Being a successful female entrepreneur is not only challenging, it's (in some aspects) rare. Women make up more than 51% of the U.S. population. But, the latest Census reports show that only 28.7% of all businesses nationwide are owned by women alone. New businesses that are being founded by women are at their highest peak in history but still trail significantly compared to our male counterparts.
Women have been recognized as major participants in the field of entrepreneurship and business. We have established ourselves as leaders and have played a role in growing this platform. We’ve said goodbye to many outdated stereotypes and old fashioned ideas and obstacles and have made a mark in this male dominated world. We’ve set benchmarks and male competitors are now recognizing the capabilities of a driven female entrepreneur.
Being driven is one of the dominant traits found among women entrepreneurs. However, having drive alone is not enough. Being driven is very important but there is a basket of troubles waiting for you at every nook and corner and you have to face them all with confidence.
We have a dreamy perception about being a boss but ask those who live this life and some of them would truly say that the price to pay for being the one who calls the shots is immense. You may know how to handle the obstacles as most of them are common to those faced by others and you know the way out, but there are some things you can do that will keep you fearless, innovative and driven.
Collaborate and Partner Up
There are more opportunities than ever to meet and connect with other driven female entrepreneurs.
Like I said earlier, female entrepreneurs are still the minority in measurable statistics like revenue and patents. But, the number of businesses started by women have skyrocketed by 50% since 1997. This means that there are more opportunities than ever to meet and connect with other driven female entrepreneurs. Search Meetup.com, The National Association of Women Business Owners or American Business Women’s Association and find those opportunities.
Greater awareness, social media interaction, and greater need to depend on each other for support have led to the development of a many communities of women. Business communities are formed at all levels from district to national and even international levels, to bring together ideas and innovation for better growth and development.
In the same breath, don’t limit yourself to working with only other women. Many businessmen understand that its beneficial to work with female partners due to many factors. There is a two sided perspective involved as men and women see things differently at times. People have come to accept the difference in perspective and learn from each other to establish a stronger business enterprise, better opportunities, more growth, and profits.
Starting or running a business can be stressful, frustrating, and even maddening. Have someone who can guide you through the obstacles, offer a different perspective, solutions, and be the person to keep your ego in control. Do not just go for a top business mentor, in fact, do the opposite, find one who understands you and is fearless enough to be honest. It has to be a balanced mentor-mentee relationship.
Try to have more than one from different fields, even genders. A combination of men and women works best. Try to utilize the different business practice groups and local networks.
"Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination." - Mae Jeminson
Stay Focused on the Mission
The mission that you had in mind when you started your business should always be remembered. You have to take every decision with that image that you had in mind and they all should fall in line with it. Collaborate with people who have a common mission and common ideas. This will be easier to achieve and there are better chances of the partnerships succeeding.
Having a clear goal and mission will lead you back to the yellow brick road when distractions and other opportunities attempt to lead you away. If you are good at what you do, then there will be many doors that will open and many offers you will receive. The key is to weigh those options against your mission. If you started a home business to spend more time with your family but you are getting consulting offers 3 states away, then that may not be the path you should take.
That doesn’t mean you say no to every opportunity. But it does mean that those opportunities have to fall in line with your mission. Instead of flying out to do the consulting, perhaps use video conferencing as the primary communication method to avoid having too much time away from home. There’s always a way. You just have to commit to following your mission and be innovative enough to find those ways.
Drop all Fear
Fear of failure can be a debilitating factor on your life and performance as an entrepreneur. The best way to handle fear is to face it and defeat it. Draw yourself out of the comfort zone and take challenges, take risks, and go after success.
Coming out of the comfort zone and working wisely will boost your confidence like nothing else. This is the best way to make the most of an opportunity and also overcome your fear. You won’t know what you are capable of achieving until you try!
Establish and Keep Your Credibility
Trust and loyalty are important while entering into any kind of relationship. Your partners, customers, and associates need to know that they can count on you. If you have a valuable skill set, do everything possible to fine tune and develop those skills so that you are the go-to girl for the job.
As a leader, you must have a sense of fairness and justice to your business decisions. Be honest and build the faith in your partners and associates that you are worth paying attention to. Credibility is very important and some giants of industry are living examples of this. You should be an entrepreneur who people like to do business with and have faith in.
Be fearless, innovative, and honest and you are all set to rule the business community. There are no shortcuts to success and any compromise with dedication, truthfulness, and sincerity will lead to failures. Have clear a vision and great confidence but be ready to learn from small things and people whenever there is a chance. Be a person people like to do business with and success is assured.
This article was first published on StartUp Mindset.
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.