ARE WE PLAYING THE WRONG GAME?
Why So Many Women Entrepreneurs Are Struggling in Their Business, And What We Need to Do About It (Part 1 of 2)
Women business owners have been conditioned to believe that other people know better than they do. And by “other people,” I mean:
→ The multi-six or seven figure business guru, with four published books and a house in Tuscany.
→ The charismatic millennial with the swingy dresses and eyelashes for days, who teaches how to get 80 kajillion followers “using the exact same techniques” she did.
→ Seth Godin, with, well, Seth Godin.
An entrepreneur will gobble up online courses, business books, and training programs… but despite certain wisps of wisdom, most of these educational materials end up in some shadowy corner of her laptop, collecting cyber dust (served with a side of shame for not fully finishing or implementing everything).
Then, when program XYZ doesn’t work the way it was supposed to, she automatically assumes the problem lies with her, or her business — not with any of the programs themselves.
She’s convinced that everyone else has the answers, and because she’s not where she wants to be with her business, she keeps looking to the ‘experts’ to tell her what to do.
This is a cycle that can leach money out of her business for months — even years — as long as she continues to believe that.
But recently — since, oh, I don’t know, November 8, 2016? More and more female business owners have been wising (and rising) up.
After years of being interrupted and rolling their collective eyes at blustery old mansplainers…
(and being content letting other business leaders tell them what to do)…
Women decided enough was enough.
They were consciously (and subconsciously) protesting with their pocketbooks — and they weren’t alone. (See also: #deleteUber, Nordstrom boycott, etc.)
Meanwhile, as inboxes and Facebook feeds grew increasingly saturated with marketing messages, consumers (of all genders) got burnt out. They became more side-eyed and savvy about where these messages were coming from. And what they’d be asked to give in return (time, money, attention, etc.).
All in all, audiences became less and less susceptible to traditional online marketing tactics. (I mean. How many free webinars and 7-day email courses do you need to sit through before you realize they ALL end with a sales pitch?)
People could see the sale coming from miles away — and sister, they did not like it.
So with all these factors coming to a head at the same time, business owners and marketers (especially in certain niches) started to notice something:
Their tried-and-true launches and other long-standing tactics were not working as well as they used to. In fact, in some industries, they were resulting in colossal failures.
My friend Patty talks about this in her piece about how the coaching bubble is about to burst.
And Hillary Weiss addresses it in 8 Observations from A Crumbling Niche — And How to Avoid Getting Crushed:
“I’m just gonna come right out and say it: Traditional funnel formulas (looking at you, PLF) may not work the way they used to as plug and play concepts for long, especially not in my niche.
Why? Because consumers in my industry now know what to look for — and how to avoid it. It’s that simple.
This may be why a number of world-famous programs in my space have had their revenue neatly cut in half year in, year out: they still plug, play, and cross fingers.”
It became clear to me in those early days after the election that something was changing. Women were no longer blindly handing over their power to “external” authority figures and, well, men. Purchasing behaviors were changing — a lot.
And the same marketing tactics that had worked for me over the past 7 years were tanking. Hard.
I (and many of my colleagues) had to take a long, close look at The Way We’d Always Done Things, and admit that it wasn’t good enough anymore.
As entrepreneurs (especially women entrepreneurs), we’ve been conditioned to believe that “success” is defined by a particular set of achievements and characteristics, and that in order to build our businesses the “right’ way, we must seek guidance from the gurus who embody those attributes.
This often results in:
★ Forcing yourself into tactics that feel inauthentic
★ Grinding your way through a lot of hard work because that’s The Way you “should” do it
★ Letting a bunch of bros in Teslas tell you how to do things
★ Not getting the promised results
★ Doing it all over, again and again
*I know you’re thinking, “But what about [insert ultra-feminine business leader]??” Hang on. I’ll get there.
None of these tactics (<<< remember that word, it’ll be on the test) are inherently bad or wrong on their own. But tactics are just random tools; they’re meaningless without strategy.
And not just any strategy — the RIGHT strategy for YOUR business. (More on this later.) Because without that, you remain trapped in the money-sucking cycle of learning addiction.
The problem isn’t that you haven’t landed on the right “silver bullet” yet, or that you suck at follow-through, or that you can’t get down with running your biz in a way that feels icky and un-YOU.
The problem is that 95% of the resources available to female entrepreneurs were designed by men, for men — even when it’s women who are doing the teaching.
These resources were not built around your strengths, or your preferences, or your talents, or your learning style, or your eye-roll threshold.
But hey, tough titties if you don’t like it. That’s The Way We’ve Always Done Things.
Stop trying to force yourself to fit into what I refer to as the XY Economy™.
The XY Economy™ is a machine of (masculine) behaviors and beliefs that informs everything about how we run our businesses. Especially our marketing tactics. And until now, it’s been flying under the radar.
The XY Economy™ keeps you in the dark about the bigger, holistic framework that’s required to truly rock your business.
And there are a myriad of signals, behaviors and clues to be on the lookout for — so you know when you’re being sucked into it...
...or when you’re doing it yourself. (Which partially explains why that pile of programs never fully work for you.)
It’s taken me over a year to see it for myself because it’s so ingrained in our culture and ways of doing business. Not to mention how we do life! And I’m still untangling myself from the tentacles of the XY Economy™.
Because guess what — it’s not good enough. Not anymore.
1) We’re addicted to buying marketing courses — hoping “this next one will solve everything.”
2) We’re hardwired to need support when starting a business, and learning is in our nature. Yet everything available has been created by men, for men. And most female marketers have simply put lipstick on male marketing tactics.
3) Trying to play the current game leads to burnout and forces business owners to squeeze themselves into models that feel inauthentic and difficult.
4) Things are changing. The XY Economy™ is crumbling. Women are rising (and wising) up.