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March 24, 2010

What is the book about? Why are you writing it? - Adelaide’s take

Simply put we are writing a book for second stage entrepreneurs about best practices when building a business that is rewarding, sustainable, and enjoyable.

But of course it is about much more than that.

This book is our way of expanding the conversation of entrepreneurship, demonstrating the multiple ways that people have made entrepreneurship work for them, and encouraging women to do the hard work required to figure out what they want from entrepreneurship and leverage the opportunity that entrepreneurship presents.

In short, we want to showcase lots of models of women making entrepreneurship work for them in order to encourage even more women to do the same.

We know that one of the biggest challenges facing women entrepreneurs is revenue. Unfortunately not enough women led companies are profitable enough and too many are forced to go out of business before they have a workable, profitable business model. I wrote about this in the Huffington post last December.

In response there are often a lot of calls to get more women into tech-related businesses, to take on more investment dollars, and to create companies that are bigger and more visible. We, too, support the creation of women-centric funds, stronger investment pipelines, more training, and stronger networks that set women up for success in the historically male-dominated tech field.

However, we do believe that this only represents and supports one type of entrepreneurial venture - a type of venture that is actually the minority of all small businesses for both men and women.

And more importantly, most of the women we work with aren’t interested in joining these ranks. They aren’t setting out to create the next biggest, hottest thing and many aren’t interested in taking on lots of investment dollars or setting out to grow fast and sell.

They are instead focused on creating something of value that meets their needs and can grow with them over time and that is rewarding, sustainable, and enjoyable.

So where does a strict or exclusive focus on tech, venture capital, and investment leave these women? Often without the tools, examples, or support needed to build companies that work for them. And worst of all, it keeps them invisible, marginalized, and without the respect and prestige they deserve. (So help me god if I hear the phrase lifestyle – or even worse – lipstick entrepreneur being used to describe a carefully crafted, rewarding and sustainable business one more time!!)

Unfortunately, we find that there are too many women who are hesitant or resistant to calling themselves entrepreneurs because their idea, dream or experience of entrepreneurship doesn’t reflect the narrow “as big as you can as fast as you can” model so often held up as the barometer of success.

Like so many other trades, entrepreneurship is an art and a craft. And while one size certainly doesn’t fit all, secrets of success, best practices, and principles exist and matter. And we want them to be shared alongside real life examples that demonstrate all the wonderful flavors and modes of entrepreneurship.

We believe that entrepreneurship is an opportunity for women to create the professional experience that they want on their terms. The trick is figuring out what those terms are and how to build a company that supports and respects them.

So, as an entrepreneur, what really matters?

What do you need to know and what skills do you need to have to create a company that is rewarding, sustainable, and enjoyable that can also meet your meet your needs over time?

Well, that’s what we will be writing about in the book!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Amy's take on the same questions...

posted by Adelaide Lancaster

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