Advice for Women Entrepreneurs: Work On Your Business, Not In It

Advice for Women Entrepreneurs: Work On Your Business, Not In It

Social Studies | Posted by - May 12, 2014 at 12:30 am

I believe sharing our experiences as women about how we “do it” is vital to success, and for that very important reason, I would like to share a lesson with you, on how I managed to get to where I am today.

I own a small business. I’ve been described as an operator, and certainly a doer. I’ve also been told I am not a true entrepreneur – because I’m cause-driven not build-and-sell driven – but I am definitely independent, creative, hungry, a good listener, and overall, I am driven whole-heartedly by the mission of my company, which fuels me to work hard, push boundaries and keep it growing. 

The biggest lesson I learned in the last two years is to focus on my most important work, and delegate the rest. 

The biggest lesson I learned in the last two years is to focus on my most important work, and delegate the rest. Seems simple, right? I certainly thought so. In fact, I thought I was doing it right. Partly because the action of doing the “grunt” work is scientifically instinctual to women, and in addition, a stress behaviour for many of us leads to creating an even longer to-do list, and trying to simply check things off to relieve the pressure. And if that’s not enough, do you know that as women, we can’t actually “turn off”? It’s impossible for us to ignore the list, a trait our male counterparts mastered centuries ago.

I learned this lesson the hard way.

Truth be told, I thought that in preparation of having my first child, I had planned it all out very well.  But despite my efforts, multiple sessions with my favourite professional coach, staffing up my team, and setting up 4 different child care options (live-in nanny, part-time nanny, nanny on-call and back-up emergency daycare), some things fell through the cracks – some important things. My stress level rose, and I had to integrate back into the office sooner than anticipated. The writing was on the wall; I had been working in the business, not on it.

My goal is to work on the business – strategy and big picture visioning are my strengths – and my goal is to grow the business and increase our impact on women’s advancement. In our business, I’m the best at this role, so why would I be spending time on any of the other roles, when someone else could be great at those? 

With this in mind, I have spent the last 2 years redefining our organizational structure, my role, my key initiatives and essentially clearing off my desk for the biggest, juiciest, most important projects, and getting the right people in the business to run it smoothly. It’s brilliant, and effective.


Do you know any extraordinary women entrepreneurs who deserve some well-earned recognition?

To celebrate the hard won lessons of women entrepreneurs across Canada, we are hosting the 22nd annual RBC CANADIAN WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS this November. The call for nominations is now open at

Tags: carolyn lawrence, gender intelligence, womenofinfluence, health

Carolyn Lawrence
Carolyn Lawrence runs Women of Influence, the leading organization of its kind in North American. Since 2007, Carolyn's leadership of the company impacts four key focus areas: events, media, corporate diversity consulting and executive leadership development. The powerful forums and resources span across eight cities in Canada, New York, Washington, London and Hong Kong.
Faith Chipman
May 16, 2014 at 9:34 pm
Thanks for this.
Featured Members
Jane Blaufus
The Blaufus Group Inc.
See All   ► Recent Activity Recent Activity
Dustin Boehm joined YouInc
parth solanki joined YouInc
Home Appliances Plus joined YouInc
shagunsweet joined YouInc
teenachris35 joined YouInc
bruceshogans joined YouInc
saqibkhan joined YouInc
Insight Health Apps joined YouInc