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October 28, 2009

Half-baked but not half-assed: Sharing your idea with others

(while we are on the subject of baking, we thought we would tempt you with Erin McKenna's delectable cookbook!)

Recently I read a great post by Charlie O’Donnell called Never Too Early To Talk. I was intrigued because this is a topic we talk a lot about with IGC members who are sometimes hesitant to share their idea before it is “ready” or for fear it will be stolen. I really liked what he said about the importance of feedback and the strategic role that it plays in the formation of your venture.

Two points that I would add -

We believe that when you cut yourself off from this kind of early stage feedback you have essentially set yourself up to run your business reactively. Done this way, you will inevitably launch your venture and then spend most of your time adjusting and changing things based on other people’s feedback, insights, and suggestions about things that could have been known before hand! Don’t get me wrong, much of running your business will be about adjusting and changing things based on feedback but it should be feedback from customers and the marketplace and about the kinds of things you couldn’t have known without trying them first.

Another benefit of sharing is that it actually allows you to informally engage others in your venture and get them emotionally invested in your success. Perhaps they could play critical roles down the line (investor, advisor, staff) or maybe they will *just* serve as champions, cheerleaders, and connectors for your venture. It is easy to forget just how much people love knowing the back story and being part of something!

As Charlie talks about & as we agree, much of the hesitancy that people experience is really an extension of their desire to perfect their idea or make sure their idea “ready” before sharing. They want all their ducks in a row. Rather than be in a position to ask questions about their idea with and to other people, they want to be in a position to answer any questions someone else might have and to be ready to “defend” – for lack of a better word - their idea.

I can completely relate to this and have at times in the past felt that how “air-tight” my idea was also correlated with:

1) my respect for the other person’s time {if I have asked for your time the least I could do is thinking through my idea enough to see if it holds water}

2) how smart I was {what hadn’t I thought of?!}

3) how good the idea was {see, not much room for improvement!}

It is these times that I have to push myself to see that half-baked really doesn’t mean half-assed. In fact, it is better to positioning to say:

here’s what I’d like to do” or “I think there could be a real opportunity to

and then say:

Given your (experience, insight), I’d love to get your thoughts.
Do you think it could work?
What am I missing?
What might you suggest doing differently?
What would your concerns be?

Half-assed is really not bothering to ask for feedback. Half-assed is not taking the time to involve others in a proper tire-kicking of the idea. Half-assed is thinking that you already know all that your venture will need to know.

{side note: in this case, not being half-assed doesn’t make you an (whole) ass – where in the heck does that phrase come from anyway?}

October 27, 2009

The Business Break-up: Conversation Required

There comes a time in many business relationships when it just isn’t working out anymore. Either you no longer want to work with your client or you sense that your client many need a different resource/service/etc. They say breaking is hard to do. Yes, it is uncomfortable and something that you would like to avoid altogether.

Enter email, texting, voicemail. It is amazing to me how people use and abuse these forms of communication especially when it comes to the break up. If you have had a relationship with a client, even a tenuous one, emailing, texting or leaving a voicemail to break up with your client is NOT a professional way to end the business engagement. (The only exception, perhaps, is one that requires legal intervention.)

In any other case, it seems only reasonable and adult-like to either pick up the phone or meet in person– as awkward as it may be. Just like in dating – breaking up via technology is lame.

We admit it is tough to uphold this standard (sometimes a piss off text seems like just what the doctor ordered) and to take the time out to handle things in the best way possible. But, let’s be clear! When breaking up IS a necessary end, it is important to do it right - that is to say professionally and respectfully and with a CONVERSATION.

Let’s discuss all the benefits of a conversation:

1. It demonstrates your respect for the customer & the work you have done together in the past

2. It demonstrates the respect that you have for yourself as a professional and your commitment to handle things as such

3. It may provide an opportunity for feedback (constructive or perhaps otherwise)

4. It may provide an opportunity for you to make referrals (for the client to work with someone else or for the client to refer you to others)

5. It allows for professional closure

Emails and texting are INCREDIBLE means of communication but all “relationship defining conversations” (especially those that end the relationship) should happen voice-to-voice or face-to-face.

It is more important to behave like a mensch for you and your business in the long run.
posted by Amy Abrams

October 23, 2009

Fail Harder! A Point Beautifully Made

I learned of this project via SwissMiss & love it. The mural was made by Wieden + Kennedy 12

What a beautiful and interesting way to illustrate a very important point!

October 22, 2009

Well Said/Worth Reading - Article Round Up

(journal from the Archie Grand series I love)

Here are some articles and posts on our mind this week. Would love to hear your thoughts on them.

Kiva: A Cautionary Tale for Social Entrepreneurs? by Timoth Ogden on HBS Conversation Starter


we (and our wants and needs) are really making the news circuit this week...here's just a few highlights

Happy Hunting – by Rebecca Mead at NewYorker.com
think piece/interview with Michael Silver, co-author of “Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market.”

When We’re Equal, We’ll Be Happy by Judith Warner @NYTimes

A Quiet Storm: What Women Want Now by Nancy Gibbs in Time

happy reading!

October 20, 2009

Entrepreneurship continues to be a preferred professional destination for women

(photo courtesy of Simon Le)

IGC member and speaking coach extraordinaire, Jezra Kaye, brought to our attention the fact that it is National Women in Business Week (yahoo!) and in the process let us know about a really interesting organization Moms Rising.

The piece that Jezra sent was Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner’s post Woot! 23 Million Employed by Women-Owned Businesses, which thoughtfully highlights and documents the draw of self-employment and entrepreneurship for women who are dissatisfied by current professional options. We are clearly on the same page and this is something we often write and talk about – most recently, Entrepreneurship for the Rest of Us May Also Be Employment for the Rest Of Us.

An excerpt from Kristin’s post:

Many are asking, “Are you surprised by how quickly the number of women-owned businesses has been growing?” Our answer? Well, no. Moms know that the general lack of workplace flexibility, family leave, sick days, and affordable and high quality childcare in most companies can make worklife balance a nightmare. Plus the fact that women are paid 77 cents to a man’s dollar, and moms are paid just 73 cents to a man’s dollar is a strong incentive for business ownership. So, we’re not surprised that many women are taking their education and skills to Main Streets and boardrooms across our nation to do it their own way. In fact, women-owned businesses are more likely to offer supportive, family-friendly benefits like flex-time, family leave, sick days, and profit sharing!

With these stats in mind, it’s no wonder an increasing number of women are taking matters into their own hands and starting their own businesses where they can pay themselves equal pay for equal work, and also provide family-friendly policies in their own workplaces.
Read the rest here...

We believe that working for yourself is an increasingly important skill for women to learn, as entrepreneurship and self-employment are increasingly becoming the professional destinations of choice.

In Good Company Workplaces is committed to teaching women and girls this craft and all that comes with it (so that women can really create work that works for them) and also to highlighting the range of entrepreneurial experiences that exist (Entrepreneurship for the Rest of Us).

If you want to begin learning the best practices involved with working for yourself you can join us for two upcoming seminars that we are holding for Global Entrepreneurship Week. They are free and open to the public, though an rsvp is necessary.

October 19, 2009

Think Big. Start Small.

(photo courtesy of Helena Comella)

Oh, how easy it is to get ahead of ourselves!

As soon as an idea strikes, we picture ourselves running a hugely successful enterprise with all the bells and whistles only to lose all motivation when the reality of all the work involved sinks in. For me, the experience is quite like that of a balloon. One minute I am all pumped up and the other I am looking saggy, sad and deflated.

Perhaps there is something to the saying "walk before you run" after all. Case in point, meet my friend, Dana. She is looking to re-enter the work force. She is interested in starting her own business. She knows she loves art, music, nature and traveling. She is incredible with kids and she loves teaching and educational philosophy. Oh, did I forget to add she is one of the most creative people I have ever met? So I suggest that she starts teaching a class for kids that combines music, art, nature and has themes around traveling the world. I know I would sign my kids up for her class in a heartbeat.

Yes, she says, I have taught a few classes at my house like that in the past and they sold out right away. I loved teaching them.

I scratch my head; she scratches her head. And then she tells me that her real dream is to have a whole center with creative classes for children and parents. She has so many ideas around this center. But she says she doesn't have the money or experience to start a center like this right now. She starts to look totally overwhelmed and I watch her experience the balloon phenomenon right before my eyes.

I scratch my head again and say, “Why don’t you start by teaching one or two classes again?” From my perspective, this would be a great way to get the ball rolling. You will start to gain a following, you will start to be known in your community, you will learn what you enjoy (is it the teaching, is it training other teachers, is it developing the curriculum, is it planning for the development of a larger business, etc.). You may also be approached by someone who has the same vision for the center and wants to partner. She smiles.

As we have written about in the past, there are at least 30 different potential futures for every business. (Some are right for you, some are not. You may lean towards a particular outcome at first, only to love another farther down the pike.) But it is important to recognize that the beginning of anything is small. And, futures, even the potential ones, only really exist once you take that first step.

Instead of trying to get ahead of yourself, stay out of your own way. As we like to say: Start small, dream big and enjoy the ride - there will be many unexpected twists and turns along the way.

-Amy Abrams

October 14, 2009

Recipe for DIY Success: 2 books that inspire a "can do' attitude

The upside about the down economy is that it has forced many of us to get creative, learn to do more with less, and has inspired a ‘I can do it myself’ attitude in least crafty of us.

Two new books will aid our creative efforts tremendously. Both well-designed and timely, The Cosmetic Cookbook and Remake It Home ensure that we will continue to live in style despite a smaller budget.

The Cosmetics Cookbook
“The Cosmetics Cookbook is a recipe book that contains over 50 simple recipes that you can create at home to beautify and restore health to your skin, hair and entire body using only natural ingredients. The book is divided into several sections such as facial saunas, facial cleansers, tonics and fresheners, masks, hair repairs, and entire body. Each section is introduced with an explanation of its importance and is then followed by several recipe choices. This is an exciting book for women and men of all ages who want to learn how to restore and maintain healthy skin and hair by creating recipes at home using ingredients that are natural, inexpensive, and that can probably be found in any kitchen.”
A few sample receipes can be found here
Amazon Link

Remake it Home: The Essential Guide to Resourceful Living
“Perfectly suited to the spirit of our times, this book is a spare yet stylish guide to living without wastefulness. It chimes with today’s consumer and design trends toward cost-consciousness and environmental awareness, and shows how to live stylishly by reusing and repurposing rather than buying new. This book aims to inspire a sophisticated audience not yet prepared to sacrifice great design or good style by showing both exceptional designs by leading product designers as well as offering ideas for projects we all could, and perhaps should, create.”
Found via Cool Hunting
Amazon Link

October 13, 2009

Early Fall Article Roundup

Pieces and posts that are well said & worth reading!

Twitter is a pulse, but it is a biased one
Article on the Twitter gender gap from Paid Content.

From HBS blogs - Conversation Starter.

From NY Times blogs.

The continuing job crisis is hitting young people especially hard-damaging both their future and the economy - from Business Week

From Scott Anthony HBS blog

From HBS Conversation Starter Blog by Jodi Glickman

The Femme Den points to an array of products that smartly and subtly consider women in their design - from Inc Magazine

30 under 30: Startup Secrets
Tips from America's Coolest Young Entrepreneurs in Inc Magazine.

Business Makeover in Fortune Small Business.

Wild About Wild Things!

I love all the "Where The Wild Things Are" tie-ins that are popping up!

These outfits are from Opening Ceremony (via Cool Hunting)

I wonder if this can eclipse Twilight-mania.
UPDATE: I just read a really interesting Newsweek interview with Marice Sendak and Spike Jonze about the story and the film.

October 12, 2009

Imitation is the highest form of flattery? Business competition and the role of personal best

(photo courtesy of Julien Lanthier)

I say that I don’t like competition, at least in its traditional sense. I hate keeping score even when playing board games and I am not motivated by the thought of beating others out to win something. I hate watching championship games because I always feel so sad for the team that doesn’t win but that gets stuck in the midst of their opponent’s victory celebration. (Last fall I was the only person in Philadelphia who had sympathy pains for the Tampa Bay Rays when the Phillies won the World Series).

It is an odd perspective given the fact that I was an athlete when I was younger and a very “competitive” swimmer. Many folks I swam with have gone on to be in the Olympics and it was a very important part of my life (until I was sidelined by reconstructive shoulder surgery). However, I think it was swimming’s unique form of competition that influences my business ethics today.

Swimming is primarily an individual sport and one that is focused on achieving your personal best. It was better to come in 3rd and “drop” 1 second off your best time than it was to come in 1st at a slower pace. That is why it was so important to swim with people that were better than you – they made you perform at your best. And when the race was over congratulations were shared in the form of a handshake, high five, or hug.

To this day performing at my personal best is what is important and motivating to me. Maybe that works out because I have such high standards and expectations but it is an orientation that feels honorable and honest. However, it runs contrary to some business advice that you may read or hear. I know others that are fiercely competitive in their marketplace and who indulge business rivals (read this funny Fast Company business frenemy piece) or who subscribe more to an ‘”it’s all fair in love and war” type orientation.

At IGC we talk a lot about the value of collaboration and how it is really important to have a relationship with those who are seeming competitors or who are in the same market place. Why? Well because your business or service is not for everyone, and people will find the best solution that works for them, and sometimes it’s important to have referrals, and you can learn a lot from those who do similar work to you (best practices, industry trends, what to expect). And, most importantly, good competitors improve the marketplace and make you perform better.

We are not oblivious to the potential awkwardness involved in these relationships and certainly don’t advocate giving away the secret sauce, but we genuinely believe that there is a lot to be gained from collegial collaborative relationships. We have written about Competitor Etiquette before.

And it is not just lip service either. We enjoy strong relationships with networks such as Ladies Who Launch and Collective-E and we support lots of other members who also work to educate women entrepreneurs. And we are not the only place in town that offers shared space…there is a whole co-working movement…and there are plenty of respectful ways to maintain a relationship with other providers. Newer establishments have even gone so far as to give us a respectful “heads up” call before they open just to keep us in the know. We have had meetings with lots of other space owners.

So, why do I bring this all up? Well, given that these are my beliefs, I sometimes struggle with the appropriate way to handle behavior that appears deceitful.
(I say appears not because I am nice but because I am smart enough to realize that you never know the whole story)

What do you do when a local business begins to offer a service nearly identical to yours and even uses the same language to explain it? And when you learn that it is a former member who will be “helping” them by doing sales, marketing, and programming?

I am not so bothered by this other business offering shared workspace, as it is unlikely that their members would have used our space and because I believe that what we offer is so important and valuable that I truly do want women to benefit from it (whether we provide it or not).

But it is the member’s involvement that irritates me. If the roles were reversed, I can’t imagine the circumstances in which I wouldn’t find a way to talk to someone like me about my new business involvement.

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, perhaps, but sometimes it is just plain rude and offensive.

So, again, what to do? If I were as “brazen” as Penelope Trunk I’d probably just write all about it and the parties involved (don’t get me wrong, although our styles are quite different, I have quite a lot of respect for her…you can see her hold her own in an insulting interview with CNN’s Rick Sanchez).

For me, I think I will call the other business and highlight the similarities in positioning and language. I don’t think it looks well for them to have a carbon copy of our offerings. I will reiterate that I am genuinely glad that they will be providing shared workspace to women that we are unlikely to serve because I think it is a tremendous benefit to those women. Perhaps this conversation will help us to reframe the relationship and we can move forward with a different tone.

And for the former member? I don’t think I will reach out to her. This is not the way that I play business. This is not the kind of competitor that I want to swim with. They won’t help me achieve my personal best and given her apparent ethics I wouldn’t send someone to her offering if they weren’t a good fit for IGC. I know of a business that got started in a similar way (spinning off and creating a competitor business) and I don’t do business with them for the same reason.

And while her behavior was seemingly deceitful, it was definitely short-sighted. Another valuable lesson that I learned from swimming was that each meet was just one of many opportunities to excel and do well. Sure there were always a few very big meets each year, but it was performance over the entire season that really mattered.

I think the most important thing I can do is leverage the learning opportunity. Rearticulate my stance on competition and my own business ethics. Talk with other IGC members about the importance of transparency, trust, and respect. Swim with the right “competitors”. Focus on doing my personal best and performing well far into the future.

October 11, 2009

Entrepreneurship for the rest of us may also be employment for the rest of us

Last week we wrote Entrepreneurship for the Rest of Us: A Conversation about Women’s Business Growth, which talked about the important role that flexibility plays in many women’s ventures (as compared to men’s) and the impact that that has on the growth of women’s businesses.

It was inspired by two posts by Jason Cohen and his wife Darla Cohen, both entrepreneurs, but was also informed by our work with hundreds of women entrepreneurs who everyday are grappling with decisions on how to best build businesses that work for them.

I was reminded of this post and conversation by Judith Warner’s recent piece on Domestic Disturbances about The Choice Myth, which works to reframe the well-known conversation about why women work or don’t work and what they want.

In this piece Judith reports that in 2005 The Motherhood Project at the Institute for American Values surveyed more than 2,000 women and published a report that said:

Most mothers, given free choice in an ideal world, would choose to be employed — provided their employment didn’t impinge excessively on their time with their kids. Approximately two-thirds said they’d ideally work part-time or from home; only 16 percent said they’d prefer to work full-time.

Fair enough, right? But because (in my opinion) there are not enough corporate employment options that provide meaningful, engaging or challenging part-time or home-based work, women turn to entrepreneurship (in droves!) as a way to create the job they want with the benefits that they need.

It is this that makes utterly necessary to recognize two things:

1. It is very important to learn to work for yourself. It is a skill that we should seek to develop and that our institutions should support and nurture (ahem, colleges, universities, and professional schools…that means you). While the current economic downtown might help cement this as common conventional wisdom for both genders, I believe this is especially true for women.

2. It is really important that we acknowledge, showcase, and promote a diversity of entreprenuerial experiences. There are different kinds of goals, growth, and models of success.

So let’s get on it…lets teach women and girls what comes with the skill of working for yourself and also let’s highlight the range of ways to be an entrepreneur and to build and grow a business. Entrepreneurship for the rest of us may really be about employment for the rest of us, but it is enterprising, independent, and important all the same.

If you want to begin learning the best practices involved with working for yourself you can join us for two upcoming seminars that we are holding for Global Entrepreneurship Week. They are free and open to the public, though an rsvp is necessary.
(picture courtesy of ohjoy blog...work of Marisa Crawford)

October 10, 2009

In Good Company Workplaces to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week!

We are thrilled to be a partner in Global Entrepreneurship Week and to join forces with so many fabulous organizations to promote entrepreneurship education.

As contributors, we will be hosting 2 roundtable seminars @IGC. Both are open to the public, but a RSVP is required.

NOV 18th, 4-6pm
The Real Entrepreneur Deal: 10 Myths and Truths about Starting Your Own Business

Entrepreneurship provides an exciting opportunity to create a business that is yours and that works for you! But for new entrepreneurs, the unknowns about what it is like to start and run a business can cloud that excitement with questions and anxiety.

This interactive roundtable will focus on what to expect and things to consider when you’re starting a business. We will share the best practices, truths, and myths associated with entrepreneurship based on our work helping hundreds of women to launch a venture. This program will help you shift from worrying about what you should know and don’t know to focusing on what you want!

NOV 19th, 4-6pm
The Business of Building a Business: Best Practices When You Work For Yourself

Entrepreneurship provides an exciting opportunity to create a business that is yours and that works for you! However, working for yourself is not without challenges and it takes time to adjust to this new role.

This interactive roundtable will focus on best business practices that increase structure, accountability, purpose, and direction and decrease isolation, burnout, and the time spent reinventing the wheel. We believe it is really important to build a business that lets you enjoy working for yourself and this program will help you consider what that means and how to best do it.

Both seminars will be held at the In Good Company Workplaces office:
16 W. 23rd Street, 4th Fl
New York, NY 10010

RSVP: Adelaide Lancaster - adelaide [at] ingoodcompanyworkplaces [dot] com

Join us!

October 9, 2009

Hey - I Recognize that Ice Cream Truck!

Last week I went to read one of my favorite blogs One Floor Up and was pleasantly surprised to see a picture by an artist I recognized (go me!) It was of one of Kevin Cyr's ice cream trucks!

In Good Company Workplaces is really lucky to have a great partnership with Raandesk Gallery who brilliantly curates our space with interesting rotating art exhibits (right now we are enjoying the Unsettled Beauty).

Earlier this year, we had some of Kevin's work - a few black and white pieces which I loved! And the good news is that he is coming back to IGC again...but not before the really cool Art2Gift program - just in time for the holidays.

View more work by Kevin Cyr

If i had one of those cool new nyc trucks (rickshaw, van leeuwen, cupcake track, wafels and dinges) I would totally get a commissioned piece from him!

October 8, 2009

inKindness: A new IGC initiative about finding creative ways to give back

We are excited to introduce you to inKindness – a new IGC initiative that captures our belief in the importance of giving back and creating ways to increase small businesses’ philanthropic efforts regardless of size or stage.

We started inKindness because we believe that engagement matters and that is a fundamentally important aspect of entrepreneurship.

WE BELIEVE that when it comes to philanthropic involvement that you’re never too small and it is never too soon.

LEVERAGING YOUR BUSINESS as a vehicle for change should be a business practice from the start.

This inKindness initiative is about finding ways to ENGAGE IMPORTANT CAUSES that are possible now.

inKindness doesn’t always require cash but does REQUIRE CREATIVITY.

Our recent inKindness gestures include ‘in kind’ donations and contributions to organizations such as Girls Write Now, NOW NYC, and Starting Bloc.

Inspired in part by giving initiatives such as:
Fred Wilson’s donors choose funding challenge
The launch of the Tory Burch Foundation

And influenced by these idea campaigns:
Malia Mills’ Love They Differences Campaign
And Operation Nice

We decided to make our initiative official!

We will now share our inKindness gestures and continue to look for creative ways that we can give back and do our part, and we encourage you to do the same!

Imagine! What you can do inKindness?

Join us by creating your own inKindness gestures and telling us about them!

October 7, 2009

No greater compliment than shout-outs from those you admire!

Last week we had two really nice experiences. We received two very positive blog shout outs from blogs that we love, both of which are run by smart & interesting women that we didn’t know personally (yet!).

First, I was told about PatternPulp, a fantastic trend blog that focuses on patterns and design (yum) by Shayna Kulik. After I quick tour of the blog, I sent an email to Shayna professing my love only to have her tell me that she featured In Good Company in a post earlier this year!! Trend: Co-working Within Color Palettes

Second, Joanne Wilson, who writes the Gotham Gal blog (one we regularly follow), happened to meet one of our members at In Good Company and then wrote a really nice blog post about her impressions! In Good Company Workspaces

Big smiles all around.

It is always great to get press and mentions but it is even sweeter when it comes from folks of whom you are already a big fan. (like the time, we were mentioned by Springwise…).

It feels sweeter because in addition to being considered newsworthy, it validates that your concept appeals to the kind of people that you admire and it is impacting them in the way that you hope to.

Thank you, ladies, for recognizing our work! It means a lot.

October 6, 2009

Entrepreneurship for the Rest of Us: A Conversation About Women's Business Growth

(photo courtesy of Andrew Lee)

I wanted to share this really important post – Response: Sacrifice Your Health for Your Startup - from a woman named Darla Cohen. It illuminates a conversation that I have frequently, and in fact one that I have had the last two days in a row. A conversation about women’s business growth.

She wrote on her husband’s blog (Jason Cohen of A Smart Bear – a blog I like and read a lot) in response to his post: Sacrifice Your Health for Your Startup. Understandably, his post generated a lot of comments and interest, and Darla weighted in to offer a different perspective about her different entrepreneurial experience.

It is a perspective that we are very familiar with and one that tends to be under-reported and under-acknowledged.

We know from sources like the Kaufman Foundation that women-led ventures are smaller, less growth-oriented, and start with less capital than men-owned firms.

People often abhor these statistics and report them in the context of “studies show that women still lag behind men”. It is true, in terms of growth and access to capital women entrepreneurs do lag behind men. I get frustrated about these stories, not because of the lag but because the lag is really not the point. Many women entrepreneurs aren’t concerned about this lag, because it isn’t necessarily reporting on the things that they care about most. Perhaps surprisingly, running businesses similar to their male counterparts is not what all women entrepreneurs want. For some women, growth and sale price are neither the motivating factors nor the markers of success.

Why? Because they have different goals (something we work very hard with our members to be clear about).

Instead of size and scale they may prioritize flexibility and autonomy. And when I say flexibility, I don’t just mean the day-to-day kind, but I am also talking about seasonal and yearly flexibility. Many women I know don’t want their business to be on a growth path that they don’t have control over and want the ability to slow, relocate, or halt their businesses as they need to or want to.

Others may be more concerned with building something that is sustainable in the long-term, that they can run for the next 10 years. For these women working for themselves may be the next step in their career path or a destination that they have been working towards for some time.

And although these women aren’t following the traditionally glorified entrepreneurial path, they are still entrepreneurs and they still run businesses and they still contribute to the economy and still have an impact on their industries and communities. You can distinguish these businesses as lifestyle businesses if that makes you feel better, although to Darla’s point, that phrase does seem to undermine the amount of work and sacrifice that these ventures take. And I can’t tell you how many of these so-called lifestyle business owners I know are self-supporting…a reality that makes running a business a lot less lifestyle-ish.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I hate generalities and I recognize and work daily with women who don’t fit this description, women who are focused on size and scale and who are building great companies in the process. And there are fabulous resources out there (though not enough!) that help women to access the money, skills, and knowledge needed to grow their businesses quickly – Make Mine a Million, being a leader among them. And it is a shame that lack of access to funding and critical resources limits women who do want to grow businesses in this way.

But, I like Darla’s post because it authentically speaks about a different but common entrepreneurial experience. The reality is that there are many kinds of entrepreneurs, who need different types of support and various kinds of resources, but all of whom experience many of the same entrepreneurial challenges (innovation, positioning, motivation, execution, decision-making) and deserve the respect that goes with the territory.

And what I really liked were the responses to Darla’s post – all positive and supportive from other folks who also recognize that entrepreneurship truly encompasses a diversity of experience and purpose.