It’s never been a better time for women to launch their own business. For the past two decades, female entrepreneurship has been on the rise. As of January 2017, there are an estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses (defined as businesses that are at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by one or more females) in the U.S. which account for almost 40% of all American businesses. And, when this number is combined with those businesses equally owned by men and women, this number rises to 47%. Although male-owned businesses still receive a disproportionate percent of available capital, investors are growing increasingly aware of this inequity and making an effort to close the gap.
“We are building a community of female entrepreneurs and a resource for information, inspiration, and mentoring.”
While these numbers are promising, they still only tell part of the story. Women-owned firms are still in the minority, and the hurdles faced by women who have embraced entrepreneurship are often very different than those experienced by their male counterparts.
As a female business owner for over a decade, I’ve learned a tremendous amount – both personally and professionally – and I hope my experience can help other women bring their dream to life. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with countless businesses to grow their brands, and having experienced the struggles of a female entrepreneur, the best advice I can give is to embrace the fact that you bring a unique perspective and skill set to the table.
While it’s nearly impossible to encapsulate everything I’ve learned into a few bullet points, here are five key lessons that I’ve learned that other female entrepreneurs can benefit from.
1. Know your value.
You were invited to a meeting for a reason and you are expected to contribute. Always do your homework prior to the meeting, ask questions, project confidence, and be present.
2. Build a strong team around you so you can reach higher.
When hiring a team, look for people with skills that compliment your own and add to your abilities. When you are open to their expertise, you make room for own growth.
3. Success doesn’t always equal big profits.
Success comes in many forms: building a network, helping someone achieve their goals, acquiring a new client. In other words, the bottom line isn’t always the bottom line.
4. Find a mentor…be a mentor.
You need a go-to person to bounce around ideas and get advice. Once you start asking for what you need, you’ll be surprised to discover how many people are eager to help. Likewise, be available to mentor and inspire other women who are following in your footsteps.
5. There’s always another day.
No matter how much you plan for something, there will always be an unexpected curve ball thrown at you. Don’t let it get you down. Tackle one problem at a time and keep going. It’s all worth it in the end.
This is such an exciting time for women – and it’s just the beginning. We’re doing our part to help the next generation of leaders succeed with the launch of the Enthuse Foundation. We are building a community of female entrepreneurs and a resource for information, inspiration, and mentoring.