After six years of being self-employed, I am still not yet fortunate enough to be in a position to socialise with any women entrepreneurs, other than online. As yet, two or three clients are the only ‘wealthy women’ and self-made women entrepreneurs that I know personally.
In my experience, successful women business owners tend to come from an entrepreneurial family back-ground. Nevertheless, I do know the statistics that prove that this is changing, perhaps in part due to the financial crisis in recent years, from which we are still emerging.
Whilst I am not in a position to afford membership of any yet, I also understand the importance of women’s business networks for empowering women. Often the business experiences of other women are stories I and other solopreneurs can relate to and they can inspire me in different ways to how some male business leaders can. So as opportunities are currently still limited for me, due to restricted finances and where I am based geographically, I regularly tune into videos on YouTube websites hosted by the likes of thought leaders like Dr. Ellie Drake of Braveheartwomen.com.
I like to specifically seek out websites created by women for women, because I feel that I can relate to their specific experiences more easily and with less scepticism about my own ability to emulate them. I do not rule out male tutelage and business leadership, but find that with a few exceptions such as Tony Robbins, Darren Hardy, Ed Ludbrook and Eban Pagan, there is just too much male ego at play for my tastes.
I figure that women will more than likely have something extra to say to me as a woman, that can help me fill in the jig-saw pieces missing from pictures painted about owning a business by men, who too often assume an equality of psychological attitude and material circumstances for women, which just is too often not yet the case. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a ‘victim’ of womanhood, wracked by insecurities and lack of self-confidence, but as yet, this is still a male-dominated entrepreneurial world and although the online marketing industry I work in is increasingly populated by women, when I visit marketing forums, I find women like me still calling to hear the voices of other women, because there are so few of us.
Women Entrepreneurs in The Spotlight
Personally, I find there’s something particularly fulfilling and rewarding about seeing women sharing their specific experiences and in such diverse ways, which really inspires me. We need these female entrepreneurs as role models, so we can learn how to emulate what they do. I am eternally grateful to those women out there like Ellie Drake for having the commitment to share her good fortune and the good fortune of other successful women with those of us still hungry for their success.
Ellie Drake hosted a show where Kim Kiyosaki, one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in real estate today was sharing the stage with other successful women. Ellie introduced her with the acknowledgement that we can have spiritual riches in our life – in fact as women, we generally tend to integrate spirituality into our lives at some level. But, in actuality, we often do not have richness in our practical financial life to match; in fact we may even associate material wealth as the antithesis of spiritual riches.
Material Wealth and Spirituality
In reality, your material circumstances effects everything else in your life: your education, that of your children, health care, retirement as well as your standard of living. I have learnt the hard way that poverty is not particularly edifying! As a rebellious hippy, I actively spurned the idea of money being in any way important other than to pay bills! I made excuses to stay poor and paved the way for a downfall by making out I was not the materialistic type. To some degree this is true, but it is only half of the picture.
Kim Kiyosaki is an author, business coach and is committed to educating women on the importance of wealth creation. Her favourite words, she says, are “cash flow”. Kim explained that unfortunately what happens with a lot of women is that they do not make their financial life a priority until a crisis happens, which acts as a wake-up call. So, it takes the loss of a job, a divorce, illness, death of a spouse for women to take control of their financial lives. When I heard this, I nodded my head at the truth of it, being one of those women who has experienced just such a rude awakening in my middle years!
The ‘Rich Woman Philosophy’ Kim espouses is for women to take charge of their financial life, so you do not have to depend upon: a husband, a boss, a family member, or the government. It’s about continuing to gain independence. You are your best asset in this pursuit.
Mariel Hemingway was amongst Ellie’s guests and spoke about her divorce and how frightening it was until she took charge of her financial life. Mariel is known for her commitment to ethical and ecological causes, rather than her financial acumen, but she said that this taking control balanced her spiritually and was “incredibly empowering”.
One of the baby boomers in the group echoed my old attitude to money; this age group had the same lack of female role models as when I grew up. She commented that for women especially who grew up in the 60s, money was a dirty word. As a result, many women of this generation, have gone through financial crisis and the inevitable spiritual crisis that can run alongside struggling to put food on the table.
The Truth About Money and Wealth Creation For Women
Money represents so many things for women. Fortunately, wealth creation increasingly represents freedom and independence. What women need to learn still, is that they are also much better at it than they give themselves credit for. Knowing this and having the proof from seeing other successful women who have trodden the path already is very empowering.
One of the group commented about the recent financial crisis for banks in Iceland. The only bank which had survived unscathed, had all women on the board! This is a great example of how well women can manage wealth and protect assets when others are losing theirs.
Kim Kiyosaki went on to explain that it comes down to education. Sadly, women tend to expect to be able to depend on someone else more than men do, because they are still caught up in believing that having kids will offer the fulfillment they crave. Young women are more likely to be asked if they want kids in the future than if they care about creating financial stability for themselves. Financial education takes time and effort; it takes commitment of consistent action which may even go against the grain. But Kim explained that more women are becoming secure and independent and they are loving it.
What is interesting about women who are pursuing wealth creation is that they are also enjoying the process differently to men; it is not their sole aim in life, but is an adjunct to other priorities. Women’s wealth is not tied up with “that thing ‘ego”, she laughs.
Although there is still a lag in success amongst women compared to men, times are changing; these days, they can have power and control without always being seen as a ‘bitch’ or being embarrassed about it – except perhaps amongst the die-hard witch burner types who cling to their dwindling power or victim lifestyles.
As Mariel Hemingway put it in the BraveHeart Women interview: “This is who I am, this is what I want and I am not embarrassed to tell you what I need”.
Asking for what we need is still a barrier in mnay women’s minds, but when you cross that barrier you continue to grow. In terms of the current economic climate, Kim believes that although the situation is likely to “get a lot worse”, there is still opportunity for women.
Having recently returned from a Tony Robbins seminar, she quotes his belief that we have until 2016 before there is a dramatic change. So we cannot depend on external variables, we must rely on ourselves and with that goes entrepreneurialism.
Kim shares her advice on what do women need to do for themselves:
1 Forget myths that women are not good with money
2 Attitude: we have to decide we are going to do this
3 Then take action.
Women And Money Management
For the woman who wants to take action in creating wealth in the form of making investments, a woman has to trust her tendancy to caution with money. We all have to be careful who we take financial advice from. We have to learn who is out there to merely sell you something. Those worth paying attention to are those people who will invest their time to educate you. A sure fire way to know the difference is to find stock brokers who not only know what they are talking about, but they walk their talk. People who are investing in what they are recommending have a stake in your success.
Of course, some women are not even at that point of being able to invest and are still concerned with day to day survival. For those of us not yet anywhere near being a rich woman with investment cash to spare, education is key, so when that when you are ready financially, you are ready in terms of our knowledge and confidence to take appropriate action. Successful women entrepreneurs are committed to lifelong learning, this is what guarantees continued success.
So you are doing the right thing in spending time learning now, even if you cannot yet apply what you learn. Kim even went so far as to comment in this 2009 interview that, during times of difficulty is often the best time to start your education and take action because.
Wealth Creation – How To Create Wealth and Invest Wisely
Kim Kiyosaki breaks down wealth creation into four types on of investments:
2. Real estate,
3. Assets: (Stocks, bonds, mutual funds) and
4. Commodities e.g. gold, silver, oil, gas, minerals, etc.
To make a practical start to investment, in addition to investing your time in your financial education, one thing any woman can do today would be to make their first small investment. Kim recommends women to buy a one ounce silver dollar at a minimum cost, given low market prices. The logic of this is that because you have put a little money on the line, you will start to notice how the value of it changes and start to pay attention to what happens in the markets. Over time, you will pick up knowledge and become an quasi expert. The point is to start – however small, you will want to build assets as you learn their value.
For those women considering investing in a business in which they have an interest, Kim offers three key points to consider. Firstly, find the investment that interests you. If you are passionate, you have interest in its growth and development and will pay attention to how the business operates. Investing close to home is smart, because you will more likely get to know more about it. Fear is very common amongst first time investors in business; knowledge of local businesses takes away some of that fear. Finally, combine your business with your passion. This is very smart because becoming an expert will be second nature.
Mindset is a crucial factor in your business start up decision. Commitment and passion are key to investing successfully, because investment takes time and effort. Interest in a subject guarantees you will put in time to stay up to date with innovations in your chosen sector.
For those women who are considering starting a business, but do not know where to start, there are sales every day now of businesses. Opportunities to take over businesses are increasing.
Even the Economist Magazine recently claimed that the next big growth boom will be empowering women. Andrea Jung, boss of Avon, was interviewed in May 2009 for the Economist. The article begins by setting the scene for entrepreneurial women with a picture: On the wall behind the desk of Andrea Jung, hangs a plaque labelled “The Evolution of Leadership”. It displays four footprints: that of an ape, then a barefoot man, then a man’s shoe and finally a high-heeled shoe. It’s all about women entrepreneurship.
Avon was the first network marketing business in the beauty products industry. Since then, more women have grown the network marketing industry and today it is up there in terms of career choices for women who are balancing home and work responsibilities as one of THE ways to become a rich woman. Oprah Winfrey is involved in this sector, aware of its growth potential and current growth trends. Kim’s entrepreneur and fellow wealth educator husband Robert was interviewed by Oprah where they talked about the power of the industry for leveraging income and wealth, especially for the ordinary person who may not have much capital to risk.
Kim recommends that if a woman has business skills and wants to apply them, they should “keep their day job, but start part time”. If you choose a good company to become a distributer for, they will train you so you can learn as you earn.
In terms of whether there are any differences between women entrepreneurs and their male counterparts, Kim believes that women are more intuitive and nurturing. She says she “screwed up” when she did not trust her intuition. Men are “more bottom line”, she says. Women are nurturers e.g. of their staff and teams. This is good news for women considering a network marketing business, which is essentially all about people management.
What I love about what Kim has to say is that she said exactly what I used to say to people as a community leader. She says that her role is to nurture her staff to “get them out of here”, i.e. so they are empowered enough to leave and start their own business or their own network marketing team and so the cycle carries on.
The message of hope for all women, whatever their circumstances that Kim left Ellie Drake’s audience with, was that even in the most dire of financial circumstances, it is possible to set goals towards turning things around towards economic empowerment. It “starts with mindset and not taking no for an answer”, she says. As many women appreciate, if you get through the challenges, you will be tougher and stronger.
This woman has a lot to teach other women. Personally, I cannot wait to read her book, ‘Rich Woman‘ and invest in the game of ‘Cash Flow’. If you have a birthday coming up, asking for either of these could be life-changing and help you move towards one of the four pillars of wealth creation and out of ‘Just Over Broke’ your job leaves you with for ever.