Women all over the world are starting their own businesses and female entrepreneurship is growing faster than ever. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women-owned businesses have increased exponentially over the last 17 years. If you are one of these incredible women with a passion for starting your own business, here are some tips from some noteworthy female entrepreneurs:
1. Money Isn’t the Only Reason to Start a Business
This first tip comes from Kelsey Ramsden, founder of four different companies — including the construction firm, Belvedere Place Development — and Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneur. She warns against diving headfirst into a brand-new business, just because you can see it making a large profit. “Most seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you money is usually the last thing to come,” she notes. If you don’t absolutely love the business you’re going into, you will eventually get burned out, waiting on money to come.
2. Social Networking Is Key
Social media isn’t just for keeping up with friends anymore. You can use that outlet to grow your business. According to Brit + Co’s founder, Brit Morin, it’s important to take advantage of the Buy buttons that Pinterest and Facebook are launching. These can drive more traffic to your website or online shop. And keeping up with social media means you’re reaching out to a very large audience and potential clients.
3. Don’t Limit Yourself
Brit Morin also says that, although production on a large scale is difficult at first, it doesn’t mean your dreams are out of reach. Don’t think you’re limited because you lack hundreds of employees. Manufacture your product in batches from your home. Everyone has to start somewhere. Success won’t come overnight.
4. You Can Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it’s needed. “Historically, women don’t do this well,” says Recca Boenigk, CEO and founder of Neutral Posture Inc. There’s no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed when you ask for help. In fact, asking for advice gives you the knowledge you need to do your job. And asking for help lightens your load and keeps you even more productive.
5. Form Genuine Relationships
Amanda Luu, co-owner of Studio Mondine, advises to forming genuine connections inside and outside your industry. Like so many other companies, her floral business is referral-based. “One relationship can make or break your year. Be truly interested in them and try to cast a wide net.”
6. Protect the Schedule That Works for You
Deb Perelman, creator of the popular food blog Smitten Kitchen, says, “Take note of the times you feel sharpest each day, when you want to crawl under the covers and take a nap, and when you’re the most stressed about everything, including your place in the world.” Find a pattern that works — and then use it and protect it. If you don’t want to work on weekends, then don’t work on weekends. Take the breaks that you need so you can stay energized.
7. Dream Big (and Don’t Stop There)
Founder of Success Society, Stephanie Nickolich says to new entrepreneurs that, “Dreams really do come true when you have the courage to pursue them.” She also advises that entrepreneurs need to dream really big and then create a plan for their success. It’s important to invest in yourself and never give up on what you really want.
8. Just Do It
Pocket Sun, the 24-year-old founder of SoGal offers this advice: “Do not wait to start your business. The only way to do it is to do it.” There will always be excuses! Don’t let age, time or money get in the way of what you desire. The time is now!
9. Be Inspired by Your Own Life
One tip from Laura Miller, president of Ink from Chase, is to take inspiration from your responsibilities at home. Many women run their household as well as their business. Managing the needs of your children, spouse is similar to running a small business. Take what you learn from being the CEO of your household and apply it to your workplace!
10. Be Direct
Sharon Montrose, founder of The Animal Print Shop and commercial animal photographer, says to be direct and that anything else is a waste of your time and others’. If you’re tough and some people don’t like you, it’s okay. You can’t please everyone.
11. Follow Your Passion
Designer Tory Burch has grown her company from less than 20 employees to 3,000 in under 10 years. When she started her foundation, she knew what she was passionate about — she wanted to help other female entrepreneurs. Her determination to benefit these women fueled her passion and now the foundation is empowering women entrepreneurs and their families.
12. Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle
It’s easy to compare your business to other companies right when you start out. Again, success doesn’t happen overnight. Emily Ley, creator of the Simplified Planner, says, “You’ll never know what your life could be if you don’t try. Put one foot in front of the other… Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Starting your own business can be a slow process, but it can be so worth it in the end!
Don’t be afraid to pursue that dream of starting your own business. Everyone starts somewhere. Be passionate about your goals and don’t limit yourself. Just jump in and do it!
Are you an entrepreneur? Share your advice and experiences in the comments!