What it means to be a woman entrepreneur
Paula Dunn started her career in medical research and is now the founder of award-winning leadership and organisational consulting No Limits Consulting.
Helping young women and girls create confidence to conquer life, Paula shares what it means to be a woman entrepreneur in this day and age.
In celebration of International Women’s Day last 8 March, Paula speaks with us and gives advise on how you can live your life with no limits:
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted.
I have a newfound respect for those that venture into an area that most fear to tread. I never intended to start a business, I’m an accidental entrepreneur. My passion was to influence corporate culture in a positive and inspirational way and the only way I knew how to do this was to move into a Leadership Role. Unfortunately, due to corporate bullying and sleight of hand tactics, leadership became more about playing the game and less about doing what mattered most to me. To help others. My values were misaligned.
After 20 years within the Medical Research profession I jumped ship into the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. I initially thought, what’s the difference? I have loads of credentials, credibility and experience, I could do exactly what I was doing in corporate but not be restricted by politics.
The additional benefits would be to be my own boss, work the hours I wanted, with whom I wanted. I would then be working in a business that I love and loves me back with all these clients falling over themselves to work with me (because let’s face it, I’m awesome), be rolling in the money and having the Instagram life of an “Entrepreneur” (visual effects: working remotely on some island just like Richard Branson).
Then reality hit like the Corona Virus Crisis! Where are the clients! Where is my steady income?! Cash Flow Crisis!
Being a female entrepreneur has compounding challenges. We recently celebrated International Women’s Day and reflecting on how far we’ve come as a society and where we’d like to go from here.
We’re still struggling daily in the following key areas as females in business: Confidence, Unconscious/Conscious Biases of others, Competing providers, Conflicting Roles (Business vs Motherhood) and lack of support from others.
I’ve found the biggest hurdle to cross and control is creating Confidence! Despite all the other factors which are usually out of our locus of control, Confidence by far and being in Control of your own Mindset is a strong barometer of Business Success.
Confidence is displayed in business on many levels:
- • It comes across in all your Branding (What you say and what you don’t say).
- • Confidence is key to build Trust with Prospects/Investors/Partners – Know, Like, Trust.
- • Confidence determines whether you win the work over others.
- • Confidence determines what you’re worth and willing to charge for your products/services.
- • Confidence determines whether you have the courage and certainty to keep going despite the failures and setbacks in business.
Above all Confidences creates Certainty in You, your business and your product/services.
I’ve been working as an Entrepreneur full time since 2018 and I don’t regret doing it for one minute. Yes it’s extremely gut wrenching, many times I’ve wanted to quit and walk away, but then I think of all the wonderful experiences I had since leaving the corporate space. Such as all the beautiful connections and networks I’ve created, the lives I’ve touched and enriched and the influence and impact I’ve had on individuals, teams and cultures.
Lastly, I love the woman I’ve evolved into. So 3 foundational tips when considering Entrepreneurship: Be You, Have Courage and Live Life with No Limits.
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