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When a woman business owner is living her own ideal type, she is balanced. She is satisfied with the amount of time she spends at work and the quality of the time she doesn’t. Her business makes enough money to be profitable, and she takes home enough income to support the activities she enjoys. If, reading this, a female entrepreneur recognizes that she is not living as her ideal type, it is time to consider a change.


A recent study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female entrepreneurs, reveals there are five distinct types of women in business. 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 three of the five types and provides ideas they may consider before changing their entrepreneurial type.


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.


Once she has determined why her business is struggling (read “A Female Entrepreneur’s Dream Come True: Living As Her Ideal Type” by Michele DeKinder-Smith, founder of Jane Out of the Box, for the five most common reasons Tenacity Jane businesses often struggle), Tenacity Jane must critically examine her business under its current model and concept and ensure it is capable of making the money she wants it to. Once she has determined her business’ focus, she can begin to change herself.


Considerations for Tenacity Jane:

  • Ideal amount of time spent working: Tenacity Jane business owners, in general, reported that they worked longer hours than they’d like to. When considering their “ideal” type, then Tenacity Jane owners must remember that Jane Dough and Go Jane Go business owners both work long hours as well. Merry Jane and Accidental Jane business owners work fewer hours, and have slightly less income.
  • Whether to hire help: Because Tenacity Jane business owners are often running newer businesses, they may not have experience in some of the day-to-day tasks, such as bookkeeping or marketing. Therefore, it may benefit them to hire helpers who can handle these tasks. Bear in mind that Jane Dough business owners manage whole teams of people, while Jane Dough business owners may have slightly more trouble delegating. Accidental Jane business owners enjoy freedom and often prefer hiring independent contractors rather than traditional employees. Merry Jane business owners also enjoy their freedom and may not be able to afford hiring help.
  • Planning for the future: Tenacity Jane business owners often have grand visions of where their companies will be, and what these companies will provide in the future. However, narrowing that focus is necessary to boost the company’s income enough to maintain it and to provide for future growth. Jane Dough business owners often are visionaries, and they may implement many strategies for growth at once. On the other hand, Go Jane Go is often in such high demand that she doesn’t have time to strategize or plan. Accidental Jane business owners often start out by accident and then meet market demands, and therefore do not have long-term plans. Merry Jane business owners are usually happy with exactly what they’re doing now, but often do plan to grow their businesses in the future, as their other responsibilities decrease.


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 run successful businesses for years, and happily remain Accidental Jane business owners. They often started their businesses “by accident,” and simply respond to market demands. Consummate professionals who are exceptionally good at what they do, Accidental Jane business owners are not usually short on clients â€" the ebbs and flows they experience shortly after launching their companies usually smooth out over time.  Typically, a purposeful change in entrepreneurial type for Accidental Jane will result in growth â€" and likely a change to Jane Dough or Go Jane Go.


Considerations for Accidental Jane:

  • Whether to expand: Growing her business will mean several things to Accidental Jane. It will mean considering hiring help. Accidental Jane enjoys being away from corporate politics. If she wants to grow her business without hiring help, she likely will end up in the Go Jane Go group, with a higher personal income and a higher level of stress. However, if she chooses to hire team members (even independent contractors for whom she does not have to provide regular working hours or office space), she may move into the Jane Dough group. Accidental Jane may very well decide to remain in her current group, if she doesn’t want to grow her business just yet.
  • How much time to put in: Again, Accidental Jane is happy with her balance of “enough, but not too much, work.” Therefore, if she decides to change her type, which likely means growing her business, she will have to determine how many additional hours she wants to put in. While Merry Jane business owners put in fewer hours than other types, they also have a smaller income. Both Jane Dough and Go Jane Go report working longer hours than Accidental Jane does â€" but they pay off in higher income levels.
  • Planning for the future: In determining whether she is living her ideal type, Accidental Jane must look forward. She must determine whether she has a long-term vision for her business â€" and whether she wants one. The realization or creation of this vision will play a significant role in determining Accidental Jane’s ideal type.


Go Jane Go is an entrepreneur who 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.


Because Go Jane Go businesses often are financially successful and Go Jane Go entrepreneurs are passionate about their work and civic contributions, the only likely change they’d make is to the Jane Dough group (since the other groups work fewer hours, make less money, and don’t report placing the same level of importance on giving back). 


Considerations for Go Jane Go:

  • Delegating to the team: Jane Dough business owners often delegate tasks and projects to their team members, so they have more time to strategize and plan. For the exacting Go Jane Go, this prospect may seem daunting. However, if a Go Jane Go wants to become a Jane Dough by growing her business and expanding its net proceeds, she may have to teach herself to trust her team members. She can start by delegating smaller tasks, and work her way up to larger ones. If she is simply not comfortable delegating, maybe Go Jane Go is the right group for her.
  • Putting herself first: One of Go Jane Go’s major challenges is that she has a hard time saying no, whether to a client, a family member, or a charitable cause. Furthermore, she rarely makes time for herself. Although she thrives on helping others, Go Jane Go also feels overwhelmed and overcommitted. Jane Dough, on the other hand, reports feeling satisfied with her work/life balance. She finds time for herself and has learned when to say, “Enough is enough.” If a Go Jane Go business owner is concerned that a type change would mean lessening her ability to give back, she should bear in mind that while improving her time management skills and delegating some of the smaller tasks, she could strike a satisfactory balance.
  • Leaving work at work: Go Jane Go often takes business personally because she believes her work is a reflection of herself. It is possible to maintain her high standards, while also letting go enough to enjoy business more. Jane Dough business owners take a longer-term view, and usually operate with a “business is business” attitude. Again, if Go Jane Go finds that she cannot separate the personal from the professional, perhaps a type change isn’t for her.


Each type of entrepreneur has different priorities, needs and characteristics. Therefore, each type must make different considerations before launching a type change. It is important to remember that each type has its own unique strengths and challenges â€" no single type is without its highs and lows. One thing is key, however: when a business owner is living her ideal type, all seems right with the world.


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 6/2/2010

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