepreneurship, with the status and ego that accompany the corporate position. The leap into entrepreneurship was very humbling, yet I couldn’t have been more in my element and comfortable in my own skin – I knew it was where I belonged. Here’s my list to help you know if you are being called, or not.

 

How to Know if You Have the Call

You might be called to entrepreneurship if…

  1. You are going to a new endeavor, not running from your current situation.
  2. You have an idea that will create value.
  3. You have an idea that will grow and potentially create wealth.
  4. You believe your authentic way of working, building or delivering is ahead of its time and of greater value than what is currently available on the market.
  5. You feel being a Jack or Jill of All Trades is a valuable skill, and you enjoy tackling new responsibilities with which you have no experience.
  6. You think broadly and can sew all aspects of a business together to create overarching success.
  7. You have smart but blind optimism in the long-term potential of your idea – enough to thrive in the lean years.
  8. You are excited about working harder than you have ever worked, even if it means being without a paycheck (for a while).

You are not being called to entrepreneurship if…

6 Things to Consider When Returning to Work After An Illness

This is a guest post by Mark Moore. Mark’s foundation has raised millions for charitable causes. As an executive, he raised billions in capital and was previously the CFO of Segovia and USA Mobile Communications, where he completed their IPO.

I experienced two strokes in quick succession. The second almost ended my life. When I was awakened – after life-saving brain surgery and several weeks in an induced coma – I found myself in a diminished state physically, mentally, and emotionally. It was only after months of intensive physical therapy, the support of friends and family, and by the Grace of God, that I was able to resume something like my normal life.

Three months after the strokes I returned to work, first on a very limited basis and, sometime later, full time.

I’d like to share what I learned about the work reentry process in the hope that my experiences will make it easier for others to move back to their jobs as they recover from a brain trauma or, perhaps, other debilitating illnesses.

 

Listen to your body.

Your body will let you know what you are capable of doing or not doing. For me, fatigue was a major issue. Throughout my career I could push through my fatigue and just keep going. Not anymore. Now, I try to stay aware of my energy levels and slow down or stop at the first sign of weariness.

 

“The mind’s first step to self awareness must be through the body.” –George Sheehan

 

Listen to your doctors and physical therapists as well.

They can anticipate many of the bumps you will be facing on your road to recovery that may catch you unaware. That doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate with them a bit when you have a difference of opinion. Mine were somewhat reluctant to agree that I was ready to return to work. But I explained to them that I was the COO and would be sitting behind a desk, not doing any kind of stressful physical labor. They agreed to my plan, only asking me to pace my re-entry into the company.

 

Pace yourself.