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This is How These Founders Are Overcoming “Entrepreneur Guilt”

4min read
Business

Everyone experiences feelings of guilt, but what happens when those feelings begin interfering with your work and relationships? Four female founders reflect on their experiences overcoming entrepreneur guilt and share their tips on staying productive throughout the journey.


As an entrepreneur, there are countless sacrifices that have to be made in both your personal and professional life. Having to cancel certain commitments or dedicating more time to your business than your partner or family can quickly begin taking its toll. While overcoming guilt is no easy feat, it can be done. Here are some useful tips from female entrepreneurs to help you overcome entrepreneur guilt.

Strive For Balance

As a wife and mom of two young children, Audrey Craig, CEO of GB Design House, learned that balance is key when striving to eliminate entrepreneur guilt that wives and mothers often feel.

"Though I may be present in body while my kids are playing, my mind is with the client, and I'm often juggling phone calls too. That leaves a heavy layer of guilt when I go to bed, and I'm waiting for the drawing of our family that my daughter will do at school showing a stick-figure of mommy with a laptop and a phone. But just when I block it all out and spend a well-needed weekend unplugged with my family, I go to bed with the guilt that I didn't check my emails and come up with new designs for an upcoming event."

In order to tackle her feelings of guilt, Craig made the necessary changes needed to achieve balance between her professional and personal life.

"What helps me navigate the guilt is to remember that balance is the key. I am a better mom and better business woman when I keep a balance in my life. It's okay to leave a messy desk at the office if it means I can see my daughter do her first flip-flop at gymnastics. It's also okay for me to meet with an event planner that just flew in, and not sign up for the second field trip of the semester."

Decide What is Non-Negotiable

Entrepreneurs are masterful in the art of multitasking and have no qualms about wearing multiple hats in order to get their work done. However, once embarking on certain commitments, it becomes imperative that you see them through to the end– at times costing you the chance to give your time and energy to people or commitments that matter most. Entrepreneur Dethra Giles, Founder of ExecuPrep, quickly learned the importance of deciding which of her commitments were non-negotiable and how to prioritize them into her schedule.

"I own a Performance Management Consulting firm and I am a sought-after keynote speaker with clients across the globe. This means that there are some months that I travel three weeks out of four. My children are growing up and life is moving forward, I am not there and that guilt is hard to bounce back from."

For Giles, time with family is non-negotiable. She shares some of her tips for prioritizing them amidst her busy schedule.

1."Be tech savvy: who knew that I would live in the age of the Jetsons. No flying cars but video calls are real. When I am away my kids and I jump on video call quite often."

2."A mess is OK: I grew up in a house that was always clean. So, walking into a messy house nearly took me to my grave, but I got over it and hired help. I didn't grow up with such resources so the idea of having a maid did not sit well with me, but the idea of spending limited but valuable time cleaning my house instead of truly interacting with my family was way more uncomfortable. The times when the maid is not there, I tell myself "I am raising people not clothes so those unfolded clothes will be fine."

Establish A Strong Team

For Emily Taffel, owner of Mugsy PR, establishing a strong team played an essential role towards easing her guilt by granting her the freedom to spend more time with her family.

"My step kids started hiding my laptop so I wouldn't work as much and that was my wakeup call. I was feeling guilty for not being with them, but then feeling guilty about not working when I was with them. By building up a strong team and putting in place some procedures to ensure I can step away more often, I have been able to remove some of the guilt and find a better balance."

Taffel took the initiative to surround herself with responsible, hard-working people who she could trust to help improve the efficiency of her business.

"We brought in very self-motivated people who often times think of an idea or a next step before I do. Instead of trying to lead employees I feel like everyone at Mugsy owns their work. They lead the projects instead of me trying to manage them. There is a lot of creative autonomy here which our team thrives on. We also started using Trello to track projects which allowed me to manage every aspect of things whether I was on-site or not."

Get Clear on Your Goals

While it is only natural for entrepreneurs to seek more opportunities to scale their businesses, there comes a time when you have to consider that some opportunities may not be aligned with your goals. Liz Toombs, president and owner of PDR Interior, has experienced all sorts of guilt throughout the course of building her business. As her business grew, her guilt stemmed from spending more time working than with her family.

"I don't know why, as entrepreneurs, and more specifically, as female entrepreneurs we saddle ourselves with guilt. Deep down I know this work is exactly what I should be doing, but for some reason I hold myself to a standard that always requires me to be doing more."

Over the past few months, Toombs has approached her work life in a more realistic manner by identifying her goals and focusing solely on how to achieve them.

1. "Working with an executive coach who helps me get perspective on what my goals are, why I have set them, where I am in the process of reaching them, and being kind to myself while working on them."

2. "Opportunities that come my way may be really cool, but every one of them isn't always going to align with the goals I am working towards. I have experienced burn-out and extreme fatigue from filling my days with things that don't assist in achieving those goals. I don't want to feel that way again, so I'm working on politely declining anything that doesn't make sense for me right now in order to stay sharp and focused."

Overcoming entrepreneur guilt is not an easy process, but it is to your benefit. Tackling these negative feelings head on will allow you to be your best, most productive self in both your personal and professional life.

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Women in Power: How to Get Better at Mentorship and Business Leadership

If you are reading this, then it is quite likely that you are a business leader and mentor already, and the very fact that you are looking to improve your skills beyond your current capacity means you are already ahead of the game.


In corporate sectors all around, a general trend has been observed which point towards the conclusion that talented women employees do thrive better under female mentorship. What this means is that women at the forefront of corporate leadership today must continue to improve in their ability to both lead and mentor the leaders of tomorrow. This is facilitated by the easy availability of ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching courses and training nowadays, which we are going to discuss in detail next.

Improving as a Mentor: Where Do You Start?

Given that improving on leadership and mentorship skills only concerns those that are already leading businesses and tutoring fresh talent under them, the very first requirement here concerns completing advanced ILM Level 7 Coaching programs.

However, in order to also include a more comprehensive educational curriculum and training to hone your mentorship skills to a point, it would be a good idea to go with a BCF Group program, which will help you to get that widely respected and vastly useful ILM Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring.

The BCF Group is one of the UK's most highly rated Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) Approved Centres for ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching Courses. To know more about what exactly to expect during and after completing your ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring from the centre, head over to the official site.

In the meantime, some of the advantages of their ILM Level 7 Coaching curriculums can be highlighted as follows:

  • Advanced understanding of high-level coaching and mentoring theories
  • Critical evaluation of one's own leadership mentoring and executive coaching practices
  • Knowing how to relate someone's personality and nature of business to her own mentoring practices
  • Personal growth: Effective learning and mentoring fellow coaches

Once you have the ILM Level 7 Coaching Certificate, you are finally ready to take on advanced responsibilities as a business leader and significantly improve on your ability to mentor the fresh, female executives and leaders that rely on you for guidance.

Without the necessary advanced education and training, progress would not be possible after a point, but once you do end up completing your certifications, it is time to build on that that knowledge and training by adding your own unique touches towards developing a mentoring procedure for your clients/executives.

Understanding the 3 Different Aspects of Mentorship which Hold the Most Value to Corporate Women

There are various different aspects of business coaching, but most women usually need more assistance and guidance in some particular areas over others. If you have a certificate in executive coaching and mentoring, you most likely possess the ability to cover at least two of them for your clients.

After going through the opinion of numerous business mentors who have had a great deal of experience in working with talented women across multiple fields, the primary mentoring needs of corporate women in particular seem to be divided into three broad categories:

  • Advisory mentorship
  • Strategic mentorship
  • Operational mentorship

Advisory Mentorship: Feedback

Most women working in a corporate environment agree that their managers are not as straightforward or guiding with their feedback to the female executives as they are usually with the male executives. The feedback is, of course, extremely important for growth, and in its absence, improvement and employee evolution is often stunted - even in those with potential.

The advisory role of the mentor is meant to fill this damaging gap by providing her with valuable feedback which she can then use to further her own progress. It is important for everyone, regardless of gender, to get a clear idea regarding what their weaknesses are that they need to work on, as well as getting feedback on their strengths, so that they know exactly what to rely on in times of urgency. The advisory role played by a coach and mentor involves doing both and much more.

Strategic Mentorship: Exposure

Exposure is another part of the industry where women employees and even female business owners are lagging behind, since managers, partners and other decision makers often end up highlighting the best performing men over the equally talented (if not more so) women.

The job of the strategic mentor is to make sure that her clients are not overshadowed by anyone. They work towards bringing the spotlight to talented leaders and executives, so that they too can form valuable partnerships, get promotions, and find more suited roles for their talents. It is to be noted that experienced and well-connected business coaches who have been in the field for a while make the best strategic mentors for obvious reasons.

Operational Mentorship: Advice

Operational mentorship goes beyond just the generic advice, but involves an actual process and step by step solution to overcoming obstacles in a female executive's path to success, be it for an immediate project or a long-term goal.

Just as experienced coaches and mentors are ideal for strategic mentorship, women need more industry specific guidance when it comes to operational mentors. They need to be women who have actually worked in the specific field concerned, or finding practical solutions and forming strategies to overcome specific obstacles will prove difficult, even if the mentor has her best interests in mind.

When you are a highly qualified, experienced and successful female business coach, know that you are not only helping your clients reach success, but you are at the same time being seen as a role model for women working in the corporate sector. Every time you succeed in making another woman reach her goals, you are inspiring more women to follow in your footsteps, as well as showing them how to walk that road to success by mentoring them.