This is a new age of the women entrepreneurs where successful & confident women are leading the companies while embracing their new roles at office and home with equal ease. It may sound clichéd that hard work pays off, it actually does. And if you’re a female founder, you should be mentally prepared to work extra hard. A lot of women entrepreneurs have tasted success as they have been willing to take risks. In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to thrive on uncertainty instead of feeling paralyzed in today’s climate of disruption.
It wouldn’t be accurate for me to say I began my career with the burning ambition to become an ‘entrepreneur’. I was always fascinated by the ever changing world around me and my fascination led me to make the career choices that found me in the midst of the booming digital eco-system of India. My first step towards entrepreneurship was an accidental one and one which became a precursor to the launch of the internet travel industry. The role I had taken on was challenging and involved breaking several moulds, professionally as well as personally. It was during the course of aggressively and steely scaling the organization that I realised that this is what I absolutely loved doing every single moment.
While I had worked in the corporate space for a few years prior to taking on an entrepreneurial role, there were instances where people thought I was too ‘young’ to be leading a business. It led me to wonder why. While I cannot say that I experienced an overt bias; at the same time I found people subconsciously questioning whether a woman entrepreneur would possibly be able to commit the same amount of time a man would be able to, in driving a growing business to scale and profitability. I then realised how important it is for a woman to project her strengths in her conduct. While that could hold true for everyone; men may not be subjected to the same scrutiny a woman is. That being said, I don’t believe that a woman needs to make any bones about the fact that she will place importance on work-life balance and nurturing her family, but she must prove that determined, competent women have what it takes to drive growth at all levels, in any role assigned to them.
I believe our challenges give us layers of depth and that the professional journey of every woman should be focused on turning stones into milestones, and obstacles into opportunities. Being a woman has several advantages in the corporate space; advantages that should be leveraged on by teams and organizations. Often, because of the way women socialise and the situations they experience in their personal spheres, women attribute due importance to employee engagement, consensus building and emotional cue taking in their work spaces. These values are very important for the longevity of an organization and the success of a team.
As an entrepreneur, managing your team and inspiring them to share your passion for growing the business is of utmost importan. For your team, you have to sometimes act like a mirror where you reflect back their best self. You have to help show them their best abilities and inspire them to realize their true potential.
We are now seeing a lot more women taking up entrepreneurial roles, compared to when I began my career. Women were then expected to take secure corporate roles as risk-taking was not believed to be their domain. I think this change has to also be attributed to the gradual emergence of role models – as women look up the corporate ladder and see women like themselves leading organizations and being homemakers, they are driven and motivated to succeed against all odds with an unwavering resolve.
While I do strongly believe that talent need not have a gender, I do advocate that more and more women employees need to be groomed to take up leadership roles, which will enable them to hone their business skills and leadership ability.
This does bring me back to my sentiment towards the word ‘women entrepreneur’. For me an entrepreneur is someone (a man or woman) who functions entrepreneurially within a team; scaling up the team, driving success and building team cohesion and consensus. If you wake up each day thinking how far you could further push the company in next 24 hours, then you are a true entrepreneur at heart.
Within my organization today, I celebrate every woman taking the lead on a project, situation and team. Seen from this prism, we will develop more promising leaders. The world needs a lot more women entrepreneurs, and women entrepreneurs need all of us.