I recently participated in one of those infamous Facebook “like ladders” in an entrepreneurial group I am in, you know the ones, you tag your page and you swear by blood to go like at least five other pages in the thread. You are helping your fellow entrepreneurs and gaining some organic reach on your page. I do not know about you, but I like to do it so I can target their followers in advertising. I am very selective in the brands I follow; I want the best ROI possible; can you blame me? Anyhoo. So I did this and omg, I was bestowed with the honor of the group admin “liking” my page. Color me, flattered! This admin has a sweet following that I could sell amazing websites too. Cha Ching! The admin comes back to the feed and just like a model citizen, comments “Liked”! Yay, thank you sweet group admin. Thank you. (bows down) Said group admin returns and adds a comment “I liked your page but I am not your demographic though, lol. He he.” Wait, what? Yes, you are MISTER Group Admin. I respond, “Actually, you are, I target you, and any other men. My female following just need a little more support than my male followers”. His response is just a dismissive “oh, lol”.
I had to sit and think about this for a moment. Am I relaying the wrong message to my audience? How is that possible if 80% of my clients are men? Is this “influencer” completely unaware of the statistics in business that document Overall, women-owned businesses accounted for 19.4 percent of all U.S. operations and brought in about 4 percent of the country's overall sales receipts, even though women account for more than half – 50.8 percent – of America's total population? Female owners have historically been underrepresented among the nation's biggest companies, with only 22 of S&P 500 outfits, or 4.4 percent, boasting a female leader, according to female-focused nonprofit Catalyst? Does he not know that business in America as we know her skewed largely to white males? This is why despite my #Female branded messaging; the majority of my clients are men. Amazing, powerful men. I work well with them, I work hard with them and I work hard for them. If it was not for them, I could not have built the brand I have. I do not discount the contribution’s they have made to my business or the businesswoman I am. I love my clients. I do however want to empower women and that is the message I convey every day. My male clients do not need me to remind them to kill it, they wake up every day and decide to kill it. I do not have to convince them of their worth, I do not have to convince them the kids will forgive them, that dinner can be a little late, that they need to take care of themselves. I say this with love, I am in no way reducing the fierceness of a woman, I am reminding her of it every day. I like them experience doubt, anxiety, shame and the same challenges in this man’s world.
We often need to support each other and remind each other that we too can own a business, we can negotiate big deals, we can run a family (or not), be married (or not) and still have a career that is possible and paying. A career that brings us personal and financial gain. A career that allows us to impact lives in the way we wish. A career that opens doors for other women, other minorities, other underserved demographics. We can star at 18 years old, we can start at 40 years old. We can sit across tables in room full of main and negotiate the way we want.
Women entrepreneurs still lag considerably behind their male counterparts in key financial categories, according to Biz2Credit's annual gender-based survey of 25,000 small businesses in 2016.
That being said, Women entrepreneurs have been at the forefront of the economic recovery as female-owned companies grew at a rate five times the national average over the last nine years, according to The 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express Open.
There are now an estimated 11 million women-owned companies, a 45 percent increase in the past decade, and they are responsible for more than $1.6 trillion in revenue.
Yet, there is progress to be made. I want to be an advocate for this. I want to remind women every day to #wakeprayslay, to #killit.
So Dear Admin, Husband, Co-worker, Bestie, Sister, Friend, Child, please, go forward and #EmpowerHer.