“How Dare You!” – Women and Micro-Business

Words I wanted to shout when the instructor turned up her nose at my business! “How dare you look down your arrogant nose at what I do!”confidence and watch me

I enrolled in the class to learn to be a more professional networker, not realizing the partner in the business presenting the class had an aversion to direct sales/multi-level marketing businesses. Fortunately she didn’t teach often; but one time was almost one time too many for me. Everyone else around the table represented a “legitimate business” or as folks were fond of saying – a “real business”. 

And besides being a “real business”, they had gross annual income much larger than I had which I could only assume made them much more “successful” than me. Yet I was making what I needed at the time to support the lifestyle I wanted – and needed.

I relate this personal experience because it isn’t so dissimilar to what many women who own or partner in a micro-business experience on a regular basis. Somehow, businesses built around a desired lifestyle with an annual gross income desired as well, are not held in high esteem by those who own or partner in a more traditional business. 

And, by the way – what is a “traditional business” anyway? TWEET THIS

It’s a fact that the micro-business industry is not held in high esteem by those who want big incomes, fancy lifestyles and the prestige they assume goes with same! And of course, many micro-businesses are owned or partnered in by women. In fact, I would venture to say that most of the owners-partners are women. 

This is the 3rd in a series on “women and micro-business”. We’ve looked at the definition of a micro-business and learned that a definitive definition is somewhat lacking. At least in terms of something less than a paragraph description which doesn’t lend itself to a 30 or 60 second elevator speech. 

Last Thursday, we looked at micro-business as akin to a desired lifestyle as much or more than a lifestyle developed around a business.

Today, we’re going to look at the downside of choosing to build a business around one’s desired lifestyle. A lifestyle about which women are as passionate as the business in which they engage! When talking with women about why they chose a micro-business, I learned that lifestyle was the overriding factor – even less than power, prestige, or income.

I also learned that the choice for a micro-business was not without its downside. So what are the issues that fall on the “con” side of the ledger?

*My business isn’t taken seriously, so all too often neither am I personally taken seriously

*Too many people think my business is more of a “hobby” than a business

*I’m in direct sales and many people are leery of direct sales and MLM companies which makes building my business doubly hard to do. If people don’t trust the company I represent, they tend not to trust me

*I don’t have a strong support system and don’t understand the basics of business

*Too many people don’t view my business as an independent business owner (IBO) as legitimate or “real”

And these are just a few of the comments reported as the downside of owning or partnering in a micro-business!

Imagine how a woman feels when what she loves and is passionate about is not taken seriously by those in more traditional businesses?

Women in business have a hard enough time being taken seriously by some in corporate America and the marketplace in general – to not have the honor, support and respect due her is demeaning and over time – demoralizing! Some women said “my business has been described as teeny-weeny and said with a haughty smirk!” 

I must admit, most of the above was revealed by women who have chosen to represent products and services developed by companies with a direct sales or multi-level organizational structure.

But the same comments came from women who choose to start, develop and grow a business like coaching or training. Same is true for women who have turned their artistic talent into a business after pursuing it as a hobby for years!

So how do those of us who choose a business commensurate with our chosen lifestyle overcome the negative perception of others?self-esteem-quote-5

How do we rise above it all and go forth to grow and build with confidence in what we do? Most importantly, in who we are? That’s the subject of the next in our series on “women and micro-business”.

I hope you’ll join me as I continue to outline the important role micro-business plays in the world’s economy. Most of all, I pray you’ll let us be a source of inspiration and encouragement as well as a resource you can count on as you journey towards the success you desire – and so richly deserve!

Warmly,

Linda

Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-1/p160x160/10933880_10152999878054264_1749306739390848122_n.jpg?oh=3b9b3e144f0b306aa0cc748b03d9dd6a&oe=55550352&__gda__=1432002183_d9a5e0b3a35fc3cfbbe66ed7bc7658c9[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]

Comments

  1. Linda Ursin

    I would have been furious at her too. I’ve gotten those attitudes you listed more than once, and usually from my husband. Drives me nuts.

  2. Profile photo of Linda S. Fitzgerald
    Linda S. Fitzgerald Post author

    Oh my Linda! One thing to get from someone outside our family unit; but from a spouse or child is another story. In general men are more bottom line oriented and the aspect of “passion” is not something with which they readily resonate. If we’re not in a “traditional” business, males tend to think we’re just exercising a hobby. But we must keep on keepin’ on as micro-businesses make up the majority of the world’s economy and most of them are owned by guess who. . . WOMEN! Let us roar!

    Blessings,
    Linda

  3. Roslyn Tanner Evans

    So glad I came across your blog in WomenOwnedBusiness Fb group. I am unfamiliar with the phrase micro-business, as it so applies to our online endeavor. After 30 years as a career counselor I started exploring interests, took on a hobby I became passionate about, was joined by my artsy daughter and the result is we create beautiful beaded jewelry. I often hear people say I don’t have a ‘real’ business- it’s just a hobby pretending to be a business. We may not be able to compete with the ‘big guys’, but we apply ourselves full time to our business through social media marketing. We are serious, passionate and talented.

  4. Betty Eitner

    Your words ring through for many female business owners…
    When I started my consulting business about a decade ago, I quickly had to start using the works “us” instead of “I”, and what “we” can offer rather than what “I” can offer you.
    There is a still a huge stigma for women business owners to overcome but here are some U.S. numbers that prove women are a force to be reckoned with…

    “Women have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men for the last 20 years and tend to create home-based micro (less than 5 employees) and small businesses. Women will create over half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs expected to be created by 2018 and more and more are doing this from home offices across the country. ” National Federation of Independent Business

    Women have the ability, the knowledge and the strength to be success and we cannot let allow “negative voices” to try to tell us otherwise.

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