I am going to be totally frank with you all. I have never entertained the idea that my gender was an issue with regards to how I approached my working life as an entrepreneur—ever.
I am using ‘issue’ in the same way I would use ‘matter of contention’ by the way.
Similarly, I have never let my nationality, age, height, number of offspring, etc. become an issue in running my business. Gender did not guide me towards entrepreneurship. I approach my life as a whole—this is my lot so-to-speak, and you play the cards you’ve been dealt in the best way you possibly can.
As an entrepreneur, gender isn’t a concept that I have allowed to cloud my interests, ambition, or dealings with others. That’s not to say that I am not cognizant of the differences between the genders and actual or perceived inequalities.
I accept that each gender is predisposed to see certain aspects of life differently and this can affect behavior at an individual level. You’d have to have lived under a rock not to have heard or understood those concerns. Of course, those problems need to be addressed, but that goes for both genders if we’re to be entirely fair. That is not what this article hinges on.
I see strengths and weaknesses in both genders—so much so that I feel in some instances the words ‘gender differences’ should be removed from the equation and just replaced simply with ‘human differences’. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we all are—unique humans.
No, what I’m really addressing here are the components of the entrepreneurial mindset, which I consider outside of the realms of gender and other variables. These have guided my way of framing my business life and how I have developed over time. I suppose it’s a totally subjective view, but one I’m willing to share, to offer insight to others.
The Entrepreneurial Mindset
When gender does not apply:
- Opportunistic – You either have this skill to see market opportunities or you don’t. I don’t believe that gender gave you that skill. It may have put the opportunities in your pathway, but that doesn’t mean you will spot them – gender not an issue.
- Innovative – The ability to see a solution to a problem from a new angle. Similarly, you’re either able to change, alter, or revolutionize, or you’re not – gender not an issue.
- Calculated risk-taking – The key word here is calculated – entrepreneurs do the research first. Genders may differ in how much risk they assume, but the same goes for age, culture, etc. – gender not an issue.
- Agile – Entrepreneurs have the capacity to change, adjust, and pivot – gender not an issue.
- Tenacious – Are you determined and persistent? Both are needed in abundance if you’re an entrepreneur – gender not an issue
- Leading and Managing – An entrepreneur has the skills to assume these roles at some point– gender not an issue.
- Communicating – Not all entrepreneurs have good interpersonal communication skills but they have created the channels to ensure their products/services are heard loud and clear – gender not an issue.
- Life–long learning – The curiosity and desire for knowledge, information, skills, news, etc. never end – gender not an issue.
This is not an exhaustive list but if it you get any lessons from it, take these three:
1. Spend more time considering what your true innate strengths are, what are you great at, and what skills you could improve upon.
2. Identify the instances when you should seek collaborative partners for the improvement of your business.
3. Spend less time worrying about whether gender could be influencing your career as an entrepreneur, because if your mindset doesn’t support this endeavor, gender will definitely not be the issue!