"1st Chair or Podium?" ~ Women in Micro-Business

Every Wednesday, the corporate partners of A Women’s Place Network, Inc. meet in a conference call. There are four of us and we’re a dynamic group of energetic women ranging in age from early 30’s to . . . well let’s just say “vintage” like fine wine! We’re gearing up for what we call “Neighborhood Boutiques 3.0” which is a major undertaking to say the least!

At the present time, I’m the leader of the pack. I’m the visionary (or the big picture gal) charged with making sure we stay true to the vision and mission; do as we say we’re going to do and make certain we all stay on track. It’s a super-sized role with super-sized responsibilities.

Over the past several weeks as we put together a highly successful 2016 plan; I’ve felt pulled in a number of different directions. So much so that I just wanted to do anything but what I’m charged to do. orchestra leaderI felt like both the 1st chair violinist as well as the conductor responsible for all the instruments and the melodies they produce!

Let’s not kid ourselves! It’s that way for every woman who owns or partners in a micro-business. While we may have as many as 4 employees; it doesn’t change the fact we must make certain the 4 employees play well together and produce pleasant sounds that resonate with all our clients. And prospective clients!

The truth is we are both 1st chair and conductor. We make the sound the rest of our “orchestra” uses to tune up – but we also stand on the podium directing the entire show! It’s heavy duty responsibility that can weigh us down if we fail to recognize same – and take steps to course correct from time to time.

Here’s some of my thoughts on avoiding 1st chair and conductor burnout. . .

  1. Pass the baton – well that’s obvious. But we often miss the obvious. And learning to let go is critically important, but difficult for many of us to do. We convince ourselves that no one can do it as well as – or with the same passion and commitment, etc. as “me”. But you’ll be amazed that you can pass the baton to others for a while and not loose a beat in the process. In fact, passing leadership responsibility to others in your circle for a while is great training for the time you’ll want to pass the baton on a more permanent basis.
  2. Say “no” to solo-entrepreneurship – No one must be a solo-entrepreneur! You may think so – but it’s simply not true. We may start out in business as a solo-operator; but conventional wisdom says add some help as soon as possible. In this day and age, we can access college students – even high school seniors, to work as interns. They get the experience; we get the help. Many will work only for the experience which means “hiring” an intern is easy on the budget.  The next step up from interns is virtual assistance. The virtual assistance industry is growing rapidly and qualified assistance is available at all levels of expertise and cost to provide services. BOTTOM LINE. . . Take advantage of this kind of help as soon as possible!
  3. Don’t overstay your welcome – Symphony conductors have considerable longevity. The exercise of the arms and chest muscles is healthy exercise and leads to a long and productive life. But even they know when to step off the podium into retirement – handing baton off permanently. When fatigue, difficulty focusing on even the simplest of business tasks becomes reality – it may be time to step away. If your micro-business has some longevity; is successful financially with a good book of business; then perhaps offering it for sale is the best route for you. 
  4. Scale back – seems obvious as well. But many times we don’t want to scale back our vision, mission and business offerings. Or we are in a business that doesn’t easily provide that luxury. But if scaling back prevents total burnout – it’s the best option for staying connected without the overwhelming responsibilities of standing on the conductor’s platform!

Four ways to step from the podium to lesson the load of responsibility we may feel from time to time. Owning or partnering in a micro-business is exciting. But it can also be a bit draining. Patience is required; but so is realistic planning for the present – as well as the future.

The future may hold a time when the arms of the conductor grow weary and the baton begins to droop. In that case, have a plan for such times so that while the song may be ending; the melody lingers on – and on – and on.

And as architect of your micro-business, you can rest assured your composition will continue through the ages because you took the time to put an exit plan in place – from the day you first stepped onto the podium and took up the baton!



Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Neighborhood Boutiques-OPEN for YOUR BUSINESS
Specializing in PROMOTING Women in Micro-Business Worldwide
Empowering Women to Thrive
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://affiliatedwomeninternational.com//wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]

Image Source: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/86699864@N00/15681128826″>Town Hall: Alondra de la Parra and Natalia Lafourcade</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Linda S. Fitzgerald

I have a fiery passion to see women become all they are designed to be - personally and professionally. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness.

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