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Taking Risks Like a Girl

May 11, 2017


From 2010 to 2012 I hemmed and hawed about officially launching Her Corner.
Me? Start a business just for women? That sounded so … *girly* … or something.

You see, I’d been raised professionally with men, all my mentors were (and remain) men, most of my professors were men, and frankly, I like working with men.

And yet, there was a thread that ran through my life that made this move so obvious – to everyone but me. I attended an all-girls school from elementary through high school. I worked in corporate America running the women’s initiatives. I went back to business school and participated in the women’s clubs. I obsessively read every report I could find on how and why women were (or were not) succeeding in business (corporate and entrepreneurship).


Taking risks, ala Fire Engines Girl.

But I was scared. Feminism in the business world wasn’t mainstream yet. I didn’t want to be perceived as a crazy man basher. I also didn’t know whether there was any money in this. And launching yet another business (my fourth), and this time, exclusively for women, was risky. Was I willing to sink more money into a new business? A new website? A new suite of offerings? Would anyone want what I was offering? Maybe there was a reason it didn’t exist.

But one day something bigger than my fear turned on. It was my anger (some people will tell you that anger is fear turned inside out). I became angry that all the smart, motivated and ambitious women around me weren’t more successful in their businesses. Darn it, these women had risked a LOT, spent hours upon hours launching and working in these businesses, put themselves out there and made themselves vulnerable. And yet … those businesses were not thriving.

And that made me angry. It wasn’t fair.

But then I realized: I know how to fix this!

Despite my fear, I knew that women support other women. We want to help one another. We are natural connectors. Put us together, and we’re going to ask, “How can I help you?”


We can do it - together!

And in that moment, my fear was trumped by my anger and conviction that I could help. And that belief, my own personal why, has never wavered. It has helped me manage the ups and downs of launching, running, and now growing a business that so far has helped almost 1,000 women grow their businesses.

If only it hadn’t taken me two years to get there.

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Frederique Irwin is the founder and CEO of Her Corner, a peer-powered consultancy dedicated to accelerating the growth of women-owned businesses.




Eva St. Clair
Eva St. Clair

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