What Women Really Want

 

A young, beautiful girl got married and she thought everything was just dandy, until her husband left her, with their three children and all those bills, for someone else. And, of course, she didn’t get to finish pursuing her career because she got married and had to be the homemaker. Now, she has very little to survive. Poor girl, it’s so sad…

 

They all go something like that. As young girls, we were raised on the stories of jilted women thrown into ruin. No wonder what women really want is their own financial security.

 

It is no bad thing to be prepared for the worst. The worst can come in a lot more forms than a broken marriage: the breadwinner may lose their job, health problems arise, or someone passes away. We pursue becoming a doctor, a lawyer, or what have you. When the job starts, it’s fabulous. Money’s coming in and the family’s happy.

 

But then the whole world puts itself on our shoulders. We’re pushed into this corner of having a professional career, be an amazing daughter, and eventually an doting mother. A true triple threat, maybe more so to ourselves. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. Women are expected to be perfect at everything, all the time. In reality, it’s hard to strike a balance. And to the women who do this, kudos. May you all be protected and keep as strong as you are and more.

 

Being a mom is something I’ve looked forward to my entire life. I want to be there for my kids every moment, I don’t want to miss a thing. But I also want a career. That’s why starting a home-based business made the most sense to me. I get to be at home with my kids, watch them grow, and see their first experiences of a world I’ve taken advantage of. At the same time, I get to do what I love, which is writing, and make good money from it. I get to have the best of both worlds. It’s also true that I fantasize traveling with my kids and teaching them about the world first hand, too.

 

If you pursued a home-based business, what would be your reason to do it?

 

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  • Ali

    I’ve been self-employed before, and would do so again if I could get clients. My #1 reason for doing so would be to escape miserable people in the office, specifically people who are threatened and angered by the sight of a talented professional woman doing great work. I seem to encounter this type of person at least once per job.

    Another benefit to starting a home-based business is that I don’t fit in with other women socially, and if I’m honest, men as well. My interests are considered stereotypically male, and revolve around computers and hard, loud music. I’ve been ostracized for not knowing or caring about Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore, and Katy Perry. Living in a socially conservative area, I’ve found that most women consider stay at home motherhood to be the most noble calling possible, and working while having kids to be passable, but focusing on being good to your spouse and building a nice career is the doing of a selfish harridan, aka not a “real” woman. Men and woman alike have bullied me for being different, for getting married without wanting a family (I have a family – of two!), and for not “knowing my place” in deed and conversation, sticking to the fashion, celebrity, and cooking-related discussions and activities.

    I know one childless woman who has managed to escape this stereotyping, and it’s because she mothers her friends, especially her male friends, baking for them constantly, nursing them when they’re sick, doing tons of favors for them, etc. My choices of roles, in order to fit in socially, are mother or doormat, and since I chose Option C, “neither,” I don’t have friends, and probably never will.

    Really, I don’t believe that women can have it all. I think “having it all” is a canard designed to trick women into spending every waking minute feeling inadequate and comparing themselves to each other while men grab the power. Worst of all, I think that in America today, the clamps on women are being screwed tighter as they fight over the scraps. Since the 2011 Congress (state and federal) commenced, a record-breaking number of anti-women bills have been proposed – and passed. The media, most men, and half of American women are working very hard to gaslight women, convince us this war is all in our heads, and that we should vote against our own interests.

    Above all, I’ve noticed that women hate other women. They do. Online, I watch women call each other nasty slurs that are now common synonyms for “female.” I see women trash other women’s sex lives, spouses and partners, looks, interests, and reproductive choices. I watch as women agree they hate working with each other, would all prefer male bosses, and in some cases, confess that the very sight of a woman working makes them viciously angry. There is no sisterhood. Women are my enemy.

    And men are no better. I am married, and all they want to use me for is sex. Once it’s clear I’m devoted to my husband, or, for the happily married men, that I’m really good at my job, they turn on me. Working from home may be the only escape from a world where both genders agree that I’m undeserving of even a chance to participate in life’s rich pageant. (And that’s not just an R.E.M. album.)

    • Ali

      Sorry, that first sentence should read, “I’ve been totally self-employed before and would be again if I could get more clients.”

      I do some freelance work in addition to my career. It’s awesome. I used to hate it but in this economic climate, it’s the closest to liberation I’ll ever get!

      • http://www.nadiachaudhry.com Nadia

        Yeah, it can get tough for women in a lot of arenas. I personally believe that your beliefs make your reality.

        I agree that getting clients is hard, you really have to know how to market yourself.

        Thanks for such an in-depth comment, Ali.
        Nadia

  • Ali

    It’s been fun commenting. And I agree with the idea that beliefs can shape reality in most cases. However, my experience has taught me that even with a positive attitude and optimism that things will work out (and I’m not one to give up on a fight, as I’ve been working REALLY hard for a decade!) institutional sexism doesn’t just go away. And you can be very socially conscious, work hard to get out the vote, and educate your peers on the issues, as I’ve done, but you can’t control how others vote, nor can you change the will of state and federal legislators.

    Some women are able to ignore these issues, and at times, I envy them. Others are able to mitigate issues like institutional sexism by refusing to work in STEM, opting for pink-collar fields where the wages are low, but women are more welcome. It’s an interesting consideration, but I’m not cut out for that work, and I wouldn’t enjoy it either. Others choose self-employment, which I’ve done, but my husband and I need the benefits package that comes with a full-time job. We all have to choose our own paths in life and figure out how we fight our obstacles. It’s part of the journey.

  • Ali

    Oh yeah, and another reason I prefer working for someone else for now is because I recently got an offer that will allow me to make six figures, and all the benefits on top of that. This career move will allow me to save a lot of money very quickly, and hopefully enable me and my husband to retire early. Over the course of my career, thanks to my innovation, I’ve brought in millions of dollars for my employers, from some of the world’s largest companies, too, and the collaborative office environment and access to high-profile business contacts enables me to do more than I could working for myself. We need that stability because we’re in our 30s and are saving and investing aggressively for retirement. A decade ago, I could afford to take lots of risks with my career, but I have too many responsibilities now.

    While I was self-employed, I was able to earn about 40K a year after expenses, and I got some amazing clients. I was also successful in getting so-called “underdog” enterprises to compete with the likes of Top 3 Silicon Valley tech companies, the largest teen e-commerce retail sites, and Ivy League universities. Alas, this was all before the recession. Now, I would have to lower my rate to what I was charging a decade ago to be competitive with new grads, young entrepreneurs, and people in other nations, whose COL is so low that they can underbid me by thousands of dollars. My husband and I realized it wasn’t financially prudent to pursue that, and while my side projects now have helped me cross over into a couple new disciplines and markets, even a whole bunch of them couldn’t beat my earnings working in-house for someone else.

    Of course, self-employment is the perfect choice for many people, just depending on who you are, and what your needs are. We’ve discussed returning to it when we’re closer to retirement as a change of pace (and as a break from the institutional sexism mentioned above). I have some true pros in my network I’d definitely tap if and when the time came…it just depends on how the economy performs. But regardless how we make our money, doing business can be very exciting!

    • http://www.nadiachaudhry.com Nadia

      I’m 22, so I don’t have as many of the life experiences you obviously have learned from. The journey is a hard one. I’m glad I’ve choosen self-employment. It’ll take a lot of brute work, but it’s the only thing that matches me as a person.

      Congratulations on your job! I’m so happy you’ve gotten what you’ve wanted. I understand that responsibilities prevent taking a lot of risks. I’m at a good age to take this risk. I believe if I get the right instruction from the right people, my business will boom. If you’re interested in that, I can lead you to the resources of some really inspiring people.

      I really desire freedom and feel an online business is what’s right for me. I know a lot of people don’t understand it, but the money won’t lie when it comes, inshaAllah. I’m not giving up, not matter what I go through.

      I wish you and your family the best!
      Much love, Nadia <3

  • Ali

    Thanks for the well-wishes and good luck to you too. 22 is the perfect age to start a business. I was 23 when I got into the self-employment game. As a minority woman, you’re in a great place to take advantage of all the programs and starter “kits” available. It’s been amazing just to browse sba.gov and see all the loans, grants, seminars, etc. available for women and minorities.

    In late 2008-early 2009, one of my last company’s clients was a non-profit focusing on entrepreneurship for female and minority small business owners. My team built them a website, document library, forum, and a web module for webinars. They unfortunately didn’t make it, but while they were around I’m sure they inspired a lot of new entrepreneurs to take advantage of the resources.

    Another thing that worked really well for me when I wanted to pick up more creative work was to browse Craigslist in different cities, especially big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, and bid on clients/contracts there. I often got them because I could underbid the “natives” who might charge 2-3x what I was charging. If you haven’t already, definitely give that a whirl. It’s a recession, and lots of businesses are looking for young, hungry writers to work on contract. You are well-equipped with everything you need to succeed. Spirit and enthusiasm are at least half of the game as I’m sure you know. (A good invoicing system is 10% of the game…or that just might be me, haha!) You’ll do great! I look forward to following your blog as your business develops.

    All the best,

    Alison

    • http://www.nadiachaudhry.com Nadia

      Wow, really, I didn’t even know there were programs/resources for minorities. I shall puruse sba.gov and check it out. Appreciate the mention of that.

      And that company you mentioned sounded promising, it’s a shame it didn’t work out. I’ve heard of great programs and scholarships for girls and women in developing countries. I’m trying to reach out to them now, would love to do some work for them.

      You’re posts have meant so much to me, Alison.

      <3
      Nadia