Since I started Rock Candy Media in 2009, I’ve resisted the label “female business owner” and all of the baggage that comes with that phrase. I didn’t start my business to fight the patriarchy or be a role model or for anything having to do with my gender. I started my business for a myriad of reasons, but mainly because the thought of doing so scared me to my core. Did I mention I have a high tolerance for risk? I wanted every success to be mine and every failure to be mine. Did I mention I also like accountability?
There’s a cottage industry of women who use their status as female business owners as part of their personal branding. I admire many of these women and think they’re total badasses, but I was never comfortable talking about myself on those terms (even if Fast Company was). You know how everyone has a “trigger?” First, anyone that works for me or with me will tell you it takes a lot to offend me. What offends me the most? It’s when someone makes me feel like a girl. If I ever have to ask myself, “Would he ask that of a man?” I know that relationship is one I’m willing to sacrifice. Life’s too short.
However I will always believe you have to be humble to continue growing as a person. We recently got a client – a non-profit organization called Herdacity – headed up by the most fearless woman I may have ever met, Susan Combs. Our first meeting? If you looked up “same page” in the dictionary after that meeting, you’d see the two of us (at least in my imagination). My entire Pinterest board titled “Truth” was everything she was about: accountability, asking the hard questions, responsibility for your life’s direction… basically everything that fell under the umbrella of “female empowerment” that I always thought was something too cliche for me.
Upon further reflection, I’m proud to say I am now willing (and wanting) to own the “female business owner” label. It’s who I am. I don’t think I’m “less than” because I’m a woman in male dominated industry (and trust me, I’m not going to let anyone else feel that way about me – ask my team) and I don’t compete with men in mind. I compete with myself, and that’s more of a challenge than any man ever could be.