Career 11 September 2017
According to Womenable, a for-profit social enterprise that supports women's enterprise creation and growth, the number of women-owned businesses has grown by a whopping 45% between 2007 and 2016. In 2016, there were over 11 million women-owned businesses in the US, and these businesses employed 9 million people, resulting in over $1.6 trillion in revenues. While these numbers are incredibly impressive, women-owned businesses still only represent approximately 35% of small businesses in the US. We would like to see the number of women-owned increase in 2018.
In the past few years, the US has seen a steady increase of women embracing entrepreneurship, however, many women face plenty of challenges and obstacles. We have heard one of the biggest hurdles women have, is finding financing. It can be incredibly difficult to know all of the financing options available, especially the programs and lenders that are exclusively dedicated to helping women-owned businesses.
To encourage the continued growth of women-owned businesses, we have combed the Internet and compiled a list of some of the best financing options and resources available today.
1. Traditional Bank
Many banks have special programs for women owned businesses. They generally offer flexible underwriting and competitive interest rates however traditional banks usually have strict criteria to qualify. To seek out better lending options from a traditional bank —- or any lender — we suggest you consider becoming certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council or the National Women Business Owners Corporation. Both of these certifications are attractive to lenders and may grant you access to additional funding and/or government programs.
2. Apply Online
This is usually a simple process because oftentimes online lenders will ask if you are a woman owned business in the loan application questionnaire. Many online websites work with lenders who specialize in loans catered to the unique needs of a woman owned business.
They may also offer lower interest rates and flexible repayment terms, so they can be a good option as well. Magilla Loans is a great starting place to shop and compare loans because we work with a vast network of lenders that fund women owned businesses and they offer very attractive incentives.
There are plenty of crowdfunding websites where you can attract folks who are specifically looking to fund female businesses. There’s actually a few crowdfunding websites cropping up that are 100% dedicated to female led startups and women owned small businesses. A couple of them are IFundWomen and WomenYouShouldKnow. They not only offer crowdfunding services, but they both have useful tools and resources specifically catered to female entrepreneurs.
4. SBA Loans
The SBA does not lend to businesses directly, however they set the guidelines for loans which are funded by their partners. Their partners include traditional lenders, community development organizations, and microlending institutions. The loans are generally guaranteed which reduces the payback risk, making the lenders more inclined to approve the loan. The SBA guaranteed loans are not only available to women owned businesses, but they are offered to all businesses that do not have access to financing with reasonable terms.
5. Line Of Credit
This may be the easiest way to obtain financing for a new business. The beauty of a line of credit is the flexibility. Because lines of credit are unsecured loans, they work just like a credit card and they do not have a fixed monthly payment. Lines of credit offer a pre-determined credit limit and you can borrow any amount at anytime, as-needed. This is also a great option for working capital, to purchase more inventory, help with payroll, or to use as an emergency fund.
6. Accelerators & Incubators For Women
Accelerators and incubators are a great starting point for women owned businesses because they offer mentorship, funding, and a vast variety of resources, including access to technology tools. Three of our favorite options for women are Women's Startup Lab, Cartier Women's Initiative, and Funding $age.
Grants are not loans but they are a fantastic option to obtain financing for women owned businesses. The tricky part is getting the grant, because many of them require a rigorous application process and some have competitions as well. There are countless grants available to businesses that qualify, but we have selected a few really good options to consider if you’re looking for a grant. Idea Cafe and FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. A few grants exclusive to women owned businesses are the Eileen Fischer, Huggies MomInspired, and the InnovateHER grants, which are backed by the SBA.
8. Angel Investors
Similar to a grant, most angel investments are not an actual loan but an investment in the company. However some angel investors do require repayment for a portion of the money invested once the business becomes profitable. This can be a good option for a new business that needs startup capital and is willing to offer equity in the company. A few female focused angel investor groups are Pipeline Angels, Women’s VC Fund, and Springboard Enterprises.
9. Alternative Lenders
If all else fails, you may consider an alternative lender. Starting a new business is risky and lenders are hesitant to fund new ventures. In fact, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Report, over half of all new businesses shut down within the first 5 years. This makes a new business loan, for businesses owned by women and men, high-risk and difficult to obtain. Some alternative lenders do offer women owned programs with lower rates, however they may still be much higher than other lenders. Thus, we suggest you start with the options that offer the best rates and work your way down. If an alternative lender is the only way to get financing then we recommend you strategize your repayment plan and payoff the debt ahead of schedule or refinance the loan to get a better interest rate.
5 min read
When we envision a person who is suffering from substance use disorder (SUD)—defined by having a history of past misuse, experiencing increasing mental health symptoms, or having a family history of addiction—we often picture someone waking up and instantly grabbing their first drink. However, in my experience working with those battling SUD for nearly a decade, I've learned that everyone's relationship with alcohol looks different and having a few too many drinks at night can be just as dangerous.
The time of day, amount, or type of alcohol one drinks doesn't define if they suffer from SUD or not—it's the compulsion to drink. By focusing on healthy stress relievers and implementing them into your daily routine, you aren't just avoiding another glass at night, you are curbing any inclination for SUD that you may have.
While you may feel the desire to reach for another drink after dinner and putting the kids to bed to relieve some of the stress you incurred that day, there are other things that you can do that are much more beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing.
Risks of Reaching for Another Drink
Reaching for another cocktail or glass of wine can feel like a great way to relieve the stress of the day at the time, but over time it can actually lead to the opposite. Excessive drinking is known to lead to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders such as increased risk of family problems, altered judgment, and worsened sleep quality. These can all lead to increased stress and create a continuous cycle I have seen in many of my patients, which often prove difficult to break.
Increased alcohol consumption can directly impact an individual's mood and temperament, too. In my patients, I've seen a connection between increased alcohol consumption and irritability, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities that previously brought that person joy—activities that people should always put time into, especially right now during the pandemic.
While drinking in moderation doesn't have serious implications for some, others are already at increased risk for SUD. One drink per day is considered moderate for women, while eight drinks or more in a single week is categorized as heavy drinking. It's important to monitor your intake—whether you are at increased risk for SUD or not. It is all too easy for one glass to become another, and then another. And if you keep reaching for just one more drink, you can start to build a tolerance, as it requires more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. This can result in dangerous, addictive habits that will alter your life, and the lives of those who care for you.
Three Healthy Ways to Relieve Evening Stress
Stress relief from alcohol is short-lived, but choosing healthier, alternative stress relievers can provide long-lasting benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. At Wellbridge, our team not only focuses on treating addiction but also on teaching healthy habits to support ongoing sobriety. And many of these learnings can be implemented to avoid addiction by handling stress better as well!
Below are three healthy stress relief ideas you can implement into your routine:
- Mindfulness exercises can be a powerful and mentally stimulating stress reliever. Throughout our therapeutic program at Wellbridge, we provide different opportunities to cultivate mindfulness. For example, breathing exercises, such as box breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, mindful walking, and progressive muscle relaxation. If you're looking for entry, guided meditation, check out this YouTube channel where experts post mindfulness exercises each week.
- Human connection is invaluable. Whether it is your spouse, your children, a friend, or even a therapist, connecting with someone else can be a great way to relieve stress. The additional perspective that another person provides can also help us feel that the anxieties and stressors we are experiencing are more manageable. If you are feeling increased stress from loneliness or isolation, reach out and schedule a Zoom coffee hour with a friend, or call a loved one to check-in and chat.
- Physical activity is an excellent stress reliever as well, for so many reasons. Not only can it help us get our mind off of stress, it enables our bodies to release endorphins and provides long-lasting physical health benefits. Physical activity doesn't need to be a full-blown workout if you don't feel up to it, or simply don't have extended periods of time to dedicate to a longer exercise regimen. Even a short walk or some stretching can go a long way towards improving your mood. I enjoy following guided, online yoga practices for both mindfulness practice and physical activity.
Despite my years working in this space, I am no stranger to giving in to stress. However, I've learned that by allotting myself a little time each morning and evening for activities that set a positive tone in my life—like meditation, journaling, and exercise—I've been able to better manage my stress and feel more prepared for heightened periods of stress. Do I manage to set aside personal time every morning and evening? Definitely not—life happens! But by doing our best to take regular time out for ourselves, we're all certain to be in a better place emotionally and mentally.
Putting Your Mental Health & Wellbeing First
It's important to also recognize that it isn't just stress that causes us to reach for another drink at night. With the added pressures and responsibilities of women in today's world, having another glass of our favorite drink at the end of the day can often seem like a quicker and easier option than other healthier ways to relieve stress.
However, it's essential to put your mental health and wellbeing front and center in your priority list—something that many women struggle with. But just like the oxygen masks on an airplane, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first. By focusing on implementing small, healthy habits and making them a seamless part of your daily routine, you ensure that you can show up in all aspects of your life and for all the people in your life.
If you are struggling with increased stress, be specific and honest with your support system about your need to preserve your mental wellbeing. Prioritizing your needs will help you be there for other people you care about in your life.
I always refer back to a quote from a Dar Williams song—a song about therapy no less! "Oh, how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself." Talk about your needs with others and find time to develop healthy coping habits. And if you feel as though you've already created an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, discuss that relationship with a medical advisor to learn if advanced treatment is the right option for you.