Three Women who became Self-Made Entrepreneurial Experts
Entering the entrepreneurial world can seem like the opportunity to have it all. Marilyn puts together a panel of experts to talk about real life as mom and CEO.
Arlene Dickinson, the CEO of Venture Communications, and creator of You Inc. fell into business almost accidently. As a recent divorcee she needed to find a way to make money to feed and support her four young children, “necessity is the mother of invention,” reflects Dickinson. Little did the high school graduate know that not only would she excel at running a business, but that it would thrive. Getting a divorce forced Dickinson to make things happen for herself in order to prove to the courts that she could support them. This became a pivotal event in her life and changed who she was. She believes that these moments are the ones that determine an individual’s future.
For Kelley Keehn, a personal finance expert, her pivotal moment was forgoing having kids in order to focus on her career. In the blink of an eye she realized it was too late for children by the time she was ready and instead she re-focused on work. For her, balance means committing 100% to whatever she is doing at the moment. To maintain a manageable work-life balance requires the realization that stability is whatever works for you is absolutely vital. Keehn says that there are particular financial pressures that face mompreneurs, like financial vulnerability when leaving work to have kids and the unwillingness to take finance outside of the office. Since women seem to be less likely than men to talk about finances socially there is less opportunity for insight and outside perspectives on money matters. With 46% of small to medium Canadian business being owned in some part by women an open financial dialogue means improved success. Help from others can be beneficial financially but also as a means of support for you, your business and your family.
Amber MacArthur CEO of Ambermac.com and author of ‘Power Friending’ has always relied on the help of others to reach her goals. Born into a family of entrepreneurs she cleaned shopping mall parking lots for her parents’ property management business which taught her the meaning of hard work. After graduating university she worked in San Francisco for several years during the boom of the dot com industry. Utilizing social media became her niche, and she quickly understood that businesses would benefit from its effects. MacArthur is quick to acknowledge the importance of asking for help. She learned early on that working with her partner would strengthen their commitment to each other and their focus on the business. She uses the same approach for raising her son. She has the help of a nanny and says that it’s vital to ask for help.
All three women noted that starting or running a business while juggling motherhood means significant life changes. Travel can become an important aspect of running a successful business, which is aided by having a supportive partner and family. The time you do spend with family becomes all the more valuable when you may be on the road for days at a time. While tremendous desire may be enough to start a business it is definitely not an easy path to embark upon; educating yourself and having a supportive network will make the road a little less bumpy.