Entrepreneurs wear many ‘hats.’ And with many hats - or roles - comes a need for many tools.
Entrepreneurs wear the designer hat. The dreamer hat. The marketer hat. They wear the boss hat. The logistics hat. The bootstrapper hat. In some cases, they even wear the ‘budding legal expert’ hat, forsaking hiring lawyers or attorneys, opting instead to forge headlong into the forest of legal paperwork.
Women and mother entrepreneurs, in particular, wear many, many hats. In the 2009 book Entrepreneurship in Urban and Rural Switzerland : Similar or Worlds Apart?, authors Heiko Bergmann and Daniel Baumgartner argue that, “Women’s working lives include more interruptions and part-time work, which is why women have less opportunity than men do to build up the professional expertise and experience necessary for launching a start-up. The employment behaviour of women differs from that of men, and there are clear gender-specific differences in entrepreneurial activities.” My own research not only confirms this claim, but also suggests that these interruptions and part-time work opportunities shape how and why women pursue entrepreneurship as an alternative to salaried work or employment.
Indeed my data suggest that, whereas Swiss men more often engage in entrepreneurship to exploit business opportunities and grow their venture in terms of size and output, Swiss women more often engage in entrepreneurship to gain flexibility over their sometimes already demanding schedules. In addition, Swiss women seem to find significantly more satisfaction and fulfillment in the product or service they are selling than are Swiss men. Lastly, Swiss women entrepreneurs work in relatively smaller teams than Swiss men entrepreneurs, preferring to surround themselves with fewer co-founders and employees who specialize in one or multiple areas of business. If this is true, Swiss women entrepreneurs seem to take it upon themselves to play the roles that men-founded entrepreneurial ventures employ workers or other entrepreneurs to fill.
But what does all of this mean for multi-tasking, multi-hat-wearing women entrepreneurs? For one it means that, in the digital age of global competition, entrepreneurs now more than ever must sharpen their skills or loosen their purse strings to hire help if they wish to fill the growing number of roles that their business calls for. And because entrepreneurs are by definition thrifty bootstrappers, sharp skills and free resources are critical for getting ahead and growing a business.
The best website I have found for free skill sharpening and resource aquisition for entrepreneurs is Ali Mese’s growth.supply/free. It aggregates over 400 free tools from across the internet and files them under five main entrepreneurial categories: business, marketing, design/code, productivity, and skill learning.
What follows is a small taste of the vast collection of free tools available on growth.supply/free. I hope you take advantage of this treasure trove of resources to grow your business. Descriptions for each tool borrowed from Ali Mese.
Browse the full list of the internet’s best free resources for entrepreneurs here. And good luck to you on your entrepreneurial journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PETE FREEMAN IS A STUDENT-RESEARCHER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME IN THE UNITED STATES. MR FREEMAN IS CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN A RESEARCH PROJECT MEASURING GENDER DISPARITIES IN SWISS ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND POLICIES AFFECTING THESE DISPARITIES. HIS RESEARCH WILL BE USED TO SUGGEST INITIATIVES FOR GREATER GENDER PARITY IN THE SWISS ENTREPRENEURSHIP SPACE. SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS MR FREEMAN CAN BE REACHED AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS PETEFREEMAN14@GMAIL.COM.