We hope you enjoyed our feature on Moxie Girl founder, Amanda Thomas, last week. International Women’s Day may have come and gone but we’re still celebrating over here! Last year we introduced you to Going GreenHouse, Moxie Girl’s personal recommendation for your residential cleaning needs. Since we’re still feeling the girl power though, we thought it might be fun to have April, founder of Going GreenHouse to share some of her insights and experiences (so far) as a female business owner.
The Challenges of Being a Boss Lady
Being a business owner presents a bundle of challenges and a female business owner will experience all of them – and more. April says one of her biggest challenges is participating in networking groups. While the premise of these groups is to help you grow your business and make helpful connections, “Some networking groups are still ‘good ol’ boys clubs’ and I have trouble fitting in,” says April.
“It’s also been a challenge for me to recognize what and who I’m comfortable or uncomfortable with in business, and adjust accordingly,’ April says. Effectively setting boundaries and standards can be difficult, but it’s actually much easier in the long run than compromising your integrity or trying to do business with people or in situations that just aren’t cutting it.
Leadership and Tough Decisions
“I do think I’m a born leader, but some aspects of leadership are not natural to me – such as setting boundaries and making uncomfortable decisions,” says April, echoing the voices of many women in business today. Many of us find it difficult to stifle our nurturing, people-pleasing tendencies – even when it’s necessary to do so in order for business to be at its best.
Without revealing details, April admits that she’s had to make at least one tough decision in the past. “It was best for the company but it did some damage to an important personal relationship for a time. Thankfully, everything has worked out personally,” says April.
Help Along the Way
As women in business we are often reluctant to reach out for help because we fear being perceived as weak. But in fact most successful upstart businesses – regardless of ownership gender – can certainly benefit from the experiences of others. April says she’s “sought guidance and camaraderie from many – and definitely a few key people at certain times” noting that she’s had one “coach” on-going for about 5 years, and others she’s spent a year or so with along the way.
Balance is Everything
“Any uncommitted time I have, I tend to fill up with work-related tasks,” says April, adding that she also enjoys hanging out with family, watching Project Runway and, of course, getting some much-needed sleep. “I built my business to suit my lifestyle, 100%. It just took 5 years to get it that way!”
Congratulations on all your accomplishments to date, April! Moxie Girl wishes you all the best on your continuing journey!
How Can We Help?
By choosing Going GreenHouse for your residential cleaning needs and Moxie Girl to care for your Phoenix-area vacation rental home care, you can be assured you’re receiving top-notch service while supporting a local, female-owned businesses. Both Going GreenHouse and Moxie Girl take great pride in our reputations and our teams. Click a link and find out how we can help!
Happy International Women’s Day! The theme of this years celebration is #Balance for Better and we ask ourselves how we can help forge a more gender-balanced world. Unfortunately it’s rare to find a woman who hasn’t known the frustration of being seen as “lesser than” by men in the business world. Ever receive a compliment on your work, such as “You sure know a lot about running a company…for a girl”? Ugh. Yes – more gender balance would definitely be better!
Moxie Girl founder, Amanda Thomas, knows well that bias against women – especially women business owners – still exists. I recently had a chance to sit down with Amanda and chat about her background and the experiences that have helped shape the woman she is today.
An Earthy Beginning
The youngest of 3 sisters, Amanda grew up on her family’s farm where a solid work ethic and strong morals prevailed. “My grandparents had a neighboring farm and I spent a lot of time with my grandma, who’s now 98 years old. She was one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever known,” says Amanda, also noting that her grandparents labored in exchange for land ownership rather than money, initially, in order to build their own farm.
Amanda chuckles remembering her earliest entrepreneurial endeavor – selling candies to the workers on her grandparents farm when she was a kid. Sure, that business went by the wayside, but Amanda’s enthusiasm for business ownership grew with her into adulthood.
Back-Handed Compliments and Micro-Aggression
Founding Moxie Girl at the age of 27, Amanda quickly grew tired of the comments and behaviors she saw in her male counterparts. “I’d go to networking events and be talking to people – mostly men, of course – explaining my company and thinking I’m getting somewhere…And then I’d realize I was just being chatted up because I’m an attractive female,” Amanda says. “Even more annoying were some of the comments I’d get from men when they’d find out that my business was REALLY a business. Things like ‘Oh, wow! You have employees?’ There was definitely a different standard of acceptance in business, depending on your gender.”
“Bossy” to “Boss Lady”
Growing up, Amanda says her family often referred to her as “bossy.” She did – and still does – like to direct things. “I’m still ‘bossy’ I suppose, but I’ve learned how to be bossy in a way that works for my business and my team. Amanda knows that in many situations, it’s more important to trust that a job gets done to satisfaction than it is to waste time fretting about the method. “I truly want my team members to be able to effectively work things through on their own, but I also want them to feel secure in asking for help or advice when they need it.”
A Big Decision
Regardless of gender, business owners are continually faced with important decisions. Amanda says the biggest decision she’s made recently was to shift the focus of Moxie Girl from “household assistants” to “vacation rental specialists.”
“The business had grown to a comfortable level and I was happy with the way things were going but the booming vacation rental industry here in the Valley really presented an opportunity to fill a new niche. Internally, I wrestled with shifting our focus, but I’m sure I made the right move,” says Amanda. As proof, Moxie Girl has roughly doubled in size since concentrating on vacation rental properties only, servicing approximately 110 vacation rental homes throughout the Metro-Phoenix area.
Balance is Everything
Oh, did I mention Amanda has been managing all this on top of having a husband and a toddler-age son? With the past year devoted to the directional change and growth of her business, sometimes Amanda’s lifestyle has had to change – at least temporarily – to make it all work. I asked Amanda if she felt that owning her own business was “worth it” and the resounding answer was “Yes!” followed by “Most days.”
While owning a business can certainly be stressful, Amanda says she feels more secure knowing her business is hers. “Ultimately, it’s my business and I have the power to adjust things to counter shifting balances if needed.”
When I asked Amanda what she likes to do with any “uncommitted” time on her calendar, not surprisingly, her answer was “Nap!” For Amanda naps are a re-charge and allow her to be more productive and effective in the rest of her busy life. “I’m actually working on securing more ‘uncommitted’ time that I can commit to napping!” says Amanda.
Words of Wisdom
Amanda’s advice to aspiring business women? “LISTEN – a lot! And say ‘yes’ to whatever you think you can do.” Amanda actually began Moxie Girl Household Assistants in response to what she was hearing and seeing during her time spent as a nanny and in working in the fitness industry. “I could see the effects that ‘not enough help’ was having on couples and families. Instead of focusing on their common dreams, relationships and goals, I saw a lot of finger-pointing and blame, “ says Amanda.
Through listening and making numerous mental notes, Amanda clearly saw ways she could help. She imagined offering support by way of providing assistance in all the “little things” around a home which can add up and spark resentment between partners and family members – and Moxie Girl was born! Yay!
Enjoy Your Day!
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