Female entrepreneurs are becoming more visible every day, but only 1.3% of venture-backed companies have female CEOs. It’s essential for women to feel empowered enough to break the barriers women entrepreneurs face, especially in the tech industry. Let’s take a look at 5 researched-backed tips that helped female-led start-ups thrive against all odds.
1. Break Large Goals into Smaller, Manageable Parts
Women are still expected by society to take on the bulk of the responsibility within the home, which can limit the time they can spend reaching their career goals. After work, making dinner, and sending the kids to bed, it’s hard to have the energy to pivot into a different career, and we can emphasize with that. To stay sane, don’t jump in all at once, or you’ll become overworked.
Instead, start small, then ramp up when you transition from your 9-5 to entrepreneurship. Define your goals, define your milestones, and create a list that will get you there. For example, if your goal is to get 5 new clients in 3 months, determine what you need to reach that milestone. Will you need a better resume, a rocking portfolio, or a larger marketing team or budget?
Don’t forget to reward yourself! Give yourself gifts to show you care about your commitment to growth. Keeping a reward in mind can help you scale your business in the long term.
2. Never Stop Learning and Building a Knowledge Base
Female entrepreneurs have to keep their learning muscles engaged at all times because you’ll have to work on your own as you build capital for your start-up. Until you have the money to staff employees, teach yourself how to do taxes, what your write-offs are, how to attract your target audience, how to create engaging content, and more.
Most industries are constantly expanding and require you to learn a little about a lot, but don’t let that intimidate you. There are plenty of groups and free online resources that can teach any skill you need. If you’re able, find a mentor that can coach you in multiple business subjects or join a society that caters explicitly to female entrepreneurs and use their resources to guide you.
As you gain a knowledge base and improve your business metrics, you’ll earn more money and gain access to paid content, which are more condensed and waste less of your time.
3. Have a Thick Skin, Take Responsibility, and Make Mistakes
There’s no way of getting around it: female entrepreneurs work in a man’s world, and many of these men are intimidated by successful women. Women must develop a thick skin to become entrepreneurs, as their success is often minimized or looked down upon. Pull up a seat anyway because you need to stay firm yet approachable when dealing with other entrepreneurs.
One roadblock presented to most women is learning how to say “no,” as we’re taught to be agreeable. Get comfortable with taking responsibility for your decisions, making mistakes, and growing as an entrepreneur, or you can’t become successful. Tolerating pain and discomfort instead of eliminating it is a lesson you should learn early to scale your company.
Even when you’re at the top, there’s always someone who wants you to fail, whether you’re a man or woman. So, take the bad with the good, as fear of success will only hold you back.
4. Stay Committed and Negotiate for Your Spot
All entrepreneurs have to stay committed and focused on reaching their goals, but women have other roadblocks in their way. It’s common for women to need validation or approval from others to continue on their path. However, regardless of gender, most entrepreneurs don’t have a lot of support because creating your own business is seen as risky, terrifying, and stressful.
While all of that is true, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard to reach your dreams and constantly fight for your place because it’s worth it in the end. Advocating for yourself, your skills, and for new responsibilities may step you out of your comfort zone, but no one will give you what you want freely. The worst anyone can say to you is “no,” so keep negotiating.
It would be nice if success fell into our laps, but that hardly ever happens. Keep your eye on the prize, take up space, and don’t stop asking for what you need until it’s given to you.
5. Empower Other Female Entrepreneurs and Others Around You
Men see other men as competition, but with more spots available on the entrepreneur ladder, they may step aside to help a fellow businessman. Career women often see other women in a similar way, but they may hold on to their spots or avoid assisting others out of fear of losing their hard-earned positions. However, the success of one woman is a success for all women.
It’s crucial for women to prop up others, as it means strides are being made towards equality in the workplace. More accessibility means less prejudice, as women are still being called “bossy” for being assertive or “catty” for handling workplace disputes. Like any minority group that came before us, we need to carve out a place for ourselves to create change in the industry.
Women shouldn’t have to be “men ” to be accepted as entrepreneurs, as empathic, recognizing, and encouraging behaviors help all genders succeed in any industry.