Women have evolved from rigid traditional roles of mother and caretaker only, and increasingly women can be seen breaking through into new careers, or previously men-only pursuits. Through legislation and promotion of gender equality at work (which still has a long way to go) women have been catapulted to an unprecedented level of success both financially and socially.
It is therefore natural that a lot of women are venturing into the jungle of entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses. Some men who love these women may be intimidated by their drive – while other men are cool calling "shotgun" and letting their lady do her thing.
As we near the end of this month of love, here are five practical ways to show your support for the entrepreneurial queen – the "Trep Queen" – in your life that she probably wouldn't ever ask you for.
1. Be her CEO
Before you quit your day job, I am talking about "chief evangelical officer". Spread the "gospel" of her business to your friends, family, colleagues... people in a queue at the bank. When you start up, there is usually not much of a budget for marketing, so you rely a lot on word of mouth and referrals.
Share links to her business on your social media; have a couple of her business cards in your wallet and car. If you know someone in her field, hound that person until they meet with her – go to the verge of nepotism recommending her business to your employer.
When you start your own business, there is very little money for luxuries. We have all read about entrepreneurs living on bread and eggs, or eating cereal with water. She is a "Trep Queen", so she will never ask for anything...
However, she will certainly appreciate some of her favourite pre-hustle treats once in a while. I'm not suggesting that you go and fill a trolley, because that would actually infuriate her. She doesn't need to be rescued – but she would love to be spoilt.
She may live at home with her folks, well supplied with treats, but you could always "borrow' her car and return it with a full tank so she gets to those meetings – or make sure she has airtime or data for calls or her Instagram page. This is not a closed list – you know what your queen needs.
Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely road, and it does get very hard before it gets easier.
3. Give her space. Lots of it.
Being an entrepreneur is a lonely path, and that's how entrepreneurs actually prefer it. When it's time to strategise, plan and envision the future, please do not disturb. If things aren't going well and we need to lick our wounds, we often retreat into our caves. Entrepreneurs do not work a nine to five, they work as the need arises – their laptop is their office, with some working overnight and sleeping during the day.
Taking calls or replying to texts can break focus or creativity, which entrepreneurs always need. Don't be upset when she doesn't call or text back in 24 hours – and under no circumstances is it ever acceptable to be needy or nag her. Realise and accept that if an opportunity comes along, she will usually go for the opportunity, and you must not ever make her choose.
4. Be secure
Networking is the lifeblood of entrepreneurship. You need to be known in your field, because the playing fields aren't equal. Owners of startups need to be beating the streets of the cities, pushing business cards into hands that might later sign their cheques.
It's undeniable that men are the leaders of the business world, therefore, women will inevitably spend time with them for professional purposes. Most of these events take place after hours or on weekends, so you need to be secure enough to let her go. On some weekends dates will have to be cancelled, because she finally landed a networking opportunity with someone she has been trying to meet for ages.
Alternatively, you may have to accompany her to a black-tie event where she will leave you with a table of strangers so she can talk to her potential investors – in those instances, be a big boy and network for yourself, while she turns contacts into contracts.
5. Hold her hand
As mentioned above, entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, and it does get very hard before it gets easier. In his song, John Legend says "the world is beating you down, I'm around in every mood". That doesn't mean PMS only – but also in times of fear, failure, joy, triumph, loss, betrayal, anxiety and insecurity.
Holding her hand also means keeping her accountable, because entrepreneurs need to be dreamers and be passionate about their products, but they can get carried away. Sometimes you have to rein her in, keeping her practical – but do not use this to manipulate or control her.
You have to hold her hand loosely, not in a tight-fisted way.
Finally, in case you haven't figured it out yet – when you do all the above, she will lead you to where you want to be. She is always networking, so she will bring you up to people who can change your life, too. Invest in your "Trep Queen", and watch her build the empire.