Whatever your gender, starting your own business is a challenge. Drawing up short and long term plans, securing funding, assembling the right team, creating a website for your business – the list goes on!
Female entrepreneurs face an extra set of hurdles. Until recently, the business world was dominated by men. If you’re a woman starting your own company, you’ll need the courage to defy social norms and put in a lot of hard work to realize your dreams. But the journey is worth it; running your own business and taking control of your career is an awesome feeling.
Here are a few tips for those starting out:
- Network with other women in business
Look out for events marketed to female entrepreneurs. Meet women who understand the joys and challenges of running a business. Swap industry news, keep up to date with best practices, and learn about new opportunities. Find a regular event and attend as many meetings as possible. It takes time to grow useful connections, so start networking as soon as you start out.
- Get a mentor
Learn from those who have gone before you by finding a mentor. There are thousands of women out there willing to collaborate with you and share their wisdom. Mentorship doesn’t have to be formal; it could take the form of a few chats over coffee in which you ask them for feedback on your latest ideas. You can meet mentors at networking events or in online groups.
- Embrace failure
Girls are raised to fear failure and to take fewer risks than boys. This puts them at a disadvantage in business environments, where taking decisive action and making mistakes is key to success. Accept that you will have bad days. You are not perfect, but that’s OK. As long as you learn from setbacks, you are still making progress.
- Pick your partner carefully
Modern men and women say they value an equal division of labor when it comes to household chores. Unfortunately, heterosexual women still spend more time every week on housework and childcare than their partners, even when they both work full time. Some women find they have to choose between their ambitions and a relationship if their partner isn’t supportive of their plans.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, advises women to ask potential boyfriends early on whether they are happy to support them in their aspirations. If your date is offended when you raise the topic, move on, and find someone who will be the type of partner you need.
- Value your perspective and experiences
Tiffany Pham, founder and CEO of Mogul, says every woman needs to believe in her voice.
Don’t be shy. Tell as many people as possible what you’re doing and what you hope to achieve. Remember, you are a trailblazer. Give yourself credit for breaking stereotypes and claiming your place in the business world.
- Celebrate your victories
Finally, give yourself permission to enjoy your success. Girls and women are taught to be modest, sometimes to the point of self-deprecation. While it’s great to stay grounded and keep your ego in check, it’s essential to take pride in your achievements. You have every right to be open about your triumphs. Cheering yourself on keeps you motivated.
Your attitude is everything
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. You’ll need to put in long hours, take chances, and be willing to believe in yourself even when others doubt your capabilities. But if you can have faith in your business and aim high while staying grounded, you can fulfill your goals. One day soon, you might inspire other women to follow in your footsteps.