Being A Female Entrepreneur – Challenges And Upsides
As a female entrepreneur, you have known your fair share of struggles. You have been knocked off your feet again and again. Sometimes it has been by societal norms that accuse you of not paying enough attention to your family. Sometimes it is by religious decree, sometimes by your own family, and sometimes by the glass ceiling. Sometimes it has been by the voice inside your own head telling you that you are not good enough for this. That you are not cut out for this. Maybe you are better off where you are, being a stay-at-home mom, or slogging away at your 9 to 5.
Let me tell you that you are not alone in feeling this way. Your feelings are not without reason either. I can tell how it feels. I just finished up a half-an-hour long sob-fest because I was terrified of having not accomplished enough this weekend. I was terrified of being unsure of my next steps. I was terrified because I was feeling like I was not good enough. These feelings are very much real, and so is their impact on us. This why I have put together this list for you – the challenges and upsides of being a female entrepreneur. For every challenge listed, I have shown how it flip it around make it a perk!
Not having as many role models as men do
Every time you walk into any conference or event, you can count the number of women who are there to speak or stand under the spotlight, on your fingers. Male entrepreneurs, business gurus, and consultants are EVERYWHERE! It can be disheartening when you do not see enough women accomplishing what you want for yourself. It feels like uncharted territories that are perhaps better off uncharted.
But what you fear is a challenge, is in truth a tremendous opportunity! Mohandas Gandhi is often credited with the saying “Be the change you wish to see”, and that is exactly my advice to you. Accomplish what you want for yourself, and in doing so, pave the path for other women to walk on. Show your sisters, and friends, and daughters, that yes, their dream is very much possible to turn to their reality. You may not have enough role models, but you are enough. All that is necessary is that you.
Face your fears
Of course, this one is not unique to female entrepreneurs. Male entrepreneurs need to go through this too. But because of the points mentioned above, this fear can often prove all-consuming for women rather than men. This is again, owing to not having an existing group of role models to fall back upon. Not to mention, women, especially ones with children, are always expected to know how they are going to “balance home and career”.
I get it. You are afraid. I am too. You ask yourself, “What if I cannot do this?”, “What if I fail?”, “What if I make a fool of myself?”, “What if I do not have the skills for this?”. These questions hold you back. But imagine what if you did not fail? What if you succeeded? What if you were actually able to make lives better for you, your loved ones, your clients, and your employees? You have so much potential. Are you simply give up on it because of fear? No! Stand back up, and embrace your abilities.
Embracing Our Talent with Confidence
A lot of times, little girls are taught to be humble. Humility is great, but in my experience a lot of the time it prevents women from embracing their talents with confidence. It leads them to undermine their own abilities. You do not have to brag about what you can do. You just need to put your trust in yourself and ask to be recognised and paid for the value you offer.
Change the face of the corporate culture
I know so many people who refuse to go into business because of the way corporate culture works. The pressure of being productive 24/7 haunts you. The kind of wages people make are not very encouraging either. Workers and employees are often not adequately taken care of financially. You do not want to be a part of this ruthless race that puts profit at all costs above basic humaneness. But I want you to realise that this is because the entire corporate culture has been built on the traditionally masculine values of power and conquest.
Imagine if businesses were based on values that are more traditionally feminine – like kindness, nurture, and empathy. Of course, we want to make a profit as entrepreneurs, but not at the cost of living wages for our employees.
Being a female entrepreneur has never been easier in the history of humankind than it is now. This is your chance, and your time, to make a difference. To turn around how businesses work, and to share with the world the gifts you have to give.