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How I Mean Business

Kara-Jensen-Means-BusinessBeing nominated for the second time in San Diego Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” awards is a great honor. I applaud San Diego Business Journal for continuing this award, now in its 20th year, as a way to celebrate local female leaders and role models.

For me, it’s always nice to be reassured of your leadership and business skills. As a female small business owner, my guardian instincts kick in faster than my gladiator. Meaning, I’m often caught up in encouraging the talent of my employees that I don’t frequently seek out praise or encouragement from my peers.

Starting Bop Design with my husband in 2008 was not an overnight process. It took 80-hour work weeks, balancing two full time jobs, and trying to understand scarier sides of the business I had zero expertise in (Legal? Payroll? Not my favorite words). Fast forward to 2013, we’ve increased our employee size, client portfolio, and services to include specialties small businesses need in the modern day.

What have I learned since five years ago? A lot. But if I could summarize my journey in some tips, it would be this:

Tips for Female Entrepreneurs:

  • It’s lonely being an entrepreneur. I am so thankful for the peer advisory group at Vistage, who helped implement critical components of our business plan to get Bop Design off the ground. I strongly recommend the service or at least seeking out a group of trusted professionals to serve as your “board of advisors.”
  • Work on the business, not in the business. It’s great that you’re involved in the day-to-day; getting assignments done and making sure client goals are met. But what are you doing to improve your business long term? I’ve learned the importance of delegating to the expert team I hired in order to free up my time for strategic growth planning.
  • It’s ok to step away. I’m not working 80-hour weeks anymore. I meditate, do yoga, meet friends, and take vacations. Every entrepreneur sacrifices some sanity and stability when starting a business, but make it a habit to regain your work/life balance and clarity outside the office.

Reflecting on this continuing process, I’m so appreciative of receiving this award and the opportunity to sit among a long list of very accomplished women. But for me, this award goes beyond being a woman. In the past year, we’ve read countless news articles, blog comments, and Twitter comebacks from fellow female workers on “having it all” and how we define it. Today though, I think not about our gender, rather what we’ve done collectively to get the job done – to move business forward.

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