Sheryl Adkins Green: Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Kay Cosmetics

 

In today’s gig economy, modern entrepreneurs have unique challenges, opportunities and values. They need digital support and connectivity. They desire flexibility, freedom and community. The value work/life balance as well as being successful in business. 

 

Women around the world are seeking opportunities where they can be supported and connected, while also having the desires and values that are important to them met. Fifty-five years ago, legendary icon Mary Kay Ash was one of the first of her time to break boundaries, defying convention and changing the future of women in the workforce. Today, her message lives on in companies like Mary Kay, where women can create their own futures, on their own terms.

For the modern age entrepreneur, there are opportunities out there.

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of an entrepreneur?

There’s a good chance that “independence” tops the list for many. Research shows that female business owners cite autonomy as one of the primary reasons they decided to become an entrepreneur.

Doing it all

This doesn’t come as a surprise considering society tells us that the most successful women are those that can do it all. But therein lies a problem. When the primary driving force behind starting a business is that you want to do it all on your own, I assure you, you’re creating an unsustainable — and unrealistic — model destined to fail.

Sure, entrepreneurship can certainly give you autonomous freedom from supporting someone else’s dream. But entrepreneurship is paradoxical by nature. An entrepreneur is commonly defined as someone who knows they can provide a better service or product on their own. At the same time, however, owning your own business requires more external support and resource dependence than almost any other career path. It’s time to redefine the female entrepreneurial spirit. Especially as the economy becomes increasingly globalized, women business owners must embrace collaboration. They must find empowerment in building a network of resources and not being afraid to use them.

Finding power in collaboration

For example, female (and male) business owners face many constraints when it comes to juggling home and work responsibilities. Studies have found that, to overcome such constraints, seeking and using support outlets is a major source of empowerment. I’m not only talking about enlisting extra help around the house when you need it, but also joining peer groups and learning from women who have been — or are in — your very situation.

Identifying and tapping into the resources available to you does not make you any less of an entrepreneur. The opposite is true, actually. Empowerment is the key to entrepreneurial success, and collaboration and resourcefulness are keys to empowerment. It is time to redefine entrepreneurial spirit from “can/will do it all” to embracing collaboration and assistance as a source of power.