While the number of female entrepreneurs is growing, men still start businesses at a higher rate than women do.
If you are a female entrepreneur, you might feel as though you are at a disadvantage.
You may struggle to find mentors, or you may walk into meetings where it is assumed that you are a subordinate.
The tips below can help you thrive in the entrepreneurial world.
Get the Right Education
If you’re still in high school or you’ve been out of school for a long time but you don’t know much about the business world, you may want to consider going back to college to get your degree. If you are worried about cost, think of this as an investment in your business. In addition to federal aid and scholarships, you may be able to borrow money from a private lender. A student loan calculator can help you determine what your repayments will be like after graduation.
Look for Funding for Women
While there are disadvantages to being a woman starting a business, there are also advantages, including some grants and other resources specifically set aside to support female-owned enterprises. Be sure to look into the money that may be available to you as well as other opportunities, such as organizations that can connect you with investors and mentors.
Believe in Yourself
It might sound like a cliched platitude, but believing in yourself has two important meanings here. First, you should prioritize your business and yourself. Too often, women put themselves last, and while you may be juggling important responsibilities, such as child care or caring for elderly parents, you should feel as though you can call on other family members to step up as well.
The other meaning is that you should trust your instincts. Men are often socialized to trust their instincts with confidence while you may have a tendency to second-guess yourself. Of course, you should listen to advice and make careful calculations before making a risky move, but you should also get used to listening to hunches and gut feelings. They often arise because you have noticed information or signals that you have not yet consciously processed.
Women might also be more likely than men to assign failure to their own shortcomings instead of seeing it as something that may be outside their control or a natural part of the process. Even if your failure is because of something that you did wrong, you can look on it as more of a learning process than a setback. Setting out with the understanding that not every idea you have for your business is going to work out and that you are going to fall short sometimes can help you roll with the punches when they come.
Look for Role Models
Read articles and books about women entrepreneurs, and look for success stories in real life. You’re not going to connect with every female business owner that you meet and men can make great mentors for you as well, but if you do find a woman entrepreneur who is open to working with you, you may be able to learn a great deal from her.