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For a female business owner, the benefits of living as her ideal entrepreneurial type are numerous, including a high level of personal contentment, a satisfactory amount of income, passion for her work, and an acceptable work-life balance. 


At Jane Out of the Box, in-depth professional market research of more than 2,500 female entrepreneurs has revealed five distinct types of women in business. Each type has its own strengths, challenges, and desires.  Jane Out of the Box’s most recent article, “Changing Your Type: How Entrepreneurs Can Become Exactly Who They Want to Be,” provides 5 steps for entrepreneurs to consider when changing their entrepreneurial type. The first step is to Choose a Jane, and this article provides more information about each of the Janes â€" so that those wishing to change their type have a well-rounded idea of the pros and cons of being a member of each group.


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 then she 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. Although Accidental Jane may sometimes struggle with prioritizing what she needs to do next in her business, she enjoys what she does and is making good money. About 18% of all women business owners fit the Accidental Jane profile.


Many Accidental Jane business owners eventually evolve into one of the other entrepreneurial types. However, many run successful businesses as Accidental Jane for years, fulfilled by their work without being overwhelmed by it. Accidental Jane enjoys her freedom, and her biggest challenges include maintaining an even workload and keeping the workload at a manageable level.


How Accidental Jane defines success:

·         Enough income to meet needs.

·         Enough, but not too much, work.

·         She makes the rules (no politics, no mandatory hours, etc.).

·         Freedom of choice (the who, what, when and how of the work).

·         Flexible schedule/control of her life.

·         Providing excellent products and/or services

·         Feeling fulfilled by the work.

·         Pleasurable working relationships.

·         Positive feedback, repeat business and referrals.

·         A balanced life.

·         Being a role model for others.


Some of Accidental Jane’s challenges:

  • Workflow concerns. Many Accidental Jane business owners market when they need business, then get so busy they forget to market. This leads to an ebb and flow cycle, which usually smoothes out over time.
  • Lack of a clear vision. Since Accidental Janes usually do not intend to start businesses, they often do not create long-term plans for their companies. They enjoy what they do, and may see potential for business growth in the future, but they don’t want the situation to change much immediately. This lack of a clear vision means Accidental Jane may have to make some tough decisions in the future â€" whether it means changing to a different Jane type or turning down new business to retain Accidental Jane status.


Go Jane Go is passionate about her work and provides excellent service, so she has plenty of clients â€" so much so, she’s struggling to keep up with demand. At 14% of women in business, she may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer opportunities as well, because she’s eager to make an impact on the world and she often struggles to say no. Because she wants to say yes to so many people, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week. As a result, she may be running herself ragged and feeling guilty about neglecting herself and others who are important to her.


Of all the five entrepreneurial types, Go Jane Go is undoubtedly the busiest, with more than a quarter of those interviewed reporting working more than 50 hours per week. Consequently, Go Jane Go business owners also take home the largest personal income. They often report feeling stressed and overwhelmed, but revel in being the best at what they do and being of service to others.


How Go Jane Go defines success:

·         Making a positive difference in the world.

·         Loving her work.

·         Being the best at her work.

·         Being in demand.

·         Always learning and growing as a person and in her craft.

·         Giving her all.

·         Being of service to others â€" giving back.

·         Doing the right thing/being a good person.

·         Being decisive/action-oriented.

·         Providing excellent products and/or services.

·         Reaching the maximum impact.

·         Making others (clients, employees, family, etc.) happy.


Go Jane Go’s challenges:

  • Taking business troubles personally. She believes her work is a reflection of herself and often goes above and beyond to send a positive message.
  • Difficulty saying, “no,” and therefore being overcommitted.
  • Putting herself last.
  • Perfectionism and the need to be in control. Her exacting standards make it difficult for her to delegate even small tasks.
  • Never feeling she “has arrived.” Although, if pressed, Go Jane Go business owners will admit being experts at the top of their game, they also often feel like they need to do more to prove themselves.


Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business and generally, she makes a nice living. She is comfortable and determined in buying and selling, which may be why she’s five times more likely than the average female business owner to hit the million dollar mark. Jane Dough is clear in her priorities and may be intentionally and actively growing an asset-based or legacy business. It is estimated that 18% of women entrepreneurs fall in the category of Jane Dough.


Although Jane Dough is what Jane Out of the Box researchers refer to as “a natural born entrepreneur,” she is not without her challenges. Although, on average, her personal income is slightly less than Go Jane Go’s, Jane Dough’s business income is the highest of all the five types. She works long hours, manages a team of people, and spends more time running her business and strategizing than she does “doing the work.”


How Jane Dough defines success:

  • Being visionary and strategic (engineering a plan for ensuring success).
  • Being confident/decisive and taking action or “going for it.”
  • Staying focused on tasks that drive the business.
  • Growth and expansion.
  • Being in charge/in control.
  • Creating an entity that lives outside herself, to be sold or passed on.
  • Creating wealth.
  • Being “smart” about business and marketing.
  • Leveraging resources, including human resources.
  • Creating results others can see.
  • Feeling proud of her independence and accomplishments.
  • Working hard.
  • Keeping it all in perspective/taking the longer-term view.


Jane Dough’s challenges:

  • Her team can’t keep up with her. Jane Dough’s vision is often on a grand scale, so she may require several different strategies that will ultimately contribute to the growth of her empire. This diversification may be a strong business growth strategy, but can cause confusion among her team members.
  • Her team gets disenfranchised. Jane Dough, a fast-moving, passionate visionary, can sometimes become abrupt and directive in her managerial communications. Because they know exactly what they want to achieve, their directives may come across more like orders issued.
  • Over-delegation. In her desire to achieve growth quickly, some Jane Dough business owners delegate too much to their team members â€" without enough input.


Merry Jane is building a part-time or “flexible time” business that gives her a creative outlet (whether she’s an ad agency consultant or she makes beautiful artwork) that she can manage within specific constraints around her schedule. She may have a day-job, or need to be fully present for family or other pursuits. Representing about 19% of women in business, she realizes she could make more money by working longer hours, but she’s happy with the tradeoff she has made because her business gives her tremendous freedom to work how and when she wants, around her other commitments.


Merry Jane business owners love their businesses, which they often report having started to allow themselves more time to attend to their myriad responsibilities. Most of them work only part-time for one of several reasons: they are stay-at-home mothers, they take care of aging parents, they want to nurture their creative side without spending too much time running a full-time business, or they’ve started their own business on the side in addition to working a full-time job.


How Merry Jane defines success:

·         Flexibility to work when, where and as much as she wants.

·         Meeting all of her obligations well.

·         Enjoying a smooth-running life.

·         Making a sufficient contribution to the household.

·         Being recognized for her gifts and talents.

·         Relishing the freedom to say no.

·         Using her business as an outlet for creativity/self-expression.


Merry Jane’s challenges:

  • Obtaining new customers and marketing the business. Most Merry Jane business owners reported being happy with their work-life balance. However, most also said they would like to bring in new business and make more money.
  • Setting appropriate fees. When starting a new business, Merry Jane may not have all the information she needs to set appropriate fees, such as standard industry profit margins, how long a project will take, the uniqueness of a product or service, and when and in what method payments will occur.
  • Striking the right balance. Many Merry Jane business owners want new customers â€" but not so many that they can’t still enjoy the freedom they relish.


Tenacity Jane is an entrepreneur with an undeniable passion for her business, and one who tends to be struggling with cash flow. As a result, she’s working longer hours, and making less money than she’d like. Nevertheless, Tenacity Jane is bound and determined to make her business a success. At 31% of women in business, Tenacity Janes make up the largest group of female entrepreneurs.


Nearly all of the financially successful women Jane Out of the Box interviewed say they went through a Tenacity Jane phase. They report that the lessons they learned during this time in their lives were invaluable and ultimately contributed to their longer-term success. Nine out of ten Tenacity Jane business owners reported dissatisfaction with their cash flow, and the majority reported being unhappy with revenue, business costs or personal income through the business. However, the good news is that it is possible to move out of the Tenacity Jane group and into another, and Tenacity Jane has the passion and determination to make that change.


Here are the key reasons an entrepreneur may fall into the Tenacity Jane category:

  • She has a craft or skill, but little or no experience with many of the activities necessary to run a business (such as marketing and sales, technology, operations management, and financial skills). This is the case for 40 percent of the “new businesses” in the Tenacity Jane category.
  • The business started undercapitalized or acquired more debt than can comfortably be carried given current revenue levels.
  • The business owner doesn’t charge enough for her services â€" she undervalues the work her company does and therefore, does not attain adequate levels of margin.
  • The business owner is trying to accomplish too much all at once. Lack of focus makes it difficult to drive income in any of the areas.
  • Something has changed in the industry or cost structure that has caused the once-prosperous business to falter financially.


Tenacity Jane business owners must carefully consider which of the above conditions best explains why they are struggling â€" and it may be a combination of those conditions. They key to moving out of the Tenacity Jane group and into a more comfortable stage is to understand how she got there in the first place.


Before departing on her type-changing voyage, a business owner must familiarize herself with all the benefits and challenges of her “ideal” type. For example, Jane Dough business owners report high levels of satisfaction. They also work long hours, manage a team of people, and spend more time managing the business than they do “doing the work.” Go Jane Go is in high demand and takes home a high personal income, and she often feels overwhelmed and overcommitted. Accidental Jane is satisfied, and reports some stress about the ebbs and flows of her work. Merry Jane enjoys her flexibility, and would like to make more money.


Each entrepreneurial type has its advantages and challenges â€" and each female entrepreneur must decide which are most important to her. Then, she can begin her journey to living as her ideal type.


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


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 Ty pes 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



This Business article was written by Michele DeKinder-Smith on 5/26/2010

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