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Every female entrepreneur dreams of the day her preparation meets opportunity and her own good luck is born. In her dreams, she knows exactly what she’ll do when presented with an opportunity, and exactly how the cards will fall when she takes it. But in real life, opportunity often seems to come out of nowhere and all the confidence she felt in those dreams disappears as she’s faced with the very real question: how do successful women decide what to do with new opportunity?


A new study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on women entrepreneurs, recently revealed five distinct types of women in business. Each of these five types â€" each Jane â€" has a unique approach to running a business. As a consequence, each of them has a unique combination of characteristics and factors.


This article profiles two of those Jane “types” and the ways they may respond to a new opportunity.


Go Jane Go is passionate about her work, and has no problem marketing and selling herself, so she has plenty of clientsâ€"but she’s struggling to keep up with demand. She may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer opportunities as well, because she’s eager to make an impact on the world and may really struggle saying “no”.  Because she wants to “say yes” to so many opportunities, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week.  During the worst of times, Go Jane Go may tend to run herself ragged or feeling guilty about all the things on her “to do list” that aren’t getting done quickly enough to satisfy her exacting demands.


Although, as a Go Jane Go, you might be tempted to take on any new opportunity because you know you’re good at multitasking and you feel obligated to make it work, wait! Think about whether you really want to get into a new venture and all that comes with it.


  • Because you’re so good at what you do and you know all the fine details of your business and how it runs, you have a hard time delegating sometimes. If you know you’re going to take on this new opportunity and then feel overwhelmed because you won’t feel comfortable assigning any of your workload to someone else, maybe this isn’t the time to do it.

  • Because you’re such a hard worker and demand perfection from yourself, you work long hours. Do you have the time to deal with any new activities this opportunity will undoubtedly create? Before you accept this challenge, use some of your valuable time to determine whether the new opportunity is realistically feasible, given your time constraints. Especially, consider the cost to yourself in accepting the new assignment â€" will you push yourself to your breaking point? If so, it’s OK to let the opportunity gracefully pass you by â€" because of who you are, there’s undoubtedly another right around the corner.

  • If it turns out that the new opportunity will work with your calendar, commit to delegating wherever possible â€" and make sure you’re also taking care of yourself in the process.


Accidental Jane is a successful, confident business owner who never actually set out to start a business.  Instead, she may have decided to start a business due to frustration with her job or a layoff and decided to use her business and personal contacts to strike out on her own. Or, she may have started making something that served her own unmet needs and found other customers with the same need, giving birth to a business.  Accidental Jane enjoys what she does and is creating a satisfactory level of income. 


Taking on a new opportunity as an Accidental Jane may mean transitioning into a different Jane type (often Jane Dough or Go Jane Go). That means making your business more of a focus in your life. Before saying “yes,” determine if that’s what you really want.


  • A new opportunity may mean putting more time into your business. As an Accidental Jane, your lifestyle is very important to you.

  • If the opportunity is very appealing to you, ask the question: How can you make it work on your terms? How can you structure the work so that it doesn’t impinge much on your time? Can you let go of something else or can you delegate part of this work?

  • Further, ask yourself: Am I charging as much as I could? Accidental Jane may sometimes be a little out of touch with her industry’s going rates. As workload and opportunities creep up, she should continually think about increasing rates to make the work more profitable.

  • Finally, if new opportunities get you excited, start building your company for the long-term vision so you can maintain your lifestyle while also taking on more work. Envision how your company might look in 3 years if you say yes to the kinds of opportunity you are facing right now. If what you see in your vision excites you, begin building a plan that will help you manage that future business without letting it take over your life. If what you see doesn’t excite you, because you are simply happy and content with your business as it stands today, then be prepared to say no to an opportunity at least occasionally.


Whether you’re a Go Jane Go or an Accidental Jane, it’s important to know what you’ll do when you’re presented with an opportunity. Explore all the implications and possibilities â€" then decide whether you want to take this opportunity and deal with the outcomes.


Interested in learning more about the five Jane types and which Jane you are? Check out


This Business article was written by Michele DeKinder-Smith on 10/28/2009

Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at