Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, has an interesting view on entrepreneurship: “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps of a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.”
Could you relate to this?
Starting your own business today calls for an ambitious risk-taker who is able to predict the future of a particular industry (to a certain extent), and envision how he or she is going to reach the goal. Every entrepreneur faces numerous challenges, however, it seems female entrepreneurs are up against a few more.
It’s a great challenge and responsibility of being the only woman in the room; however, with challenges comes the solutions, once you know where to focus your energy.
What are the biggest challenges female entrepreneurs face?
Role models: choose your own role model
Each person must live their life as a model for others. Rosa Parks
One of the most common mistakes women tend to do is modelling themselves after successful men entrepreneurs, risking feeling not good enough for the job or losing confidence. The pressure might come from extensive media coverage of successful stories from the male-dominant world. Another reason might stem from the fact that many women have to balance running a business and raising a family.
The truth is that there are successful female entrepreneurs all around the world, and when it comes to role models, it’s not so hard to find a woman one can find inspiration from or the one that inspires you.
Fear of being successful: learn to recognize your fears
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing, which you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt
One of the great qualities of female entrepreneurs is the ability to balance their emotions and use them intuitively in their field of work; this is, however, the great disadvantage as well, because women are prone to fear of success. We still live in the world of stereotypes, thus ambitious women are often seen as aggressive. Fear is the greatest enemy, and when it comes to business challenges, women should use their intuition and experience to recognize those fears, learn how to manage them and learn from experience. The way you see yourself is the way others will see you.
According to Babson College’s 2012 Global Entrepreneur Monitor, the top concern of women who start their business and start-ups is the fear of failure. If you have fears of success, your potential partners and co-workers will have fears of working with you as well.
Decision-making: master to be decisive
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. Flora Whittemore
Fear of failure leads to careful evaluation of every business decision and its impact on the future, and while this is a good quality, being too cautions result in being indecisive, which hinders advancements and progress.
Not being able to improve decision-making abilities follows bad time management skills. While the most important thing is to love what you do, to be good at it means to be able to inspire people to work with and for you, to communicate and collaborate effectively, and to be organized and show professionalism (for instance, record the important meeting and do a transcription afterward). Success means the ability to take risks, and worrying too much about the future of businesses will result in being less confident about the work one does.
Networking: understand the importance of having trusted advisors and supporter
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou
Successful businesses have a network of trusted people, those able to offer good advice and to support the idea. If female entrepreneurs want to succeed in business, it’s important to grow a network of trusted advisors, especially when it comes to support from those women who have already achieved great results. This might be the key to success. Furthermore, women face great challenges when it comes to funding, and those supporters and advisors will help with receiving venture capital or investment. Having trusted people from whom you can ask advice or support to grow your business is crucial in many ways.
If you overcome these challenges, you will be on a path toward a more successful carrier and business.
What other challenges do you think female entrepreneurs face?