It doesn’t matter if it’s a side-hustle or a full time business, I know why so many women fail at it. First, some demographics: I’m 40. I’m a mom. I’m a woman (and no, I’m not using terms like cis…if you feel like a woman or like this applies to you, then it applies to you. Period dot). I own a business. I work from home full time. It started as a side-hustle (in addition to two other jobs).
Discouragement and Self-Loathing
I am just going to get straight to the heart of the matter. Women fail because they begin to feel discouraged and, especially behind closed doors, we tend to be self-loathing creatures. And no, I don’t mean all the time. For some women, it is all the time. I don’t feel that way all the time. I used to, though. Let me explain how this happens.
We start the business with great excitement. It will bring in more money. It will give us more time to do X. It means we can stay home with our babies. Keep inserting positive talk here. You know what I mean. It is very, very rare that we are told to look at the other side of the coin. If we look at it, we want to think that we’re going to be the very small statistic that doesn’t have THAT problem. You know, no clients. No sales (and no matter what you do, you’re involved in sales – product, services, or even yourself because people buy from people they like or to whom they relate). Extra stress. You’re tired. The kid is sick. The KIDS are sick. Like, shit takes a major turn for the worse.
That stress is real. It doesn’t matter if it’s a combination of small things or one or two big things. That stress is legitimate. And it causes discouragement and self-loathing. We set these big goals (there’s nothing inherently wrong with setting big goals. I encourage goal setting.) and then we get upset when we find out (the hard way) that we are NOT part of that tiny statistic that can hit every fucking goal and feel great and stay positive and work what feels like 24/7 (because if you do work from home at all, you know it can be hard as fuck to separate your work life from your home life – especially since any new business takes a LOT of work).
So, women quit. Sometimes, quitting is the right decision. Maybe you learned you really didn’t want to do that, but you know there’s something else you want to try…except now you’re discouraged because THIS didn’t work so OBVIOUSLY you’re not meant to run a business. Sometimes, women quit too soon. Starting a new business is just hard work. People say no. And that typically affects people (especially women) because they take it personally. They don’t know what else to do and life sucks so screw this shit. I know. I’ve been there. I get there about every four months for about six hours and then I move on with my business and my life after I take a hot bath.
So What’s the Solution?
So, how can I help women who are in that boat? It’s both easier and harder to do than you think. The concept itself is crazy simple. Doing it, well…I can’t force you to do anything. It takes work. Your work. I can’t do it for you. I can only tell you how to do it. Knowledge is nothing without action. Action is the game changer. In my experience, most don’t want to take action because they’re more afraid of the future (and even the fact that they might succeed) than afraid of staying in the same rut that they know so well. They know how to survive where they are.
Think about this. If your best friend, mom, aunt, daughter, sister, niece, (insert favorite relationship here) came to you and they felt discouraged and like they were a failure, what would you tell them? How would you help them? What would you do to help them feel better? Would you tell them to quit? Would you agree with them that they’re lousy and not meant to be in a better place?
Treat yourself in the same way that you would treat your beloved friend. Take a few minutes (or a couple of hours) and feel like shit if you want. I do it every now and then. Then, treat yourself well. Would you take your person from the last paragraph out to lunch? Would you tell them why you think they’re awesome? Would you offer to help them brainstorm ideas? Would you tell them bad days aren’t forever?
In short, be your best self. Be the person that you need in that moment. Run that hot bath and get in there. Enjoy it. Go out to lunch. Go outside. Do something you like. Get into a grateful place. Make a list of all the great things you have and the things that are great about you. You’re obviously an optimist – you want to start a business. If that’s hard for you, then you need to do it every day. You have to learn how to like yourself. This isn’t about arrogance. It’s not about making people feel less so you can feel more. It’s about learning to appreciate what you can do and the learning process involved in bad moments.
Stop being a dick to yourself. You’ve got this and you know it.