5 Common Questions Faced by Female Entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur is a difficult commitment, and will always spark questions from people who simply don't understand why someone would dedicate so much of their life to exploration and invention. As a female entrepeneur, Akancha Srivastava experienced the same questions over and over again, all of which were skeptical in nature and challenged her to work harder to prove others wrong and create a lasting company.
I launched my Brand Consulting firm - Azure - at a very young age when few outfits operated in its niche service segment. When I got thrown strange questions at that point, I consoled myself that as time goes by, this will change. But guess what, even after almost 10 years, the people asking them changed but the questions didn’t! Let me give you a preview of some of the most common questions I get asked in social gatherings:
1. What do you REALLY do?!
Ten years back when I answered this by saying "I am an Entrepreneur", there was a moment’s silence in the room (almost like a mourning) and then a middle aged, very serious looking gentleman asked me - Beta, thats fine but what do you REALLY do?! Errr..I really am an Entrepreneur. I don’t do that for recreation, thats what I live, love, work, breathe!! Strangely, I still get asked this question in some get togethers - "what do you do now?"
2. Why do you work so hard? Get a stable and cushy job in some MNC, you will get paid so well!
This one is really difficult to address. How does one make people understand that an Entrepreneur survives on adrenaline, excitement, highs and lows, chasing deadlines and doing the seemingly impossible tasks?! Yes, she can easily get a “stable, cushy” job in an MNC but thats not what she was born to do. The sheer routine of making presentations day after day will drive her up the wall. We don’t do this because we cant get cushy jobs, we do this despite the fact that we can have an easy job/responsibility!
3. Have you thought of marriage? Haven’t you had your share of professional experiments already?!
Marriage is not the end of my entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, I would like to find someone who will fuel it. Just like I am not going to kill someone’s career ambition after matrimony, why would someone (who really cared), end a part of my existence? Yes, I will be a wife, mother, daughter, sister...and an entrepreneur until the day I die. I didn’t do this as a stop gap until I “settled down” (what does that actually mean? That I am “unsettled” right now?) I would rather say, I look forward to great companion and time to get up and look at life together with someone wonderful.
4. It's a bad world for women out there! How do you manage?
Yes, its a tough world for women. So what?! Do you stop trying? Should you just give up and sit sulking? No!! Roll up your sleeves and get working. In almost a decade of being a woman entrepreneur, at most times I have had a great working relationship with my male colleagues, clients and vendors. Like any relationships, this one also needs to get managed. Dont play – “Oh I am so helpless because I am a woman” card. Everyone respects a professional. Show them you mean business. Remember its not you against the world. Focus on what needs to get done . You will not have time to notice the resistance.
5. It is such a tough job being an entrepreneur. Are you really happy?
This question out of all others deserves merit. It's a question an entrepreneur needs to ask herself from time to time. We need to introspect where we really want to go and if the journey is fulfilling. As for me...I don’t know any other way of living. This is my purpose. I live and breathe this spirit. I am passionate about every little thing I can “create”, every single job I can offer, every opportunity to connect people, even every mail I write including this blog.
If this is the feeling you have in your heart when you go to bed every night, the 5 questions above and a million others like these will never bother the Entrepreneur in you.