In a way, I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Even when I was a little girl in elementary school, selling Airheads on the school bus to my classmates, I had the mind of a business owner.
And yet, there are five things I wish I knew when starting out as a female entrepreneur that I could have jumped on early when building my brand – things I only learned much later in my business, that then went on to change the course of my brand, life, and impact.
So, if you’re a female entrepreneur (or want to become one)…
First off, I’m so proud of you for realizing your potential and going after your dreams.
And second? Here are five things you should know, from one woman in business to another.
1) It won’t be easy.
A universal truth for all minorities, things have never been easy for women – especially BIPOC women or women who identify as LGBTQ+. Throughout history, we have had to continuously work smarter, harder, and bolder than any man to break barriers and be role models for others.
For me, as a POC woman in business, I have faced countless obstacles along my path to success and the life I wanted for myself – from racism and xenophobia, to sexism, abuse, and inequality in the workplace. And yet, in many ways those obstacles are what made me into the woman and success I am today. They strengthened me, taught me resolve and empathy, and helped me tap into a potential I never knew I had.
I’m grateful for those struggles, but they weren’t easy to face, and they won’t be easy for you either. Be strong, be vigilant, keep fighting for your own value and dreams because they’re worth fighting for, and don’t give up.
You are forging the path for generations of women to come behind you, so clear it well, lead by example, and shatter those glass ceilings. You deserve to live a life that brings you happiness, fulfillment, equal opportunity, and purpose!
2) You have to ask.
If there’s one thing I could impress on you today, it’s to let go of your fear of the word “no”, and learn to simply ask. Ask for your worth. Ask for a promotion or raise. Ask for the respect or opportunities you deserve. No matter what it is in life, if you want it, you have to ask.
As women, from the time we’re children, we’re taught by society to be excessively polite and apologetic over the space we take up, which makes it a lot harder for us to ask for our worth with the same blunt confidence men use. Don’t believe me? Take a look at your messages the last time you asked for something, and count how many emojis, minimizing adverbs, or unnecessary apologies and cute terms you used.
Speaking up and asking for your worth is one of the hardest things you can do as a woman. And yet, when you consider the hard truth that women are statistically paid way less than men, it’s because this wage gap exists that it’s so important you do your part to help empower other women to close it – letting go of limiting beliefs, knowing your worth, and speaking up and asking for it.
The worst thing you can hear is a “no” – but if you don’t ask, a “no” is already all that you’re hearing. However, learn to speak up and ask for the things you want in life? You might just hear a “yes” and get exactly what you dream of.
It’s not just about you getting paid what you deserve – although that is essential! It’s about leading by example, being the change you want to see, and giving other women permission to do the same.
Something that only starts when you stop being afraid to ask.
3) There is never a right time.
I’m going to tell you right now: perfection is a myth. It doesn’t exist. And because perfection doesn’t exist, neither does the “perfect moment.” If you’re holding yourself, your content, or the launch of your dream business back because you’re waiting for it to be the right time or for everything to be perfect…
Stop. Don’t do that to yourself.
Because trust me when I say I did, and because I did, others who were braver (and smarter) than me released their imperfect projects and grew faster because of it. Your audience and your customers don’t want to see perfection, they want to see you being authentic with your story, while showing up, every day, to serve them in the best way you know how.
So, embrace your imperfections! Use them to make a positive impact and grow your business, by inviting others to join in your journey through beautiful vulnerability! And if that “right time” you’re waiting for is for the motivation to come so you can do the work… I can tell you right now, you’ll only feel motivated and inspired after you decide to push through and make it happen regardless!
Stop waiting for perfect, when it’s so much better to be YOU instead.
4) The world needs you.
In their heart, I think most women understand this, yet few are actually in the position to act on it and make a true, positive impact on others beyond their immediate social circle. If you are a female entrepreneur, you are in this position! You can make such a positive impact on other women, and society as a whole, by supporting other female-driven businesses, using your platform to speak up for the causes you care about, and being intentional about nurturing a community of empowered women around you.
Now, more than ever, women supporting women is crucial to accomplish great things – it’s how we’ve made so many strides in social justice, equality, and human rights. So celebrate the wins of other women around you, encourage greatness from your female community, and lead by example, being the change you want to see.
Real queens straighten other queens’ crowns, and I’m in the business of helping women find their own.
5) Your Voice Makes an Impact
With movements like #MeToo earning the traction, attention, and platform it deserves, we see how women’s voices are being heard more and more in our society – a change that is long overdue and only the beginning to more advancements and improvements for women in business.
No matter who you are, what you believe in, or what you stand for, your voice makes an impact. And now, more than ever, we need more voices like yours to help lead the conversations we need to be having as a society, bring awareness to the areas that have gone unnoticed, and help enact positive change throughout both the business and everyday world.
No one can understand a woman, women’s issues, the struggles we face, or what we want in life better than another woman. So find your power, find your voice, and learn to use it!
Women everywhere are watching, listening, and waiting to see what you do. So be the role model they never knew they needed, lead by example, and help spark the movement of empowered female entrepreneurs that are rising up to claim their worth, accomplish their dreams, and change the conversation.
Photo Credit: Brooke Cagle on Unsplash