Women Entrepreneurs: Three Important Lessons from “Merry Jane”

It stands to reason that not all female entrepreneurs have the same goals, nor are they experiencing the same challenges from day to day. A new study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female business owners, has revealed that there are actually five distinct types of women in business, each with their own unique lessons for small business owners.

This article focuses on a type of business owner known as Merry Jane, an entrepreneur who has created a business that meets her needs for time freedom. Consequently, she tends to be able to take time off on a regular basis-whether it's to enjoy friends and family or other passions and interests she may have. She also typically has another, more primary form of income, so she does not feel extreme stress related to her business, and tends to work less than 40 hours a week. Though her business is not generating a large amount of income at the moment, Merry Jane is happy with the balance and freedom she's created in her life. According to the study, roughly 19% of women business owners fit the Merry Jane type.

Because Merry Jane has such a unique approach to business, she presents a number of lessons of interest to anyone considering starting a business in her spare time.

Lesson #1

It's for the love, not just the money

Merry Jane is an entrepreneur who started her business mostly for the love of what she does. She started her business simply because it was something she cared about, and had perhaps always wanted to pursue. She didn't go into business for herself with a long-term plan, a five year goal, or a desire to create an asset-based business that she could sell or hand down to her kids. Typically, she didn't create a business around something she had already been doing professionally in some other capacity, either (i.e., as a regular job).

Merry Jane isn't relying on this business as a primary source of income. This is important, because her approach to business does not typically produce large financial returns. It does, however, produce great rewards in terms of personal satisfaction-as long as the business owner, like Merry Jane, has some other form of income lending stability and flexibility to his or her life.

Lesson #2

If you don't have much time for your business, focus on systems and leverage.

Merry Jane is more than twice as likely as the average female entrepreneur to run an MLM business. Why? Because, as an entrepreneur who has plenty of other fish to fry, she's less likely to be interested in building a business model from the bottom up.

While an MLM business may or may not be right for you, focusing on systems and leverage is something that makes sense for anyone interested in starting a business in their spare time. If this applies to you, consider the following questions. Are there turn-key models or systems I can adopt that will help to put my business on auto-pilot? Is this a business model that can successfully operate with a minimal investment of time?

If the answer to both is 'yes', you're in a good position to start a business in your spare time.

Lesson #3

If you're going to make minimal investments in your business, focus on marketing.

Merry Jane, typically, only has one major source of concern with her business -- reaching more customers. Therefore, if you decide to start a business in your spare time, based largely on a passion-rather than a business plan-remember that the number one challenge you're likely to face is bringing in more clients on a regular basis.

While there are many aspects of your business in which you may not want to make a large investment, due to the fact that it is not your primary interest, it nevertheless does make sense to set aside a few hours a week-and/or a minimal budget-to focus on marketing systems that will help you to create leverage in reaching new customers.

Remember, without customers coming in, your business can't generate that personal satisfaction that led you to become and entrepreneur in the first place-nor can it grow, eventually, into something that might occupy a more central role in your life.



Michele DeKinder-Smith, is the founder and CEO of Linkage Research,  
Inc, a marketing research firm with Fortune 500 clients such as  
Starbucks, Frito Lay, Tropicana, Texas Instruments, Hoover Vacuums and  
Verizon Wireless. She parlayed this entrepreneurial knowledge and  
experience into founding Jane Out of the Box, a company that provides  
female entrepreneurs like YOU with powerful resources, such as  

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