Do entrepreneurship and female friendship go hand in hand?
Raise your hand if you’re a woman who just gets along better with men. This includes in the workplace and among your group of friends. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember, but a few years ago, I learned both the financial and the personal value of collaborating – instead of competing – with other women.
This includes in the workplace and among your group of friends. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember, but a few years ago, I learned both the financial and the personal value of collaborating – instead of competing – with other women.
The myth about working with other women
I know, being a woman myself, that women tend to get easily offended and can take e-mails or texts the wrong way. Sometimes they aren’t direct, and let’s not even get into the gossip. It can be a challenge, and I didn’t want to lose money or miss out on contracts because I couldn’t get along with my team. So I avoided working with women for a while as I set out building my own business.
It can be a challenge. I didn’t want to lose money or miss out on contracts because I couldn’t get along with my team. So I avoided working with women for a while as I set out building my own business.
I’m not alone. Professional writer Chonce Maddox told me, “I've always been leery of working with women, to be honest. Stereotypically, women have been associated with being gossipers or trying to tear each other down.”
However, Chonce found success starting a podcast with several other women.
“WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH SO MUCH MORE TOGETHER AS A TEAM,” SHE SAID OF THE EXPERIENCE.
Over the past few years, I’ve had a similar experience as Chonce. Today, I actually love working with other women. As long as the women I work with are fellow business owners who share the same personal and business values as I do, I’ve realized that together, we can make a much bigger impact than I ever could on my own.
An Abundance Mindset
I’ve met many female entrepreneurs who have proven to be valuable business partners. This is especially true when it comes to helping me with product launches, referrals, and generally just being there for me when I needed someone to talk to.
These women who have been so helpful with my entrepreneurship come with an abundance mindset.
“An abundance mindset means you are open, inclusive, and supportive of other people,” Natalie told me. “This mindset leads to big thinking, trust, confidence, and success. You will get back what you give.”
IF YOU GIVE SUPPORT AND ARE POSITIVE AND INCLUSIVE, THAT’S WHAT YOU’LL GET.”
So when you first meet someone you admire or someone who seems like they’d be a great partner in any business endeavor, it’s important to find out whether or not they have this abundance mindset. Usually, you can tell depending on how willing they are to give their time and expertise.
You can get a sense of whether or not they are genuine just by having a simple conversation with them or trying to schedule a phone call or coffee date. Rule of thumb: only work with other women who seem genuinely happy that you’re doing well and want to see you succeed.
If you come across a woman who isn’t, don’t worry about it. There are many other female entrepreneurs who enjoy being part of a supportive network. Melanie Lockert, author of Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt even told me, “My greatest successes have come from collaborating with other women.” That’s a significant realization.
Double the Talents and Abilities
It’s important to talk about women who might be direct competitors to you, though. After all, it’s easy to refer a wedding hair stylist if you’re a wedding singer, but what about recommending another wedding singer?
It might seem natural to avoid working with people who run very similar businesses as you do, but in my experience, I’ve found that the opposite is true.
My friend and fellow financial writer, Holly Johnson, agrees.
“Women who work in similar fields would be wise to collaborate, not compete,” she said. “Not only can women draw on each other’s abilities and talents for inspiration, but they can help each other, too.
As a professional writer, I cannot tell you how many times I've received a positive recommendation from someone who should technically be my ‘competition.’ We all benefit when we support one another and hold ourselves to high standards when it comes to teamwork, friendship, and professionalism.”
What Holly said is true.
Not all photographers can have all the photography jobs in their city. Not all writers can do every writing job available online. Sometimes a client or an article is simply a better fit for someone else, and making a referral to someone else not only helps your fellow female entrepreneur, it helps you too.
So next time you avoid working with a fellow female entrepreneur – whether you’re worried you won’t get along, or whether you think she’s your competition – think again. Partnering with her and working together to support each other could yield more success for your own business. And – by extension – this will lead to more clients and more money, in your future.