Being a Mom-preneur in a Man-preneur World
I was recently at a learning event for entrepreneurs. This group was made up of owners of businesses with revenues in the same range as StorkGifts, my company. The attendees were all men except for one other woman and me.
The moderator asked each of us to stand up and briefly describe our businesses. At the end of the introductions, the moderator, a man, made a comment directed towards the two mom-preneurs in the room. He called our businesses “lifestyle businesses.” He went on to tell us that it’s great to own and run a lifestyle business, but that does not make us entrepreneurs.
According to Merriam -Webster, an entrepreneur is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” Lifestyle business is not found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but according to Wikipedia (I hope my children forgive me for using Wikipedia), it is “a business that is set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.”
My interpretation of this would mean that an entrepreneur could be running a lifestyle business. If he/she decides to and is able to grow the business beyond his/her lifestyle, and perhaps at some point sell the business and enter another venture, than he/she would no longer be a life style entrepreneur. Perhaps an entrepreneur has a lifestyle business, and decides to start up an additional business. Do all entrepreneurs start out running lifestyle businesses and then hopefully, at some point, grow the business enough to call it a business venture?
Why were only the two women in the room called out as running a lifestyle business? I run an online store, the other woman manufactures and sells (wholesale and retail) her own, patented product. One of the men in the room also runs an online store. One of the men is a personal trainer and just opened his own fitness facility. One of the men is a motivational speaker.
What made our businesses stand out as different from the others? Were we signaled out because we are women? Did the moderator assume that we put our family before our businesses? Did he assume that the men put their business before the family? Does it matter?
Unfortunately, I have no answers. I do know that his comment just motivated me to work harder and prove that a mom-preneur can be just as successful as a man-preneur. The success or lack thereof is dependent upon the industry, economics, and the smartness and/or drive of the owner – not the gender.