Even though women own 38% of businesses in the U.S., they still face challenges that men don’t encounter. Despite making monumental achievements in commerce, innovation, and marketing, life as a female entrepreneur can still be a hard-fought battle.
In this article, we’ll discuss a few barriers that female entrepreneurs face, as well as some advice on how to overcome them!
defy social norms
Anytime you do something that society doesn’t deem to be normal, there is going to be resistance and criticism. When women first starting working outside the home it wasn’t socially acceptable. People judged them for not being at home cooking, cleaning, and caring for their husbands and children. Even now the remnants of that prejudice still show up when it comes to maternity leave policies, working mother rights, and family planning benefits.
Don’t allow the opinions of others to hold you back. The world will find a reason to talk… even if everything is perfect – they’ll say it’s too perfect. Let defying social norms be the norm. Push limits, try new things, and beat the odds!
find your own balance
Balancing business and family life is a significant challenge for any woman. Add running a business to the equation and the scales don’t always tip in favor of success. But women are extraordinarily agile and if anyone can find a way to make it work, it’s us!
It’s important to incorporate a strong self-care routine. Find what calms you and gives you peace and make it a part of your week… every week! Don’t forget to do things that help you develop both mentally and emotionally as well. I see so many women focused on personal development that they forget to enjoy themselves and experience new things.
- Learn a new language.
- Read a fiction book.
- Travel someone where you don’t need a tourist schedule (aka a relaxation trip).
- Get a regular massage.
- Every month commit to trying a new restaurant.
walk the fine line like a pro
Women walk a fine line in business. If they’re assertive, they can be viewed as aggressive. If they’re passive, they can be seen as not having what it takes. There’s no right or wrong way to find success in entrepreneurship.
It’s okay to be aware of how your actions affect others but don’t ever mute or shrink yourself because you’re concerned about offending others; especially those of the opposite sex. Give yourself permission to be authentically you. Know that it’s okay to be confident and professional… and to be the smartest person in the room. Hear criticism and advice through guarded ears. Don’t allow anyone to convince you that you need to be softer or less ambitious to be successful!
When it comes to raising capital to start or expand a business, women can have a distinct disadvantage. Venture capitalists and investors tend to move in circles. If you’re not well connected or having a strong network of other successful women cheering you on, you may have a bit of a battle. But limited resources refers to more than just funding. When it comes to getting the word out about your product or service there’s not always a free marketing blueprint. Or you may just be in need of a little advice on how to move forward with an idea. In the wrong circles, people will see you as competition and remain tight-lipped.
This is when free or inexpensive resources are important.
- Find a trusted mentor in your industry.
- Get familiar with your local Small Business Association.
- Join a mastermind of women entrepreneurs.
- Find out if the local college or university has a small business or entrepreneur incubator.
being at the top
If you are in a particularly male-dominated field, earning respect and giving direction to men who are reluctant to take orders from or work with women can be especially difficult. Never back down because others perceive you to be less than. Stick to your principles and demonstrate that you have earned the right to do what you do.
Don’t allow people with ulterior motives to manipulate you into feeling small or unworthy. Remember that you’re just as good, or better than anyone.