A personal message to our members

Her Corner

Frederique Irwin

May 20, 2013

On a regular basis, I get this comment: “Frederique, I think I should sit out for a little while because I’m struggling with the growth part of my business, and that’s really what you want HC members to focus on.” I get this comment often enough that it deserves a little attention.

For starters, my message is that I want you to be committed to growth (vs. the status quo,) but not necessarily obsessively focused on growth. And frankly, growth can be defined in any number of ways and we want you to focus on the growth of your business overall, not just top line growth. But your business is also not your entire life (well, sometimes it probably feels that way, but what I’m saying is that your business does not define you, you define you.) So let me say it again: it does not matter how you define your business, and your goals for your business, it only matters that you have defined where you want to take it, and that definition is 100% up to you. Our job at Her Corner is to help you get there, wherever that may be.

But let me tell you what I’m really hearing when I get this comment about sitting out for a little while. I’m hearing: I’m scared, this is hard, I’m afraid I won’t be successful, and I think I need to retreat a little bit until I feel confident enough to face my group with certain successes. And here’s my answer – HELL no. Do not do that. Please do not retreat from us when things get hard. Because that is why we are here – to encourage you when things are hard, to remind you that you can do this and overcome the obstacles, and to not let you go to that mindset of “I need to go figure this out on my own.” (Or as Kathy Korman Frey says, the kiss of death for most women: ‘I’ll just do this on my own.’)

Look, have you heard my stories of all the business mistakes I’ve made? Have you heard my latest one about hiring a PR guy who ended up being arrested for running a meth lab out of his home and distributing it bi-coastally? How about when I launched my first business on my own and TOTALLY got my offer and messaging wrong (it was a case study presented to 2nd year MBAs at my business school – on what NOT to do.) I am not kidding when I tell you that business is hard, but please, please, please do not lean away from us and think you have to figure this out on your own. That’s why we’re here – for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So as you’re walking into this month’s Her Corner meetings, remember: you’re not here to impress anyone, you’re not here to only focus on the good stuff, you’re here to be here with us, as a part of a group of women business owners who “get” where you are and where you’ve been, and to help one another. Lord knows I’m going to my group meeting on Thursday with some things that have not gone so well in the last 2 months!

Thanks for being part of the community and for being here for one another.