The Ability to Choose My Own Path

two women in hard hats

Photo Credit: Jaen Stock - Westend61/Shutterstock

To honor American independence and July 4, CircleAround is collaborating all month long with NAWBO (the National Association of Women Business Owners) in a series of posts exploring the following prompt: "What do liberty and independence mean to me as a woman business owner and female entrepreneur?"

I strive to live my life by design, not by default. As the owner of a small business, I have found the freedom to conduct my life according to the principles I most value, and the liberty to craft my environment in a way that reflects those principles. To be sure, sometimes the cost of being a small business owner can seem high but, in my opinion, the rewards more than compensate me for the sacrifice I make.

Choosing to own a small business is first and foremost choosing to be a leader and deciding what kind of leader you want to be. Developing a business strategy, defining the company culture, and creating the team to bring it to life is the most challenging experience of my life. While I have been a small business owner for only eight years, I have come to realize that the freedom I have to build a company, according to my core values, is also the most rewarding experience of my life.

I have come to realize that the freedom I have to build a company, according to my core values, is also the most rewarding experience of my life.

Owning a small business has placed many responsibilities upon my shoulders, but those responsibilities are there because of the choices I’ve made. The ability to choose a path, make a decision, or take a risk and accept the consequence of those choices is fundamental to both leadership and small business ownership. As Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “The credit belongs to the (wo)man who is actually in the arena.” This is the acknowledged truth every business owner knows, and gives value to the freedom afforded through small business ownership.

Although a small business owner’s work is never done, having established a team of like-minded individuals pursuing a common objective creates a powerful platform, which gives me the confidence to explore new opportunities and allows me to grow and expand myself and my business. I now have the opportunity to spend my days in an environment — and with people — of my own choosing. I’m held back only by my own imagination and determination to accomplish the goals I set. This, to me, is truly the definition of freedom.

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

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