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Seasoned Business Owners Share Their Advice for Young Female Entrepreneurs

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Whether you are man or woman, starting out as an entrepreneur can be the toughest challenge you’ve ever faced. But for a young female entrepreneur marching forward into a world which has been dominated by men it may be an even bigger challenge. Although things are changing and the world of business isn’t quite what it was even ten years ago, there are plenty of female entrepreneurs and business owners able to pass down their advice and knowledge to women just breaking into the world of business. They may be straight out of college or even younger but each has the same goal of becoming a successful business owner. Below we have gathered some advice for these young female entrepreneurs from women (and men) who have blazed the trail already.

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Photo Credit: Mihaela Lica Butler

Photo Credit: Mihaela Lica Butler

You are stronger than you believe

I started my own PR boutique agency in 2005, perhaps like many other young entrepreneurs, to be independent, to enjoy working under my own terms. The beginning was hard – I knew very little about gaining clients, I was alone, and there were times when I wanted to give it all up, but somehow, I managed to keep on going, mainly because of my background as a military journalist. This is what helped me build a strong self discipline sense, and the will to go on, no matter what obstacles lie ahead. My advice to young female entrepreneurs: you are stronger than you believe. Keep fighting, believe in yourselves and keep working, but keep in mind that, when your work no longer makes you happy, you are in for a fall. And one last thing: no matter what you do, don’t lose your integrity. There are always ways to succeed without compromising who you are. Just take a step back, and look at things from a different perspective, and it will all work out just fine.

Thanks to Mihaela Lica Butler, Pamil Visions PR

Related Post: How Women Can Level the Playing Field in Business

 

Photo Credit: Kim Duke

Photo Credit: Kim Duke

Don’t assume you’ll make money right away

However, the first bit of sassy Sales Diva advice would be: Don’t assume that just because you’ve launched a business or website that you will make money right away. On average it takes 1 year for most businesses to gain traction. And so if you don’t have access to cash and resources to do proper build proper marketing materials, grow a community, and you’re sitting around waiting for the phone to ring or people to email you – your business will not last. Being under-capitalized is one of the greatest mistakes women in entrepreneurs make and it is a huge reason for why a business won’t last. Equally important is this. Just because you love a product/service doesn’t mean the rest of the world will. Before you quit your job and leap into the void – DO RESEARCH to see if there is a market and a DEMAND for what you sell. Create and sell what the market wants and needs and you’ll ALWAYS have enough money! So there.

Thanks to Kim Duke, The Sales Divas

 

Photo Credit: Anastasia Valentine

Photo Credit: Anastasia Valentine

Trust yourself

The best advice I would give in starting out or for any entrepreneurs and business owners is trust yourself. Especially for female business owners. Intuition and that gut feeling is NEVER wrong. If something feels to good to be true, doesn’t feel right, feels too expensive, feels like a bad deal, etc etc. BELIEVE IT all the time 100% Second is to surround yourself with people who have been there, done that and have a proven track record and have already been where you want to go so you can fast track your success without making the same mistakes. Finally I would recommend to never, ever cheap out on 2 things. Legal and financial advice. It is worth the investment!

Thanks to Anastasia Valentine, Sandbox

 

Photo Credit: Fabe Keily

Photo Credit: Fabe Keily

Prepare, project and persevere

Best Advice for Young Female Entrepreneurs 1. PREPARE: Do your market research BEFORE you start your business – I learnt this one the hard way when first starting my business and being so keen and eager to follow my passion, I neglected to do the research and find out if it was what people wanted, or more importantly what people were willing to pay money for. This cost me many months and a lot of money in the early stages. It’s not enough to have a product or service that you’re passionate about, you have to be confident people are willing to pay money for it. That will take it out of the realm of being a ‘hobby’ and ensure you have a ‘business’ that will last the distance 2. PROJECT: How you project yourself in Business counts. There is an old saying ‘You only get one chance at a first impression’ and this has never been truer than in the realm of building your business. When building relationships with new clients o r joint venture partners, you have to remember that they don’t know you yet, so first impressions count (like it or not people take 7 seconds to make a judgement on the type of person you are), so make sure you put in your best effort to creating a memorable first impression both in physical looks and personality. 3. PERSEVERE: There will be tough times on your journey of that I’m sure, but don’t let it stop you from following through. Surround yourself with people who will support you through the tough times and be there to celebrate with you through your good times, they are worth more than gold.

Thanks to Fabe Keily, What Working Women Want

Related Post: Celebrating Women Business Owners

 

Photo Credit: Stephanie King

Photo Credit: Stephanie King

Stay true to your concept in the face of criticism

I think women face a major obstacle, no matter what their age, when they’re starting a new business: fear of criticism. Everyone faces criticism and skepticism when launching something new, but I think women tend to take criticism personally and have a built-in desire to please everyone. If you let critics sidetrack you and instill doubt about your business plan, you’ll spin your wheels and waste a lot of time. So my advice is to stay true to your concept in the face of whatever criticism you get. Use any skepticism or negativity about your ability to succeed as a challenge–prove them wrong!

Thanks to Stephanie King, Fair Trade Designs

 

Photo Credit: Lisa McLeod

Photo Credit: Lisa McLeod

Don’t let your business be put into the ‘cute’ category

Own your ambition. As a young woman, people will try to put your business into the “cute” category. Don’t let them. If you run a cupcake shop, talk about yourself as if you are cupcake mogul. If you starting an Internet business, make it clear that you’re just as savvy as Zuckerburg. Don’t ever use the words, little, small or fledgling to describe yourself or your business. You don’t have a cute little business, you have a REAL business. When I started my business 20 years ago, people often assumed I worked for myself so I could have more flexibility with my kids. In hindsight, when people called my business little, I should have said, “It is now, but I plan for it to be very big.” It takes guts and ambition to start a business. The founders of HP, Walmart and Google had ambition. So do you, don’t ever forget that.

Thanks to Lisa McLeod, McLeod & More, Inc.

 

Photo Credit: Carol Sankar

Photo Credit: Carol Sankar

Do business first, play ‘nice’ later

The best advice for young female is to do business first and play ‘nice’ later. There are more women who are afraid of doing business within their own power in an effort to be the nice one on the room. Being liked is not the same as being respected for your sense of business and the expertise you bring to the table. Remain strong on your position, even at the cost of losing others who only aligned themselves to you because you are ‘nice.’ There is nothing wrong with remaining firm on your position and standards as a woman in business. That is how leaders are made.

Thanks to Carol Sankar

 

Photo Credit: Julia Travchenko

Photo Credit: Julia Travchenko

Remember that you’re the face of the company

Remember that you are the face of your company. Everywhere you go, every networking event that you attend, every letter you write or phone conversation you have – make sure that you radiate success and friendliness. Be open, polite, approachable and always with a genuine smile on your face. Everyone likes to work with sincere, successful, trustworthy and positive people. We have to deal with so much stress and pressure daily, so when we are introduced to pleasant people, we prefer to do business with them. Its all about professionalism and personality.

Thanks to Julia Travchenko, Rich Club Girl

Related Post: How the Super Rich Avoid Paying Taxes

 

Photo Credit: Starr Million Baker

Photo Credit: Starr Million Baker

Don’t ever doubt what you are creating

As a female entrepreneur myself – and a young one when I started, I would tell young female entrepreneurs three things: 1. You are likely starting this business because you are passionate about what it will provide. You love that service or product and consider yourself lucky to work in what you love every day. But never forget – you are starting a BUSINESS. All business rules apply and you need to analyze your business on a constant basis to be successful. Otherwise, you’ll be doing what you love by yourself. 2. Don’t ever doubt that what you are building/creating/offering to the world is unique and worth offering. You are passionate enough to start a business around it – let that passion shine through and others will see it and be drawn to it. 3. Your gender doesn’t matter; your brain does. Use it.

Thanks to Starr Million Baker, INK PR

 

Photo Credit: Amy Zitelman

Photo Credit: Amy Zitelman

Get in on the conversations

Be outgoing. Male entrepreneurs (like all men) fall into their boys-only-club more often than not. But when a put together, credible, experienced, like-minded woman walks into their world, they are receptive, and usually impressed, as it is still less common. Get into their conversations, listen, and talk about yourself enough to share your relatable experiences, your intelligence, your personality and credibility. They’ll notice you whether you speak to them or not. I mean, you’re probably one of the few people with a soft (hairless) chin, long hair, and… how do I put this… parts that they don’t have; so make sure they come away with a positive, professional impression.

Thanks to Amy Zitelman, Soom Foods

 

Photo Credit: Suzanne Casamento

Photo Credit: Suzanne Casamento

Think about things one hour at a time

Starting a business is scary. Even the most confident women can feel fears like, “I’ll never get all the money to start up,” and “How will I learn to run a business?” A smart way to avoid fears like that is to think about things one hour at a time. For example, instead of convincing yourself you’ll never get the money, contact your friend’s investor friend and ask her for advice. Then follow it. By focusing on one task at a time, you can achieve results without becoming overwhelmed by the daunting big picture.

Thanks to Suzanne Casamento, Fantasy Dating, LLC

 

Photo Credit: Karen Kang

Photo Credit: Karen Kang

Carve out a niche you can own

Carve out a niche you can own. First, for your company. Second, for your personal brand. For example, Sheryl Sandberg is known both as the COO of Facebook and as a champion of women moving to the top of organizations with her Lean In book and movement. Sheryl’s personal brand transcends her job as an executive with Facebook. As an entrepreneur, your personal brand will be closely tied to your company as it should be, but do know that entrepreneurs and their companies sometimes go separate ways. Set the foundation now for your personal brand that can stand apart.

Thanks to Karen Kang, BrandingPays LLC

 

Photo Credit: Jamilah Corbitt

Photo Credit: Jamilah Corbitt

Be confident, be fearless

I would tell young female entrepreneurs that confidence is key in their actions and decisions. Don’t be afraid to aim high. Set goals, develop benchmarks, and surround yourself with others who will hold you accountable.. Speaking as a young female entrepreneur with three businesses, I’ve learned that failure is only an illusion. Mistakes will undoubtedly happen. Learn the lesson, and grow through the process. Commit yourself to the life-long task of self-development, and continue perfecting your craft. If you’re in a male-dominated industry, don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Bottom line, be fearless.

Thanks to Jamilah Corbitt, i am a brand

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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