By Michelle AndersenI remember being in architecture school at UC where half the students were female. All of us, guys and gals alike, struggled with trying to graduate from our highly-rated program. The gradual realization of what the architecture world could offer made some of the women more nervous than the men. In order to do meaningful work as an architect, it appeared we would sacrifice income, time with family, or both. We were all being trained and pushed to be the best. We were all hungry for the beautiful work we knew could result from this commitment. Some of my female classmates would not go on to pursue their art because of their desire to be mothers and the unfortunate time and money ratio. Admittedly we had a myopic perspective from our corner of the design world, but there weren’t any examples of other options that I could think of. In fact, co-oping would reinforce this theory. But that’s what it is, a theory. Stubbornly I decided that I would have a meaningful design career, an income that allowed me to live a full life with financial freedom, and time for family. My answer was to start my own practice. Ten years later I have those things. While my current family is only three tiger kitties, I sure have lots of time for them. And they have witnessed me go through the most grueling, beautiful, challenging, hair raising, teeth clenching, adrenaline pumping experience to get here. Those things I wanted did not come naturally. Why, if it was so hard, did I do it? Because I believed it to be possible. Here are some thing Is want to share about getting out there as a #Girlboss.
- If you are a woman, and you feel the desire to start a business, do it. The world needs more women-owned businesses. Women are not better or worse at this than men are, there just aren’t as many. Being a woman in business can feel isolated – but it can for men, too. Get out of your bat cave and be who you are. Being truthful about who you are and what you want is a big deal.
- Being a #Girlboss is cool, but it’s not the same as integrity. A true entrepreneur of the most value has top notch integrity, takes risks, and takes responsibility. Just because you are a woman in business doesn’t mean that you should be treated as special or differently. Just be yourself, roll your sleeves up like the rest of them, and be sure to be excellent.
- Join a tribe, build your team of advisors, hire grocery delivery and child care, and gosh darn it get self-care and exercise on the calendar! Please DON’T wear all the hats. As women, we sometimes naturally feel responsible for way too many tasks. STOP. This helps no one. Take care of Number 1 so you can get your gift in the world.