WOMEN IN BUSINESS: IT'S HARD

October 22, 2012

Owning your own business is wonderful.  I'm constantly being challenged, I feel proud of the work we've accomplished, am excited about constantly meeting other creative people and love the fact that we work for ourselves (minus the day jobs. :)  The other awesome thing about my business is that I run it with my husband.  Being able to work with him has opened my eyes to so many of his talents- his ability to handle conflict, his passion, his self discipline and it's forced us to work through problems as a team when it comes to the business.  For some quick background, Nick and I co founded The City Flea- a curated, urban flea market we hold monthly.  There's A TON that goes into making each market happen and we really have put our heart and souls into this business. If you want to hear more about the business itself go on over to the website and have a look around.  
Owning the business with my husband is also extremely challenging.  Not because he's hard to work with (not at all actually!) but because I'm the woman and coincidentally I look very young.  Who do you think most people want to talk to during business meetings or onsite during an event? Not the little girl who's just "helping."  I admit, I struggle a great deal with this.  Behind the scenes, via email and phone calls, I'm just as capable as anyone, but once people put a face to "Lindsay, The City Flea" signature in emails I'm overlooked as not being as capable as my husband.  It's not his fault, It's not my fault, It's not anyone's fault. It's just the truth of the situation. Since I was a teen I've struggled with how young I look. I know, I know everyone tells me I'll love it when I'm 30 or 40 but guess what? I'm 30 in 2 years and odds are I'll still look young. And odds are I'll still be treated as I'm perceived. The fact that I have to remind myself how capable, smart, and creative I am constantly is frustrating.  I am those things, but it's hard to feel it when so often I'm overlooked.  I'm sure all of you can relate to this in one way or another.  Maybe you just don't feel respected, or like people wouldn't turn to you to handle a conflict, that you make enough money, or that you're not creative enough to come up with a new idea.  I think we need to stop feeling like this about ourselves and show the world that we are all of these things plus some.  Easier said than done though, right?

After this past weekends event I got to thinking, how can I change this? How can I feel empowered and just as capable as Nick? I think for a while, because this was the way I was viewed by a lot of people we work with I just sat back and let it happen.  I thought, Nick will handle that because he has in the past and lets face it, people want to deal with Nick anyways.  I've decided to turn a new leaf- to take on more as far as the business goes and not feel like I have to ask Nick if I can do so- I can! It's mine just as much as it is his (and no I don't have to ask him to do things for our business) We come up with creative solutions together, we go to meetings together, we brainstorm together and every final decision is made together so why in the world would I think I can't do more on my own!?  I need to stop thinking that he is more capable to handle certain elements of our work.   I need to prepare myself as best I can before each event so I know every single detail.  I need to be confident when answering questions.  I need to make decisions without second guessing them.  It's strange- being in this mind frame.  I've always considered myself to be a confident person.  It truly has been eye opening running a business and realizing how many personal things I have to work on.  I want to be continuously growing and I think my first step in doing so is finding ways to make my role in our business feel to me as worthy as Nicks feels to everyone.  

8 COMMENTS:

  1. Great post! I'm 29 and people constantly tell me I look like I'm 20. It's very frustrating and difficult to try and be taken seriously. I feel like people make assumptions about my maturity level and my intelligence just based on how old I look. I get especially annoyed when strangers will say I look too young to be married or too young to be pregnant. 1. You don't know how old I am and 2. Who are you to decide how old someone needs to be to be married or have a baby. In the ends its more their problem than mine. I'm not going to live my life any differently because people think I look young. And I'll just keep looking forward to those years when I'm happy to hear how young I look.

    ReplyDelete
  2. girl it's like the elephant in the room when i go to schools or board meetings. being short certainly doesn't make it easier. i try not to let it bother me but it does. not sure if you've had to dress the part for certain things, but i refuse to dress a certain way (ie: suit when i can wear a fun dress) to gain people's respect. i will say having a baby helped lol... for me i care less and for them they see "oh well she is a mom clearly she must be responsible and smart enough to carry out these tasks" .... not that i would have a baby for that reason, but i did notice a difference in conversation when talking about my daughter etc. interesting reflection, lynz!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's comforting to know other people have this problem. I'm 26 and not that long ago I was stopped and asked for ID at a movie that you had to be over 15 to see! I'm constantly worried that this puts me on the backfoot in a business sense – but I try to work with what I've got. I'm never going to be a strong, ball-buster. That's not my look or my nature, but I know I'm capable and confident and I've learnt I can still be powerful in my own way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for tackling the topic! I'm so familiar with your sentiments. We are so fierce behind the scenes, but face to face with clients/investors/etc can feel like a fraction of our total selves.

    One of the things that helped build my confidence from the start was meeting with the reps of one of my brands in a hugh office building in midtown. It was an all female office. They were all young and not trying to appear older. They were self-made, successful and in no way apologetic for their success. As I left the office I noticed the sign next to the elevators, which listed all of the companies on that floor. Instead of their official company name, theirs read simply "Chicks Running Businesses Inc". It was so irreverent but so true. I took a lot from that!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, so awesome to hear from other ladies who struggle with similar issues. I suppose all we can do is continue to work hard and prove our abilities by simply being good at what we do. Intelligent, capable, strong women we are. And I love that, "chicks running businesses!" Damn straight.

    Thanks for commenting and sharing you guys :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. LOVE that you're talkin about this.

    When I add up my grocery cart items in the store each week on my phone's calculator, people look at me like "Oh, tsk tsk, look at that teen mom texting and ignoring her kid."

    When running to catch a flight recently, I was lectured by TSA and airline employees, "Now that you have a child you need to start being responsible and taking things like this more seriously."

    At the check out awhile back, I was asked for my "high school ID".

    At a family reunion, I was whispered about, and someone asked who the teen mom was.

    When plugging my laptop into the projector a few minutes before teaching a corporate training session, I was asked, "Why are you in this room?"

    I'm almost 29. I've worked in the juvenile detention field. I've worked in IT and in corporate training.

    Argh!! :)


    ReplyDelete
  7. You present a point that so many of us women have to contend with on a day to day basis. I think you're doing a lovely job!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for coming by Little One Love and taking the time to comment. Have a wonderful day!

 

© LITTLE ONE LOVE All rights reserved. Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger