When a female entrepreneur sets out to change her entrepreneurial type, her plan for doing so will be as unique as she is. Her individual needs, desires, priorities, strengths and challenges will determine the course she sets for herself as she begins her journey toward living as her ideal type. However, as unique as women business owners are, there are several common considerations all of them can make to ensure the smoothest transition possible.
1. Consider personal strengths and challenges, and think about how they apply to the ideal type. While recent research revealed five distinct types of women in business, each with its own set of strengths and challenges, individual business owners may find that they can relate to specific strengths and challenges from more than one type. For example, a female entrepreneur may describe herself as a Go Jane Go with a Tenacity Jane-like tendency to procrastinate when she is stressed or exhausted. Let’s say this Go Jane Go believes Jane Dough is her ideal type. If she is serious about transitioning to Jane Dough, she absolutely must learn to set concrete goals and then take the steps to achieve them, one by one.
2. Consider current life circumstances, and think about whether they are compatible with the ideal type. Some of the entrepreneurial types demand more time, energy and effort than others. On average, Jane Dough and Go Jane Go business owners work longer hours than Merry Jane and Accidental Jane business owners do. As an example, let’s consider a Merry Jane business owner who wants to transition to a Go Jane Go or a Jane Dough type. Most Merry Jane business owners have a significant number of priorities in addition to running their companies. So before a Merry Jane starts making the transition to a demanding Jane Dough or Go Jane Go type, she must determine whether her other roles and responsibilities allow for her to spend more time with her business. Similarly, if an Accidental Jane business owner wants to transition to a Jane Dough type, she must remember that Jane Dough often manages a team of people. Accidental Jane business owners often enjoy freedom from the more traditional employment systems – so if this particular business owner does not want to be responsible for a team, maybe Jane Dough isn’t for her.
3. Consider creating short- and long-term plans for the business, and determine how the ideal type fits in. An entrepreneur’s ideal may change over time, depending on her plans for the business and for herself. For example, to get her business on solid financial footing, a Tenacity Jane business owner may develop a short-term plan in which she transitions to a Merry Jane business owner who works a full-time job in addition to running the business. She may also create a long-term plan in which she transitions from Merry Jane to Jane Dough – bringing in more clients and more money, and hiring a team of helpers. In this Tenacity Jane’s case, it would not be feasible to transition straight to Jane Dough – so a mid-step (to Merry Jane) in the middle works better.
4. Stay true to self. Business owners start their businesses for different reasons. Some wanted to escape the day-to-day corporate politics. Others wanted to get paid for doing what they love. Still others wanted to create a means to support the lifestyle they wanted to live. When considering a transition from one entrepreneurial type to another, it is essential for the entrepreneur to be sure that living as the new, or “ideal,” type will allow her the freedom to stay true to herself. If she wants to continue the hands-on work of creating her product, then Jane Dough, who focuses more on strategy and planning, may not be for her. If she wants to plan and strategize for growth, and is willing to delegate the rest of the work to team members, Jane Dough may be a go. Whatever she decides, the female business owner must remember that “ideal” is only ideal if it allows her to remain true to her heart.
Whether a business owner has long dreamed of changing her entrepreneurial type, or it is a change she approaches with some trepidation, careful consideration and planning will ensure the transition is smooth, resulting in a happier, more satisfied business owner.