As women, we're bombarded with highly filtered glamorous snapshots of 'successful business women', but is that the reality?
Wendy Mak is a fashion-stylist-turned business mentor who runs an online support community for women entrepreneurs, and she wants women in business to know the truth…
Wendy Mak’s entrepreneurial journey has many facets. She quit her high-paying job in corporate finance in 2007 to become a fashion stylist with no formal training, then developed the service-focused business course, Smart, Savvy & Rich and her latest venture, The Growth Club. As a pillar of support for women in business, Wendy has noticed an unhealthy trend within the women’s business community.
“Women in business are putting increasing pressure on themselves,” Wendy explains. “The women’s entrepreneurial community thrives on these often inflated notions of what is ‘inspirational’, which is further fuelled by social media and its tendency to present a highly filtered snapshot of someone’s successes.
As a result, ‘comparison’ runs rife, leading to chronic feelings of failure, of feeling somehow behind everyone else and with no chance of catching up. We have a monster on our hands. One that says to us – as we’re pooped at the end of the day – that we can’t stop. That we need to do more, be more, achieve more in our business or else we simply aren’t good enough.”
In an effort to lift the lid on the problem, Wendy has penned this open letter to entrepreneurs…
True Face of Entrepreneurship: An open letter from Wendy Mak
The road to success is never an easy one, especially with the unique challenges we face as women entrepreneurs.
And yet everywhere I look — from my Facebook feed, Twitter, to groups I’m in and events I attend — all I seem to see are people talking up their wins, successes and achievements.
Please don’t misunderstand.
I am the first to celebrate wins, big or small. But I also understand the flip side — that feeling you get when you see someone else rising, climbing, doing all these amazing things that you want SO BADLY for yourself.
While you want to be happy for them, your gut starts to feel like a heavy rock.
“I’m so far behind compared to everyone else.”
“I’ll never be able to do what she’s done.”
“No one will buy from me because they’re already buying from her.”
“It’s not worth it.”
“Maybe it’s time to get a ‘normal’ job.”
These thoughts are all too common. They’ve certainly crossed my mind.
Yet we don’t actively discuss this. Most of what we see online, on blogs (this blog is guilty too) and at events we attend is centered around being “inspirational”. Aspirational stories, peoples and lessons — designed to encourage us to aim higher and to do more.
But what if we’re just too tired to do more?
What if we’re working our guts out and nothing seems to be happening?
How much longer do we keep going?
Is it fair to keep the pressure on our partner while we keep working on a business that doesn’t pay (all) the bills?
These are the issues + questions I want to explore.
I want it to be OK to say that some days you get depressed. That you don’t feel like flipping open the laptop again to enter the same cycle of work with little results.
That sometimes, you’re totally OVER how everyone else you see on Facebook seems to be having a better time than you — booking in new clients, going to fancy events, taking holidays and living the “dream” of entrepreneurship that you wished for yourself.
Let’s lift the lid on this topic. It’s sensitive, raw and real. With your help, we can show others that they are NOT ALONE in the true challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.
With your help I would love to get 1000 women entrepreneurs in Australia to complete this short survey so we can truly understand the issues we face as a community, and get these issues addressed.
Some high profile women entrepreneurs are beginning to join me in this dialogue. I’ll be sharing my interviews with them here. I would love to see you join in the discussion.
Wendy is the author of The Terrific Thirty – 1000 Outfits from 30 Pieces and also runs a career site, Wendy Mac helping other female entrepreneurs start businesses. Wendy takes women in business very seriously, running courses, speaking at conferences and providing an online support community for women taking the big leap.