I will be writing additional posts in the next few weeks based on the lessons I’ve learned from Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Ready!. Today I am delighted to share my interview with the book’s author Jenn Aubert:
What motivated you to write “Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Ready! Set! Launch?
Many small moments led to the writing of Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Ready! Set! Launch!. The final 'ah ha' moment happened in the Fall of 2012 after having noticed my book shelf filled with books on business all having been written by men. It was simply an observation. Out of curiosity I went to an online forum of women business owners I belong to and asked them who they were reading, who they were following and learning from, and who are their role models. What surprised me was how few women had noted female leaders and entrepreneurs as role models - other than Oprah. Oprah is fantastic but she can't possibly be the only role model for every woman starting a business. I knew I had to figure out what was going on so. That’s when I decided to take a year and ask 100 women who inspired them and how they've created success for themselves.
Who are your female role models?
I have so many now I feel like I need a board on my wall to remember them all. Each inspires me in a different way. One of my role models is a woman I used to work with when I was in the corporate world. Before she became an executive recruiter she was a co-founder of a biotechnology company and was previous a bench scientist involved in cancer research. She is one of the coolest, most generous, loving people I’ve ever known. I admire her grace under pressure and her ability to lead in a more feminine style.
Others that are newer to my stable of role models is Alexis Maybank of Gilt and Jessica Herrin of Stella & Dot. They both have created significant empires in areas where people thought they were nuts. Alexis is a strong leader in the technology community while remaining approachable. Jessica has created a company that helps women create a flexible living for themselves. Both are also moms.
What is your why and why is that important?
My why is that I want to help women build a sustainable business that will enable them to fulfill every passion and desire they have. My why has been around for years but only recently have I discovered the how to do this. The book is a start. My next venture, LearnSavvy, is the next phase.
What was your biggest surprise or lesson learned from interviewing over 100 women?
I was surprised how willing busy successful women were to take the time to speak to me. They were incredibly kind in giving their time, sharing their wisdom and helping a fellow woman pursue her dreams.
In terms of lessons, many women gave the advice of asking for what you want and need. I realized that I have been terrible at that in my professional and personal life. Over the course of the year and having that piece of sage advice reiterated over and over, I’ve become more brave in my own life in terms of asking for what I need.
Is it possible to attain a work/life balance?
While I was interviewing the women for the book I was franticly trying to find my own balance. I was managing my business and a toddler while interviewing, researching, and writing the book. Trust me, I was asking how other’s were doing it because I felt like I was drowning.
What I found was there is no one answer to the question, “How do you balance family and work?”. Everyone has their unique ways to integrate the two, knowing that true balance will never happen. That’s the one relief that came out of talking to over a hundred women. That no one really has the answer - the magic solution - to “having it all.” And quite frankly, it’s ok.
The key is to honestly do the best you can, ruthlessly prioritize what you most value and let go of things that just aren’t that important. There are only so many hours each day so honor that time and focus on what is most important to you.
What do you know now that you did not know when you were 18?
I think at 18 I was more focused on what I should do and be. I planned on majoring in International Relations thinking that I wanted some high paying corporate job traveling the world. I realize now that you can create the income you want in such a variety of unique ways while living a life that really fits you. You don’t have to have an MBA, wear a suit and sit in the corner office to make a really fabulous life for yourself. But that’s all part of life. It takes doing a lot of what doesn’t fit to figure out what does. It’s like dating, you have to go out with a lot of guys to find just the right one.
Is there anything else we should know about you or your book?
I’ve been surprised to hear from women who are not business owners, that they have gotten so much out of the book. I’ve heard stories of women being inspired to take more risks in their corporate roles and of women taking more bold steps in their philanthropic work. It truly warms my heart that this book is helping women everywhere become the best versions of themselves.
Thank you Jenn. I am already looking forward to your next project - LearnSavvy.
Who are your female role models? Please share in the comments below.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book prior to this interview.
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