Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Chick in Business

October 4, 2011

in Business

women_in_business

If you’re a woman in business for herself, or if you’re contemplating whether or not you should take the plunge, you should know there has never been a better time to be a woman in business – and you don’t have to take my word for it.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Women’s Business Research, 1,600 businesses in the U.S. are started by female entrepreneurs. In fact, entrepreneurship among women is growing at nearly twice the rate as all prospective entrepreneurs.

And even more impressive is that fact that women’s inherent characteristics such as intuition, verbal communication skills, and emotional intelligence are proving to make women a force to be reckoned with in the workplace and in business.

And now, institutions are taking notice. In February 2011, the Small Business Administration published a final rule expanding federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). For the first time, The Program will allow contracting officers to offer specific contracts to certified WOSBs.

But the real cherry on this sundae is that in a survey of 700 female business owners (conducted by PNC Financial Services Group), despite economic conditions, four in five women expect their businesses to GROW over the next two years.

Can we say, “WORK IT GIRL!”  Enthusiasm aside – it’s clear that women are emerging leaders in business, and this is something to be celebrated.

But despite this inspiring information many women still find themselves earning less than their male counterparts in their businesses, feeling less than capable of running a business on their own, and struggling to get the support they need for even greater success.

If you find yourself identifying with any of those sentiments, here are three little FACTS to help you overcome them.

1. You are worth whatever you charge – and probably even more. In a study conducted by career expert and best-selling author, Marty Nemko, Nemko discovered that women business owners make less than half of what male business owners make (independent of discrimination). Nemko suggests this is because women are not primarily motivated by money.

Whether or not that is true, I believe the more likely explanation is that women simply don’t charge as much as men do for equal work because they are afraid to charge what they are really worth. If you’re going to go into business for yourself, you have to confidently charge for the value you offer. Don’t be shy about this. It’s not rude. It’s not pushy. It’s confident, and required if you’re going to make it as a woman in business.

2. You can aim to have it all, but you can’t DO it all. Women naturally have many roles in their lives. We are friends, mothers, partners, wives, daughters, sisters, caregivers, and whatever may be required at the moment.  And unfortunately, society fosters the idea that we should be able to have it all and do it all. We should be in great shape, keep our youthful looks, raise perfect children, be hard workers, meet the needs of others and live fabulous lives without ever breaking a nail.

But the truth is we can’t have it all and DO it all. And as natural born multi-taskers, we have to learn to drawn the line for what is possible and what is practical. If you’re going to pursue entrepreneurship, begin with a delegating mindset. As you plan and build your business, always ask yourself, “Who can I delegate this to, so that I can do more of what I’m made and want to do?” Whether it’s housekeeping or bookkeeping it all can be done – just not by you.

3. Find a mentor, get coaching, and take part in supportive entrepreneurial community. One of the biggest mistakes female entrepreneurs make in business is trying to go it alone. Whether you’re a solopreneur working from home, or the founder of a tech startup in Silicon Valley, you can’t survive your entrepreneurial journey alone. Yet to their detriment, many women try. One report cited a lack of mentor-ship as a primary factor in business failure for women.

Thankfully, the Internet has made it easier than ever before to develop mentoring relationships and get the support you need to successfully build a business. Whether it’s networking through LinkedIn, participating in a like-minded community like BizChickBlogs, hiring a business coach, or developing your own mastermind group – having a support system in place is critical to your growth as a business owner. You have the power to increase your likelihood of success – do it!

If you’re a woman in business, or if you’re thinking about becoming one, it’s clear the time is now.  Juvenile as I may sound – it’s good to be girl. I’m proud to be a Biz Chick. I hope you are (or will be) too!

If you’re a woman in business for herself, or if you hope to be, please use the comments section below to share your insights on what it’s like to be a woman in business or leave any questions you may have there so we can address them together.

 

 

DinaEisenberg October 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm

This is an incredibly unique time to start a biz for women entrepreneurs, I agree @MARLdblE . And, the power of getting support whether through a mastermind group or with a mentor is undeniable. Women are the best at relationships…until there’s conflict like in a negotiation or working with difficult clients. Then, things go, well, sideways.

So I’d add another point to your excellent list. You must learn to negotiate skillfully without the emotional baggage that often accompanies the task. Being powerful doesn’t mean you’re not nice or pushy ( even though cultural perceptions can make you feel otherwise). It means you’re able to get things done- the foundation of every successful business.

Really, how crazy is it that women who are amazing at getting deals for their families, can’t or won’t negotiate a better fees or work-life balance with themselves or clients? That has got to change.

It’s thrilling to launch my business now when there are so many ways to share my message of positivity and power. Thanks for reminding me of how grateful I am to be alive and helping now.

AllieRambles October 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Marlee,

I think you nailed it in that last point for me. I tried for months to go it alone and learned very quickly that you cannot. What opened my eyes was just a handful of people that found me and started to interact with me. I found that as I became closer to them online, I opened up for even more relationships and interactions with people that shared the same goals as I do.

I was very happy when Tia’s theme last month was “trust” because it came at the perfect time for me. Trust is the key for me. I opened up to trust them and that opened up new avenues for me. I would do anything to help my online friends succeed because they help me.

~Allie

BelaVizy October 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm
BelaVizy October 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm
keepupweb October 5, 2011 at 11:26 am

Wonderful post Marlee. What I find so encouraging is the support offered by other women online. I have always been amazed by some of the infighting and competition among women in the corporate world. Having experience it first hand, it has boggled my mind. Tying to find female mentors within an organization can be a futile endeavor. However, online, women are reaching out to help and support each other. Maybe it’s partly because we’re starting to realize that there’s an abundance of opportunities. I’d like to think that it’s also because we’re starting to realize that together, we can be a formidable force to be reckoned with. :)

MARLdblE October 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm

@onhighheelzPR@MARLdblE Sometimes you just have to create the group for yourself, D! Get out there and make it happen – it WILL prove invaluable to your business growth.

MARLdblE October 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm

@Incredible_Eye_Care So true! Thanks for your comment.

MARLdblE October 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm

@Tia Peterson I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Tia. I too have tried to do it all and it is not only overwhelming -it’s unreasonable. Thanks for sharing your experience here!

troublesometots October 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I keep toying around with the idea of starting a small marketing/web dev company. I think your comment about finding a mentor really resonates. As an extrovert I do my best thinking when I’m talking (sounds strange but it’s totally true). Linking up with some like-minded women would definitely help me get my idea off the ground :)

Tia Peterson October 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I was nodding my head the whole time I was reading this, Marlee! I especially resonated with your second point – trying to have it all and DO it all at the same time. I can testify that that will not work and not only that, it will add unnecessary stress to life and create doubt.

I’m taking all of this to heart and evaluating everything. I love this post!

Incredible_Eye_Care October 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I agree that women are certainly natural born multi-taskers, and this is what makes them special, i have seen women playing the roles of mother, sister, homemaker, co-worker etc, and they have the energy to play all these roles with equal ease!

onhighheelzPR October 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm

@MarlDBLe – I love this, Marlee! Yes, women are making this remarkable entrance into business. #3 really resonates with me. As a DIY-er and bootstrapper, I realize that I really need to get hitched onto a mentor and a group. This is a crucial step in whether you will make it in being a solopreneur (speaking for myself and encouraging other women (and dudes) to do this. Rock it, Miss Marlee! Thanks for the reminders.

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