Guardian Life Business View
The Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship
Dictionary meaning – a person who organizes and manages a commercial undertaking.
As a single female entrepreneur , I’ve been forced to learn the skills of integrating
management of business affairs with my personal life. Such a Herculean task has
taught me some of the pros and cons for a woman in business, and more so, a single
Time - Sure, being in control of your time is one of the biggest
pluses of entrepreneurship, yet it could prove disastrous if time is not managed
and planned in detail. As the captain of the ship, and your own ship at that, time
management on a day-to-day basis is important and critical. A day’s list of things
to do could very well include a trip to the bank (hopefully for deposits), PTA meetings
at school, bill payments, grocery and pharmaceutical shopping, dental and doctor’s
appointments etc. But it must also include business goals - plans and strategies
- short term and long term. What does not get done in a day’s list must be carried
over to the next.
Another factor for all entrepreneurs is longer working hours, and for women in business,
burning the midnight oil can only be done successfully once our home affairs are
in order; dinner is available for the ones at home, uniforms are ironed, lunch kit
items are ready and at hand. It is never just a matter of ‘working late’. It is
always a matter of working late and knowing all is well on the home front.
Decision-making, success and failure – For a woman to be able to make her own decisions,
business or otherwise, is truly a blessing! Most businesswomen will tell you of
their colleagues and mentors with whom they discuss things and get opinions before
they themselves come up with a decision. When a decision turns into a success, the
sense of accomplishment felt can create a “I’m jumping up and down, yahoo!!!” kind
of scenario. Our success stories lend so much to our self-esteem, self-worth and
motivation that they probably are ‘the most’ important factor for a woman in business…
…but hold on. Let us remember the downside of decision-making, which is making a
‘wrong’ decision. Failure. When personal or business failure seems to be creeping
up and the only apparent option, , an entrepreneur must have a support system in
place to quickly eradicate it and bolster the spirit!
Support Systems: Women entrepreneurs in Trinidad & Tobago have AFETT (Association
of Female Executives of Trinidad & Tobago) to which to turn. AFETT gives all
118 of its members that support should they need it and reach out for it. The women
of AFETT have the opportunity to openly discuss business and personal ‘hiccups’
(failure is not a word that lasts long in our vocabulary). It’s a support system,
a pool of resources, knowledge and experience. There is seldom an experience that
has not been experienced before and the testimonials relate how
these women turned
their situations around and potential failure into opportunity.
So make your diary your bible (AFETT has a 2005 diary for sale), use your colleagues
and mentors well and have a support system in place. At the end of the day, with
all its ups and downs, owning and managing your business just HAS to be the most
exhilarating life experience!
Elise Farrell © 2005