As a female entrepreneur, an owner of a brick and mortar business, a business coach, and a wife – I’m often asked whether or not “having it all” is really possible!
Having it all, and doing it all are two VERY different things! I recently worked with Inspired Coach Magazine to share how I and other successful female entrepreneurs are truly “having it all”!
The Blessing and The Curse of Feminism
For years, as women we have been told we can (and should) “have it all” – the fabulous husband, the 2.5 children, the job as CEO of a successful business, and the white picket fence!
1963 is known as the beginning of feminism, with the release of Betty Friedan’s best seller The Feminine Mystique and Gloria Steinem (then a freelance journalist) auditioning to become a playboy bunny as an undercover assignment for Show Magazine, to demonstrate the treatment of women.
Prior to 1963, women were expected to fill the roles of housewives, teachers, and nurses, without many other opportunities. But in 1963, just a few women began the fight to give women the opportunities that we have today!
Fast forward about 50 years… According to a report from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, the number of women owned businesses has grown 68% from 2007 to 2015. However, with that progress comes responsibilities, and as women entrepreneurs we often feel busier and more overwhelmed!
How Having It All Was Making Me Miserable
A couple of years ago, I had built my “dream business” – earning more than $500,000 per year. I had a successful business, a million dollar home, a great husband, and the perfect little dog! But in the midst of tremendous success, I was more stressed out, frustrated, and unhappy than ever! Why? Because I finally had it all! But I was overworked, overstressed, and so busy trying to DO it all that I didn’t realize that I had everything I had once dreamed of! I learned very quickly that it was going to be hard to sustain, because I couldn’t keep up that pace forever!
An example of how to “have it all”
I believe that the perfect example of a woman who has apparently learned how to truly have it all, is Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo. As a CEO, a wife, and the mother of three, Marissa is the stereotypical example of what women often aspire to in our lives.
Although most of us will never be the CEO of a multi-billion dollar organization, I believe what makes Marissa relatable is that she has surrounded herself with support in almost every facet of her life!
- She has an entire team of employees at Yahoo.
- Her primary residence is the penthouse of The Four Seasons in San Francisco. (Can you say daily cleanings, room service, and a concierge?)
- She has a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman’s that fills her closet twice a year with current fashions.
- There is a nursery next to her office in the Yahoo Headquarters for her children and their caregivers during her work day.
- Her family has a home in Vail that she travels to on the weekends for family time – allowing her to unplug from her work life and truly enjoy family time.
She is the CEO of a major corporation and has structured her life to ensure that she can focus on the things that matter!
Think like the CEO of your business!
As the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa’s main responsibilities are to see the business environment, and set the vision and direction of the company. Her 10,400 person team does much of the implementation.
In the same exact way, as the CEO of your business, your role should be to see the landscape of your industry, stay educated on the needs of your clients, and to create the future for your company! This will allow you to grow a business that can pivot with changes in clients or technology!
In order to be the CEO of your business, you can’t be the person ordering the paperclips! In other words, you can’t build a successful business if you are spending your time in $10 per hour tasks.
For example, if you are working for yourself full time (40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year), you would make a total of $20,800 over the course of a year! You probably didn’t start your business to work full time and make $20,000 per year!
In order to truly see the results you desire in your business, you need to invest your time and energy into the aspects of the business where you can have the biggest impact – and get rid of the rest.
The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Condition
Recently, I was speaking to a group of women entrepreneurs and business coaches. Of the women in the room, only two of them had either virtual or administrative assistants.
As they described their challenges, their stories were the same – most felt like they didn’t have the systems, time, freedom, or success in their business that they had hoped for!
They were busy returning emails, ordering supplies, programming blog posts, creating content, booking speaking engagements, serving clients, designing email newsletters, and so much more!
They described challenges such as:
- Lost money from the lack of follow up on proposals they had sent out.
- Poor systems to nurture prospects who had already expressed interest in their services, but had not yet signed up.
- The current workload was so heavy that they didn’t have the time or energy to market to future clients, meaning that one day their income was going to drop off.
- They knew there was no way to scale their business, their results, or their income because they didn’t have any more time in the day.
- They were receiving complaints from their families that they were never around.
Where Will You Have The Biggest Impact
These women were all facing the same root problem. They were so busy working in the smallest details of their business that they were missing the things that would help them achieve their true goals. I would like to ask you:
- What do you do in your business on a daily/weekly or monthly basis that makes the money or drives the results of the business?
- Do you get your best clients from hosting events, speaking, webinars, video, content creation or networking?
Making Sweeping Changes
As coaches, we all know that in order to truly change the trajectory of our business, we have to IDENTIFY specifically what needs to change, and TAKE ACTION toward those changes!
Once you have identified what you do in the business that has the biggest impact, take action:
- Track your time for the next week.
- How much time are you spending doing the things that have the biggest impact on the business/revenue/profitability?
- What do you do in your business that you hate and would love to offload to someone else?
- What do you do in your business that takes a lot of your time that you could outsource to someone else and get time back for your business, your family, or yourself?
- What is falling through the cracks that would make a difference in your business if you implemented new systems?
- If you offloaded 10-20 hours of work per week to someone else or systems, what would/could you do instead?
In reviewing my business, I learned that my time is best spent creating content, doing interviews, speaking, and strategizing with clients. No one in the world does those things like I do. It is where I am most effective. It is where I can generate the most money, and it is where I can truly have the biggest impact on my clients! As such, it is where I should spend my time. My version of “having it all” is all about having a business that runs itself enough for me to have the time, money and energy to spend time traveling with the people I love!
As a coach, we can often see both the good and the bad patterns in our clients and their businesses, but it’s hard to see it in our own.
We have come so far since 1963. The opportunities available to us are endless. But it is important to remember, the most successful women in the world likely have huge support systems! They each learned long ago that in order to achieve success, they must have a team! The same is true for you and your business!
I encourage you to sit down and track how you are spending your time each week. What can you delegate? What can you outsource? And what does it give you the freedom to do instead? I truly believe that if you do this, and review it frequently, you’ll be happier, healthier, and wealthier!
For 20+ years, Amy has been a business advisor to owners of large organizations such as Ford, Chuck E. Cheese, Vinturi Wine Aerator, as well as new entrepreneurs.
She has been featured on CBS, CW, Fox, Ivillage, and Huffington Post. Her best selling book, The Great Escape, The Successful Woman’s Guide To Escaping The 9-5 has been praised for its honesty about becoming an entrepreneur!