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.