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WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Can Women Entrepreneurs Have It All?
 

OnOne female entrepreneur decides that babies and start-ups are incompatible, at least at the same time. Now she'd like to hear your views.

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When I go on Facebook and see my friends having babies, I can't help wondering... should I be on this path?

I've been working non-stop since my mid-twenties, when I started my company--as a newlywed!- with my business-partner-slash-husband. We have a great life, and are both as deeply invested in our business as we are in our commitment to each other. If I had married anyone else, I would be divorced by now. Our company, a luxury ecommerce business catering to women, has grown dramatically over the past six years.

I work all the time. This company is ME. It is the reason I wake up every day, the reason I've given the best years of my life to an entity, that can grow, thrive, hurt, and die if not managed.

In many ways, my company is my child. It defines me. But will this be enough as I grow older? Will I regret not going the traditional route? We are the only married couple we know that has been married for over six years and doesn't have any kids. My frustrations and passions are different than most.

Few people can understand why, as the owner, I can't do both.

Here's why:

1. I don't want to regret anything
It is both liberating and terrifying to say this, but I don't want to look back in 10 years and feel that I was held back by a major life change. I'd like to be a present mother and a loving mother. You need to have the room in your life to invest time parenting. How can you do this without compromising your dreams?

2. I want my life to mean something before I bear another life
It is a vital part of our value system to feel that we have accomplished crucial milestones before we take on the task of guiding another life. How can you teach about life experiences if your own were limited? And should you be fine with parenthood as your only major life accomplishment? Those questions apply to both my husband and I equally.

3. I want to have the freedom to control my own schedule, and make an impact
The life I live now would never be possible if I had another priority. I barely take care of my own needs, let alone those of another human being. My entire focus in life is in making my company grow, breaking barriers, and making an impact. When your schedule depends on someone else's, how can your business be your No. 1 priority?

As an Inc columnist, I try to provide some advice stemming from my life lessons. On this one, I could use some advice myself. Let's start a conversation.

Last updated: Oct 23, 2012

In 2007, MAYRA JIMENEZ and her husband founded The Orchid Boutique, which specializes in designer swimwear made in their native Colombia. Today, Orchid Boutique is a multimillion-dollar business.
@mayra_j




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