Female entrepreneurs face challenges and lingering misconceptions

vbridges@newsobserver.comJuly 29, 2013 

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked female entrepreneurs about the challenges they face. This is what they said.

•  “There is a challenge in reaching the male executives in many corporations. The gatekeepers to those executives are often females …, but they have often been trained well to keep the gate closed. It can sometimes seem that a female entrepreneur has to work harder and be more creative to get the gate to open,” said Pamela Higdon, president of Express Employment Professionals and Express Specialized Recruiting Group, which has locations in Durham and Raleigh.

•  “My biggest challenge these days is being a sole proprietor in a sometimes misunderstood industry,” said Nancy Campbell, a licensed massage and bodywork therapist in downtown Raleigh. “I have to seek out support outside of my four walls to help grow my business, and that’s not always easy to do. … Seventy-five percent of my business is education to my clients and to the general public. Those who (understand) massage and bodywork get it and benefit greatly. Those who think we’re still prostitutes or a luxury/pampering service usually turn a cold shoulder and don’t treat me as seriously as they do other industry leaders.”

•  “The biggest challenge I face … is … balancing my time between my children and my business,” said Natalie Abernethy Miller, operations and marketing manager for Solid Builders, a Cary residential construction company. “I have two small children … I find myself struggling with that thought (that kids grow up fast) on a daily basis when I have to make the decision to either spend time with my kids or focus on (my company).”

•  “Since my time is so limited, fitting in education is my biggest challenge. As a sole proprietor, I need to do everything to run the business, plus stay on top of the latest trends in my industry without feeling guilty,” said Kim Adamof, social media consultant with Raleigh Inbound Marketing in Garner.

•  “Sometimes I feel that as a female business owner that I am not taken seriously,” said Cindy Honickman, owner of WAKA Kickball in Durham and Chapel Hill, which provides adult social sports leagues, including kickball, dodgeball and bowling. “People assume that my business must be a hobby or a side gig and ask what my real job is. But I have learned to proudly explain to them that this is my full-time job.”

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