I think perhaps Picasso said it best:  “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working”.  Inspiration is this awesome state of being productive and creative.  And inspiration has the power to move us. We know this and we want this, however the struggle to get inspired and productive is real – especially as an entrepreneur.

The Entrepreneurial Workforce.

The numbers of Canadian female entrepreneurs continues to grow:

  •      47% of Small to Medium Enterprise were entirely or partly owned by women.1

Our motivation for becoming entrepreneurs is admirable:

  •      Only 23% of women planning to open a business do so to become wealthy – compared to 36% of men. The majority of women entrepreneurs (69%) are driven by a love for what they do or hope to do. 2
  •      Additionally, a flexible work schedule is a key motivator for women planning to open their own business (63%)2

And we know what’s required:

  •      Female & male entrepreneurs listed their three main challenges faced when starting up a business as:  a) finding clients; b) keeping a steady workload and c) working long hours.2

So the path then is simple right?  Be inspired, be focused and succeed.  Sounds so simple. Inspiration will find us working and work will keep us inspired and so on and so forth.  BUT life has a way of layering in ‘other’ obligations that tend to deter us from this path. I’d like to work through some of the greatest challenges that women entrepreneurs are faced with, because the struggle to stay on-task IS REAL.  And the answer isn’t always to keep grinding through…

Let’s look through the key challenges faced by women – women who are struggling to fit it all in and stay inspired and be productive.  Based on my work with clients, I’ve identified 12 disruptors that routinely interrupt our ability to focus, produce and succeed. The first one is isolation.


Being an entrepreneur can be lonely. When you are the driving force of the company, you stand alone and stand responsible.  That’s both a heavy and an isolating burden. And to make matters even worse, research shows that entrepreneurs tend to feel most isolated when things are going wrong.   The buck stops with you!

So most people turn to those around them for support.  Traditional sources of support for an entrepreneur would include your spouse, an employee or maybe even a vendor. But these sources of support are often lacking – lacking in interest, lacking in detail or even lacking in appropriateness. So, who are others who can help you deal with the isolation?

Networking is THE way to stave off loneliness.

  • Another business owner.

It’s often helpful, especially when you’re just starting out, to have a business “mentor” that you can turn to.  Find a business owner who is a friend that you respect and see if you can talk with that person regularly to discuss your business. If you have a number of friends in business, consider organizing an informal, regular support network.

  • Business groups.

Joining business groups, such as networking clubs or local business area, can be helpful.  Most people join these organizations in the hopes of finding new business, but you also should think about them as a source of support and advice.

  • Industry colleagues.

    It’s extremely helpful to have industry colleagues, as they will often understand your specific issues best.

Many communities have industry-specific trade associations. You need to find and mine connections.  Consider starting a weekly mastermind group or call. You even could organize a Meetup group in your neigbourhood or locale.

Reading trade literature and attending trade shows can assist you in finding resources to help solve problems.

  • Shared work spaces.

The past few years have seen an explosion of shared work spaces for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. These work spaces vary in the services they offer from just a desk and wifi access to robust programs of support, including programming and networking. Some are selective in who they’ll admit, but others are more open and casual.

Working in a room full of other entrepreneurs who share many of the same challenges, as you can be very helpful.

  • Get Out and Be Out.

To reduce isolation and recharge your batteries, at the very least, go outside every, single day.

Take a walk.  Restore your perspective.  You can find a whole world is waiting to reduce your sense of isolation.

Being an entrepreneur and working from home has many advantages, however being inspired is what gets us going and keeps us going.


Up Next:  Let’s talk about having a Reflective Process


  1. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, 2013
  2.  Paul Lima. Globeandmail.com Business. November 10, 2006. Are Women Shortchanging Themselves?
Heather Cavanagh

Heather Cavanagh

Mindset Ambassador

Heather is a communications executive and change management professional with an accomplished 25 year track record in advertising and marketing, spending the last ten years on Bay Street.

A high-energy, ingenuous, 'people-person', Heather is a natural leader, passionate about the outcomes of collaborative work, pride in a job well-done while seeking that glorious state of balance amongst work, motherhood, challenge and happiness.   She has parlayed her vast personal and professional experience into a successful coaching business, now focused on mentoring other high-achievers to shift their mindset and perspective to find their balance, uncover their resilience, improve their networking and ability to make critical connections -- allowing them to thrive!

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