Making My Own Rules

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When my mother was a teenager in the 1950s, she was told the only reason to go to college was to find a husband. Or alternatively, to learn to be a teacher, nurse, or secretary to support herself until she got married. She did become a nurse, met my dad, got married, had three kids, quit her job, and stayed home to raise us. She didn’t feel like she had the freedom to make other choices or follow other paths.

When I was a teenager in the 1980s, I was told to go to college to have a career — any career I was interested in. I chose business. And for the last 30 years, I’ve worked in several different types of businesses, from small companies to large, and then I started my own company with my business partner in 2001.

Since starting my company, my partner and I have had the complete freedom to do whatever we wanted with it. We could decide to keep it big enough to provide a living for me and my partner but not have any employees to have to manage. We could try to grow it, bringing on new clients and hiring employees to serve them. We could decide to offer new and different products and services to clients or to stick with selling just one product. There’s no right or wrong; there’s no allowed or not allowed; it’s entirely our decision how we want to manage and grow our company.

"There’s no right or wrong; there’s no allowed or not allowed; it’s entirely our decision how we want to manage and grow our company."

That, to me, is freedom — the ability to make my own choices and not have to answer to anyone. To not be constrained by any person in my choices or activities. To travel where I want whenever I want, to stay up as late as I want or go to bed early if I feel like it, binge-watch whatever I want on TV, drive the kind of car I want (a MINI convertible!), and make my own decisions. And, most importantly, it’s that everyone has the same ability, to make their own choices based on what’s best for them.

This post was produced by CircleAround and NAWBO. Founded in 1975, NAWBO is the unified voice of over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States.

Molly Gimmel, based in Virginia and the Greater Washington, D.C., area, is co-owner of Design to Delivery Inc., an economically disadvantaged woman-owned small business and Inc. 500 awardee in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017; Enterprising Woman of the Year awardee in 2014; Smart CEO Magazine Brava Awardee in 2015; and past president of the NAWBO Greater D.C. chapter. She has served on the NAWBO board of directors, 2014–2020 (chair, 2018–2019).

Tags: NAWBO, Courage, Empowerment

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Molly Gimmel, NAWBO Member

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