Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder and CEO of Linkage Research, Inc, a marketing research firm with Fortune 500 clients such as Starbucks, Frito Lay, Tropicana, Texas Instruments, Hoover Vacuums and Verizon Wireless. She is an author of See Jane Succeed: Five Types of Entrepreneurial Women Reveal What it Takes to Win in Business and in Life and co-author of the award-winning See Jane Collaborate: Your Essential Guide to Joyful and Prosperous Business Partnerships, Michele is guiding women to build better businesses, brands, and lives, one Jane at a time. Below are the 5 types of entrepreneurs she describes:
Representing 1 in 5 female entrepreneurs and about 20% of their expenditures, Accidental Jane is that she didn’t really intend to start a business. She ended up owning her own company when she was laid off, got frustrated with traditional employment, or when she developed an interest that lent itself well to becoming a business. Accidental Jane is usually a solo-preneur who appreciates the work as it comes without driving for significant growth.
Go Jane Go
The smallest group at just 14%, Go Jane Go is four times more likely than the average female entrepreneur to own million dollar plus enterprise. Because her business is thriving, she spends twice as much as the average female entrepreneur on goods and services to help her business run. She has the highest personal income drawn through her business as well, in part because she’s keeping more money in-house by doing much of the work herself. She’s in demand and continually busy – often feeling pulled in many directions at once.
When you think of the quintessential female entrepreneur, odds are you’re thinking of Jane Dough, though she’s just 18% of the total market. She’s a visionary, actively growing her business. Jane Dough is five times more likely than the average female entrepreneur to have a million dollar plus business and her spending reflects that fact. She’s working longer hours but sees doing so as a means to an end of creating an asset she can use to “cash out” or leave as a legacy to future generations of her family.
Merry Jane accounts for 19% of female entrepreneurs and her spending is lower than other groups. Merry Jane is enjoying running her business in and around other priorities in her life – whether they be her full-time career, being a stay-at-home-mom, or serving as caretaker for someone she loves. Her business is an outlet, allowing her to utilize her talents when she has time available while also bringing in some income. She loves being a business owner because it gives her the freedom to work when and how she wants – and she’s consciously making a tradeoff for less money to be able to enjoy the control she has over her time.
The largest single segment, Tenacity Jane represents a third of female entrepreneurs, whose businesses are not performing as well as they’d like – particularly financially. As a result, she under-spends compared to other segments because resources are tight. Though she may be struggling right now, she’s determined to do what it takes to turn her business into a thriving enterprise. Most successful women business owners we’ve interviewed have experienced a Tenacity Jane phase at some point in their entrepreneurial careers and say the lessons learned during those times were invaluable.
You can take her assessment quiz here to determine your entrepreneurial type.