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Most business owners can define their “type,” based on the characteristics, mindsets and habits they have developed during their entrepreneurial lives. While some business owners undoubtedly are pleased with their situation and feel personally satisfied, others may crave an entirely different type of business ownership. They can attain any type of business ownership imaginable â€" with the right information.


Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female entrepreneurs, reveals there are five distinct types of women in business â€" five “Janes”. Based on professional market research of more than 2,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. This article outlines those five types, and provides tips for becoming a whole new Jane.


Jane Dough represents 18 percent of women in business. She is a “natural-born” entrepreneur who is financially successful and enjoys a satisfactory balance between her work and personal lives. Go Jane Go represents 14 percent of women in business. She, too, is financially successful and she is so great at taking care of her customers that she often struggles to keep up with their demands as well as the demands she places on herself. Merry Jane, who represents 19 percent of women in business, runs a part-time or “flexible time” business. She has myriad other commitments and responsibilities and enjoys the balance she strikes between her company and her other constraints. Accidental Jane represents 18 percent of women in business and has set out to create her own ideal job. She may struggle with prioritizing what she needs to do next in business, but overall enjoys what she does and makes decent money. Tenacity Jane represents 31 percent of women in business. She is extremely passionate about what she does, and struggles with cash flow despite the long hours she works. She is bound and determined to make her business work.


Some entrepreneurs may relate to more than one Jane, and some may believe they fit strongly into one specific group. Entrepreneurial type can change over time, and for a variety of reasons. Industry transformations, personal growth, increased demand, and  new life circumstances may prompt the entrepreneur to evolve a different approach to business ownership.


Entrepreneurs hold the power and the opportunity to change types intentionally. Some of the changes will seem small and easy, and others will seem big and difficult, depending on the differences between an entrepreneur’s current situation and the one she strives toward achieving. However, the good news is that during this process, the business owner has control over whether, when, and how much to change. This freedom of choice is one of the greatest advantages of business ownership.


Here are the five main steps for making the change:


Step One: Choose a Jane. Remember that each type comes with tradeoffs; no one type is better than another. Business owners should choose their desired type based on their values and their needs. For example, an Accidental Jane or Merry Jane has the flexibility to spend more time with family, whereas a Go Jane Go makes more money and often has less personal time, and a Jane Dough makes more money, and works long hours managing a team of people. Business owners should determine which type they’d most like to become, and they can base that determination on the tradeoffs associated with the type’s lifestyle.


Step Two: Assess the gaps between current type and desired type. Consider the key attitudes and behaviors the desired type exhibits. A business owner should compare her own traits with those of her desired type, as well as the size of the disparity between where she is and where she wants to be. That way she can effect the greatest change. As an exercise, she can write down all of the habits, practices and viewpoints she needs to change to become her ideal Jane type.


Questions to consider:

  • “What do I need to start doing that I’ve never done before?”

  • “What am I already doing sporadically that needs to become consistent?”

  • “What do I need to stop doing?” (Example: “I need to stop saying yes to opportunities that don’t move me in my desired direction.”)

  • “What attitudes or beliefs do I need to change?” (Example: “I can never turn clients down no matter how difficult they are â€" I need the business!”)


Step Three: Determine strategies for closing the gaps. Some of the necessary changes can begin immediately, if a business owner focuses on them and chooses to act or think differently than she has in the past. Other changes may require more work or a decision to manage the business differently. For example, some changes will require a business owner to ask for help, or to invest in training or other resources. Writing down specific steps to take to get from her current Jane type to her desired Jane type is an excellent way for a business owner to decide which area to focus on first â€" remember, the idea is not to create an overnight change, but to evolve from one type to another. If the changes seem overwhelming (in size or in number), focus on one step at a time. Choose first the action that is easiest to complete, or the one that will have the single greatest impact.


Step Four: Be true to self in the moment of choice. During the evolution from current Jane to desired Jane, tough times will arise. A business owner may feel helpless, not strong enough, or pulled back toward her old habits. During those times, it is crucial to stay true to self. That means choosing between the way the current Jane would react, and the way the desired Jane would react. Every time the “old ways” win, progress is arrested, and backslide is possible. Every day, a business owner will have dozens of opportunities to be true to her goal of becoming her desired Jane. Whether she stays true to her goal during each of these opportunities will determine the speed and efficiency with which she is able to complete her transformation. This holds true for the process of making any change in life.


Step Five: Monitor progress until goal achievement is complete. A business owner should periodically step back and monitor her progress toward becoming her desired Jane. Keeping a journal or a to-do list is a good way of monitoring what has transpired during each monitoring period. Small setbacks or changes of direction are par for the course during a Jane type transformation, so business owners shouldn’t get discouraged if they run into roadblocks along the way. Each step provides valuable lessons, so business owners must be sure to think about not only what they are achieving but what they are learning every time they encounter a roadblock.


Many people say their business results are determined by factors outside their control. They blame the economy or their competition. They say it’s just luck or fate that determines how life ends up. However, at Jane Out of the Box we believe that results are determined by goals, determination and willingness to take action.  


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 5/19/2010

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