I'm celebrating 18 years as an entrepreneur and I can safely say that there are still a few more years to come.
Why women have to make bigger choices than men

When I first chose to be an entrepreneur, I hated the word. In fact, I detested the word. It seemed to me like someone was really calling me a 'sales person' and quite frankly, I didn't like it.

It took a good ten years before I realised that it was my own insecurities that made me hate the word 'entrepreneur'. At this point, I also changed a lot and in some ways perhaps I changed from a business owner to a true entrepreneur, with my fingers in many pies.

Working hard has never been something that I have shied away from. In fact, I have embraced it and learned to appreciate that if you work hard and roll up your sleeves, you will be successful.

I've made many choices in my life that I have learned to accept and appreciate, and then there are also a few others that I possibly could have taken another route.

At work, I have made so many mistakes, but I try to not make the same mistake twice. My team say that I am too nice and too forgiving, and that may be true, but it would take more energy not to be that way - and energy is something I need.

I've watch many of my fellow female entrepreneur friends make some big choices; namely whether to settle down and have children, or to power ahead and be fine with not making that choice. I sit on the fence on that one. I think the most important years of my life from 37 to 41 I wasted - not so much with work, but I made a bad personal choice, that has led to the position in which I sit in today. 

Do I choose to settle down, get married and have a child very fast (this option is open to me), or do I continue to drive my businesses and follow my work dreams. It seems that few women can do both with equal success. It is a choice. You can't have your cake and eat it to. 

In one way, I am at the pinnacle of my career. I am on the cusp of realising my greatest career achievement and I can feel it every single day. It's exhilirating to say the least, but there is doubt in the back of my mind that I can't seem to shake. If I switch that button, I belong to someone else and have to report to them. Ethically, I have to deliver on every business plan I write because I am no longer playing just with my cash, but others. 

On the other hand, have I not achieved enough already. What is success? I always say it is by 'your own definition and no-one else's' so what does that really mean to me? I see a child and I melt. I can't imagine going through life having never had a child, but is 44 too old? Am I past my use by date? Is it wrong to have a child so late in life? Did I sacrifice this decision for business? To answer that question, I subconsciously did, and then when I was ready to shift gears, I was with the wrong person to do that with. It never felt right. 

Men can without judgement have children into their fifties. Women however have to go through a lot more than men to have children. There is so much more to consider.

Then if you go down this route, there is also the decision as to whether you should work or not, or should you work part-time. This choice I believe is much more significant for women, and that I am afraid has a huge bearing on why there are so many male CEO's in the world and fewer women. Sometimes, there are choices that are more important to make than make a dollar or reaching the top of your career. Right now, I am thinking mid-way is not too bad.
Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye

1 comment

  • Camille
    Camille
    23/10/17

    The most important is to follow our dreams. Realized that we dreamt since always is the biggest success in the life. After, is important to do difference between work and personal life.

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