In the 1970s, a woman’s role was primarily that of ‘caregiver’ in the home, hospital or schoolyard; how things have changed! Women now can be who and what they choose to be. No occupation excludes females but are their employment terms equal. No, not yet. This disparity is driving more women into business ownership. Is it any different or more complex for a woman to start her own business? Do females face the same challenges? Let’s look at what women need to know before starting a business.
“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman
But the search to find that voice can be tough.”
– Melinda Gates
Disparity Women Face
Women’s wages are 15% less than their male counterparts (approx $13000 a year) in Australia, so it is no wonder that more women than ever are opting to ditch the 9 to 5 grind and bet on themselves in the world of self-employment. Gender bias is a very ‘real’ thing in the workplace. The proportion of female CEOs, Senior managers, politicians, leaders in all areas compared to males is less than 1 : 3.
The rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements has motivated many women to put their future in their own hands when it comes to career, finances, and lifestyle. Your own business will give you flexibility, control, and variety. But, along with that freedom comes stress, uncertainty, and challenges. According to Alley Pascoe, Career Editor at Marie claire, the number of new women-owned businesses is growing twice as fast as their male counterparts. (https://www.marieclaire.com.au/career.
Starting a business can be an exciting yet challenging journey. People start businesses for different reasons – to solve challenges, challenge themselves, or build financial freedom. What do Women Need to Know before starting a business?
The biggest challenge women face is themselves.
Studies by the Australian Small Business Administration revealed that 21% of women are less optimistic about sales growth and business performance. Similar studies have found that women in business doubt their decisions more often and are more likely to criticise themselves. Women are also less likely to ask for financing over the lifespan of their business. And when they do ask for business financing, they ask for about $35,000 less than men.
Yet research also shows that women entrepreneurs in Aussie rank their happiness three times higher than women who are not business owners. So female entrepreneurs are more likely to doubt their own decisions in business – but the women who do enter business are more likely to be three times happier.
Are you thinking about starting a business? Here’s what you need to know.
What women need to know before starting a business:
Trust your intuition.
- As we have established, women are more likely to doubt themselves. Learn to move past your self-doubt and trust your intuition.
- Accept that self-doubt and self-criticism are natural reactions when starting a business.
- Why do you doubt yourself? What stories are you telling yourself that lead to these doubts? Are those stories facts or feelings?
Strengthen your money mindset.
Women have a more challenging time asking for money than men. To reach your fullest potential as a female business owner, strengthen your relationship with money.
- What stories do you tell yourself about money?
- Do you have trouble receiving money, asking for money, or raising your prices? Why?
- How do you feel about investing in your business? What feelings do you have about paying yourself from your business regularly?
Find a support network.
- Just because you are starting a business does not mean you have to push forward alone. When starting a business, there will be bridges you have to cross and moments you will want to celebrate.
- Join or start your own mastermind.
- Become an active member of a business community.
- Ask a fellow female entrepreneur out for coffee.
- Attend business conferences or events.
- Life will throw unexpected issues and challenges in your way when you start a business.
- Be ready to show up even through difficult times and tough challenges. If you want to give up, there is an underlying reason at the root of that. Learn how to show up even when you want to quit.
- Challenge yourself not to take “no” for an answer.
Features tell – Benefits sell.
- One of the most important lessons in business is understanding that people buy benefits, not products.
- How will your business impact someone else’s life?
- What value do others receive as a result of your business
- What transformation will your product or service bring into someone’s life?
Starting a business can be a fulfilling process where you challenge your current beliefs and grow.
What’s most important is not to let self-doubt or self-criticism get in the way of getting started.
Nobody ever started a Big business overnight. Every ‘overnight success story’ took years to bring about. Plan to have a million-dollar business – but realise that it will start with your commitment to show up each day.