“9 Things No One Tells You When Starting a Business”
“Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur? Find Out!”
“Three Tips to Stay Calm about Money When Founding a Business”
As I enjoy reading and learning, I frequently browse the web for content – on fashion, travel, but, of course, also business. During my walks, I usually listen to audiobooks or podcasts. When I started this habit, I listened to a lot of female-run podcasts about entrepreneurship as a woman. This was in 2016 and it was the time when companies like Girlboss or Create & Cultivate in America got very big with career-related content for women. Naturally, with the growth of the #metoo movement, more and more organisations jumped on the bandwagon. Suddenly, all the websites were turned into pastel colours with more or less useful advice for women in the workplace.
Frankly, most of the content I enjoy, is not provided by these platforms who only target women – not anymore at least. I did find it helpful in the beginning. Already in my corporate job, I was looking for career advice which is more suited to women. This was not necessarily limited to career-content; I would have appreciated articles who dealt with dating as an independent woman, for example. “How to deal with yet another breakup because your ex could not deal with your career ambitions/earned less than you/left you for a woman who did not have the same career/life goals as you (i.e. stayed at home)?” Things like that were really rare. I relied on my girlfriends who were in the same or at least similar boats as me. This is still the first thing I try, but since 2016, there are more books, platforms and interviews – partially also because it has become (more) acceptable to address these topics.
Nevertheless, I think it is still difficult to find honest quality-content. It still feels that we focus on the successful and mostly professional dimensions only. The interviews are always shiny – the women look extremely polished and negative experiences are only touched upon briefly. All the things I would be genuinely interested in are mostly not talked about. When the successful CEO speaks about raising money, it seems so easy – she just met some people and a few weeks later, their bank statement had magically increased. The whole business was basically built over night, because they were “lucky” with a social media campaign – why was the campaign successful? Did it hit a nerve, did they have a big budget, what did they do differently? Bad phases are usually condensed into two minutes and the successful founder made it through them because she was “relentless”, “resilient” and “lucky” (here we go again…). Relationships? They look as shiny as all the other content as well…
The worst case of all the articles it ends up being a long list of complaints and the problems women face in the workplace without analysing them or offering solutions. We as women complain about the lack of support but why do we not offer it ourselves? Why are female-run platforms superficial and/or overly polished? Why can we not say that running a business is rewarding but also ridiculously difficult?
To achieve change, it takes more than just headlines. What I find particularly annoying is not only the “clickbait”-titles (as the word suggests these headlines should make you click) but also the so-called “advice”. Most of the articles I found during my research of these career websites for women are less than a page. Their “advice” is mostly a brief text below each of the “3/9/15 things you need to know” -often not more than three or four sentences. Frankly, after analyzing many of these articles, I did not see any value added whatsoever. Either the authors think that the female brain is underdeveloped and that basic advice needs to be spoon-fed (with espresso spoons rather than regular ones), or these articles are not meant to help anyone.
My cynical side would say it is either the latter or a combination of both. Career advice for women obviously has become a very big business. Probably the goal is to make money fast – nobody cares if we really found the content helpful or not. I wonder if someone who needs to do an online quiz to know if they “have what it takes to be an entrepreneur”, is really apt to found a business. I would probably reconsider my career options – a simple online test will not prepare anyone for the entrepreneurial rollercoaster. Furthermore, are there any of these tests on websites or in magazines targeted at men? Even if there are some, I do not think that men would doubt themselves to a degree that they need an online quiz.
If you really want to make a drastic change in your career or take the leap and start a business, I would recommend to look around you. Let’s forget about the “clickbait”-articles. There are probably many inspiring examples in your circle of friends or even at your current workplace. It may not be the Silicon Valley CEO who recently made billions, but at least the advice will be authentic and more than just three sentences. Reach out to your friend who recently renegotiated her contract, or the one who has been dealing with a rough time with her team. I am sure there is a lot to learn even if it is not a direct answer to your own questions. If we cannot get support at work or online, we need to create it ourselves. Maybe it is also time for you to help someone out?
I hope you enjoy my content about entrepreneurship on this website. Please let me know in the comments below, via email or my social channels, if you have any particular questions or if there is any content you would like to learn more about. I look forward to hearing from you!