I am so very thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview Kathy McShane, author of The Survivors’ Guide For Female Entrepreneurs. Guys, I know that title seems as though the entire book is aimed at women, and it pretty much is, but trust me that you can glean some real pearls of wisdom. Under the Interview is an excerpt from Kathy’s book. You’ll want to be sure to check it out!
An Interview with Kathy McShane
Rat Race Mutiny (RRM): What made you decide to write The Survivors ‘ Guide for Female Entrepreneurs?
“I have worked with over 1,000 women to help them to launch or expand their business. During this time, I noticed that most of them made mistakes that could be avoided. I wanted women to be aware of these things so that they would avoid them.”
RRM: What do you think is the number one reason most women decide to start their own businesses?
“The number one reason is that women want to control their lives. They grow tired of bureaucracy, having their creativity stifled, and not having any balance in their lives. They want to be their own boss and control their own destiny.”
RRM: What is the biggest challenge most women face in running their business and how can they overcome it?
“The biggest challenge most women face is not separating their business from themselves. They see their business as an extension of themselves. This leads to taking things personally, holding onto a business for too long and discomfort with owning their expertise and asking for the order.”
RRM: Most small businesses eventually run into a wall as they try to grow their businesses. Do you have any tips for getting over this hump?
“Small business must anticipate what they will need to grow. It’s often funding and I suggest they go for funding before they need it. When you are in an expansion mode and go out to raise funds, you are in an uncomfortable position. The owners need to assess their personnel needs. Often when a company starts, the founder hires friends, school buds and that may work in the beginning but not as a company grows.”
RRM: How important is promotion for a work at home female?
“Marketing and promotion is critical to any small business. I always tell my clients to market where your market is (or fish where the fish are). They need to be laser focused on their target market and reach out to them often. I also suggest that they not depend solely on digital marketing. There are lots of other efficient and inexpensive ways to reach their potential market.”
RRM: Anything you’d like to add?
“Don’t be afraid to price your product/service properly. If you undercharge people will wonder how valuable you services are. Don’t be uncomfortable proclaiming your expertise. You are not bragging but instead explaining how you can help solve their problems.”
Excerpt from Kathy’s Book
Kathy shares a short excerpt from her book with us:
CHAPTER FOUR – THE HOME-BASED ENTREPRENEUR
One of the first questions an entrepreneur asks is “Where should my base of operations be?” In some cases, such as retail or food service, the answer is obvious: a storefront or a restaurant. But for many web-based or service-oriented businesses, the answer might be “right here at home.”
According to an article in Forbes, “Women have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men for the last 20 years and tend to create home-based micro (fewer than five employees) and small businesses. Women will create over half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs expected by 2018, and more and more are doing this from home offices across the country.”
Many entrepreneurs are drawn to working from home because of the convenience. Being able to fall out of bed and land in a home office is a dream. Others are frustrated by the amount of valuable time they waste commuting when they could dedicate that time to their work.
A recent survey of U.S. businesses indicates that the majority of entrepreneurs work from home. If you are one of them, the key to success is making sure that you treat your working situation in a professional manner. This can be a challenge for many women who are used to equating “home” with household responsibilities. Distractions can take many forms – from walking the dog or tending to children’s needs to putting in a load of laundry or starting supper. Working from home often means compartmentalizing – focusing on the work “bucket” during business hours and shifting to the house “bucket” once the workday ends. And that means being disciplined and concentrating only on the task at hand.
There are several essentials for achieving that discipline and becoming an efficient home-based business entrepreneur:
Do not disturb. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of starting a home business is getting the rest of the family used to the idea that when you are in your office (or at your desk, on your laptop or wherever you conduct business), you are “at work” and not available to take care of household issues. Friends and family should be told – gently but firmly – that you’re running your business from home, so interruptions should be avoided unless the situation is an emergency.
- Find a room of your own. Speaking of being “in the office” … if at all possible, create an area in your house that is strictly for your business. Working from the dining room table is not good for your family or for your ability to conduct business in a professional manner. A separate room – preferably with a door that locks – will provide the peace and quiet you need to effectively do your job, while letting your family know that this is your space.
- Keep devices separate. Phones, computers, tablets, fax machines – whatever equipment you normally use to conduct your business, be sure to keep it separate from your personal digital devices. This not only makes you more likely to unplug at the end of your workday, but it provides more efficiency in your business.
- Get dressed. While the thought of staying in your sweats and slippers all day while you work may be enticing, psychologically speaking it is one of the worst things you can do. Avoiding the routine of getting cleaned up and dressed for work is not good for business. And while there’s no need to dress like you’re going to a Wall Street office, you should have clothing that makes you feel like a professional.
- Don’t isolate. This idea may be counter intuitive – after all, isn’t being alone part of being a solo entrepreneur? However, always being by yourself doesn’t give you much opportunity to recharge your batteries, ponder new ideas or tap into the positive energy of simply being around other people. So take the time to meet friends for coffee or lunch, use the library to do research, visit an art exhibit or join a networking group. You’ll find that a little bit of socializing will give you more enthusiasm to complete a task or take on a new one, and you might even meet some prospective clients while you’re out and about.
- Take the show on the road. Finally, if your business includes interacting with clients, you may want to consider renting professional meeting space. Some clients are uncomfortable going to someone’s home. And having a remote location to meet eliminates any home-based distractions like curious kids and overly enthusiastic pets.