I have a lot of people ask me from time to time; what is it like to own a business?
And each time a person has asked me that question I've always given a similar answer; 'It is one of the best choices I have ever made'.
And I certainly have no regrets starting my own business, especially when it is part of an industry that has played a massive part in my life and gotten me through so much. It is something I am definitely passionate about. But I never would have believed you if you said to me a couple of years ago I would start a business.
First of all, I started with zero experience in business. I have never had a business mindset, always a scientific one. Was never interested in it at school, even watching Dragon's Den back in the day didn't really capture my interest.
But all it takes is the right person at the right time to spark your interest. To be sure my business partner knows a lot more than I probably do, but it's a journey I am willing to take and learn about along the way.
However, it has never been an easy journey as you would expect in many things. And it is not just the products and running the business that was the most difficult. It was being recognised as a woman in business.
Both myself and my partner get emails/ messages through all the time from suppliers, photographers and many others. The majority of those emails/ messages however, address the business owner as if they were not only just one person but the fact they are male. And I know that people may not have done their research or know much about us as a company or even just through a mistake, but it is hard to see that from day to day. It is hard to overcome the thought of people not recognising that a woman is just as capable of running this business.
And with the industry that we are in and especially with social media being a huge part of today's society, it is sometimes hard to shake such stereotypes. And yes, genuinely people can make a mistake and may not realise what they had written but I could ignore something like that if it happened a couple of times. However, even though as a company we have made it apparent who the owners of the business are, this does happen very frequently and it can get quite frustrating.
The fact I have to work harder to earn that respect as a business woman baffles me. And I am sure many of you would agree. There are so many strong, intelligent and kick-ass women who have amazing and successful businesses, yet even then, we still have this problem. I am not ruling out the fact that some men may have experienced something similar but I have read many other business stories from other women who had felt and still feel the same way about having to work harder to get that respect.
Despite this, owning a business is still the best decision I have ever made. And being exposed to that negativity has certainly knocked my confidence right out the window a few times. But it does make me want to keep striving to achieve my goals for the business and keep fighting to be recognised as a woman in business.
Not everything has been easy sailing as it may seem on social media, but if you are passionate about something and are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur... DO IT! Don't let anything like this hold you back and embrace the things that knock you down. More and more women are starting their own businesses which is amazing in itself. And by investing your character, growing as a person, creating a safe working environment where everyone respects each other (like we do here at Black Rhino Gym Wear); hopefully no one else has to experience such stereotypes as a business owner again.
And I share my story now because it is something I want to help bring to light and be available to help those along the way. I would love to hear people's opinions on the matter and hopefully as a community we can help reduce problems like this for future business owners.