Women advisors must still sidestep men who want to be more than clients

Being a woman in a small business is still a challenge…. even in 2022

Women advisors must still sidestep men who want to be more than clients

If you ask financial advisor Elke Rubach whether women still face any differences than men in starting, and running, a small business, she’s quick to reply.

“Which answer do you want? The politically correct one or the actual one?”

Respond with the “actual one”, and the principal and founder of Rubach Wealth Holistic Family Advisors is quick to share her experiences of running a small business as a woman in the 21st century with Wealth Professional as we celebrate this small business month.

The challenges range from the perils of networking, especially with men who want to be more than clients, to finding a spouse willing to share work at home so women can equally pursue paid work.

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Networking, essential to building a business, can be challenging – especially with male clients who may misread a young woman’s motives or simply think it’s okay to hit on women advisors.

“If you’re single, where do you draw the line?” she asked, citing one advisor who would pay to take his client’s older mom and her friends out for a pizza lunch on her birthday to cultivate clients. She noted that tactic doesn’t translate equally to a woman advisor taking six men to a hockey game.  That’s not only expensive, but risks sending the wrong message about the woman.

“If you’re a single, young female, the challenge is that it’s normally the guy who is still the one cutting the check and there’s a high risk of the message getting confused with them. So, you have to be really strong and push back. You have to be firm and say, “Listen, I’m here to do business. If you’re not interested, that’s fine, but let’s keep this professional,’” said Rubach, who said she’s had to deal with that many times.

She’s also found that young, single women aren’t always taken seriously because they’re not seen to be experienced. So, she recommends that they get a mentor to help them learn the ropes faster.

Beyond that, it can be equally challenging being a young married woman advisor with kids.

“You want a supportive spouse or partner who is a true team player or you’re going to be spinning your wheels or end up divorced, and then it takes a lot longer to build your business,” Rubach added, noting how many balls women have up in the air if they’re also raising children.

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“It’s a journey,” said Rubach. “We have to be more patient. We have to be steadfast with who we are and what we stand for, and we do need a partner who believes in what we’re doing and knows that it takes time to build a business because their meetings are no more important than yours.”

Rubach encourages other women who may be having the same experiences to stand up for themselves and each other, and fire clients who don’t respect boundaries. She emphasized that it’s important to build a clientele with  people whom they enjoy working with – and may be like them.

“You need to know your worth. But, if you have a good mentor or buddy, or whatever you want to call it, so you have someone by your side, that’s great,” she said. “Be patient. Don’t give up., and don’t comprise your ethics. You need resilience. This business is built on trust, and you don’t build it overnight. And don’t sacrifice your values because then you’ll kick yourself when things don’t work.”